Sunday, December 31, 2006

To mark the passing...

... of another year begs the question of what happened this year? Lots of stuff. Good and bad, but that happens every year, doesn't it?

Let's see. This year will remain in my memory as I lost my Dad back in July. I never thought I'd come to that day. Yeah, yeah, we all know it happens eventually, but isn't that supposed to happen to other people? Well, I can now say that I've got an angel on my shoulder because my Dad surely was an angel in life to put up with the likes of me...

My oldest daughter began the big college search and I'd secretly like to kill her because she has yet to begin the scholarship search, but that's going to be her problem. I've told her since she was six years old that I paid my own student loans and, collectively, we paid her father's. No way in hell am I going to pay hers. She's in for a rude awakening when she fails to come up with the financial means to go to the university of her choice. Sure, her grades are excellent and she's an educational institution's best possible candidate (she does community service, straight A's and plays sports, all kinds of activity clubs, etc), but she's still going to need financial aid to "fill the gap" of what she can afford.

Through no choice of my own, my job was changed. I used to work the main gate at the university, but they moved me into Siberia. So it's me and about 140 students off-campus where we smile at each other and wonder what we did to deserve this... Okay, I used to kid my bosses that my ultimate goal was to be paid to stay home and they've gotten me one mile closer to just sitting at home all day, but does that mean it will take another seven years to reach my goal?

I started a business. Introducing people to the concept of "Sip Twice, Eat & Profit". If you can drink twice a day and eat once, you can make money. People look at you like you're nuts, but it really does work. I'm sipping and eating and, maybe not making much right now, but I'm getting paid to do it. I hope this coming year will see the explosive growth that everyone swears is coming. Even if it doesn't, who can complain when they're getting paid about $150 a month to do stuff you're going to do anyway.

Which leads into what I hope to happen in the new year...

I hope to see growth in the business. I hope people are calling me and asking me how they can earn $150 a month to do nothing more than drink twice a day and eat once. My ultimate goal is to make enough that I can tell Siberia to take a hike. I hope to hand my boss a note that states, "Due to a restructuring of my life, I find you no longer serve a purpose in my day planner. Here's a crayon. (Pink should do it. ) Color me gone."

I hope to spin more and do colorwork in my knitting this year. No, not stripes. Try my hand at some fair isle work. I'm not sure of a sweater, but how about a nice big comfy and warm shawl for next winter? That would be wonderful, especially if it turns out nice.

I hope to get my daughter into the college of her choice rather than the one she's stuck with because she didn't do more for scholarships. But I have no control over that. That baby is in her playground...

I hope to work by choice and not by necessity. Boy, wouldn't that be a true dream?

I hope to not slobber and drool like a baby at my daughter's graduation. How in heck did she ever get old enough to graduate from high school!?!?!?! What happened to the ever-smiling baby with the belly laugh that was so infectious you couldn't help but join in?

I hope to bank lots and earn bonuses enough to take a real vacation.

I hope everyone stays healthy and happy and our remaining months with Shelby are filled with love and respect and not stress and strife.

I wish everyone the absolute best for the coming year and hope all your dreams are fulfilled. I'm still working on mine, but I hope to achieve a few along the way. Wouldn't it be sweet to look back next year and see that at least a couple have come true?

As the Beach Boys have been singing for 40 years, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Good friends, good conversation....

Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Well, before I even get to that, I promised a lot of people a picture of Mom's shawl. Yup, that's what I made her. Really a stole because it's rectangular, but that's semantics, isn't it?

Yeah, I'd definitely prefer a better pic of me, but that's the shawl. Mom was wondering what color she should make her poncho and scarf and stuff like that. Hmm... let's see. She wears a lot of blue, but she really loves red, etc. I figure there's no worry with this baby. It's got them all...

One of the students who live in the complex where I work did this for me. Thanks, Mary!!!! I couldn't have done it without you!

Youngest daughter got a gorgeous camera as her big present and I know she took a ton of pics yesterday. I'll see if I can sort through and get some of the various socks and scarves I made for presents. The girls haven't told me yet if their socks are even the right size, but I hope they try them on today. I'd like to know because it's time to shop for some more yarn. Lisa Souza, love ya babe, but it's time to get some more Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn. And I've been dying to get some Gypsy Girl yarns. ( In fact, Mom passed a skein of Tainted Love over to me. The colors weren't coming out right in the socks she'd started, so she gave it to me. I use 12 sts less in my socks and some colors just work better at different st counts.

I ought to know that one. Shelby's socks? Boy, what a mess. First, I was making them in Lisa Souza's Gendarme. They were absolutely gorgeous, but I have to totally rework my st count because the yarn is more a lace weight than a fingering weight. So I ripped that out and tried Shelby's in Cherry Tree Hill's Rose Garden. Wouldn't you figure that simply adding 4 sts to the pattern made the green section lump all together in one area? Yup, would have ended up with a very lopsided and mishmashed green stripe down the back of her leg. So I finally called Mom and she had Gypsy Girl's Watermelon Tourmaline. Whew! They came out simply gorgeous! (Hoping youngest daughter got pics of those. They really are fabulous!)

So what did I do with the Gendarme? I doubled it up and made it into a scarf for my friend, Linda. I did the quick and easy scarf design from Knit Picks where you YO every stitch in every 3rd row and then drop the YO when you knit the 4th row to make "holes". Then get a ribbon (I used 7/8" ribbon in a gorgeous peach) and thread it through the "holes". It came out very, very pretty.

So what's on the fire for today? Well, I really should trot myself off to the gym and start working off that lucious potato salad and ham from yesterday, but I think it's too risky. With the bed head on top of my noggin, I'll definitely be scaring small children and animals. So I might skip that one and get back on schedule tomorrow. More spinning today. I got the spinning stool to go with my wonderful Kromski Prelude wheel, so some more spinning is definitely in order. Best of all will be tonight. Concert in Hartford at 8PM. Trans-Siberian Orchestra to round out the holidays with an evening of heavy metal Christmas music. This is Mark's first time seeing them and I'm making him go. (He was nice and offered his ticket to Linda if she wanted it. He's not getting out that easy... ) For all his trepidations, I know he'll love the show.

So enjoy your after Christmas bonanza and drop a line to let me know what you got! I'm going to see if I can keep the girls out of the mall for one more day. Today is almost as bad as Black Friday with the madness. Yeah, I've got money burning a hole in my pocket also, but I'd rather miss the crowds if possible. (It's never entirely possible, which is why I prefer to shop online, but that's a whole 'nother post. )

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Almost done!

Two days and I'm almost done with everything that needs to be done. All the presents are made or bought, wrapped and waiting to be put under the tree. The ham is in the fridge and waiting to be stuffed in the oven. The veggie dish is staying cool. Tomorrow is the day to make some potato salad to go with the ham (buffet means food that doesn't mind being cool, so I do salads as opposed to hot stuff).

And I bought some eggs the other day because the girls were making cookies and I really thought we only had like three left. So I bought a couple dozen only to find out we already had a couple dozen. What to do? Tomorrow I hard-boil a couple dozen and make up the centers for deviled eggs. I won't stuff them until Christmas morning (once I get the ham out and make room for a tray... Yikes! ).

Dee is ready to make up her "sh!t dip", which is a Mexican-like dip for tortilla chips and goes over wonderful. In fact, her Spanish class remembered it from last year and requested it this year for their class party. And, because of this, we have chips and lots of them.

Desserts? We've got desserts. Shelby made some fabulous chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and (all of our favorite) the chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. Add a mouth-watering red velvet cake and a strawberry-topped cheesecake. And I might just whip up one of my grandmother's chocolate cake... er, just in case... I haven't quite decided on that one yet because I can attempt some Butter S cookies or some terrific sugar cookies. I got the recipe from Kathryn Dallimore, one of the students from the university. She's so sweet, she brought me a little tin of cookies last year and I have to say that her cookies were the best sugar cookie I've ever tasted. I guess I'll decide once I get moving in the morning.

Shelby's out at the movies. Her boyfriend is leaving to spend the holidays in Virginia tomorrow, so she's out trading gifts with him. (That and having a chat that he has to STOP saying nasty things to and about Dee. If he doesn't, he won't live to see Christmas. Trust me and I have the firepower to prove it... LOL!) Anyway, she still has several miles to go to finish her Christmas projects and I'm kind of torn. I could help her out by sewing up some stuff while she's out or I could let her do it herself, but then she won't clean. Part of me says "sew now and watch her clean later"....

The big thing is that I'm going to nag the heck out of her next week. Once the actual holiday is over, her main job will be to get out and submit for scholarships. We're definitely going to need money in our pockets when we talk to her future alma maters next year and I'm going to chain her to the computer until she gets those applications in.

Oops... youngest daughter is roaming the house. Translate that into "When are you gonna be done?!?!!?" so she can Facebook or whatever she does with her friends.

So happy holidays in case I go MIA...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Only two days left!

There are only two days left until Christmas. I have completed all projects that I started out to make. Lots of scarves, a couple scarves and a couple other projects. Course, now I have to wrap it all. That's today's project and get it done before the girls get out of school. Then I can start cleaning up the house (the girls had better join in and help me out or I'll take all their stuff BACK! )

I also have to get my stew on. I made a turkey on Monday and a pot roast the other night. I figure enough leftovers to get us through today and tomorrow. Christmas Eve is at the MIL's house. The traditional Italian Christmas Eve with about a dozen different kinds of seafood, everything from lobster to squid. For those who aren't used to squid (and I'm one of them, being a nice German/Irish girl ), it's really good when stuffed and baked. I have a couple of those. A couple stuffed shrimp, a small bit of lobster (since that's the DH's favorite, I leave the lion's share for him) and a bit of pasta with calamari. Antipasta. Stuffed filet of sole. I don't even know what else. I just show up with a healthy appetite... LOL!

