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I love knitting...

....so why not go to the source?

That's been the thought I've been entertaining a lot lately. Specifically, I've been investigating starting an alpaca ranch. I've been reading about alpacas and how to care for them and how much they cost. And tonight, I found the darker side: a closed registry and a fiber co-op that pays in "company scrip".

So, before getting my cart in front of my horse---or alpaca, in this case---I think I'm going to wish for a HitchHiker to appear under my non-existent Christmas tree this year. Then, I'll concentrate on learning spinning (might be a good idea, eh?) and see if I even like to spin fiber! And I'm also going to learn to do my own hand-dyeing.

I was so excited about finally finding a direction for me. I thought I might have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I'm disheartened, but the whole idea is not dead...yet.

That's all for now.

Knit-friendly e-cards

It's the first of the month and time to contact my secret pal. My stand-by for e-cards is Lion Brand e-cards (hopefully I'm not the only one, or I'm busted!). I'm ready to shake it up some! What else is good out there?

That's all for now.

New Personal Goal: Campaign Size-Down

I've alluded to my being a Big Girl in past posts (if my picture on the right doesn't reveal it already). Now, some (unpleasant) facts for posterity.

  • I'm 5' 3" tall
  • I weigh an unhealthy 267 pounds
  • I'm a size 22/24 in tops
  • A size 26/28 in bottoms (as long as there's elastic!)

These unpleasant facts are going to change. (Okay, unfortunately, the heigh isn't changeable!) I am tired of wishing for a "magic pill" to make it all go away. I'm tired of struggling to find clothes that I'm comfortable in--both physically and aesthetically. I'm tired of limiting my life by the things my body "lets" me do.

It's bad enough that I have Fibromyalgia. It's bad enough that my ankle and my knee still haven't worked right since the accident. I don't need to stress my body any further.

So, out with the flab and in with the fab! I'm setting a goal: two pounds a week. That's all. I'm not going the starvation route. I'm just going to be a little more reasonable around sweets (!) and get on my (Mom's) Gazelle (which I still need to pay her for!) 20 minutes each day, at least 4 times a week. (Today's 20 minutes are done!)

I'm going to enjoy the holidays---while I keep on "gazelling" my way to a smaller, more compact me. And I'm going to try to update my stats here on the blog once a week---say, every Wednesday.

By the time we head back to Arizona, I hope to be down to a size 14---maybe even a 12!

If you've got a good support site or weight-loss ring to recommend, share it in comments! I need all the support/encouragement I can get. *grin*

Once a month, I'll try to get an updated picture of me in my "Size-Down" post for the week. Here's where I'm starting at (desperately needing some time with "Miss Clairol"!).

Anne - 31 Oct 2006
Me, 31 Oct 2006.

That's all for now!

Kind of a rambling catch-all post...

It was a fast weekend for me. We left early afternoon Friday (Randy took a half-day at work) and drove up to Mom's for a short weekend. She works nights and was back on tonight, so I wanted to be "out of her hair" by mid-morning (noon at the latest) so she could head back to bed for some additional sleep. We didn't have anything to "accomplish"---mostly just "I've got some stuff for you" exchanges.

My three knitting books she bought me came in. I already love "Big Girl Knits". I mean, let's face it: every morning, I come face-to-face with the fact that I'm a plus-size woman in a short body. So don't mince words with me. I know I've already got a strike against me for "looking good" according to some of those strange fashionistas out there, but let's not pretend it's an all-happy occasion! *grin* Some days, I am so sick of seeing stick-women (gross!) and other days, I envy anyone who can wander into any j-random store and find clothes they like that fit. Moving on...

Mason Dixon Knitting was in this stash as well and I want to curl up on my bed with a pile of Peaches-n-Creme and just knit forever! Also, Morehouse Merino knits. I haven't spent a whole lot of time with this book yet, but it's got something else whorling around in my brain....more on that in a bit, I think.

We got our Dyson vacuum cleaner back! I can't wait to put my bad-ass Yellow Beast back to work! My back, shoulders and neck will be happier too!

