Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crafting in Process and Completed

My friend Perry made the flower for the hat.

It's been a very, very busy week, no time to write, unfortunately, but the above pictures show some of the projects I've worked on and am working on.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hallelujah! The Concert is Approaching!

I have about 5 minutes to write but didn't want to go several months again without posting something.

This week Harvard Pro Musica will be busy preparing for our concert on Saturday. I woke up this morning as if I were a small child anticipating Christmas and it's only Tuesday :) I've only been with HPM for one complete musical season, but I know I will never lose the awe of being in this group. It's the Fralinger of choral groups and anyone from Philly knows how impressive that is :)

I have my second voice lesson next Tuesday for a psalm my folk group leader wants me to do at church during Lent. (I was never in the chorus :) Donna G. will know what I am talking about :) )

It's 7:00 already, so off to give Torey his insulin shot and prepare for work! Tonight I have rehearsal with HPM :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe my last post was August 28th, wow. December is now around the corner. September was the start of all three singing groups and it's so overwhelming that I am sound asleep on the couch by 7:00 PM on Friday nights. Not complaining though :) I love all the singing stuff, but I do find it hard keeping up with it all. Next Saturday December 3rd is Harvard Pro Musica's holiday concert already. Wow...

I am not naturally gifted when it comes to learning the music, so I have found ways of getting it into my head so that I can just sing it without thinking about it. Two of the Messiah excerpts, For Unto Us A Child Is Born and He Shall Purify both contain runs (sequences of 16th notes for several measures) that are sung at warp speed.

Every morning while having my coffee, I put the tutorial on and sing the lines over and over again. My friend Jin, another alto in Harvard Pro Musica, and I spent one Sunday afternoon practicing only the runs for literally several hours. A week or so ago, I was once again singing the lines over coffee and came to the conclusion that despite all my efforts, I was never going to be able to do it and that I would have to lip sync through it. Much to my great shame.

This past Tuesday morning, I was doing the dishes and I was in despair that a plastic knife had found it's way into my drain, thereby causing a major backup. The tutorial was on as always and because it's so ingrained in me, I was absentmindedly singing along with it as I was dealing with the sink. I sang the runs in For Unto Us A Child and realized a minute later that I had sung it correctly. I abandoned the sink, went to the computer, and put the tutorial back to the beginning. I sang the runs correctly again. Rewound the tutorial, sung the runs correctly again. JOY!!!!!!!!!

We had HPM practice Tuesday night and Angela, who is a wonderfully gifted singer, happened to be on my left. I got the runs right again; I could tell because I was pretty much in sync with Angela. I am so happy I won't be the HPM version of Milli Vanilli!

I am thankful that I can sing almost the entire program now without screwing it up.

But the thing that I am most thankful for is Alexi's good health. I am thankful for all that I have in my life; friends, cats, job, singing, crafting, etc., but last Thursday morning I thought I was going to lose my little one. When I got up last Thursday morning, Lucky was stationed at his food bowl and Torey was stationed at his, but Alexi was nowhere to be found.

I fed the two boys then went on the hunt to find Alexi. I knew she was somewhere in the condo. I always do a head count at night before I go to sleep, and the last time I saw her, she was playing with my shoes beside the bed. A perfectly normal Alexi thing. She had also been poking her head into my dinner earlier, another normal Alexi thing. When I finally found her, she was lying almost motionless under the bed.

When I patted her, she moaned, and only opened her eyes slightly. My heart sank all the way to the basement. I tried to get her to come out, but she moaned and hissed. I moved the bed, gently picked her up, and put her next to her bowl. She hissed, moaned and ran back under the bed. Oh dear lord.

I called Acton Animal Emergency. I don't deal well with these things emotionally, but I do what I have to do when they happen. I spoke to a very nice woman named Diane and she said that it was a good sign that Alexi could walk. However, she said that it would be a good idea for me to bring her either to Acton Animal or to her own vet.

I called Julie, the woman who runs Forgotten Angels and from whom I got Torey, and she said pretty much the same thing. I called Mary, my boss and friend, and told her I was going to take Alexi to Concord Animal. Because I am always in Concord Animal for Torey's insulin and needles, almost everyone there knows me. Plus Chris, one of the women who works there, also crochets, and I gave her a crochet pattern once.

