11 April 2017

A reminder... for me...


I am waiting... patiently... well... quasi patiently... well... I'm trying to be patient. I can't share at the moment but I am hoping soon that it will all change and then I promise to sing it from the rooftop.

02 April 2017

My gracious!

What a week it has been. The first week back from a vacation is always hard but this one has seemed abundantly so, for various reasons. Some I can share, some I can share in time, and some I may just need to allow to slip away with time because they don't hold any value - to me or you, as there is no lesson to be learned or shared. They were just moments of nastiness that happen and it is always best to just let them go and not allow them to sink in and become a part of the fabric of your soul.

I had a lovely surprise on Monday this week - an unexpected day off! I must have known that I was going to need an extra to recuperate because I headed in to work at 5 am and did not even notice I wasn't supposed to be there until 7 am. Once I did notice though, I debated for a hot minute as to whether or not I would rescind my PTO or just take it... and I took it. I put Hobbit on the bus and took the day to get the house back in order and just relax. I even inadvertently took a nap!

Tuesday, I received some unfortunate news but that is a message for a different day. Tuesday night is the blessing I want to focus on, and oh what a blessing it was! Hobbit was chosen to deliver her TEDx speech for the school competition. Now, to stress how much of an honor this was just to get to the school competition, let me outline the process really quickly. Each teacher has six classes and from those six classes, they had to chose two students - from their combined student total - to send to the school competition. So out of roughly 150 kids, the teacher could only nominate two to move on to the school competition. Hobbit was one of those two for her Language Arts teacher!

There appeared to be 4 6th graders, 3 7th graders, and 9 8th graders who earned the honor of presenting their speeches. The topic was "Taking a Stand"... and guess what...

My precious baby girl won 1st Place and is on her way to District presentations!
We are so stinking proud of her! One of the judges was a local news producer and she gushed over how poised, elegant, articulate, and fabulous she was. She said that Hobbit just blew everyone else out of the water, she was so magnificent. They said their awe was multiplied even further when they found out she was just in 6th grade! The Cambridge Director (prestigious program where the kids can take classes and work towards college credits from the Cambridge University in Great Britain) came over and asked why she wasn’t in the program and “oh by the way”, she was granted approval for her to go in for 7th grade (apparently unheard of - I overheard that all her teachers, the principal, and assistant principal all wrote letters of recommendations for her!). Her teacher and the assistant principal were fawning all over her after she won, telling her how proud they were of her, and how they knew how awesome she was but even they were gobsmacked over her presentation.

My little girl, who is only 11, beat out kids who were up to 13 years old! The other kids all applauded her and congratulated her. She cried because she hears all the time from us how smart she is (think Sheldon Cooper, that’s her - even down to missing the social queues) but to hear it from everyone else was just amazing to her. She said that maybe she should start believing how smart she is… and she really is… like, the highest you can score on the test for placement into the gifted program is 145… she scored 144 and once she explained her reasoning (in 3rd grade when she was tested), the person understood why she answered the one question as she did which prompted that question to be thrown out of future testing due to her “argument” of it being invalid. Although, being as she is, she’s been targeted by bullies and had a very rough go of it in school which this year has caused some challenges. So needless to say, this win was huge!

Wednesday I just enjoyed having the day off of work. I started a shawl with yarn that my best friend left for me to use. I am going to send it to her when I'm done. I have been working on it off and on, even during church this morning... church, wow... but I'll share that in a few minutes. I will, however, share the progress of the shawl right now though.

The pattern is Henslowe by Beth Kling and the yarn is Unisono by Zitron in colorway 1260.
I am interested to see how this yarn plays out. There is some burgundy in there as well that I just haven't gotten to but I am thinking it will be coming into play here soon when I finish that delicious chocolate brown.

Thursday and Friday were just blurred together for various reasons, some good and some not so good but like I said, I will share in time. To gauge how the day was, it required a lot of the following to help get me through...

I murdered some tea this past week. I got an electric kettle for the office so that helped. Sweet & white for the win, always.
Yesterday, Hobbit came down with a cold so I ended up going to visit my folks solo. Pokey stayed home with her and I got some Mama and Daddy time. The first thing we did...

