Silent Anne?

If we go by my actual blog posts, I'm "silenter" than Silent Bob -- he talks at least once in every movie, right?

Depending on how religiously you check here in the hope for new content, you may have seen the blog go down for a week or two. Yeah.... I think some of the posts are broken/missing and this annoys me. I had a problem a couple months back and Randy swooped in to save the day -- the database had corruption issues -- and I think that's where the missing posts went. sigh

Because of that problem, I've been even more lax at doing any kind of managing of the site. This includes figuring out why my comments are being spammed so ridiculously -- I think there have been no legitimate comments in over a year, while the spammers are just drowning my blog with spammy comments. Meanwhile, I really do want to clean it up and maybe find a better theme. The blue is just too.... bright. Too "cheery". Like a flight attendant with too much caffeine. Ugh.

So, what's new with me? Hmmm.... Well, we've been looking for a house since before the house we fled from in June. You might recall we were putting a bid in on this house, before we left town for our 20th Anniversary Roadtrip. While we were out of town, the bank who was permitting the short-sale got back to us. Apparently, their comps (comparable houses in the area) were $20k higher than our bid (which placed the price very conveniently at their list price). So, they decided to go to foreclosure instead. Meanwhile, we learned that both A/C units had been vandalized and would need replacing. We already knew that due to such a long vacancy, the pool needed some surface repairs and we were likely to lose the orange trees from lack of watering. So, we passed on that house.

Once we returned home from the roadtrip (I'll cover that in a bit), I got right back to checking out ZIP Realty for price drops, new listings and such. One of our days of looking resulted in a fall -- I didn't see a "step down", twisted my ankle and landed on my left knee, directly on tile. I didn't realize until later, I'd braced myself with my hands as well, so I've done some kind of minor (?) damage to my right hand, along the pinky side. The right ankle is the same one I broke in the car accident.

Anyway, we kept looking for houses. (The one I fell in was not good -- the pool was so beautiful, but the house itself was just not workable.) Just before I left for New York for almost 3 weeks, we toured a house in Mesa, only .3 miles from the light rail! We put together an offer and began the process. It was made much easier by a product called DocuSign. We're currently waiting on a document to show up and for the loan to come back from underwriting. Close is supposed to be on the 17th of this month -- this Wednesday!

I really hate living in this tiny apartment -- and very soon, we're going to have one more person living with us! This is a good thing, but if the house falls through, it's definitely going to be an interesting start to the new year!

So, let me back up a little bit. The Roadtrip was good, until it wasn't. We visited Randy's parents, then headed in to Canton, Ohio for my sister's wedding on the 28th. It turns out she had a cold. I caught it. It dropped straight into my chest and I was extremely worried Randy would come down with it next. We cancelled all our other planned stops and made a bee-line for home. Poor Randy had to drive the entire trip by himself. For at least the first 75% of the trip, I was knocked out with all the cold medications. I think Sirius Radio saved the day! One of the plans cancelled was a meet-up with DrunkenMonkeyKnits herself. sigh

Many blogs are personal in nature, not business-oriented. For that reason, we all choose what we are comfortable sharing about our lives, online and in the clear. Maybe it's not super-obvious, unless you've tried to leave a comment (another reason I debated dropping the whole blog is because of the spammers), but I'm running my blog on Drupal. So far, I haven't really bothered with settings like "you must have an approved account and be logged in to read posts" because I feel that's sorta contrary to the concept of a blog. Couldn't I just send emails to the people I'm willing to let read the things I don't want public?

I've been struggling with how to handle some of the private stuff I'm not sure I want "in the clear". Those who know me in person are pretty likely to know some of this stuff already. Those who don't may or may not know it. And I'm hedging my bets on waiting, rather than having stuff "out there" I can't take back (at least, not easily!).

Something I can talk about is our Intentional Community, or IC (pronouned eye-see) as we call it. We've been debating whether to keep the name of the IC independent of the dome we hope to build (yes, it seems that most if not all of the domes have names!). So we tend to refer to it in the abstract as "the IC". We're adding another member to the IC at the end of the year, which I'm really excited about. We're hoping, if the house ends up being ours, to develop a garden and perhaps, eventually, a tilapia pond!

I've been actively planning to return to school in the Summer of 2011, to get my Master's in Architecture. With everything else on my plate right now, I'm feeling a little crammed just trying to study for the GRE. I'm also not 100% positive of my reasons for going back to school. I'll be the first to admit, I feel a little "worthless" at times -- worth very little and a drain on the household economy. So, I think the idea of going back for a degree in something I really do want to do and being willing to go back to work and "bring home the bacon" is appealing to me. More importantly, I don't want to be one of those people who just sit around and let life slide right past them, while they whine about life not being great and feeling depressed.

The question has been raised: did I quit writing for the right reasons? Did I quit because I wanted to? Or because I lost faith in myself? Did I allow Clarion West's rejection to dictate my future direction? Do I still really want to be a writer?

