Sunday, November 25

It comes in threes...

All things, both good and bad seem to come in threes. This week I've been blessed with a triple serving of good news. It certainly has been a long time coming, but Derek and I have finally received our blessings that we've been suffering through hardship after hardship for. The last few months have been very difficult for us. For the two people {are there even that many?!?} on the planet that don't already know this, our house in Winnipeg sitting unsold and empty for over 4 months has been a terrible strain on the two of us. Not being able to get a new job, and getting a shift {and days off} that I hate, has been a huge struggle for me personally {and by association, on Derek as well}. Additionally, when you consider that my pay was the only thing being deposited in our Winnipeg account, that job was keeping things barely afloat there. Even though Derek and I have never done the *my money/ your money* thing, I still felt like I was working all those hours, and driving all that time for basically nothing.

Good News #1:
The first bit of good news arrived on Monday morning. I was a bit ticked off because the girls had already left on the bus for school when I arrived home from work, and Alex was still at home! Derek was off work this past week, so he took the drive into Oak Lake with me so that we could take Alex to school, and stop off at Co-op to pick up bread and anything else that fell into our basket. While we were there I had another one of my "ohmygawd it's horrible living in a small town where everyone knows you even if you don't know who they are" moments. The manager comes up to us and asks me, "are you Nicole?" I am puzzled at how he knows my name, but tell him that I am. He then asks, "from Griswold?" Now I'm getting nervous, and thinking "what the heck did one of my kids do *NOW*?" I manage to squeak out that I *am* Nicole from Griswold. This is when he tells me that he's been trying to get in touch with me, and when I get a dirty look from Derek because *noone* can get through to the house because I have the internet on nearly all the time. He offers me a job working 2-3 days a week!!! He also mentioned the possibility of the hours dropping off after New Year's {which I am used to in retail}, as well as the fact that it may become available for full-time in the late spring. I somehow didn't squeal when I accepted his offer, and made arrangements to come in later on in the week to get my schedule and paperwork.
This couldn't have come at a better time. Even though I was working on a promotion at work so that I could work days with every weekend off, the additional earnings are worth *sooooo* much more than my management goals with our current cash crunch. It also opens up my options for what to do job-wise when our house sells in Winnipeg. In the meantime, it means that my online time *and* my sleep time will be seriously restricted... but it's not like I haven't survived on little to no sleep before {and for disgustingly long periods of time too!}. Oak Lake is about a 10 minute drive away, so it's not going to take too much of a toll on my gas usage either.

Good News #2:
The second bit of good news I got at work Friday night. Our store is going 24 hours Mon-Sat from Dec 3rd until Christmas. I had already planned on asking for cash training so that I could work the tills, when my manager asked me if I was willing to change my usual schedule for the three weeks, so that I could work at the fabric table on nights Monday through Friday. This means that after tonight, I won't have any more weekend nights to work until after Christmas!!! Co-op is only open until 6 pm, 6 days a week, so no nights there to interfere with my weekend-free joy! This truly is wonderful news since in the 3½ years I've been with Wal-Mart, pretty much the ONLY weekends I have EVER gotten off have been when travelling to other stores for them. So for the first time in... well... close to forever... I get to actually spend the night on a weekend with my hubby! {Get your mind out of the gutter, this is a family-friendly post... it's just amazing how important cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie with the family becomes when you CAN'T do it!} As an added plus, since I'll be working in the craft and fabric area, that means I'll be able to spend quite a bit of time examining {translation: shopping!} the fabrics and such for our decorating plans here at the house.

Good News #3:
And now the best for last... as of about 9pm last night, our old house is SOLD!!! The offer was less than we would have liked, but it's enough to cover our outstanding mortgage out in Winnipeg. We're expecting a Dec. 9th closing on that house, so by the end of this year Derek and I will know exactly where we stand financially. There's still a lot of utilities and such that need to be paid off, as well as our bridge financing on this house {that we unfortunately won't be able to repay with our house proceeds}. But, we *will* know who, what and where we still owe to, and will be able to make the arrangements needed to take care of the when.

After all that, I get to decide whether to drop down to part-time with Wal-Mart, or quit there entirely and just work at the Co-op and on my website!!! I think I need to make a nice big order to Knit Picks first though! *giggles*

Thursday, November 15

I'm at 20!!! Holy Crap!!!

