The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

No Spinning, No Knitting

Because I'm busy rocking.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 007

It's o'dark early in the morning and I can't sleep. The grandbabies are coming today. (I haven't mentioned that lately, have I?) So, for lack of sleep, I bring you the May 007 post. Because otherwise, you probably aren't going to get one. At least, not while it's still May.

May has always meant the end of the school year and the beginning of vacations. For a long time now we have scheduled our summer vacation to begin the very minute that school lets out for the year. Since our part of Arizona is always out of school before the Memorial Day weekend, we have missed a lot of the crowds that show up at summer vacation sites in the latter parts of June and July. We also usually have better weather, since the real summer heat hasn't started yet and the rainy weather usually holds off until July. Not that we haven't had our share of snow, rain, and 100 degree days!

So it's time to hook up the trailer on the back of the minivan and head out once again. The National Parks of the west beckon. Several years ago we spent time at Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Sequoia, and Rocky Mountain NP (Estes, CO); unfortunately this was before the time of having a digital camera. In case you hadn't noticed, I love to photograph the canyons of Arizona and Utah. I guess it's easy to do, when you really love your subject.

Bryce Canyon, from two years ago.

Zion, from three years ago.

And my home away from home, where I intend to be a week from today, celebrating my birthday and photographing away. The Grand.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Bloomin' Wednesday

I think the reason I lost my lace mojo for so long was the seemingly unending length of stockinette in Icarus. Add to that the fact that the rows just keep getting longer and longer, and frankly, I got bored. But now I am closing in on the last stockinette repeat, and soon I will be into the lace patterns. I'm hoping that a week, starting next Tuesday, of unbroken and uninterrupted knitting while camping, will get me through the last boring rows and into the actual lace patterns.

In the meantime, I have been cleaning, washing out the little sheets and quilts for the Moses basket, shopping for food and DIAPERS!! Tomorrow in Phoenix we pick up son and daughter (in-law, although the term hardly seems to apply, as she is as much of a daughter as any of the other girls) and the grandbabies!!

I'm off to work today, the last day and then VACATION! And hopefully, some good news by the time I would have to go back to work again. In the meantime, more of what you come to Pumpkinknitter for. (Cuz lately, it ain't the knitting progress.) Many more cactus are blooming this week for Buddy and me to enjoy.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Poker Cam

Joe has a sense of the unusual when it comes to the garden. Maybe it would be better expressed by saying that he likes to try to grow things that aren't normally found in southern Arizona. His red hot pokers, for one. He got these from his favorite plant nursery in Flagstaff. Red Hot Pokers practically grow wild up there, and he wanted to try them down here. We've had mixed success with these. It looks like we will only have three of the pokers this year, which is better than the none we had last year.

We've been pretty light on the rain this spring, so I've had to really soak things, especially the trees. Some things manage just fine in a drought, but many others don't. While we don't try to have a grassy lawn, because it would take too much water and maintenance, my garden isn't a true desert garden, either. I have a few borders, etc, that require plenty of water. We do try to conserve as much water as we can. But I would miss the flowers I grew up with in Michigan if I went to a total desert landscape.

Not too much knitting progress to show. I've been getting the house ready for the grandbabies. (Thursday!!) Plus when I have been knitting, I've been alternating what I work on and so don't have any major progress to show on any one thing. But I did finish my second square for the afghans.
Big Cat says, "It's hot and I'm sleepy."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bloomin' Walk With Me Wednesday

There comes a time in the spring, before the real summer temperatures begin, when it seems as if the whole world is in bloom. Trees, shrubs, cactus, succulents, weeds, flowers, all seem to give forth in a mightly chorus.

The tall saguaro cactus bloom as well, at the very top of the trunk and branches. Hundreds of bees mill about while they have the chance, as the blooms do not last long. See the holes in the trunk? These are home to cactus wrens, who are actively nesting. I tried to get a picture of the birds sitting or peeking through the hole, but I wasn't fast enough.
And you thought the desert was all dry and dusty.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Ten Reasons

Things have been looking up lately. I've put that nasty funk behind me and am feeling pretty good these days. Why? Ten reasons:

1. The grandbabies are coming for a visit in ten days. Along with their Mom and Dad, of course.

2. I'm enjoying a four day weekend. Immensely.

3. I have four days to work this week and one day next week, then I am on my annual three week vacation.

4. The grandbabies are coming in ten days.

5. Two weeks from tomorrow we head for the Grand Canyon and a week of camping. Three weeks from tomorrow we head out for the east coast and visiting the grandbabies at their new house. And spending time at the beach. And the North End of Boston. And seeing oldest son graduate. Finally! Woohoo!

6. The postman brought this the other day. Finally. I read Stephanie's book in a matter of a couple hours. I've been dreaming over the pattern books. My lace mojo came back. With a vengeance.

7. The grandbabies are coming in ten days.

8. I went to the local quilting/yarn store. They have roving now. New Zealand roving. English roving. Superwash roving. Wool and merino and silk blend roving. It's a good thing the store was closing for the day, because I would have spent money like mad. But I did buy this.

9. You're all waiting to hear about the new job, aren't you. So am I. The job opening is still posted on the internet. But the lady currently holding the position invited me to "follow" her for a few hours last week, which I did, and we will be doing the same next week. So that I can be familiar with what is involved. And with the staff she manages. And they wanted to know my birthday for the office celebration calendar. I hope this is not jinxing the situation. I hope I have an official job offer by the time my vacation is over. Keep the good thoughts coming.