I got Chris on the phone when I called and at first, she told me I couldn't come in until 2:00. I was in tears at this point and while I didn't push for an earlier appointment, I did say that I couldn't wait and was going to go to Acton Animal instead. Chris told me to come in as an emergency and that Dr. Hardee would see her. Oh thank God! I didn't think Dr. Hardee worked on Thursdays. From that moment on, I felt better immediately.

Alexi gave me no struggle when I put her in the carrier and that scared me even more. My feisty, energetic, in-my-face girl was a lump of lethargic fur. If I lost her, I was determined not to lose focus on my two boys and to be a good mommy to them even through my grief. To have this happen right before Thanksgiving and also remembering that 20 years ago at Thanksgiving, my father had announced he had cancer, was unbearable.

We got to Concord Animal around 9:00 and Dr. Hardee took us in. Alexi offered no resistance as he examined her. He couldn't find anything wrong, so I agreed to x-rays and blood work.

I am very, very fortunate that I like my job and  that I am employed in a good, thriving company despite the wretched economy. So I made myself a cup of very strong Jasmine tea, which has calming elements, and I got right to work. My job enables me to be able to do the things in my personal life that I need and like to do, so I kept my focus on that. I actually had a very productive morning and got  a lot done.

At noon, I called the vet's office and the gal who answered the phone said that Dr. Hardee was out of the office on another emergency but that she would check on Alexi. When she came back, she said that Alexi was doing well but that she "wasn't very friendly". At that moment, I began to feel/know that Alexi was going to be okay. When Alexi was dreadfully ill 5 years ago, she was too sick to give anyone attitude.

Dr. Hardee called me later and said that there was nothing in the x-rays to indicate that anything was wrong. He told me it took two technicians to get Alexi to cooperate with the x-ray. I'm sure it was annoying for them to deal with, but I felt complete and utter relief when he told me. Alexi being feisty meant Alexi was feeling better. The next thing to check would be the blood work, but the results wouldn't be back until later in the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Hardee called again and said they had found nothing in the blood work. The last thing to check for was pancreatitis, which they wouldn't have back until the following morning. At 5:00, I went and got Alexi and brought her home. As soon as I opened the door to her crate, she bounded up onto the computer table and started eating ravenously. She then came over to where I was having dinner and started poking her head into my plate. I settled in on the couch and she settled in next to my feet, something she does every night.

The next day when I got up, Torey was at his bowl, Lucky was at his, and Alexi was at hers. All was very normal. When Dr. Hardee called that morning, I knew he was going to tell me that the results for the pancreatitis would be negative too.

I have no idea what was wrong with Alexi and medical science was unable to back up what I saw last Thursday morning, but I am very thankful that whatever it was passed through quickly. I spent Thanksgiving at home with the cats and was so grateful to see Alexi curled up at my feet, as usual. I did get to the gym yesterday, but other than that, I was on the couch either knitting or crocheting and watching "The Godfather", parts 1 and 2. Probably not an exciting day for most people, but it was just all right by me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unwelcome Weekend Guest

7:22 AM

I was one of those unwise people on the road in the wee hours of the morning. I had gone to Karen's yesterday because I knew I was going to be confined here alone with the cats today and I wanted some human company before that happened. Things were going well though until I reached the signs for exit 26 and then the heavens opened up.

It was like going through a car wash. Fortunately, I know the roads very well and there were no other fools out there on 495, and I took it slow. Exit 28 finally emerged from the rain drops and I slowly drove down 111 to the safety of home.

My biggest fear is losing power. Three years ago, an ice storm hit and I was without power for three days. I was also one of the lucky ones though, as many towns here were out power for a week or more. In this day and age, we are totally and completely dependent on electricity for EVERYTHING and it's Hell when it's not working.

Yesterday,  I received a voice mail from the Littleton Police that if power is lost, it will not be restored until the storm is over for the protection of the utility employees. I absolutely agree that everyone should be kept safe. However, loss of power also means loss of water.

