Wednesday, March 28, 2007

new post

So, i installed haloscan (thanks Jean!!) and I need someone (not me) to comment....

:) Kate

Help! help! help!

Does anyone know how to fix Blogger? When people leave a comment, I can't email them back anymore. :( I want to email you back! I have had so many nice comments and I can't email you back!!! So, I am SOO SOO SOO sorry. :( If anyone knows how to fix it, let me know!

Also, Pumpkin (Princess of Pumpkins) appreciated all the comments about how she's a good loving cat. She says "i know!" We really do love her and we try to have fun with her, but some days... she is like 5 cats. All she wants to do is play, play, play. So, we try to play with her and keep her active (she's a small cat and she loves her cookies... we want a nice balance), but we usually tire out before she does. Last night, I was "invaded" by her again... I think she's just cold and figures I have slept enough without her for the night. I do notice that she's doing it, I think we are both on auto-pilot at this point, though. A few of you commented that we should segregate her at night. We did that, but she cries and then I am miserable. So, we let her roam our v.small apartment at night. For the most part, she leaves us alone-- she has a heated mat and toys (oh, the toys!) and two (yup 2!!!) climb-y/pull-y tree snuggle things.

More later... today is gonna be a LONG day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the Interview

Carole blogged about this today and then I asked her to “interview me”. What fun!!! So, if you want to be interviewed, email me at kskaare (at) gmail (dot) com.

  1. Tell us about the best thing you have ever knit.

I think the best thing I ever knit was my petal socks that I knit while my dad was having surgery. PC was at work, I was sitting with my mom and brothers and I knit those socks. I talked and knit. I worried and knit. I prayed and knit. By the time my dad was out of the ICU, I had a complete pair of socks. Just months before, I had quit smoking (not something I have spoken about here too much) and not smoking during this ‘event’ in my life was damn near impossible.

Right now, I am knitting the Lowry sweater for PC and I have to say, this might be my new favorite. I love the texture, the color and the yarn. The sweater will look great on my already handsome man.
2. What's it like being a scientist?

Being a scientist is strange actually. You have a vague idea about what your day will be like, but that’s merely a suggestion. You are paid to think and problem solve and you know how to do things like separate proteins and isolate DNA or inject a mouse. You can look at something and make predictions, determinations and theories. My job is something I love. I love that somedays I am running from one machine to another trying to find an answer to some question. Other days, I think “I should have taught high school and taken summers off.” There is nothing more interesting to me than a new instrument in the lab. My job is fun and exciting and rewarding (finally, financially rewarding too!), but most of all--- it’s creative. I am creative all day long. I write the procedures, I create them… It’s all “new territory” around here. J

Scientists have a lot of pressure. We have a lot of managers too. Sometimes you need to speak two languages: “lab” and “english” and be able to translate between the two. It can be hard to listen to non-scientific persons tell you how to do your job.Currently, my job requires me to interact with research, marketing and sales. It’s interesting b/c I am in product development and I have to figure out how the product would make someone like me work more efficiently. I get paid to make my life easier. The salary differences between scientists can be infuriating. Women still make 78% of what men make in this field. And academic scientists (called technicians) work for less than Starbucks baristas. All for “experience.” You are not taken very seriously if you haven’t “paid dues.”

I have spent 3 weeks on something to determine that it’s not going to work. That can be extremely frustrating. Also, it can be tough to not take criticism personally. I have a very tough skin at work, but a very thin one at home. Someone says my data is crap? Who cares? The data might.be.crap. But, you don’t like my cooking? In the bedroom, sobbing for hours.
3. What's your favorite restaurant?

I have to say I am torn: Legal Seafoods is just the best. But, Solstice Caf√© in Mission Hill is fabulous also. PC and I have celebrated many occasions there and we just love it. I am such a foodie!!! PC took me to Morton’s Steakhouse in Boston two years ago and I had the best food ever… but it’s not someplace I can go often and I think it’s important to have someplace that is “yours” as your favorite. Always looking for new places, so if you are in the Boston area: send me recommendations!!!

