Coming and Going

I've been meeting myself coming and going this week!  It hasn't been any one big event, but just dozens of little things that have conspired to eat away at my time.  Hubby's sister is gone on an extended vacation and we've come to realize how much caregiving she does for my mother-in-law.  It's taken two of us to take up the slack!  On the plus side, I've done a lot of sitting around waiting during her various appointments, so that translated into some good knitting time.  I was able to finish one sleeve of hubby's Torgier:


Sorry for the crappy photo – you're lucky to get that much!

What I haven't had is long periods of time at home, which I miss.  It has really made me long for retirement!  And things have been pretty challenging at work (more on that to come), so when I get home I haven't had energy to do more than just veg in front of the television.  In fact, I've been so exhausted when I get home that I've really been neglecting going out for walks with Maggie.  I think that's been a huge tactical error.  Tonight when I got home, I made myself go out and found that when I returned, I actually had more energy rather than less.  Plus I had one very happy little puppy who is sleeping peacefully at my feet rather than running around like a crazy dog!

Saturday I spent at church with a group from my quilt guild making Community Quilts for the hospital, foster children, CADA, etc.  Every time I go I keep thinking I need to take my camera – maybe next time!  When I came home I was able to scratch out a little time to work on some blocks for Quilts of Valor – quilts for wounded servicemen:


Both types of sewing really fit into my schedule and mind set this week.  You're basically handed a pattern and pieces (some already cut out) and all you have to do is sit down and sew mindlessly!!  Just what I needed this week.

My usual distraction technique when I don't have much exciting to talk about is darling granddaughters.  Today is no exception:


I Heart Knitting

I decided this week that I really did need to get back to some hibernating projects.  Hubby's Torgeir sweater is all done except for the sleeves, so during some down time waiting for his mother during her hair and physical therapy appointments, I cast on.  Imagine my delight when that night I looked down at my yarn and saw this:

How cool is that?

And that is as about as exciting as my week has been!  It's always tough going back to work after being away for an extended period.  The closer I get to retirement, the harder it gets.  We did do some financial maintenance this week in preparation for my retirement.  Part of that includes refinancing the house.  With interest rates the way they are, it would be foolish not to do so.  And I was pleasantly pleased to see that all of our retirement accounts actually gained this month! 

I have also been working away on my Cookie A socks.  These are not exactly a quick knit, but I think will be more than worth it.  My photo karma doesn't seem to be working this week, because I can't get a good shot, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I can honestly say that there isn't one pair of socks in her new book that I don't want to knit.  I think for the next pair I may just write all the names on slips of paper and draw one at random.  I did do a little stash enhancement at our LYS yesterday.  So much of my sock stash is variegated yarn that just won't work for Cookie A socks.  I found this lovely skein:


It's Calssic Elite Alpaca Sox – 60% alpaca, 20% wool and 20% nylon.  I think my feet will be very happy!

On the same shopping trip I stopped with a friend at the fabric store to help her pick out fabrics for a quilt.  I had no intention of buying anything, but 45 minutes later, I left with two patterns and whole bunch of fabrics to make dresses for the girls!  At least everything I got was on sale:


Now I just have to find the time to make them!!  On a side note – Friday we went out for pizza with our car club.  I was talking to one of the women who had retired about 7 years ago.  I really had to laugh when she told me that I should prepare myself because I would really be bored!!  It reminds me of all the cautions we received when hubby retired.  I was told that he would become really depressed because men's identities were so wrapped up in their careers.  He would quickly become bored and the predictions were dire indeed.  It's four years later and he still hasn't stopped smiling!  He says he doesn't know how he ever found the time to work.

In doggie news, our backyard is still a muddy mess, so I decided to try Maggie out in the front yard yesterday.  She really does need to get out and get some exercise.  There is no fence in the front, so I put her leash on, just so I'd have something to grab onto in case she took off.  I was pleasantly surprised.  She chased her ball and bubbles (her favorite activity) and stayed close.  When the bubbles floated out of the yard and into the driveway, she stopped chasing them.  We did a lot of practice on "come" and "stay" and she performed like a champ! 

I leave you this week with way cute granddaughter pictures.  Lately Isobel has been fascinated by tails.  So Nana found some at Michaels and sent them to her.  What cute little animals!



Happy Easter

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Happy Easter to everyone.  Here in the Pacific Northwest we're having our typical cold, rainy, blustery Easter.  I don't think the kids around here would know what to do with an outdoor Easter egg hunt.  They're usually held indoors because of the weather.  We can have beautiful spring weather right up until Easter, and then it gets cold and rainy again.  The same goes for the 4th of July!

