Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I feel so advanced!

Had a wonderful holiday - better than I had expected! Enjoyed the company and got many lovely gifts - including some moolah to buy some goodies! I used the first bit of it at Bath & Body Works yesterday to get the antibacterial foaming soap I am addicted to (even though I worry that antibacterial is evil) and then today I bought my first knitting related bit... A ball winder! :) Somehow this purchase made me feel like a grown up knitter! Like I somehow actually know what I am doing if I need to possess such an object. I mean what novice knitter would need a ball winder. I don't have a swift yet - so maybe I am not a knitting adult - maybe I am a knitting teenager! Am I insane to think that I could wind a ball without a swift? We will see!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's been so long...

Since I've posted.

Lately I have been feeling kind of down in the dumps. My Caribbean vacation was lovely - blue sky, warm blue water, sunshine - but it was a challenge to come back to "real life." I am realizing that I feel stressed out at work, am not thrilled about the upcoming holidays, and really miss my friends that seem to be scattered around the US. Granted I loved going to college and grad school far from home. But when you want to hang out with your buddies it sucks. I can't instantly be in Atlanta, DC, Boston or Albany.... Unfortunately. It is hard having your favorite people live far away.

I have still been knitting a bit - finished a purple scarf for a little friend of mine in Louisiana last weekend. Still plodding along on Clapotis every so often. I think my knitting is in a little slump. Also I have been feeling bitter due to the fact that I participated in both SP5 and SP6 and was basically forgotten about by my pals. SP5 sent me a first package that was cool - and told me a second was coming... But it never did. Now SP6 - I was skeptical but hopeful - I have received a card, but nothing else. I emailed the coordinators and they say something is on the way. That is cool but I am bummed. I had hoped that I would have some lovely SP I could keep in touch with and enjoy - no such luck. I think I am giving up on SP exchanges for the time being. It sucks to put in the effort and not get it in return.

Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Check this out!

I was hunting for Christmas cards tonight and stumbled upon this at the Red Cross store.
I think it is pretty cool! In fact I want it - but I am trying not to spend too much money at the moment so I am not going to get it right now... isn't it neat?!?

An odd email....

Last night I logged on to a random email account to find that I had a message waiting for me at I was shocked to see that it was from my ex boyfriend from high school. I haven't talked to him since he dumped me on Christmas eve 1993 (I think that was the last time we spoke). Anyway this is what I received:

November 20, 2005 08:55:11 PM
A long overdue, heartfelt apology

This was a shot in the dark, but I'm glad it worked. I owe you an apology. Hopefully, you've forgotten me and this won't mean anything to you. I, however, have not forgotten, and I've realized over the years how much I owe you an apology. Over ten years ago, I behaved like a dumb, selfish kid, and tried to use a sweet, loving, beautiful young woman to satisfy my own wants. Thank God you didn't let it go too far! You certainly did not deserve what I did, and I am truly sorry. I hope all is well with you, and I wish you success in everything that's important to you.

I was ASTOUNDED to get this. I never thought I would hear from this man again let alone have him apologize for his behavior.

It gave me faith in dating again.... Somehow it is good to know that as we get older we really can realize our mistakes.

I wrote back to him. I am so curious what prompted him to send this.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I love nights like this...

Cold and crisp but not wet. It's foggy tonight but a comfy cozy kind of foggy - makes you want to just light a fire or snuggle up under your down comforter. I had a pretty good day today - got my house cleaned (I love having someone help do this - almost like having rent-a-partner someone who can clean while I do laundry!) I also hosted my cooking club - New Orleans inspired food, and went to see Harry Potter.

Lately I have been addicted to NPR segments on hurricane Katrina - I found out that you can subscribe to a feed on bloglines that lets you know when new Katrina stories are available for listening. I don't quite know what to say about why I want to hear all of these stories but somehow it feels important to keep all of this in my mind.

I really want to go back to New Orleans and I have been looking into ways to do this in the last week or so. I haven't let my family or my job know that I want to go back but I figure if it seems like it will work out I will talk to them about it then.

I am trying to get together some knitters to help me with a little Louisiana inspired knitting project so if you have any desire to knit a hat, gloves or scarf for someone special who has been effected by Katrina drop me a line and I will tell you more!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Join this KAL!

Check out this great Knit Along that Margene and Carole are hosting! These great ladies are doing it again by being the hostess to a great cause! I just cast on tonight for a rolled brimmed hat using Patons Melody that I am hoping to send to Anne at the Village Knitter to help warm someone in Indiana who has been effected by a tornado. So now you - go join up too!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Knitting update! At last!

Ever since I returned from Louisiana I have been struggling with blogging... I guess with knitting too... other things just seem to be getting in the way...

However I did complete the corner to corner baby blanket for my cousin's new arrival - Tyler! He was born on Halloween! :) I mailed it off and they should have received it so no problems showing you the finished object.

I used Paton's pixie yarn and didn't love how it knit up but it was nice and soft - which I know my cousin will like!

The photos aren't great but here are a couple!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Thinking of Home.

September 30

My first full day at Hirsch was interesting to say the least. Part of my team is feeling sick and I am hoping that I have avoided the illness. Somehow I managed to avoid the one at Southern that sent a number of staff to the hospital or home. Some of the team I am working with is super funny - I just keep laughing and laughing. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I am ready to leave - some moments I really want to go home - I am exhausted and cranky and moody, other times I am wanting to stay here and keep working and meeting people. It's odd to think about going home - I am not quite sure what it will be like. Relaxing or stressful? How will I react? I want to keep the mind frame I have developed while I have been here - so much of what I worry about when I am home is things that are just trivial and not at all worth worrying about.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Stop! No - Don't End!

