Sunday, December 30, 2007

Finally, IT is over

Yes Christmas is over for this year. Now on to a new year and new opportunties.

Yes, I am going back to work week after next. I have secured another contract position. Some where new this time. I think it will be fun to be doing something entirely differents. I will be working downtown new the new Power and Light District so I should be in the thick of things.

Now I truly will have to get my to-do list completed, now excuses. I am finally, yes dare I say it, going to paint the dining room. I am going to clean the house throughly, again, so I will be ready to go to work again.

As for knitting, I have been doing many things lately. I did finish the Christmas things and the last of them will be mailed tomorrow to my sister's family. They will have many Christmas mornings this year. My brother mailed his gifts, which they have already received in Portland, and Mom's is on they way so they should get them eary this week. Mine they should have later in the week. This should be fun for the kids not getting everything all at once.

Anyway, to get back to the knitting. I am working on a pair of gloves custom made to my little hands. I have very short fingers so when I buy retail gloves I either have to get children's gloves, the stretchy kind, or the gloves that are an inch too long in the fingers. Neither are very workable so I decided that a custom pair are in order.

My friend Chelle started the "Girl's Best Friend" socks from ther pattern she downloaded from KnitPicks. She was not sure that she liked they way they were working up so gave the pattern to me to try. She started hers using Cascades Fixation hoping that the stretch would provide a better fit. Not liking Fixation myself I started this pair in Lang JAwoll.

This is what I have so far. The pattern is fairly involved so it does not go very quickly but I am almost to the end of the lace part. From there on it is just stockinette. I think I am going to really like them, even thought they are a slow knit for me.

In my spare time I have been working on just a plan pair of navy socks to wear with slacks for work. I need some that are a little more conservative for professional times.

I know that this does not look like much just yet but it will. I found this wonderful vest pattern that I just feel in love with. It is modular, as you can see, in an unusual way. It is called the "Petal Vest" and is a Knit One Crochet Too pattern. They have it rated as Expert but I am not sure why. It is not really that complicated.

This is what I have so far. I really like working on it and seeing how it builds on itself. I can see alot possibilities for variations. Stay tuned for progress.

Well, I think that brings me up-to-date. Now on to the new year.

To all of my friends....HAPPY NEW YEAR! ! ! !

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I think I am as ready as I am going to be for Christmas. I have not shopped alot this year since I am not working at this time. After all, it is the thought that counts.

As many may know my sister's family was making their maiden voyage, driving from Portland, OR to Lees Summit, MO for the holiday. They had quite an adventure starting with being stuck in traffic for 4 hours in SE Oregon. This was only the beginning. As they progressed on to Wyoming, they got into blizzard conditions which prompted them to turn around and go home. They started this journey Wednesday afternoon and finally made it back to Portland this afternoon.

While I am sad that they will not be here for Christmas, I am extremely thankful that they are safe. This is an adventure I do not think they will want to try again. The summer time will be a much better time to try again when there is good weather an they can sight see along they way.

So this year it will be my mom, brother, and me for the holiday. They are in Springfield and the weather is much better there. Not sure how long I will be able to stay as they weather looks like it is turning again by Wednesday. Will have to watch the weather report. If it looks like it is going to get bad I will most likely come home earlier than later.

I have all of the gift knitting done that I am going to do. Anything else will have to wait until next year.

Now...I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Organization Continues

In keeping with the recent weather in Kansas City, here is my crocheted snowman. He still needs eyes, nose and buttons that will be done tomorrow. He will be going to one of my red hat friends. Every year she has us to her how for our Christmas get together which is really a treat. She cooks wonderful things and always has some kind of fun activity for us to enjoy. We were supposed to be together last Tuesday but due to inclimate weather, the event was reschedule to tomorrow.

Today was my day to finally get my yarn closet organized the way I wanted it. This is attempt #2. I have had the wire cubbies for some time but had not gotten them put together. This gives me a lot more storage room for the yarn I already have. This does not give me license to by more to fill the space. I am going to concentrate this year on using what I have. If I do buy something new it will be for a specific project. I have a bad habit of buying something fom the sale bins thinking I can find something to make from it. How is this work for me, you ask. Answer, not very well. I have a couple skeins of various things but not enough to completely make something. This is not very productive or ecomonical.