Maybe later today, out for the ham and we need more coffeemate. Good time for a trip to BJ's.

Oh, great news on the business front! Picked up three new customers. I went down to pay my oil bill and all three ladies couldn't say enough about the weight I'd lost. Wow, I look fantastic and all that. (Yup, I was preening and feeling quite svelte by the time I'd left that day... ) So they asked me how I did it and I mentioned the Trim Advantage program, so they bought some products and want to try it for themselves. (The program is beyond easy. Modified from the true Trim Advantage diet. I use 1-2 meal replacement bars and drink 2 XS energy drinks and I lost 22 lbs over about 10 weeks. And, yes, I really did eat anything I wanted for dinner, including dessert if there was any in the house. ) So I brought them some samples and they placed an order. is the website. Just click on Diet and Fitness and you'll find the products.

The interesting thing for me is one of the women suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome. She said that after she'd had the energy drink (which is loaded with vitamin B12), her legs were actually calm the rest of the day. I can't attest to that as this is the first I've heard, but it will be miraculous if it turns out to be true. An all-natural way to help people with RLS? Wow.

Oh, and my friend Parke Godwin (more affectionately my friend Pete) sent me a Christmas story that he'd written. I adore Pete. A true wordsmith and you should consider yourself lucky if you can read his works. He is such a master of the English language that I don't care what he writes, I simply enjoy reading his work. An early present for me, but one I can't wait to dive into. I have to thank Carole Howey for introducing us. She gave me the pleasure of a lifelong friend.

Okay, off to the shower because I'm not human yet and then off to wrestle with paper and tape... I have the feeling the tape will win the battle.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Tips

Okay, so I got this off a list I belong to. It's perfect and says everything that I'd say myself, only better.

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when the guilt sets in. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you'll never see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up and totally worn out, screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Have a great holiday season and Merry, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A time for giving...

Okay, so I haven't been back to the gym since the last time I posted. Work, work and more work. But I have 4 days left (including today, but since I haven't even gotten there yet, I can't discount it yet ) and then I'm off for 5 weeks. I'll definitely miss the paycheck. That one is gonna hurt, but I can't wait for the time off. Need the time to get my "house in order".

Yup, have to clean more. With 4 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats, all my cleaning efforts for Thanksgiving have definitely fallen by the wayside. But I did grab one of the rooms last weekend and literally started at the ceiling and worked all the way to the floor. Okay, so I didn't open the cupboards and clean inside, but if anyone is curious enough to go inside the cabinets, then they're welcome to whatever they find...

That was the bathroom. Smallest room in the house, but it was a start.

Tomorrow starts the mandatory overtime for move-out at the university. Uh huh. Sorry, but my kids have a concert tomorrow night, so I'm booking out as soon as I get 5 mins without any traffic going past me. Their concert is more important and I don't see these kids moving off sooner than they absolutely have to... which means most will leave on Friday.

Next week is the last-minute shopping and a few more projects to complete. I have almost all of them done. I should be able to finish all but two final projects by tomorrow or Thursday. Then two for next week and I can finally wrap everything and take stock of what I've got, what needs to be bagged and tagged and what still needs to be done. As usual, Hubby gets the short end of the stick, but his list is like 3 items long. And I can't afford 2 of them, so I'm going to buy stock in the one I can afford. (IOW, he'll get like 4 of that... LOL!)

I also have plans to return to the gym with a vengeance and see if I can troll around to a few places to see if I can sell some products. I have ideas. We'll see if I can actually sell them to others.

And I'm going to get back to spinning. It's been a couple weeks, but I lost floor space in the living room to the tree. Hmm... Christmas tree or spinning wheel. Right now, I'll allow the tree to take what little floor space I've got. I'll simply move my wheel to the dining room and plug my iPod into my ears so I can get back to spinning. My goal is to get an hour a day so I can get good at this. Over the 5 weeks I have off, I should be able to get some kind of rhythm and even tension going on that, but that's my goal. We'll find out if I'll realize that one.

Lastly, show the plan, show the plan and show the plan some more. See if I can translate my dream into something others can see (inserting their dream, of course ). I know I can make this work if I can just get a couple people to believe in me and themselves. The potential is huge and all you have to do is sip twice and eat once. Something we do every day anyway and turn that into money. How can it be hard? Probably because people have forgotten how to dream. We've all learned to settle for mediocrity and that's such a sad reality. Who wants to be mediocre and settle for what we can afford? Who wants to live their life with someone else telling them what they're worth?

I sure as heck don't. I know I'm worth more than the university pays me, but I have to settle for that until the time comes when I can make more without them. I have a couple pet projects that I want to contribute to, but current finances preclude that. So I have to dream even bigger in order to make the finances so I can support those pet projects. Now, I'm not crazy. As I said before, have to get my own "house in order" (IOW, settle my own finances), but supporting projects like Animal Haven are also big on my list.

So don't forget your charities. I thank God every day that I'm not the one standing in line to accept charity. I'm lucky and I'm blessed that I've never had to do that. My goal is to be able to write checks to support those who need it. Give a haven to animals who live in unspeakable conditions, a place where a child can smile for the first time rather than live in fear, a home for women who've been abused into believing that death is the only way to escape the hell they're living in. Big dreams, eh?

'Tis the time to thank God that's not us. Rather than buy one more expensive item so there's 20 gifts under the tree rather than 19... Rather than making sure this Christmas bonanza is bigger than last year's... Rather than getting one more thing for someone who already has so much... Why not take that money and give it to someone who wouldn't have anything if it wasn't for your generosity? Why not give a card to your spouse and let them know that you were going to buy one more item but gave the cost of that item in their name to a charity who could really use it for someone who has nothing?

'Tis the season for giving, not receiving. Let us not forget that.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hey Brian!!!!

Oh boy, time for excitement! Another family member has tracked me down so I have an actual reader. Everyone, meet Brian! Brian, meet everyone!

We never did go to UVM... I figured that, if I took off, Mom's wrist would somehow take a life of its own and try to do something like fix the fence in the backyard or SST, so I stayed home to make sure that didn't happen. OTOH, what was nice was that I worked like a field horse all week and decided that Saturday would be my day of just simple play. I sat in my living room and spun up some absolutely gorgeous Lisa Souza roving in Mardi Gras. I have the yarn all spun and plied and it's waiting for me to turn it into something that will do it justice. (Uh huh, have to wait until after the holidays because I have WAY too much stuff on the needles right now to invest in yet another project.)

I cleaned, I cooked, I threw out (and practically threw up with some of the stuff I found in corners... ) My kitties were on alert that week and brought me the very dead and fully played with bodies of two mice. I told them to get back to work like me and find me the other 20 that are surely roaming the basement in their off hours.

That's the one thing I just can't get used to living near the woods. Mice think they can set up shop during the winter in my home. Get over it, guys. I have cats for a reason. And since they don't go outside to play, they have to find things to do inside the house....

Now, update on the bird. It turned out so absolutely wonderful that I barely had anything to pick off of later Thanksgiving night. I think I got one sandwich and the family scoffed anything that was left so I had no opportunity for those wonderful leftovers like open-faced sandwiches or even soup. (I'm telling you, this carcass had been picked clean like I live with vultures and scavengers.) I was so upset that I went out that Sunday and bought two more birds and tossed them in the freezer. I'm thinking New Year's Day would be a perfect time for another bird with all the trimmings.

How to brine? Easiest thing in the world. I simply took about 2 cups of salt, tossed it in a huge garbage bag with the bird and enough water to cover the bird. Let it defrost in the brine and ingest all the goodness of the water so the meat is perfectly tender and moist. About two days. (Though I will admit that the only place to put this thing is in the tub except for those minutes when I'm showering. I just have a thing about taking my shower with a dead body that's in the process of pickling, so I take it out and put it on the floor outside the shower while I'm in there... ) Take the bird out of the brine, rinse it good, stuff it as full as you can get it and then in the convection oven for about two and a half hours and my family won't touch it if I cook it any other way.

Trust me, you won't regret trying it. It's moist, tender, and the flavor gets in to the bird without being too salty. (Weird because it sits in salt for two days, but it's not overly salted.) You don't even have to flavor it outside of the stuffing. Perfect with very little work.

I'm actually off the gym this morning. A friend is looking for a new location to use and he never thought of our community center. So I'm going to take him in and get him a three-day guest pass. Let him try it and see if he likes it. A lot cheaper than a commercial gym and even closer to his house than most. We'll see if the "price is right" for him.

And it's incentive for me to get back on the elliptical...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

It's time to take stock of what's happened in our life and re-evaluate our hopes for the future. I thank God and everyone around me for the blessings I've been given and those that might find their way to me in the future. I bless my family for supporting me in times of strife and sorrow and the never-ending joys they've given me on those days I needed it most.

It's funny. I never thought about it until my Mom mentioned that she'd been talking with my brother and he said that I'm living the American Dream. I have a wonderful husband who never nags or gets angry when I trip and fall over my own feet. I have two fabulous (and gorgeous) daughters who can try my patience with the best of any little devil out there, but who are generous and caring and have a sense of their place in the world (quite an accomplishment for most teenagers ). They give with two of the biggest hearts I've ever met and I just know the world will be a better place for having them in it. I bless the luck for my friends who are caring and giving of their support and their friendship. Shoulders to cry on when I need it and laughter which can be even more important.

Okay, so no one helped me clean out our pigsty of a dining room, but my family hasn't messed it up either. Isn't that a blessing in itself?

I'm off to get my turkey set and ready for the oven. I've been brining it for the last two days so it's tender and moist and, Lord, I really love a convection oven. Should be ready in about two hours. (Remember those days when we had to get up at 5AM to get the bird in the oven? Ha! 10AM is much nicer... LOL!) Course, I need all that extra time to make the smashed potatoes. I figure 5 lbs oughta do it. My family isn't thrilled with most of the stuff I cook, but they do adore my smashed potatoes.