September 29

Sometimes I want this experience to be over and other times I don't want it to end. Today was frustrating, sad and I laughed the hardest that I have laughed during my whole trip. I have mixed feelings about my new assignment at Hirsch - it is SO huge- maybe 1,200 people - and today it was VERY chaotic. I sort of liked the cosines of Southern and the way it was possible to be in touch with everything that was going on. This shelter is different, there are clothing rooms for men, women and children, a baby food room, a baby supplies room, toiletries room and a shoe hallway. The floor of the arena is mapped out with the streets of New Orleans in tape and people have pretty cozy bed setups - including some people with two air mattresses or actual mattress sets. But grated they are VERY close to each other.

It is weird to not know any of these clients and to fell as if i had gotten comfortable and familiar with the others but not to know these people at all. Just in the few days we were at Southern things had become predictable and normal in some ways. You knew who would smile at you and chat with you. Who might be cranky. Which kids would listen and mind and who would not. Familiar. Now back to the unfamiliar.

So much of this experience has been about that - stretching and moving beyond the unfamiliar- trying new things and meeting new people. Opening myself up to new experiences. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to grow and change. To meet people and see things that I hadn't before.

Powerful and Amazing.

September 28

Teenagers, children, babies and adults. My heart aches for them all. The sweetness of these people and the pain they have been through. Surviving and trying to thrive. Such difficult circumstance. Poverty, stress, racism just to name three.

We closed the shelter today. It was happy and sad. I didn't anticipate completely the way this would touch my heart. The way each client would climb in and take hold. The faces of them all etched in my memory. Today I helped to put wrist bands on our residents- almost 200 of them that were left. We didn't realize there were still that many. To make sure everyone was on a bus and that we had enough busses we had them line up with their families and get a wristband. My helper and I wrote the names of each one and made sure everyone had a wristband on. There was something about this process that really touched me. Literally and figuratively. I put a wristband on each and every person leaving the shelter - my fingers on their skin. Human to human. Young and old. Yet again this experience reminding me that these people have gone through so much. They are completely deserving of happiness and were completely undeserving of having this terrible situation happen to them. We are all one. This could have as easily been me or anyone else in this situation. And also reminding me how many factors - poverty above all - have kept them in these shelters. Painful to think of.

This day also had it's stressful times (how many busses?!?) but they seem trivial in comparison to the goodbyes. Aside from the clients I will miss the Shreveport Police and the National Guard. Had more conversations with them as the days went on and it was nice to see them more as people not just enforcers. People willing to give up things like their time and to help like we are. Kind people who go out of their way. So much of this was so powerful and amazing.

Another day...

September 27

Tired again. On hold forever to change my plane ticket. The day was better emotionally for me but very stressful for our clients. So much different information about when they will be going back to the Cajundome. They really want to return "home." Also people are decompensating more. Becoming increasingly mentally ill - or really it is just becoming more evident. This is a challenge but one that I feel I can somewhat easily deal with. Two of our supervisors out processed today. This was sad for me. They were both a pleasure to work with. I learned so much from B - I really appreciated her patient attitude and the way she dealt with clients. I wish I had that much patience! I continued to play with kids in the shelter, met new people and became more attached to the old ones!

Filled up Emotionally.

September 26

By the end of the day I am filled up emotionally. I start out the day find but after hours of having to say no or having to deal with angry people I just want to cry, decompress with someone and relax. The challenging part is that I few like few people can understand aside from other Red Cross workers and maybe my friends who do mental health. This makes it more difficult to call home and talk to people who are "regular" friends. Some daily things seem so trivial in comparison to things that are going on here. Although I haven't specifically been focused on mental health issues the whole time just hearing stories and talking to people can be pretty overwhelming.

Today I met a man who had lived in his attic for 2 days in New Orleans before he was rescued by a boat. He has much more going on in his life as well with his health especially but he was determined not to let the experience get him down. The day was also frustrating dealing with supply issues - or rather ways to distribute things to kids. Everyone began to argue and want more and more but also wouldn't take care of the things they got. A total mess and upsetting in general to me. But I am trying to put this all in perspective.

A long day...

September 25

Everyone was on edge today. CRANKY! EMOTIONAL! I cried twice. Bureaucracy is frustrating from supervisors on different paths of thinking to figuring out when people will be able to return home. Today was also a day of connecting with people - really caring about their needs and experiences. I spent so much time wishing that they didn't have to suffer. Enjoying the diversity of the clients but saddened bye it too. Having a chance to use my mental health skills with adults who have major mental illness. All of the kids were full of energy and things were challenging to keep under control when playing. It was a day of chicken bones, evil twins, laundry fighting and tired feet.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rita is Coming.

September 24

We avoided a hurricane in Shreveport but sure experienced a big storm! This morning I went with my coworker to Walmart for supplies incase we got stuck in the shelter for a night (or more) and the generator was on as the power was out. The automatic doors there were not so automatic. There were no more flashlinghts and water was going fast. It was pouring down rain and it was super windy. My coworker had to get gas in the car and when she got back in she was SOAKED - wet hair, wet clothes, barely able to see out of her glasses!

The kids were getting antsy today. They couldn't go outside at all due to the bad weather and they so wanted to play. So I worked with some other volunteers to set up a playroom for the kids. It was somewhat of a challenge as many of our supplies had accidentally been diverted to a different shelter but someone had done some shopping and we had books, puzzles, a few games, crayons, markers and paper and were good to go. A couple of parents and teens volunteered to help and this made all the difference in the world. Thank God for those two moms!

The fact that Rita is moving through seemed to be increasing the anxiety for some. I am guessing that especially for the kids the memory of Katrina was sparked intensely by hearing about Rita. Also some of these clients have family that may be near where Rita is hitting hardest. A very difficult situation.

Although we came prepared we didn't have to sleep at the gym as Rita wasn't a hurricane when she got to us. We headed home (i.e. the hotel) to sleep in our beds after an exhausting day.


