Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Putting the Pieces Together
Crochet is my hobby love. It relaxes me, but for a very very long time now I've wanted to try mosaics. I have some books, but it always sort of intimidated me.

Then my friend Bree posted some images of things that she has made with mosaic, and it sort of rekindled the desire. So... over the weekend I went to AC Moore and Home Depot and bought some glass and some grout and some glue, and yesterday I played.

Well, I'm not quite there yet - these pieces need a LOT of clean-up, and I think my design skills weren't at their peak, but these were learning projects for me and it was a lot of fun.

Bree insists that cleaning up the projects is half the fun - that's yet to be seen because I have a lot of cleaning to do, but it was fun to play with these.

Monday, May 28, 2007
Pass the Syrup
Pass the syrup, please.

I just finished this baby blanket, and it reminds me of toaster waffles. For the squares I used Halfknits Cobble Block Pattern. The squares work up really quickly and easily, and the textured pattern looks great. Because of all the texture, this blanket holds a lot of warmth and will be great to keep baby toasty next winter.

Joining and finishing this blanket took a long time. I edged each square with hdc, whip stitched the squares together, and then did a border of hdc all the way around followed by two rows of hdc and front-post-hdc for a ribbed edge.

I'm really pleased with the way this one turned out.

I've Been Tagged!
Apparantly there is a Seven Random Things game flying through Blogger, and I've been tagged by Kathy.

Kathy, I don't think we know each other, but I love games and I love meeting new folks on the web, so Thanks!

THE RULES:Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves along with the rules of the game, as well as tagging seven others by listing their names as part of the blog post and leaving a blog comment for the tagged individuals to let them know that they've been tagged.

I posted seven things on Kathy's blog (which is beautiful! - she does amazing crochet work and if you like crochet you should check her out!), and now I'll try here....

1) I'm a vegetarian - been one since I was 16. While I do eat fish, I think that I'll never knowingly eat meat again.

2) I rank amongst the world's worst spellers. This can, at times, be embarrasing. I remember doing quite badly in a third grade spelling bee (or is that bea).

3) I LOVE crochet and do a lot of charity projects, but I find I lack patience. I'm much better with chemo caps and baby things than with large scale projects. I thrive on instant gratification.

4) I went to college at the University of Pennsylvania where I majored in Fine Arts. I haven't used any of my art since, but love the creativity of crafting.

5) I've lived in New York (Brooklyn!), Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nebraska and now Florida. Florida is a nice place to visit, but I don't particularly like living here, and I'm setting my goals on settling into a smaller city in a more rural area - someday.

6) I was a Wallabee in my 8th grade gym show at Woodrow Wilson Junior High.

7) I'm married to Brian, and consider myself the luckiest person on earth to have found someone so perfect for me. (this didn't make a higher place on the list because it's hardly random - after a painful divorce and a lot of lessons learned the hard way, I met someone who really completes me and who makes life easy. I don't think that's random, but how can I not include that on my list?)

time to tag....

Hope none of you have been tagged yet...


Memorial Day

I had hoped to attend a Memorial Day service this morning, but when I woke to a pouring rain, those plans fell by the wayside. That's okay - yesterday hubby and I talked, and there are other things we can do. I looked at this website about Memorial Day. It gives a lot of history about the holiday and talks about ways to remember and honor our fallen soldiers.

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.

by visiting memorials.

by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.

by flying the 'POW/MIA Flag' as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).

by participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.

by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

We are flying the American Flag (and I must get a new pole so that I can position it to half staff. We will participate in the Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm. Most importantly, we want to start to more actively support our troops, our vets and the families of our fallen troops.

I have been involved in crocheting projects for our Marines and their families. Hubby has always been a supporter of The USO, and we try to support other military charities, but we now want to do more - we are going to look into volunteering at least once a month - perhaps at the VA Hospital. Giving of our time seems more personal that writing a check, and while our volunteering does little on a macro level, it can make a huge difference to someone on the micro level.

On a more selfish and personal level, I've done a lot of thinking this weekend about how I want to live. It's no secret that I've been completely stressed out with work, and that work has been taking away from some of the other things I want to do with my life. Today I'm thinking about all the people who have fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we have in this country- My friends children who are now serving in our armed forces, my own Dad who served the country as a young man.

