Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The prize at the end of the sweater

I promised myself that when I was finished with the sweater that I would buy the Deephaven Cowl pattern I so coveted on Ravelry. With the sweater all sewn up, the ends woven in, I purchased the pattern.  Then came the scavenging for anything worsted in my stash.  My only option was about 3/4 of a skein of Cascade 220 in blue:
Knitted on size 7 circs, I have learned how to knit cables without a cable needle.  It's actually very easy once you learn the concept. I watched a video on youtube; the one with lots of 'splaining that was unnecessary because I can actually visualize something without a tedious play-by-play.

 The look of the cowl is good. I like the cables.  I don't like the curling. It's probably going to take quite a bit of blocking to train that out of the cowl.  Since the pattern calls for something like 500 yards, this is more like a close-fitting cowl than it's original concept.  No matter, I will give it away.  I also think that dark yarns detract from the definition of the pattern.

While knitting up the last of the yarn today, I was watching the Firefly DVD set that my honey gifted me for Christmas.  We cancelled our Netflix and I've been missing my streaming Firefly.. That's River looking at what her brain says is a twig, but in real life is a gun.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Random Monday

Randomly chosen from my family file folder, I give you: My Kayak.  

And my sandals, and a plastic bag and my paddle.  Beached at some small island off the Chippewa River last summer. Dave and I selected a week alone as our 'honeymoon' and we camped out at Brunet Island State park.  We were fortunate to get a campsite with water access, so we put our kayak and canoe in on Monday and took them out on Saturday.  Each morning we'd get up, get coffee and breakfast and head on out. Dave would fish in the canoe and I would explore on my Kayak.

It was like 102 degrees Fahrenheit that week; never got below 80 at night and the only time it was cooler was when it poured on Wednesday. It was best to get out on the water early, beach them at 1 through 5 and go back out after the sun starting going down.

Dave has bad luck with Brunet Island. Both times he's been there they have experienced tornadoes.  The first time with his ex-wife.  They ended up spending hours huddled in the DNR garage waiting out the storm. This time was no exception. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Holidays are Upon Us

We're doing a bit of adjusting to our usual holiday routine.  I'm pretty sure Dave is just as tired of all the driving as I am of all the riding.  We'll be making the trip to the In-Laws' and Daughter in Law next weekend.  So we got to spend Christmas here! YAY!!!!

I did remember a few moments ago that this is supposed to be primarily a knitting blog.  So how about some knitting, right?! Get over the holidays and get to knitting girl!

So let me introduce my Husband Dave in his Christmas Sweater:
A nice wool sweater that can be worn around the house or at work.  The book I knitted it from is the Knitter's Book of Handy Sweater Patterns:
The whole sweater took me about 3 weeks of nightly knitting to complete on size 10 1/2 needles. It's knitted from the bottom up raglan style. The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool in a deep olive color.  Actually it's leftover  yarn from my Gloucester Coat. I'm never going to finish that stupid thing, so I might as well repurpose the yarn. 
The pattern is a drifting rib pattern that is also in the book.  It goes a little like this:

Row 1. Knit
Row 2. K3, p1 - repeat
Row 3. Knit
Row 4. K1, p1 - repeat

After a few dozen rows you can tell what row you're working on.  The trick was to keep the pattern going after attaching the arms, doing decreases and shifting the row start to the center front.  Knitting it went swiftly, and I swear was inspired by God.  I NEVER can bring myself to knit a sweater; I've got 2 of them that are marinating in my stash for years. This one was knocked out in less than a month. 

Well, a Merry Christmas to All, Happy Holidays to my Non-Christian Friends (Yes, I do have a few) and to all others: Keep Warm, Keep Safe, and Keep Knitting! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bah Humbug! - Nah, more like Eh, Whatever...

I'm a confessed hater of Christmas.  No, not the whole gist of the thing: The birth of Jesus.  More like all that this entails in today's world. Christmas takes a tough season for me-winter- and makes it worse squared.

I also love lists so here's my reasons why I don't like Christmas:

  1.  Some dumass 2,000 years ago plopped this holiday in winter to make sure pagans would convert. Yeah, now that they've converted, can we put it back where it's supposed to be?  A friend and I spent a few hours discussing the true date of Jesus' birth.  From the part of the bible that states that 'Shepherds were watching their flocks by night.' makes us believe that it was in early spring. Shepherds usually sleep at night because flocks are good at tending to themselves, but Shepherds need to be constantly vigilant during lambing. That happens in early spring.
  2.  Driving in Wisconsin winters.  Oh yes, we must brave 3' snowdrifts to see family...it's soooo magical being in a van going sideways down the road. Not one of them wants you to miss that! 
  3.  People who are normally just mildly annoying become monsters during this time. They are rude, super-aggressive and mean. It's a ME ME ME ME ME attitude that just wants me to commit homicide. 
  4. And all that aggro is for what? STUFF. People are being mean to each other for CRAP. The other day I saw one of those Kindle Fires. I wanted to see what all the hubbub was. The instant I picked it up, I get this "CAN YOU MOVE YOUR CART?!?!" from some other lady.  Yeah, I said out loud, "Oh fuck it. It's not like I was doing anything anyways." and walked away.  
  5. I take pride in giving my recipients things that would either fill a need or that they would enjoy. People in turn give me crap that I don't either want or need.  I don't wear earrings, nor pajama sets, nor pastel anything. Yet, that's what I get. I'm guessing that no one has really noticed  me sitting on their couches knitting something over the last 10 years. Oh hey, she knits! GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO WITH KNITTING!!!!  This is a hobby that does not require anyone to go secretly into some deviant shop for supplies, WAL-MART sells yarn. 
  6. And all of you who have raised your nose and sniffed at any hand-knitted gift I've given you over the years? Well you can kiss my ass. Like those stupid gift cards are so thoughtful.  Don't try to placate me now by asking for anything more to be knitted, I'm NOT doing it.  Only my immediate family receive those gifts now. 
  7. If I have to hear one more Christmas Song, I am going to barf. They started playing them before Thanksgiving. STOP PLAYING THEM!
  8. The Christmas tree is now sitting in the front room where I normally sit with my laptop.  My nomadic life gets more nomadic and for what? A Tree? I have to find another place to station my laptop for 3 weeks while some tree drops needles in my spot. This morning when I brought in my laptop table to work on, I banged my thigh into the door jamb. That's going to be a nice bruise.  Do I get points for saying "OH Holy Night!" when I banged my leg?
  9. My Sister had 5 kids, I have one.  There was over 20 years of having to give. every. one. of. those. kids. a. present.  Even at the  minimum of 20 bucks that's 100 bucks a year to her 20.  I'm not a rich person, but sometimes people act like I'm rich.  Now they expect me to give their kids' kids a present? I'm sorry, not going to happen. 
  10. Every year for about 10 years we'd do the 'pick names out of the hat' at Thanksgiving to reduce the pressure on each of the kids. We'd add spouses/boyfriends too.  Invariably, my name would be selected by one of my Sister's boyfriends and by the time Christmas rolled around, they would be gone. So...I got no present for like 4 years.  Sure, I had to give someone one, but I never got one back. My mother took pity on me the last year and bought me a portable grill.  I liked that grill. 
After listing these issues, I'm surprised I don't just leave the area for a month and come back after New Years' - which brings up another set of issues...just don't get me started!

