Monday, December 29, 2008


OK so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year blah blah blah. I haven't been around. I traveled to the great north country to spend Christmas with my parents and one cancelled flight and a night in a stuffy loud motel later I am home and getting the house spiffed up for the New Year.

But what I have to tell you about is my fucking SOCK y'all!!!! I am the one hit wonder of the knitting world. Since I started knitting I have done 13 baby blankets - 12 in one pattern and one in another. Baby blankets are easy and the one pattern I have done over and over has become a no brainer that I can do while on conference calls. Two years ago I did an easy bulky sweater and I love it but I don't wear it outside of my house. I have a stack of hand knit dish cloths in my laundry room. My dishcloths taught me some simple stitches. That is the extent of my knitting. Nice, easy flat things.

I decided this time last year that 2008 would be my year to begin branching out in the knitting department. (also I decided to quit smoking and lose weight but let's not go there) In July I even purchased sock yarn. Then I knit two more baby blankets. Knowing I was going home and that my father had knit all four of his grandchildren Christmas stockings I decided this was my opportunity to knit a sock with tutors present and so I struggled through getting it started on the double pointed needles and then packed it.

Suffice it to say that neither of my knitting parents were much help although God love them they tried. I ended up Christmas Day sitting on the sofa with my laptop pulling up youtube videos of how to knit a sock and yelling at them to shut up so I could concentrate.

And I finally figured the damned thing out! Look at this!


It isn't pretty or fashionable but I KNIT A FUCKING SOCK Y'ALL!!!!

When I landed yesterday I came home and unpacked and started a load of laundry and loved on the cats and then I went to Walmart for another skein to make the mate. And lo and behold it seems I learned a whole lot from doing the first one because the second is much tighter and the stitches are more even. Look at them side by side (second one I have done the heel flap and turned the heel about to start on the body of the foot):

Here is sock 1 with sock 2 (in progress) on top to give you an idea of how much I have improved in only one sock:

I have a few friends who think knitting is for old ladies and that I have fallen into drooling and eating pureed food. Not true. Knitting is cool. Knitting is hip. When I have gone into my local knit shop to beg for help I get it from 20-somethings. Who have cool tattoos and piercings. You can not imagine the sense of accomplishment. I think by completing my first sock I have accomplished more personally than I did all year professionally.

The pattern I used for my first sock was incredibly easy (although it could have been easier) and can be found here:

I did need some help after turning the heel and I found it here - which is hands down the ONLY reason I have a completed sock today and the courage to go on:

I am now rabid about doing socks. I want to do maybe one more pair of the basic pattern to make sure I am comfortable with it and then I plan to begin branching out into real patterns. I am so excited!

OK that's all for now. Got to get back to my second sock and get it finished!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cutting Costs

It has been a challenging year financially. When the year started I was riding a very small, very manageable amount of credit card debt.

And then the rat problem. When one leaves a very old house sitting empty as long as my house sat empty (with only a few weeks of exception that was October 1 2007 - June 1 2008) critters tend to move in as squatters and I did have some critters in the attic and crawl space and this had to be taken care of. To the tune of almost $3000.00. Which went on credit card.

Then came the dental problems. I had a root canal/crown. Then another root canal. Then I found out I had met my maximum dental coverage but I needed to have the first root canal tooth pulled and have a bridge. Which had to all be paid out of pocket. To the tune of almost $3000. Which went on credit card.

So now I'm carrying about 4 times the debt I feel comfortable carrying. I can and do make payments in excess of the minimum and I haven't touched my emergency savings which, at this point, amounts to about 4 - 5 months of living expenses but I just simply don't feel comfortable. So I am working on ways of cutting back, even if it is only a few bucks here and there.

Last month I negotiated a deal with my landline/DSL carrier and cut my monthly bill by $30. This morning I cut back my personal cell phone, which I rarely use but don't want to give up entirely. I shaved another $20 from that monthly bill. I have weather stripped every window and door in the house but got my gas bill this week and in a month where the weather was warm enough several days to have the windows open it was still too high. So I got out the socks and sweaters and turned the heat down about 8 degrees. In the past I would regularly throw away spoled veggies and left overs but now I make a huge effort to make sure I do not waste anything. I've been clipping coupons and printing them off the internet. Christmas will be scaled back a little this year. Normally I go all out but this year I'm cutting back just a bit and I took advantage of deep discounts and free shipping on Cyber Monday to do a lot of my shopping. I'm looking for an online work from home part time job that I can work nights and weekends.

I'm not complaining mind you. I have a great job and a roof over my head and my bills are paid and there is food on my table. I'm just saying that I've come a long way. Instead of pulling a pillow over my head I'm very realistic about things. I've educated myself and opened up my ears. It makes all the difference in the world.

Life is good.