Friday, June 30, 2017

Ready, Set.

...wait. But just until tomorrow. The Four Day Sweater KAL - at least for me - starts tomorrow and continues through Tuesday. I've swatched (and woot! I'll be using size 7's!) and planned out my modifications (I'm adding a few rows and a few stitches).

I even did a little "speed swatching" to figure out how much time I'll be knitting over the next four days. I'm going to use about 775 yards of yarn.

Sleeves in the round on double points is slow going.  This swatch was six yards on size 4 dpn's.
At that rate, it would take me nearly 22 hours ... or 5-1/2 hours each day. YIKES!

Flat stockinette is a little better. This swatch was six yards on size 5 straights.
This works out to about 16-1/2 hours total ... just over 4 hours a day. I can do that!

The body is on size 7 circulars, sleeves on size 7 dpn's and ribbing on size 5's (circulars and dpn's) ... I can only hope that second swatch isn't the one that's lying.

I'll be sharing photos on Instagram. Here's to forward progress only!

Enjoy the long weekend - I'll be back on Wednesday. Hopefully with a finished sweater!

P.S. the bagels were a huge hit!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Career Plans.

high school graduation - June 1979
Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about what you wanted to be when you grew up. How does it compare to what  find yourself doing?

This is a story I've never told here. I'm not sure my kids even know the whole thing! So I'm taking a break from the Mystery Shawl ... and writing a lot more than I usually do!

Growing up, I don't remember ever wanting to be anything other than a Chemical Engineer and a Rambling Wreck ... just like my father. We visited Georgia Tech the summer of 1977 and I was settled; it was the only school I applied to and I was accepted. Classes began in September 1979 and I loved everything about the school (not only because I met Marc before classes even started - he was a year ahead of me). I did well in my classes and had fun! I found Tech challenging, but I also found myself - for the first time in my life - surrounded by others who enjoyed working hard.

My father worked for Texaco his entire career; most of that time was spent in refineries (when he retired, he was managing a refinery in Kansas). In the fall of my sophomore year, I interviewed for a co-op job with Chevron (and remember getting teased about that from home) and spent my winter quarter working in their Richmond, California refinery.

I was a Craft Helper, which meant I rotated through various crafts - machine shop, pipe fitting, maintenance. I wore coveralls, work boots and a hard hat. I spent days chipping black yuck out of a bubble tower. I was 2,500 miles away from everything I loved. I hated it.

and organic chemistry. That was the first (and only?) class I ever dropped.

I changed my plans! Leaving Tech was not an option and I still wanted to graduate in four years. I was probably the first Applied Mathematics graduate with nearly all her technical electives filled with Chemical Engineering classes. I loved my math classes, especially statistics. I also enjoyed teaching; I graded for a professor my junior year and taught freshman calculus recitations my senior year.

I had only vague plans about what I might do with my degree. Marc and I got engaged the December before I graduated and he planned to return to Connecticut to an architecture firm he'd interned for the summer before. I thought I could get a job with an insurance company in Hartford, or maybe teach.

Marc ended up getting a job in Atlanta ... and so did I. A small actuarial consulting firm called Hazlehurst & Associates asked me to interview; I got the job and started in June 1983 (a week after I graduated). I really had no idea what actuaries did, but I knew it involved studying and tests (I was good at that), paid well and I would never have to wear coveralls to work. Turned out it wasn't as much about math as I thought and the studying was on my own time (but required). But there was new legislation taking effect that created 401(k) plans. Hazlehurst had a few clients that were interested in starting plans and they needed help administering them. The timing was great for me - I read a COBOL programming manual on the bus - and joined the new team. It was a great fit ... finally!

Hazlehurst was acquired by Northern Trust in the early 1990's and then sold to Hewitt Associates in 2003 ... I was there for all of that. My career included programming (I also taught myself two more languages to "keep up"), administering and consulting about benefits ... and ultimately managing folks (here in the US and in India) who did those things.

The Hewitt transition was difficult - too much work, too few people, not enough money ... and unhappy clients. I missed out on much of Katie's high school and college and was determined to do things differently with Sara. In September 2009, I announced my retirement and left - on the best of terms - in early 2010.

I did see Sara play tennis ... and move into her own apartment ... in Wisconsin! and I did get to teach knitting ... and work in my LYS. (truly every knitter's dream, right?!)