I have learned  however from past mis-experience to fill the tub when Mother Nature gets angry. This enables me to use the toilet, a very important thing when you are stuck in the house. We have plenty of drinking water here, but that's a staple in my household anyway. We are set on food that doesn't have to be cooked or refrigerated and we have candles and batteries.

Right now, it is raining lightly. A nice cool breeze is coming through the window. I can see the trees swaying slightly, so there is some wind. All is well at the moment.

I am heading off to shower and wash the breakfast dishes (and fill the tub) and after that....well, I guess I have no excuse not to finally clean my house :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mozart's Requiem

Tonight I got an e-mail from Harvard Pro Musica about a church in Chelmsford whose music ministry is singing Mozart's Requiem on September 11th in memory of that very tragic event. They need singers, especially altos and men. After my initial whoop of joy at the propect of singing this again, I felt sad about the reason why. I will never understand the minds of people who hate.

I try to keep this blog on the light side, so I'll move on.

I finished my final exam tonight for the college course I took this summer and now I can go back to doing fun things like writing this blog, singing, crafting and training for the road race. September is going to be a very busy month.

My friend Tom was going to drive up from Pennsylvania this weekend to see me but had to cancel due to Irene. He is going to come up September 24th instead.

September events in the life of the Running Singing Crafter:
September 10th - Craft Fair in Framingham through the Metrowest Humane Society (No-kill shelter for kitties)
September 11th - Singing the church picnic w/choir and Contempory Group/Holy Trinity Parish and Mozart's Requiem later that night in Chelmsford
September 13th - First practice of the new season for Harvard Pro Musica
September 17th - 5K Road Race for the Boys and Girls Club of Maynard
September 18t - HPM Lite singing at Fruitlands (I think)
September 24th - Tom comes to visit

I have finished a couple more scarves and will post pictures of them soon. I also purchased a lot of yarn from JCA Warehouse last weekend and will post pictures of  that as well.

I'm a bit resentful of Irene interfering with my weekend plans. In the middle of winter, I expect to be stuck inside my house when 'Noreasters strike but being forced to stay inside in the summer really annoys me. Winter is too cold to be outside (for me anyway) but summer is when I like to be outdoors.

Oh well. Gives me an opportunity to knit and crochet :) God knows I have plenty of yarn in here :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Melting....

Not sure what's up with Gold's Gym in West Concord, but working out there this summer has almost been the same as jogging in the street. Last year, I remember it being so nice and crispy cold that I needed a sweatshirt in the initial stages of working out. This summer, I'm down to my jog bra and I hide on one of the treadmills in the back so as not to be seen. Not that I'm inappropriate, but no one wants to see a spare tire around a woman nearing age 50.

Last Monday, I began leaving my condo at 8:00, getting to the gym at 8:15 and running for a half hour before work each morning. My job is 5 minutes away from the gym. Despite the efforts of eating better and working out EVERY day, I am up to 118.8 from the 117 I was 2 weeks ago.

Friday, I knew something wasn't right when my jeans weren't fitting AGAIN, and so I weighed myself yesterday. Sigh. I have never had a problem losing weight until this year. I also just came out of the other side of menopause (as in "I'm done, woohoo!") so maybe that's a factor.

On the "plus" side, my time is getting better and my running stamina is improving. As of yesterday, my time is .92 miles per 15 minutes. Very maddening that it's not quite 1 mile, but I'm working on it.

When I was on the abs machine yesterday, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man upside down on some workout contraption. All he needed was a black cape and he could have been Grandpa on The Munsters. However, I have to give him credit that he could do that.

Have to do my morning chores and then get myself to the gym. I did finish two scarves and added way too much to my stash this weekend and I'll post pics as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Purly Gates - All Hookers Welcome!

The other night as I was driving home from work, my brain was busy with "stream of consciousness". I saw an old vacant building with a "For Lease" sign out in front. Nice place to have a yarn store, I thought. Hmmmm....what would I name a yarn store. My mind sorted through the various yarn stores I patronize, Woolpack, Iron Horse, Knit Purl......  Purly Gates. Yeah, Purly Gates. This would be the name of my yarn store if I ever open one.