10. Have I mentioned that the grandbabies are coming?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day bouquet from my youngest baby. She was born in Germany (in a German hospital - a cultural learning experience bar none) and came home on Mother's Day, May 13, 1990. That morning the babies were all late coming out of the hospital nursery. When they finally did arrive, it was obvious what had taken longer that morning. Each baby was dressed up and carrying a tiny paper flower bouquet for Mother's Day, celebrated in Germany as well as America. Do I still have that tiny bouquet? Need you ask?

Happy Mother's Day to all of you as well. Especially Laura. Here's the status of the afghan squares today. And yes, that is a Harry Potter square.

And I am back to knitting on Icarus!! My lace mojo has definitely come back!
My mood has unquestionably improved over the last few days. Why? I'll tell you the many reasons next time.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Windy Walk With Me Wednesday

Thank you all for all your encouragement. The funk is lifting a bit -- the grandbabies are coming in two weeks from today, and I'm certain that thought will continue to lift my spirits.

Another thing that almost always lifts my spirits is being able to go for a walk, no matter how long, before work. Sometimes there is only time for a quick tour around the garden, but just the sense of getting out into the air and the sunlight first thing in the morning always does me good. Many mornings, however, I have to be on shift starting at 5:30, and those mornings are sadly walkless. One very positive thing about the new job, should I get it, is that these early mornings will go away and I will probably start no earlier that 8:00, creating plenty of opportunity for my walks.

It has been quite windy here the last couple weeks. Shingles have been blown all over -- fortunately none of ours -- and leaves and branches now decorate the ground. Strong winds in the spring are a staple of our yearly weather. And every year the winds come along right when the fruit trees are blooming. One year all the flowers blew off the plum tree and it actually bloomed a second time. And we had a great crop that year. This year not so many flowers were lost, but the young fruit took a major hit. Tiny plums litter the ground under the tree. It's always so disappointing to see this. But quite a few still remain on the tree.

Let's hope these manage to hang on. If they do, they will be ready to pick in about four or five weeks.

The pear tree seems to be doing well. I've found very little fruit on the ground. But these, of course, won't be ripe until the beginning of September.

Hope your gardens are doing well!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

In the Doldrums

What would I do without you all? I've been in this general funk and haven't been blogging or knitting much, yet I find so much inspiration in visiting all of you and reading about all your adventures. It reminds me that this funk, too, shall pass and I will once again get back that knitting mojo. (It may help that I am only scheduled for forty hours at work this week, and that a four day weekend is coming up, and that we are gaining a solid, experienced new person into the office next week -- hope I haven't jinxed anything by saying this.)

But what will get me off my duff and moving again is the fact that Laura is collecting afghan squares for a family in Greensburg, KS -- if you aren't already involved in something and could come up with an eight inch square or two, why not join in? I was hoping that someone in Blogland would get something going for knitters and now Laura has. Wouldn't it be thoughtful to send a family -- or two or three or twenty -- a hand knit afghan from knitters across the country?


Friday, May 04, 2007

But Does She Still Knit??

Not much these days, it seems. True, I have been trying to do some much overdue spring cleaning of the closets, and the back of the car is filled with items for St. Vincent's (think Catholic Goodwill, if you're not familiar with that particular organization). But mainly the reason is the work situation. I come home exhausted so many days, after long and grueling hours -- think 13 1/2 hour days -- the work load has become much greater, there are many more responsibilities, and the pay raises have been barely minimal cost of living, certainly not commesurate with the job requirements these days. Plus, some insensitivity on the part of the big brass; the new building has been signed for, and we were told we would be moving in basically immediately despite the fact that serious safety measures had not yet been resolved, indicating a real lack of concern for the employees' welfare. I'm pleased to report that some cooler thinking heads have prevailed and now the safety measures will be installed before we move in; however, it does leave a bad taste in one's mouth. I'm not the only one feeling this way. There has been a significant defection on the part of many senior employees due to all these issues and then some. This also contributes to the stressful situation, as now many employees with years of experience and knowledge have departed, and we are top heavy with inexperienced souls who have to be watched practically every minute because they screw up if you don't, and then you have an even bigger mess.

I take the Trekking socks in my work bag with me each day. Very little has been accomplished, because there has been a real dearth of any down time. When you are snatching a fast PBJ sandwich at the computer on a regular basis, because there is no time to sit down, relax, and have a reasonably healthy, balanced lunch or dinner, then you know that the pace is getting out of hand. Yes, this is Mim's Simple Trekking Socks. And I wish I could finish them. At home, I've only been working on the Log Cabin baby blanket. It's all I've had the energy to do. I haven't even started spinning the second bobbin of the Romance roving, because I've been too tired to even set up a new bobbin on Trudy.

As you might well say, that's pretty tired.

And what am I going to do about it? Put in an application for a totally new job. In a totally different field. I'm vested for my retirement at my current employment, so that's not an issue. I think it's time to move on and find a new outlet for some of my other skills and qualifications. So an application has been put in. Won't know for a while yet, since the application window for this new job will be open for a while yet. But the prospective new employer is pleased that I am applying. And feels that I am well qualified. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I'm going to go get that new bobbin and start spinning again tonight.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Walk With Me Wednesday

May, already. Last week was a total bust for blogging, although I did manage to keep up pretty well on my Bloglines. Work was every bit as hectic as I anticipated; the sock knitting that I carry to work got almost nothing done on it, and at night I was too tired to do anything except garter stitch on Felicity's blanket.

But I did get a four day weekend!

Saturday we went down the mountains with some friends, and I did get a bit of a walk in after dinner. The day was rather dreary; windy and cloudy, but the rain missed us. The wind and the clouds kept things rather cool, and I had to don a sweatshirt for my walk. Things still look rather drear in the desert, but there are wildflowers to be found amidst the dry grasses.

Those black spots in the bottom picture? Cattle grazing behind one of our friends' house. Not their cattle. But what a view!

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