Archive | January 2018

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!

Wonder Woman Socks

I kind of found some more yarn recently. I was idly looking for self-striping sock monkey yarn, and Google very nicely took me to the website for Artistic Yarns by Abi, and I found lots and lots of really fun self-striping yarns. She does have a super cute sock monkey yarn, and I was all set to purchase some, but then I kept scrolling and found THIS: self-striping Wonder Woman yarn!!

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I was trying to be good so I didn’t let myself order two skeins, and of course I had to get Wonder Woman, so that sock monkey yarn will wait for another day. (Or not, since I found yarn to make my own sock monkey socks.) In any case, the yarn arrived yesterday and I was so happy with it. It came in a cute shipping bag, the yarn was packed in a skein-sized ziploc bag, and I even got the cutest bumblebee stitch marker as a gift!

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I pulled out my swift and got it wound so I could cast on immediately. I could already tell that the colors were perfect; I especially love the bit of stellina to give it sparkle.

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Sorry, just realized that photo isn’t very good. I’d take another…but I’ve already cast on! These are going to be simple vanilla socks for me so that the yarn can be the star of the show. Can’t wait to have more time for these!

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These might replace all four other socks I’ve got going right now as my favorite! Yes, four. I’m officially crazy, I think. Or a sock addict. Or both.

Not the Woolfest

Yesterday was the Winter Woolfest in Wamego, Kansas, and as of last week, I was planning to go. The husband and I were going to make a little daytrip out of it and hit some antique stores on the way. But then the weather got super cold and slightly unpredictable, and the people in my house had other things they wanted to do, and I decided I could skip the Woolfest this year. I didn’t really need more yarn, anyway.  So what did I do with my day instead? Can you guess?

Yep, I went to my LYS. Saturday came and I saw the photos of all the vendors on Instagram and all the pretty yarn and I felt a little sorry for myself. They had just added a lot of stuff to the clearance section, so I figured I could find a deal or two and satisfy my yarn craving. Well. Haha. That didn’t exactly happen. But man, I had a good time! I spent over an hour just walking the aisles, touching the yarn, admiring the yarn, imagining projects, pondering the possibilities, and trying to control my urge to BUY ALL THE YARN. I came away with two new Addi Turbo circs from the sale section, and a whole bunch of yarn.

I got two skeins of a silky sock yarn, Diversity by Plymouth Yarns. It’s an acrylic/polyester blend that feels completely different than wool and I think it’ll be great for warmer temperatures. I also gave in and bought another skein of Madelinetosh A.S.A.P. in Seaglass because I loved the first one so much. (You can see the Seaglass Cowl here.) These skeins went into my stash for future knitting. The rest of the yarn I got immediately went onto my needles.

Because I love the Seaglass color so much, I bought a skein of Tosh Sock so I can have socks to match the cowl. I started with a wide ribbed cuff while deciding on a pattern. Finally, this morning I chose the Marpleridge Sock from Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks book. I just haven’t gotten to the pattern part yet.

They’re not progressing quickly because of course I cast on other socks too. In the sale section I found some sparkly Stiletto sock yarn from Plymouth Yarns. I’ve used it before, in a different color, and think it’s so pretty. But they’re a little too itchy for me, so they went to the girl. Hence, these will also be socks for her. Just like the other pair, I’m using my favorite sock pattern, the Vanilla Latte socks. I’m sure she’ll be pleased.

Finally, my last new project was a bit of a splurge. I got it in my head that I wanted to make sock monkey socks; basically I just wanted to make socks inspired by the colors. It was super hard to find the right main color. It really should be a grayish-brown, or a brownish-gray, and ideally it should have some color variation and/or texture, like a heather or a marl, something like that. But I couldn’t find anything like that even at my huge LYS. The closest I could find was some Frolicking Feet in Raisin, a warm brown with subtle shade variations. I paired it with Cascade Heritage in Snow and White, and while it’s not exactly what I was picturing in my head, I think it’s close enough.

I’m using Hermione’s Everyday Socks for these, to give the body extra texture without making it too complicated. I’ll do a red heel, and a toe with both white and red. And the fun thing is that I’ll have plenty of red and white leftover to use for more socks, or as solids for when I want to do contrasting heel/toes with variegated or striped yarns.

Now I’ve got lots and lots of knitting to keep my busy during the next two days at home. We got fresh snow this morning and tomorrow’s a work holiday, so I’ll be found on the couch, snuggled up with a blanket, a dog or two, and some yarn.

Did any of you make it to the Woolfest? Was it wonderful?

madtosh miso shawl

Today I have another WIP to share, one that’s going more slowly because it’s more complex. This one started with the yarn, madelinetosh Euro Sock in the color Daenerys, which is a gorgeous super dark black/purple. It was a birthday gift from two lovely friends at work and I’ve been itching to knit with it for months.

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I wanted to make something that I could wear often and easily, and finally decided on a pattern called Miso. It’s a long, shallow triangle shawl, almost scarf-like, which is currently my favorite shawl shape. Beyond the shape, I liked that it was easily modified for the amount of yarn you have; you increase to half your yarn and then start decreasing. I also liked the zig-zag lace pattern, because I wanted something pretty and not too mindless. So far, it’s perfect.

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The yarn is delicious to knit with, as madtosh always is, and the pattern allows me to listen to TV while I knit, and look up occasionally. The pattern isn’t difficult, but certainly too long for me to memorize, so I have to keep track of where I am. It’s growing quickly and I’m already looking forward to wearing it. And the best part is that it will remind me of my friends every time I wear it!

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Today is a snow day, thanks to freezing rain/sleet/snow, so I’m eager to see how much progress I can make while knitting in front of a fire. I’m so grateful to have a job that doesn’t require my presence on days like this, and bosses who are happy to have me stay at home!

WIP Wednesday: Gryffindor Sock

I don’t often play this game, but it is Wednesday, and what I have to share is a WIP, so there you have it. I’m back to my socks, but they’re selfish socks now. I cast on with my Christmas sock yarn as soon as possible, my Biscotte Yarns Bis-sock in the Griffin colorway. 39317504321_b73f50127f_oI wanted the yarn to be the star of the show, so I’m doing a nice plain sock with a ribbed cuff and an Eye of Partridge heel. I actually cast on the day after Christmas but didn’t get too far before getting distracted by non-sock knitting. With lots of FOs behind me, this is my lunch break knitting at work now, and I’m loving it.img_5711(Obviously the color is better in the first photo. This is a hasty lunch break photo. I do the best I can!) I’m on the gusset of the first sock and looking forward to knitting the second sock too. The yarn is delightfully soft and silky, and you can’t go wrong with self-striping yarn. It’s my favorite thing ever. The girl was admiring these with a covetous tone in her voice, but she’ll have to wait for her own pair; these are mine! And now I want to do a pair of these in every House color. I could wear them according to my mood. So if you ever spot Slytherin colors in my socks, watch out!