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January 2010
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February 2010

Think I Can Make It

Things are looking good. . .

Thunder road 018 

Finished the body.

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Had (another) fitting.

Now. . . all that remains is the collar (I have some modifications in mind; wish me luck), a good blocking, and the zipper.  If the collar works out, and the sweater dries fast, and the zipper goes in right the first time . . . I'll be GOLD.  If not?  Meh.  Not a big deal.

The funny thing about my Olympic knitting?  I've had to stop watching the Olympics while I knit!  I get too distracted.  I slow down and make errors and lose interest.  So, I've now joined "Team Karenina" -- and I spend my knitting time with Anna, Oblonsky, Kitty, Levin and the gang!

Thunder road 029 

Oh, and Jenny, of course!

Have a great weekend -- and remember. . .

Not late


I read all the time.  Usually with my eyes. . . but more and more frequently, I "read" with my ears.   It took me a while to get used to listening to books. . . but now that I've made the adjustment, I can't imagine what I would do without my iPod - Audible pairing.

I just finished "reading" Elegance of the Hedgehog (which I actually happen to have on my bookshelves in book form, too) by Muriel Barbery.  Excellent book.  One of those books that you have to chew on for a few days after you finish. . .

Now I'm ready to start my next book.  If you've already read Elegance of the Hedgehog, you probably know where this is going. . .

Books 003 

Oh, Anna.  It's you. 

(And, if you recall, this lines up nicely with my reading goals for 2010, too!)

Under Pressure?


Yep.  The Olympics are speeding rapidly to a close. . . and I'm knitting at a frenzied pace.  Will I make it?  Will I finish by Sunday?  Am I feeling . . . under pressure?

Thunder road 012 

Nah.  No pressure.  I'm making good progress, but I might not finish in time.

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Maybe I'll finish.  Maybe I won't.  I'm not worried about it.

I haven't dropped everything to knit constantly.  I haven't lugged this project to a hockey game or packed it in my car when I've gone visiting.  I haven't skipped any workouts or meetings or sleep.  (In full disclosure, though, I did put off cleaning my bathrooms.  But I probably would have done that anyway.)

I used the whole Olympic-knitting challenge to get myself moving on a project I've "meant to" start for a long time.  I chose this project, with all of its tedious moss stitch, as my Olympic knitting intentionally.  You see, I can easily put off knitting a project like this; something I really do want to knit; something I know Tom will really like.  But. . . a project that might be easy to set aside . . . to try something else.  Something that doesn't have so much moss stitch; something that isn't brown; something that doesn't have a big, fat zipper waiting for me at the end. 

So, whether I actually finish by Sunday or not, it doesn't matter.  I feel really good about this project.  It's almost done, and I've made great progress in a short period of time.

I've made some goofs.  I've ripped.  I've had some do-overs.  I even had to do some maths!  (More on that in a later post.)

Thunder road 010 

But now, I'm in the groove.  Almost finished.  I can see the finish line.  But. . . I'm NOT feeling. . . under pressure!


Check out this amazing birthday card Brian got from some good friends:


copyright AGC, Inc.

Apparently, this card was just there. . . on the card rack of the grocery store!  It wasn't a special order or personalized card or anything.  Without a doubt, this is Brian's favorite card ever -- and he will probably keep it forever.

Briantology.  Going out on his own.  I love it.  Because Brian is definitely an individual; doing things his own way.  Briantology.  I think it must be what makes him. . .

Brian's bridge 002 

spend hours designing and building bridges for the Science Olympiad. . .

Brian's birthday 005 

work diligently to perfect his creme brulee skills. . .

Shower curtain 002 

choose this shower curtain as the "best birthday gift ever". . .

Brian at skills comp 006

copyright Mike Vigen, used with permission

and unload from the blue line!

Briantology.  Perfect!

The Real Winner

A month or so ago, I noticed I had a "blog milestone" approaching, so I had a little contest.  I offered to make a minion for the 1,000th commenter on my blog.  After a flurry of comments, Sharon was declared . . . The Winner! 

I made a little, round minion with a tuque for Sharon. . . and sent it off to New Jersey just in time for Valentine's Day.

Sharon's minion 005 

I love reading all of your comments, and I'm so happy to have made so many new friends through my blog.  I was really excited to send this little minion off to Sharon -- and so pleased to learn that the little round gal (this minion is a girl. . .) makes Sharon smile!

But, you know, even though Sharon won my contest, I realized that I'm the REAL winner here.  Not only do I get all of my new blog friendships, but today . . .  I got a really cool prize of my own!  Sharon sent me this gorgeous handmade totebag to carry my gardening books and magazines.

Gifts from sharon 001 

Her timing couldn't be better!  It's snowing again.  It's cold and grey and dark.  If feels like spring will never, ever arrive.  And I really have the itch to garden.  So, this bright, lovely garden bag just made my day!

