Feb 28

Remember that exciting tablet weaving class I talked about last week?  Well, I didn’t get to go.  Why not?  Because once again, I have spent the weekend in bed with a head cold.

I had a cough all last week, and Thursday I finally went to the doctor.  They said I had a head cold and the drainage was causing the cough.  I was surprised because I could breath just fine.  They gave me a prescription for a cough syrup with codeine in it and I filled it on the way home.

By lunchtime on Friday I was feeling pretty rough and left work at 1:30.  When I got home, I took the cough syrup, and slept hard for about three hours (which is why I couldn’t take it while I was at work).  Friday night I had no voice, so Scott called Sandy and told her I would not be able to go to the class with her.  When he told her I had no voice, I could hear her laughing from my bed.  She and Scott got in several jokes at my expense and all I could do was blow raspberries at them.

Yesterday, I alternated between sleeping and reading.  Today I feel better, my cough is all but gone and I am planning to get some laundry done and write my part of the script for the next Johnny Saturn issue.  That, and sleep.

And I was really looking forward to this class.  I told Scott to tell Sandy that she has better learn tablet weaving really well because I’m expecting her to teach me.

February has been a rough month and I’ll be glad to see the door close on it tonight at midnight.  March is a very full and busy month for me, and I will need my health to get through it.

Okay, I’m done grumbling now.  Thank you for listening.

Feb 26
Learning something new!!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 02 26th, 2010| icon34 Comments »

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be attending a tablet weaving class at my LYS sponsored by SWIFT and I can’t be more excited. I have read several books on the subject, but can’t seem to wrap my head around how it works. When SWIFT announced it was sponsoring a class by John Mullarkey of Malarky Crafts, I jumped for it. This is something I have wanted to learn how to do for years now.

I’ll get lots of pictures for all of you to see and should have something pretty to show you when I’m done.

Did I mention I’m pretty excited? Woohoo!!!

Feb 25

This morning we woke up to a fresh coating of snow – dry powdery stuff that made the world all white again.

 When I left my house to make my way to my car, I noticed a set of coyote tracks and stood a second to study them.  It looks like he had been laying down beside one of the foundation vents and had gotten up and trotted away using the same path I take each morning that my car is parked out front.

 As I got to the edge of the house where the path turns, I noticed some bunny tracks.  These tracks were about 18” apart and it was clear he had no idea there was a coyote there.  Then the bunny tracks got further apart, maybe about 6 feet between sets, as the bunny ran to safety under Scott’s car, which is parked in front of mine in the driveway.

 The coyote tracks turned, too, and paralleled the bunny tracks, but it was obvious that the coyote was in no big hurry – after all he wasn’t the prey here.

 When I got to my car, I saw that the bunny had run from under Scott’s car to under mine.  There the coyote stood, the tracks in two lines rather than his loping single line of paw prints.  And the coyote waited.  The bunny must have gotten curious for there is a single set of bunny prints behind my front driver’s side tire.  Just beyond are signs of a struggle with both bunny and coyote prints in evidence.  Then there were only the coyote’s prints, all in a single line as he trotted on, across the road and into the field beyond. 

 I walked around the car to see if the bunny had escaped, but I knew he hadn’t.  I was right.  There were no bunny tracks leading away from my car.

 Part of me was sad for the bunny.  I think I knew this one as Brave Sir Robin, the bunny who sat next to the Colorado Blue Spruce tree waiting for me each night to come home, and at the same place each morning as he watched me drive away.  At least that is the direction from which the bunny tracks came.  I was running a few minutes late this morning and apparently he had gotten tired of waiting for me and left his customary spot.  When I finally walked out of the house to go to my car, the tracks were still pretty fresh and as snow was falling pretty hard, I knew it had happened only a few minutes before.

 But the other part of me is satisfied that life is continuing the way it should.  The bunnies have several litters a year because they are meant to be food for other animals.  The coyote has to eat and probably has a family someplace to feed.  Eating bunnies is far better than chickens, cats, sheep and other pets and livestock.  And sad though it is for the bunny, he has fulfilled his purpose in life – as nourishment for someone up the food chain from himself.

 I am going to miss Brave Sir Robin, though.  At least until I plant my garden, then I’ll remember why I’m glad the coyote had a good meal on this cold, snowy morning.

Feb 24
Further Creative Endeavors
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 02 24th, 2010| icon38 Comments »

Once I finished my Lupin socks, I intended to go back and finish my indigo sweater vest.  Unfortunately, the pattern currently is playing Hide and Go Seek with me, so I had to turn to something else temporarily.