Well it's official... I've hit the 20 pair mark for this year! That makes my average a little under 2 pairs a month, which is nothing to be ashamed of, unless you include the fact that my sock yarn stash doesn't seem to be getting any smaller!!! That's another 420 metres added to my total, which is now at 6087 metres... I'VE BROKEN THE 6 KM MARK!!!

On Tuesday afternoon I did the final stitches on the "Boss Wife Socks". These are the socks that I knit for the wife of Derek's boss Henry... whose socks were the last sock FO featured here. They've really been wonderful in everything they've done for us since {and even before} we moved out here, and it's just a small token of how much I {we} appreciate it. Clicking on the picture will take you to the Flickr page for it, or you can visit my main Flickr page to see all of my photos. If you want more details on these socks, leave me a comment, or go visit the project page on Ravelry. Of course you can view all my projects on my main projects page on Rav too!

Sheri's Socks

Saturday, November 10

Presenting, our award winning artist!!!

Well I'm more than proud of little Lissa!!! Unbeknownst to me, she was entered in a Halloween colouring contest at the True Value in Virden. First I found out about it was just before I left for work last night when I saw her prize waiting for her on the counter!!! I think it's just so cool! This is her and Alex showing off her prize and the picture that won it! Click on the picture to go see it at my Flickr page... where I have other family and crafty type shots!
Lissa the Artist, Alex the Model

Thursday, November 8

Less than three days!

Well, it *was* 5 calendar days, but it was 95% done in less than 2, and the other 3 days *were* working days, so they don't really count! I would guesstimate it took me about 15-20 hours of crocheting time from start to finish on this project... with well over an hour spent on the last round alone!

Three Day Table Topper

What *did* I accomplish?

Other than teaching my kids a few new curse words that were directed at my craptastic ISP over the last few days, I did manage a few productive things as well!

I got the table topper blocked and photographed... the pictures will follow in a day or so.
I made a between-projects dishcloth... part of my 10 dishcloths challenge.
I got nearly 2 full 2-pattern repeats done on the snowdrop shawl... status pic to follow in a day or so.
I got the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset picked up on the Tofu socks.
I got the ribbing done on Sheri's sock so that it's now a mindless knitting project.
I got 3 repeats of my sock design pattern done.
I frogged a cardigan I'd started for Lissa, and got the yarn balled up.
I frogged a pullover for Alex and restarted it in the round.
I cleaned out the inside of my computer and partially set it up in my craft room.
I located more of the "Lissa stash", and 2 different camo yarns for projects to work on while I teach knitting to a co-worker.

I still haven't decided what I'll be working on as my 3 projects... I will probably have to make it either 4 or 5, since I'll have 2 different ones going at work. Stay tuned!

What is so damned difficult about dial-up? {Bright Idea #926}

***WARNING: This post is most definitely not rated G.***

Well I just had a 2 day internet famine that was entirely *not* my fault! The stupid asshats at my ISP have proven once again that they got their membership cards for the human race out of a Cracker Jack box!!! It has taken them since around 8 or 9 am on Tuesday, until now to get my computer back on the net!

It all started with getting my logon corrected. The numb-nutted idiot that originally created my account obviously cannot read, or at least cut-and-paste. Our ISP is also our phone company, so the internet account is linked to our phone account. Our last name is RODGERS... so why we would want dnrogers as our family logon is beyond me. In order to correct that, they have to cancel the old account and create a new one. At least they didn't try to charge me the fee they normally charge for changing your logon. There's no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that I would pay a single penny for their stupidity in not being able to read the name of the freakin' account holder!!! For some inane reason the front end of their computer network couldn't talk to the back end of their computer network about my account change, and so I was left stuck somewhere in the middle... my old account had been completely deleted, and the new one was in suspended animation. It took no less than half a dozen phone calls a day, each of which took at least an hour because of the voice mail hell/ muzak on hold purgatory that my call got shuffled into. Between trying my old logon, new logon, password resets, and every other hoop in Manitoba that they had me jump through, they *still* couldn't get my access back. Needless to say that {using my best Queen Victoria voice}, "we were *not* amused."