People expect others to be just this brimming font of happiness this time of year. I feel for my Hubby, who has a better outlook on this holiday. He has to put up with me.  Most years I can fake a decent holiday cheer to make everyone else happy, but this year...screw it. I know how little people think of me and it's about time I give that feeling back...That's my gift to the world this year. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to succeed in getting off welfare 101

I've been told that I've lost my compassion more than once.  I've no sympathy for those who have struggled, they say. HA! Compassion is something I save for those who actually show some sort of effort in bettering their life.  It's something that has been on my mind for a while now, to let in some light to the darkest part of my adult-hood.  From the time I became pregnant with my son Alex (now 19) to the time he was 4, I was a single Mom on welfare.

In fact, I was homeless when I was pregnant; bunking at my sister's house or my parent's until my Section 8 application was approved. I moved into my apartment the day I came home with Alex. Four years later, I was a graduate with an Associate's Degree in Electro-Mechanical Technology with a $15/hour job.  How did I do it? I had a plan.  Here's the outline:

1. NO drugs or alcohol.  I did not take nor sell drugs.  Very little alcohol passed my lips.  Why? Alcohol and drugs are bad. No getting around it.  Also, drugs or alcohol lead to crime often. I did not need that. I also did not go out and 'party' at all.  It's a distraction and I needed to be focused.

2. NO Men.  Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but for that 5 years...I was 'responsible for my own orgasms.'  I did not have the time, nor willingness to try to vet a new boyfriend. They demand time and my previous experience led me to believe they could not be trusted to have my best interests in hand.

3. NO MORE KIDS.  One is easy enough to handle when in school, but each additional kid would make it exponentially harder to get off welfare.  Which is another reason why #2 was so important.  With no boyfriend to have to deal with, no birth control issues to deal with. I had an adverse reaction to birth control pills and could not take them.  Therefore, my family planning method was abstinence + basal-muco-thermal method of natural family planning.  Hey, it worked!

4. Pick a Career path that has the best payout for study.  My Tech School had a leaflet they gave prospective students.  It had their courses of study listed, with the % of students who were employed after graduation, % of those who entered program who graduated, and how much $$ they made.  The first course was Electrical Distribution - which is linemen.  I can't do that due to my asthma.  So I picked the 2nd most-successful program.  If you're going to put out the $$ for a future job, it should pay, right? Why spend $20,000 to become a child care worker who makes $7/hour?

5. I gave myself 30 days to find a job after graduation to get my 'dream' job. After that, I took what job was available.  I spent a month soldering anti-personnel land-mines for $7.50 an hour.  A month after that, I got the call to that job where I made $15/hour.

The plan worked.  I know it looks pretty organized here on the blog, but I really didn't have a 'set' plan.  I knew what were the barriers to success in my plan and I just avoided those barriers. It was not easy, and I remember staring up at my ceiling in the bedroom one day thinking, "I'm wasting the best sexual years of my life." but it was worth it in the end.

I've been married to a wonderful guy for the last 12 years who loves me and my son.  My studies have helped me gain jobs in the electrical field for over 10 years and I made some tall cash. Self-sacrifice is not bad, but it is hard.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers....

 It's getting more and more difficult to visit with my In-Laws' mostly due to their unwillingness enforce the rules we all agreed upon. Apparently my Brother-In-Law feels that he is above such a rule.  He needs to abide by the same rules that the rest of the family abides by: The one that states that NO POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS ALLOWED!
He took a very decent visit with my Mom and Dad-In-Law and turned it ugly by opening his big, fat,  mouth. When my Husband responded to his instigations, he just sat there with that self-depreciating smugness that I wanted to punch off.

Yeah, I'm still ticked off about that and it's been 2 days.  I'm sick of rightfully holding my tongue but having to put up with someone elses' incoherent ramblings. I don't care which side of the political spectrum you're on. When the rule was made, it was for a very good reason.

What makes the situation all that more telling is that we were in church at the time, enjoying a potluck luncheon. That luncheon was after the service where the following verses were said-out loud:

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
- Matthew 25: 40-41

It seems as though my Brother In Law did not follow the words spoken to him not even 30 minutes before.