And I finally have poor Tammy's box ready to go. First thing tomorrow, off to the post office so I can get her her box of yarn and goodies. I tried to plan so hard to get it out early, but that didn't happen... Oops. As long as I get it out by the end of the month, I'll be okay, so I have a few days. But tomorrow is it. I wanted to get it out yesterday, but I sort of went into sloth mode. After all the cleaning this week, I sort of collapsed early each night. Now if I can just find my Thanksgiving tablecloth. I'm sure it's somewhere. Look hard enough and I'll find it...

Have a wonderful day!!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christmas is coming... Yikes!

The holidays are nearer than either of us like to think. I have a turkey waiting to be defrosted in the freezer and I just got a shipment of yarn and roving that I want to spin for presents. It's funny, but until I saw the roving (some gorgeous stuff from Lisa Souza in Bird of Paradise and Wild Things), I didn't think of attempting to use it for this year. But I think it would make wonderful gifts for my girls. Even if I can only get a scarf for each, this is my goal.

So I have a lot of work to do in the next five weeks... Yikes!

That won't leave a lot of time to run to the store to wrestle and fight with customers for whatever is on the table. Not that I enjoy shopping for anything because I've always hated it. So I have another plan for some of the people on my gift list.

Gift catalogs! Let them choose their own gift and, unlike money or a gift card where you still have to venture to the store to redeem it, these catalogs are easy. They come with an 800 number so your recipient calls in, gives their choice and the gift is shipped directly to their house. No cost to them. The shipping is already figured into the price of the catalog. And there's no price tag anywhere. Comes with a pretty envelope to put the catalog inside and everything.

So where do you find these little treasures? Easy as pie.

Teachers, bus drivers, mail carrier and newspaper boy. There's a nice $20 catalog that has everything from a 2-person pup tent to a 5-pc cookware set. How about that aunt whom you never know what to get? Give her the catalog with a variety of gourmet dinners. Or the catalog of sterling silver jewelry. How about the catalog dedicated solely to handbags? We're talking Dooney & Burke (did I get that right? ), not the latest WalMart special. Catalogs specifically for men and teens. Jewelry and perfumes. Seriously nice stuff at prices you won't believe. How about that perfect baby gift for only $30? Heck, you could even give a 2-night, 3-day vacation for a mere $240.

Yup, I'm off to grab a few myself for those hard-to-buy-for people on my list.

Be back with more stuff to talk about, but gotta prepare well for today. Mandatory overtime and it's supposed to downpour about an hour or two before my shift will be over. Oh boy. I can't wait...

BTW, quick update. Gee, no booth yet. Now there's a "Duh!" moment. Can't wait to see what new brainstorm they come up with. So I'm still sitting in my car all day. Listening to lots of CDs (even started some Christmas music to get myself in the mood) and knitting up a storm. Will switch from socks to scarves as soon as my yarn arrives. I hope that's soon...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thanks, Diane!

Now I don't feel so weird. It does seem like I'm the only one in the neighborhood who complains of mice coming in. Course, with two cats running around, they usually don't last long in my house either, but I do give them credit for trying...

I've just got to share the newest update on the booth for work. The boss drives in the other day and tells me that it's on it's way. In fact, it's on the highway down in Greenwich and should arrive within the hour. Uh huh. I just smile politely and go my way.

Well, for once, he was right. The booth arrived. But the next morning, the facilities guys are down in my area with their measuring tapes. Seems the concrete pad is way too small to put the booth on top of it.

I have seen it. I drove by on my way out from work on Friday. Curiosity was going to kill me if I didn't see what they were talking about. So I drive in to check this out and it actually looks kinda nice. Supposed to have heat and air conditioning. Has a door that slides back like a pocket door. But, the bad thing is that the door is going to face the driveway.

Why is this bad? Because the driveway has a bit of a sharp incline to it. I can see, come winter, some kid driving in full-bore, hits ice and slides down the hill, through the booth and sailing off the retaining wall and into the second floor living room of the unit behind me. Now, with the door being where they'll hit, how am I going to escape when they come aiming for me?

Hmm.... have to do some thinking on this one...

Other news is that I have more fiber on its way to me. Lisa Souza is back from Stitches East in Balitmore and my order for yarn and fiber is set to ship tomorrow. I better get cracking on spinning and knitting or I'll have quite the stash pouring across my living room... LOL!

Good news is that I finished the Cherry Tree Hill socks in Spanish Moss. Wore them yesterday as a matter of fact. I have all the items for my swap box ready to go once I type up the instructions for how I do my cuffs. And then I can mail that out tomorrow.

And I got my new business materials for my IBOship. Wow. Fantastic training materials. All the kind of stuff I've wanted to have in-hand before. And, boy, am I going to use this stuff. I'm going to get a couple of the "first night" packs so I can give them as gifts to anyone I bring into the business. My gift to them to get them started. Then I plan to get the other packs not just to train myself, but anyone I sponsor can also borrow them. This is definitely stuff I'll listen to again and again and again, so I'll let people borrow, but I can't hand these out. OTOH, they can "try before they buy". I'll suggest that they do the same with anyone they bring in. Get them started with a gift and then let them borrow from your library until they make enough to establish their own.

Great stuff and TEAM Legacy is definitely on track and moving. I'm SO excited to be part of this whole Internet phenomena. We're definitely going to change the landscape of American purchasing and a whole new way to earn an income. (Let me know if you want to be part of this, because this is really exciting stuff!!!!)

I have tomorrow and Tuesday off. ('Bout time, eh? ) tomorrow is full of exciting things like going to the bank, town hall and various errands as well as being deposed in a lawyer's office. Oh boy. Doesn't everyone want one of those in their day planner? OTOH, Tuesday I'm supposed to be off volunteering at a pandemic flu drill. I'm still wavering about that one. I know, I know I'm supposed to be worried about my fellow man and be prepared like a good Boy Scout, but didcha ever just need a day to stop and smell the roses? I'm feeling one coming on... Course, then I only have to get through three days of work and I'm off for a whole week. I should really take care of my responsibilities and then relax during that week. But, but, but....

Another thing on my list for tomorrow is pics. I have to do laundry so my socks will be clean. Pics of socks that I've made up in the last couple weeks. Maybe even a pic of the socks/wrist warmers (I still haven't decided on that one yet) actually in-progress. Maybe (God forbid) a pic of me sitting at my wheel and spinning while the world moves on without me for a few hours. Tempting.... ain't it?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Rain... Oh boy

We've had over 60" of rain this year (that's getting dangerously close to drowning me in height ) and yet more rain today. Heavy rain. Which means I'll spend a lot of time today being wet.

Yesterday was the longest day in creation. I started knitting early. Took a break and worked on a book of Soduko puzzles. Knitted, puzzled, knitted some more and puzzled some more. Then, as I'm driving home, I figured out why the entire day seemed to drag. I'd totally forgotten to drink my XS energy drink around 2PM, which is my usual time. Gives me that gentle boost to get over the hump of late afternoon. No boost yesterday.

I won't make that same mistake today. Lord knows, I'll probably need an XS drink by about 9AM to get through the dark and dismal of today...

The good news is that I finished one of the Spanish Moss socks and I guesstimate that I'll finish the other today. I've started a new one in Lorna's Laces in Summer Sunset, but I haven't decided if I'll keep them as socks or switch them into wristwarmers. My hands get really cold on some days and a nice warm merino overlay might help the hands stay warm. So I'm toying with that, but I won't have to decide until I get down the "cuff", so to speak. Then I'll either do a heel or add a gusset for my thumb. We'll find out when I get there.

Did a little bit of spinning last night before dinner. Am hoping to get moving on that merino with silk noils embedded so I can finish plying it with the Wensleydale. Want to get moving on that scarf of my very own spun yarn. Will be so kewl to point to it and say that I not only knitted it, but I spun the yarn myself.

I'm hoping to get the new training materials for my business today. I did pay for 2nd day business mail and it shipped on Monday, so I should get it today. These materials are meant to loan out to the folks I've sponsored to get them going. Rather than doing it all myself (which makes me self-employed), this stuff is designed to help them teach themselves how to expand their business. More like a business owner who gets a system that does the work for them and frees up the extra time for other pursuits (hopefully freeing me to sponsor more people). I figure, if I get them started and the training materials work for them, they can get their own to train the people they sponsor and so on and so forth. It saves a lot of time in the long run and I'm always one who's up for efficiency...

And the bosses at work have given another date for my booth at work. It's supposed to go up the week of Thanksgiving. (Yes, I forgot to ask them which year this will happen, but we'll see... ) Once that's up, I'm going to post a note in the window facing the bus stop with a simple statement and question. "Okay, so you use the Internet. But does it pay you to use it? If not, I can show you how to earn a commission." Or SST (some such thing).

Oh geez... the cats and dog have a mouse surrounded or trapped or something. One of few things I hate about living in the country. Cold weather sets in and the field mice think they can winter inside my house.... Does my house look like Disney or something?!@?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Alpaca vs. Llama

Okay, I'm not familiar with livestock. I wasn't sure there's a difference, but I now know better. And the alpacas were totally cute. I'm not sure I want to bring one home, but the little baby named Nick was adorable and I definitely could have brought him home.

I went to an Open Day at an alpaca farm here in CT. their website is and I figured I should check it out because it would be fun to see the fiber still on the animal. My instructor was there, doing a spinning demonstration and she had tons of the alpaca that she handspins. Some really, really gorgeous stuff. If I hadn't finally finished the Christmas project for Mom, there was a beautiful hank of natural soft brown spun with a midnight blue/purple merino/tencel, I think. It was gorgeous! $65 for the hank, but there was enough on there that I could have done a stole on large needles with a soft, subtle pattern and I know Mom would appreciate it.

