Wednesday, March 18, 2020

And Now There Are Nine

Idaho got it's first confirmed corona virus case Friday, and we're already at 9 confirmed cases with at least 37 people being monitored.  Most cases were from people bringing it in, though I think 4 cases are untraced and are all in a pretty small population base, so it in the population in general in some areas.  Being a state that loathes government, the governor is leaving everything to counties and cities. so things are uneven and confusing with some cities acting quickly to stop the spread and others still pretending it's a hoax, so I'm sure THAT will turn out well.  Andy's company and my new company have already sent everyone home to work, so it's nice to be part of organizations taking this seriously.  Meanwhile,
Andy's Valentine's Day shirt is finished except for some hand stitching and buttons.  Clearly, not exactly on time. 

I'm still on the Spicy Spiral marathon,
and will be frantically finishing this one
for a charity auction for my local Boys & Girls club.  Normally, their major fundraiser would be coming up in just a few weeks, but it's had to be cancelled because of coronavirus, just at the same time demand for their services is going up, so we're switching to just an online auction.  There's always an online portion, but that is usually donated items like restaurant gift cards.  This year, that's a bit more problematic because I don't know any restaurants not hurting for money, so I'll probably go buy a gift card or two to put with this, and Andy is donating a piece he made with the new laser cutter, and we'll hope for the best....and send them a check. 

The cats are loving having the humans home,
 though Charlie gets a bit impatient when there isn't enough sewing happening:
 I've also been doing some gardening, and we have our first flower:
This week I'm choosing to be excited even about a weed blooming.  I think the world needs a splash of spring color right about now, don't you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Those Were Fast Months

And we're already into March. WOW.

Updates in no particular order:

* I was offered a very exciting job on Friday and also had an interview for another great job that morning, so it was a REALLY great day. 

*  Charlie has now experienced catnip:
* My parents are moved into their new house and are loving it.  Their housewarming gift is in progress:
The colors are a bit more subdued than the picture.  For the most part, I like my new phone, but the picture colors are overly intense. 

*  While trying to find fabrics that I thought would work for the fall colors they wanted, I found some fat quarter sets on clearance, so I'm on a Spicy Spiral binge, this being the latest:
 Charlie is helping:
 *  We're gone through so many gifts lately that I've been working on bowls as well,
 including working out some new shapes:
* I finished the socks I was working on, and immediately cast on a new pair:
because self-patterning sock yarns enchant me.  The plan is to keep these,unless I've forgotten a birthday or other gifting necessity before the next pair is finished. 

*  The job-hunting process has been very intense the last two months, with lots of phone screens, interviews, and ghosting by recruiters, as well as one very memorable experience with a credit union that asked for an application, then a personality test that they swore was important, then a phone screen, in-person interview on a snowstorm day where I got to wait in the lobby for half an hour BEFORE my interview, only to have them decide that none of us were good enough for their not even high-level position, so they threw all of us out and started over.  To add insult to injury, they're rated as one of the top employers in Idaho, but as are wages are among the lowest in the nation, that might not be saying that much.

* No matter what kind of decent behavior I swear I'm going to exhibit, I can NOT be trusted with a credit card and a flower catalog in February.

* We have been going at SUCH a fast pace that this is our NOTHING weekend--nothing scheduled, no plans, not having anyone over--which took several weeks to make happen. 

* We've decided that the window for our Valentine's handmade gift exchange is really anytime before the nest Valentine's day rolls along.  I got part of Andy's new shirt cut out, and if we can distract Charlie long enough, I hope to cut out the rest today. 

*  We've decided that we might not be good season-ticket sort of people, as it feels like adding pressure to an already busy schedule, but we did enjoy finally seeing STOMP a couple weeks ago, though the show lasts about 30 minutes longer than our interest in percussive exploration does. 

*  Idaho does not yet have the corona virus, but Idaho DOES have corona virus panic.  We hadn't thought about it, until mistakenly deciding to stop by Costco on the way home last Sunday and experiencing Black Friday level crowds hoarding toilet paper, but still crowding around all those food samplings and snaffling them off the trays touched by hundreds of other shoppers' hands. 

 *  My hellebores are getting ready to bloom, and either they take longer to go from bud to bloom than ANY other flower, or I am just super-anxious for some early color.  I check them twice a day.  :)

*  We're hoping things are a bit less hectic going forward.  Or hectic in new ways.  That would work as well............

Saturday, January 11, 2020

I Used The Glue Gun Without Burning Myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not sure I'll have a prouder accomplishment all year--or a more surprising one.  I think I have a few fingerprints left.