The Yarn Harlot mentioned a sock pattern called Sleepy Hollow that incorporates the gusset increases and decreases into the heel flap and after you turn  the heel without having to pick up the gusset stitches.  Since picking up the gusset stitches and knitting that first gusset row is the most tedious part of knitting a sock (in my opinion), I decided to purchase the sock pattern and give it a try for myself.

Sleep-Hollow1

I’m not much of a lace knitter.  In fact, the idea of following any kind of chart gives me the heebie-jeebies, but this is such a pretty pattern that I just hunkered in and got started.  It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but that is because you don’t have to remember that the knit and purl symbols change for the “back” row in this.  Being knit in the round eliminates the coming back part and you can just follow the chart as it is.

Of course, this kills it for being a mindless knit and being around a conversation brings it to a screaching halt.  Why can I follow a written pattern during a conversation just fine, but not a chart?  I’m working on that.

Also, it says to repeat the leaf pattern three times for the leg although you can do more if you have more yarn.  Luckily I have two palls of this yarn, so I’m going to do five repeats rather than have short socks (each repeat is less than 2 inches).  Also, this yarn has 34% cotton, and with the laciness of the pattern these socks will make wonderful summer socks to go with my cream colored pants.

Obviously I haven’t gotten to that interesting gusset, yet, but I’ll let you know what I think about it when I do.  Yarn Harlot loved it, so that’s a good recomendation.

Feb 22

One of the problems I am having is afternoon cravings.  I get tired at the office, a little bit hungry, and I want to munch something.  Now, on the weekends, I don’t have this trouble, mostly because I’m doing something that interests me more than coding invoices and doing journal entries, but, also, because my eating pattern is different.  During the week, I’ve been eating a small breakfast (1 T of hummus on whole wheat toast and a cup of hot tea), but on the weekends, I eat a larger breakfast (two pieces of whole wheat toast, 2 scrambled eggs and a slice of bacon with 6 ounces of OJ and 2-3 cups of hot tea).  During the week, I’m hungry within three hours of breakfast, but on the weekends, I don’t eat again for 6-7 hours and then I want something light only.  Hmmm…

So, starting today, I am eating a larger breakfast on the weekdays.  I still like the hummus on toast idea because it is a good carb paired with protein, but I am adding either ½ a smoothie (if there is any left over from making my co-worker’s smoothies) or an organic yogurt, and a fruit (right now that is ruby red grapefruit).  This comes to about 400 calories, which still leaves me with 1,000 calories for the rest of the day (until I get down into the 140’s, then I’ll decrease my daily calories).

And, today, it worked.  Four and a half hours after eating this breakfast, I still wasn’t hungry, but Sandy was, so I ate my lunch (2 cups vegetable soup with whole wheat pasta and a sandwich consisting of some new bread called Slimwich bread, which is 100 calories for two slices and whole wheat, with turkey breast, a slice of Swiss cheese and two Claussen pickle slices).  Again this is about 400 calories, still leaving 600 calories for the day.

Before I left the office, I made a half PB&J and took an apple for the trip to the grocery store and this was about 250 calories.  Hmmm…  I guess I could add something in the veggie area for this tomorrow.

Of course, eventually, I want to come up with something healthier for supper, but for this week, this will do just fine.

Also, last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I purposefully did not walk on the treadmill.  I was very tired and run down from all the extra hours at the office, getting the newsletter out the door and from being sick a couple of weeks ago.  So, I rested and did nothing more than run a few errands, get some new glasses (progressive tri-focals! – Yeesh!) and visit with Scott’s folks.

And, on the 10,000 Step Club front, I have upped my goal.  Since I am plateaued in the mid-160’s in weight, I have decided to kick my personal minimum steps up to 12,000 a day at least through the week.  Saturdays, I’d like to get above 10,000, but I think Sundays are going to be slower and if I hit 10,000 fine, but, if not, I’m not going to sweat it.  I really need one day a week at a slower pace to recoup from the week, and Sundays are as good a day as any.  Besides, I find I have tons of energy on Mondays when I rest on Sundays.  Of course, the Bible says we should rest on the Sabbath, and now I am beginning to understand why.

So, today, I walked what is effectively a 5K this morning (3.1 miles) and started the day with nearly 7700 steps.  Not bad, not bad at all…  🙂

So, what do you do to get off of plateaus?  Which is your largest meal of the day and how do you get in enough veggies?  Any quick and easy suggestions for a supper that I can eat while driving on the way home?  Since my bedtime is about 2 hours after getting home each week night, I need to eat before I get home, and that doesn’t mean stopping at Wendy’s or McD’s.  Besides, eating before I get home leaves more time to do laundry and other little bits of housework that I need to do.