But I've already got Christmas for Mom. I'd love to do something for Mom-In-Law, but even though she does do handcrafted items, hers aren't as labor-intensive so I'm not sure she'd appreciate it quite as much. I'm still tempted to do something for the Aunt-In-Law, but I'm still thinking on that one.

What I did get was a really cute little item for my swap partner. It's the cutest little needle-felted pumpkin. Very New England. Very different. So that will be my special little treat to include in the package. I've gathered yarns and I just have to type up the little pattern that I use. You can add a false cable to it or simply do it straight on. It looks complicated, but it's really very simple, but it gives added texture to the yarn, which is why I like it so much. I'm sure someone out there has named this stitch, I just never bothered to look. It's something I kinda of made up as I went, so I'm not going to bother trying to find a name...

One other thing I found and grabbed before anyone else saw it was a bag of pure white alpaca. 8 oz. for $24. This stuff is totally clean and absolutely gorgeous. When I learn what I'm doing, this will be my treat for myself.

Oh, and Laurie got to sit and try my Kromski. She wanted to try it Friday night, but we never stopped talking long enough for her to sit and spin. So I brought it with me, treated her to a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and let her sit and try my wheel. She was very pleased with the Kromski. She said it's smooth and really well-balanced.

I'm hoping we can get together again and just sit and spin and chat. It's weird to meet someone for the first time and feel like you've known them forever, but it's like that with Laurie. So I hope she'll become a new friend and not just a teacher, though, Lord knows, I've got tons I could learn from her.

The other thing is that I went to the business meeting on Saturday night and I'm totally excited about the new direction the group is taking. They're now headed exactly where I wanted to go. Think of it something like this... Everyone is standing in a group and I'm waving at them. "Hey, guys! C'mon over here! We should be doing this and this and that." They're kinda looking at me, unsure. Then this other group that's highly successful and really growing exponentially comes along and shoves the whole crowd from behind, "Yo! Get on over there!"

Lots of herding sound effects and whips whistling and cracking, but the herd starts moving exactly where you want them to go. Very kewl! LOL!

So I'm getting some of the new training materials. I want to get together with all the people I've sponsored into the business and get them moving right alongside me. Add to that a couple of students I've approached to start the Gen-Y kids doing exactly where they're already entrenched and I should have some explosive growth of my own in the next year. Wouldn't it be totally exciting if these students never had to get a job like the rest of us in their lives? If they worked really hard right now, they'd never have to. The time they have now could be used to build a business that would carry them for the rest of their life and they'd never have to fall into the job trap that their parents have depended on. Oh yeah, I see potential and a way to fix that problem. All I need is some ears to be open and a brain to engage.

So, my plot for world domination continues...

In the meantime, until I achieve that goal, it's off to work for another week of knitting. I have Cherry Tree Hill in Spanish Moss on the needles. I should be done with that by mid-week, so it's a good thing that my shipment of Lorna's Laces arrived on Friday. I have it wound into balls and ready to go. I just have one more shipment due. I ordered yarn and some roving from Lisa Souza. She was getting ready to run off to Stitches East, so I knew that would take time. But I should be good until that yarn shows up. Lots of projects. Lots of yarn and roving. Not enough time to get it all done.

Ain't it typical... LOL!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lesson musings...

I invited Mom to join. Not that I expected her to sit and spin (which she didn't), but since she's the one who bought me my wheel, I just knew she'd be sitting on her hands all night to keep from calling, so why not bring her on in?

We had a blast! Yup, Laurie had trouble finding my house (everyone does even though they all admit later that my directions are perfect ), but once she got here, it felt like a Girls' Night Out. Someone who not only understood the allure of making something yourself, but someone who's life really depends on it. She'd never seen a Kromski wheel before and was really impressed with my cute little Prelude. She also checked my spinning (what I've actually done so far) and said I'm doing just fine. Okay, she said even better than fine. I'm doing GREAT for someone who's only been spinning for a couple weeks. I have good tension and even my little bobbin of plied yarn was wonderful. Yes, I really did do that by watching the video that came with my Prelude.

We talked roving and different breeds and how they spin differently and she gave me a little bag of natural cotton for those moments when I get too full of myself and need a challenge...

We talked about techniques like how I'd learned how to spread the roving and work from side to side (fanning it out) to keep it from bunching up and also to direct the colors once I get into the dyed rovings. I'd sort of figured that one out by default, but it seemed a logical thing to do when all the fibers were coming from one side of the roving, just fan it, tip it and let it pull in from the other side for a change.

Yes, it is kinda weird that I spin "left-handed" with my left hand guiding the roving and my right controlling the draft, but then I'd started with my Rakestraw and it seemed natural for me to add the spin with the right since my right arm is stronger and can spin longer. Then I'd park it between my knees and draft out with my left. So it seemed natural to do the same when I sat down at the wheel. OTOH, I do a lot of things with my left, like eating. So it's not unnatural for me to use my left for some things and my right for others.

Okay, I never thought about it... LOL!

Anyway, I got really excited because I told her that I wanted to stop by the farm today (she'll be there all day) and she invited me to bring my wheel and sit and spin for a while. This will be my first attempt to transport my wheel, but I'm going to try it and see if I can do it without breaking my little beauty. I mean, Wow! To get invited by your teacher to come sit and spin with her as she's demonstrating it.

So what was supposed to be an hour lesson turned into three hours in my house. We just kept talking and talking and talking some more. It was wonderful to meet someone for the first time and feel like you've known them for 100 years after just an hour or two.

So that's my plan for today. I figure I can run over to the farm in the early afternoon and then I've got my business meeting tonight. Doug and I are going to carpool. I hope that's as exciting as spinning, which I'm sure it will be, but life just seems TOO good right now. I keep waiting for something to happen. But I can't worry about that when it happens. Sooner or later, the 2 X 4 comes out of the blue to smack me between the eyes and remind me that reality isn't supposed to be this much fun or that exciting. But until then, I'm just going to ride the wave and enjoy myself.

Oh, one more thing. I'm gathering items for my swap partner. (On the Townsend Sockknitting Group, we're doing a swap. Gather some of your favorite yarn, some little odds and ends, a favorite hot drink--without the liquid -- and a favorite pattern and send it to your partner. and they do the same for you.) My partner, Tammy, is in Alabama and she's having a real rough time right now. So I'm going to put together, I hope, some really special stuff to send on down to her. Maybe I'll find something unique and different while at the farm to include in the package. I already have a bunch of yarn. One skein simply won't do it. I like too many different yarns with different colors and textures and weights. So I'm going to put a variety together and send it on down to her. I have a feeling she needs a "pick me up" and since the holidays are all coming, I want her to smile when she opens the package. I think she might need a smile right now, so I'm going to do my best to accomplish that.

More pics will come tomorrow when I have a bit more time. Okay, let's be real. I have no idea where the girls put their cameras. They're still passed out upstairs. Gotta love teenagers. I remember doing the same thing when I was their age, but now I don't want to waste time in bed when I have so many yarns and fibers calling my name. I got up at around 7AM this morning. That was already sleeping in. I don't need to waste anymore time in bed when I could be spinning.... LOL!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I should be cleaning. But that's no FUN!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wow! People reading...

Thanks for writing. I was so worried that no one was actually reading and I was simply stroking my own ego. (Trust me, it is quite healthy and alive and doesn't need any help. )

Taxes?!?! You want to get me started on taxes?

Naw... we don't want to go there. LOL!

OTOH, great news. I'm having my first spinning lesson tonight. Laurie Sanford is coming over. I enticed her with thoughts of a pot of coffee just for her. Okay, I might have to make two since I'll consume the other.

Tomorrow, I'm going to visit an alpaca farm. They're having an open day so you can come and pet the alpacas and check out what it's all about. This could be dangerous since I have an affinity for animals... any animals. I like them all and exotic doesn't bother me in the least. Maybe I can convince hubby that they could keep the grass cut for him and he wouldn't have to mow anymore. I doubt it since I seriously think he'd balk at the thought of shearing, but it'll be fun to dream for a little while at the farm. If you want to check it out and come on down and see for yourself, the link is and I have no idea what time I'll be there, but it should be fun either way. Laurie got me when she said roving will be available. I have so much already, but no alpaca for myself. Hmmm....

Then tomorrow night is a business seminar for this new business I'm building. New mehtod on how to introduce the concept to people and I can't wait. I already have one or two college students lined up. They already have web lifestyles and use the internet to save them the time and money of running to the store. And I told them, hey, you're already using the Net to buy. What if I could show you how to buy and earn a commission for buying? They interested enough not to be embarrassed to have a woman the age of their mother sit at their kitchen table and explain it. I already intro'd them to a few of the products and they love them. So this whole concept should sell itself. Only need me to show up and put it into words.

I'm excited! My business is about to take off and I'm looking forward to the day I can hand my boss a note that says, "Due to a restructuring of my life, I've discovered that your services are no longer necessary. Take this crayon and color me GONE."

Ain't that a terrific idea?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nobody writes to me

Yup, it's Halloween, I'm dressed up like a security officer (if that ain't a costume, nothing is... LOL!) and I'm feeling like no one reads my blog. I don't know... I've been on a boohoo for me for the past two weeks. You know it's bad when the youngest daughter asks why you've been a royal b$tch for the past couple weeks.

Course, the fact that there's now a narrow channel to walk through my dining room might be part of it. The girls say that they don't make the mess because they're never home. Hmm... I hate to break the news, but that's exactly why it is them who's making the mess. They come in, drop everything and then run off to God knows where. (They always do check in with me, but I can't even begin to keep track anymore. ) The piles are getting deeper and deeper.

I wonder if Clean House would ever dream of coming to New England?

All that aside, the Southern Command is going to meet up. We've scheduled a meeting and my goal is to expand my plan for world domination. Get the other guys involved in what I'm doing. Let some of my enthusiasm rub off and see if it infects them.