Yesterday at Perry's awesome old studio in Saxonville, I told her of this name that had popped into my head. The only problem with the name is that it sounds exclusive of crocheters and as an ardent crocheter myself, I wanted to make the name "crochet friendly". Perry thought about this for a moment and then said, put "All Hookers Welcome!" under the Purly Gates sign. LOL!

Perry and I went to JCA yesterday and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on yarn. These are my justifications:

1) I don't go on fancy vacations.
2) I don't buy computer equipment.
3) JCA is going out of business and the yarn I bought is worth 3 times more what I paid for it.
4) Many of these lovely yarns are discontinued and I will never see them again.
5) I can afford to spend too much on yarn now but won't be able to when I retire.
6) Unlike women who hoard shoes and never wear them, I am constantly knitting or crocheting. While I probably have SABLE at this point, I do use a lot of the yarn I buy. I bought a ton of Tonic from Woolpack and I am sailing through it in my scarf-making effort. I bought 3 skeins of Manos from Iron Horse and am sailing through that too.
7) I used savings for my purchases and I have never gone into debt buying yarn.

The biggest problem I have with all the yarn is lack of space in my one-bedroom condo. Oh well :)

Later on I will post pictures of my purchases. Right now, the Singing Crafter is headed out the door for her daily run at the gym in preparation for the September 17th road race.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Visit With Mum Greer

My friend Ricky is on a cruise in Europe, lucky guy. Fortunately, nowhere near London. Two of Ricky's three sisters are also on vacation, so their 80 year old mom is home alone. Ricky asked me to go over one of the nights they were  all away and it was absolutely my pleasure. I love Ricky's mom; she's a wonderfully sweet woman and has been kind to me all these years I have known her.

It was a little hard getting out of work on time tonight, but I finally got out at 5:30. I grabbed a pizza and headed on over to Framingham taking the same back roads that also lead to Perry's awesome studio in Saxonville. Mum Greer and I had a very nice visit.

Last night, I had HPM Lite and every Tuesday, I try to think of several excuses why I shouldn't go. In reality, as much as I enjoy it,  I am still so scared to death of my limited singing abilities that I feel reluctant to go. Yesterday, it was "the cat scratched my eyelid", which actually happens to be the truth. Sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday, one of my cats jumped on my head while I was sleeping and launched him or herself off my eyelid. I am not making this up. There is a huge gouge on the crease of my right eye and it looks as if I am wearing purple eye shadow.

Not exactly a glamor shot....

It throbbed like crazy all day yesterday to the point where the throbbing also made me feel nauseous. I drank ginger tea (name any ailment and I'll give you a tea to drink for it) to ease the nausea so that I could finally take some Advil for the throbbing. By the time I left work yesterday, I felt okay and I had no reason not to go. Plus I accidentally owed our conductor for two previous sessions (I made the checks out to the wrong entity) and I promised him Id catch up, so I needed to go at least for that.

It is getting more and more comfortable. I'm down to just one song that still mostly befuddles me, but I found a virtual piano I can practice on. I had practiced on it extensively before I went to rehearsal last night and it was a huge help.

I have not crafted much. My craft fair is exactly one month from today - GULP!

I had to do homework as soon as I came home from Mum Greer's and now I am writing this. But, as Scarlett O'Hara so aptly said, tomorrow is another day :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

This is a two-second post, as I literally have no more time left this morning to do fun stuff.

Although, I'm not really sure...all six of my time-bearing devices each have different times :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


In the above picture, I am holding a Nostepinne. A Nostepinne enables you to wind yarn from a twisted skein. Tonight I wound the Manos Maxim # M8881 yarn I am using for my City Lights scarf. The yarn is gorgeous and the above picture doesn't do it justice.

The ball of yarn is supposed to be shaped like a cake, but mine tend to come out more like footballs. However, I can pull the yarn from the center of the skein for easy knitting or crocheting, so it does do what I need it to do.

Karen and I went to both Michael's and AC Moore yesterday. I bought ribbon yarn in a bag that was on sale and managed to spend less than $20.00. I try not to spend more than $20.00 a week in yarn or crafting supplies. Doesn't always work :)

Most Saturdays, I go to Perry's studio to craft but I talked to her on the phone instead yesterday. Her sister Kristin was there too and they were having falafel for lunch, YUM!

I have homework to do before I go to bed tonight, so unfortunately, I have to cut this post short.
Link for purchase of the yarn if you are so inclined. The yarn I am using for City Lights is called Beehive. For those of you who live in Massachusetts, this yarn can also be purchased at The Iron Horse in Natick. Be sure to also check out the bakery across the street :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In Search of the Holy "Fral"

I have to leave for Hopedale as in "right now", but wanted to do a quick post.

The last time I saw Fralinger String Band in concert was 1988 and every time I try to make plans to see them again, something always happens. This year, I went by the date on and discovered that the caledar was several years out of date. But I ended up staying with a dear, dear friend I haven't seen in a long time and we did the Philly night life instead. Terrific fun!

Check out the link. The Chubby Singing Middle-Aged Crafter Who Attempts Running Occassionally was once a young, thin 18 year-old member of the South Jersey String Band. The camera pans me for about 5 seconds. Look for the girl with the very long hair and the silver saxophone.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Singing Side of the Crafter

I belong to Harvard Pro Musica, a really awesome group of talented singers who allow me to sing with them, lol. This past spring, we performed Beethoven's Choral Fantasie and Mozart's Requiem. Of all the life events I have experienced, this is on my top 5. I think my favorite "life day" might always be the time I ended up in Greenwich, England by accident, but singing Mozart's Requiem is not far behind.

Over the summer, a small group of us meets at the house of one of the member's. Singing with 70 other people was intimidating enough and in a group this small, I have always been in fear that I would be the one and only alto in attendance. This past Tuesday, I was one of two altos and we were both struggling.

Feeling a bit discouraged but always stubbornly trying to resolve any issues I come across, I reminded myself of how I became able to sing Mozart's Requiem: non-stop practice. I don't normally sing in the summer (this is my first year with HPM) and so it didn't occur to me that I must practice this A LOT, duh. Despite what Mary says, I don't believe I am "naturally gifted". I have to work really hard to get my part down and I'm not the best sight-reader.. For me, that means memorizing the notes and making them the melody in my head.

Whenever I play the CD from the spring concert (I will not say how many times that is lest someone think me obsessive :) , the alto part is so ingrained in me that I hear that part even over the sopranos. Of course, it's in my head, but this is what allows me to be able to sing harmony parts.

On some of the sheet music we have, the words are so above the alto line I can't read both the notes and the words. So I made copies of the music and I am going to cut and paste the words close to the alto part. And memorize the notes.

Usually summers are much freer than this one has been, but my craft fair is looming closer and closer (9/10/11) and I've been trying like heck to finish my UFOs. The Maynard Road Race is on 9/17/11, which is earlier than it was last year and I haven't even started training for it. I am also carrying several extra pounds I did not have this time last year, which has created a serious clothing problem. All the stuff that used to fit well no longer fits at all and the clothing that was too big now fits right. UGH!

I take college courses during the summer and I am having a really tough time with ACC 3205/Accounting Information Systems. Why these textbooks spend so much time on manufacturing scenarios is beyond me. Oops...heading into Negative Territory, lol, must stop here.

What was a I saying? Ah, yes, busy summer and I have to practice my HPM Lite music so that it becomes second nature, like the Requiem did.

This past Tuesday, our conductor said that we would be processing as we sang one of the songs. Now this is something I've had practice with, lol. Try marching and dancing in procession while playing saxophone :)

Hmmmmm....I guess I need to replace the frame....anyway, you get the idea.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Much Crafting Today

Unfortunately, not all days can be "got a lot of crafting done" days, but 'tis life. Perry caught whatever bug Neal has and she was out sick today, so I crafted alone at lunch. We were really busy in Accounting with The Check Run so I didn't craft for long.