I think I am almost ready for Christmas. I have just a couple more things to get the wrap. This is not going to take long since I have not bought a lot this year. I have been, for the most part, conservative with my spending this time. Mainly because I am not working right now and I have about $3000 to pay out in by the end of the year. Next year will be different.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Memories

This it the time of year that everyone is so busy running here and there shopping, doing holiday cards, attending parties and in general going crazy to be ready for Christmas morning. Whether you are staying home or traveling it is the same every year, it seems that things will never get done in time. Some how it always turns out ok.

When all is said and done, the most important thing is to be with people you care about. Family, friends and neighbors all contribute to making memories. We all have them. Some are good memories and others are not. I choose to embrace the goods ones.

In the days gone by when all of my family was still here, young and vibrant, there were many good memories made. My grandma raised 6 fine children, mainly on her own. My youngest uncle was 13 when grandpa died of stomach cancer leaving grandma to keep the family going. The family did not have a lot but they did have great love for each other.

These fine people produced my generation. There are 14 cousins of this generation who are now the old ones. The oldest is 77 down to the youngest who is 39. Now some of these cousins have children who are having children. Talk about feeling old.

The memories that come to me this time of hear are of the family Christmas dinners. Everyone would have their Christmas morning at home then in the afternoon gather at someones house, usually ours. There was always much food, drink, and merriment. Our house had a large rec room in the basement with room for everyone to spread out. There was a ping pong table with an extension that made it big enough for everyone to sit down to eat all at the same time. This was quite a sight. In my younger days we numbered 20 or more eating at once.

As the cousins grew older and got married the number grew to 30+. You can imagine the noise level. In our family ther is an interesting thing that would happen. There would be multiple conversations going on at the same time with various people bouncing between conversations. When things got going it would seem like the walls would viberate. This I learned many years later was very intimidating to new members of the family. Growing up with this it seemed perfectly normal to us.

When dinner was over and the table was cleared the evenings entertainment was a huge bingo game. We played for a nickle a card. Us kids would clean up. Oh, those were the days that made such good memories.

Now that my generation is grown each one has started their own family traditions so we do not get together for holidays any more. Life goes on and this is the way it is supposed to be. Families will always carryon to create their own memories. The are nice to look back on.

This year my family will be with my mother. This is the first year without my dad so it will be different but it will be a much better Christmas than last year. The kids will have fun waiting for the morning and the anticipated present opening. The amount of presents will be scaled back but I am confident that everyone will get pretty much what they want.

My wish for everyone is to have a wonderful Christmas. Go out and make all the memories you can and share the ones you have. That is what keeps them alive.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh the Midwest Weather

This weekend was a weather shocker in KC. Today was not so bad. I got out and had lunch and ran some errands before the predicted ice storm to come.

This is the up-to-date weather map for the Kansas City area. We are in the circle. There is not much hope that this ice storm is going to miss us.

As you can see from the forecast we have 100% chance of freezing rain tonight, tomorrow, and tomorro night. Hopefully, this front will move on out and nothing else will be behind it for Christmas.

I have been knitting some today also. I am to the gusset for the huge socks I am doing and am ready to do some felting. Gracie was really impressed with the body of this snow man. I was making in for an exchange at my Red Hats Christmas meeting but it has been rescheduled until next week due to the weather. This works better for me time wise so I can get him done.

This is the bag I am doing for my Mom. Got some bamboo handles today but am not extremely happy with them. I really wanted leather but JoAnn's did not have them and my time to look for them today was limited. Maybe I will find some later this week that I am satisfied with.

On the job front. I got a call today from a New Jersey headhunter presenting me with an opportunity. The person was obviously Indian which in itself is not a problem. I have may friends who are Indian and they are lovely people. The problem with this person is that he is not familar with the geography of the country. The position is with a large telecom company and would be a great fit, if it were not in Tulsa, OK.

It was very difficult to understand what he was talking about to begin with. He asked if I knew where Tulsa was and how far it was from me. Oh, also if I took the job would it be necessary for me to move there. He had very little detail about the position. His main concern was if he could submit my resume for the position. I had to ask if the positon was a direct hire or contract and what the salary range was. Let me just explain that this is not my first experience with this. The main purpose for these head hunters is to get submissions. My understanding is that they get paid by the submission and not the just the placement. I am not at all comfortable with this type of recruiting.