It's still a little strange not seeing my beautiful blue locks!
I know, crazy right! Where is the blue?!? It's been there for over a year now - yes, a whole year I have rocked blue hair. I know it wasn't a favorite look for my mama or my husband, honestly, but it was something I needed to do for me. It was crazy and daring and did you know that the shade of blue I chose was the same as the ribbon color for social anxiety? I didn't either when I chose but I thought it was super appropriate afterwards. My natural hair color is more of an ash strawberry blonde but I didn't want to bleach my hair again so I went a shade or two darker with "natural light auburn" to make sure that the blue was covered and didn't pop out green. It took one bottle for my hair and two for my blue section but I think overall it looks nice. Just going to take some getting used to again.

Then I got to sit and knit with my mama before I had to leave to get back home. I had made a mistake with my shawl while I was anxiety knitting in Cracker Barrel waiting for my husband to show up on Friday night. I don't know what I did but I managed to make a perfect circular hole in a spot just left of center. I believe I may have knit and pulled it over without actually dropping the stitch. Either way, I couldn't figure out how to fix it so I brought it with me to show my mama who can fix anything.

"Here, you work on mine while I fix yours".
Yep, that's what happened. She handed me her yellow baby sweater and I knit on it while she frogged and picked up all the stitches back to before the mess up. I am not good at picking them back. I can fix a dropped stitch without a challenge but since there was nothing dropped, I was just lost. I was ripping it out slowly, thinking I might could put it back together but she offered so we traded. I love knitting with my mama. It is honestly one of my most favorite parts of any visit... just sitting quietly in the room together, my daddy reading and us doing some kind of handicraft.

That brings me to today.. and church. Man oh man, what a message. You see, I haven't found a church home in town so I started "attending" Lakewood Church. Yes, the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas which is home to Pastor Joel Olsteen. I love his messages and I always walk away refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated for the week. When Pastor Joel is away, Pastor John Gray steps in and man, that man is ate up with the Spirit, let me tell you! I watched service last night and Saturday services are relaxed. The messages are still good and on point but just more relaxed - jeans, etc. Well, I sat down for early service today with my knitting in hand and I was curious if the message was going to be different. It wasn't, actually. It was the same message but interestingly enough, while I did listen to it last night, I actually heard it this morning. As Pastor John said, I am in a moment and it is "the moment before the moment". My moment is coming but this is the moment before the moment when I should work on those little indicator light items so I am right and ready for my moment. Oh yes, I heard him loud and clear - to the point that I had tears in my eyes because he was hitting everything on the head for me. It is amazing what happens when we hear instead of just listen. Have mercy. So I plan on getting right and ready. Realizing it was 90% of it for me. Execution will not be easy but if I stay mindful, I will be alright. I know, it sounds cryptic right now and I am sorry for that but I promise, there will be a time when you will collectively go "oooooohhhhhh, I get it."

So that was my week. I am excited for this week. I really am. I am hopeful, expectant, and passionately positive about the road before me this week. It is mine for the taking and I plan on planting a sign in the middle of it with my name on it. Look out World, here I come!

26 March 2017

Time flies

Today is the last day of my vacation. I got to spend it with my best friend in the universe. She is my family of choice, the sister I never had, and I proudly claim her at any time. You want to know how I know I had a good time - I hardly took any photographs! I was so "in" the moment that I forgot to capture the moments. I did snag a few so I thought I would share them...



























This last one is full of memories. I picked her up from the airport and immediately took her to my favorite yarn shop, Four Purls in Winter Haven, where I had her pick out a skein of Malabrigo so I could make her a hat. She asked if I would make her one so I waited until she was here so she could pick her yarn - Memory 1. Then I spend the first night knitting the band so I wouldn't have to keep up with the pattern, even though it is an easy repeat, while walking around. We sat and talked most of the evening while I worked it - Memory 2. Then we headed to Epcot on her first full day with us where I knit on the hat as we wandered around, something she thought was weird/neat/odd/cool/just me being me. I got half of the body done - Memory 3. The day after Epcot, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom and I did the same thing. Knitting all through the park is just what I do so when she would look at me, I was looking and walking and knitting (without looking which she just thought was magical). I finished the body of the hat that day - Memory 4. The next morning, we drive Hobbit up to spend requested time with Nana. No knitting happened but I did teach her how to crochet by making a granny square! That Friday, we sat around and talked and watched Murphy's Romance. During the movie, I finished the crown of her hat and the pompom - Memory 5.

