Thursday, September 29, 2011

and the winners are.

...drumroll please!

karen & I met yesterday to draw the winners for the quilt and duffel bag. like last year, we did our drawing the old fashioned way with strips of paper in a bowl. for the quilt, we had one strip for every $25 donated. 114 strips all together. I cut and karen drew...


woohoo! lisa bryan. we are delighted. lisa is a friend, tennis teammate, breast cancer survivor and major inspiration for us. we wore her name on our shirts last year.

and for the bag, we had one strip for every donation. 33 in total. karen drew...


congratulations sharon!

same as last year, these two live close by, so we are hoping for an in-person handoff. maybe all four of us together?! stay tuned.

we also received another donation - my friend and knitting student liza saw me tuesday and asked about the walk, and about our fundraising. I told her it was all wonderful and we'd raised $2,495 - just $5 short of our goal. she opened her bag and handed me $5. (thank you again, liza!) which means....
(remember we transferred $1,000 to my account just before the walk)

YES, we reached the $2,500.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

truly, our friends and family are the BEST!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 things I (would like to) do daily.

from my journal, entry dated 1-15-07
...inspired by carole's topic this week to re-visit a journal entry from way back in 2007 - january 15, 2007, to be specific. I'd just started journaling and scrapbooking and reading blogs (mostly about journaling and scrapbooking :-) and everything was an inspiration. this day was a list of 10 things I wanted to do every day (inspired by this blog). and every so often in my journal, I'd document how I'd done those 10 things that day. three of those 10 have really stuck with me:
learn something new.
tell marc, katie & sara that I love them.
wear mascara and lip gloss (I'm passing this one on).
...but the others I didn't even remember. I think it's time for a new list!

10 things I would like to do daily - the september 2011 version:

1. learn something new.

2. tell marc, katie & sara that I love them.

3. wear mascara and lip gloss and earrings.

4. laugh out loud (from my last list).

5. take holly for a walk; let her smell the leaves for a minute a two without getting impatient.

6. blog or journal.

7. read something just for fun (also from my last list).

8. take a picture (I'm going to start another 365 project very soon).

9. knit.

10. have a real conversation with a friend - in person, phone, skype all count. email or text message does not.

that's it - what do you want to be sure to do each day?

thank you, carole, for the inspiration! if you'd like to play along with the "real" ten on tuesday, here's the link!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

did the 2.

...yes we did! two days. thirty miles. the logo on the back of this year's shirt is very cool. it reads "did the 2". I didn't catch that pink "i" the first time I read it and I love that it's so subtle. this event is certainly a group effort. the staff and the volunteers work so hard to make it "easy" to walk those 30 miles. but when it comes down to it, walking 30 miles in 2 days is really personal.

I am so proud of myself and my sister karen for doing it again. her 6th walk and my 5th. I think the walks get easier, but we get older...it sort of balances out?! (although I'll bet karen would say the walk itself was a lot easier when she was six years younger - I told a few people this year that she is now the age I was when I did my first walk...and I think she's a bit more sympathetic to my complaints about how much it hurts!)

here are a few of my favorite photos from the weekend - you get a good taste of what we saw, how hard we walked, and how much fun we had.
you can see all the photos here
1. the finish line, 2. sunday b'rest stop 3, 3. atlanta, 4. room with a view, 5. saturday mile 20, 6. we're walking for mom, 7. oakland cemetary, 8. old and new, 9. a capitol reflection, 10. you go girls, 11. congrats from the fox, 12. saturday b'rest stop 1, 13. karen & mary

this event has become a highlight of my year...and none of it would be possible without the generous support from our friends and family.


yes, we came within $5 of our goal - $2,495!!! that's amazing! we are so grateful for your contributions and your support. we felt you lifting us up...especially during those last few miles yesterday and this morning, when putting on our shoes and socks to go out again seemed so hard. THANK YOU!!

we've both signed up for next year. it will be the 10th anniversary of the walk - and I'm proud to think we've been part of it for more than half those years.

again, to everyone who supported us - thank you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

hello fall.