Have to work late tonight. Until 8PM. I guess the bosses are worried that the kids will dress up in costumes that attack and swill beer by the gallon without any participation from the kids wearing said costumes. I could just see it. Harem costumes invading the brains of their owners and tossing them on the floor while sleeves hold steins of beer over their mouths, forcing them to drink and become stupid. I guess I'll find out one way or the other.

OTOH, it'll be nice to have company for a change. We're overlapping shifts so I won't have to work alone from 4PM to 8PM. What a refreshing change.

In the meantime, I'll continue work on the Christmas present. I only have about 100 rows to go and it's finished. Can't wait to get a pic of that one.

I'm also going to get a pic of the socks I just finished in LL's Sherbet. They came out seriously nice. Going to wear them tomorrow. New month, new pair of socks. Maybe that will help bring about a change in my life. (I have no clue what that change will be, but I'm ready for one. )

Also, I did make contact with my spinning teacher. She's going to toss some dates out for my first lesson. It might have to wait until next week, though, because her farm is having an open house this weekend. Yes, I plan on attending it. She teased me and said they'll have llama roving available. Hmm... a nice scarf or even mittens of llama? Wouldn't that be beyond fabulous?

Okay, off to pay the mortgage. Did you know that the word "mortgage" comes from the Latin words "mortis" and "gage". Respectively, they mean "death" and "hold or grip". Mortgage = death grip.

Ain't it the truth...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Time Change... Oops.

Yup, a big "oops" on this one. Lord only knows when I'll finish this post, but the time you see on it is now correct. I didn't know that I could change the time from PST to EST... Hmm, should that be DST or did we just come out of DST into EST? Way too many abbreviations for me and it's way too early to think about.

But my body is still on the old time, so I was up at 4AM. Will make the bosses happy when I go back to work that I'm getting up earlier. This past week, I was running late just about every day. Mostly, because I was in here and updating my blog, but then the lines at Dunkin' Donuts was long and there were school buses. There's one that makes 5 stops... yes, count that *5* stops in a one block span... Unless I leave the house by 7:12, I'm inevitably caught behind that durned bus. And considering I don't have to be to work technically until 8AM, it really sucks having to leave that early.

I'm considering giving up my strike. I did dishes yesterday. A mountain of them. They'd been "soaking" for 4 days. The girls always tell me that they'll do them before they go to bed and yet I've caught them sneaking nighttime slumber for several nights before the trace of milk has "soaked" off the glasses. Heck, Dee has dug up half of a field and dragged it into my living room since she last sweated over a couple dinner plates. Isn't it amazing how dirt weighs so much less than a plate?

I did manage to push the wilderness out of my way yesterday and did some spinning. I moved from the Wesleydale (is that even right? ) to the new Merino. A full pound of gorgeous confetti Merino from Copper Moose that I've been itching to try. It's light, light grey with little bits of yellow, blue and pink cotton strands mingled throughout. But that Merino is slippery. I kept losing the draft. I'd be spinning away and suddenly the hands are empty. Had to slow the wheel and loosen the tension to keep it from pulling away. I think I've got the hang of it now, if I could just get even tension.

I was doing good with the Corriedale and Wesleydale. In fact, I did enough that I plied some together. Have to get a pic of that and post it before I knit that into a scarf. I have more Corriedale, so I have to spin up more Wesleydale in order to finish the ply. Looks like an Aran tweed or something. Haven't got a clue, but I want to knit it into a scarf just so I can keep it as my first attempt at spinning.

BTW, contacted Laurie Sanford to get a lesson. She's going to email me with some dates and we'll pick one. Okay, I have the patience meter of a mayfly and I really wanted YESTERDAY, but it was a terrible day weather-wise so probably not a good idea to take the wheel out into the maelstrom. Winds were incredible. I'd be amazed if any of the trees in CT have any leaves left on them. I think they're all in my gutters...

I was taking stock of my stash the other day. Hence the reason I ordered new stuff. I was trying to see what I've got and what I need. Yes, shopping list of yarn. Isn't that just the best concept? I was dangerously low. I mean, I'm not big on stashes. If I have too much yarn, I get confused on what to knit next. Call me weird, but I don't want to pet it and admire it. I want to see it done in projects. I want to wear it on my feet, not admire it in a box or bag or even a drawer. So I try not to get too far ahead of myself. But I was really surprised. I only have yarn for three pairs of socks.

3?!?!?!?!?!? My goodness and YIKES!!!!!

So I had to remedy that. I might be taking a trip off to Country Yarns again today. See if they have more Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (and maybe some others that might be stashed in a corner and I missed on my last venture). I do have 3 more colors on order with Lisa Souza. Joseph's Coat and Mars Quake and something else. I don't remember because I also ordered some roving.

I definitely need more. Lord knows, once I finish the Christmas project (which will be this week definitely, if not by the Halloween deadline I'd earlier predicted), I'll be whipping out socks like there's no tomorrow. Course, I might have to start a shawl or afghan because I don't have a booth to sit in and it's getting durned cold. I need something across my lap for warmth rather than run my car the whole day to keep warm. The bosses claim I'll have a booth by Nov 17th. Hmm, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. (The university is off that week, which means I'll be off. Makes perfect sense to me to have the booth ready in time for no one to sit in it... ) I'm guessing that means it'll be done for the Christmas break.

I did have one administrator drive through this past week. I can't remember her title. Director of Students or some such thing. She told me next academic year.

Her, I believe.

I finally got an address for my Yarn Swap partner. Tammy lives in Alabama. Hence the reason I collected and inventoried my sad stash. I have some yarns that I worked with and I think she'll like them. But she's having a real tough time in her life right now, so I want to make her package something really special. She needs a nice boost and I can try to give her a little smile during her time of trouble. So I'm gathering. I have some cotton blends that would work better in AL than in CT. So I'm going to send all of it to her. And I have a couple other yarns that should work nicely. A nice little package of variety to keep her mind off the rest of her life when she needs it.

The only thing I don't have yet is a small "gift". I haven't found anything that's caught my eye yet. I'll look when I invade Country Yarns this afternoon. (Today is the first day they're supposed to be open on Sunday afternoon, so I think a drive that way is definitely in my schedule. )

Okay, off and running. Well... not running. It's way too early and I haven't showered yet. Don't want to scare small children and wild animals. (Course, Hubby would say I should venture out and get a pound of coffee for the machine. There has to be a Dunkin Donuts that's open -- there is down in North Haven -- and since I'm up... Yeah, right! ) I think I'll blast my iTunes and play a couple rounds of Luxor-Amun Rising. Then I might think about a shower...

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Links!

Geez... never thought I'd update so quickly, but I added some new links to the side... er, over there ------------------------>

So go check them out!

Thank you very much...

Thanks, Lea. I do hope to continue on my journey toward spindom (as well as world domination, but I think that one is going to take a bit longer... )

Checked out your web page and guess what? I'm also a Lime Marguerita. Course, the question is if I get the code put onto this page correctly. Lord only knows what will happen when I go check out what havoc I've wreaked.

Let's see... kids are off at a football game. Hubby and I had some alone time, which was nice for a change. We never get that anymore. (Read that as: WHEN are the girls moving OUT!?!?!?! Whew! ) I can deal with the dogs. They never squeal if we want to swing from the light fixtures. But the kids would definitely turn purple and keel over in a dead faint. Upon awakening, they'd scramble for the cells to call all their friends...

The cats? They're another story. I get the feeling they're just taking notes of some kind.

Anyway... enough of that. I was going to spin except I can't get into my living room. YD took her project to school, but she left the mess and I don't dare get too close. I think it attacks. Those popsicle sticks look pretty darn vicious to me, so I'm not venturing in until she cleans up the mess. (She and some friends did a panorama of the town from The Scarlet Letter, complete with dirt they confiscated from the field down the street. The neighbors probably thought they were burying the evidence as opposed to digging up dirt to haul into my house. )

So I should be upstairs knitting. Got some new Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. I picked that up at Country Yarns in Wallingford, CT. Wow, that store has some really lovely yarns, but I do admit I'd like to see some more sock yarns. Maybe I should venture in during their "open" hours and convince them that sock classes and sock yarns are definitely worth the investment to add to their inventory.

That reminds me. I'm slogging off to set up my spinning lesson. Payday was today so I can set up a lesson with a free conscience. Considering I just ordered some Lorna's Laces and a new pair of winter boots (for work, which is getting durned cold without a booth to sit in... No, don't ask. Still not there and I wouldn't believe them regardless what date they tell me it's going to show up. I'd believe next year... like... September. ) I absolutely adore my all-weather clogs from Lands End, but the bosses are going to have a problem with me wearing red. So I ordered enclosed shoes (gotta think ahead to those snowy days) and they're in a soft powder blue. Sorry, but navy or black wasn't an option. I ordered from the Overstock list since the boss won't pay for these.

Anyway, I did get my roving from Copper Moose. Wow! Pretty, pretty stuff. I can't wait to get my lesson and get my fingers on that. I'm still waiting for more yarn and roving from Lisa Souza. God, I just love her color combos. Course, don't ask what I ordered. Can't remember until it shows up. But I did order Sugar Maple, Rosy Quartz, Mountain Meadow and... hmm, another color from Copper Moose. Even better in person than what showed on my monitor.

Okay, off to email teacher to set up lesson and then upstairs for knitting. Almost done with Christmas present. Can't wait to take pics of that one. It's really turning out lovely. And I'm over half done with a pair of LL's socks in Sherbet. And I started a pair of socks in Cherry Tree Hill Spanish Moss. That's going to be terrific also. Muted variations in green and violet with a touch of hot pink. Really nice. Gee... they'll match beautifully with my new blue suede boots... LOL!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Finally... Pics!

Here it is! This is my little Kromski Prelude! Isn't she just the prettiest thang...

