Friday, July 29, 2011

When does the slow summertime start?

It was just a joke wasn't it?


They tricked us.  Come on, it's summer.  Slow down and enjoy all that summer fun has to offer.  Kick back, relax, have a cool drink...it's summer.  The last time I looked at the calendar in any meaningful way was sometime back in April.  Remember that month?  The weather was cool, with teasingly gradually warmer days.  A little rain, a little sun, NO humidity?  The "summer" loomed ahead with promises of sitting on the porch, floating in the cove, sipping iced tea, doing pretty much nothing.  Well, it is nearly August, and I can proudly report that I have been sipping iced tea! (not that great of an accomplishment seeing as that is my beverage of choice 24/7)

My "mojo" is somewhere outside playing hide and seek.  It is winning.  Help! My mojo has fallen and it can't get up!  Not sure what is going on.  Yes, it is hot, but gee whiz, when I was growing up, if the bank sign didn't say at least 100 degrees on July 1st, there was something seriously wrong.  You would think I would be used to it, but I SWEAR (oooh, side note, that was funny I misspelled swear twice...kept typing sweat....Freudian slip much?) it is hotter now than ever.  I don't like it.  As much as I love summer, have to say that the last hurrah before beautiful autumn is a Debbie Downer.  The ground is dry and cracked.  The grass is crispy.  Previously lush flowerpots are embarrassed to stand on the steps.


Knitting has slowed down, but have to admit my fingers are beginning to itch in anticipation of starting lovely, chunky sweaters (I broke down and cast on a cardigan in some bulky yarn from my stash...yep, over 100 with heat index sounds like the perfect time for bulky yarn draped across your lap).


Even with the lost mojo and molasses-speed knitting, I actually finished Petrie.  Used Cascade Ultra Pima that was first used for the Ruffles Cardigan before it got ripped out.  Here it is in all it's glory on my extremely high tech blocking board.  It is appropriate that Petrie is looking a little sweaty, what with all this talk of hot weather!





The down side of blocking anything in this room is that I have to look at the boxes of books I have been avoiding.  As long as the door is closed, I can sort of forget that I really need to get busy and start planning the rapidly approaching RIF distributions! 



On the other hand, when the door gets left open, Sophie gets to sleep in one of her favorite spots!  (No worries, there are no physical babies in the house, but I can't comment on mental ones).


Ya'll stay cool and if nothing else, hold a book or some knitting in your hands and pretend to relax, you just might accidentally do it...

________________________________

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zipping Along

I did something today that can now be marked off my bucket list. 


Funny thing is, I didn't even know it was on the list.  Even funnier...I didn't even know I had  a list!


At first glance, the concept of me and a zip line is quite preposterous.  Those that know me well know and understand that I am not the most graceful of people.  (one look at the wall behind the treadmill is plenty of evidence).  However, if you dare me or try to tell me that I CAN'T do something, well...game on!  The boys learned this a few years ago when we went kayaking and came across an abandoned bridge that people were jumping off of into the river.  Those fatal words of "Mom won't do it, she's chicken" were uttered and later eaten by two rather impressed boys!


In Louisville, Kentucky there is a limestone mine that was purchased by someone in the private sector.  It still has some mining functions, but two tours are now offered.  The cavern spans over 17 miles of corridors UNDER Louisville.  You can view the mine via a nice safe, slow tram ride.  OR, you can opt for one of the most exciting experiences...zip lines across the interior canyons. 


We opted for the Mega Zip.  This is the ONLY underground zip line in the world!  The tour consisted of 5 separate zips that got more and more challenging.  All the gear is provided and you are sent on your adventure with 2 trained guides that take care of all of the hooking up and all of the safety aspects.  


All was going well, the first couple were pretty "simple"...I don't think we were more than about 50 or 60 feet above the cavern and then came the first truly challenging one.  It had a bit of bounce to it and once you stepped off the box, you were at the edge of the drop off to the cavern floor, waaaayyyyy down there.  It was a little over 400 feet long.  


Suspension bridges allow you to travel to the final two zips, the first one being just under 900 feet long and the last one being super fast.  


To answer some of the obvious questions, 1) yes, I was a little scared.  I'm not so much scared of heights as I am of the landing part if I were to fall. 2) yes, I kept my eyes open.  There is barely any lighting and we were relying on the lights on our helmets.  The views were spectacular and something I definitely would not want to miss! 3)no, the thought of chickening out never crossed my mind. 4) OH YEAH! I would do it again in a heartbeat!


