Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To one thing constant never

It's really weird sometimes what gets stuck in your head -- or how.

This morning, my sister quoted Much Ado About Nothing by the one and only William Shakespeare (which is only fitting, as it is the Bard's 450th birthday. Ah, how times have changed since then):
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more
Men were deceivers ever
One foot in sea and one on shore
To one thing constant never
And my mind, the crazy labyrinth of a mess that it is, latched on to simply "no more" and had me singing Stephen Sondheim in a nanosecond:
Running away- let's do it,
Free from the ties that bind.
No more despair
Or burdens to bear
Out there in the yonder.

Running away- go to it.
Where did you have in mind?
Have to take care:
Unless there's a "where,"
You'll only be wandering blind.
Just more questions.
Different kind.

Where are we to go?
Where are we ever to go?
(I firmly believe Shakespeare and Sondheim would have been the best of friends.)

That song is No More from Into the Woods, a Sondheim masterpiece.

What do these two quotes have in common?
  To one thing constant never
While Shakespeare speaks of men in a way that suggests that they are in a constant state of oscillation, never fully committed to one place or thing, Sondheim speaks of mankind--not just men--in the same state of wandering. It's all human nature, which is why I love theatre. Theatre, to me, is a study of human nature. If you don't understand how humans work, how are you ever going to portray them in a truthful way? And the fact of the matter is, humans, by their very nature, are constantly changing. We change homes, families, thoughts, ideas, feelings, interests. Heck, even our taste buds change (if you were to tell my 11 year old self that I would one day love spinach, 11 year old me would have given you a very incredulous look. The only reason 11 year old me would not have said something in reply is that 11 year old me wasn't quite out of her shell yet).

But I digress. Sondheim makes an excellent point -- "Unless there's a 'where,' you'll only be wandering blind." Human nature. The very essence of who we are. Some people are quite willing to wander blind, no where in mind. They yearn to experience the art of wandering.

I'm not a wanderer. I need a where. I must have a destination. Yet I crave change. I love to rearrange furniture. I love to try new recipes. I love to experiment with my knitting. I love to travel. I love to challenge my thought processes and ideas. I love to have my faith tested (if only to remind me that there is--there has to be a God).

But my mind, the crazy labyrinth of a mess that it is, is constantly challenging me. It is constantly forcing me to take new paths and try new things while I'm content just to be.

That isn't to say that I'm not content with wandering. Sometimes I'm ok with wandering. And then Sondheim, the music genius and amazing wordsmith that he is, creeps back and asks:
Where are we to go?
Where are we ever to go?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Squishy Goodness

It's been a while.

I'd like to say I have something super exciting that has kept me away from the blog, but the truth is I really don't.

I've been working.

And knitting.

And working.

And cleaning.

Oh! The spring cleaning! This past weekend I deep cleaned a hallway and the hall closet and it took me the better part of the day. For a hallway.

Before that I deep cleaned the living area. And we got a new couch and rug. And I'm constantly pinning ideas for a coffee bar to fill empty wall space. I even have the countertop sitting in aforementioned super clean hallway.

I started my mom's Mother's Day project. I thought I was way ahead of the game, but with another part-time job to take over the vacant holes left by the last one, I'm not sure I have enough time (the great news about this part time gig is that I can do it from the comfort of my home). I'm 30 rounds into this project. Only 70 more to go.

I've also been waiting for a nice day for taking pictures of recently (and not so recently) finished projects. Well, I've been waiting for a nice day and a day when Brian was up for a walk out into the yard to help snap some photos for me. He's getting better. Not the best yet, but better.

Here are my Queen Alice socks with better lighting:

Now that I finally have decent pictures of them, I can wear them any time I want! And they are the most comfortable, squishy pieces of goodness I've ever worn.

I think I'll save my other recently finished project (or recently finished two-ish weeks ago) for another day.

And for all you haters who don't like that I start sentences with "and" (see how I did it this time, too?) it can actually be an effective writing mechanism, depending on voice of the author and intended purpose. Believe me. I know. Of all my English professors, I never had one hate on me for it--simply because of the way it was used and what I was trying to convey. So the habit stuck--especially for informal writing/voice. [English major steps down from soapbox.]

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Positive

There was one good thing that came out of this previous weekend (well, two good things, but technically, one of the good things happened on Tuesday, which is hardly the weekend anymore).

First Positive: 

I finished a pair of socks for me! I love them! I still need to block them but I need to do that soon so I can wear them (more about why they haven't been blocked later).

Pattern: Queen Alice by Irishgirlieknits (I swear, I will never knit socks that are designed by anyone but Carrie. They are so easy to follow!)
Yarn: Miss Babs Windsor Sock in Faerie Dust

I think my favorite part of these socks is the gusset. Check out how the cables continue (ignore the bad pictures, I'll take better ones later):

Second Positive:

After dealing with endometriosis and multiple miscarriages and the like for about 5 years, my specialist told me I am free of the hard stuff and get to start enjoying life again! He told me that we are free to start trying to conceive whenever we want (we're thinking of waiting until after summer so we can camp and enjoy all of that without the threat of morning sickness).