The second major problem that I tried to get fixed with my dial-up is the craptastic speed that I connect at. I have yet to see anything faster than 28.8 kbps, and have even connected slower a couple of times. For those of you that don't understand what that speed means, just think "slow boat to China..." and there's probably a leak in that boat that the crew needs to spend all their time bailing water instead of rowing! The "helpful" dipshit that I spoke to about my problem is probably too dumb to even know what the hell he's talking about unless he has one of those "help desk" programs open on his computer! After going through the fact that I'm not using a dinosaur computer powered by a hamster wheel, my phone line isn't a piece of string attached to a tin can, and that my idea of turning on a computer *isn't* rubbing up next to it; he had the brain wave that I need a new phone jack installed within 4 feet of my computer, preferably on its own line. Well, it's bad enough that we're paying $30/mo for this shite... now you want me to fork out at LEAST $70 to have them come down and install a jack, at least $50 for the new phone line, plus any charges for being out-of-town service call , and THEN pay another $30/mo for a second phone line? And STILL no guarantees that my speed will improve??? Especially when their own DSL lines run about 100 yards to the south of my house??? To hell with THAT crap... we're better off going for the stupid satellite!

And the sum total of all of this is that thanks to my ISP-from-hell, I've been knocked out of the NaBloPoMo contests because I missed 2 days posting.

Monday, November 5

It's done, done, done!!!

Yes!!! The three-day table topper is officially finished! I did the last few stitches on it when I got home from work this morning, wove in the ends, and washed it. As soon as I'm done this post, I'll be blocking it out and then going to bed. I'll get pictures of it up tomorrow probably. I won't be making a matching one after all... we don't carry the DMC Traditions at this store... that makes *that* decision a little easier!!!

Derek went digging in the store yesterday and found all kinds of goodies for me! I now have the power cord to one of my sewing machines, so I can finally get started on a bit of that! He also found a bag with a few balls of sock yarn in it... why wasn't that in my sock yarn bin? In any case, that's giving me the motivation to finally post some more of my stash on Ravelry.

I've started the heel turn on my Tofu socks, but I don't know what I want to work on here at home now that the table topper is finished. I joined a group that has you pledge to work on only three projects at a time. Well the Tofu is one, and I can't decide on the other two since I've got about seven different projects in front of me here at the computer, all in differing stages of completion.

Here are the choices:
  • Lissa's cardigan - nearly done
  • Lace shawl - barely started
  • Blue shawl - about 25%
  • Sheri's socks - just started sock #2
  • New sock design - about 4" knit of sock #1
  • Derek's socks - just started sock #1
  • Ripple ghan - 25%-ish

What do you think my choices for #2, and #3 should be? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, November 4

Sunday is for... snow???

Well I grabbed a large piece of cardboard on my way out of work today to block the table topper... it seems that Derek sent 90% of the cardboard *he* wanted to save from our move to the burn barrel!!! I didn't even have any to do my spray painting on yesterday! I think it will be staying in the car for the time being, since less than half an hour after getting home, it started to snow... and it's still coming down! I'm blaming it on Derek... he hung our Christmas lights up yesterday, which is the reason I got so little sleep... the incessant hammering made any kind of rest impossible!

Saturday, November 3

Saturdays are for sleeping!!!

Saturday mornings are one of the roughest of the week for me. My first night at work for the week is Friday, and I never seem to get a long enough nap before going in. No matter how carefully I plan, or what all I want to accomplish, Saturday tends to be a lost day in my life! Today when I came home from work I was planning on finishing the last round and a half of my table topper, blocking it out with the pins I bought, taking pictures of it, and finally blogging about it... my Three Day Table Topper!!! Even though I was getting quite dozy on the drive home, I still had every intention of completing that goal... but Blogger had other ideas. I spent the better part of 45 minutes just trying to log in because my computer decided that it needed to reboot overnight. That frustrated me to no end, to the point I'm just gonna say "sod it all!", and head off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow, or even later on today will be better, and I can continue on where I left off!