Which brings me to the GRE exam. It's $160 -- a lot to spend on just an exam, if I'm not fully committed. And right now, I don't think I am. With the possible move and settling into a new home, the addition of an IC member, the stuff I really don't want to talk about here, "in the clear".... plus some of my other personal projects, I just don't think my focus is on taking the exam this month or even next month -- only to have to turn around and put together an application package.

To this end, I'm going to focus on

  • getting us in a house (one way or another)
  • getting my D&D character sheet files finally cleaned up, so I can publish them on
  • cleaning up my blog theme
  • a knitting needle inventory idea
  • the lace pattern I have been futzing with for 3 years now
  • a couple other pattern ideas
  • perhaps getting my short fiction published?

Once I've dealt with some of these things and "cleared my deck", so to speak, maybe I'll focus on my first novel and the rat's nest I made of the ending, so I can finally get it onto a publisher's desk!

But for now, I'm not making any more claims. I've made too many and I'm starting to feel buffeted by my own winds of change.

Two favorite pastimes, together!

I love to knit. If you read here, you probably figured that out already. But I also love jigsaw puzzles. And... in my humble opinion, there is no finer manufacturer of them than Springbok. I was browsing their site and I thought I'd share some of my favorites -- many of which are knitting-themed!

I've noted that Wists is down -- I don't know why or for how long. If it's permanent, I'll remove the footer from the blog. *sigh*

Now, with actual Knitting Content!

Fancy that. I'm going to write a post, on a knitting blog, about actual knitting. No way!

I finished the shawl I'm planning on wearing at Marcey's wedding -- in just 62 days! Wanna see it?

Yarntopia's 10-2 tencel in "Moccasin" This is the yarn: Yarntopia Treasures 10/2 Tencel in "Moccasin" colorway.
p5123242 Here it is, wound into a center-pull ball. I like to use a coin (when I remember) to give a sense of "scale" to the weight of the yarn. This one is "laceweight".
p5193283 This is the general pattern of the shawl. It called for the borders to be beaded, as well, but that would have called for another $15 worth of beads -- and made it much heavier. I'm glad I only beaded the squares.
p5193290 A close-up of the beads. These are clear Czech glass 6/0 copper-lined seed beads, purchases from Beadaholique.
p5193281 This isn't the finished product -- that's much longer -- but from this, you get the idea.

Overall, the pattern wasn't difficult, just tedious. I didn't find it to be an easily memorizable pattern (and I'll memorize 12-row repeats of lace edging!). The repetition was boring though. I'm used to doing large lace charts that, once you've finished them, you move on to another large chart and so on. This one however, you do the chart again and again. And again. Ad nauseum. I stopped at about half way on the 14th repeat, so 13.5 repeats. Any more and it would have been just too huge.

I've got another teddy bear on the needles, but no pictures up until the recipient has it as she reads here. *grin* I've also got a semi-scary project on the needles. I'm trying to make lace stockings. Eek. Stay tuned to see how that goes.

Ramblings of a Woman in Pain

First, before I forget: Sam is home safe and sound. Once again, the amazing people of our neighborhood came to the rescue. I messaged the woman who handles our neighborhood "mailing list" and she sent the message out early Wednesday morning. By about 5pm, we hadn't heard anything, so we printed off a poster and were in the car to go to Kinko's, when my phone rang. A neighbor's kids said there was a "weasel" in their yard and she remembered the email she'd just read. It was a long shot, but she called us.

Their dog had scared Sam behind some large sheds and other things. We got to him and I finally coaxed him out far enough to scruff and drag out. One of the children was kind enough to bring him a small cup of water. It was so sweet watching him hold this cup steady as Sam drank and drank and drank from it. They were all very excited to have been part of this rescue. I'm very thankful for them. I don't know if they might stop by here, but if they do: You guys are a gift and a blessing -- you took a really crappy day and gave it a bright spot we really, really needed. Thank you.

Pain. If it's not the pain in my heart from losing Horatio, it's the pain in my "sacroilliac joint". Monday's injection seems so far away right now -- and yet, it also seems really scary. I'm going to be on an x-ray table and they will use a dye contrast to make sure the needle is in the right place. Once it is, they will inject some anesthetic/numbing "stuff" (like my technical medical terms?) and some cortisone/steroid. I may be in some increased pain for a little while after -- oh fun! -- and then hopefully things will improve. It looks like I'll have a journal/log to fill in and take back to my doctor at my next visit, to reference how much better things are (or not).

In the meantime, I'm trying to do the exercises the physical therapist gave me to do, but it sure feels like things are hurting more and more. Is it because of the exercises? I'm trying not to think of that and just keep doing them.