When we got home, the guitar picks Randy had me order him were in the mail and a suprise package was on the front step. A while back, I won a contest on Lucia's blog. Life kinda stepped in the way and she just managed to get it out to me---and WOW did she pick well. I told her that I am new enough to sock yarns that I'd prefer she select what she wanted to share/get rid of. I've misplaced the digital camera (again!) and don't know if I can get a picture up soon. In the box was 2 skeins of "Sock it to me" in color #2499 (a bright-ish blue) and 2 skeins in color #9415 (a variegated blue/white). Also: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock merino in "Blues/Purples"!

*sigh*

Hi, my name is Anne. I love sock yarn.

(Now you all say, "Hi Anne.")

In connected news, I finished my first pair of socks this morning at three AM! (And that's after we changed the ^&%^#$%@#%$ clocks for going off &^%&^$%^#^#^ daylight savings time!). Yay! I love socks! These are a little baggy and I don't know what I'm supposed to do as far as blocking is concerned. I didn't like how "pointy" the toe was, so I elected to not do all the decreases...and forgot to add a little length to the toe before the decreases. Still, a fabulous first effort!

As soon as I've wound my new skein of "Vlad the Impaler", I'm casting on for another pair! OH! And Randy bought me two skeins of sock yarn over at Yarn4Socks before the "October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month" sale ended. (By-the-way, my appointment is for Friday to see if my lumps post-accident are still concerning. Fingers crossed.) And I splurged and bought a skein of Foxtrot and a skein of ChaCha. *giddy*giggle*

Let's see.... other news? Oh, to "Incognito", my Secret Pal: *sigh* Okay. Still, I've "met" a lot of neat new people just reading around the blogs.

We ended up leaving Mom's late because while she was on her cell phone, her house line rang and she gave me the nod to answer it for her. It was my sister, Marcey! I rarely get to talk to her; she's so busy! Still, it was really nice to hear how she's doing directly from her. *grin* I try to be the "Big Sis" that I am (all of 2 years and change) and give her support without pressure. I'm so proud of her for just being who she is and not letting the assholes of the world destroy her spirit. She is a very funny woman---I swear her monologues about her two cats have me peeing my pants---not to mention some of her other stories! *grin*

Oh, yeah: ferret content! When we go up to see Mom, we try to run any errands that involve heavy lifting, since Randy and Nicky are available. Mom's recovery from her gall bladder removal last year has not been great and I'm glad we've been this close to help her out. So, this weekend, we stopped at PetSmart in Columbia. And I finally got a squeaky toy that's loud. I'm not kidding, this sucker could be heard a block away---by me! I'm teaching the ferrets to come out from their hiding places for "belly juice" (FerreTone oil) now. I'll eventually get 6 of the 7---Kittanning is deaf, even to this squeaky. Mom got a new kitty wand toy, with the swappable tips and Maxwell loves it. I expect I'll be heading to PetSmart again later this week. We also bought three more ferret toys: a small squeaky plush, a medium sqeaky plush and a large squeaky plush we instantly named "Valentino" (he's another "Rudolf", but we already have a "Rudy"). This guy should be fun for River to drag around. *grin*

I'm so incredibly homesick, my stomach is in virtual knots. There's this crispness in the air that reminds me of Arizona...and I feel this void in my soul that is only eased because I can share it with Randy and he understands. Mom and Sis don't really understand (thought I hear them really trying, bless their hearts!). Hell, I don't understand it! I thought I was this great gypsy wanderer---I thought my veins ran red with blood and were spiced with wanderlust. Now, I ache for the scent of citrus blossoms in the early hints of spring. The smell of the exact shade of purple on the Superstition Mountains as the sun sets in the west. The taste of monsoon rain after a duststorm blows through. I am so incredibly homesick, but this too shall be survived. We will go back.

*sigh* Well, that was slightly depressing.

So, alpacas. Is this a phase every knitter/spinner goes through: I want to have an alpaca ranch/farm. I have no clue what care they require, what kind of work is involved or even how much it would cost to start up a small farm. But, I'm the research girl, so those questions will have answers soon. Still, it's interesting. I want to take my textile work to the next level. That of course led to "open a yarn shop" or "alpaca ranch". Sure. That's logical. *shakes head no* Neither of these would happen until we return to Arizona, so plenty of time to learn and research.

But what about my writing? Am I going to continue that? I don't know. I've been kinda out of the loop a lot lately. Losing Octavia Butler this last February really impacted me---more than I would have expected a stranger's death to do so. But her writing touched me, made me strive with my own writing to reach a pinnacle I could only see from below. Now, I learn that this last June, Jim Baen died.