Now whenever she wears it, she will have it full of memories of her vacation with me and I hope it makes her smile. I know I had the best time. I may be tired now but I honestly couldn't have wished for a better way to be completely exhausted.

11 March 2017

Life Lessons in Practice

You need to surround yourself with people who value you. That is a lesson I have been trying to teach our youngest daughter, Hobbit, for years. She, like me, has a very hard time making friends and is easily bullied or taken advantage of by people. Eventually she does see it and she is hurt, like anyone else would be in those situations. It's a difficult lesson to learn - and an even harder one to put into practice. Yesterday, unfortunately, proved to be a teachable moment in just such a lesson.

I had made plans with a particular "friend" who I was attempting to rebuild a level of trust and friendship with after it was severely violated by her and her husband. An explanation of his actions were given but an actual apology was never issued. I chose to excuse this, as given the life stories that have been shared over the years, I never got the feeling that she was ever made to apologize for her actions or behavior before in her entire 40 years on this planet. I simply assumed the concept was foreign to her but that was her attempt at it.

Our recent plans were made three weeks in advance. We were going to start back meeting weekly for knitting and talking. As any other human being on the planet, I do enjoy some interactions with others and since I had decided to give this person another opportunity to hold a place of value in my life - not easily done regardless of social anxiety levels - I made plans. The first meeting was last week at a coffee shop close to her home in a typical Florida outdoor mall complex. She actually picked up the tab for the coffee, a true first in our friendship. I said thank you and we sat outside in the shade under the awning inside their patio area. We talked and knit for a little more than an hour when my husband surprised me after he got off work earlier than we anticipated. It was a lovely surprise and always welcome. Before leaving, I double checked the plans for next week. They were confirmed and we parted ways.

Wednesday afternoon, I confirmed again that we were going to meet for coffee and knitting. This "friend" said that everything was a go. I reconfirmed that I would see her there and went about my day. Friday rolls around and we were to meet at 5 pm. Hobbit and I get there at 4:45 pm and find a nice place to sit. We have our drinks and we wait for her to show up...

I made everyone in the family coffee collars out of the leftover Malabrigo from our hats. They work on hot or cold cups!
 and we waited...

I frogged my Fading Pines Shawl that I was testing. I took a deep breath and restarted it too!
and after a full half hour had passed, I sent a text message to make sure everything was okay. The response I received was heartbreaking and hurtful... it simply read "I got sidetracked. I will get there when I can."

Wow. Way to make someone hear loud and clear that they are not of value to you. After all that this person has said and done, I did the one thing I was teaching my daughter not to do. I wasn't surrounding myself with people who valued me. I wasn't valuing myself enough to not allow myself to be treated as though I was an afterthought. This person asked if I was going to meet on the next Friday for a group we started together. Please note, I had already posted in that group weeks ago that I was not going to be in attendance because it was the first Friday of our Spring Break and I had my best friend coming in town on that Monday. I have also been talking about our plans and all that we were going to do in another group - both of which she is a part of and partook in these conversations as well. The response to my stating I would not be there... an angry face emoji. Yep, an angry face.
An. Angry. Face. She honestly had the nerve to send that to me because I was going to spend time with my family. Time that I had already made perfectly clear was blocked out for the past month or so... I can't even fathom how this person thought this was an appropriate response. This person coming in is my family of choice and I haven't seen her in 7 years. My "friend" knew this - or should have known - since I have been excitedly sharing details of it all for the past few weeks.

My husband had sent a text at that time and asked how things were going. He knows it has been rocky after the ordeal with her husband's abusive verbal attack on me and her not standing up to stop him or defend me. He knows it is hard for me to do this kind of thing period, let alone when someone has been treating me as badly as this person and her family have in recent months. I told him what transpired and he said I needed to leave. He said to meet him at Firehouse and we would have supper. So I did. I told my "friend" to not worry about it, my husband got off work on time and we were all going to supper. I told her to enjoy her weekend and left it at that.