...I'm so glad you're finally here! summer definitely overstayed his welcome and your arrival is truly a breath of fresh and cooler air.

I have big plans for us. many walks in the park with holly. we only did one lap today, but she kept up  and even pulled me a few times (not just to chase the squirrels!). a successful 2-day walk with my sister. fig pizza. cookies. wine tasting. birthday celebrations. an anniversary. thanksgiving with the whole family. better photos.

and of course, knitting.

so please, settle in and make yourself comfortable. we're going to have a great time!

love, mary

Thursday, September 22, 2011

do over.

nantucket vest...in process
...this is really not the post I'd planned for today. I'd intended some sort of update on my knitting progress (since it's been three weeks - yikes - really? three weeks?? since my last one), perhaps combined with a few more thoughts on unrealistic deadlines. that was the plan I had yesterday morning.

I finished the silver crocus - blocked and drying at 8:30 a.m. - and then set off for class. with only my nantucket vest to knit. only that, you might ask? yep, long story short, the project that I thought I would push is now the #1 project I want to finish - so we can start another KAL for the holidays AND so I can feel a little bit better about starting another sweater (which I've committed to my classes next week). and if I really want to finish something, the best thing to do is knit it. really, that's probably the only thing to do!

so I was happily knitting along - thrilled to be on the first eyelet row - when I noticed it. a twist. nah, I'm sure I'm mistaken, it's not twisted. it can't be twisted. I checked it! I knitted a bit more. I checked again. it's twisted. aaarrrggghhhh.

I didn't stop to take a photo, I just ripped. and then thought really hard about casting back on again. really at this point, maybe I should just abandon the project. but kathie and penny talked me into starting again. they said - and I do agree - I'll love the finished piece, it'll be great for fall, it's fun to knit and

...it was the only knitting I had with me.

so I claimed the do over. 306 stitches (double counted), joined in the round, being careful not to twist. I think I've checked it at least 30 times in the 20-ish rounds I've knit since then. good news - it's not twisted. the photo proves it! and now 36 hours later...I'm right back where I was yesterday morning - except for the twist of course!

...and two good things have resulted:
  • first, my students loved to see that "even mary" makes mistakes; I countered with "I'm not sure about something that you can work at for 30 years and still not master?"; they responded "nope, still makes me feel good" (I do have to say, they were very sympathetic...and only smiled a little)
  • second, I have recommitted to the project - and to finishing it before october. (I think it's a realistic goal :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a walk in the park.

...that I love hembree park is no secret, but I was surprised I hadn't posted about seeing the change in seasons there since last summer. note to self - the park deserves four seasonal posts each year!

so it's a bit of serendipity that holly and I took a walk there yesterday afternoon and captured a bit of early fall, 2011. I usually teach class on monday evenings and these past few months it's been hotter than hot; even if I had the time for a walk, I'd rather be indoors. but yesterday, it seemed like fall. the morning was actually cloudy and a bit chilly, but by 4:30 the sky had cleared to a bright blue, there was a slight breeze and it was about 72 degrees. (when I go to heaven, that's what I imagine the weather will be like...unless I've just finished an alpaca sweater and then it will be about 32 degrees...I digress...)

I had my camera. holly had the breeze. we walked. a man strolled by while holly was checking out the leaves around a tree trunk. he said "this is going to be a long walk..." I said "yep!" *SMILE!* because really, what better way to spend an hour!

and - as always! - I was amazed by what I saw. I spend at least a few hours in this park every week. I hope one day to be such a great noticer that I'm not surprised when I slow down and look...or maybe I don't. (and for the record, I had noticed the beautyberries and the pears and the leaves before the walk!)

here's what we saw - the soundtrack is leaves rustling in that light breeze, the crack of metal baseball bats against balls and the occasional yell.