Friday, November 2

Friday... Waxing Philosophic

I've decided that Fridays are Philosophical here. For a large portion of the world, Friday represents the start of the weekend. For me, Friday night is the start of my work week, and probably explains why I feel so bass ackwards in comparison to nearly everyone I know. I'll use Fridays to write an essay about what I think about whatever I happen to be thinking about.

Today's Essay: Why Do I Knit?

One of the most common questions I hear as a knitter is, "why do you knit?" This also applies to crocheting, but I will use knit as a general term to cover all of the crafts that I enjoy. My standard answer to the question is, "to stay sane." With any possible combination of 7 kids, their assorted friends, and hubby around the house, my level of sanity is often open for debate. The truth of the matter is that there is a *lot* more to my knitting than *just* sanity.

"Is sanity overrated?"
There is nothing more soothing to a troubled soul than the rythmic repetition that simple stitching can provide. Feeling the fibre between your fingers as the fabric continues to flow from your needles. It is the knitter's version of watching a slow-flowing stream. It's peaceful, and brings serenity to your soul. As you unwind the ball of yarn to knit it, the everyday, and even the extra-ordinary, stresses of life can unwind along with it. You take those stresses and turn them into something beautiful, or at least useful in some way. The simple task of knitting a few dpns-worth of a sock is all it takes to de-stress a bit at work. A row or two of a shawl or an afghan at home is all it takes to regroup after one of life's many annoyances. It's a reminder that life *does* go on, and in the end you will make it to your own personal destination.

"Hey! Look what I just made!"
Knitting also provides me with a great sense of satisfaction. Be it a plain dish cloth, or a gossamer-thin, wedding ring shawl, it's something that I have created with my own two hands. Simple patterns provide satisfaction in the speed and the volume produced. The more complex patterns are satisfying in that they challenge me to work harder and think as I work. There are times where your mind is going a million miles a minute, and some plain stockinette or garter stitch forces it to slow right down. There are times where your mind is begging to be given a workout, and that's the time to pull out the laceweight and your most complex charts. No matter what the pattern or the project, it's all done one stitch at a time, the difficulty of those stitches is completely up to you.

"Because I like it, that's why!!!"
I don't think any other reason is truly necessary when asked why one knits. On any given day of the week, there could be any one of a dozen reasons why I've picked up my needles. It's possible that I need to have this sock finished up for a gift; a new design worked out; a dishcloth to replace the one the kids decided to use cleaning the patio. It could also be just as simple as "because I want to". The fact of the matter is that no matter which particular motivator is in play at that particular time, the only *true* reason that I knit, crochet, whatever is simply... because I like it.

Thursday, November 1

And we're off!!!

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, and as you can see in my sidebar, I've joined this year. I'm looking forward to the challenge of posting on a daily basis since my Internet connection seems to be dicey at times. I have a couple of projects that I'm looking forward to showcasing this month, and hope that all of you reading will enjoy the frequent updates.

The main portion of my crafting efforts right this moment are going on to a doily that I had originally started when I was back in Calgary. It's called "Crocus Doily", and the pattern is available free on the Coats site here. I bought two balls of DMC Traditions in an ecru, and a suitably sized hook. Unfortunately, it was a Bates hook, and I really prefer to use a Boye. Fast forward to two days ago, and I have pulled this UFO out of its personal dungeon. I was on the 8th round of 25, and just wasn't happy with it. Since I had decided to change hooks to one that I was more comfortable with, I let Alex have a blast and frog the whole thing for me! I restarted it on a 1.9 mm Boye, and the resulting fabric seems so much nicer than my first attempt. I got all the frogged thread recrocheted that day, and have barely stopped since! I'm now on round 17, and I think that I just may have it done before I go back to work Friday night! The pattern says the finished size is 23", and if that's correct, this doily/ table topper may end up on one of our endtables in the living room. The only problem with that is that I would then want to make a matching one for the other table. This causes problems for me on several fronts. 1) I generally never make a pattern more than once; 2) This pattern isn't worded the best, and I need to translate nearly every round's instruction into something that makes sense to me; 3) The pattern calls for a ball and a half of the thread that I'm using, and I don't think I'll be able to get the same dyelot here, so that means I'd need to buy 2 more balls of it, leaving half a ball of leftovers of each lot.

I'll probably make the final decision on this after I've finished and blocked this one. In the meantime does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller???