Archive | January 2018

More New Socks

You may remember that I am currently knitting all the socks, and I am making progress on most of them, so I thought I’d share since they’re all so fun. First up is my Madtosh Seaglass green. Love this color so much, but it’s really hard to photograph accurately. It’s even more vivid and gorgeous than these photos suggest. fullsizeoutput_efbThe pattern is called Marpleridge and it’s in Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks to Fit Your Feet. I think it’s especially cool that she gives directions for making it either toe-up or cuff-down! Both the heel turn and gussets are shorter than I’m used to, so I’m eager to see how these feel when I wear them all day. My only modification was a grafted toe.

This yarn is a slightly thicker fingering, so the socks are thick and squishy and I can’t wait to wear them. Unfortunately, I haven’t even started the second sock, so it’ll be a while still.

But here’s the funnest sock ever: Wonder Woman self-striping sock!! fullsizeoutput_ef7The yarn is from Artistic Yarns by Abi and I love it. Love how the stripes worked up, love the little thread of stellina, love that it’s just the tiniest bit crisp but still soft. These are more vanilla socks with a slip-stitch rib heel.

I’m already past the gusset on the second sock, so I’ll be wearing these before you know it. Maybe they’ll give me some superpowers!

FO: Gryffindor Socks

I know I already shared a photo of these socks the other day, but I’m so happy with them that I wanted to share more of the pretty photos I took. The yarn is Biscotte Yarns Bis-Sock Sorcerer’s Scarf in color Griffin. When I was starting the second sock, I thought about trying to match up the stripes, but decided I’d rather just wing it, and it came out in opposite stripes which I found delightful.

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It’s a plain 64-stitch vanilla sock. I chose an Eye of Partridge heel because I really like its texture.

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After the heel, I knit the foot to 7 1/2″ and finished with a rounded toe.

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This yarn was delicious to knit with, so soft. It’ll be interesting to see how it wears compared to stiffer yarns, but I certainly enjoyed knitting it more than the tougher yarns! In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I’ve already got another skein waiting in the wings, the Eagle color for my Ravenclaw socks.

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I just want to finish a couple of the socks on the needles before I cast on another one. At least that’s what I’m telling myself today. We’ll see how long my restraint lasts!

I Like My Dog Again

Every time I get a new dog, I forget what it’s like to have a young dog that is so much like a toddler. They aren’t potty-trained, they need lots of attention, they need lots of toys, they destroy things, and they often don’t sleep well. Duncan was or is all of these. Thankfully we’ve gotten past the potty-training issue, but everything else is still relevant. Sleep has been bad since Grace started her meds for Addison’s; the steroids make her eat more and drink more and thus need more potty breaks. Also, either they’re giving her more energy or she’s just feeling better, because she’s been sort of bonkers at times. So for the last couple of weeks especially, they’ve been restless between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes they barked so that we’d get up and let them out. Friends, that is not a good time for me to wake up.

Last week was an especially bad week. The girl was out of town for a band event. She was gone three nights. Duncan and Grace usually sleep in her room. We didn’t want three dogs in our bedroom so Jack slept in our room and we left the other two downstairs, assuming Duncan would behave because he’d be SLEEPING.

Oh, how foolish we were.

That very first night/morning, there was barking at 4 am. I got up, went downstairs, let them outside, and saw paper all over the floor of the dining room.

It was books, guys. BOOKS. Not just any books. Oh no, MY dog of course likes OLD books. Old, valuable books that smell and taste interesting! When all was said and done, there were eight books that weren’t salvageable. Two of the eight were literally in pieces. It was a BAD day. I was sad, exhausted, frustrated, discouraged. I was kicking myself for leaving him out unattended, kicking myself for not giving him the exercise I thought he needed. I wasn’t sure if we were the right home for him, or if I had it in me to get past this stage. I was sure I was a bad dog-mom. He went to daycare that day and the next, and I slept in the girl’s room in the attic the second night to catch up on sleep, and those things helped.

Once I’d gotten a little more sleep, and gotten past the fresh wound of seeing my books torn apart, I was feeling more optimistic. Duncan really is a sweet dog, funny and charming and lovable. I do like having three dogs, most of the time. I like the way they play together and snuggle together. And really, I have to believe Duncan will grow out of this stage eventually. So, if Duncan is like a toddler, and maybe Grace is like a preschooler, I decided there was a possibility that having them together was the problem, and resolved to try separating them at night. For the last two nights, Grace has slept upstairs with the girl, and Duncan sleeps in the kitchen. And guys? I think it’s working! (I’m gonna knock knock knock on wood!) This morning, I didn’t hear a peep out of any of the dogs! I am greatly encouraged and really hoping this makes a difference in our sleep patterns. I need my sleep. Seriously.

So because I like my dogs today, I’m going to share some of the fun photos I took this weekend. I pulled out the good Canon to play with settings, and dogs make good subjects. They’re all very photogenic, in my humble opinion.

They were having a marvelous time romping around the yard, taking turns chasing each other and of course chomping on each other. I tried to get some individual shots as well. Jack was not interested in being cute. He’s a very serious old-man pupper. He’s here for the work, not the media.

Grace doesn’t mind the paparazzi, but you have to move fast to get the really good shots. I’m rather pleased with what I got. There were others, but when you’ve got one like this, who needs more?

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And then there’s Duncan, the fresh new star who wants all the attention. He can do anything from playful to serious to tough. He’s very versatile, you know.

So yeah. I think I can do this whole three-dog thing. It might take every last bit of my patience, and we may never own anything nice ever again, but at least I’ll have my puppers.

Happy Sock-iversary!

I have been knitting socks for a year now! After four years of saying I’d never do it, I’d never learn, they look too hard, I don’t want to put pretty yarn on my FEET…a year ago I made my first pair of socks and got instantly hooked, so hooked that right now socks are the only thing I’m knitting! So hooked that I’ve made socks for other people, and they actually fit! (If the people aren’t lying to me, that is.) In that year, I’ve completed 17 pairs of socks. 8 pairs have been given away, which means 9 have been for me. That surprises me a little; I thought I’d been more selfish about my socks! But the girl has gotten lucky and received some socks I found too itchy to wear after they were done.

My first pair of socks were a simple cuff-down heel flap sock in an aran weight yarn, so they knit up super fast. I had hiccups learning how to turn the heel but overall they were so much simpler than I expected. fullsizeoutput_9e3The most complex socks I’ve made are probably these Spring Forward socks, which are lacy, delicate, and beautiful.IMG_3760And my favorite pair of socks are my first socks with a contrast cuff/heel/toe. They were fun to knit, they fit perfectly and the colors are my favorites. I love these socks so much.fullsizeoutput_b6dAnd my newest pair socks are my freshly finished Gryffindor socks, which I just completed last night. This was my first pair of plain vanilla socks, using what I’ve learned to make a just-right pair of socks.fullsizeoutput_f01

I’ve learned several things in my year of sock knitting: I like snug socks with a tight gauge so I always use size 1 needles. I learned about negative ease and why it’s a good thing in socks. I like a long ribbed cuff, preferably 2″. I like a shorter leg. I like a grafted toe, and I’ve memorized Kitchener stitch. I haven’t explored toe-up socks yet because I’ve been so happy knitting them cuff-down, but I’ll get there. I have plenty of time. It’s been a really fun adventure so far, and I’m looking forward to making a bunch more socks!

Margaritas, music, and more

You guys are so kind. I found some good knitting time to fight the funk but getting kind comments here helped too! That night we went to dinner with the family (mom, the siblings, the niece and nephews) and had Mexican food and margaritas in Dad’s honor, and we had a lovely evening. I was quite popular with the boys that night, at least the ones under the age of 6, so I got a good ego boost from that, haha! One of them even told me he liked my lipstick and allowed me to kiss his cheek.

img_5766I do enjoy being around the little kids, but it was a noisy, rambunctious evening and it wore me out. Thankfully from there we went on to the girl’s District Choir concert, and I got to sit quietly and listen to beautiful music. I’m so glad she’s in choir too; I love the band and orchestra music, but as a former choir kid myself, I have a special fondness for the choir. This weekend I got both! The girl’s school Symphonic Band was selected to play at the All-State Festival this week, and last night they did a preview for those parents who can’t attend.

Of course I thought it was terrific and it made me really want to drive the three hours each way to see the 30-minute concert…okay, not really. Just a little. If we weren’t going on Saturday to see her play the piccolo in the All-State Orchestra, it would be more tempting. But as it is, I’m super excited to see the orchestra, especially since they’re playing music from West Side Story!

Even with all the concerts, I managed to finish one sock, cast on a new one, and make good progress on two others. I might be able to finish two socks this week, if I’m lucky!img_5771Finally, yesterday was a good day: it was Captain Jack’s birthday! He is now four and is the old man of the pack. img_5769Clearly he’s not a fan of getting older. We had a little chat and he’s feeling better about it now. Or maybe it was the duck jerky treat that perked him up, who knows. In any case, he’s still my favorite pupper (it’s okay, Grace and Duncan know) and I’m awfully glad we adopted him. He’s helped cheer me up many times.*

Happy Monday, friends. Here’s hoping the week treats you well!

*All three of our wonderful dogs have been adopted from shelters. If you’re looking for a new furry friend, please check your local shelters first!

I’m in a funk

Today’s my dad’s birthday. He would have been 74 today. Except he’s not because he got cancer and died almost six years ago, and that sucks a lot. Usually on days like this I’d write a thoughtful post about what a great person he was, and maybe something about how I’m processing the grief. But I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like going down that rabbit hole because I know it’ll freshen the pain that has softened and dulled. I don’t want to feel it fresh and sharp again. Maybe that’s one more step in the process. I don’t know. I don’t really want to examine it that fully. I’ll just say that I miss him, some days more than others, but at least I know it gets easier to bear as time goes on.

I’m in a funk today anyway, and I’m not sure if it’s the date or what. The dogs have this new thing where they wake up super early, like 4:30. We think it might be Grace needing to pee because of her steroids. We were able to halve the dose a couple of days ago so maybe that will get better. But still, this morning I got up with them, let them out, and then curled up on the couch to doze for another couple of hours. Better than nothing, but not as good as real sleep in a bed. And I have a sinus headache. And I have all the social obligations this weekend, instead of two whole days to knit.