4. Do you do much sewing and quilting these days?

Not as much as I would like. I have some baby clothes I want to make and some quilt ideas popping around in my head. Spring usually brings a renewed interest in sewing. I am going to sew some capris and such for my vacation this spring. And perhaps a dress. Last night, I sat down and sketched a new quilt for PC’s mom and for my mom. I have a quilt kit that PC gave me that I am afraid of. It’s an amazing quilt and I am terrified to screw it up. I have never taken a lesson and have never read a quilting book… I just “know” how to do it.
5. When, oh when, are you going to start spinning?

I think PC just felt his wallet leaving his pants! I don’t know. For those who didn’t witness it: Cheryl and Mel BOTH tried to show me how to spin at SPA. And I failed miserably. It’s interesting but not intuitive to me. I keep thinking of trying a spindle. I am notoriously uncoordinated when it comes to making my feet and hands do things together (this is why I don’t drive stick), so spinning felt awkward. Maybe I just need practice? So, maybe next year, I will have spindle spun some more and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sleep, cats and Rugby

Yeah, I completely forgot to take a photo of my sock-in-progress this weekend. It's a Jaywalker in the Rugby colorway over at HelloYarn.com

This weekend was all about sleepy-mini. Now, many of you who “know” me know that I am an early girl. Early bird. Up with the birds. Morning person. All these phrases describe me up until this past weekend. I was utterly exhausted. There was an emotional component there (see last week’s posts) but there was also just a lot of physical exhaustion.

I used to be very proud of the fact that I needed very little sleep. I would be asleep at 12 or 1am and up at 4:30am or 5am. Until I moved in with PC. The dime-store psychiatrist in me will tell you that the change is for a number of reasons: safety and security, I feel like I am being protected and therefore can relax enough to sleep. But, I have to say, on the ride into work today, the radio voices were talking about something that finally made it “real” to me why I sleep better. White.Noise.

When I was in high school, I slept with a white noise machine. It produced background noise and helped me sleep. So, when I was in college, my roommated hated this machine and I, subsequently, learned to sleep without it. And now, PC IS my white noise machine. PC is a great guy (ask anyone who has met him), but he snores. It doesn’t bother me in the least. But, this weekend, I fell asleep on my own very fast and then I gave PC a run for his money. He claims I scared the cat.

Also, I need some advice from all you cat-people out there. Some of you may know that Pumpkin is my first foray into cat-ownership. So far, so good. She doesn’t hide, love vanilla pudding and plays with toys. So, here’s the questions:

1) which flowers will she NOT eat?

2) Why does she follow us from room to room? Am I supposed to pick her up and carry her with me??

3) The meowing… this is relatively new. VERY vocal. If PC and I move to the office to look at something on the computer, she will wake up in the living room and meow incessantly into the office and then require a snuggle and a butt rub. (don’t ask.)

4) 3a.m. Everyday I wake up at 3am to hot fishy breath in my face. She is standing on her back paws, with her front paws on the mattress, breathing on me. When I open my eyes, she swats my nose. Then if I move the sheets, she pops in under the covers for an hour or so. Why is this?? Is she cold???

Most of you didn’t like the new font, so I changed it back. Today is a new one too. Let me know if you can 1) see it and 2) how it looks. I use Mozilla when I write these, so I can’t always tell what it’ll be like on IE.


Mini, exhausted.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Well, I feel the bloggy-love. I really do! Getting home last night and talking to PC and seeing my nutritionist… and then reading the comments. Well, y’all are amazing. You made a sad Mini into a happy one. A loved one. So, merci, gracias and thank you. This situation will not remedy itself anytime soon, I am sure of that. And I am not impressed with this person’s ability to “come clean” as they haven’t in the past (bad precedents set already), so please don’t expect any resolution. Something I will share though. This incident upset me,but didn’t shake my foundation. I have been wondering about that all night. Even just as soon as a few months ago, this kind of thing would have sent me into a tailspin of eating and stressing and reliving and self-hate. But, I think I see it as HER problem, not MINE. And I am (slowly) learning to only “own” my own problems. So, is this growth emotionally? I think so. Is it a step toward maturity? Absolutely!

