Too many To Dos

This is a holiday weekend, but I won’t have a lot of free time. I will spend much of the day Sunday doing fun things and at a barbeque, but the rest of the time will be packed with chores, including the extra day-and-a-half (this afternoon and Tuesday) that I’m taking off of work. There are so many things to do, in fact, that the list is running over the one page it started on. Sigh

Oh, and somewhere in here I’m going to finish my Lift and Separate sweater (including weaving in the bijillion ends), as well as finish off sock #1 (nearly there…just another inch maybe) and begin sock #2 of the current commuting project pair.

So, here’s how I’m spending the holiday weekend.

  • Bathe dogs
  • Wash shower curtain
  • Sort closets, pull out items to donate, pack up, bring to Salvation Army donation center
  • Pick up some summer clothes
  • Pack up and drop off large recyclables and books [FYI, there is a great recycling center with a free book and magazine exchange near the entrace to the North Park Village Nature Center for those in the area]
  • Get haircut and facial
  • Plant pots
  • File
  • Fill out insurance claims
  • Prep medical flexible spending claims
  • Wash, hang outside to dry/air, and pack away duvet
  • Wash living room furniture slip covers and hang outside to dry/air [I have such nice neighbors with clothes lines!]
  • Clean gutters [This is for Mark to do, but it’s on the list]
  • Clean up samaras [Those whirlygigs that fall off the maple trees…those are called samaras. Sounds like a yummy dessert or a nice name for a woman, not a name for annoying, gutter-clogging things, right?]
  • Fix hose cart [That’s another Mark chore]
  • Replant brutally torn out plants in front yard, and generally repair damage caused by city when they ripped up sidewalks and curbs with no warning [Does that sound too bitter?]
  • Lay soaker hoses in front yard
  • Set up worm bin in basement [Jamie received her worms a couple weeks ago and is willing to share some with me]

Whew! That may be it…for now. Let’s just see how much of this actually gets done.

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Diversions

Of course I’ve been busy with work, but I have found time to have some fun lately.

One of the pleasures of living in a large city is the range of experiences and diversions open to you. Last night, I went with my friends Rachael and Shannon to the Music Box Theatre for one of the strangest and memorable experiences I’ve ever had.

I always enjoy attending a film at the Music Box. While the management has found a way to wedge in a small screening room where they show a few films, most movies are screened in a well-preserved example of the grand old cinemas that were the norm in the first half of the 20th century. OK, the original seats aren’t as comfy as those found in the modern cineplex, but the beautiful interior is a treat.

Music Box also shows films that you just can’t see anywhere else in Chicago. I remember seeing Guillermo del Toro‘s film Cronos at the Music Box in 1993 and being entertained by a live organ performance before the film started. Last summer Mark and I went there to see The War Tapes (which I highly recommend).

Last night Music Box presented a live performance of Brand Upon the Brain!. I’m still not sure how to interpret this film, but the performances were fantastic and the experience was, as I said, very memorable. I don’t think there was an empty seat in the house, and it was a lot of fun to have the Foley artists right below the screen so I could see how they made some of sound effects. Who knew what a key role celery plays in horror films!

We had beautiful weather yesterday, too, so it was quite a treat to sit outside at Julius Meinl for a pre-movie nosh. The sandwiches were good, but the Millenium Torte was awesomely yummy!

I wish I could say that I spent the splendid day working in my garden, but I can’t. I still have no beds in place for my vegetables, and I’m starting to get a bit annoyed by the delay. Apparently the landscaper wants to time things such that the crew is here to complete the entire job — hardscaping the yard (including building the veggie beds) and putting in the ornamentals — and not have to come back again to finish. She’s waiting for the dreaded 17-year cicadas to emerge, mate, and die before kicking off the project.

Instead of working in the garden, I spent the gorgeous day indoors yesterday learning Japanese short rows at a Windy City Knitting Guild workshop. I’ve worked short rows before, but I was very pleased to learn this new techinque which makes much, much better results for me.

I’m still working on the Lift and Separate wrap sweater and the same pair of Tofutsies socks. I haven’t had a lot of knitting time lately, so my WIPs are going quite slowly. I’m in the finishing stage of the sweater but there’s just a lot of finishing involved for this sweater, including knitting and sewing on the edging, and knitting the side ties. K1P1 ribbing is just not a fast knit for me.

Typically I don’t showcase photos of yarn but I just can’t resist showing this off.