I had thought that this type of recruiting had fallen out of favor but I guess not. It is another case of sending jobs off shore. The telephone give is a New Jersey number but I think it is patched in from India. I just to not like the idea of being recruited for a job in the US from another country.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


When I logged into Ravelry I found this link to the "Worlds Larges Stash" I think this one has got most yarn shops beat. I am so envious both of the stash and the space. This is a truly bless knitter. I think all of us can only dream of such things. This person is either very rich, an incredible bargin shopper, or a major hoarder. Either way all I have to say is WOW!

The winter weather has settled in to Kansas City this weekend. There was ice yesterday on the driveway and street. I did not go to SSK, although I was dress and ready to go. When I went to get in the car I was going to go get the mail and discovered that the driveway was a sheet of ice. I thought better of my trek across the street. The last thing I need to do is fall and hurt myself. The outlook for next week is not that good either. We are supposed to have more ice and cold, all week. I have a feeling that we are in for a bad winter.

I actually have been knitting away today and have completed two things and almost a sock. Since as with everyone these are Christmas presents the pictures will have to wait. Wince there are still a couple of weeks before Christmas I may have time to get a couple more things done, in between job hunting.

On that front, I am going to keep up the effort on through. You just never know what is going to come up. The best job every could come along.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Good Day-- Friday

I had a good day today. I went to Weight Watchers for my first week weigh-in. I did good, loosing 2.8. Not a bad start considering when I weighed in I was 16 lbs. less than the last time I weighed, in October. It is interesting that I am able to do so well with my eating when I am not working. I think there is a message there somewhere.

Good news...I have selected paint for the dining room. Now that I mostly have my house in order I will have not excuse not to paint. I finally had to take the drape with me into Lowe's and get the color selected and purchased. It is time for this to be done before Christmas so I will be ready to go back to work.

I think I am over my Christmas grinchiness ahead of schedule this year. The difficulty is that this is the time of year I miss everyone who is not with us now. Even though they are not here in the flesh, they are in my heart and that is the part of me that hurts. I work through it every year and am fine by the time Christmas is here, but it usually takes longer. I call this progress.

I did get some Christmas shopping done today and enjoyed it. Each year there is usually one of my family that I spend a little more on. Not necessarily on purpose but it just works out that way. It works our pretty even over time. I of course will not say who it is but he/she will be absolutely gobsmacked. I am pretty please with this one.

I have a couple more things to get knitted and others to get bought then I will be ready. I may even decorate the house for a change. I usually put up a tree of sorts. It is actually half of a tree that hangs on the wall that is the side of my guest closet. It works out great because it does not sit on the floor to be in the way. Next to my front door there is an etched window that looks in on this wall so from the outside it looks like a tall tree. The tree stays decorated and is stores on a shelf in the storage room in the basement. I really love it. I will supply a photo when it is up.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

There is Always Tomorrow

I had a good day today. I finished the cleaning in my bedroom and have stuff ready for the Federation for the Blind to come next week and pick up a bunch of stuff. It will be good to get that out of the house.

I got a call today for an interesting job out-of-town (won't tell where so as not to jinx it). The thing is that it is a direct hire or in my mother's words, it is a real job. If all it works out it would mean eventually moving (but not right away). At first, the opportunity arose I just said it was not an option but the more I think about it, there is a possibility. Will have to see how that all goes.

Nonetheless, I have some things cooking. I should have heard about one today but did not. There is still hope for it since there was not a definitive rejection. I also have a meeting in the morning to talk with another recruiter. Eventually, probably after the holidays, something will present itself. Until the unemployment check will keep coming.

It amazing how we can manage with less money. Kansas unemployment is $407 per week. Today was an exciting day because I actually got 3 checks to catch me up to the first weeks I was off. This was a great treat. Now I will have money for Christmas.

The main thing that is a concern is the health insurance. Did you know that if you loose your job that you qualify for COBRA coverage. For those of you who have never experience COBRA essentially you pay the full premium. Basically, it is the portion that your employer pays in addition to what you pay on each paycheck. This means that if you pay say $70 per month when you are working, it goes up to let's say $287 per month out of your own pocket. This is what I will be paying for coverage that has a $1500 deductible before it pays anything unless you have a medical emergency. After the $1500 they pay 80%. This is what is known as a high deductible indemnity policy.