Our Easter has been rather laid back and quiet.  After church we went for a buffet at a local Mexican restaurant.  It was a new take on the Easter buffet and we thought we'd give it a try.  But fajitas and tacos just don't seem in keeping with tradition, so we'll probably do a more traditional buffet next year.  Then we visited Bill's mom and took her some flowers.  After that it was home for a nap and now the day is almost over.  I know, the excitement here is almost too much to bear.  After blogging I think I'll work on some scrapbooking.

While I was on vacation I hit upon an idea for a page featuring Ivy and her tea party:


I know I say this about every page, but this is my favorite so far.  I'm especially pleased with my ability to isolate her from the background and I love the quote that I found.  It seems to suit the picture to a "tea"!  This past week brought a little scare as far as Ivy was concerned.  At the local playground, she discovered a mushroom and tried to eat it.  Abby was able to get a big chunk out of her mouth, but since they didn't know the type of mushroom or how much she ate, they took her to the emergency room.  They gave her activated charcoal and hooked her up to an IV and kept her for 6 hours.  She seems to be fine now and Abby said she was a little trooper through it all!  I'm sure Mommy and Daddy have a few more grey hairs, though.

On the knitting front, I finished Hidcote.  Woo hoo!  I was getting a little tired of it.  No pictures until next week when I block it.  I didn't have the urge to cast on anything big, but I've been drooling over the pictures in Cookie A.'s new book, Sock Innovations.  I cast on for the "Rick" socks in some Opal handpaint that I had, but it didn't take long to realize that the yarn was obscuring the pattern.  So I recast on with some Dream in Color Smooshy, with much better results:


I figured if I was putting in this much work, I really wanted to see the pattern.  This will not be a quick knit, but I think will be worth it.  All of her patterns are really stunning.

I haven't blogged yet about my lace club delivery.  It arrived just a day before I left.  I was a little disappointed.  I know I joined the club to expand my repertoire, but neither the color nor the pattern really suits me at all.  The yarn is very nice – Malabrigo lace, but the color is a yellow/green.  Probably one of my least favorite colors.  The pattern is for a Moebius shoulder wrap.  Again – not something that I would probably wear.  I do have a pattern for a beaded scarf that I think might be appropriate, but I'm going to let this simmer for a while.  I still may end up doing the shoulder wrap as a gift, just to be able to try something new.  Who knows – I might even really like it!

I leave you this week with one of the family pictures I scanned in.  This was taken ca. 1955 as our passport photo when we returned from a tour of duty in Japan.  It is one of my favorites:


Missouri Travelogue

I always experience a bit of culture shock when going back home.  There is a world of difference between the wide open vistas of snow-capped mountains, oceans and evergreens of Whidbey Island and the deciduous forests and low rolling hills and farmlands of the Ozarks.  Of course, you gotta love an area with such charming tourist attractions as the Bucksnort Saloon and Hillbilly Junction (actually, one of my favorite tourist traps).  My home town is the proverbial wide spot in the road that you will miss if you blink:


This is the side street that runs by my parents' house:


My parents' house was built back in the 1930's out of rock imported from Arkansas.  It is a fossil hunter's treasure trove, with evidence of shells, sand formations and even petrified wood:


The town has few amenities, but does boast a cafe with the best catfish and hushpuppies in the country, at least in my opinion.  And one of the town's charming residents is a Basset Hound with his own pet duck:


Apparently you never see one without the other.  I wanted to go over and give the dog a big scratch behind his ears, but he growled at me.  Dad said he didn't think he would bite – it would require too much energy!  But I wasn't taking any chances. 

As the dog proves, life in Thomasville is relaxed and easy going.  Everyone knows everyone else – in fact, they all seem to be related.  It seemed as if every time we met someone, Mom told me he/she was a cousin!  We had a great time just kicking back and doing nothing and visiting with family:


From left to right:  Mom, Kim (my brother's wife), Mike (my brother), me, Aaron (my nephew and an all-around nice kid), Claudia (my sister) and Dad.  The only ones missing were my brother Pat and his fiancee Barbara. 

I did get quite a bit of knitting done.  Believe it or not, I took Hidcote.  The time-out chair lasted all of about four hours and I couldn't stand it anymore.  I'm up to the last chart and have decided that I want to finish this before I start anything else.

I also spent a lot of time scanning old photos into my computer.  I had a huge pile and wasn't sure I'd make it, but I got them all in.  I'm hoping to do some scrapbooking with them.  Here's one of my favorites:


I'm on the far left.  And these two photos are for Marguerite – not up to her quality, but I felt lucky to get them:



Fortunately I have three days left before I have to go back to work, but a lot on my plate, including taxes.  But it sure is good to be home!