While chatting with the guides, we found out that the Mega Zip has only been open to the public for a few weeks.  If you are ever in the area, this is something to put on your list of things to do.  More information can be found here.  (No, they really don't know me as anything other than the lady that chose to sit down in her harness and scootch off the extreme drop off platform instead of taking the giant first step.)


Here is the proof that we survived...



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rocks, spin, knit, and eat cake

The problem with summer, for me, usually involves so many things that I want to do outside, that it is difficult to get a lot of things done inside.  


For the last few years, we have been working on a major remodel to the house.  The majority of projects in the new section are completed...only a few finishing touches...and then we will begin work on the older section.  Wes swears that he mentioned in the beginning that this would be a ten year process, but I have NO recollection of that conversation!  This summer, I have been devoting more time to working on the flower beds in the back of the house.  So far, (three times to date) I have climbed around the rocks at the rock place and loaded 500# at a time into my car, driven home and unloaded them multiple times into the wheel barrow, pushed it around back and unloaded each stone into place...which if you do the math, means I have lifted at least 400,000,000# working on this project (and that's not even counting the 1300+ # of haydite gravel plus the about 600# more needed to finish filling in).  Trust me, I double checked with a calculator...  To finish the beds will require at least one more trip to the rock place.  To start on the plant portion, ornamental grass and spireas have been put in.  Next year, I will add the next layer to the plantings, because, let's be honest, trying to plant anything else in this heat would be ridiculous!  Vinca will be added to provide ground cover that fills in quickly and begins to poke through the rocks, much like in the front beds.  Given time, which is the hardest part of gardening, they will begin to resemble this.





Inside the house, spinning has been moving along quite nicely...





And on the needles, the Ruffles Cardigan got ripped out and is slowly being reborn as Petrie.  And I do mean slowly since the only time for knitting is in the car!




And now for 2 of my favorite 3 WIP's... Happy Happy 17th Birthday to my baby boys...





Stop the clock, I can't believe they are 17!  Seems like yesterday...

_____________________________

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wesley-angelo

A particularly jobless son of mine took us up on the opportunity to make a little cash.  


His task (which he started over Spring Break) was to continue painting the shop walls.  



Oh, looky...speaker wire...


Also note the footwear...oops! there isn't any!



One and a half walls later, it appears to be lunch and nap time.



Cleaning up is NO fun...



...unless you just play with the dried paint blobs!



It was a grueling 3, maybe 4, hours of work.  Definitely time for a little surfing.



AND, messing with Mom's desk!



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hi! My name is Granny Weasley

Seriously, it is without a doubt a full moon!


Not five minutes ago I finished the most incredible piece of drivel literary genius, only to have the iPad eat it!.  So, where was I and what was I saying???

Unless you live under a rock and haven't been paying attention for the last several years to the gradual build up to what happens in just over an hour from now, you know that there is a major movie event about to happen.  


In preparation for said event, the kids started on a marathon mission of watching all of the previous movies so everything will be fresh on their minds when they watch the newest and final installment.  This afternoon, when I got home they were on the last one.  I took sandwiches in for them and was met with the proclamation of "Mom, you are just like Mrs. Weasley!"  At first, I took offense at such a comparison, but after thinking about it for a minute and wondering if maybe I had some Floo powder in my pocket (boy would that come in handy!) I decided I'll take it!  Now, I may have set myself up for this statement after having spent a good deal of time last night trying to convince them that they NEEDED for me to knit matching sweaters with their initials on them.  Oddly enough, nearly 17 year old boys that bear a striking behavioral similarity to... maybe... two boys named Fred and George...are not too keen on such an idea.  Yes, I KNOW,  I was just as shocked as you are!  What Mother would not be happy to be compared to another Mom (fictional is irrelevant) that is highly domestically skilled, is tough as nails but soft as a kitten, fiercely loves her children and welcomes friends of her kids into her home with open arms, and is not afraid to make clear to her children what she will accept and expect all while dosing out equal measures of love and discipline?


And with that, I promptly returned to the kitchen to make jam...raspberry and strawberry, if you must know.  All was good and right with my maternal world, until...SOMEONE suggested that perhaps me standing in the kitchen taking jars of jam out of the giant canner was reminiscent of Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies. 