In the old days before the managed care fiasco started with the HMOs this is the kind of insurance we all had. You went to the doctor and pay usually $25 for an office visit and you could go to any doctor you wanted. The insurance company did not care. Everyone had an prescription card and paid $2 or so per prescription. There were not commercials advertising pharmaceuticals and we all took what the doctor thought was best for up. The only time you used your insurance was when you had diagnostic test or were hospitalized. Those were the good old days. Employers paid the full premium for the employee and usually the family. Medical costs were much lower and the doctors did not have to inflate their charges to $100+ for an office visit just so the insurance company would pay the $25. Things were much simpler then.

I was working for a pharmaceutical in the 80’s when the HMO was in its infancy, and I remember being in meetings when it was said what a boon it would be to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. In the beginning, many paid no copay at all of if there was one it was nominal. I think the first on I paid was $2. Then it went to $5 eventually rising to ….you guess it $25. Amazingly, the amount we used to pay the doctor anyway.

They fought long and hard to be able to advertise their products. Well, we all now what the power of suggestion does. How many times have you seen an advertisement for a new drug then go to your doctor and say I want some of whatever it? We are all guilty of this. So now instead of pay a flat $2 or even $10, now we are tier on a formulary. For those who are not familiar with this it a list of drugs that the insurance company will pay for and the new the drug the higher the copay cost is. We are not paying $30, $40 and higher for a brand name prescription. This because we always want the newest thing when some of the older drugs that are less expensive will do just as well or better.

OOPS! I almost forgot this is a knitting blog. I have not been knitting a lot this week since I had so much to do on the house. I have worked a few rows in here and there so I am making progress. I have a couple of Christmas things ready to come off the needles and a couple more to go on. The new stuff may have a swatch with an IOU attached under the Christmas tree. Will have to see how I do the next few weeks. With the house nearly done I can devote more time to knitting and get it done.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Knittng Again Soon

I have not been knitting the last couple of days because I really need to finish up my delayed Spring cleaning. I am very close to be there. I have the front bedrooms mostly in order.

I got things in the kids room rearranged which was a big part of the effort. U had an entertainment center in there that took up a lot of room so now that is gone and a much smaller tv cabinet is in there. Also did the closet clean out so I could put my stash in there.

The cabinet came from the other bedroom where it was used for a nightstand. Will have to find something to replace it so I can finish that room. Now on to my room which is not quite as bad as the others were.

I have the clothes switch completed and the summer stuff taken to the basement. I am getting closer to reaching my goal. When this is complete I will have not excuse not to be painting the dining room.

I now have a theory that when I get my to do list completed I will get a job offer so of course I need to get on with it. I do have a meeting Thursday to talk with a recruiter who mainly does direct hires. This would be a good thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Still Water Runs Deep

Your Passion is Purple!

You've got a ton of passion, but you don't always wear it on your sleeve.
If something truly excites you, you let your inner intensity shine through.
But otherwise, your passion tends to morph into energy ... which you never lack.
You're a balanced woman, knowing when to turn on the fire in your heart.

This is so true. I most usually to not openly express passion or emotion. I think I used to as a small child but it usually did not work out so well for me so I learned that there is a time and a place for expression.
It is possible for me to very angry or hurt or sad and no one would ever notice. I have become very adept at self control. I wish some times I could allow myself to let go of such control but it is not easy. It makes me feel very vulnerable and that can be extremely uncomfortable for me. This is something in my character is am working on all the time.
I think this is also why it is difficult for me to ask for help or allow others to do things for me. I know that I cannot always do everything for myself so I am working on that also. I have always been the one to do the helping. This too is a hard thing to let go of.
OK, enough of that. I am knitting on several things. I need to focus on Christmas things and get them done. I have two things nearly done. My goal is to focus on them tomorrow and get them out of the way. There are couple more things I want to do if I can fit them in them that is it for Christmas knitting. Time is going to run out on me.
On the job front, I have a couple of things I expect to hear about Monday. One is a tech writer contract that would be a lot of fun and the other is a possible contract for hire that would require a lot of travel. Not sure how Gracie would like that but I will worry about them when the time comes.