September 23

I think the shelter is holding about 360 people now and it is a definitely amazing experience to be a part of. I spent the day dealing with many issues from crowd control, organizing supplies, getting clients blankest, playing with kids, pushing wheelchairs, setting up TV's and talking with clients. I heard stories from and about many people. Families who tried to drive out of New Orleans and but got stuck, stories about the flood water burning the skin of people who were trying to stay out of harm's way in their attic, wading through waist high water in New Orleans and people doing things they really knew they wouldn't do in a typical situation.

Tension is running high amongst the clients. It is really hard for people to have to leave the place they were feeling at home in when they have already had to leave their real homes. It is interesting to see the very few Caucasian and Hispanic people mixed in with a majority of African Americans. Much different racially than the mix in Seattle. But kids are playing and families are talking and doing laundry. All this and we are sitting here in a gym waiting for a hurricane to hit. We may have to spend the night in the shelter because of Rita.

Dinner was one of the highlights of the day today people were very frustrated about others cutting in line and being disrespectful. Hearing that beginning tomorrow meals were going to be organized by the National Guard and the Police due to the chaos that ensued this evening. It is amazing to have the national guard in the shelter. There presence is beginning to feel normal to me which in some ways is sad. One child told me that he didn't like that the military have such big guns with them - he said it made him worry they were going to start shooting. I assured him they wouldn't and that they were here for the protection of all of us - not to hurt us. I wonder how many of the kids worry about that?

Setting Up...

September 22

Setting up a shelter for 350 is amazing work. I did wake up at 6:30 this morning and spent most of the day doing nothing (except working on Clapotis). Then when about three or four PM hit there was action! We went over to Southern University and helped to set up the shelter - basically from scratch.
We helped to put cots together in a large gymnasium. Supposedly there were about 260 cots there with bedding. Most of the cots were awful - metal poles and canvas about six inches off the ground - just like the one in the picture but ours were blue. Imagine sleeping on that for even one night! They were also a great challenge to put together! However there were lots of enthusiastic volunteers there to help and we set that place up in just a few hours!

At the beginning of the evening the plans were that we were setting up a long term shelter for people who were evacuating from Rita but then three hours later the plans changed. Now the Cajundome in Lafayette had to evacuate it's evacuees and some of them would be coming to our shelter (they had so many people in Cajundome they had to be spread among many different smaller shelters).

I didn't stay the whole night but did stay for part of the arrival. It was amazing to see people coming in. Families and single people. So many children. All had to go through a metal detector and the line to get in stretched down the sidewalk form the door. So many people. Now we just wait for the storm.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


September 21 -

Today was a frustrating day emotionally. It is hard to be here ready and willing to do something but waiting for the organizational structure to take over so we can actually be deployed to a location to start working. That and hurricane Rita is brewing - they are unsure where she is coming so they are hesitant to send us South. The stress of just waiting got to me and made me want to connect with friends back home and in other places - but some of these conversations were challenging ones.

So like I said today was one more day of waiting and travel. It seemed like mostly we drove - went to headquarters (took about an hour to drive 8 miles in Baton Rouge) and then finally got deployed to Shreveport, LA - this city that I had not heard of before is in North Western Louisiana. It is a smaller city with a much smaller Red Cross office and tomorrow they will likely have four different shelters operating. However it seems as if things are changing by the minute so there is not definite plan to where I will be working. Rita now seems to be a category 5 with winds of 165 MPH. People in Louisiana and Texas are being evacuated and moved North. Busses were stationed at a rest stop we drove by on the way to Shreveport - AT LEAST 50 of them - all waiting and empty to move in and help people get to safety. A very odd site. People who have already been displaced are going to have to move again. Traumatic for all involved.

Tonight I went to dinner and to Barnes & Noble with two coworkers. We had a good time. Earlier we had flipped a coin to decide who would be going where - I "lost" but who knows what difference that even makes. I do know that I will likely be staying in Shreveport but that is about all I know - that and the fact that I get to seep in a bed while I am here - yippee! :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Knitting Clapotis in a Staff Shelter

September 20-

My day began with waking up early and getting some breakfast with my roommate. We had yummy Southern food and I even ate the grits. After that we waited and waited for a taxi to take us to the Greyhound terminal. Finally we got there and then waited some more for the bus. It was EXTREMELY hot outside and all the seats were taken inside. Plus there were four of us with a ton of luggage. We took turns waiting by the luggage, going inside to get cool air and standing in the shade to prevent heatstroke. The bus was not on time. We had a chance to chat with some locals and it was interesting as we were totally in the minority racially. (This was the case throughout 95% of my time in LA). I kept worrying because we seemed to be the only Red Cross workers waiting for that bus despite the fact that the three men I met the night before should have been there too. Finally the bus arrived and I slept my way to Baton Rouge.

Getting our luggage once there was an adventure. It took a long time but I am not certain how long. People were getting hot and impatient and begun grabbing stuff out from underneath the bus. This did not make the greyhound staff happy. Finally the luggage was collected and we added another Red Crosser to our group. We hooked up with another guy who was trying to get to Baton Rouge Headquarters as well and phoned for three taxis. We waited, and waited, and waited. Waited for almost two hours. OUTSIDE. IN THE SUN. In almost ONE HUNDRED DEGREE weather. (Thank god my mother made me get that sun hat!) The taxis did not come. At least we were enjoying one another's company and there was a place to get cold drinks and take turns sitting in the AC again.

Then we saw a bus pull up - a fancy bus. A bus with TV's and AC and comfy seats. Best of all someone was getting off - only one person. One of our group members, Kate, headed over to the driver to talk to him about giving us a ride. I swear this woman can work wonders because next thing you know we are riding in style. Six of us in AC on an empty bus. Turns out this bus was a FEMA bus that was being used to transport evacuees. The driver was awesome and used his GPS (how cool) device to transport us right to RC headquarters. He wouldn't accept any payment at all except for thanks and a hug.