I may complain about politics, but I love the fact that I have the freedom to complain, and I love the fact that this country is established on the ideas that we all have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".


On this Memorial Day, I am pledging to try to give back a little more to those who have fought to protect my rights and my freedoms, and I am pledging to live my life with better balance so that I can enjoy those freedoms.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Triumph Square or Blanket
Triumph Square or Blanket by Wormie

I set out to design a new square pattern today, but I think that I like this better as a full sized afghan or baby blanket. In any case, the pattern is a rather simple formula that should adapt easily to any size project and to most yarns.

(images are clickable)

Use a hook 2 size larger than the yarn calls for. I used a baby weight yarn and an I (5.5mm) hook.

Special stitches: “V-stitch” = DC, chain 1, Dc (all in same stitch)

Start by making a chain to the desired width of your project. The chain should be a multiple of 4 +1 stitches. (my 8” square started with a 29 stitch chain)

Row 1) sc in first chain from hook, *sc in next stitch, chain 2, sc in next 2 stitches*, repeat the pattern between the ** until the end.

Row 2) Chain 3 (counts as first dc) and turn. *Sc in the loop formed by the chain 2 space in row 1, skip one sc, V-stitch in next sc, skip one stitch, sc in next stitch, skip one sc* . Repeat pattern between ** until the end of row. Chain 1, turn

Row 3) SC across (make sure to sc in each stitch and in the space of the V-stitch to maintain width)

Repeat Rows 1-3 until desired length.

Finish by sc around entire edge putting 3 sc in each corner.

For blanket edging – start in corner stitch with: dc-ch-dc-ch-dc, then skip next stitch * v-stitch in next stitch, skip next stitch, dc in next stitch, skip stitch*
Repeat ** around doing the 3 v-stitch combo in each corner.

This pattern is incredibly simple, but once again I had trouble writing it up clearly. If you have trouble following the pattern instructions, the chart below may be easier for you to read (if you click to enlarge and print - I couldn't figure out how to insert it in a reasonable size here).

This pattern has not been tested - if you find any problems with it, please let me know.

Friday, May 25, 2007
Is it me???
I know that everyone has stress on the job - I'm not special, so I wonder if there is something wrong with me that I am so stressed out that it's becoming unbearable.

Perhaps I'm just tired from back to back 58 hour works week.
Perhaps I'm just frustrated by the refusal of some people to do things the right way, and the extra work it causes me in fixing problems that never should have been problems in the first place.
Perhaps its the fact that I'm running a company that is understaffed.
Perhaps its that some other workers have problems understanding that doing their jobs involves follow up.

I don't know, but there is something very wrong when a woman of my advance middle-aged years can't get through the day without tears.
And there is something wrong when the ONLY thing that keeps you from walking out on the job is the fact that you are having a medical scan, and that the remote possibility that it will find something wrong would be disastrous if you walk out and lose your health insurance.
And there is something wrong when you can't sleep because the pile of unfinished projects that is left on your desk after your 11 hour work day is higher than the stack you found first thing in the morning.

So I'm left with the question - is it me?

Everyone has stress at work. I don't think that my job is that much worse than most other people's, so why am I reaching a level of frustration and stress that is verging on unbearable? Are my stress management skills that bad that getting through the day is a monumental task, or is there something seriously wrong with the work environment, organizational structure and demands.

Honestly, I don't know.
Probably a bit of both, but frankly, right now that's not much comfort.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Jury Duty
Today and yesterday I served jury duty. It was the first time I've been called that I actually had to appear in the court house; I've been called before but always called in the night before and was told I wasn't needed. Like most people, I was less than thrilled to receive my paperwork in the mail, but I have to admit that it was a really good experience.

I arrived at the court yesterday morning to report by 7:45. The traffic and parking was a bit stressful, but the worst part was when the guard at the metal detector took away my crochet hooks! There is a lot of downtime when you serve, and taking my hooks was cruel. Luckily, I had also brought a book.