Positives are necessary because:

Life is a crazy balancing act of positives and negatives. I don't want to get into it here, but my husband was injured Saturday afternoon. He still isn't better (as is usually the case) and now he has an infection that is messing with his healing body. The man probably deserves steak and potatoes for supper (again) but we'll see if he has an extended hospital stay instead. I just ask for prayers, positive thoughts, and healing vibes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On Iowa!

I finished my Sperry sweater a few weeks ago now (Ravelry tells me it was March 1st) and I just finally got around to taking pictures of it yesterday. Granted, by "pictures" I obviously mean that I commandeered my husband into being my photographer, which I should know by now is a disaster. He doesn't know anything about photography. Not that I do either, but I'm at least a visual person, so I know what looks good. He, on the other hand, is not. So to compromise, I put on the sweater and went outside to play with my boys (by boys I mean my puppies and by puppies I mean my full grown dogs), and just told him to take a few pictures. 

I got a bunch that looked exactly the same.

But at least I got pictures. So I can't fault him there. Our marriage will survive!

The colors of my sweater (black and gold) are for my college team. I'm a proud Iowa Hawkeye. This sweater should live to see many a game. 

(Also, take a moment to notice the yard. Ignore the puppy path you can see in the dirt. But there's dirt! And grass! And most snow! At least, not in this picture. We still have piles that are melting and the promise of a few inches tonight. But beggars can't be choosers.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sounds Sticky!

When I was little (and let's be frank here, tomorrow is what I'm really getting at) I watched Veggie Tales. I went to a small Catholic school and they tried everything to make learning religion fun. Veggie Tales are amazing. I highly recommend them. I retain things through songs. No one can beat the fun and silly songs included in Veggie Tales (Silly Songs with Larry, anyone?).

My point (and I do have one) is that music sticks. So when Amy Miller released her Bees to Honey pattern exclusively from the Plucky Knitter, I had to get it for a few reasons:
  1. It's an Amy Miller pattern. She's awesome.
  2. It was a Plucky Knitter kit. My life has been completely changed due to the Plucky Knitter. (I kid you not. I love experimenting with colors now, thanks to Sarah. I mean, I would never had picked the colors for my kit on my own. So thank you Sarah for pairing them up and making the kit.)
  3. Every time I say Bees to Honey in my head, I do it to the tune of "Promised Land" from the Veggie Tales. There's a bit at the end that goes: "I hear it's flowing with milk and honey. Sounds sticky!" I substitute "milk and" with "bees to" and it all works out (in my head at least). 
  4. Here's the video, because you know you want to watch it:

Anyway, I knit up my Bees to Honey during the Ravellenic Games, which run at the same time as the Olympics. For the entire time the Olympics were happening, I stayed (fairly) monogamous to my Bees to Honey knitting. I am extremely proud to say that I actually finished it within the time frame (15 minutes to spare, no less) and even won a Plucky prize! (I never win prizes. I hated playing Bingo in elementary school. Seemed so pointless once I figured out I never won.)

Colorways: Chocolate Crinkle and Cider Mill 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Warm Up

This past weekend we had a bit of a warm up.

The temperature on Sunday was above 40 degrees (in stark contrast to the -50 of the Monday before). We were outside as much as we could be, cleaning up the yard and taking out the trash (I don't mind that chore nearly as much when it's nice out).

I also had free time this weekend (I know, right!?). I spent my time relaxing and making the time for me. I finished two knitting projects this weekend. One is a secret, since I need to take some good pictures and finish checking my math so I can release the pattern.

The other was sort of cheating.

I used SUPER CHUNKY yarn. Please remind me when I start talking about Christmas gifts for next year that I need to use super chunky. I made a cowl in under two hours:

(That's me in my fancy new cowl.)

Pattern: (loosely based off) Marian by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Naturally Aspire Super Chunky, colorway 2060 (sadly it is discontinued)
Needles: US Size 19!!!!

I have since started a sweater in sport weight. It's going much faster than I thought, mainly because it's simply stockinette in the round. The raglan shaping is quick and easy too, so I'm loving it thus far. More on that later.

We had white out conditions yesterday and the blizzard warnings for tomorrow are just to our North. So we'll see what tomorrow brings. 

Oh, and while I'm at it, I was super domesticated this past weekend and made amazing food. My favorite was crock pot beer chicken. (And it receives extra bonus points for being delicious and low cal.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Feet

It was -46F when I woke up this morning.

Negative. 46 degrees. Fahrenheit.

That's cold.

That's really cold.

We knew it was coming, so I spent the weekend working on a pair of warm, comfy socks to keep my feet warm today (and they are doing a fantastic job).

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the Shire Heather colorway (2.3 balls)
Needle: US 10 

This was a super quick, super satisfying, super warm and comfy knit.

They will get a lot of wear.

And I'm sure I'll make more in the future!