Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not My Usual Topic

Life is short and precious.  Why does it always seem to take the death of a beloved person (either actually known or known for his/her work) to remind us of that.

This week Robin Williams died.  Mork went back to Ork and I hope he finds peace there that he couldn't find on Earth.

It's a real wake-up call, that you just never know what is going on inside someone. 

I'm still struggling to wrap my brain around the fact that he took his own life.  I'm not sure why his death hit me so hard or why it has affected me so much.  Yes, I loved his work.  From a young age Robin was there.  I remember eagerly awaiting the next episode of Mork & Mindy and sitting with my family watching it.  I also remember my younger brother running around the house endlessly saying Naa Noo Naa Noo (or however you spell that) while wearing rainbow suspenders and then attempting to sit on his head.

Maybe that is it.  Robin Williams was tied to many of my favorite memories and some of his work affected me profoundly. 

I remember seeing The Fisher King and being blown away by the depth of his ability.  It was so outside his normal film.  Dead Poet's Society really made me think about my life and why I wasn't seizing the day.  Bicentennial Man, which so many people didn't like, I loved, because it sparked a conversation with friends about what it means to be human.

He made me laugh endlessly.  Mrs. Doubtfire was such an amazing performance with so many great lines, many uttered so softly or so fast that it takes repeated watching to truly grasp everything.  And speaking of a multitude of characters, who can forget Genie.  Aladdin, would not have been as wildly successful as it was without his comic genius.

When his return to TV in The Crazy Ones was announced, I was excited.  Weekly doses of his comedy!  When it was cancelled I was sad, but thought, "I will look forward to what he is going to do next."  That's really it.  I was always able to look forward to his next performance, to seeing what his comic genius mind would come up with.  Now (after the last of his movies come out), I won't have that to look forward to.

I guess, all that's left to say is . . .

Thank you Robin Williams for sharing your genius with us and leaving behind such a rich library of performances for us to watch endlessly. 

Carpe diem!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Long Term Projects

I have a hat that I have been knitting for years.  It's not a complicated hat.  In fact, I would say it qualifies at mindless knitting.  The kind of knitting that doesn't even require you to look at it.  In the beginning, that term was reserved for anything in garter or stockinette. As my skills have grown, the term can now refer to any pattern that can be memorized easily.  That is what this hat is.

So why have I been knitting it for years?

It started out as chemo hat for a friend.  But I realized that it wasn't really going to be a good choice for that situation, so I set it aside in favor of other choices for her.  By set it aside, I mean I had it in a purse that I rarely used and because it wasn't a priority project anymore, I completely forgot about it. (Yes, it was staring at me as a WIP in my Ravelry queue, but I was blind to it.)  I meant to finish it and give it to my daughter, but again, it slipped my mind.

Then about a year ago, I went to use the purse and discovered the project sitting inside.  I thought, "what the heck, I'll take it with me."  It had been so long though that I couldn't remember the simple pattern.  When I got home, I immediately looked it up and decided that the project would live in this purse to be the mindless knitting I took whenever I needed something small to work on.

As the project has no definitive purpose anymore, I don't particularly care when it gets finished.   So it goes on car rides, to the fair and last week it went to the movies.

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. (Loved it!) I knew we were going to have to get there early, which would mean plenty of time for mindless knitting.  Don't get me wrong, I love to watch the 20 minute pre-show of stuff I didn't know I should care about, but I was feeling restless and knew my hands would need to be occupied.

This time I discovered the one problem with mindless knitting. . . it can't be completely mindless.  As you can see from the picture I was using double pointed needles.  At one point, I ended up with an extra needle with no stitches on it.  Yep, I had just kept knitting and put two needles worth of stitches on one needle.  I realized something was wrong when the knitting got REALLY tight.  Then I saw the extra needle sitting in the purse.  Drat!  I spent the next several minutes rearranging the stitches and by the time I had them back in order the previews trailers were starting.