Then two months ago I retired. for real. (in other words I am no longer getting paid. for anything!)

I'm still adjusting to days on my calendar with no commitments and a much smaller to-do list. I love the flexibility, but I do find myself craving structure. TBD how this whole thing works out.

and whew. long post. but I'm glad I got it all down. and if you read this far, wow! (and thank you!) did anything surprise you?

Of course I'm linking up with Kat and Carole today!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | For Real.

While there has been a decent amount of forward progress this week on both the knitting (Clue 2 of the TTL Mystery done and the body of Tide Chart bound off) and reading fronts (two more books added to my "read" pile), there has been a bit of real unraveling.

First, I frogged Lucy. Maybe I was never really committed to her (quite unlike me, I never added a photo to my Ravelry project page), but when I got to thinking about the upcoming Stillwater KAL, I thought that cardigan - especially in cream cotton - would be a better fit for my wardrobe. Sunday afternoon, I unraveled a sleeve and half a body, re-skeined the yarn, soaked it and hung it up to dry.

This morning, I wound the yarn, printed the pattern and thought about swatching :-)

On the reading front, the unraveling came after I finished The Heart Goes Last (for the Speculative Fiction square). It was a disappointment and I needed something good to get back on track. The Classic square seemed like a good bet. I tried Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights. ugh, ugh and ugh. I visited my bookshelves and considered re-reading Heidi, Little Women or anything by Jane Austen. But I already have a Re-read square ... and mostly, I'm sure there are plenty of classics I still need to discover.

Searching around on Goodreads, it appeared I'd never read Howard's End. A quick visit to LibriVox turned up a recording by my favorite narrator (Elizabeth Klett). The first couple of chapters seemed really familiar (I remembered the concert scene with the lost umbrella), but after that, it was all new. And most enjoyable. I was hoping - foolishly I know - for a happy ending. Forster writes manners like Austen, but his social commentary - and plotting - is much more like Wharton.

After all that, here's what my Bingo shelf looked like early this morning
The first two rows (12 books!) are finished. I'm still re-thinking and shuffling those bottom two rows. I haven't committed to the free square and there is more unraveling to come. I just downloaded Hillbilly Elegy ($4.99 on Kindle today) and think that will be a nice fit for Set in a place you'd like to know more about. ...in any event, it might be a while before I get another Bingo!

Linking up with Kat and looking forward to reading about forward progress!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Totally Random.

Yep, I've got nothing today but a little extra time and a cute photo of my dog.

I left my comfy perch at the kitchen counter for just a minute and when I came back, Holly wasn't in her bed. I looked in the normal places like the rug by the front door, or under my desk, or in the living room, but no Holly. ...and then there she is

tucked into a space that only she could fit into. I knelt down and asked her to smile. Forward ears and bright eyes is her way of smiling, I think.

I'm now back at the counter and she's now back in her bed. All is again right in our little world.

Here are some other random thoughts for today:

1. My Instagram feed is full of people on fabulous vacations ... nothing like a bit of vicarious beach, ocean, Scottish highlands, delicious food and fun cocktails.

2. Marc emailed me a recipe for sweet potato bagels. I proceeded to Amazon and ordered a spiralizer and a bagel mold. They're arriving tomorrow and I plan to surprise him with sweet potato bagels for dinner.

3. I hope he emailed me the recipe because he thought it looked good.

4. I have nine more rounds of 1x1 ribbing before I bind off the body of my Tide Chart sweater. 1x1 ribbing on 3mm needles is really slow.

5. We are enjoying a most pleasant break from the rain. It was 61 degrees (with 95% humidity - it is Georgia in June) on today's early morning walk.

6. I am completely in awe of Joji's Inspiration for the Starting Point Shawl. I did not join the MKAL - and I'm still not sure I'd want to knit a 5-color shawl with 2,000 yards of fingering weight yarn, but I cannot stop thinking about it. (or pulling up the photos on my phone to show everyone else.)

7. I've been blogging for almost 10-1/2 years. This will be my 2003rd post. I totally meant to celebrate that 2000th post (last Thursday). and to reiterate my thanks to all of you for visiting and being part of it.

8. I am grateful every single day for the wonderful community we've built here.

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekending | Bright Spots.

We've had a really wet June.  Not that I'm complaining - it's wonderful to see all the green and our water and power bills are more like spring than summer - but it does get a little dreary. My 100 day project has really helped keep me focused on the bright spots!