early fall in the park
the uphill path, looking up... this is my favorite direction to run, but I love to walk it downhill
early fall in the park
the sole mystery sighting... the outer covering resembled raspberries last week - cleary, they're not!
early fall in the park
sap on birch tree (confirming that amber is one of my favorite stones)
early fall in the park
beautyberry - I always thought this was a fall show, but wikipedia says no, it's actually summer...which explains why we saw so much of it in rosemary beach!
early fall in the park
the best color we saw
early fall in the park
the pears... looking good despite the drought and the heat
early fall in the park
pecans (really, we have pecans?!)
early fall in the park
and acorns - I see them in abundance on the ground, but not usually on the tree
early fall in the park
the last photo I took...a fitting end to our early fall walk.

Monday, September 19, 2011

feel beautiful.

...I bought new jeans on saturday. I left the house in a pair of jeans that were uncomfortably tight, thinking if I had time, I'd stop and buy some that fit. and wear them out of the store. luck was with me. I had a few minutes and jeans were on sale at white house black market and ann taylor. I bought four pair (yikes!!) and walked out of ann taylor wearing new jeans. that fit...whew!!

but it was the bag from white house black market that caught my eye today (when I finally put away my saturday purchases). on both ends it says "feel beautiful". I love that. because beautiful really is as much about - and maybe even more? - how you feel than how you look.

so I cut up the bag, pasted it in my journal and thought about ways to feel beautiful.

1. SMILE! it brightens my face and my eyes...and it's contagious.

2. wear clothes that fit. even better if they flatter (I am a huge fan of what not to wear :-) but fit is key. too tight = uncomfortable and too loose = really, let's tell our best story!

3. mascara and lip gloss. and lately, a pale pink manicure.

4. "high" heels. in quotation marks because for me, high is about 2, maybe 2-1/2 inches! but something about that little bit of extra height, a little bit up on my toes...it feels beautiful.

5. tell someone else they're beautiful. brighten their day and bring a smile to their face. it reflects back.

6. give yourself a bouquet of flowers.

7. daydream.

8. watch a chick flick.

9. work out. sweat. feel strong!

10. get a dog. mine makes me feel like I've hung the moon. even when I'm in my pj's and haven't brushed my teeth!

what makes you feel beautiful?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

make a wish.

...celebrating birthdays is maybe the best kind of party I can think of. seriously. (and typing this, I wish I had a birthday tag in addition to celebrate - ok, done!) a wedding is also super-special but most of us hope for just one of those...and the celebration can be fleeting (or in this case a very long time ago!). but a birthday. it comes around once a year. God willing.

and we get those milestone suggestions for the decades. I count myself among the fortunate that I have celebrated milestone birthdays with my friends and family for ages 30 (pre-blog!), 40, 50, 60 (ditto), 70 and 80. I've also enjoyed many many "off-milestone" celebrations (including the latest for holly)  and it makes me think I just like birthdays. it's true. I do.

my friend Pat celebrated a birthday earlier this month and we gathered today to wish her well.

with plenty of cake and candles and friends (to sing happy birthday...or tell stories about who dated whom way back when...just sayin', it was all good!)

a surprise skype visit with karen who just move to shanghai.

make a wish, Pat. I hope it comes true!

Friday, September 16, 2011

focus friday. choose a battle.

...for september, ali's prompt is about taking action. choosing a battle to fight and one to surrender.

