Friday, August 24, 2007

Birthday Post

Thank you all for your well wishes regarding my aunt. The memorial service was exactly as she would have wanted it.

Her view of life was this: "Enjoy what you have now, give back and be of good faith. Sorrow and pain must be endured. However, they are only temporary as are the emotions of joy and happiness. Life is best remembered for the joy of the lesson learned".

I almost didn't attend the service because of work pressure. Then I came to my senses. Hello?? Family comes first and I'm so glad I went. Not only to honor her but it is nice to see cousins that live across the country. I have a wonderful family.

My life has been overwhelming. From work pressures, to Nihon class homework and self imposed pressures in other areas of life.

I worked through my Birthday, today. But...I did take a couple of breaks.

One was to have my first mammogram. I was a bit worried and scared. I had heard the horror stories of having breasts squashed to pancakes. My experience was a good one. Yes, it hurt but like Auntie Lillian said, it was only temporary pain.

What made my experience so pleasant was going into Village Yarn and Tea and seeing my friends. Seeing familiar, loving and kind friends before the procedure really kept the fear at bay. I had the mammogram in a traveling Breast Express. The women were kind and wished me a happy birthday. Then I went back into the shop with my card that said I would receive a free gift for having done my mammogram. Get a look at this swag!

The other break I took was to have a quick dinner with some of my sisters, nieces&nephews. On the way out I found I had mail! What was in my mailbox??

My latest Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club installment! I haven't been too crazy about this year's socks - the patterns I feel don't highlight the yarn as well as they could. This installment...I am really, really happy with.

To do some catch up - almost two weeks ago I took a week off to spend time at Bangrila, our lake house, with my siblings and their children. It was fun but quite honestly, work was on my mind...always in the background...providing mental white noise.

Here is a picture of my brother-in-law tubing on the lake with Bangrila in the background. Bangrila (what we call the lake place - rhymes with Shangrila) is a haven to get away from it all. It is on Spencer Lake near Shelton Washington.

While we were at Bangrila, there was this blue heron that kept visiting us. He was quite tame and friendly. Greg and I went out in a foot paddle boat to get close to him and he let us get quite close.

Greg got some really good photos of him.

This morning we had a visitor near/on our back door. I thought of Ryan and her kindness to bugs. I'm not sure why I thought of you Ryan...but...I did. I was going to write to you that you HAD to post today even if you noted you weren't going to. You have to..its MY birthday. Oh well. I guess the world does not revolve around me! :)

Next post I promise to update you on my knitting/spinning projects. I have many things going and I have been making progress!

It wasn't the best as birthdays go because I had to work. Today is usually a flex day but I've had to work through many flex days recently. I will also have to cancel my monthly knitting gathering tomorrow as I'll be working through the weekend.

As Auntie said, its only temporary and I'll find joy in the lesson learned.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Goodbye Auntie Lillian

My Auntie Lillian passed away this past Monday.

She was my mother's oldest sister. I find it hard to write about her.

She died of a brain aneurysm. They were able to operate on her but she was just not strong enough to recover.

It brings back so many memories for me, as my mother also suffered from a brain aneurysm.

A couple of my sisters visited my aunt at Harborview a couple of weeks ago. The said she looked so much like my mother when she had her brain aneurysm and that it was very hard to see her. I could not find the strength to go see her before she died.

I am sure she was welcomed warmly into heaven by her husband, Uncle Jack, her siblings Art and my mother Marie as well as her parents, Takeko and Shigetoshi.

Take care Auntie Lillian. You will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Toy

Reporting from home. Nice thing about the work I do - I can do it virtually if required. I'm working from home today(have to babysit my husband for the first 24 hours after his surgery - read on) and I'm on my lunch hour. So I can do a quick post.

Oh I'd never drop spindle". You'd think by now I would know better than to make statements such as this(TMK - are you reading this?).

One of my classmates in the Nihon Vogue certification, Candace, was drop spindling during breaks at class. What she was spinning was so beautiful. I crave spinning sometimes and it isn't the most portable activity(with a wheel, that is).

To backtrack and give you some history - Candace actually helped me buy my very first roving at Madrona in January. We were both in the Tailored Knitting class and I saw her fondling fiber in the marketplace. It was her kindness that actually, really and truly, got me over my fear of buying roving(girl you opened the flood gates). She probably isn't aware of this. I didn't have an *actual* fear of roving but it was more of fear of what to do with the fiber and could I actually spin?

I'm in love(I fall in love easily) with my Greensleeves Lady Barbara(.75 0z).
While Greg was having knee surgery yesterday I popped on over to Weaving Works and bought this little gem. I immediately ran home to get some roving. I decided to start with some Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale Pencil Roving in Azure Sky(thanks to LindaK - thank you for selling this to me!). Then I looked in my Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning by Judith Mackenzie McCuin and within minutes was on my way.

I took my handy dandy spindle and roving, some knitting and headed back to the waiting room! I had yet another hour wait before my happy, high, hubby was ready to go home. He's always so funny after these kinds of things because he is drugged up. He's a happy guy!