Recycled and handpainted cashmere yarnIt’s a “reclaimed” yarn from Allspunup on Etsy. She unraveled the yarn from a sweater, washed and set the yarn, plied it to make a slightly thicker yarn, and then handpainted it. This is a fingering weight yarn that I’m going to use to make a small shawl/scarf for myself. The price was very reasonable, and she was super fast in getting it to me: I ordered on a Friday and had it in my hands on Monday.

I think Etsy is my newest obsession…

Think like a dog

As I sit here…in the dining room…in front of my laptop…trying to wrap up a bit of work while also doing my “fun” computer stuff like catching up on blogs…I see my dog Sadie staring at me while she lays on an armchair in the adjoining living room. I’m guessing that the thoughts running through her head are something like this:

“What is she doing over there with that silly thing? I have this great red ball that we can play with, why isn’t she over here playing with me? Why isn’t she over here rubbing me? You know you love to do that, why not come here and run your hands over me, petting and rubbing and scratching?”

Now her eyes are slowly closing, and I know she knows it’s nearly time to go to bed. That’s what she’s trying to tell me in this minute, “Let’s go to bed and forget about that other stuff.”

If I really listened to my dogs, here’s what I think they’d tell me:

  • Live in the moment. Forget the concepts of “future” and “past.” There is just NOW. Enjoy it. Endure it. Get through it, but take it all in, good and bad. Live it.
  • I deserve every bit of attention I can garner. Don’t doubt that at all. If you can grab attention through some antic — vocalization, movement, crowding — grab it and enjoy it.
  • Take naps.
  • After laying down for a period of time, always stretch when you get up.
  • Although we don’t speak the same “language,” we can still communicate — not just basic needs, but also what’s important to each of us : in other words, our “values.” Which leads to my final lesson…
  • Listen and intuit with your entire being. That’s the way to connect to others, to life, and to find enjoyment in the now.

TCB

That’s been my theme song for the past couple weeks: just takin’ care of business. This is typically the busiest time of year for me and “my people” — gardeners, that is. Spring is a time of high activity, although it hasn’t been that high for me this year. And that’s kind of driving me bonkers.

Typically, I’d be preparing the soil for my annual veggie beds this year. But, I still don’t have any annual veggie beds yet. So, I just have a bit of light weeding to do here and there.

No garden sales to attend this year, since I don’t need any new plants.

No place to spread out the compost, so my annual compost bin shuffling is postponed.

Pretty much the only thing to do is lay down soaker hoses in the newly configured front yard. I’m just not used to such a light spring gardening list.

There are still plenty of garden delights, though. It’s May and so many things are blooming right now. First and foremost: Lilac.

Lilac in bloomI have one of those old-fashioned, heavily perfumed lilacs. (It also gets powdery mildew at the end of every season, too, but there are always trade-offs.) The other day my next door neighbor and I stood chatting over the fence near the lilac, pausing every once in a while to inhale deeply and say “Ahhhhh…wonderful!”

Another fragrant spring lovely: Lily of the Valley.

Lily of the Valley in bloom These are short plants, though, so it’s hard to really get a noseful unless you hunker down next to them.

There are many other ornamentals in my garden that are in bloom this time of year. I’m just savoring them all.

As far as knitting goes, the only new thing on my needles are another pair of socks for my commuting/travel knitting. They are pretty basic, toe-up socks that incorporate one new thing learned while working on the first Rockin’ Sock Club socks. I’ve worked on toe-up sock construction before, and thought that I really didn’t like short row toes. After working on the Inside-Out socks, though, I’ve since learned that it’s stockinette short row toes I don’t like. No matter how I pick up the wraps, they always seem to leave a little hole. But when done in garter stitch, the short row toe looks just fine to me.

So these socks are constructed with a short-row garter stitch toe, but _not_ a short-row heel. I tried the short-row garter stitch heel on them, but ended up ripping it out. It just didn’t feel like it fit right to me: too much stress and pulling along the top of my foot. I really need the extra room of a gusset, so I reworked the heel with a gusset and heel flap. Now it fits much better.

Patterning is a the garter rib from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks. (I love that book, and am looking forward to getting the second one!) I’m using the Tofutsies yarn from Southwest Trading Company and am really liking the fabric. It feels very soft and drapy on the needles and on my foot. I guess drape isn’t something that’s usually considering a desirable property for sock fabric, but I can’t explain it any better than that.

I’ve certainly been tempted to start new projects, but I’m being really disciplined about finishing up what I’ve already started. So, I’m still working on the Lift and Separate wrap sweater. I’m stuck on the sleeves now. *yawn* Not very interesting, except that I’m looking forward to finishing a new, long-sleeved sweater in time for air-conditioning season. BRRRRR! Tomorrow I’m hauling in the giant, mohair pie wedge shawl for sure.