When I packed my crafting lunch bag today, I threw in a size 9 needle instead of the size 7 I needed to work on "City Lights", so I wasn't able to knit. I did finish one of the "Purple Passion" squares and am going to have to hunt around here for another skein of the same yarn. Wish me luck :)

Pat, one of the Fishnet Crochet Club ladies, recently re-org'd her stashes and books. Something I must do before I get to 700 books, the total number of books Pat discovered she has :) All of the ladies in the group have stashes and I'm sure their's are far bigger than mine, so it really is okay for me to be storing yarn in my kitchen :) I think Shawna said she has some yarn in her bathroom :)

I got home late from work tonight and by the time I had dinner and took care of the kitties, I had to focus on ACC 3205. The course itself, not the scarf :) Although,  I can knit and read the e-text at the same time, thank God, because the book is.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........boring!  So I read Chapter 11 of the  e-book and knitted a lot more of the Fun Fur scarf I named after the course.

I had to stop knitting so I could write the homework assignment. Brain Would Not Function I abandoned it for now. I will finish it tomorrow morning and send it on it's way to Cyber Homework Land. (I hate online classes but again, No Negative Allowed, so nothing further to be said on that subject).

"Tomorrow is another day!" And 'tis also Friday :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today's WIP

I'm one of those folks who still has a cell phone that can only send or receive phone calls, so computer manipulation is not one of my strong points :) I'm hoping to get better with that as I blog along, same as I intend to do with my crocheting.

Pictured above (I'm assuming this will be "above" once I publish this post) are three projects I worked on today. The purple piece will be a scarf and features individually crocheted granny squares which are then sewn together. Once it is long enough, I will crochet a granny square border around the whole thing. It's called Purple Passion at the moment, but I'd like to think of a more creative name for it before my 9/10/11 craft fair.

The scarf in the middle is called City Lights (thanks to my friend Perry, who is enormously talented and someone I look up to) and is just knitted, nothing fancy. The Manos De Urugauy yarn is gorgeous all on it's own and really doesn't need more than something simple.

The scarf on the end is called ACC 3205. Yup, I named it after the course I am taking at Northeastern because I only work on this when I am reading my e-text. I discovered at Last Knitter Standing that while I am probaby the slowest knitter on the planet, I can knit (not purl) without ever looking at my work. This scarf was made while reading chapter 10 of my very boring (zzzzzzzz) text. At the end, I did knit a row looking because my tension did get really tight, but other than that, it's coming out decent.

And that's is it for my crafting fun today.

I almost ended up with a 4th cat, but that can be a story for another time :)

Earwigs, oh my :)

My purpose in setting up this blog is to help myself improve my crocheting and knitting and if the rest of the world wanted to peak in, that's cool too :) However, I will allow myself a temporary mis-direction and share my tale of "woe" from yesterday morning.

Every morning when I come into work, I fill up my 36 ounce water bottle and also get a mug of hot green tea. Even when I was a child, I could never see very well and it's gotten worse as I've gotten older, 'tis life. Anyway, when I reached for the water bottle, I saw dirt on the spout. Then I saw the dirt MOVE on the spout. That's odd, I thought, and bent toward it for a closer look.

EEYEW! The "moving dirt" was actually a long cylindrical bug with forceps on its rear. Fortunately, I didn't scream, as was the case when there was a dead mouse in my car (story for another time!), but I was Not Happy. I ran into the kitchen with the water bottle as far away from myself as possible.

I ran the spout under hot water, but the bug went inside the spout and I couldn't get it out. Two of my coworkers asked me what on earth I was doing and I 'splained. Oh, that's an earwig, Mike said, and he went on to tell me all about earwigs and their characteristics. Another difference between men and women, lol. I am grossed out by bugs, not fascninated by pinchers on the backs of their legs :)

Karen came to my rescue and removed the unwanted earwig from the water spout. I owe her lunch :) I poured soap into the bottle, put the spout upside down into the mouth of the bottle, and added the hottest water the sink could muster so I could give it a good soaking. It did occur to me that my cats probably have more germs than these earwig pincher things but they're cute and bugs are not :) That's my justification :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday - HPM Lite Tonight!

Hot again today - works for me!

Tonight is HPM Lite practice. Before and after, I will of course be either knitting or crocheting, which is why I started this blog. For what it's worth, I will be documenting my fabulous career as a singer and crafter :) Tongue in cheek all! I don't take myself too seriously :)