Then I turned to my daughter and we talked. This was a prime example of putting a life lesson into actual practice. Hobbit has been front and center for this entire friendship which has spanned four years online via Ravelry and about a year and a half in person. She has seen the entire "in person" friendship first hand. She has been asking me why I was friend with a person who was so very self centered and ego centric. I told her that perhaps we were meant to be friends so that I could be the light in her dark corner of the world, shining to show her how to be a better friend. I honestly believed it. I thought she was meant to show me how to be more confident and I was meant to show her how to have more kindness and grace without an agenda. I was apparently wrong.

Hobbit and I talked about it and I was hit in the face with the only option that was acceptable. To practice what I preached. If I was going to tell her to surround herself with people who value her, then I should do the same. I cannot continue to make excuses for allowing myself to be treated horribly and as though I don't have any value but tell her to stand up for herself. I mourned the loss of what I had hoped our friendship would become when her husband verbally attacked me a few months ago. I tried to rebuild our friendship, as I thought perhaps she would be kinder and more aware of how her actions and words affect others around her, in hopes of her growing more gracious and kind. I had failed... so I did the only thing I could do... I let go.

I will not be mean to this person, as we still are in the same groups on Ravelry. I wish her and her little family of two all the blessings that God sees fit to bestow upon them. I have no ill will. People are who they choose to be and she has chosen to be the type of person she has become...

I simply choose to be a better person than I was... and I know I, just like everyone else in the world, deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and be held in value by others. I know I hold others there so I simply wish for the same in return. If someone does not, then I will simply move on. People come into our lives for a reason - some for a season and some for a lifetime.

Her time was apparently only a season but I will always remember the lesson that she has taught me.


08 March 2017

First Saturday

That's what I like to call today since I've been working four ten-hour shifts with Wednesdays off. I have "First Fridays" and "First Saturdays" which are very quickly followed by the standard Fridays and Saturdays. "First Saturdays" are generally for cleaning and errand running. Currently, I have four loads of laundry ticked off my list and during that time, I completed a hat.

Yep, that's two hats and two coffee collars so far this month. Not too shabby since I wrote out my game plan for the month. So far, I have turned in homework for DADA, Charms, Flying, and now Herbology.

Thotful Spot Hat is a pattern by Sarah Schira/Imagined Landscapes.
Next up, I am going to make some covers for two pillow forms that I picked up at JoAnn's with my mama. I am narrowing it down from a few cute granny square patterns that I have seen. Not really sure which version I like best but I am sure it will be in the grey and silver that I have in my box from my failed OWL. I over ordered so it's not a big deal.

Laundry buzzed. Time to fold it. Happy "First Saturday" of the week to you!

05 March 2017

Sunday Snaps

Malabrigo madness around my yarn basket - Hobbit's Tutti Frutti hat and two coffee collars.

01 March 2017

Making plans

It's the first of the month which means new prompts in my most favorite game on Ravelry - The Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup! This is the last month of the Winter Term so I need to go out on a bang since my February completely fizzled.

I have resigned to the fact that my OWL is a bust. While I do love working the Vivid squares and they are so very pretty, they are not fast for me... at least not as fast as I had hoped. I get pattern fatigue so that doesn't help either. I will continue to make the blanket but it will just take me a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I figure if I keep going, at this pace, I should have it done by Christmas at the latest. That really isn't bad if you think about it. I have a whopping 6.8 squares out of 56 done... only 49.2 to go!

I might be able to save my Mission. It's not been dormant for long and if I focus, I can grind it out. I am setting aside some time over the weekend to really go at it. I will love it once it is done - and I have plans to gift it to someone upon completion. So there is hope on this front, which is good.