Where's all the money going? Does it seem to you like there's just never enough money to go around any more? Of course, in my case, it could be the almost-constant stream of co-pays for doctors and physical therapy and such. I've got great healthcare insurance through Randy's work, but these co-pays are just nickel-and-diming us to death! I'm pretty sure that my physical therapy after the car accident had no co-pay...and now it's up to $15 a visit.

Knitting. sigh Did you just sigh with me? Hehehe. I swear, sitting down with a complex lace pattern and an audiobook is my sanctuary and my sanity right now. I'd really like to squirrel away a little money to hit the thrift shops and find an easy chair and ottoman or footstool to put in my bedroom. I need a cozy corner to curl up in, when the rest of the house is just too much for me to deal with. I want a light coming over the chair from behind and a little table beside me to put my drink on. I want a little "arm rest table" for my pattern to lay on, in a read-able position. A foot-rest for my feet and a spot for my yarn to sit quietly while I knit. Oh, and a place to plug in my iPod, if it needs juice while I'm listening.

Do you think Randy would geek my imaginary easy chair out with speakers right by my ears, so I didn't have to wear headphones? *grin*

Hey look, it's 1:45am. I managed a whole hour and a half past the dosing time for my vicodin. I'm going to celebrate by taking a shower. If I'm hurting then, I'll take it and head to bed.

(I heard that laugh.)

I'm still here...

...I just haven't had much to say.

I'm knitting on a variety of projects:

  • a shawl I got fed up with a long while back and have finally returned to working on. It's going better this time.
  • a pair of socks for Randy in Black Trillium's Heavy Merino Sock -- yum! I'm done with the first sock and working (top-down) on the leg of the second sock.
  • I've finally cast-on something for me and by the time it's done, I probably won't need it: a shrug in Lion Brand Homespun. The great room can be quite chilly at times and I'd rather layer.
  • a multiple-ditty bag project I'm dreaming up (inventing?) as I go. This one is using leftover sock yarns. So much for that sock yarn blanket I had planned...
  • a little something for Valentine's Day. It's done, I just need to get some accessories.grin

I'm still working on my gaming character sheets. At this point, I'm trying to work on two sets at the same time. One is the v3.5e set and the other is a Pathfinder set. Not a whole lot has changed, but the parts that have affect the layouts of a couple of pages. I suspect Wizards might give me a little trouble in Pathfinder. I'm also struggling with creating class-specific pages for classes like Psionics -- classes I've never played. So, I'm talking to my three gaming groups and trying to get feedback on the data that's most critical.

I'd like to work up some spell sheets -- have the entire text of a single spell on the sheet, so the character's prepped spells are readily available. But some spells take so little room that they'd be a wasted of sheet space.

Randy has suggested a sorted list of monsters/creatures by various types. It's easy on the Wizards of the Coast site to do that sort of thing, if you've got their v3.5e Monster's page bookmarked. But what if you want only aquatic creatures? Or only desert creatures? I mean, a wandering monster check can't really give you Dire Sharks (do they exist in d20 SRD?) if you're in the middle of a desert, right? It looks like I'll have to build a database to do it right. do I do that again?

Meanwhile, I'm trying to pick up some JavaScript and PHP to add a Pathfinder template to the RPGProfiler we're using. It's times like this I miss having an office of my own -- less going on around me, less activities to catch my attention and drag me out of my very deep learning curve.

I came across a window cling designed by Jen Delyth of Keltic Designs last week. It's the perfect basis for a circular shawl, so I bought the cling. When I got home, I hunted down a website for her work and promptly sent her a message. Sure, I'd like to do all the work of designing this and turning it into a shawl, but when it's done, I'd really like to be able to sell the finished work. I received her response the other day:

You are welcome to make 1 shawl and post it on your site with full credit.

If you make more, which consitutes commercial use, please get back to us, and we can work out license agreement.

Hmm... Should I still work on a shawl design for this? I'm not sure. I mean, I'm not a professional, so it'll probably take me a year, at least! I've still not completed the design on the shawl for my mom that I promised her. Sigh. Maybe I should finish Mom's shawl first and then work on this new idea?

But, speaking of my own designs, have you seen the little guy down on the right side of the blog lately? As of this writing, there's 39 projects of him and he's in 147 queues. Squee!

Lately, I've been feeling the need to get into something more mentally challenging. I think there's some things in my projects listed above which could fit the bill...I just need to clean my desk and get to it.


I've been meaning to post this all week....

Last Saturday, I went down to Gilbert with some friends to Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. We were able to actually go into one of the pens and sit with the alpacas. All 179 pictures are in their own set on my flickr.

Lindsay wants a kiss:

Buzz accepts some food from me:

Rowan looks all Celtic with Janus and another alpaca in the background:

Frank gets close to the alpacas:

Nick feeds an alpaca:

This cria (baby alpaca) is only 3 days old!

We had a blast and learned a lot from Linda, the owner of Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. Thanks for having us!

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