Saturday was a day full of friends and family. Lauren and I enjoyed a not-too-wet walk in the park. Then Diane and I had a nice long catchup over FaceTime. Katie and Rob hosted a family gathering in the afternoon - a wonderful opportunity to see my favorite boys

and try out a new-to-me recipe for green goddess dip (I loosely used this one and will definitely be making it again) with the vegetable plate. Katie made the cheese plate and there were also chicken wraps and wings (my family makes great snacks!)

Yesterday morning it wasn't raining so I took Holly for a long walk to the lake. I almost never take her that far because I end up having to carry her for most of it. But all the rain has played havoc with her regular schedule and we both needed the exercise. This view is just before we get to the lake - the roses and hydrangeas are a little waterlogged 😉

By late afternoon, the sun was peeking out ... perfect timing for a shadow selfie (and a beer)!

What bright spot(s) did you find this weekend?

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | A Morning in the Garden.

The Botanical Gardens feature prominently in my summer bucket list - not only to practice with my camera* but also to explore and play with Charlie. Tuesday morning, we did all of that! Katie took the day off, so we went with both boys (and a whole trunkful of gear :-)

There are morning programs in the newly opened Children's Garden every day. Tuesday is Garden Playtime with "hands-on learning and sensory stations."  There were at least a half dozen stations with real bugs, play dough, and hidden "bugs" for the children to find.







We thought Charlie would enjoy the Splash Pad, but I think it was his least fun activity of the entire morning!
iPhone photos - I didn't want to get my camera wet
His favorite activity just might've been the Family Restroom. He and his mom visited the Yellow Door and the Green Door ... and that's when I had little Sam and my finding light moment.

The main garden features The Curious Garden. It is indeed curious. and also very fun.







It was a very cloudy morning; the city skyline was barely visible. I certainly didn't have to worry about any sun flares! 




And we didn't have to worry about seeing everything on this one visit.  I'm already planning my next morning with Charlie and an evening with his mama and a few girlfriends for Cocktails in the Garden

Yummm, when I snagged that Cocktails link I saw those drinks - I'm definitely a gin girl, but I might just have to give vodka a try this weekend. That White Rose Kennedy looks awfully tempting!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ... and a few fulfilled temptations!

*I had the 24mm lens (with no filters) on my camera for the entire visit. It is a wonderfully lightweight lens for being out and about. 







Thursday, June 22, 2017

Think Write Thursday | My Favorite Accessories.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about our three favorite things to wear.

The first one came to me in a second. Of course it's pearls. They've been my signature necklace for years. I have strands that belonged to my grandmothers and - thanks to Marc's many trips to Asia - I also have a wide variety of colors and sizes, plus bracelets and earrings. 

The second two I wasn't so sure about ... maybe lip gloss and mascara? my wedding ring? my Apple Watch?

But as I was taking the photo to share with this post, I saw it quite clearly.

Pearls ... with a hand knit and a smile.

Linking up with Carole and Kat today ... and looking forward to reading about what you love to wear!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | A Spoiler and a Bingo!

Posting this mid-afternoon because until about an hour ago, all I had to share on the knitting front was a lot of stockinette. But after a few hours at the kitchen counter (listening to The Heart Goes Last), I have this
on Ravelry here
and only three more repeats of that mosaic left before I'm ready for clue 2 tomorrow. I'm calling this project "Never Say Never":
"I was explaining to my sister that I wasn’t going to participate in this year’s MKAL because I didn’t really like knitting (or wearing) two colored shawls unless they were Georgia Tech’s gameday colors. As soon as those words were out of my mouth, I remembered that I had white & gold to knit myself a new gameday piece for the fall. Never say never!"
This is my fourth MKAL with Kirsten and the first time I'm actually using more than one color.

Earlier this morning, I also finished another book and woot! I have a Bingo!
That book was Jimmy Carter's latest memoir, A Full Life. I completely enjoyed it and took a little more time than usual with my review on Goodreads:

A Full Life: Reflections at NinetyA Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Memoir of a US political figure.

I would certainly give five stars to the person that Carter is - his optimism, intelligence, integrity and basic decency are sadly lacking from today's political landscape. I was too young to vote for him (I missed the 1980 election by a few weeks), or to know much first hand about the issues he faced. And I was surprised (and also saddened, given today's politics) by how bipartisan Washington was back then. Carter had a bold agenda and managed to accomplish much of it. The book was a little choppy and I debated about four vs five stars, but ultimately decided it really doesn't matter. So - five stars!