The juror pool intro was well done, and I actually felt a corny pang of patriotism and pride in our system. Then the waiting began. Pool after pool they called out numbers, but not mine. Luckily, the juror lounge was really quite comfortable, and they made the process as easy as possible.

Finally around 11am, my number was called and we were taken upstairs to a courtroom only to be told to enjoy a 2 hour lunch and return by 2. At that point I decided to claim my hooks and put the yarn back in the car. Nice security guard told me that there was nothing wrong with my hooks and that they shouldn't have been taken away, so after a quick tuna salad I was able to crochet for an hour before reporting.

We met the attorney's, answered some questions and then waited in the hall while the attorney's decided who would serve. I was one of 7 selected to stay. Without going into details, it was a criminal crime, but one that was only expected to last about a day. We heard the opening arguments and the first witness testimony, then adjourned for the night.

Today we finished hearing a few more witnesses and closing arguments.

The entire experience was really interesting. I wished that I could ask questions because I had questions that weren't answered. When I went home last night, I felt that there was no compelling evidence against the defendant and that he was innocent, but I got the impression that the rest of the jury were leaning towards a guilty verdict. When I listened today, I started to think that perhaps he was guilty. In the end, I felt that he was guilty of stupidity and of a much lesser crime, but not with what he was being charged. I knew that I couldn't find him guilty of the main charge, but was debating with myself about a lesser charge.

In deliberations, most of the jurors seemed to think he was guilty. One other juror seemed to think that nothing was proven and therefor he was innocent. We discussed it, she and I shared our feelings, and in a very short time we had a room full of reasonable doubt. We sent a question out to the judge, got an answer to use our recollection of the testimony, and in the end all agreed that the evidence that we needed to convict was not provided.

I believe that the defendant was in the wrong, but that the charges didn't match the crime. I didn't think that the case against him was proven. We all rather quickly agreed that he was innocent based on reasonable doubt.

The bottom line is, that it as a great experience. I'm sure that had I been on a week long trial, I would have been less excited, but this short trial sort of showed me that we have a good system. It made me feel proud to live in a country where we have a system that usually works.

I was so disgusted when I witnessed many members of the potential jury pool give all sorts of lame, half-assed, "don't pick me I have hardships and can't be unbiased" answers to the screening questions, but was really delighted to see that even on this simple case, the members of the jury really thought hard about it, and deliberated, and listened to each other, and we all worked together to be fair and to decide based on the law and not on our feelings or gut reactions.

Work has been crazy lately, and has been taking over my life. How odd that jury duty, something that is so often viewed as an undesirable burden, made me feel like more than just an employee. For perhaps the first time since I left New York ( 12 years ago) I actually felt today like I was part of a community and part of a society, and that was a really good feeling.

Day at the Beach Infant Hat

Earlier I posted the formula that I used for the Day at the Beach blanket.

Here is the pattern for the matching cap.

Day at the Beach Infant Hat by Wormie

I used small amounts of Bernat Baby Coordinates in yellow and blue (like a day at the beach), but any 2 colors of any baby weight yarn will do.G Hook.

With main color:

Chain 4, join to first chain with slip stitch to form a loop

1) Chain 3 (counts as first DC here and throughout), 9 dc in loop, slip stitch to top of beginning chain 3 (10 dc)

2) Chain 3, dc in same stitch, 2 dc around, slip stitch to top of beginning chain 3 (20 dc)

3) Chain 3, dc in same stitch, * 1 dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch*, repeat ** around ending with one dc, slip stitch to top of beginning chain 3 ( 30 dc)

4) Chain 3, dc in same stitch, * 1 dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch*, repeat ** around ending with one dc, slip stitch to top of beginning chain 3 ( 40 dc)

5-7) Chain 3, dc in each stitch around, slip stitch to top of beginning chain (40 dc)

8) Chain 1, turn, sc in back loop only all the way around, slip stitch to first stitch to join

9) chain 1, sc through both loops all the way around, join with slip stitch to first stitch, change to color B.With Color B:

10) chain 1 *sc in first 3 stitches, hdc in next stitch, dc in next stitch, tc in next 3 stitches, hdc in next stitch, dc in next stitch* repeat ** around (3 times). This will form a brim of 4 waves.

