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Sunday, July 25, 2010

What You Have

I seem to have fallen a but behind on my blogging. My excuses are 1) I'm lazy, 2) I'm busy getting ready to move, and 3) I've developed carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. This means /i can only type with my left hand and because of 1) and 2) I haven't taken the time to slowly peck out a post.

It really is true that you don't know what you have until you lose it. Recently, it seems everyone in my family has had an injury that keeps them from doing what they love. Both my parents have had injuries that kept them from running, and now I can't knit or spin.

Knitting is a pretty big part of my life, but I didn't realize how big until I couldn't do it. I've not knit for over a week now, and it's actually having an effect on me. I'm more irritable and less productive. With knitting to help me unwind (no pun intended- if it was, I would have used spinning), I've felt more stressed out than before.

While I've appreciated what knitting has done in my life, I never really stopped to appreciate what a gift being able to knit is. I have money to spare to buy yarn, time to spare to knit, and (up until last year) two healthy hands to knit with. I took my craft for granted.

I guess, ultimately, there's a lot of things in my life I've taken for granted much to often. My family, my job,  my health. My hand will heal, but there are so many people who've had injuries that won't, or have lost a loved one. Frustrating as my injury has been, I'm trying to make it into an opportunity to appreciate all the things I take for granted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Housesitting 2.0

You might remember that around this time last year I did some housesitting. You can see those posts here and here. Well, I'm housesitting for the same family, and the pets are up to their usual antics. Let me introduce you to them:

First, there is a fish (who is hiding in his castle at the moment, so no picture). I'm not sure what the fish's name is. No one told me, and the only thing it says on my list of things to do is "feed the fish once a day". However, last year's housesitting post tells me the then-fish's name was Nim (from "Nim's Island" I presume), so we'll go with that.

Next, there's a cat, who is, for the most part, invisible. The cat is also not named on my to-do list, but I'm pretty sure his/her name is Oreo (or "That-Darn-Cat!" one or the other).

And then, there's these two:

Lance and Olivia (Lance is on the left here...I think)

Lance and Olivia are Somewhat Sad Puppies right now. They are wonder where their People are, and why this strange Person who can't even tell them apart is here. Which may explain last night and this morning.

You see, the dogs are not allowed on the furniture. They know this. I know this. They know I know this. So I have no explanation for why when I rolled over in bed last night I saw this:

(this time I know it's Lance)

But honestly, how can you get upset at a face like that. He clearly knows he shouldn't be on the bed, but his People are gone and well...I let him stay (plus, he's kinda heavy. I tried to shove him off and he just gave me a look that said "Really?")

Now, my helpful little list told me that around 7:00 a.m. I should let the dogs out in the yard, feed them, then walk them. But I remembered from last time that they started whining to go out around 6:00, so I set my alarm accordingly.

At exactly 5:38, a paw hit my shoulder. I opened my eyes and saw Lance sitting sphinx-like on the bed, looking at me expectantly. I calmly explained to him that I did not, in fact, have to let him out until 7, but that I was planning to letting him out a whole hour earlier if he would please let me go back to sleep. He wagged his tail and sat up, and Olivia, who had been politely sleeping on the dog bed, came over and stuck her nose in my face. It was clearly a conspiracy. I sighed, and got up.

After letting the dogs out, I figured I might as well feed them, so I went into the garage to get their food. When I switched on the light, I was surprised to see the cat, who had henceforth been invisible. "Good morning," I said, and he immediately launched into a chorus of "meows" and a show of affection, rubbing against my hand. Once assured of my attention, he hopped over to his food bowl. Oh. That's what he wanted.

I fed the cat and dogs (the fish was laying at the bottom of his bowl, but I didn't feel like checking to see if he was alive), walked the dogs, and got my own food. As I'm writing this, the fish is now swimming, the dogs are laying next to my feet, the cat is once again invisible, and I 'm going back to bed. Wake me in half an hour.

(P.S. I apologize for any typos. I have tendonitis in my right wrist, so am typing this entirely left handed.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

I haven't done a very good job of sticking to my blogging schedule lately, and this is my excuse:
This is a pile of the...stuff I'll be taking with me to graduate school. I've been busy going through everything I own and deciding what to keep and what to throw away while stalking garage sales and shamelessly begging for things I don't have. Between that and work, I haven't really had a lot of energy for blogging- or at any rate the discipline to stick to my blog schedule. But since this is my Fibre Friday, it seems appropriate to share with you how I measured out what size desk will fit in my little apartment:

Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Solids in denim. At lease I still have time to play with yarn :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Odds and Ends

The past couple weeks I've been collecting a wide array of items to furnish my apartment with. I've had to buy a few things, but a good bit of what I've gotten has been given to me. I have dishes and other kitchen things from my grandparents and parents, a blender and beater from a couple from church, and another couple has offered me a microwave. I've also been offered (and just haven't picked up) a set of wooden boxes that stack into shelves from a blog reader. And the best part of all these things (besides being free) is that they are all used.

I know it might sound odd to be excited about haveing used goods, but to me that means they have meaning. There will be hardly an item in my apartment that won't have a story attached to it, or remind me of a friend. So even though my glasses won't match, and some of my appliances will be older than me, the idea of sharing my apartment with theses little odds and ends that belonged to others appeals to me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

iTouch/iPhone Apps for knitters

(See what I did? See how I put iTouch first and not iPhone in the title? Take that, iPhone owners! Also, my disclosure: This review is entirely my personal opinion. I have no connection with Apple or the creators of any of these apps.)

There are a lot of iTouch/iPhone apps (Ha! I did it again), and apps targeted towards knitters are no exception. So I thought I'd share the 3 apps I've found most helpful. All of these apps, once downloaded, require no Internet connection, so they're perfect for the iTouch (and you get no advantage by owning an iPhone).

1. Knit Counter Lite
Cost: Free
This is the single most used app on my iTouch. It's basically a row counter that can hold all your projects and always saves your place. When you add a project you get a default row counter, but you can add project details to the counter such pattern info, yarn type, needle size, and any notes you want to add. You also have the option of adding more than one counter to each project. Each counter can be edited. You can add notifiers that remind you to increase or decrease on set rows, and set a limit on high the counter goes (so if you're doing a pattern that repeats every 8 rows, you set the limit to 8 and it will roll back over to 1 when you reach it).  I apologize if I didn't explain this well, but it's a great app, and if you get just one knitting app, this should probably be it.

2. iKnit Needlesizer
Cost: $0.99
Sure, they make those little cards with holes in them to size your needles, but do you really carry one in your purse? (I take that back...if you're anything like me, you probably do). But I bet you're much less likely to lose your iPod or phone than a piece of plastic. Using white stripes of different widths that you lay your needles against, this very basic app lets you size your knitting needles and crochet hooks in both US sizes and millimeters.

3. KnitGauge
This app is basically for lazy people, but it beats carrying a ruler around with you to figure out gauge. Just lay the app on a piece of knitting, count the number of stitches between the markers on the screen, enter them in, and the app calculates your gauge.

4. Great Books (iFlow Reader)
I know, I said I was talking about 3 knitting apps, but I really want to include this non-knitting app, because it solved the great conundrum of my life: How to knit and read at the same time. The iFlow reader requires no touching to change pages or scroll the text. The text scrolls by itself; you can set the speed, or control it manually by tilting it speed up or slow down (much more intuitive than it sounds). I like to set to a little below my normal reading speed, prop it at an angle, and work on a simple project while reading the story. I suggest the Great Books library (there's a lot of book sets to pick from) because it has the widest selection of texts, including fiction, philosophy, and several other genres.