Red Cross Headquarters in Baton Rouge is AMAZING - it is in an old WalMart and has everything you need to check in or "in process" and run disaster operations. There are different areas for each thing - Medical, Spiritual, Mental Health, Sheltering, Feeding, Communications, Rental Cars, Cell Phones, Snacks etc. - each area is designated by a huge sign hanging above it from the ceiling or on the wall behind the area. I had a picture ID made, got a staff card (the thing you use to pay for meals, gas etc) and went to a general orientation as well as a Mental Health orientation. At the general orientation they kept stressing that we needed to drink water as it is extremely hot. Mental health orientation was somewhat unexciting as we found that they did not yet know where we would be going. Told us to come back tomorrow at 8AM and sent us off to the staff shelter.

I've been told that this is the "deluxe" shelter. It has showers, AC, cots and food. There are many nice people staying her and hosting us. We had some dinner at the Outback Steakhouse and there were interesting conversations and laughter shared between the four of us. I met one counselor from NY, another from Renton, WA and a third from Ithaca, NY. I didn't realize it that night but Mr. Ithaca was to become an instant Red Cross Friend (Something about this situation makes you bond quickly with others.) I took a shower and tried to sleep on the cot from hell. Somehow it seemed as if there was no place for my arms to go and I wished I could just remove them for the night. I was thankful I had ear plugs and a sleeping mask (Heidi you rock!) So that I could block out the light from the gigantic clock (we were in a gymnasium) and the snoring from the loudest snorer ever who happened to be at the cot next to me. I slept but not soundly. Wondered what the next day would hold.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Expect the Unexpected

I am not sure of the best way to tell the story of my time in Louisiana so I have decided to go back day by day to the journal I wrote and share my thoughts with you...

Monday Sept 19th-
My mother waits for me as I go through security. Of course I get in line behind a woman who is telling me repeatedly about how she has not flown for the last seventeen years - and her daughter just got married yesterday - of course she is on my plane. I manage to dodge her and slip into a different screening line.

From the airport in Seattle I phoned the DR phone number I was given hoping to find that I would have a place to go to when I arrive in Lafayette. The call finally goes through I enter my information and "We're sorry that number is not valid" is the response I get. Panic sets in. I phone repeatedly. You may ask why - this is because if I do not get instructions from this number I will arrive in Lafayette with NOWHERE to go. No place to sleep. Nothing. I try again and again. The number is still incorrect. I to keep the panic to a minimum while eating my Dish Delish sandwich in the fancy remodeled SeaTac airport.

I board the plane and while onboard continue my calling. My friend Tasha is trying to email Red Cross for me, I have phoned the Seattle Chapter only to get a recording that says not to leave a message there but I do anyway. My phone rings! The Seattle chapter calls and tells me that sometimes the phone is being reset and I should try again later. I feel a bit better. They also ask me who I am and just how did I get to be deployed (lovely that national and local coordinate together). Plane ride is uneventful - I did get some knitting done and I swear I was sitting next to two strippers who were traveling to Houston.

In Houston I eat a somewhat disgusting dinner of Uno's pizza. Why are all the restaurants closed at 7 PM here??? I do have success with the phone number - it directs me to the "Cajundome" when I arrive in Lafayette. I have no idea what the Cajundome is. Once at the airport in Lafayette I meet three men who are also going to the Cajundome. Thank god my luggage arrives - all 61 lbs of it!

While walking out to take the shuttle to the Cajundome I meet three women who are Red Cross volunteers and are heading to a hotel. A HOTEL! They suggest that I come with them. Now I am not a dummy - three other female traveling companions and a hotel OR three strange men and a place called the Cajundome that sounds like it has cots. I choose - the HOTEL. We arrive at the hotel and find they have two rooms left. I get my own bed with a wonderful roomie from CA. I charged the ipod and make some phone calls. Enjoy the AC as it is HOT here!

At the front desk we spoke with a man who told us there are seventy nurses staying in this hotel working to take care of people at a local hospital . He tells us that this is the third hotel he has been in since Katrina. He says things are better than they had been when Katrina first hit "At least they aren't walking over bodies anymore." Oh My. I don't know what to expect.

My roommate and I have a good chat before sleeping. We find out that we need to get up early so that we can go to the greyhound terminal to take a bus to Baton Rouge where the Red Cross headquarters are located. Sleep feels good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Travel Plans Confirmed

Hello out there in Blogland!

I wanted to let you all know the most recent developments in my Red Cross Adventure. I just got off the phone with the travel agent and have reservations to leave on Monday the 19th to fly into Lafayette, LA (through George Bush airport of course). From there I will somehow get to the "staging area" in Baton Rouge and then they can send me on to somewhere, anywhere - yep anywhere in Louisiana!

I have no idea what the conditions will be like where I am staying - the Red Cross says there may or may not be power, running water, etc. I also really don't know what I will be doing. It will be counseling of some sort but who knows if it will be with kids, adults, or whoever shows up. In the orientation phone call I had the other day they stated that in the places they are serving there have been literally hundreds of people - like 600 - who need to meet with a counselor!

I will be returning on Monday the 3rd of October (sorry Mom I'm missing your birthday!) and will go back to work shortly after that. One very good thing is that my employer agreed to let me take the two weeks off without using any vacation time. I didn't expect this at all and was very surprised and glad!

Currently I am feeling exhausted, excited and nervous. I so want to do this but almost can't believe I am really going. As the day gets closer it feels more and more surreal.

Well, that's all the updates for now! I am off to bed!

Monday, September 12, 2005

I think I will be away for a bit....

Today I got a call from the Red Cross that I will be going to Baton Rouge for two weeks to help with counseling for the Hurricane Katrina survivors. I am not yet sure when I am leaving as the message they left was semi confusing, but I anticipate it will be later this week. They told me that the conditions are "extreme hardship" meaning I could encounter anything - not sure if I will stay in a hotel, a shelter or ???? , may have electricity and running water but then again may not! All of that and the weather is in the 90's!