So yes. I’m clearly in a funk and need to find a way out. Maybe I’ll spend some time with my socks this morning before I have to do all the things. I finished one sock last night, one for the girl, and it’s good. I like it.

IMG_5757You can’t see the sparkle, can you? But know that it’s there, a twinkly little strand of stellina. It’s in my Wonder Woman sock, too, which is quite fun to knit.IMG_5758

With any luck, some sock knitting and extra tea will brighten my morning and make the rest of the day go smoothly. And even though the dogs are buttheads sometimes, being around them is usually a treat too. They’re good. I like them.

I’m getting old

I am no longer 29.

I took a selfie today, as so many people are doing right now, for that app that matches you to a museum painting. The chosen painting was a little off, as most of them are, but that wasn’t what struck me. No, what I saw when I looked at the picture was a streak of gray running through my bangs.

It’s been there for a couple of years, slowly getting bigger and more noticeable, partly because I stopped coloring my hair and the gray stands out more against my natural ashy blond than against the golden blond my hairdresser gave me for years. But I’m also getting older, and the grays are multiplying, and in more places than just my bangs. And do you want to hear the weirdest part?

I like it. I like that little gray streak. I am no longer 29, or 35, or 39, and I don’t want to pretend I am. I’m 41, and I’ve earned every gray hair on that head of mine. I’m proud of what I’ve done in those years.

I’ve delivered two children, and my husband and I have raised them to be wonderful teenagers, which means learning how to soothe a colicky baby, how to get a toddler to go to sleep, how to potty train a boy, and how to get those kids to become independent little people. (Okay, I’m still working on that last one). 41 means I survived all those busy/crazy/stressful/lovely childhood years. I’m still unsure how that whole empty nest thing will work, when I don’t have to be Mom every day, but that’s a problem for 44 Bonny. At 41, I like my life with teenagers.

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for over 20 years, and we have a lot of happy memories. But there have been many times when it’s been damn hard. There have been times when I honestly wondered if we’d make it. But we’re stubborn, and love each other enough to do the work and grow and figure out how to support each other in healthy ways. It’s still not perfect, but no relationship is. I’m a better wife at 41 than I was at 31, for sure.

I had a successful career, and I was able to walk away when it was no longer the right fit. Then I went back to work after a hiatus as a SAHM, and it was hard since I was switching fields and had a four-year gap in my work history. But I found something and I’m making it work. It gives me a healthy work-life balance, and at 41, I know how important that is to me.

I’ve made wonderful friends, and I’ve had some friends drift away. I’ve lost beloved pets and adopted new beloved pets. I bought a car all by myself. I’ve written books, full novel-length books, that I don’t think are terrible. I’ve learned skills that sustain me creatively, especially knitting. I’ve traveled to fun places, been to awesome concerts and shows, listened to gorgeous music of all genres.

I lost my father. And my father-in-law. And my husband’s grandfather. All three truly great men. I’ve gotten a hint of what it’s like to take care of the person who took care of me as a child. I survived a prolonged bout with depression, my first (and worst, but not last), at least partially tied to grief and loss and stress and physical changes. I’ve learned my own signs of depression, and I’ve learned that medication can make a huge difference. I’ve learned that life is so much better when you’re not crippled by depression and anxiety. I’ve learned that it can ebb and flow and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

I’ve learned that it’s so much better than okay to be weird or nerdy or geeky or whatever you want to be. It’s so wonderful to be passionate about the things that bring you joy, no matter what other people think about it (my Twilight shrine pleases me to no end). I learned to embrace my naturally wavy hair and stopped wearing so much makeup every day. Because I like who I am at 41. This is me, take it or leave it. I never could have said that at 29.

I’m a better person than I was ten years ago. I’m more patient, more open-minded, more forgiving, more supportive. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a temper. I still get mad at my kids and my husband sometimes. I still get frustrated and I still say unkind things at times. But I’ve learned how to sometimes hold my tongue when my words aren’t helpful. I’ve learned–am still learning–how to apologize when I need to. It’s so freaking hard for me. But I’m trying, and doing much better with it than I could have done even five years ago.

No, of course I don’t love everything about aging. My kids have to help me with technology sometimes. I go to bed before 10 every night. My back aches more often than I’d like. My vision is getting worse and I don’t love that the skin on my eyelids is starting to sag ever so slightly. I don’t mind the wrinkles yet, but I know that may change when there are more and they’re more pronounced. I know I will experience more unpleasant things as I age. But I like to think I will be able to handle those changes, just as I’ve handled them so far.

In the grand scheme of things, 41 is not really that old. There’s still a lot of cool stuff ahead of you at 41. So when my birthday rolls around, I don’t need to make the jokes about how “I’m only 37, haha!” I want to be genuine, and honest, and celebrate every single one of my years.

I’m 41. And, guys? 41 is pretty damn good.

Edited to add: it’s not my birthday, but thank you for the well wishes! I’m just thinking about aging today.

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p.s. believe me, the gray is a lot more noticeable in real life!