Away went the project and I have no idea when it will make another appearance.  I know someday I will finish this hat, but I think part of the fun now is not knowing when.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

More Time for Knitting

I'm trying to look on the bright side of my current situation.  Let me back up for a minute and give you some details. . .

A few years ago I had a case of Achilles tendonitis.  It took a couple of months to heal, but then everything seemed OK.  That is until I decided to start running.

Knowing that I had this issue in my past, I took a cautious approach to my training.  I researched and found a good interval program for beginners that wouldn't push me too far too fast.  Or so I thought.  A month or so into the program, I noticed some soreness in my calf.  I backed off and found some additional stretches to alleviate the tightness.  Things seemed to be going better until one day, about midway through my run, I began to have a familiar pain in my leg.  I immediately stopped and hobbled back to my house.

I took a couple of weeks off and did home treatment: icing it, taking my anti-inflammatory meds, etc.  When I went back to running I decided to use a treadmill for a while to slightly lessen the impact on my body.  It wasn't feeling good.  I went back to my doctor and ended up in a walking boot with a very solid plan for recovery. (Luckily my GP used to run marathons so he knew exactly the way to get me back on my feet).

I followed his plan exactly, and things were progressing well.  Until I had a really strenuous week at work where I was on my feet for many hours, walking all over our venues.  I started to feel the soreness building back up.  (At this point I was well into exercising again, so this amount of walking shouldn't have been a problem.)  Back to the doctor I went and this time I ended up with a referral to a podiatrist.

This bring us up to this past week.

I saw the podiatrist and got two pieces of good news: there is nothing of significance in my foot x-ray, and every treatment I have done before has been correct.  Well, that last bit is both good and bad.  It means it should have worked and everything should be fine, but it is not.  In fact, when he was poking around on my Achilles tendon, he found a spot that was so tender I almost kicked him.

I'm now back in the walking boot until I complete a round of specific modality therapy (which I am still waiting on the insurance to approve) and then we see what happens.  The hope is that this therapy clears it up and then I get some good insoles for my shoes to keep it from recurring.

Like I said, I'm trying to look at the bright side.  Because I am supposed to stay off my foot as much as possible, I see significant amounts of time dedicated to sitting on the couch knitting in my future.  I guess everything has it's upside!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Precious . . . .Yarn

I have a large stash, but most of it is yarn I will probably never use, bought at a time when I had very little knowledge of high quality yarn.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to that simpler time (kitting was a much more affordable habit), but then I pick up one of my really yummy skeins of yarn and I pet it and call it my precious.

Oh wait, that sounds a little creepier than I meant it.

Honestly, once you have knit with high quality yarn, it's hard to go back.  Especially when your friend is a dealer, I mean owns a yarn store.  Yarnover Truck is my favorite place to find indie dyed yarn.  All the yarn you see in this picture was purchased on the truck.

Most of the yarn is from Anzula, but there is also some SweetGeorgia, Forbidden Woolery, and Dragonfly Fibers (courtesy of their latest truck show).  I have patterns picked out for some of the yarn: the sweetgeorgia in the center (the one that looks like sunset) is going to be a shawl,  I bought enough of the Frobidden Woolery yarn (the skein on the far right) to make a custom knit sweater, and the green Anzula at the back is destined to become a cowl (I bought it with a specific pattern in mind).  I'm not sure which one of those will be my next project.  The choice is so difficult sometimes.

These skeins just scratch the surface of the mountain of yarn I should get through.  I really should put a moratorium on new purchases, but I just can't resist the beautiful colors and smooth textures of yarn.  Whenever I enter a yarn store (on wheels or not), it is so hard for me to resist buying yarn.  I always tell myself that buying a new skein motivates me to use one of the skeins I already have.  Nice rationalization, right?

I guess it just comes down to the fact that I love yarn, it makes me happy.  It's not weird at all that I pet it and horde it and call it my precious.  Right?