Feb 19

Yesterday marked the end of two things for me.  The end of the hardest part of tax season because Sandy and I turned all of the information for the 6 different companies we do books for over to the accountants for tax returns.  Whew!!!  Glad to see that done.

Also, last night I mailed out my 16th and final issue of the SWIFT News newsletter as editor.  I have been doing this quarterly newsletter (actually a small magazine since it ranged from 28-44 pages in length during my run) since the May issue of 2006 and while I have enjoyed doing it, my life is taking a different direction and I can no longer give it the attention it deserves.  Luckily, another member of SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana – Fibers and Textiles) approached me at the recent spinning retreat and offered to take it over as I had announced in the August issue my intention of “retiring” from it.

Sandy helped me assemble the last 2/3rd of the issues last night and got them ready for the mail.  When we were done and it hit me I was not going to be a part of this anymore, I felt a pang of bittersweet remorse.  It has been fun, but frustrating, and preparing it seemed to fall in my busiest times – February (tax season), May (my anniversary and spring yard clean-up), August (State Fair, Chicago Comic Con, etc), and November (weaving workshops).  But I have enjoyed the creative side of the newsletter and that part I will miss.

swiftcover

Here is the cover of the latest issue.  Scott has drawn all the covers since I took over, and he has received his fair share of compliments for the various fiber animals and fiber related activities he has drawn.  I think his cotton boll for this cover looks great.

Here are more examples of the covers he has drawn over the years.

spinninggirl

jakethesheep

cvmsheep

Corrydales

beardedcollie

babydollsheep

angorabunny

I am proud of the product I put together pulling in news, stories, educational articles with live samples, book reviews, and the like to make it interesting to read.  I have received lots of compliments from the members of SWIFT on the newsletter and the best has been those people who say they immediately sit and read it from cover to cover when they receive it in the mail.  Since that is how I feel about such publications as Spin-Off and Wild Fibers, this was truly the highest praise I could get.

cotton

Here is what I mean by live samples.  In this issue, Linda Adamson of Tabby Tree Weavers in Arcadia, Indiana, has an article about weaving with cotton yarns and it includes several real samples of these yarns in different sizes and with mercerized and unmercerized included.  The November issue included a fantastic article by Emaly Leak on angora bunnies, their types, care, and fiber use with real angora fiber samples included so people could feel and see them. These types of articles have been my favorites to include.  Yes, it made it time consuming to put them together, but the chance to teach is always first and foremost with me.

But it is now done, and I am free from the constraints it had placed on my life.  With two very full time jobs, a house and land to care for and all the other activities I do, I am ready to move forward with other plans and activities that will fill my time very well.  Sandy and I, and Scott and I, and the three of us together have so many things in the works that I wish I could tell you about, but I can’t just yet.  Let’s just say, it’s going to be fun, exciting, and, I hope, lucrative.  And colorful!!  Lots and lots of color!!

Feb 16

Sue at Life Looms Large has asked other bloggers to post pictures of the color of February in nature for where they live and link it to her post.  So, I thought, okay, I will.  Be prepared to be bored.

feb-color-3-pines

Three White Pines

feb-color-3-sisters

The Three Sisters

feb-color-birdbath

Bird Skating Pond

feb-color-anyone-home

Anyone Hungry?

feb-color-little-house

Little House on the Frozen Prairie

feb-color-whisky-barrells

Whiskey Barrels Buried in the Drifts

feb-color-lone-cedar

My One Lonely Cedar

feb-color-pot-on-porch

Dreaming of Spring Flowers

feb-color-1

Inside the Three Sisters

Mostly white with some dark green, brown and black thrown in.  The only real color I saw in nature was the inside of the Three Sisters where you can actually see green and red.

It was very quiet taking these pictures in the snow storm – no birds, barely any wind – just the softly falling snow and the sound of it crunching beneath my barn boots as I plowed through the drifts.  I didn’t even see any bunny, cat or deer tracks, so they are huddled somewhere warm, too.

Feb 15
No Valentine candy for me!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 02 15th, 2010| icon35 Comments »

Can you believe I did not eat any chocolate for St. Valentine’s day?  Scott and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day because we see no reason to limit showing how much we love one another to one day a year.