I listened to him narrate about 80% of the book and read along as well. I really enjoyed listening to him tell his story, but think I'd recommend the book, because it includes photographs and paintings (by him!) that add a lot to the material.

Three quotations sum up nicely what I loved about the book - and the man:

From the Introduction, talking about his four years as President:
I look back on those four years with peace and satisfaction, knowing that I did my best and had some notable accomplishments. Vice President Mondale summarized our administration by saying, "We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace." I would add, "We championed human rights."
Sad, isn't it - no President since then could say that.

From his 1970 inaugural address as Georgia's governor:
and I say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over. No poor, rural, weak, or black person should ever again have to bear the additional burden of being deprived of the opportunity of an education, a job, or simple justice.
And finally, from a section titled "A Future America", on the second to last page:
When people in other nations face a challenge or a problem, it would be good to have them look to Washington for assistance or as a sterling example.

Our government should be known to be opposed to war, dedicated to the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, and, whenever possible, eager to accomplish this goal. We should be seen as the unswerving champions of human rights, both among our own citizens and within the global community. America should be the focal point around which other nations can rally against threats to the quality of our common environment. We should be willing to lead by example in sharing our great wealth with those in need. Our own society should provide equal opportunity for all citizens and assure that they are provided the basic necessities of life.
Joining in with Kat and crew today (and looking forward to seeing what y'all are knitting and reading this week)!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In Celebration of Summer.

from this morning's (almost dark) early morning walk
While I Am Writing a Poem to Celebrate Summer, the Meadowlark Begins to Sing 
Sixty-seven years, oh Lord, to look at the clouds,
the trees in deep, moist summer,  
daisies and morning glories
opening every morning 
their small, ecstatic faces -
Or maybe I should just say 
how I wish I had a voice
like the meadowlark's,  
sweet, clear, and reliably
slurring all day long  
from the fencepost, or the long grass
where it lives  
in a tiny but adequate grass hut
beside the mullein and the everlasting,  
the faint-pink roses
that have never been improved, but come to bud  
then open like little soft sighs
under the meadowlark's whistle, its breath-praise,

its thrill-song, its anthem, its thanks, its
alleluia. Alleluia, oh Lord.

~Mary Oliver
Hope your longest day of the year is a good one!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weekending.


It was a pretty typical weekend for us. Marc played golf. I knitted and read and took a few walks. We made Mexican for dinner Saturday night and, in honor of Father's Day, cooked sausages last night and watched a LOT of golf (did you know that the US Open is always played on Father's Day weekend? yep, me neither until this year!)

Lydia and I got together for a little wine and knitting Saturday afternoon - it was great fun to have some one on one time. Of course we talked a lot about our Alaska plans and we decided we're going to participate in Marie Greene's crazy knit-along to knit Stillwater in four days. We both anticipate a bit of free time over the 4th of July weekend, so we're going to start July 1 and hopefully finish up on the 4th. It looks like fun right? We'd love to have more of y'all join us!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and your week is off to a great start!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | A Three-fer.

My camera saw a lot more action this week. First, I took it - along with my new 24mm lens and a circular polarizer filter - to the library on Tuesday.  Our library is next to City Hall, which has a lovely little park with walking trails. I'm delighted with how much landscape fits into the frame

and the clarity of the water.

I also love the little park!

On Wednesday, it came with me to Katie's (this time with the 50mm lens and no filter). I was happy to hand the camera to Katie. and even happier to find these three images.



And this afternoon, I finally took some "modeled" shots of the finished test knit (Ravelry details here).


I had planned to share this with y'all last Friday (I finished and blocked the piece on Tuesday and bought the buttons Thursday), but I didn't get the urge to attach all 33 buttons until Sunday morning.

Rather than sewing them on, I used 4" pieces of the linen tied into square knots and trimmed. It took about an hour.


Turns out styling the piece is the "tough" part! It's really versatile!



But I've been unable to duplicate the very cool look that Melanie models (maybe she'll include a styling guide in the pattern).

Today was the test knit deadline so we expect the pattern to be published shortly. Highly recommend - it's a very fun piece to knit and wear!

Happy Friday!