Although the conditions sound awful and I am sure the whole trip will be rather stressful I am extremely excited to be going. I am glad that my education and training are giving me a chance to do something to help some of the many people who experienced the awful trauma of the hurricane.

I have no idea what Internet access will be like on my trip but I will for sure let all of you know when I arrive home safe and sound.

Take Care Everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

SP 6!!!!!

Some of this may be a repeat from SP 5 but I did edit! :)

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I am an self proclaimed yarn snob. I definitely prefer high quality and natural fibers and rarely touch Red Heart or Lion Brand. I am not opposed to novelty yarns though - it's not like I would ONLY let my precious hands touch cotton or wool.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Spin - No
Crochet - Yes

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Not really.

4. How long have you been knitting?
It blends together.... two years or so?!?

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do but I will get back to ya on the link!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love things that are naturally made with real ingredients and not fakey perfumes. I guess my favorite scents at the moment are lavender and vanilla.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?Yup! I like all sorts of sweet stuff... Lately I have been having a hankering for gummy candies and red licorice (but I HATE black licorice). Chocolate is ok but for some reason I just LOVE marzipan!

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I recently bought some stuff to try to make my own beaded stitch markers but I haven't had a chance to get to it yet. I want to try dying my own yarn with kool aid but haven't gotten around to that yet either.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)I love music! All kinds! Folk, Bluegrass, World Music, some Country, Hip Hop, Classical, Jazz.... you name it I probably like some of it. Currently I have been listening to The Duhks, The Ditty Bops, Jill Scott, Joss Stone, Mark Bursard, Jack Johnson, Madeline Peyroux, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Carbon Leaf but who knows when you will catch me throwing on the Indigo Girls, Lauryn Hill, Dixie Chicks, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Diggable Planets, Bob Marley, Ani Difranco or.....

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to like Blues and Purples. I think I am a more of a bright color person than pastels. I am also trying to embrace the fact that I LOVE PINK!

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I recently ended a seven year relationship and am living alone with my two cats, Cider and Dickens. I am enjoying the single life (but not always loving dating) as I haven't really had a chance to do that as an adult. I live near both of my parents and live in the city in which I grew up.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
My dreams include having a successful career, expanding my private practice, having a partner I love and enjoy coming home to, traveling to new and exciting places, having a family and living a long and happy life.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Anything soft! There are so many things I have not tried yet. I have knit with a lot of Cascade 220 and I enjoy that but feel like there is more I should be trying. I like alpaca and enjoyed using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino when I made Miss Dashwood. There are so many new things I want to try!

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Anything with too much man made stuff in it or that splits easily.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Trying to find patterns I like, wanting to try new yarns, thinking of projects I can make that won't take me forever to finish, looking for cute sweaters that work on plus sized people, wishing for a really cool way to store my needles and a neat knitting bag.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Felted stuff - especially bags. I would like to knit more sweaters and stuff but finding patters for plus size chicks that are cute is challenging!

17. What are you knitting right now?
Clapotis, a cabled scarf (still), and a baby blanket.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
Ick!Won't the trend ever end?!?

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I really like circular but am interested in trying some of the really nice pretty wooden ones that are available.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

21. Are you a sock knitter?
No! I gave up! I have at least one pair that is somewhere unfinished!

22. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me when I was very young but then I relearned again when I took a class at my LYS and was hooked. Funny thing was I had gone to a psychic (I never go to those things) who said she pictured me taking a class in something and I decided that she meant I should go take a knitting class!

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Hmm lets see... so old I can't remember! I think it must be the chenille flower wash cloth I can't seem to get to work right. :(

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I don't know that I really have one... However my secret pal from secret pal 5 liked Hello Kitty a lot and I have to admit I think I am starting to like her as well.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Cookbooks maybe... I also have a little seashell collection I hope to do something with some day!

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I am not sure I am dying for any of them.... Maybe 200 Crochet Blocks or Cozy Crochet (I wish I could tell if the patterns in here are cute!)

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another?
That is a good question! I am sure there are but I will need to do some research.... Will update when I get back from Baton Rouge!

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
LOL I have no idea! I wear a size 10 or 11 shoe.... and I prefer socks that are super thin... So not ones that I would knit! If I was gonna knit socks for myself they would be more likely to be used as slippers around the house so I would make them out of something nice and warm. But then again maybe you can knit thin socks!?!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans and other areas....

As many of my fellow knitting bloggers have expressed I am feeling much sadness about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it has caused. Don't even get me started on my feelings about the lack of response I think our government is making at this time. However, I wanted to take a moment to remind all of you to hop on over to the Red Cross website (you can get there through the banner on the right too!) and make a donation! Any amount helps. I made mine today and am glad I did! Also take a look at what Margene and Susan have set up! A very cool way to get us knitters involved in making donations! :) I leave you with two more pictures that I especially liked from my trip in 2004 to New Orleans.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Crumpets - the Late Night View....

Yes, I did take this picture in my bathroom - But I just couldn't wait to put up a pic of Crumpets! The party is tomorrow (I had my weekends mixed up) and I just finished her. She's a bit big for Miss Tamzin who will eventually be wearing her... But I know she will grow into her Crumpets! I'm not sure about the elastic inside and I rewove the ribbon about four times trying to find just the right look! I am so happy that she is done! Crumpets was a fun yet challenging knit - I learned bunches while making her. This may be the most complex project I have done thus far! :)

Technical specs: I used almost three skeins of Cotton Ease in Candy Blue. Did the picot cast on from Vogue Knitting (Boy was that fun - Not So Much!!!), made adjustments in the ties, and used more beads than the pattern called for - not sure how many but maybe 1 and a half times the amount. I swatched and then cast on for the 1 year old size - but as the bodice came together I realized this was going to fit a two year old! I adjusted the length to compensate. Lined the bodice with elastic. If I made this again I would possibly use a smaller size needle as she seems a bit loosely knit. I would also buy a longer length of ribbon than the pattern calls for. I'm not sure I'd use the Cotton Ease again as it was VERY splitty on the needles. Note to self - if you make this again make the ties way way longer than you think they need to be! PS I never knew I could LOVE - I mean LOVE my iron! I touched the dress up a bit with the iron and it made all the difference in the world - especially on the crochet edging on the bottom!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

