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!

18 February 2017

Just call me Alexander

That is how my day turned out yesterday. I seriously thought my name should have been changed from Amy to Alex. It was that bad. What was so bad, well, y'all remember how I was anxious about going to knit group? Normal for me but still, I shared and y'all collectively nodded. Well, here's how my evening went after I left...

Hobbit and I gathered up our stuff and toddled out the door. We jammed to Andy Black's The Shadow Side all the way down... our shared obsession usually falls in the music world - Hamilton, Panic! at the Disco, Andy Black. So we arrive right on time and claim the seating section that faces the window. A lovely long sofa and two wingback chairs with a fabulous barn wood coffee table between. I order us two hot chocolates and we set up camp to wait...

and we waited...
And no one showed up. Yep. No one. This is after I spent weeks gathering data on what days, times, and locations would work best for everyone. This is after I spent weeks making myself prepared for it because anxiety sucks. Not a single flipping soul who said they would come actually came.

So I sent a text to my husband and told him that, after over an hour of sitting and waiting, no one arrived. He said that I would not be remiss in packing my stuff up 30 minutes early and meeting him at Cracker Barrel for some supper. That's exactly what we did. Hobbit gathered up her gear and I mine, toddled our happy hineys to the truck, and left.

Comfort food is always a good idea when you've been utterly disappointed and you're crashing from anxiety. However, my comfort food was a bust too! Somehow, this supposed "cook" managed to take my chicken and dumplins and make the chicken over cooked and dry but the dumplins raw. Yeah. That takes a special kind of talent.

After wandering around the store and my husband buying the "most perfect turkey platter ever", we headed home. Jamming to Andy Black all the way and seat dancing. Once we got home, it was pj time and falling asleep watching "The Breakfast Club".

Overall, I can safely say with my hand on my heart, that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Some days are like that... even in Australia.

17 February 2017

I guess the question is why...

Why do I do this to myself? I want two different things and both ultimately make me happy and sad. Sound confusing? Welcome to my brain.

Today is the return date for my knitting group that I started. I started it because I wanted to have a group of people in my circle who like to do the same things I do. A group who won't look at me funny because I've always got knitting in my purse... that reminds me, I need to start a new project since I finished Pokey's socks... anywho... I wanted to find a few kindred spirits in this world who loved to play with yarn.

And...

I want to stay home. I don't like being surrounded by people I don't know and forced to be "on stage". My social anxiety plays a number on me inside, all the while I'm smiling and working on not passing out from fear or crying. My heart is racing. My mind is running a mile a minute and foggy all at the same time. Eye contact, oh for the love of Mickey please don't make me have to make eye contact with these folks. I don't know them!

But...

If I go, since I am the one who created the group after all, I will soon be surrounded by friends. People that I will look forward to seeing and hearing about their lives. It's down to once a month and it's on a Friday in the early evening. It couldn't be at a better time. Honestly, it won't be as bad I fear and they are probably just as nervous about it all as I am.

And yet...

I want to bail. I can stand knitting alone. I have all my friends on Ravelry to keep me company. I can talk to them while I knit. I've done it. We have even had hangouts and Skype knit nights. It was comfortable and fun.

So why... why do I put myself through this? I know I promised to do one thing a month that scared the stuffing out of me and brought me out of my comfort zone. This would qualify every time. I don't know why I inflict such things on myself. Probably because I know my social anxiety is illogical but I also know that logic doesn't play a part it at all. It's illogical to set up a group that you're afraid to go to but I did it anyway.

I guess the only reason is because I am afraid... I'm afraid of being a person who can't leave their house because "people". I'm afraid of being lonely and not having any friends who share my interests. I'm afraid of allowing the comfort of not going somewhere become a fear of going anywhere... and so, I'm afraid I'm going to head out the door to meet the group.

Wish me luck!

Because every post should have something yarny and delicious... My Fading Pines Shawl test knit and coloring book.

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