I had to drop by Target to get his drugs on the way home. I come out to the car after getting the prescription filled and I hear someone has their stereo on full blast. It is Greg jamming out, high as a kite.

Today he's back to a good normal. He's limping around but he is not the type to be down for long. The doctor's office called today to get progress report. I told them he's getting up and down the stairs fine. She said he needs to be restful the next couple days. He's going from his office to the kitchen like he hasn't just had knee surgery. I told him he needs to rest. He replies "I need some exercise - because I've been sitting for two days". Oh geez. He doesn't know how to rest, that one.

I'm enjoying the portablility of this little spindle. What a great thing. I actually spun up a lot for just a few minutes here and there. Pretty cool, huh?

Not bad spinning either in my very limited spinning experience.

I have to admit something a bit strange. I had sleeping dreams about drop spindling. In my dreams I could *feel* what it would feel like, feeling the spindle in my hands, drawing out the roving, winding the fiber around the shaft. When I started doing it, it felt like I had done it before.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Catch Up!

What did I do today? I was playing catch up!

I had to work 6 days this week(I usually work 4). Work is stressful and incredibly busy for me right now so that doesn't leave a lot of time to do my Nihon homework, or any fun knitting.

The funny thing about time is when I don't have much to spare I find a way to be more efficient!

Today I re-wrote all my class notes from our last Nihon session. I like color coding my notes so I can understand the explanations better. Here is some evidence:

I have been knitting on the raglan. I am at the waist shaping. I went down .25 mm in needle size to do some subtle shaping. You can't really tell from this photo is going in a tiny bit. Now the thing with doing the waist shaping is that you begin and end the shaping 5-6cm above and below your exaxt waist.

I know it looks a lot like it did before I completely tore it out and started over. Believe me, I did start over and when I try it on...I can tell the difference. Amazing both "versions" were done on a US 6. One was 4.25 mm(new and improved) and the other on a 4.00mm(the one that no longer exists).

Now for non-homework related news. Here are my monkey socks. I just LOVE this pattern! I have it memorized and it seems to go rather quickly. I love my Plucky Knitter yarn too. Sarah is a dear. She is benefitting from my high stress level and retail therapy. Her stuff is worth it though and she's sweet to boot! See her blog and her shop!

The monkey's are a bit catty wampus on my foot but I'm in a hurry - gotta be as efficient as possible and this may be a blog record for me - getting it written, pics loaded and published!

One last photo. Dear Ryan made this stich marker and she gave it to me. I've been thinking a lot about her. This whole end of Dulaan fiasco has had me sending her lots of good vibes since the news broke. Go over to her blog, leave comments and give her your support!

Isn't it pretty?

Friday, August 03, 2007

July Monthly Knitting

I host a monthly knitting/spinning/craft get together at my house. I haven't done an entry on one of these in quite some time.

My fiber buds are usually my guinea pigs on recipes, too. I cooked a vegetarian green chile enchilada dish on behalf of Gail's(vegetarian) birthday. It was very, very yummy, if I may say so myself. In fact Karen has since tried the recipe as well but with chicken and it was a hit with her family. You can find the recipe here.

Here are some photos I took at the last gathering.

Luckily I got a photo of the group without TMK (she was sitting next to Ryan at the right - in front the the painting) in it since she needs to remain mysterious!

Here is a photo of what TMK was spinning. Bella!

Here is Melinda with her what I call "Ruth's Kauni Cardigan". Beanie had to get in on the action as well. They look good together don't they? Melinda - you should knit Beanie a cute little "Ruth's Kauni dog sweater". Just kidding.

Speaking of Ruth. Remember she is not only the person that designed this wonderful cardigan but she sent me the yarn for this? See my February 2007 archives. As you all know out in blog land, once Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, got ahold of this design, everyone wanted to knit this. Now there is a Kauni KAL(which is now closed).

Well I have become friends with Ruth in the past 6 months. I invited her to come to the Nordic Knitting Conference in October but since this was the first year of this conference I advised her to wait and come for Madrona in 2008(Feb 14-17). She postponed her trip in favor of coming for Madrona.

So she is planning on coming to Seattle in February. Yes, she is going to be staying with me and attending Madrona. We have to iron out all the details but I'm so thrilled to have her come.

If you love her Kauni Cardigan design, you MUST see her newest design(also using Kauni Effekt), Autumn, which you can purchase and she will send you a pdf file(13 pages). This pattern is well written and she had it translated into English. Go here then click on Strikning. It is wonderful. Ruth's blog also has photos and she has begun doing some blogging in English.

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on! I was tagged as a Rockin' Girl Blogger and I haven't had time to post that!

I've also been working a lot and very stressed. Stress means retail therapy. I want to post photos on all the lovely yarn I have purchased from Plucky Knitter and The Yarnsnob. I hope to relieve my workload or else I'll be broke!

I have not had time to put as much time into my Nihon Vogue homework or do much knitting! One of my classmates did a nice article on our Nihon class. If you want to learn more, see this article.

Gotta run!