I weighed in this morning and gained back 1.4 of the 3.8 pounds I lost from being sick.  That’s okay, though.  Weight lost during illness rarely stays off and it still is a loss overall.  I weighed 165.2 pounds this morning – here’s to less than 163 next Monday!  I am back to full energy after the cold and upped my speed on the treadmill this morning from 3.2 mph average to 3.3 mph for the 45 minutes.  In fact, I hit 10,000 steps today before 2:30 this afternoon!   Also, I am carefully monitoring the calories I am eating and trying to get in several servings of veggies each day, although I could do better there.

For your convenience, I have added to the right-hand sidebar a page for the 10,000 Step Club and the posts about that.  Also, I have an Excel spreadsheet for you to keep track of your steps with graphs for the year and each month, miles walked on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis and a column calculating your average steps for the year.  If you are interested, let me know and I’ll email it to you.  As soon as I can figure out how to make it available on the website (if that is even possible), I will and let you know.

We did get snow today, but it was warm enough to melt off the roads pretty easily.  It did clean up the dirty snow with a new coating, though.  Still,  I have been narrowing down my seed choices and should be making my order in the next week or so.  Sure would like to see some signs of Spring!  36 more days until the first day of Spring!!

Feb 14

Let’s start at the end.  I finished my Lupin socks last night while listening to Prairie Home Companion – for those of you who listened, wasn’t that tenor awesome?

lupin-socks-done

I don’t know what I did, but these things match except for the toes.  One has more yellow at the end than the other does, but I don’t care.  I think they are cool and I will be wearing them this week to work.

One of the starts I made was cleaning out my front dormer of all my weaving equipment and getting it ready to install my home office.

officestart

This home office has been in the front dormer of Scott’s studio, and he wants to turn that dormer into a painting studio.  Also, because of the crowded conditions of Scott’s studio with art equipment, my office really needs to be someplace else in order to be more efficient for me to work.  My front dormer is 8 feet deep and 5 feet wide and will make a splendid office.  And, yes, my bedroom really is that color.  With white bookcases and white tables, it’s going to be a lovely office.  And you should see the fabric I picked out for the curtains.

And the last start of this weekend is washing my second my second Corriedale fleece from a ram named Ule.  This particular fleece was judged by Judith MacKenzie-McCuin to be a very good Corriedale fleece and I am glad it is mine.  Look at that lovely crimp!

ule2fleece

ulefleecewashing1

The first fleece is just getting a good rinsing because I don’t think I did a great job rinsing it the first time I washed it.  I am hoping to get these fleeces all ready to ship off to be processed into roving by the end of February, but we’ll see.  I have a very busy rest of February and March to get through and I don’t know how long it will take me to finish this.  For starters, the Ule fleece in the bag is a HUGE fleece.

The snow has melted some here and it actually got up into the mid 30’s today.  I think we are supposed to see snow again tonight or tomorrow, but the last I heard it is to be flurries, only.  Personally, I’m ready for it to go away.

Feb 10

I’m back!  I feel 90% better and am ready to get my life back to something resembling normal once again.  The only thing that this time off with my cold accomplished was getting my first Lupin sock done and the second one down to past the gusset.  These are going to be close matches, so I am very pleased with them.

lupin-socks-2

Needless to say, my 10,000 steps every day during the month of February got blown all out of the water.  I didn’t even bother wearing my pedometer for three days and today all I’m concerned with is getting back into the swing of things, so don’t count on 10,000 for today either.  Tomorrow, on the other hand, is a different story and I will back at the treadmill at 5:00 AM and back on schedule.

The good news is that I lost 3.8 pounds and am down to 163.8 – 4 more pounds to go til my first update picture and I finally get below the 160’s.  I am keeping up my food diary, but I am taking advantage of having very little appetite right now.  But I am down a notch on the belt, so I was a happy camper getting dressed this morning.

We got 6 more inches of snow yesterday and the drive to work this morning was scary.  I-69, which I travel on for 11 miles down to Indianapolis, was very slick and with the wind blowing the snow, there is no way the highway crews can keep up try as they might.  There were several places where there was so much snow blowing that I could hardly see the car in front of me and we all drove about 40 mph.

When I got home tonight, Scott and I had to dig out enough of the driveway to get my car off the road.    The backroads are heavily drifted and my road has places over a foot deep.  Since I live on a backroad off of a backroad, and there aren’t that many people on my road, it tends to get taken care of last.  Do they make hybrid 4X4’s?

Thank you everyone for your wonderful words and thoughts while I was down with my cold.  You guys are the best!!!

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