Andy is gone for the weekend, so the kitties and I are having a crafting weekend.  With their help,
 I finished the first project of the year.
The colors are a bit more subdued in real life, but I don't know how to reduce the intensity of this cell phone's camera.  I also cut some more strips for other projects, and wound another Hank from Hell:
 A couple years ago I bought some Feza Rio that was on clearance, and for a cashmere/merino blend, it's not at all soft, and until this yarn, I didn't know one could hank yarn badly, but there does seem to be a way to do it so unevenly that permanent kinks are put into the yarn, and if that weren't enough fun, rather than being normal human beings who tie the ends into the threads holding the hank in place, these deranged maniacs tied the two ends together and snipped off the ends so that the only way to find them is to dig through the strands inch by inch.  And since it is a scratchy yarn, the rounds of yarn get caught on each other.  Probably serves me right for impulse buying yarn because it was on sale, but I'm rather hoping the current project doesn't require all 5 hanks. 

11 days down, 49 projects to go.  I can do this!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

And We're Off.........

Happy new year everyone!

So, I didn't reach either of my crafting goals for last year, but I did use up 96 yards of fabric, which would really be making a dent in the stash if I hadn't also bought quite a bit of fabric last year.  Oops.

There were a few late-finish projects, like another teal rope bowl,
more flannel pajamas which I am currently wearing, and another rope bowl which was promptly gifted:
Since I had to work the day after and day before Christmas, we decided to not have our traditional open house & game night, and instead had fun making homemade falafel and pitas--with Charlie helping herself to a pita,
hanging out in the trees,
helping organize the sewing room,
and enjoying some new toys from a friend:
Valentino has been slowest to warm to Charlie, probably because HE was the baby before her, but she's determined to wear him down:
For New Year's Eve, I won a trip for two to Phoenix to attend a Jim Brickman concert (enter to win a trip for two to Las Vegas here), and while like so many songwriters, I knew his songs but not his name, we had a great time.  Jim and his staff are really nice people, and we spent a day at the Music Instrument Museum, which is wonderful.  I'm not a huge fan of Arizona because of its politics, so I wouldn't have visited on my own, but it is interesting to see an area driven by old age.  There are doctors and hospitals EVERYWHERE, dinner specials start at 4:00, and we learned that there are "silver alerts" to notify residents that a senior who shouldn't be driving has taken a vehicle and is now loose on the roads, which is unnerving to learn while on the freeway.  Um, yeah....

 Of course, a trip needs travel knitting, and since none of my existing projects were a good candidate,
I started a new sweater.  It's on size 3 needles, so not a fast project, but it made a great travel project.  However, I think this makes sweater WIP #20 or something ridiculous like that, so I think it's time to finish a few of them.  As soon as I find them all..........

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holiday Greetings

It’s hard to say when a house starts to really feel like home, but if it’s when one starts having to fix things, then this was the year we settled into the new house.  2019 started off with a roof leak into our dining room, the death of my old washing machine, and a leak under the sink, so we’re very, VERY settled into the new house. And just in case we weren’t, in August we adopted a stray kitten we found (Charlie) who is busily tearing apart anything left standing.  For those counting, Charlie brings the feline population to 4, though some days it feels more like 9 or 10, especially during shedding season..

Andy continues liking his new job, and is enjoying being close to Bogus Basin and ran to work regularly in order to train for the Mesa Falls Marathon in August (in the mountains, so not as hot as that sounds).  For those not familiar, Mesa Falls is in eastern Idaho near Ashton, where the interstate gives up and goes back to being a highway.  We found a very charming hotel from the 1930s with plumbing from the 1940s, and enjoyed exploring the upper and lower falls, part of Yellowstone, and a shortcut that has no business pretending to be a road on any map not made exclusively for hiking or goats. Andy says the scenery along the marathon route was breath-taking, but so is running 26+ miles.

I, on the other hand, have joined a radio station as a marketing consultant.  I now do radio and digital advertising, and haven’t had to deal with city planning/permits or measure anything in the snow or rain for months--which might explain the recruiter’s timing.  I did have to warn them that I have no idea who anyone is in pop culture and proved it by getting lots of “big” names wrong--including our music festival headliner--but it actually hasn’t been a problem since I’m rarely in my clients’ target market.  I can, however, write commercial scripts, so I think it balances out that I called our headliner, Pitbull, by the wrong breed of dog. I had the right species.

After much research, Andy bought a laser-cutter this year, and has already made several new wall decorations for the house.  I believe several friends have scheduled playdates for when the garage is slightly warmer. 

And after delaying as long as possible, I am now going through braces for the SECOND time, and either they hurt ​much ​ more than I remember, or I have grown into a complete wimp. However, I am now a wimp with a large repertoire of blended meals.  11 months to go for Straight Teeth, take two.

Hope this finds you all well and enjoying a healthy and happy holiday season, and wishing you a wonderful 2020.