I quit.


For tonight anyway...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Them Wild-Eyed Boys...

I spent 10+ hours in the car Saturday, five of them with two of my boys.  


This is a partial view of what happens when they grab your phone and start playing YouTube videos...complete with the audio being broadcast over the car stereo system.  






 

Both are now permanently (on looping repeat) stuck in my brain.  

So, as they say...




Life is good.



Friday, July 8, 2011

Grape Ape

On Monday I was cooking something up.  


You guessed it...yarn.  Not just any yarn, but some of the first handspun I did on a combination of drop spindle and a wheel in the spinning class I took.


Here it is before:



I had a little over 10 oz. of fiber and used just over 1/2 tsp of Violet and mixed in about 1/4 tsp of Black (no taste black, of course!)--Wilton Icing Colors.


Things were perking right along with the whole dye job, but I couldn't figure out why it was seeming to take forever for the dye to exhaust and why it appeared as if the blue in the Violet was pulling out and only the red portion was attaching to the fiber.  After about an hour of cooking, the light bulb in my tired little brain went off.  VINEGAR, yep I forgot to add it.  Amazing what happens when you add  a little acid to the mix.  





Can you say Grape Ape?


The Super Bowl Scarf is done and has been turned in to the powers that be.  No picture as, well, it looks the same, just longer!


Over the weekend, another FO flew off the needles...sewing machine needles that is.  For some time, I had been stalking some fabric I liked, waiting for it to go on sale with the intention of making a tablecloth.  Finally, it did.  There is still enough left with the remnants to possibly make a small table topper for the table on the back porch.  With any luck, it will get done this summer.  




If you look closely on the right side of the bottom picture, you can catch a glimpse of Minerva


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tradition!

Sitting at the baseball game on Monday, I started thinking about all the different activities, behaviors, and other things that we do within our family.  We are building memories and hopefully establishing life traits/skills that our children will carry on in their lives.  


For the last several years, we have made it a tradition to attend the 4th of July Indians baseball game.  It is a lot of fun, we get to see the fireworks at the ball field followed by the downtown Indianapolis fireworks...all from the comfort of some awesome seats.  When I posted on my Facebook right after getting the tickets, one of my sons commented that he could not believe we were going to go WITHOUT them!  Seems this has become part of their family memories.  So, as we sat there, all the seemingly trivial things that we do started rushing in.


1.  Nearly every single Friday night we go out to dinner as a family.  It is a rarity to miss this activity.  It has become so ingrained that plans for teenagers sometimes hinge around doing this first...that or often the friends will just come along or they will all meet us at a restaurant. 


2.  I make birthday pancakes for my kids.  Early on, I learned that sticking a candle straight into the pancakes makes for a hot mess.  Now, pancakes are topped with a votive candle.  


3.  My husband, WITHOUT FAIL, opens the car door for me to get in and when getting out.  I never asked him to do this and when I have questioned him about whether he thinks I am not capable, he responds with something to the effect that it is the little things that add up and he enjoys doing something so simple that is still so representative of the love he has for me.  What we have noticed, is that certain teenagers have been watching over the years and now frequently race to beat him to it.  


These are only 3 of the multitude of things that have become family traditions.  Embrace them, encourage them, they are keepers!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Minerva's putting out...

the most lovely fibers.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!!!)

Over the weekend, I spent a great deal of time spinning and finishing off some fiber that I purchased at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festsival.  The bulk of it was spun on Minerva, then I "off-loaded" what was on my drop spindle onto the bobbin.


It is some purty, sparkly yarn.  The picture does not do it justice, you cannot see the silver metallic thread running through it or appreciate the subtle variations between the blues, purples, and greens.  Now, what to make with a little over 200 yards of DK/Light Worsted 2-ply?   




That is about all I have managed to get finished in the fiber world this week.  More time has been spent fiddling with de-stash projects, straightening up  the confusing mess in the craft room, avoiding the final details of putting one of the kids' rooms back together after repainting, and for the last few days struggling with the attack of a summer cold.  NOT FUN!  I don't have time for this. 


Maybe Amos has the right idea and I should just pack up and go away for a little recup time...




For a look at other FO's that are nothing to sneeze at, visit Tami's.

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