Knitting: I have some knitting (I’ll try to toss in a photo for Saturday’s post).. especially a Bloomin’ Feet sock that *may* be complete tonight. Only one, though. And I am working on the shawl (still) and a new baby dress. I have some plans for Sunday that involve freezer paper and paint--- any guesses?

Oh, and it looks like we might have a front runner for the DC hotel contest.By the way, all the peeps who offered to put us up: thank you! So sweet, but PC snores like a freight train and I just can’t subject anyone else to that. Thank god I am slightly hearing impaired, huh?


It's almost time for a trip on these:














Lemme know if you like/dislike the new font. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Acceptance

I know I have spoken about this before. I know I have. I know other people around the blogs have said it or alluded to it. But, an incident today is causing me to bring up the subject again. A gentle reminder, dear readers, that this is my blog, my life and my feelings.

I work hard. I have a good job. I like what I do and where I do it. Someone is causing me to not like the environment. I will not get into specifics, but I am feeling “teased” and “abused” by someone and it needs to stop. Today’s (and a few other days’) incident involved my weight. I am heavy. To be honest, I am downright fat. I don’t try to hide it (c’mon, really… how could I? Leave the “extra weight” at home?). I try to look my best, do my job, eat healthy, I should exercise more… but I am not slovenly, stinky, aggressive or unfriendly.I am currently seeing a nutritionist b/c I do want to lose weight. PC loves me and I love him and neither of us wants me to be ill. So, I am trying to get it under control now. I eat very carefully at work b/c I have learned that when you are overweight, people feel obligated to offer advice…usually about the pork chow mein (that you swapped 19 Weight Watcher points (i.e. celery and water for breakfast and ice for dinner )) that you are about to enjoy b/c you painstakingly weighed out 4 ounces of it. Where was I? Oh! Yeah, so the situation involved my weight, acting like a 4 year old and me hiding in the ladies room for 20 minutes. Not wanting to make a scene, and not knowing how this would play out in my future career, I have taken 100+ deep breaths, contemplated all means of revenge and vindication and sat back at my computer with my water and my apple.

I have been quiet about this (even to PC, sorry hun… it was just becoming so much a part of my day here, that I just lumped it in with “long” when you asked how my day was.) to friends or even to family.

So, here’s what I have to say:

Young moms/dads: I know you have to teach your kids words. Please do not make me a “visual aid” when you see me and reinforce that “yes, Timmy, that lady is indeed FAT.” I know I’m fat, you know I am fat. How about overweight? “plump”? Or, how about making it a lesson in not teaching your kids to judge people?

Gym people: I know that if I go to the gym I will lose weight. If you think it’s easy for someone to walk into a gym full of thin people as a heavy person, then you should try walking into a Weight Watchers as thin person. (*FYI: I have never heard so many people say “skinny bitch” to a complete stranger than at one of these meetings… especially when the thin one announces they are there for those “stubborn 7 lbs”. Careful, that lady chewing the celery and doing the Pee-Pee dance b/c she’s on her 345 ounce of water? She will take you out… and it’s shear jealousy—I always think “what if I had started WW when I only needed to lose 7lbs?”)

All people: Take a good long look at yourself, your home, your family and your life before you make fun of someone. First, you are an adult. Teasing someone should be something you don’t do. Second, is there any part of you someone could tease? Like your hair? The fact that you have worn spit-up-on shirts everyday this week? Your accent? Your religion? Fatism ( a new word.. you like it?) is the last acceptable discrimination allowed. I can be fired for being overweight (causing the medical premium to go up), I can be denied employment b/c of it (not able to stand for 8 hours, etc..)… and I am not protected against harrassment because of my weight.