RIP Six Feet Under

I can't believe it is over. I was mourning the passing of this, my all time favorite TV show, as I watched the final episode tonight. This got me to thinking..... Why do I care so much about this TV show ending??? Then I realized - this show has been there during an interesting time in my life. I have watched it from ages 25-30; times where I have personally changed greatly. I have switched jobs, opened a business, ended a long term relationship and come to understand many things about myself as a person overall. This simple TV show has always touched me emotionally - made me laugh and made me cry. However it is now ending. An ending of a time in my life but also moving into something new..... I wonder what life will hold?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Plodding Along

I haven't been in the best of moods lately (major understatement) and that's been effecting my knitting progress somewhat. Clapotis is a bit further along but not really worth another picture yet. However this is the Corner to Corner Baby Blanket that I am working on for a special little someone

It's knitting up pretty quickly and it's interesting to watch the way the yarn is making patterns on it's own as I knit. I am not sure that I would do this exact pattern again as it is a bit boring - maybe just a tad to easy for my taste at the moment.

Crumpets has been blocked (hah - my version of blocking that is!) But I am still working on the elastic. I will for sure take a picture of her before she is given away this Saturday! :)

Finally, I am excited on the secret pal front - I have one more giftie to send my pal - and this one is the big one... I am looking forward to seeing what she thinks of my choices. I have been loving how my pal keeps commenting on my blog - it definitely makes me feel special! :) At the moment I am trying to decide if I should do Secret Pal 6 but my mind isn't sure yet.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Beginnings of Clapotis

To me that title sounds a little like a STD... But no Clapotis is not an STD she's a beautiful drop-stitch wrap!! My Clapotis is being made out of KnitPicks Shimmer in Happy Dance and she looks a little bit more orangeish here than she does in real life. So far it's an enjoyable pattern and a fun yarn to work with. I do kind of wish that I could have used another yarn like Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb or Noro Silk Garden but since this baby is gonna cost me around twenty bucks you can't complain too much!

In other news my cats are shedding a ton due to the hot weather we have been having. Despite the fact that I had brushed Cider on Monday the hair was flying off him again by Wednesday. After I brushed him I somehow ended up flattening the hair out and this was the result:

I can't decide if it is more of a hat, a Yarmulke or a Toupe. My mother thinks it should have ties somewhat like Crumpets. Even though I was talking with KE about knitting with cat fur at the Yarn Harlot's book signing I think making icords out of cat fur is a bit of an adventure that I am not yet ready to tackle.

Oh and yes - even though I arrived late and it was incredibly hot upstairs the Yarn Harlot's reading was wonderful! I laughed a lot and made some progress on Clapotis, ate yummy cake and drank lemonade and had a delightful chat with KE and her husband and met Stephanie and her sign my book. Also I found out I was famous... For my toilet picture.... At least I now definitely know that I have blog readers! I may be famous for a toilet picture but it's a start! :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How Glad Am I...

That I am paying astronomical monthly dues to my condo association and a sky high mortgage payment to live next to a neighbor whose porch looks like this?

Yes, you are correct, it is a toilet. A toilet set out on her porch. How lovely. Bonus - it is currently being used as a table for her ashtray. Beautiful.

Monday, August 01, 2005

My Secret Pal is Psychic and Canadian Eh?

(Trying to fight the screaming associated with the post I just wrote getting deleted due to my pop up blocker) I can't recreate it at the moment - just can't do it. So let's just say ~

My secret pal sent me way cool stuff. A hand knit scarf, a nifty magazine, some cute sticky notes and three balls of Patons Grace in Azure. My pal is psychic because I had been wanting some cotton yarn to do some crocheting but couldn't bring myself to indulge in this treat. I was also excited to see my pal is Canadian - I don't think I have ever received an Air Mail package before :)

On the knitting front - Crumpets is done but needs to be blocked - pictures will follow soon! I have begun Clapotis and I need to start a baby blanket for my cousin and her boyfriend who are expecting a little boy in Nov. I picked up some Patons Pixie yarn but am now worried about using it as it is discontinued and some people have said they hated working with it. But it is fluffy and cute and my cousin LOVES soft fluffy stuff! Now I just need to find a pattern for it.... Any suggestions???

By the way - Stitch and Pitch was fun! :) I made a bunch of progress finishing Crumpets and the night was beautiful!!! I now think all sporting events should have a night like this! :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Home Sweet Home.....

Miss Dashwood was a hit! I had a great time at my friend's baby shower for her soon to arrive home little girl. She and her husband are adopting and they have been waiting to go over and pick up their little bundle of joy for months now. I am very excited for them! Plus the whole thing gave me hope that if I someday can't birth babies it would be just as awesome to adopt.

Visiting people's homes always gets me thinking and this last weekend I was the houses of two friends I have not been to before. I came home from the second one thinking "my condo is a dump - why doesn't it look like their house???" I continued to ponder this thought and realized that for some reason whenever I go over to a home that looks like it popped out of the Pottery Barn I become insanely jealous. I want that furniture, that paint, those curtains - even the f***ing hand towels! I start thinking all of my stuff is crap and that I could never possibly be as stylish as aforementioned person.