I've been thinking for months about my blog and about how it fits into what matters to me. I realized when I did  june's exercise that my blog was about connecting, and about telling my story. and I'd like to do it better. so my battle to fight is about my blog. about making sure it tells my story - complete with photos! - the best way I can. I'd like to post better photos. I'd like to write better (most days I'd like to get back to proper grammar and punctuation and some days I even think about capitalization :-) I'd like to learn more about html.

the first step I'm going to take is to find - and sign-up for - an online class about photography, or blogging, or writing. the september handout included a story by andrea scher, who just happens to run a six-week photography class. the next session starts monday. I'm going to start by checking that out.

the battle to surrender was harder. my first thoughts went to knitting. not finishing those hibernating projects perhaps? or not working to reduce my stash? or letting myself go crazy starting whatever I wanted? yeah, no. that's too much the opposite of focus!

instead, I'm going to surrender the self-imposed - often completely unrealistic - deadlines I set for finishing my projects. those unrealistic deadlines have started to detract from my enjoyment of knitting. I do still need to get the samples for my lace shawl classes done in advance. and I do still intend to give finished objects as birthday and christmas gifts. but that's it. that's a matter of planning ahead, not about having unrealistic expectations or losing sleep the two weeks before christmas because it really does take many hours to knit a sweater or feeling guilty because I spent my knitting time on wednesday working on the sweater I won't likely wear til november when I have two sweaters on the needles that I could wear now.

funny, I have a feeling the surrender is going to be harder than the fight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

beach trip 2011.

...a picture's worth a thousand words, and the 29 I kept from this trip tell most of the story.

four sunsets, all beautiful. and really one of my favorite parts of our trip. we went to the beach for three, packing just a bottle of wine, our cameras and a blanket (and remarked several times how much easier a beach trip is without small children!)

the first night was the only one with clouds.
first sunset

and I thought those were the prettiest until this year. truly, the ones that started from a clear blue sky were stunning.
the sunset

holly had a great time "off-leash" - she loved running around in the sand, chasing after the little seagulls...but made sure she didn't get her feet wet. and she didn't seem to mind getting sand in her whiskers (and surely in her mouth?!)

but she also loved to walk along the water. these two photos (thank you katie!) are favorites.
from katie's camera

from katie's camera

we enjoyed one sunset from our balcony - four stories above the street. the sunset really shows off the unique architecture of rosemary beach.
rooftop sunset

and we ate (and drank - especially loved katie's gin cocktails with fresh herbs and club soda and lydia's popsicles and wine...always a favorite and even more fun now that katie is learning about - and loving!! - it too!).
beach lunch

and went for morning walks (karen & lydia) and runs (mary & katie). I love the architecture in alys beach - thank you instagram!
alys beach

the photos don't tell how much we knitted and read (and then read and knitted...those photos just aren't that interesting!).

mostly, though, it was about relaxing, enjoying the views and the company.
our last sunset

it was perfect.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a few more days.

...I should be used to feeling this way after a week "off" to play with katie and enjoy a very relaxing long weekend at the beach. but it hit me hard this morning how behind I feel. if you've seen my desk, you know a week-plus pile of bills and other mail sitting beside a disorganized pile of knitting (and now needlepoint, too :-) bags is just not like me.

before I retired, I loved taking a day off for no other reason than to "play"; those days were always productive and I went back to work re-energized. funny, now that I play everyday, it's just not the same. so while I'll be back teaching tomorrow, I've decided to take a few more days before settling back into my normal routine next week.

stay tuned. I have big plans:
  • sort through, edit, upload and print photos (which are living on all three of my cameras right now);
  • rejuvenate my blog (and dress it for fall - that's for you, sara!);
  • finish my one little word prompt for september;
  • make more knitting progress, update ravelry and organize that pile of bags;
  • finish cutting for stone (oh my I love this book...and I'm sorry I waited so long to read it - thank you katie for the push!);
  • catch up on two bible studies (both groups are meeting next week and I have not even started the material);
  • sort through all that paperwork;
  • enjoy the early morning cooler temperatures (we're into the 60's - woo hoo!) with a daily run or walk; and
  • make sure marc leaves for china with all the clean clothes he needs :-)
truly, the only thing I'm not doing this week that I had originally planned to do is clean the house. and maybe right now, that's really all the vacation I need!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

it begins.

