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September 26, 2008

Acting on decisions

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Before the hurricane, I was in the process of getting quotes from painters for painting a significant portion of the interior of our home. We have a 2-story foyer that would have required one or both of us to scale a ladder or scaffolding to paint. I don't do so well with ladders . . . or heights in general. When we got back, I was excited to learn that the painter was available and could paint this week. His three-man crew was here yesterday and painted a huge portion of our house in less than four hours. They moved the furniture and returned everything back to their original locations when they were finished. My plan for the common areas of our home is to keep things neutral. Adventurous color will be confined to the smaller bedrooms and bathrooms.

Acting on this one significant thing that's been on my mind for a couple of years now has helped build some much-needed momentum. For the first few years we were here, I had this vague feeling of needing to not make plans or decisions regarding this home, but after over five years in the same house, it was just time to act. Next on the list? The front yard.


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September 22, 2008

Safe and sound

We're safe and sound after our Hurricane Ike "Aftermath Evacuation." Last week, we chose to flee 200 miles north to stay with friends of ours in order for my husband to continue to work and communicate via email and conference calls with his team. When we left, news reports were cautioning that it could potentially take 2-3 weeks to get full power restoration in our community. And still . . . MANY communities here (including Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula, obviously) are without power. We're grateful to have power back and to have only lost a couple of trees.

Here's my Hurricane Ike slideshow

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All of the photos were taken by my husband several hours after the hurricane. We lost power at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning and left town Sunday afternoon. During our time with friends, we had some unexpected things happen, but thankfully, we're blessed with friends who will drop everything and help. I'm just humbled by their example of mercy in action.

There is a silver lining though -- this lovely Anne scarf crocheted for me by Stacey (pattern by M.K. Carroll) - Ravelry link here:

Anne_Scarf_Crocheted_by_Stacey.jpg

The yarn is Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran in "Granite" (2 balls for the scarf).

And in my mailbox when I got home was this lovely sock yarn that I won:

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I love the colors! Thank you, Karin! Karin blogs at Knitting by the Falls.

To summarize, we're home safely, we fared well during and after Hurricane Ike and we'll recover just fine from all the unexpected stuff that hit us while we were away. Having spent time with Stacey last week has proven to me that as wonderful as online friends are, there's something about being face-to-face over coffee and fiber crafts (her crocheting, me knitting). I miss that and I hate that it took a hurricane to take advantage of that opportunity. Lesson learned.


September 12, 2008

Hunkering down :: Hurrricane Ike

We're "sheltering in place" while we wait to see what Hurricane Ike is going to do, so I thought I would share a blog entry I started writing a few months ago but didn't finish.

While I was doing some genealogical research several months ago, I found the ship's record from my mom's journey from Japan to the Port of San Francisco. I also found a photo of the ship on which she traveled:

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Her journey was in 1952, but there's a good bit of information about the ship's history online. In reading about the ship, I was interested to find this:

"In November 1951, upon expiration of APL's charter, she was taken into the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), reinstated on the Naval Vessel Register and placed in service as a civilian-manned Navy transport. USNS General W. H. Gordon (T-AP-117) departed San Francisco in December 1951 on the first of many trans-Pacific voyages in support of Korean War operations."

According to this, my mom and her fellow shipmates (Asian -- the majority of them Japanese -- wives of American servicemen) were some of the first civilians to travel on the vessel. My mom, a newlywed married less than a year, left Yokohama with my dad in December 1951 and arrived at the port of San Francisco on January 8, 1952. And after 56 years, if anybody asks her what she thought of the journey, she'll tell them how much she hated being on the ship. I never understood why, but I can imagine that some of it might have been unpleasant and uncomfortable. She was a few weeks from having been married a full year and she was 2 months pregnant with my older sister. Prior to being able to leave Japan with my dad, she had to undergo an extensive background check; she had to have letters of reference from Americans in Japan. She had to undergo a complete physical, including a mental health history, and her family history had to be checked for anything that might indicate her potential to be a spy. My dad kept all the documents in a file and it was unquestionably thorough -- and though I can frame it in the context of post-war sentiments, I was slightly insulted to see some of what she had to go through. It would be almost 34 years before she would see Japan again.

Soon, I'll share more about the trip I took with her to Japan in June 1985.

September 08, 2008

Finished Habitat

Habitat.jpg

I enjoyed the challenge of knitting Habitat and adjusting to knitting cables in the round. A couple of years ago, heady from my success with the irish Hiking Scarf, I tried a difficult cable pattern. I suffered some crushing blows to my self-confidence due to not knowing how to “read” my knitting while knitting cables. It was almost enough to convince me that I wasn’t capable of knitting cables at all. Enter a new cable project a few months ago -- one that I’ve not shared here yet -- and add a great book (see previous post) plus this hat pattern and finally my confidence has been restored. There’s really no substitute for knitting and making a lot of mistakes. Some types of knitting might be more intuitive for a knitter, and perhaps (for this knitter anyway) some projects have more suitability, utility, and significance than others. Slowly, I’ve learned that there aren't any shortcuts when learning something new and sometimes suffering through mistakes leads to nailing the lessons.

This brings me to sharing my latest obsession -- the Friend Activity tab on Ravelry. I’ve been a member of Ravelry for over a year and just recently started regularly checking the Friend Activity tab as part of my morning routine. It’s a glimpse into what my friends love right now, the things they’re planning to knit and the delightfully obscure patterns and designers they find. It’s helped me to find new ways to look at my stash and discover patterns to help me use what I already have.

September 01, 2008

Swatching cables

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Melissa Leapman's Cables Untangled book has been one of my favorite knitting book purchases this year. Her book was a breakthrough for me in understanding cable charts; where cables are concerned, they make much more sense in charted rather than written form (or perhaps I'm evolving as a knitter?) There are some excellent tips and hints in the first section of the book and the last section is a cable stitch dictionary arranged by ribbed, panels and allover cable patterns. I chose the "Allover 9" for the cabled swatch above and used Paton's Classic Wool in the "Aran" shade.

I have no plans based on the swatch -- it's just one of my favorites from the book. I also wanted to work on a small project to see if my left shoulder, arm and wrist would give me any trouble. When I'm knitting cables, I tend to take less breaks and I use smaller and tighter movements. Knitting shouldn't hurt, right?

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You've got to check out Kim's lastest obsession - Brooklyn Tweed's Habitat Hat pattern. I have the yarn to knit one (or more) of these so don't be surprised if I cast on like a lemming.