Gifts from sharon 002 

I put it right to work, hauling my new magazines and catalogs.  The size is perfect. 

And look --  Sharon has personalized tags!  So cute.

Gifts from sharon 003 

Thanks so much for brightening my day -- with your comments, and your friendships, and (Wow!) with surprises!

I AM the Real Winner!

Sweet Child o' Mine

Turn up the volume. . .

(With apologies, Axel. . . )

He's got a smile that it seems to me

B 6 mos

Reminds me of childhood memories

B grade 2

Where everything

2002 tourney

Was as fresh as the bright blue sky.


Now and then when I see his face


He takes me away to that special place


And if I stare too long

Scuba in Hawaii

I'd probably break down and cry.


Sweet child of mine!

Brian 2009

Happy 18, Buddy!

Note:  Photo of baby Brian - copyright Harley Studio, used with permission; Photo of senior Brian - copyright Jeff Mitchell, used with permission

An Itch

Some days (like today), there are lots of things taking up space in my head.  Thoughts and situations and plans just swirl. . . and swirl. . . and swirl. 

When the swirling begins, I like to sort things out by . . . digging in the soil; playing with roots and shoots and fruits; smelling the earth; getting dirty.

But today, this is my reality.  I can't scratch that itch.  No digging today -- at least, not in soil.  No potting going on here.  Not yet.

Snowy work bench 002 

Today, I'll just have to sort out the swirl with a cup of tea. . . and a little moss stitch.

Rocks in the House

Every four years, the Olympics bring us sports that no one has ever heard of -- or, at least, sports that we don't really think about except during the Olympic competition.  Snowboard cross.  Nordic combined.  Two-man luge.  Skeleton.  And, for a lot of people, curling.

But not in our house.

My mom is Canadian. (Tom likes to call her "Alberta" -- because that's where she's from.)  When my mom was a school girl, she used to curl.  So I grew up sort of thinking that curling was. . . normal.  A bit obscure, sure.  But normal.  My mom used to explain the basics of the sport, and share The Lingo:  skip, rock, house, sweep.

I wish I had a photo of my mom curling.  Back when she was young, though, parents didn't snap photos of every little thing their kid did, and there apparently weren't any "team photo days."  But, here's a photo of my mom in high school anyway.  Just so you can imagine her throwing her rocks and sweeping her little heart out there on the cold Canadian ice!

Young j & y 

(Her dapper date is none other than my dad.  He isn't Canadian, and he's never curled.  She overlooked that -- probably because he was such a keen dresser, and had a hot car.)

All that curling knowledge has come in handy for me.  I don't curl. . . but Tom does!!!

Curling 008 

He curls on a league with the Kalamazoo Curling Club.  You can find him and his buddies on Friday nights at the ice rink.  Throwing rocks.  Sweeping.  Drinking beer.  (Me?  I watch from time to time, but mostly I stay home and take advantage of uninterrupted knitting time.)

Curling 005 

So, for me, curling seems more "normal" than some of the other Olympic events.  Fun to watch.  And, apparently, fun to do, too!

Just a Little Adversity

The Olympics.  So many stories.  Who can forget this one?

Redemption stories.  Gritty stories.  Rising-above-it stories.  Against-all-odds stories.  Really, that's probably one of the things I like best about the Olympics.  Personal stories of sacrifice, effort, and pure grit.  Because what often separates the medal winners from the rest of the pack is that willingness to dig a little deeper; to reach a little farther; to get back up and try it again.

Which brings me to my Olympic knitting project. 

Oh, I was cruising right along.  Sure, there are a LOT of stitches on the needle.  The rows are r-e-a-l-l-y looooooooong.  Moss stitch is tedious.  But there's a pattern there to break things up a bit.  And it's not the kind of project that requires total concentration and a lot of counting -- I can talk on the phone or watch tv while knitting. 

Or, so I thought.

Apparently, not.

Thunder road 005 

Jenny says. . . I know that problem spot is in here somewhere.  I can smell the irritation. . .

Last night, I realized that I had gotten distracted somehow -- right in the middle of a pattern segment -- and I had messed up a small portion of the moss stitch (unfortunately, right in the middle of the piece).  Of course, being moss stitch, it took me a while to notice.  Like. . . rows and rows.  Long.  Long.  Rows.  

I considered my options.  I tried some things.  I got grumpy.  I wanted to throw the piece in a dark corner.

But, this is my Olympics.  What would Apollo do?  Why, he'd get back up, smile that dazzling smile, and keep going.  What would Lindsey do?  Why, she'd get back up, smile that dazzling smile, and keep going.  What would Sean do?  Why he'd get back up, smile that dazzling smile, and keep going.

Eventually, I decided to live with a minor imperfection.  I knit backwards for several rows.  I patched things up as best I could without a major rip-back.  I ended up knitting for hours last night . . . with no "real" progress. 

So.  I hit some adversity.   I got back up and I kept going.  

Thunder road 009

But I'm not smiling about it.