As you can see, I've got my first bobbin full. I think it's Corriedale, but that was my learning bobbin. Actually, it came out pretty nice. Now I'm working on a merino with silk noirs, so it's got some nubbies in it, but it's coming along nicely.

My wheel is sort of shoved out of the way right now because youngest daughter is working on a project for school and she's taken over our entire living room, including the floor. Hence, I couldn't spin last night, but that's okay. I have lots of winter days ahead of me that are waiting for my fingers to do their thing. I still have to write my email to set up a lesson, but I'm having so much fun that I keep forgetting that I don't know anything yet.

You have to let me know if the bobbin pic came out fuzzy. I'm not a pic taker and I think I screwed that one up, but I'm trying to show that my spun yarn is coming out okay. Not bad for someone who's been spinning for about a week and a half...

I have to get youngest daughter to take the pics since she's the expert. (She only has about 637 pics on the camera of herself. Yup, she throws her arm out at full-length and just snaps away. The thing that kills me is that some of the pics come out looking really nice. She says she wants to be a photographer. I say "go for it!" )

Let's see... what else is new? Business group is getting together. They had a meeting last night, but scheduled a "night owl" for after the intro meeting. Yikes! Hey, guys, I get up at 5AM. Starting a really important informative meeting at about 9PM just doesn't work for me. I can't take those kind of hours anymore. When I was 25, I could survive on 2 hours of sleep for several nights and not bat an eye. But that was 20 years ago and I've learned (the hard way) that I require 7 hours to be human. Me not being human isn't a pretty sight. I'm a nasty little curmudgeon who doesn't deserve to live when that happens. (I know because I did it for a year and a half when I first started working for the university. The only sleep I got during that time period was an hour or two whenever I could catch it. Yech! I'm not a kid anymore. )

Anyway, they're supposed to be getting together this weekend. I hope so because I really want to re-energize and get moving. Help me get to a point where I can replace my income and I'll be more than happy to dedicate 40 hours a week to building the business for everyone. I just need their collective help to get to that point. But that's all besides the point. I have more plans for world domination in my pocket and this weekend, some of those plans will be put into motion. (Yeah, yeah, it's about time some motion began to stop this stagnation. )

Today is supposed to be cold. Hmm. And I'm still sitting in my car at my job. We'll see, but this might be the day I finally move inside into the apartment they let us use until they can get the booth done. I'll simply put a note on my dashboard telling the kids where to find me. Think that might light a fire under the bosses' @sses?

Progress on the Christmas present is being made daily. If I work real hard, I'll make my goal and get this done by the end of the month. I'm getting psyched because, even though I'm not tired of working on it (there are color changes often enough to keep me working with interest), I really do want to be done with it. I want to go back to socks. I have a pair of Lorna's Laces that I put on hold while I did this project and it's stopped whispering to me. It's downright shouting for me to get them OFF THE NEEDLES!!!! LOL!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Money in the bank... Yeah!

I told about the fundraiser for NBPOPS. Well, I got to work yesterday and talk about being nervous. I had over $5500 in my truck. NOT something that made me comfortable. So I put the account number on the back of all the checks and ran off to the bank so I could deposit the money.

Yeah, I feel much better now. Don't like that kind of cash hanging around.

I didn't make the meeting last night for Project Graduation. Running late, as usual... I certainly hope they didn't approve something as infantile as Dr. Suess. 007 is the only way to go this year. I mean, this is something that can never be done again. I really don't think that James Bond movies will still be made, let alone popular, 100 years from now, so to miss this opportunity would be stupid.

What else?

I haven't gotten to spin since Saturday... Argh!!!! I really want to do more, but I've got to work that into the schedule. I'll find a way. Don't worry. As one of my mentors says (and it's SO true): You never find time to do the things you don't want to do, but you'll always manage to find the time for the things you want to do. Well, I want to do this.

And, we're into a new month. The business is trudging. I think one of the people in my downline got discouraged. Someone mentioned a report they'd seen on some news program about Quixtar. It was negative... of course. Isn't it a given that if something good comes along you always get the naysayers? Well, the guy who was supposed to be giving the "insider info" was someone who'd only given a minimum of effort and made no money.


This is not a get rich quick scheme. This is a business plan. If you don't work, you don't succeed. If you don't put in the effort, you get no reward. duh! Yes, that's what makes it hard. But that's also what makes it worthwhile. I mean, if it was totally effortless, don't you think everyone would know about it and they'd be in? If you could grow a business without any personal commitment or effort, wouldn't people be knocking on your door?

Well, sorry, it takes a bit of effort. And people just don't want to work anymore. I don't get it. We all get up each morning and go to our jobs. We work. But when faced with an opportunity that has no limits, we can't find the time or the effort to make it work for us? Geez... talk about the height of laziness.

And just because it didn't work for this one guy doesn't mean it won't work for me. Or thousands of others. Or even you. I mean, I've been into the business for four months now. And I'm seeing results. Normally, by this time of the month, I'm working with about $100 in my checking account and wondering how I'll make it to the end of the month with that inevitable emergency that always seems to come up. I have over $300 in the bank. I'm going to reach the end of the month and be able to move money from checking to savings. I'm actually doing good financially and there's nothing I need to purchase. I've done my buying for the month and have money left over. And I got paid to do this.

Okay, $300 isn't a lot. But it's more than I've had in the past. And I expect this trend to continue and grow. In fact, I wish I had more hours in the day to dedicate to growing my business. I'd be making even more. But that will come. I have patience and it's okay that my business is growing slowly. Slow is better than not at all.

Oops.... time to go. Still have to make my lunch and get off the to daily grind that I hope to kiss off someday. Yup, my goal is to replace this income. Then I can leave this job and dedicate myself to my business wholeheartedly. Isn't that a dream?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Argh! 4 Days!

Gotta give an update. Gotta give an update. This isn't fair...

Okay, been busy as usual. Saturday, the oldest daughter, Shelby, turned 17. We kinda held her party on Friday night because that's when all the family could get together. I bought a couple pizzas and a cake and we gave her presents. Not much to put in her hand, but she now has use of our old Blazer. Family is going to cover her insurance but now she'll actually have to pay for her own gas. Thank goodness. I was getting tired of my tank being empty...

Anyway, so youngest daughter had PSATs on Saturday, Hubby went off to work on Sat and oldest had to work on Sat morning. I actually had the house to myself for about 6 hours. Wow. I can't even remember the last time that happened. Probably when I was still working nights and they'd take off on Sat morning so I could sleep. Course, I don't remember much because I was unconscious for most of those "alone" times.

But I treated myself. I did some cleaning. Then I treated myself to an hour of spinning. (God, I LOVE my new Prelude wheel!!!!) Then I'd clean some more. And I'd spin for another hour. Then clean. Then spin.

Oh yeah, this could actually get me off my butt and cleaning for a change...

Sunday morning. Work. Four hours of computer work and clean-up. I get to take next Sunday off, so I made sure to go through everything. Including the aging report. Haven't done that in probably two years because I never had time, but I actually got that one done.

Then home and a nap. (Hey, I'm entitled once in a while! I don't know why, but I've been SO durned tired. So I took a nap for an hour. Luckily the family didn't say anything because I had the perfect answer all ready... "Bite me!" )

Then off to a meeting. We did a fundraiser for NBPOPS (North Branford Parents of Performing Students) and had to tally all the order sheets. We actually got that done in about three hours. We've only got orders for about half of what normally is bought, but I hope that doesn't kill any potential purchases. The good thing is that we accomplished what we needed to get done in about half the time it normally takes. And everything tallied perfectly.

Home. To bed. Up and I'm finally breaking down and wearing a sweater to work. It's getting darned cold sitting in my truck for 8 hours. So now I'm getting overheated because I'm dressed for outside and sitting at my computer. Oops...

I got my partner's name for the yarn swap. Poor woman was probably itching and wondering if I'd gotten lost. Poor thing emailed me yesterday afternoon and I didn't even check my email til this morning. I have a month to put together a nice package for her and I have some really great ideas of stuff to toss inside. A couple favorite recipes as well as yarn, drink and my favorite pattern. (I don't know if my favorite has a name, so I'm just going to type it up with a pic of what it looks like. It's really simple but looks complex, so I love it and use it on almost all of my socks. Okay, lately, it's ALL of my socks. )

Another meeting tonight for Project Graduation. I have to go because some nimrod brought up theme ideas of Dr. Suess and Ninja Turtles. Er.... scuse me, but we're talking high school seniors, not kids in nursery school. Ninja Turtles? Puleeze! (No, I won't be that nice if I make a comment at the meeting tonight. I'm sure she'll be offended by my language, but get a grip, lady!) The obvious theme is James Bond. This is the graduating class of 2007. See that? 007. Bond. James Bond. Duh!!!! She thinks there's too much violence and sex in the movies. Ha! Read the books. Espionage. Class. Debonair. Tuxedos and gorgeous women. If she can't deal with that, then stay home.

So I've been requested to attend the meeting simply because I'm very direct and won't bother being polite when Dr. Suess is mentioned... LOL! This should be fun. I mean, who should know better? I work with the kids who just graduated last year (or within the last couple of years). Trust me, there ain't no Dr. Suess in the backs of their minds.

Oh, and get this. She signed up all the dads for security. I guess she feels that women can't do security. Hmm... I think I should show up in uniform. Tell her how I've broken up fights, picked up drunks from the floor and investigated everything from thefts to the usual roommate tiffs. Yeah, I don't need a guy to back me up. I'm sure the night crew will heartily admit that I was their secret weapon when dealing with fights. A guy breaks in and he's more likely to get swung at. Me? They can swing all they want. They're most likely going to be swinging over my head...

Anyway... another fun-filled day awaits. I hope yours is just as fun.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I'm spinning, I'm spinning, I'm spinning!

