Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's keeping you awake nights?

I am the Ward Activities Committee Chairwoman/person/man whatever. I am in limbo (which my Catholic friends will recognize as being just this side of Hell).

Last Saturday, the LDS Church had an international organizational meeting. Among other things, Activities Committees were declared a thing of the past. So I have had this calling for about 3 months, just long enough to still be in charge of the Ward Christmas party.

We are doing Mele Kalikimaka. I wanted it to be more than just Hawaiian Haystacks.
(Side note: In case you don't know what those are, and I didn't, it's white rice with a "gravy" made from cream of chicken soup, topped according to wishes with chow mein noodles, grated cheese, green onions, tomato, pineapple, and. . .something else I am forgetting. They taste better than they sound, but I can say that because I leave off the tomatoes and pineapple). So I called for Kalua Pork.

Have you ever tried to figure out how much Kalua Pork you should make for 250 people, plus other food supplies and decorations on $450? No? First time for me, too. As a consequence, the last two nights my sleep has officially ended at 4:30 am, which my eyes suddenly snap open, and my helpful brain fires questions at me such as: "Do you know how long it is until the party? Have you figured out how much meat you need yet? How about how much it's going to cost? Do you have your entertainment in place? How can you be out of school, unemployed, and this unprepared?"

Ah, the imponderables my mind presents me with at such an inconventient hour.

So, suddenly, I'm not so sorry that this calling ends as of 10 pm on Dec 4. I'm kind of smiley about it, now!

What wakes you up at nights?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

As promised: the work of an artist

I love to knit. It keeps me busy, it gives me something to do when I am trapped in line (or in class), and it's a relatively quick payoff when I need to produce something quickly that I know will fit.

Here is my personal hand-knit sock collection. Understand, these are not all of the socks I have knit. I have knit and given away at least 5 more pairs. These are the ones that I have kept.

I call these my "lucky socks." I never took a test without wearing a pair. See that pair on the far right? The lovely jagged orange ones?

They are my Disneyland socks. I first knit them in 2006 while on a trip to (you guessed it) Disneyland with my family. Anytime we had to spend time in line -if you can imagine- out came the socks. It attracted a fair amount of attention from fellow line hostages; they are lovely. They are almost my favorite pair. They fit beautifully, the color goes with nothing I own, but they are an exciting fire color.

They are also on sock hospice. See this?

They have a hole in the heel. Normally, as soon as a hole shows up in a pair of socks (or even when the heel threads thin noticably, indicating that a hole is imminent), the sock will wing its way to the trash.
Not this pair. These are my Disneyland socks. They have an emotional connection. They are my only pair of fire-colored socks. They fit as no other pair does. I will keep (and wear) these socks until my foot can pass through that hole. Then the sock with no hole will be preserved in its single state, a sweet momento of a family vacation.
I really can wear these socks. Here are two other pairs.
This is the Mermaid sock pattern (later, I'll edit this post to include publication information. Stay tuned!) These socks show the most common problem with varigated sock yarn: the regular production of socks that are fraternal twins, instead of identicle. It further assures that there is no other pair of socks in the world like these.

I don't remember what pattern this is (publication information forth coming), but I love the very subtle striping of this sock.
Tomorrow: sweaters! My battle with actual versus produced body proportions!

Friday, October 8, 2010

No technology today, either

I didn't have time or motivation to fight computer and camera today, so instead you get a look at a different part of my mind.

I am fascinated with what people read. I think it says a lot about their personalities and interests. I could be completely wrong, of course, but it's a theory I'm going with for the time being. Thus, with no further ado, here is a list of of books on my mind right now:

Books I have checked out from the library:
  • The Last Lecture (for the Milne book club - haven't started it yet)
  • The History of Japan (because I'm out of school and it feels weird not to be reading something educational, and Lizzy suggested October be "Japan Month."
  • The Writer's Path (because I have a fantasy about writing a novel, but figured it might be like working out; start in small increments before heading off for the marathon)
Books I have on hold at the library:
  • 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter (does it count if I just read about them?)
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow (variation on East of the Sun, West of the Moon)
  • The Black Pearl
  • Princess of Glass (variation on Cinderella)
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball (variation on 12 dancing princesses)
  • Troubled Waters
  • (and 4 different books on meditation - because I am an American to my core, and I want to be able to achieve a deep meditative state, but I want to do it quickly, and I don't want it to be hard)

Books I've told goodreads I'm "currently reading:"
  • The 10 Big Lies about America: Combating Destructive Distortions about our Nation's Past and Present (started it four years ago, still on page 67)
  • Life of Pi (page 18)
  • Silas Marner
  • To Have and To Hold: A Personal Handbook for Building a Strong Marriage and Preventing Affairs (should I be worried that this was a gift from my father-in-law?)

Books I am actually reading:

  • Silas Marner (slowly but surely)
  • Lust and other things to do with your spare hormones. (Comic strip collection; no need to call my bishop)

So, there you have it. I'll let you decide what it actually says about me.

On a completely different front:

Today I saw my cousin Nathan get married. We (Nathan and I) aren't particularly close, but I love his sisters and his mother like crazy, and seeing them was awesome. I wish we'd had more time.

I checked my kids out of school for the family wedding luncheon. This was a mixed success.

Win: They weren't expecting it, so getting out early was a major treat.

Loss: The food was definitely for grownups (including grownups more adult than I), so they didn't eat much.

Win: My kids love my cousins as much as I do, and were excited to see them.

Loss: My cousins were (imagine) drafted for luncheon duty by their mother and were hardly to be seen.

Loss: My kids didn't eat much and ran around to drive off the boredom.