Now, classes. I have eight opportunities to complete something for class in the month of March. They are creative and fabulous and wonderful labors of love from the professors. Here is a quick overview of what is being offered this month ~
  1. DADA - To resist the Killing Curse, revive an old project by making it again. Rav crafts only.
  2. Outdoor Survival - Option 1: Practice the bluebell flame spell and create an item that is more than 50% blue. Option 2: Gather materials for a fire: spin enough yarn for a medium sized project (200 yards+), dye yarn using several colors that will result in a variegated yarn, or knit/crochet an item that is made in pieces and then assembled (i.e. stuffed animals, hats with pompoms, sweaters etc). The item must be complete. Please no blanket squares or hexipuffs for this option. Rav crafts only.
  3. Transfiguration - practice highly complicated spells that require a lot of concentration or has unusual/difficult construction. Difficult lacework, cables or colorwork. Amigurumis. Spinners, spin 3-ply, chain or braided ply. Weavers, weave using a complex pick-up pattern (sticks have to be removed and replaced) or a multi-shaft pattern with a long repeat. Dyers, use a multi-step process, acid dyes or indigo/vat dyeing techniques. Rav crafts only.
  4. Flying - craft something that is inspired by the early efforts of flight (kites, hot air balloons, or mythical creatures mentioned) or craft something that is inspired by the speed of flight (smaller projects, bulky yarns, or projects that were crafted quickly. Please explain how the project is considered a quick project to you). Rav crafts only.
  5. Herbology - craft something inspired by the Silver Lime tree. You may use any of its natural colors (grey, silver, green, or yellow) or the shape of its leaves (heart shape) or fruit (round). Rav crafts only.
  6. Divination - be inspired by the close relationship between water, Neptune and fish. (Some ideas might include crafting something blue or the texture of the waves of the sea or scales of the fish.) Non-Rav crafts accepted if they fit the prompt. Prior approval not necessary.
  7. Charms - please practice the Tea-making charm by crafting something in brown to represent tea or hot chocolate OR something that is related to tea (examples include but are not limited to teapot cozies, tea wallet, mitts to hold the hot cup). If you choose to craft in the color brown, the finished object must be at least 50% brown. Rav crafts only.
  8. Ancient Runes - Craft something inspired by a Mayan rune, or something green and/or gold (over 50% of the project must be gold or green). You may choose a literal interpretation of the rune, like stuffies or an image of the rune itself. Or, you may craft an abstract representation of a Mayan rune. This is open to each crafter’s interpretation, but please be sure to explain how your item fits the prompt. You may also craft something the color gold to represent Mayan rune-inscribed gold, or use green to represent the jungle where the Mayans lived. Non-Rav crafts accepted if they fit the prompt. Prior approval not necessary.
Now, there is something about this game you should know - you only get base points for the first six classes that you turn in. The other two classes you can get professorial bonus points and yardage bonus points only so if you are going to craft for all 8, make sure your last two submissions are HUGE! After four years of playing this game, I have learned that there really is no advantage to posting to all 8 classes. You can maximize your points by crafting three large (400+ yards) classes and 3 small classes that have awesomely creative turn ins. Seriously, don't scrimp on photography and storytelling because they can make a ten minute toy hat really soar to incredible heights.

So, with that experience and logic behind me, I am going to make the following things for this month:
  1. DADA - I am going to make another Tutti Frutti hat because I love that pattern and I have some awesome yarn that needs to made into one for Hobbit. Pokey and I both have one (I have two, actually), so she needs hers.
  2. Flying - I am going to restart my Thotful Spot hat because I only managed to complete the ribbing and since there was no way I could finish 7" of hat and the decrease in one night after working a 10 hour day that started at 4:30 am, I frogged it. I plan on casting on once I'm done here so I can get back to where I was before I have to go to the parent teacher conference this afternoon.
  3. Charms - I am going to make a coffee collar to keep in my purse for Starbuck days. I can whip this up super fast so I will do it first. Plus, I have a coffee date with my friend on Friday so I can use it then. I haven' decided if I am going to do my favorite crocheted one or my favorite knit one yet.
  4. Herbology - I think I am going to make this awesome Scalloped Potholder and I can play off the round fruit aspect of the prompt.
  5. Transfiguration - I can make several of the hexagons from this sampler blanket. They make great potholders... and since I did not like any of the patterns so far from the Knitterati Afghan-Along, I can use the yarn I bought for it to make this blanket if I can get them done fast enough. I purchased a combined total of over 6,000 yards of five different colors to make that blanket so it should work out well.
  6. Divination - I can just whip up anything I wish in the color blue. Knowing me, it will probably be another hat or coffee collar simply because I can do them quickly.
So that's my plan. I hope that by writing out, I can a) remember and b) stick to it. Goodness knows, I do love a list. 31 days in March and a 9 day holiday! Granted, my best friend is flying in from Texas for Spring Break and we do have a few Disney days but I will still be crafting in the parks. Y'all know that is where I get the best hat knitting done. She's even asked me to teach her how to crochet so there will be dedicated crafting time to boot!
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