For the longest time, I've dreamed of having Baen Books or Tor Books publish my novels. In that time, I've watched as the science fiction departments have shrunk worse than even a horrible Disney device could manage. More and more, I find myself tossing books aside in frustration because of typos, poor copyediting and even worse author editing. Story problems that an unpublished "nobody" like me would get rejected for are floating past all the editors and heading to press. I find myself questioning whether I have a chance in this environment. And Randy said something very appropos tonight: People either can't/won't look forward or can't afford to spend nearly $30US on a single book. (And for the quality we're starting to see, I understand that!) Should I continue investing my time and energy into a field that may no longer be willing to pay for my talents?

The number of potential editors who might pay for my writing is significantly lower than the potential number of customers who might buy my handmade works (shameless jewelry plug, future spinning products, which of course would require a HitchHiker, etc.). So, despite my stirrings of writerly creativity, I'm ambivalent about where to go with that.

I think.... "Heat of Ice" has never made any publication rounds. I'm going to print up a clean copy, put a cover letter together and get it sent off to one of the pro-paying magazines. Tomorrow. That's at the top of my to-do list. Unfortunately, the wait for these things is usually pretty long, so I'll need to send it and forget about it. Something I've never been terribly successful at doing.

In the meantime, I've got some design ideas for some knitting patterns I want to create. I've got plenty of socks to knit up. I've got a secret pal to spoil and Christmas to organize. Whew.

As you can see, I've had a lot whirling around in my head. I promise to not write too many rambly posts like this that wander through so many topics with no real order. This sample of Anne's mind brought to you by the letter K (for Knitting) and the number 3 (the size needles I used for the socks I just finished).

That's all for now.

Short story in six words...

It's been a very busy day here and the creativity has been at a low, but I think I've got a couple entries in Lorinda's version of the six-word short story contest for SP9 participants.

For those who know my usual writings, please try to remember that SF and Fantasy are really more my "field"! Here goes...

Entry #1:

"Knit your stash!"

The door locked.

Entry #2:

Sheep farmer seeks mate. Spinners only.

Entry #3 (not my favorite):

Spinning class full. Again. -Rumpelstilskin.

Entry #4:

"Who's the sweater for?"

"My sheep."

I'd better stop there before the crowd gets to the rotten tomatoes.

That's all for now.

Secret Pal Hunting...

So, I think I've got a bead on who my SP9 pal might be. But, there's a gazillion particpants and I've only been able to check out a handful of the blogs so far! You know who you are...I'm searching the Earth over for you! *grin*

I'm desperately hunting around for the working digital camera because my first package came! "Incognito" as I've taken to calling her (?) has set herself a tough mark to match for the following months. I can't believe how wonderful this package is!

Sp9 Package #1
 

First, everything came in this nifty stiff mesh pouch with a zipper--in purple! (Wonder if that's a color I like? *grin*) Inside the pouch was a skein of Sock yarn by girl on the rocks (Uh-oh...another Etsy store to check out!) called Vlad the Impaler! That is so cool for way too many ways to detail.

(okay: a) sock yarn!, b) Vlad, sometimes known as the original vampire, c) please---have you seen the points on the needles for socks? It's a Buffy quote waiting to happen!)

Where was I? Oh! The goodies in the pouch! Yum. A cute package of Scharffen Berger Chocolates---oh, these look tasty! (And Nick mistook them for a pack of rubber stamps at first!) There's a Pocket notes book---all the pages are gridded! Love it! What better way to knit up a new pair of socks than on two pairs of KnitPicks circulars---US2 in 24" and 32"! Yahoo! But the bestest part of all are these nifty stitch markers that help work the Kitchener stitch, again from girl on the rocks. I'm headed over to that store ASAP!

Pal Incognito, you are "the bomb"! *grin* I'm absolutely giddy here. And just so you know how much your package rocked, the brand new glass needles I splurged on at Ebay arrived at the same time---and I'm more excited about your package!!!!

Blue flower implosion needles
 

Pictures to be added to this post ASAP. I swear. (Update: See? I promised.)

Until then, that's all for now! (I gotta go play!)

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