Win: They did it outside the church, so I wasn't embarrassed by a 15, 11 and 10 year old running around like mad people.

Still, I'd do it again, given the chance, and pick up Wendy's for them either on the way out or on the way back.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Better luck next time

Today was going to be a beautiful blog; I was going to show you some beautiful hand knit socks, including a pair that is now in sock hospice. I was going to show you a Work in Progress (WIP), and a project to come. It would have been lovely. You'd have been impressed and inspired, I'm sure.

But the technology stars just weren't in alignment for me today.

First: I took pictures of a lot of things, including kids, and then realized that I'd left the SD card in the computer. So I'd taken the pics, put everything away, and then realized that I didn't have a convenient way to put them onto the computer.

Second: I decided that taking the pictures with the SD card in the camera would be easier than figuring out how to transfer them from the camera to the computer without the SD card. So I pulled the card from the computer, put it in the camera, set the props up again, snapped photos, and sat down to transfer the pictures from SD to computer.

Third: The computer won't recognize my SD card. Don't know why (it did yesterday), it just won't. There's a little yellow slidey thing on the side. Remember how you could protect a floppy disc from being overwritten by sliding the thing? I think it's the same concept. I have no idea which way is protected. I tried it both ways (which way is up? which way is down?) and my computer still won't even recognize that there is anything in the drive.

Fourth: I took the path I'd been trying to avoid all the way along: transferring the photos directly from camera to computer. Spent a few minutes looking for any cord before realizing that the cord port in my camera is unusually small and requires its own cord (naturally). Then I focused my search on the cord, foolishly searching in the places that I had already looked before finding the camera box under a stack of rubbish on the desk. Lo, there was box, there was cord. Brought camera, cord, and computer all together, plugged it in, and waited for it to happen: the magical transfer of images of loveliness from camera to computer.

Fifth: The computer still doesn't recognize the camera. If I were the yarn harlot, I'd say it was obviously beer o'clock and time to move on to something else. Sadly, as much as I love the Harlot's writing, I'm not going to start drinking beer just because I can't beat some technology demons.

So, instead of a lovely column with pictures of knit elegance, you have my mild whining about how technology has it in for me today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am an artist

Some people draw. Some paint. Some sculpt. Others sing or dance. I don't do these things. My pictures are flat and uninspiring; I can only paint smiley faces. I've never tried sculpting. I like to sing, but don't do it well, and I'm much too large and awkward to dance.

I work with fiber.

Here are some of the tools of my trade:

I have two spinning wheels, my Ashford Joy and my Schacht upright. (There is blue cotton being spun on the joy)

Left is my ball winder, and right is the swift, which holds skeins so that I can make my balls. These two wonderful inventions eliminate the need for hijacking family members to hold skeins.

These are my double point knitting needles. They are great for knitting tubes, as when doing hats or socks. I have them in plastic (which frankly is just wrong on so many levels, but a friend found them at a second hand store in bulk, gave them to me, and you can never tell when I'll finally be organized enough to carry yarn and needles to convert an unsuspecting populace), metal (which I like best), and wood, which are best in group situations in which the slight click would be irritating (if you can imagine such a thing. I can't, but I can respect that others aren't as infatuated with knitting as I am).

This is the most important part of my art: yarn. Yarn that I have spun myself (which often ends up staying as skeins), yarn that I have bought for myself because I haven't had time to spin, yarn to have solely to have.

These skeins are all handspun. The top skein is a blend of cashmere and silk; the second skein is silk only; the bottom two are wool. I dyed the yellow yarn and bought fiber to spin the dark green wool.

These are all purchased. The cotton candy yarn on the left turned out to be a disappointment (if I can find the socks, I'll explain why), and other yarns will be featured in future articles (I know, you just can't wait).
Another time (tomorrow probably) I'll show what I can do with the tools of my art.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm baack!

Some important updates. Since I have last written:

I have graduated from the University of Utah College of Nursing with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, Cum Laude.

I have passed my licensing exam, making me officially a Registered Nurse.

The nursing job market has tightened up considerably. I went into nursing (in part) because it was supposed to be a "guaranteed job," and the darn recession has hit nursing as well. I've applied to 15 jobs, and have received 3 "No, thank you"s and several applications appear to have been reviewed and not deemed even worthy of official notice of rejection. (Not that I am bitter, no; I don't do bitter. Just don't ask me about discouraged.)

During school, my husband informed me that we no longer share religious beliefs, and he wasn't going to church with his family any more. (I've revisited that sentence several times, and that is about the best way that I can write it.)

After school, my sweet mother-in-law, who's husband did the same to her, passed away. I wish I'd had a chance to talk to her about how she survived it for so many years.

I am more grateful than I can say for my own testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The last 7 months have been a time of spiritual reinforcement unprecidented for me. I feel the love and goodness of God as I never have before.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Spirit of Elijah

Today I went to the temple with Honey to do some temple work. One of the workers had the surname "Stromberg." Stromberg is my maternal grandmother's maiden name.

I asked the woman if she knew the first Stromberg in her husband's line to enter the country; she replied "Karl Johan." So, small world of small worlds: her husband's grandfather (Golden Alvin) is my grandmother's father. (As I look in my family history, it occurs to me that it wasn't likely to be her husband's grandfather; I wonder if she is a closer relation than I thought?!)

I was just struck by the coincidence. There are abundant descendants, scattered hither and yon, and two meet at 9:30 in the Oquirrh Mountain temple on a Thursday morning.

The spirit of Elijah made this possible. If it weren't for it, I wouldn't have known/cared about my grandmother's maiden name, and those who came before them. I wonder how many other family members I pass, all unknowing?