Is this exciting or what? I don't want to work anymore. I want to sit and watch my wheel turn.

Got the box on Monday night. Took Mark about an hour to get it all put together, so we oiled it up and I started treadling. That was okay. I didn't want to run off for fiber quite yet. Frankly, I was scared.

Then Tuesday was a total wash. Simply wasn't going to happen Tues night. Bummer!

So I came home last night, practically tossed dinner at the family and ran into the living room. A little glitch in the beginning as the VCR wasn't connected to something. I could hear it, but I couldn't see anything, so had to get Mark to fix that. (Okay, I'm going to have to repaint the floor where the entertainment center goes because he kinda scraped the paint off the floor, but I really don't care. He got the VCR working.)

So I watched the section about three times before attaching a leader. Boy, talk about stop and start, stop and start. Three leaders later and a bit of laughter, I actually had some spinning going into the orifice.

Course, I kept forgetting to feed it into the orifice and wondering why I'm drafting and it's getting longer.

Duh!!! So I start drafting it down and then feeding it in. I loosened up both hands so it would feed easier. Wowowow! I'm spinning!

It's far from perfect and I imagine it'll take a couple of pounds of fiber before I ever get a consistent thread, but there's _thread_ on that bobbin!

Woohoo!!!! Another week and I'll be ready to set up a lesson with Laurie so I can save myself a lot of heartache later. Why struggle when I can get a couple lessons and save myself the trouble of figuring it out myself?

Pics definitely coming tonight or tomorrow night. Me sitting at my wheel! Woohoo!

(Gee, can you tell yet that I'm excited by this new project of mine? )

Saturday, October 14, 2006

All sorts of good stuff

I'm finally out of withdrawal. Last night was the first home hockey game. Okay, I missed the first period because of a family matter where my presence was requested. So I took care of what needed taking care of and then had Mark whiz me over to the rink. The place was packed and I saw some good friends before finally finding my kids (they said it was interesting to collect the season tickets that were held under my name without me being there, but having my employee ID did help ). They were standing in the wrong corner. To find out they got there late (I take it youngest daughter had a last-minute hair emergency... probably a wave that showed up just to spite her ), so our usual corner was already occupied.

I did manage to chat a few minutes with El, the wife of a guy I work with. She's another die-hard fan of the Quinnipiac Bobcats and, unfortunately, had to have her leg amputated this summer. She actually looks wonderful! You can't even tell that one of her legs isn't real. Her spirits are terrific and she told me how the team sent her a card this summer during her recuperation that was unexpected and really lifted her spirits. (Haven't I told before how wonderful these kids are?) She was touched and determined to be back in her corner come game time and she was there. Good for her!

Almost as wonderful as seeing El and her wonderful spirit was the fact that we won! Woohoo! Maybe we'll be in serious contention for the league, but it's still early. I was just happy to get a dose of hockey into my system. There's nothing like a crowd (overcrowded if you like opinions, which I'm always full of ) of Crazy Bobcat fans.

Tonight I'll get another dose. That will definitely lift my spirits and hold them until Monday night when I get home from work...


My spinning wheel should arrive Monday night. It's in transit. It's in Stamford (yes, I'm tempted to call them and go pick it up ), but I'll have it in my hot little hands on Monday night. I've already informed Mark that he'll be busy putting it together for me and my feet are already itching to sit and treadle. I want to see it actually spin, powered by my own feet.

Course, that means I have to contact Laurie and set up a lesson or two. Get good advice right from the start and don't screw this up. But I'll do that this week. First, get it together and see how I'm going to transport it. See what chair will be comfortable for treadling. Get the rhythm and I've got lots of carded roving to play with until I figure out what I'm doing...

Oh, and more news!

I have a way to add pics to my blog. Woohoo! Okay, I can't show the present I'm working on (which is seriously close to the halfway point now and it's really coming together nicely). That will have to wait until after I've gifted it to it's recipient. But I can add pics of the socks I've made since this summer. And I can add pics of the kids and the dogs and the cats. The autumn foliage which is really turning spectacular this fall. I'll have to grab some pics on my way to work. I go in early enough (around 7:30 or so) that the sun is just peeking over the hills, so it captures the tops of the trees while the bottom of the tree is still sleeping in muted splendor. Some terrific pic opportunities and I hope to take advantage of that as the colors really come into their peak season.

And I reconnected with Lori Avocato. She's a published author of 15 books and someone I've known for more years than either of us will ever admit to, so don't ask. But Lori and I are going to meet up next month. I'd do it today, but I have another commitment at the time that needs my attention a lot more. Please check out Lori's site at She's writing mysteries about an ex-nurse who now investigates health care insurance fraud. Lori is such a delightful lady, her books have got to be fabulous. (Yes, I'll be running over to to get copies of Lori's books ASAP.) Support her books and check out her site. I'm beyond thrilled for her and hope I can send a few customers her way.

Her critics say that if you like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, you'll enjoy the perils of Pauline. I know I'll enjoy them, so let's do a read-a-long.

And, in the meantime, I'm going to steal a camera and get moving on some pics so this site can get a LOT more interesting...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Couple quick updates because, as usual, I have about 10 minutes before I've got to leave. First and foremost, I'm getting my wheel!!! Mom, darling woman that she is, said this could be an early and combined Christmas/birthday present. (Okay, she didn't mention my birthday because that's not until March, but I'm letting her know that I consider it a combined present. ) I'm not sure how long it will take before it's here, but my fingers are itching already.

Knitting during the day, spinning at night. Definitely my idea of nirvana! I can't wait to settle into a nice, relaxed routine. Lord knows, I could use the stress-free moments.

Second great news is that Oldest Daughter showed me her letters of recommendation for college. Three more came into the guidance office and all I can say is "WOW!"

Okay, so I kinda bribed her English teacher into a terrific recommendation. He was the tech director on the show last year and I told him that I wouldn't even consider showing up if he didn't give her a good letter. Well, he outdid himself. He included her academic achievements and went on to include her after-school activities as well as a lot of the dedication she shows in her community service. Seriously, an outstanding letter of recommendation, so I owe Mr. Michael Berry a HUGE thank you for that one.

Lastly, the meeting last night was wonderful. The thing I love the most about this group of people is their entire attitude. They're positive and enthusiastic. I mean, think about how much time you spend on a daily/weekly basis with people who are negative. B#tching and moaning, b#tching and moaning. Nothing is right. Nothing is ever good enough. Gets to be a real drag and you find yourself being negative about everything. (Yeah, yeah, refer back two days to my own posting... )

This group of people isn't like that at all. They're such a breath of fresh air that you're not sure what to do with them at first. I felt kinda like a third wheel because they carry the attitude that there are no strangers here, just wonderful friends you haven't met yet. And that's just such a reversal from the rest of the world that it's weird at first. But, I'm telling you, it's addictive. I can't help it. I like being around them and I find myself with a much better attitude about the world and people and the future after I've been with them for an hour or two.

And I missed that. I needed a "fix" and last night was a healthy shot in the arm. All good stuff. And now I'm ready to go back out and conquer the world and make a difference in others' lives. Isn't it strange how the more you do for others, the better you feel about yourself? I learned that from a decade with the fire dept and the ambulance corps. And now I can relate those terrific feelings to helping others set up a toll booth on the Internet. Seeing them succeed and earn money is even better than anything that's falling into my own pocket. Seeing them change into more positive people and excited about the world around them is SO worth missing a little bit of sleep last night.

Oops... ten minutes gone with my usual daily "rant"... LOL! It's so funny. My day wasn't going so well yesterday. Thought I'd lost my debit card. Then thought I'd lost my car keys. All kinds of things that just put a damper on my whole mood. Then I went to the meeting last night and now I find myself smiling again.

Can things get better?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Meeting Tonight...

Going to South Windsor tonight to learn how to expand my business. If I'm going to afford a new spinning wheel, then I definitely need to learn how to prospect new clients and IBO's for my business. I seem to make contacts all over the place, even with the college students I work with every day, but turning them into actual prospects seems to elude me. I must be doing something wrong because I can't understand how people wouldn't want to know how to make a commission off of Internet purchasing.

It's such an easy concept. I've been buying stuff through the Internet for almost a decade now. I'm going to continue buying stuff from the Net, mostly because I'm tired of airplane hangers for stores and clerks that haven't got a clue of the differences between a washing machine and a coffee pot. Even worse is they don't care if there's a difference.

So why spend my time and money in that store? I'd much rather go to Amazon or B&N where they keep an idea of my preferences based on past purchases. I'd rather go to an Internet store that actually cares. One that will automatically send me a box of stuff I'm going to purchase every month anyway. And, best of all, they'll pay me a commission based on those purchases.

Kind of like when Discover Card first came out. Get a check back based on your purchases and we'll pay you up to 5% of what you buy! Hmm... there's a cap on that. Up to 5% and no more. This business pays me a commission based on whatever I purchase. I can spend $500 or $5000 and my commission is based on that total amount. Heck, they encourage me to spend more so they can pay me more. And they start at 3% for beginners and work their way right on up to 25%. Okay, the last couple months, I've earned 12%, but that's twice as much as Discover ever offered.

Anyway, I'm posing again. I just don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to jump on board. It's money we all spend anyway. Why not earn some of that back? (If you think it's a great idea, email me at I'd love to explain how this whole system works and get you started on how YOU can earn money back.)

Now, back to spinning wheels. I'm getting excited. I'm saving money. I should have a spinning wheel in my living room by Thanksgiving if I can keep squirreling away part of my weekly allowance. That's my goal and I'm sticking to it. Yes, I still have yarn to knit and projects to complete.

Oops... kids just called. Bus hasn't come, so I have to make this one short...

So much for being on strike, eh?

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm on strike!