This year we have learned….
● That it doesn’t matter if the bag did happen to mention which lilies were the tallest if one doesn’t bother to read the label
● Planting 180+ bulbs wasn’t much fun, but watching them come up really was--right until a deer ate them
● One’s inner child may never age, but the toys get a LOT more expensive
● The learning curve with a laser-cutter is finding the exact point between not cutting all the way through and erupting into flames.  This is best done in a well-ventilated garage, possibly when one’s spouse is absent.
● With a crazy enough kitten, “climbing the walls” is not a figure of speech
● Even as exhausting as Charlie’s antics are, it’s impossible to get mad at her.  If I could ever have leapt that far above my own head, my parents would have been fishing me off of every barn we had
● Some of us are clearly incapable of being foster homes for animals
● If done well, even jazz music played on an accordion can be enjoyable
● Never get a touchscreen laptop if one has cats
● A “sewing room” sounds like it should be clean, so I have started referring to mine as a “studio.” It really takes the pressure off.
● There is no such thing as kitten-proof if the kitten in question is Charlie
● It is possible to melt slate with a laser-cutter.  Not advisable, but possible
● The “Charlie compromise” with the Christmas trees is no lights or decorations, removing the top from the 9-foot tree, and moving it into the center of the room so she can’t use it as a pathway to the windows above the door or anything else. 
● If a phone cord isn’t charging, one of the first things to check HERE is whether a kitten has chewed it into multiple pieces. 
● A group of cats is called a “clowder.”  We thought it best to know what we wake up to each morning.
● It is possible to hear yarn.  It doesn’t matter where Charlie is in the house, but if I try to take out my knitting, Charlie is there before the sock even gets out of the bag.
● The gardening book that we REALLY need is the one which states which shrubs can be safely trimmed back and which one it only encourages
● Most people one meets when running are pretty cool, a few are weird.  It’s best to be able to outrun the latter.
● Visiting Yellowstone Park involves more alert driving than I dreamed.  Either one is stalking people in the parking lots to try to get their spots when they leave or one is trying not to run into cars or pedestrians pulled off the sides of the road to get dangerously close to animals that can outrun and kill them.
● A rest stop in southeastern Idaho has one of those explanatory signs about the importance of sagebrush.  How can one not love the optimism that travelers will be THAT curious about the only plant visible for 50 miles in either direction and pretty much all of Nevada? 
● Nothing says “love” like eating soft foods with your wife every time her braces get tightened, just for moral support

Sunday, December 1, 2019

One Month Left

December 1, and yesterday I finished projects 40:
and 42:
and I am taking a vacation day tomorrow.  There's a shirt I finally got cut out in spite of Charlie's help,
and there could be some machine embroidery.....

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  We went to the family ranch for what will hopefully be the last Thanksgiving there.  Theoretically, the ranch is finally sold, though it was supposed to close last week and didn't so one never knows.  We only spent one night there, partly because with the television on all the time and my family's tendency to squabble over even little things, it was loud and exhausting, but also because Charlie was spayed last weekend and we were attempting to keep her quiet.

 which is a lot to ask of a kitten who has just discovered that she can climb the 9-foot Christmas tree. 
 You can perhaps guess how far up the smaller tree she gets:
 It seems this tree is the perfect place to chase one's own tail.  And yet she looks so innocent...
Yesterday I started yet another project, but at least this is a very quick pattern,
and will need minimal quilting.  Clothes burn through the fabric stash a lot faster, but quilts are good projects to work on in the evening--or will be as soon as I figure out where to hide the pinned pieces so Charlie can't eat the pins.  We've learned there really isn't such as Charlie-proof, but there are some obvious things we know to avoid.  She's adorable, but she is quite a handful.  After we took the trees apart to stop her from climbing them while she had stitches,
she figured out how to climb onto the window above the doors.  I put the trees back together as at least she can climb DOWN from the trees.  I don't think I own any Christmas decorations that can be considered Charlie-proof...........

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Another Fast Month Goes By....

As you might have guessed from the general lack of activity on this blog, the new job is pretty demanding.  October was our big "sale," so there was tons of pressure to get everything signed leading up to it, but of course now that it's over, the pressure hasn't let up.  Plus they're remodeling the office to an "open office" design--throwing out, of course, the egalitarian origins of no offices for management--and just taking away all personal space from the sales team.  Originally, they were just going to send us home to work during the remodel, but then no one could micromanage, so even though there's no real space,we're expected to show up and work in the office, regardless.  Did I mention that I think we're up to 11 or 12 people leaving just since I started?

I've been knitting a lot to reduce stress, which really isn't helping, though I'm getting a sweater out of it:
 The back and now both fronts are done, and I'm working on the sleeves.  I made so much progress during our trip for Andy's marathon that I've just kept with this sweater, and while finishing 5 before the end of the year might not be possible, finishing this one certainly is.  We also took a crafting weekend last weekend, and I got the top done for what might be one of my favorite color schemes for the Spicy Spiral runner done:
I also attempted my first large rope bowl,
with lopsided results.  We're calling it "artistic."

And, of course,

There have been a lot of kitty cuddles.  I think some of it has to do with how cold it's gotten already, but it's still cute.

Happy November, my friends!