This time as I was green with envy I tried to gain some insight into my feelings. I didn't figure things out completely but I did make some progress! I realized that I had also really loved the style of the first person's home I visited this weekend. Funny thing is - these two homes were wildly different in decor and style. Pottery Barn vs. Eclectic Woo Woo with a touch of Pier One and Archie McPhee's. I think I even felt more at home in the Eclectic Woo Woo house. But for some damn reason I feel like my life should be Pottery Barn.... and it just isn't! Somehow I now know that I need to come to enjoy my Eclectic Minimally Woo Woo Hand Me Down and Antique Comfy Cosy Condo - I couldn't keep up with the cleaning the Pottery Barn would require anyway! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

She's finished!

Miss Dashwood is finally finished! Just in time to be given away tomorrow! Above you can see her without the earflaps down.

Here she is with her ear flaps down for extra cold days:

And the sweet sweet buttons I found that were just perfect for securing her earflaps when they aren't needed!

Hopefully little Torrin can wear this hat for many of the cold winter days ahead after she comes home to her new parents!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Miss Dashwood

Here she is... or at least most of what is done thus far. I have also finished the earflaps but I became so frustrated with the ties that I stopped and did the finishing on the hat and the earflaps (a definite sign of frustration when I am WANTING to sew in the ends!) She wasn't too difficult to knit. This picot cast on was sooooo much easier than the one in the Vogue Knitting book. I know there are a few mistakes in her but I am hoping a non knitters eye will not notice them. ;) Now if I can just motivate myself to make those ties. I frogged the first one two or three times already and considered I cord but I really want to do the one from the pattern because I think it is pretty.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What Do You Knit When...

You are on a cruise/beach vacation?

I am SO EXCITED!!! Two nights ago my good friend from High School Jill and I booked a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America! We got a pretty good deal and are going to be visiting some wonderful places and I am especially happy because when we are cruising Dec 4-11 in the Caribbean with beautiful warm weather it will likely be cold and rainy in Seattle. You can see the places we are going over there on the left - I haven't been to any of them before so I am really thrilled!

We will be sailing on the ms Westerdam in a room with a balcony! I have cruised before - three times to be exact - but never to such cool places on a nice cruise line with a fabulous friend and an AWESOME room! I am really really excited (if you can't tell)! The ship even has a Culinary Arts Center which is super neat because I love cooking and I am hoping I can watch or participate in something fun there as well as spending some time (and $$ of course) in the Spa. I swear this is going to be my dream vacation! :)

So now I am already thinking - what do I bring to knit? I know we will be spending a good amount of time hanging out by the pool and relaxing on beaches when in port - most sane people would read but I figure I can knit! Can't I? I know it might be messy so maybe it isn't a good idea but there has to be a way... Some project I can take with me to enjoy while I am sailing and sunning.... Any suggestions????

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Crumpets!

Here's the progress to date! The skirt is simple but taking a loooooong time! I am ready for her to be finished! As I was knitting away in a staff meeting this morning I realized two things 1) Knitting is like blood pressure medication or valium when in a meeting that is stressful 2) Holy Crap! I need to get started on Miss Dashwood because it needs to be done for a baby shower I am going to on the 24th! I really hope the pattern isn't too difficult otherwise I will need to run out and buy a gift! Ok I am off to cast on.... that darn picot thing again....

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I have readers!!!! (and crumpets progress)

OMG! I was looking at my blog today for some reason and I noticed there were comments that hadn't arrived in my email box! How thrilled am I to know that there are really people who even looked at it besides my secret pal! (Not that I don't appreciate your comments SP!)

Aside from taking the photos of my stash additions and my cat Cider, I haven't delved into them yet. I am still working on crumpets - no major errors to report however the yarn got SUPER tangled the other night so I had to cut part of it and then spend hours winding it into a ball. I am a bit worried that all that bead stringing is going to have to be redone from my cutting but at least the yarn is usable again. (Note to self - NEVER buy cheap yarn again).

I was having another thought today as I was doing my laundry. Why is it that Knitters and Druggies have a "Stash"? Do other people with hobbies have a "Stash"? I have never heard my friends who are into gardening, or reading, or cooking refer to their "Stash" of plants, books or cooking utensils. Knitters however are a different breed - we hoard our yarn, frequently are "jonesing" for a new fiber, ohh and ahh over the different options we can purchase much as one might be thrilled in a "coffee shop" in Amsterdam if they were a pothead! Now maybe I am naive and other there are other hobbies where people are as fanatic about their "Stash" as knitters. However I think I know one or two people who seem as addicted to knitting or yarn as one might be to crack! (Not naming any names here) :) Maybe we need a new saying - something like "Rugs, not Drugs."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

This Week's Additions to my Stash!

I wish I could say that my stash gets such wonderful additions each week, but unfortunately that is not the case! However, aside from the sale mentioned below I have added to my stash in a couple other ways this week!

First, my order from knitpicks finally arrived! I only say finally because it felt like it took forever - but it was still within the allotted time they quoted me for my free shipping. The Shimmer that arrived from them is beautiful and oh-so-soft! It will look great in my Clapotis and I am chomping at the bit wanting to start! However first I have to figure out how to wind it into a ball..... Any suggestions?

Secondly, I ordered some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran from Knit2 Purl2. I was SUPER happy with the fact that I got it on sale AND it arrived VERY fast! It came in maybe three days! I would definitely order from them again!

I am so excited about all of these yummy new additions I just have to show them to you one more time!!! (But this time with my cat too!)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The insanity of a Yarn Sale!