Yup, just what I said. I'm on strike this week. Last night, things kinda hit the fan. I'm trying to watch a movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. Yeah, yeah, I've seen it before, but out of the 10 or 12 times I've tried to watch the whole thing, I've only seen the end once. So I keep watching with the hopes that I can see the end again and the whole thing can come together for me.

Not to happen... yet again. First, the Hubby comes up. He promised someone at work that he'd record the NASCAR race from yesterday. (Translate that into the wife will record it for you because I haven't a clue how to do it.) That wasn't the big problem. But he comes upstairs and asks me (while I'm watching, mind you) how I'm going to split the race onto two DVDs since it was 4 hours. I tell him I don't need to do that. I can simply cut out a few commercials and it'll all record onto one disk. But let me finish the movie. I'm halfway into this movie. So he's gabbing and arguing with me that I didn't get the whole race to begin with and I can't do it. And I think to myself that I've seen this part several times, so I can miss a few minutes.

I cut over to the recording of the race. I fast forward to the end of the movie (takes about two mins... gotta love technology ) and I see how, on the last lap, Jimmie Johnson takes out Dale Jr. on the back stretch as he makes his move. Course, it really wasn't Jimmie's fault. It was the guy in third place (didn't catch a name) because he rubbed the back bumper and sent him into a spin which effectively took out Johnson and Earnhardt.

Anyway, I've proven I did get the end of the race. So I start again at the beginning and take 10 minutes to cut out 20 minutes of commercials from the first hour. Okay, they weren't the best editing job I've ever done, but I do it and then set the thing to record onto a DVD. Project accomplished.

So I go back to the movie. Daughter comes into room and starts asking if friends can come over to watch a movie, yadda, yadda. IOW, Hey, Mom, don't care if you want to see what's on. My social life is hanging in the balance here and we don't have school tomorrow. I tell her friends can come over, but they're leaving by 9. After all, both her father and I do have to work tomorrow and I don't want teenagers down in my living room past my bedtime.

So she sulks off into another room. In the meantime, Hubby has grabbed the remote and he's cruising for the channel which inevitably will be showing Crimson Tide and I remind him that I only have 20 mins left of this movie that I'm attempting to watch. Yes, honey, this is a girl version of Crimson Tide in that I can watch it over and over and have yet to see this section. And I can't see a thing because you have the d@mn TV Guide on the screen instead of the movie.

Hmmm.... nothing. No response. He cruises all the channels until he finds Crimson Tide and switches to it so he can simply hit a button and return to it once my movie has stopped boring him. Fifteen minutes to go and he puts down the remote. YES!!!! I'm thinking.

And he hides under the covers and starts playing with the dog. He's making mewling sounds to play and the dog is growling at him.

I spend the rest of the movie listening to them play and knitting in anger like a storm cloud.

Movie is over and he switches over to his Crimson Tide and when I sarcastically thank him for totally ruining the end of the movie, he says that I was knitting the whole time and not paying attention anyway.


Yuppers. I decided then and there that I'm on strike. No favors. No car. No money. No time. No cleaning. No cooking. I'm going to spend this next week doing what *I* want and let them see how it feels when my life doesn't revolve around their needs and their wants.

Whew! I feel so much better for having gotten that off my chest. I think I'm going to hide the remotes for the rest of the month. Hubby wouldn't know what to do if he actually had to get up to change the channel. He does work hard. He does a lot of physical labor in his job. But, damn!t, I'm tired of him walking into the room and not even asking if I'm interested in the show I've got on. He just assumes that Crimson Tide is more important. Doesn't matter that he's seen it 149 times in the past 6 weeks. He can give the dialogue verbatim. Doesn't matter. We know it's more urgent than anything I've got on the set.

I now understand why couples have separate bedrooms. It has nothing to do with sex or snoring or even the fact that all of the dogs and cats have suddenly decided that our bed is their bed. I think it's all because then each person can have their own remote and not have to worry about someone coming in and decided their program is more important than yours.

Attractive idea if I had anther bedroom... LOL!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Spinning Wheels and other such stuff...

Okay, yesterday I had a lot of errands to run, but I did manage to wind my route right to a local yarn shop (LYS) so I could check them out. This is the store I ran into at the Durham Fair. Very nice store. Lots of stuff and some really gorgeous yarns. Not cheap stuff, mind you, which can hurt the wallet nicely, but definitely a place I want to hang around once they open on Sunday for the "knit & chat" hours.

Anyway, my goal was to see if they had any drop spindles and info on some spinning classes. And what do I find when I turn a corner? A lady teaching a Mom and daughter how to spin on wheels. So my mouth engages and the next thing, I'm taking her card and promising that I definitely want some lessons in spinning. (Videos are terrific for technical things like how to thread a machine, but they can't teach you feel and touch. You need a teacher for that. ) The nice thing is that she loved my socks. (I took off the cowboy boots and showed her my Jester Fleece Artist socks that turned out simply gorgeous.) And, upon comparing notes, I'm doing what she did, only backwards. She spun for years and years and is just beginning to knit the stuff she spins. The mother and daughter don't know how to knit. Me? I've knitted since I was a kid and now would like to spin my own yarn to put on the needles.

And, yes, she's heard of the Rakestraw and would love to see mine. (How come I never toss that thing in my bag? Probably because it wouldn't fit. ) The biggest thing I got excited about was that I was watching Mom and Daughter for a few minutes and Laurie was encouraging them, which she should, but I'd already noticed that my technique is already much finer than theirs. I haven't learned how to be consistent in my yarn threads, but they are really fine.

Anyway, so I got all excited and came home and I'm checking out wheels. And Hubby suggests that I check eBay to see if there are any auctions. (After all, dropping anywhere from $500 to $800 on a first wheel does seem to grate on my Yankee penny-pinching ways. I mean... what if I don't like it? ) So I start cruising through eBay and, yes, there are ALL kinds of auctions. Some nice Ashford wheels that have been lovingly repaired and now for sale. Old estate sales. All kinds of wheels, working and non-working.

And I run across a listing for Copper Moose Spinning and Fibers out of Vermont. And they list a Kromski wheel, brand-new, out of the box for $342.00. And that's finished. Unfinished, it lists for $299.00. A Polish company known for their finely-turned spindles, etc. New to America, only sold in Europe in the past. I checked a couple sites to see what they had to say and they all agreed that the Kromski is a terrific first wheel. Especially this Prelude model. Best bang for the buck. Yeah, yeah, that definitely appeals to my Yankee side. It's got a traditional look to it, which appeals to the artistic side of me (sorry, but the solid wheels on the Louet models just drive me crazy. Maybe by the time I'm 100 years old, I might get used to it, but I love the spindled-wheel design of the old-time spinning wheels.) Moving on, no plastic parts. All inclusive and you even get an entire pound of roving to play with as well as a video to show you set up and how to spin.

Oh, and totally off the subject (not really ), but this is a perfect time to introduce it, it was through my Uncle Jack's book that I found out the origin of the term spinster. Way back in the Dark Ages, when men were called off to war (and fulfill their annual duty, etc to their lord, king, or whoever), the women would be left without any way to make income. So they spun yarn for the weavers. This was a way to bring extra income into the house, especially if a woman became widowed by war, how would she support herself and her family? She spun. The cost of a wheel was negligible compared to the lifetime income it could produce, so practically all the women in any given town would spin at night. Originally, it was the widows who would be called spinsters, but it later gravitated over to the older daughters who never married. And this made sense because a younger woman who wasn't working in the fields beside her husband wouldn't have the work-hardened hands and probably produced a finer thread on her wheel. Hence, spinning became a job. And they became spinsters. (Let's face it. If you're spending day and night inside the house, spinning yarn for weavers, I doubt you got outside much in order to meet anyone so you could marry. )

That appeals to my logical side.

Hmm... too many sides to me to be contained in one body. Maybe that's my problem... LOL!

Anyway, I really am trying to get back on topic here. So I'm looking for opinions. If anyone has used or knows someone who has a Kromski wheel, I'd definitely love to hear from you. I've already put my bid in for my Christmas wish list. I think this would be fantastic to be able to spin my own yarn and then knit my own socks from yarn that I've spun. Relaxing to the nth degree, if you know what I mean.

And, before I forget, I did drop money at the LYS. I bought two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn. This yarn looks great. Has that nice smooth finish of Fleece Artist and Socks that Rock by Blue Moon and Gypsy Girl yarns. Wears SO smooth on the feet that you barely notice they're there, so I can't wait to cast this stuff onto my needles. But first I have to finish that Christmas project. That's still going to take a while. I figure definitely by the end of the month, if not sooner, but I was thinking the other day...

The kids will ask me once in a while what I'm working on when they pass me sitting in my car at work. And several (especially the guys, for some reason ) have given me their foot or shoe size. I could just imagine someone asking me how much I'd charge for this project I'm making. (Yes, I almost slipped and said what it is, but I'm going to try REAL hard not to reveal that. ) Project cost is probably somewhere between $60 and $70. I don't know about that because I haven't worked that out. (Doesn't matter because I'd already bought the yarn months ago.) But the time invested? Geez... I'd probably have to charge somewhere between $250 and $300 for this thing. I'll probably have 90-100 hours invested by the time I'm done. And that would be half of minimum wage.

IOW, for those of you who wonder about all those handmade gifts? They're priceless, babe. No way you can put pricetags on those. Think about it. If you asked a whole bunch of people on the street what they'd like more of, what would be their answer? Okay, negate money. We probably all have jobs and someone else has already determined what we're worth. If you could really get more of something, what would it be? Time. We'd all love more time to do what we want (like spin it up so I can knit it.) Those precious handmade gifts were all made using the most expensive commodity on Earth. Someone invested what little free time they had in order to make you something. Money can be replaced. Go get another job. Wait another week or two for another paycheck. But once time is gone, you can never replace it and someone invested their time for you.

Appreciate that. With Christmas coming, that's my little piece of advice for everyone.