Monday, May 14, 2007
Day at the Beach Set

With trying to get the comfortghan done, and all the crazy hours at work, it seems like I've been working on this one a LONG time. That's ok - it's done now, and I love it!!! I think this blanket is one of the nicest ones I've done, and it literally took about 10 minutes to make a little matching hat.

Wish I had a baby to give these to!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
A few weeks ago I blogged about attending the funeral of the husband of a friend. After the service I felt that there wasn't anything that I could say to make things better for the family, so I went to the store and bought some yarn. I can't bring my friend's husband back, but I hope that when she and her boys wrap themselves in this afghan, they'll wrap themselves in all their happy memories, and maybe it will bring them some comfort in this difficult time.

This comfortghan was made from Bernat Boucle. Very soft and comfy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007
Meet Flat Stanley
Yesterday I received an e-mail from my wonderful nephew. His first grade class is doing a special reading project, and he asked for my help. Here is his letter:

Dear Aunt Delia,

My reading group is doing a project with Flat Stanley. For one project, we have to send Flat Stanley to someone far away so I am sending him to you. You need to dress him up and take him places and take pictures of you. It's all explained in my teacher letter. Please mail Flat Stanley back to me in two weeks or less.

With the e-mail came a file with the outline of Flat Stanley for us to dress up in "native garb" and take with us on a mini Florida vacation.

So....meet Flat Stanley!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tomorrow we're taking him to the Everglades for a real Florida adventure!

My Tateroo

Life happens, and things don't always work out as we plan. I know that when I'm older, I'll really miss having kids and grand kids, but they weren't in the "big plan" for me, and I have a great life.
Sometimes the three cats are more than enough to handle, and we are so thankful we don't have kids - if parenting 3 cats is so hard, what would we do with children??? Honestly, I adore kids, but I think I'd be a horrible mom. I worry too much; I'd be overprotective; I don't have enough patience. I would love my kids, but I might have held them too tightly, I don't know.
Then one of my fur babies gets sick, and I know that I couldn't handle having kids. My Tater is sick again. I can't even say how much I love this cat. He's just.....sweet, loving, affectionate, funny, gentle.....he's an angel. Scooter hates him, and we've had lots of problems with fighting. Scooter is a good boy, but he wants to be an only cat, and really resents having a new brother. It's been an ongoing problem and Scooter spends a lot of time in a "time out".
Anyway. The other day We were snuggling with Tater and smelled something so appalling it could only have been a horrible litter box mishap. It wasn't. It was an abscess from a puncture would on his rump where Scooter bit him. I went into mommy mode. I wanted to call the ER vet. I freaked, but we cleaned it well, let a lot of the puss drain, wiped him down with peroxide and decided to take him to our vet first thing in the morning. The vet said he's OK, gave him a shot and an RX for antibiotics and sent him home with instructions on how to clean it. This was Thursday.
Last night, Tate was lethargic and so not his normal cheerful self. We were worried. He felt really warm to me and I thought he had fever. Our vets office was closed, but we rushed him to the 24 hour emergency center. My poor baby had 104.6 fever. I can't understand how he had no fever when he had the infection, but spiked such a high fever after being on meds.
In any case. The vet thought he might be blocked and have a UTI, but did a sonogram and saw nothing. It ended up that we had to leave him overnight for observation because his fever was dangerously high, and it just doesn't make sense.
He so hated going in the car, and I promised him we'd take him home. I was crushed. I know he can't understand the words, but I couldn't get over promising him, and then leaving him behind. I know he's not a child - he's a cat; but he's my baby boy and I felt like I failed him.
The good news is, that the vet was GREAT! She was very young and I did the middle-aged snob thing of asking if she was old enough to be a vet and hoping she went to a good school. In fact, she went to U of P , where I, as an art-major undergrad, volunteered at the Veterinary ER. One of the BEST vet schools in the country.
So my Tater is in good hands, and they should call me within the hour and tell me how he is. I'm hoping to bring him home very soon. Many hundreds of dollars poorer, but grateful that we rushed to the vet and didn't wait for morning.
Good thought for my Tate, please. He's an angel kitty and he's going through a rough time.