Today I had a very interesting knitting day. I woke up early (for me) and drove on over to Bellevue to visit a sale at what used to be Skeins Ltd. and will soon be Hilltop East. Although I have never been to the original Hilltop I the yarn and needles were on sale for 40% off so I figured I had to go! I arrived at approximately 10:15 AM - the sale was supposed to start at 10- and Oh the INSANITY! There were no parking places left and the store was PACKED! This place was the equivalent of Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving for knitters... There were people sitting on the floor looking at yarn, people crowding around yarn, people with multiple bags of yarn and luckily not too many rude people with yarn! :) I scored some great purchases (of course the stuff I was looking for was mostly gone but that didn't stop me from picking up other things) and then spent almost THREE HOURS in line to pay for said purchases. Yes, you heard me correctly - THREE HOURS!!!! The line snaked throughout the store and even though the store isn't that big it took forever! I could have just done all my shopping while standing in line to pay! By the end of the shopping extravaganza I was tired, cranky, my feet hurt and I was starving (I now know to NEVER head to a yarn store sale without eating breakfast first). However I had picked up patters for a buck each (score!) and two sets of Addi's, some DPN's as well as Manos del Uruguay, Cascade 220, Crystal Palace Squiggle, Classic Elite Bam Boo and one solitary skein of Noro Kureyon - all for 40% off!!!! Amazing! I am not sure what I am going to make with it all but that is half of the fun! I am eager to see what the store will look like in it's reincarnation and give kudos to the friendly staff for their hard work they did today! :)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

11 Things I have learned so far from Crumpets

1) The Vogue Knitting picot cast on is a b****, but it stays intact if you have to frog the part you have knit so far.

2) It is best not to work on a complicated project at 1 AM.

3) When working on a complicated project at 1AM ALWAYS, ALWAYS check off the rows on your pattern after you knit them.

4) When working on a complicated project before 1AM check off the rows of your pattern after you knit them.

5) If knitting after 1AM refer to rules 3 and 4.

6) Knitting is a way to learn patience.

7) Be careful what you ask for - you just might get it.

8) If you aren't' a patient person but you think you should work on becoming more patient you will encounter something that really tests your patience (like knitting).

9) If you care about the person you are knitting the object for that tests your patience when you mess it up you will frog it and learn patience instead of just going on with it looking all messed up.

10) Start projects WAY WAY in advance of when you need to finish them.

11) Don't forget to keep track of what row you are on when you are knitting (Check it off!!!!)

My poor pathetic Crumpets before frogging. Posted by Hello

Where did I go wrong???? Posted by Hello

Crumpets now Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Workout Knitting?

I never would have thought to compare knitting to a work out - until today. I think I finally finished the picot cast on and that thing was like going to the gym! When I got to the end or close to the end I just kept thinking

Four more... (Almost there)
Three more... (This is hard)
Two more... (I can do it!)
One more.....

Phew! The last one is done! I can breathe easily again!

Now maybe I should go to the real gym! :)

Friday, June 24, 2005

You Know You're From Seattle When...

You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian

You feel guilty throwing an aluminum can in the trash.

You use the words "sun break" and know what it means.

You know more than 10 words to describe a cup of coffee.

You know what a dry cappachino is.

You obey all traffic laws EXCEPT "keep right except to pass."

You know at least eight people who work for either Microsoft or Boeing.

You invite twice as many people as you really want to a party since only half will actually show up.

You know what Lutefiske is.

You personally know someone from Alaska.

You consider floating bridges a pain in the butt, not an engineering marvel.

You know how to pronounce "Sequim", "Puyallup" and "Issaquah."

You have roots in Oregon, Idaho or Montana, but wanted a high paying job.

You've tried to get a job in Alaska, especially a summer job only.

You think skiing always means being covered from head to toe, on snow or water.

You know at least three Microsoft burnouts, of which two are millionaires.

You use more than 5 words to order a cup of coffee. "I want to order an unleaded, double, short, skinny, wet cappuccino with a shot of Amaretto please."

A "designer" wardrobe comes from REI, Eddie Bauer, Lands End, and Birkenstock.

You consider it a sunny day if the sun is visible at some point of the day.

You've been "snow" skiing in the RAIN more than in the snow.

When you're discussing rainforests and volcanoes, you're NOT talking about Hawaii.

You Remember the Kingdome

You have tried to forget about WTO

You know how BLUE the skies are here compared to Eastern Washington

The guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing the baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like Phyllis Diller is really a trans named Eva Destruction that used to play with Hole.

Your car insurance costs more because your neighbors don't have any!

Your mayor is straight, 1/2 your friends are gay, the man who delivers your mail has a bumper sticker that reads "when they pry it from my cold dead fingers....", and your Burger World drive thru order taker was a computer millionaire last week.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Seattle.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cast On... and on and on....

The Crumpets cast on is KILLING me! The cheap yarn is splitting and the picot cast on itself is such a nightmare. I think the child I am making it for is going to be grown before I finish the cast on! Hmmm, maybe I could pay someone to do it for me, or clean their house... or.... I am getting close to getting ready to sell my soul to have this cast on finished. Let's just hope it is the worst part of the project!

Back to casting on........

Friday, June 17, 2005

Crumpets Here We Come!

Ok, Crumpets it is! I headed over to my local Tuesday Morning and picked up six skeins of Cotton Ease in Candy Blue! I downloaded the pattern and am excited to hunt for my needles and begin! I still am wanting to do something for myself... and using KnitPicks yarn but I guess that is on hold for the moment. However I am still wondering... do I choose Clapotis, Cozy or Frill??? Any opinions??????

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I am still working on that darned cable scarf... not working very hard I guess. Meanwhile I have decided I must pick something else to knit. One of the things I am thinking of doing is Clapotis in one of the Shimmer yarns from KnitPicks. The other is Crumpets although this seems a little more complicated to me... and I would have to give it away! :(

I am loving participating in Secret Pal 5! It is a blast to have someone to be surprising and to have someone surprising me! I am currently being challenged though because I would just love to buy her everything she wants but there is no way I can afford that! This makes it more fun to be creative however and to figure out how to really get the most bang for my knitting buck! :)

So many decisions! :)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

One shoe down, one to go! Posted by Hello

Cider in my first Finished Object. Posted by Hello

Unbiased Bag that is no longer. Posted by Hello

Wavy Scarf Gift Posted by Hello

Sophie Bag for Mom Posted by Hello

Tamzin's Sweater Posted by Hello

Dishcloth Posted by Hello