I just needed to send this out to the world and get it out. I saw something in the paper this weekend (in the advice section): it recommended that readers not barage overweight friends and colleagues with latest fad diets, etc… because you are probably not telling this person something they don’t already know. And I liked this advice. I live in this body everyday. Some days I hate it. Some days I love it. A lot of days are hard for me to get up and put on pants and enter the world. Somedays I continually beat myself up for eating breakfast or having lunch. Like I don’t deserve food. I have some weird feelings about my selfworth and my weight, but that comes from a relative and I have made peace with that person. It’s a battle, me and my weight, and it’s my battle. I’ll win. I know I will, but until then, I need some positive people on my side. So, what do I do about the Negative Nellie?

Knitting tomorrow… tonight I need to just “be” and collect myself ( hard to do at work).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Vacation Help Needed

So, there will be a knitting update tomorrow... I have my guild meeting tonight and then tomorrow at lunch: trip to the PO to mail out all the winning prizes (if you've been waiting,I'm sorry!).

As you can see from the title, PC and I need some help with our vacation this year. As a little FYI: PC and I take normally one vacation a year. And then some long weekends here and there. This year? It's all about the long weekends. :)

In June, we want to head down to DC. (yes! Capital yarns!) The purpose being we both haven't been there since we were 12 and well, the museums and zoo seem a lot more interesting to us now. PC and I have decided to take Amtrak from Boston to DC (7 hours... no driving!) and then stay near a Metro stop. BUT, when I was there last, I was with a school trip and PC was staying with family (not an option)... so, we don't know where to stay!

Here's another contest!

Suggest a hotel/B&B for PC and Mini to stay at from June 6-11 (Thurs through Monday) in DC for less than $160 (average) per night. If we pick your hotel (by end of April), then you'll be receiving a gift in the mail. :) A yarn-y gift and a postcard from DC while we are on vacation.

Email me at kskaareATgmailDOTcom or leave a comment (make sure your email address is in the comment...) by march 31st.

:) MINI

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Peer Pressure

Picture it: Sicily, 1910...

Wait! I need to stop channeling Sophia from the Golden Girls. Seriously, picture this:
A knitter who has no need for shawls. A knitter who thinks that lace is "too hard and fiddly" for her... she likes "sweaters and socks and mittens". Useful things. Enter the "pushers": Monica, Anne, Kim and Judy. Judy had the yarn, Kim put the item on the knitter, Monica smiled appreciatively and Anne, well... Anne turned around and softly gasped: "that just illuminates your face." $60 in 100% silk and 4 emails to the pattern designer later and you have :

Mini knitting the Adagio shawl by Candace Eisner Strick in 100% silk hand dyed by Judy of Ball and Skein (or Smatterings... however you know her). In one short evening, I learned to knit lace, do a Russian join and how easy it is to fall in love with a piece of knitting. This knitting has a purpose: I love it, it makes me happy and will look fantastic on me at wedding I need to attend in July (whaddya think: black capris, white silk shell, this fabulous shawl, purple slides... meow!!).


Friday night














Sunday night (9 repeats of 19 DONE).











Oh, and *ahem* I am planning a 2nd one... still cruising Kim's site for that... I am thinking a merino-silk-angora blend?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lowry

Oh, with all the hats,etc... there HAS been knitting. In fact, 3 new baby bonnets were just shipped off to a new addition to our family, and there are some baby shower gifts "in process". And I made a calorimetry for my brother's girlfriend's birthday. But, here at Chez Mini, I am also knitting again for PC. You may remember that I knit him a black stockinette *cough* acrylic *cough* sweater. With set in sleeves and k2p2 ribbed cuffs and collar. *yawn*

Oh... you are still here? Good... so, once the boring... I mean, sentimental sweater was done, I finally convinced PC that GRAY is a color and it's ok to wear gray. Enter Shelridge Farms. Now, you all know that I had some issues with winding the yarn I got from them. Well, Buffy from Shelridge is an ANGEL. She emailed me with the nicest instructions and how to get it to work,etc. And, when I arrived home from SPA with Anne's calculations in my head (i.e." you won't have enough yarn!") I called Buffy. Well, Shelridge Farm to the rescue! They had 3 skeins left and she wound them into balls for me!!! And they arrived overnight. How wonderful!!! I have to say, I will be throwing money at them from now on. Go ahead... shop there. Oh, and the yarn? DK wool... so unbelievably soft. I might need to buy more to make myself something!