...beach trip 2011 is officially underway. we think it's an auspicious beginning that the photos advertising the apartment we're renting didn't do it justice. this is the view from our front balcony.
our view

karen and katie are making the grocery run (girls, we owe you big!!) while lydia and I are unpacking and settling in. and holly is making herself at home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10 sweaters to knit.

...Carole's prompt for this week - "10 things you want to knit this fall/winter" arrived (promptly!) in my inbox at 11:00 am yesterday. and I'm posting this at nearly 9:00 pm today because it's taken me 36 hours to narrow down the list! This morning I decided to include only sweaters. and then I spent the rest of the time deciding which ones would make the cut.
yep, only two sweaters in my ravelry queue today!
Ravelry has a terrific queue function, but I've found that using it for long-term planning (wow, I'm not sure that January - five months from now! - should be long-term planning...but for my knitting, it is!) is useless. Because there are so many patterns coming out so fast...and I really want to stay abreast of my seamless sweater students.... long-term planning leads to hibernating projects.

So, deciding which ten sweaters I'd knit next was a challenge. The first two are started so they're a done deal. and #4 is a promised gift (#6 in my queue above), so it stays...and I have to say, I'd fight hard to keep all of them on the list. We'll see*!

1. grey goose - started last week; separated for the sleeves today and I'm cautiously optimistic I'll have this one finished before autumn officially begins, but I won't wear it til the temperatures dip below 60 degrees...hence...autumn!
2. autumn breeze - started last week and separated for the sleeves yesterday...but even cautious optimism says this won't be done before october.
3. creature comforts - I've loved the back of this one since it was released, but the pattern photos weren't that flattering; now there are some lovely FO's, along with some very helpful tips and we have some great worsted weight yarns in the shop. this will be the next sweater I cast on!
4. cardiff coat - a birthday gift for Katie (this will be the first sweater I've knit for her and since she lives in LA, might be just the push I need to purchase a dressmakers model!)
5. something from rosy days - I purchased the ebook of patterns. I love her designs. I want to knit one.
6. something from little red in the city - ditto (except I have the actual book too).
7. irish coffee - I queued this one last year and removed it to make room for all the other sweaters I could knit and wear right away. and then a whole bunch of other things came in the way. but I still want to knit this!
8. contented cardi - a recent love. hannah's patterns fit and they're fun to make. and the suggested worsted weight alpaca provides plenty of yarn options.
9. bryn mawr skirt - yeah, a skirt - sort of like a sweater for my bottom half?! I have debbie bliss chunky tweed in a gorgeous brown. skirt from stash. must knit!
10. one more sweater from stash - I have sweater quantities of sheep shop 3, malabrigo chunky, cocoon and malabrigo worsted. right now, I'm thinking the diamond lace pullover, but welcome suggestions!

*Of course, even as I type this post, I'm imagining all the tempting patterns I haven't yet seen...and wondering which one of them will sidetrack this list. and saying now that I hope I have the willpower to stick it out...

Go here if you would like to sign up for the Ten on Tuesday mailing list.

Monday, September 5, 2011

watching the weather.

...we've had our beach trip planned since june, saying we don't care if it rains, because we have plenty of movies to watch, games to play, wine to drink, yarn to knit, and just plain catching up to do. but still, after seeing the devastation from irene last weekend and spending most of today with tornado watches and warnings near home, I am excited beyond belief to see this forecast.
from weather.com, for rosemary beach, florida
we haven't seen temperatures like this in months. girls, we might even need jackets!

Friday, September 2, 2011

focus friday. works in progress.

...I didn't mean to be a tease with wednesday's photo. but it was the first time I ever started four projects in four days, and it seemed like I should document that!