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Photos and then some...

Ok, I know you have all been chomping at the bit to see some photos. Well, I have *some* but, first some information. All of you who participated should give yourselves a HUGE pat on the back. Not ONLY did we get enough hats to give to Childrens' Hospital, but we already dropped off hats to Franciscan Hospital for Children and Tufts/Floating Hospital for Children here in Boston. Boston Medical Center and the Hasbro Children's hospital (RI) will also benefit from your hard work.

Oh! I wanted you to know (b/c so many asked)... we didn't really do any "PR" on this project-- too big, too fast, if you know what I mean. I (and PC) believe that community service and charitable acts are for the benefit of doing good, not for getting your name in the paper. Therefore, I am very happy to say that we have received the nicest thank you letters from the organizations who have already received hats. (PC and I are doing this on Saturday mornings, due to the fact that we work until 6pm or so... it's going to take awhile to get all these hats in my little car!)


Here are the hats!


Note: pumpkin is a small cat (like 9-10lbs) and kinda "short"... oh, and this is a queen size bed. When I stood next to the pile (and I am 60 inches tall), it was over my head. PC measured it at 35 inches off the TOP of the bed.
Pumpkin wanted me to add this note from her:
"In order to assuage any concerns about my choosing winners, I am demonstrating my selection protocol:"

Friday, March 02, 2007

And the winners are....

First, the prize, the hat collection: OVER. No more packages. Please send them to:

MargaretGraceMills (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Your packages sent to me after today will be marked "return to sender"--- we have a 1BR apt and well, no room. (Ask blogless Paula, she saw the haul this week).

But, without delay: (If your name is highlighted, email me: I need an address or your prize is coming from somewhere else).

EDITED TO ADD:
I forgot two prizes prize!

A set of stitch markers from Jenn at KnitWitMomma goes to:
Elizabeth Murphy (New York, New York)
A skein of yarn from WoollyBuns (yum!) goes to :
Sandy (aka HockeyMom) of Atlanta GA!

Margaret Brodeur (Cranston, RI)
green needle case
Lucy Willingham (Springfield MA)
cherry project bag
Tiffanie Dyer (Cerritos, CA)
button covers and shawl pin
Meredith Devereaux (Knoxville, TN)
January One and G-Love STR and box of cards from January One!
Susie Bacon (Martin, GA)
Union Center Gift Card
Julie Sprague (Westford, MA)
2 skeins of JKnits sock yarn (from the Yarn Grove)
Susan Chioffi (Durham, NC)
2 skeins of Regia sock yarn
Linea Tracy (Omaha, NE)
skein of TheWoolenRabbit sock yarn---Sun Kissed!
Paige Maxim (Readfield, ME)
3 skeins of sock yarn -- Cherry tree hill, Sweet Shop, and Mama E's.
Pam Helme (Fall River, MA)
Spunky Eclectic Fuzzy Mitten kit
Jana Ames (Moses Lake, WA)
Lisa Souza Sock! yarn (1 skein)
Jenni Larkin (Destrehan, LA)
hand painted yarn and stitch markers

Anemoi Mitten Kits (pattern donated by Eunny Jang, yarn by me)
Sydney Harper (Florence, AL)
Susan Bowlby( Alamogordo, NM)
Carrie Federer (Richfield, MN)
Kathleen ?? (South Hadley, MA)
Penny Ercolano (Cocoa Beach, FL)

Gift box from PC's sister (the wonderful M):
Yarn Yenta's kids : Kezzi and Tirzah for being the youngest participants

Lisa Scandrette (San Francisco, CA)
sweater kit
Deborah Hersey (Portsmouth, NH)
skein of handspun from Two Left Needles
Anne Calhoun (Anaconda, MT)
cloverleaf pattern from Knitspot.

So, there we have it. The winners. Photos of the final "score" will have to wait and the photos of the prizes have been eaten by the camera (and blogger hates them also). So, trust me, these are some nice prizes!

:) Mini

Tally: 1200 hats +/- 10 (we're tired...)