I think my startitis is the likely reaction to knitting fairly monogamously through each of my last four projects (traveling woman, wispy, damson and westknits mystery kal). I'm ready for more variety and ready to have more fun with my knitting. yes, knitting on only one thing at time - as much time as I spend knitting - just isn't much fun!

part of what led to that burst of monogamy is that two of the shawl projects were for classes I'm teaching and I needed to have them finished to share. and I didn't start them soon enough to have the luxury of knitting them over a few weeks - I needed them done. and then I just wanted to get all my WIPs finished so I could start fresh (I'm not going to add anything to my hibernating pile! well....except for the westknits shawl which is is technically now there because after the knitting I have to weave in 34 ends - triple ugh...I'm giving myself a pass on that for now!)

with only two classes this month and a long weekend at the beach, I'm thinking I'll have lots of time to knit. and I want social knitting as well as some more complicated projects (empty nesting leaves me a good bit of alone time where complicated is good!). so here we have it. four new projects. and I'm saying it now. I want to have all of them finished this month.

autumn breeze begins
raveled here
first up - the autumn breeze. I fell in love with the yarn and thought about using it for knitbot's featherweight cardi - but that pattern takes just over the 800 yds in one skein. and I really didn't want to use just a tiny bit of a second skein. the breezy cardigan takes a lot more yarn. and except for it being laceweight yarn on size 5 needles, it's the ultimate social project. miles and miles of straight stockinette knitting! also, I learned that susie from juniper moon will be visiting the shop on october 11. I really want to have this finished to wear for her visit.

nantucket vest begins
raveled here
then the nantucket vest. technically, I wasn't supposed to start this til 2pm today when our shop kal begins. but I couldn't help myself. 300+ stitches to cast-on and join in the round didn't sound like something I wanted to tackle in a group setting! so I did the the cast-on and knit one round just to be sure it wasn't twisted. done. (and if any of these projects slip to october, this will be it - I'm sure the kal will continue at least a few weeks into next month).

silver crocus begins
raveled here
and the requisite* lace shawl - crocus, aka the "silver" of rose beck's silver and gold collection. I've selected these two patterns for my november/december lace shawl class and I hope that starting crocus now will give me ample time to finish both of them before the class begins. (and I'm really looking forward to knitting the sunflower, aka "gold" - it's all-over lace design will be a fun change after the stockinette/garter background shawls I've done recently). I chose the canopy fingering because it's lovely - and comes in 200 yard skeins. the medium size calls for 500 yards and most sock yarn comes in 400 yard skeins (again, I don't want to end up using just a bit of that second skein!) *note that I am loving lace shawls right now - especially those without a center point to point you-know-where...my 2010 sock craze has been replaced by a shawl craze!

grey goose begins
raveled here
and finally vodka gimlet, which I'm calling grey goose (naming projects should be fun, too!) this one wasn't even in my queue until last sunday when half my seamless sweater workshop students said they wanted to knit this in october. (and no one had any interest in knitting the next two sweaters I'd planned...oh well!) we have some great yarns in the shop for this pattern (recommends a wool at 5 st/in) and the rowan creative focus is brand new. I swatched and got 4.75 st/in which works great - I'm knitting the size 32 planning a size 33.5 - isn't it crazy that a 0.25 stitch difference has such an impact on the finished size? yes, it is!

I'm committed to doing a better job tracking my works in progress in ravelry. lately, a few projects have gone from nothing to finished in one update. ooops!

...off to knit.... happy weekend!

[oh and p.s., yes I'm still stitching too - the poppies piece is about half done and I am loving it and already thinking about my next project!]

Thursday, September 1, 2011

stuff.

"I like to write about the stuff going on in my life as long as it's interesting, but otherwise, I'd rather just read."
- Story People

yeah, my life is back to ho-hum empty nesting with a little bit of knitting excitement. reading about someone else's much more interesting life is better! I am really enjoying the fountainhead. and hoping that continues for the next 600 pages til it's finished. because after that I'm looking forward to atlas shrugged. which many of my friends say is awesome!


I need an awesome book - a few of the last several I've started haven't even been interesting enough to finish. maybe I got spoiled by the art of racing in the rain and sarah's key? is it asking too much to want to read the book til the end to find out what happens? what was the last awesome book you read?