Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Replacement bouquet

The beautiful flowers in that first bouquet just couldn't survive the heat of the UPS delivery truck for 8 or so hours on a 100° day, and on the third day they were literally dead. At first I wasn't going to say anything, but I went to the company's web site and they guarantee their bouquets will live no less than 7 days. Knowing my daughter-in-law can't afford to throw money away, I decided I should let the company know, so I filled out a form, then sent pictures by email and a few days later they sent this replacement bouquet, that while different, is just as beautiful and after 7 days is still gorgeous. This time they sent them via Fed Ex, who delivered them early in the day which made all the difference. While ProFlowers may not have the best delivery system available, they certainly stand behind their product and are very courteous and prompt with their response to complaints, which I really appreciated.

The Blue Bamboo scarf is done, but not yet blocked. I'll do that tomorrow and then post a picture when it has dried. The Falling Water Lace pattern and 250 yards of the Vivace 100% bamboo from Yarn Place produced a 65" scarf prior to blocking. I can't wait to see how this yarn looks blocked and to find out if it will hold the blocking.

Last Tuesday afternoon my friend Celeste and I attended a knit group in Lodi. It's quite large and very friendly. I think I'll go back often, though I didn't go today as my mother-in-law is not doing well so we spent a good portion of the day visiting with her.

On Sunday we went to a street fair, where hubby found several treasures to add to his collection. After the street fair we drove to Lafayette, CA, which is about a half hour drive from San Francisco. We went because there are two yarn shops there and I wanted to see if I could find some interesting yarn. When we arrived in town about 11:00 am neither was open yet, so we decided to find a local eatery and have an early lunch. We spotted a small local diner called Squirrels, and opted for that as we tend to like plain old-fashioned American food. It has a very simple menu, and we each chose omelets, his with potatoes and toast and mine with fresh fruit and toast. The servings were generous, the help friendly, and as is often the case in popular local diners, there wasn't an empty seat in the house most of the time we were there. Prices were reasonable, service was quick, with the food served while it was still hot, and everything was delicious.
The downtown area is quaint with lots of small shops catering to nearly every thing one could want. We saw lots of ethnic restaurants, along side some of the chain type eateries. They've done an admirable job of incorporating some landscaping without eliminating on street parking. But we also found plenty of off-street parking.

After lunch we visited Big Sky Luxury Yarns. I should have taken a hint from the word Luxury. Lafayette is a rather moneyed area, and the prices in the yarn shop reflected it. Still I did buy two skeins of Mountain Colors Twizzle yarn. Though I was disappointed to come home and find it $8.00 per skein less at most internet sites. There is no doubt in my mind that the overhead for this store warrants the high prices, still I'm not wealthy and I feel like I didn't shop well. However, they will make lovely scarves and someone will feel very special when they wrap that wool/silk blend scarf around their neck. Then the money won't matter any longer. Plus, now that I've seen the beautiful colorways it comes in I can purchase on line and be comfortable that I'll like the color when it arrives. We never did make it to the second store, though we did find it's rather hidden location. But they didn't open until 1:00pm and we left just before that. I was happy with my Mt. Colors yarn, and didn't feel the need to put any more strain on the budget or the confines of my very full yarn/computer room. I really must re-organize the yarn, but I have to admit that before I do I need to determine how I want it organized. By color, by projects (all the scarf yarn together, sweater yarn together, etc) or by fiber? Maybe later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flowers, Good News and Frogging

Earlier in the week I had a call from my daughter-in-law. Ok, she's an EX-DIL, but I hate the word "EX", because she's still my grandchildren's mother and we still have a good relationship, so in my heart she's still my DIL. But, I digress. She called to tell me that I needed to be home today for a delivery. What was to be delivered wasn't to be divulged, but she knows we're out and about often and she didn't want me to miss the delivery.

I wouldn't have missed this for anything in the world . . . two dozen beautiful, fragrant roses in the loveliest of colors. My granddaughters chose the vase, and it matches well with my dining room. Aren't they gorgeous?

An email from my older sister brought very good news. When our sister, Pam, lost her battle with cancer last August we asked the cemetary where our father is buried to allow us to bury Pam in the site reserved for our Uncle Floyd, who passed away in Colorado several years ago and is buried there. They allowed it, but they didn't want his headstone removed . . . it matched the other family stones . . . finally after some frustration and a heartfelt letter written by my sister, they agreed to let us have his headstone removed, and a new headstone with Pam's name and dob/dod installed. The stones can't be matched exactly, but a stone that is close will be chosen. We have an aunt and uncle who died in childhood buried in this cemetary, but no one knows where, because their record keeping is so terrible. My sister used this information to convince them that if they insisted we keep our uncle's headstone in place future generations will not know where our sister is buried. I believe that Pam will truly rest in peace now, and that gives me comfort.

It was a day of good news. Finally, after months of dealing with insurance companies, past employers and the like, it seems we've made progress in settling my DFIL's estate. It has been a very frustrating experience dealing with his past employer to get the life insurance which was part of Dad's retirement benefits paid. Finally in frustration I called their home office and left a message venting my frustrations with their failure to communicate with us, as well as their failure to pay all the monies due my MIL. This morning I received a very nice phone call from a gentleman who listened to my complaints, and listened to what I was asking of them and promised to get back to me with an answer no later than tomorrow morning. Then mid-afternoon I had a call from a woman who said that our file was part of her case load and she had made an error and she apologized profusely. It was refreshing to have someone take responsibility for their mistakes. She promised to take care of it to the very best of her ability, and I believe she will. Worst case scenario, the funds should be paid by June 30th. Best case scenario, they will be paid May 30th. A "Major Name" insurance company that was to pay out the larger portion of the benefits was not much better to deal with. They opened one of their "Safe Haven" accounts in direct opposition to the completed paperwork (in my opinion to keep the monies within their control longer) and it took some communication to get that changed. The funds arrived today, only to have the check tear when trying to remove it at the perforation! EEEEK! Now I have to call them and ask them what to do because the account number is totally torn. Oh, well, that's another day . . . tomorrow it will seem like just another pebble under my shoe.

Frogging . . . it had to be green for frogging, even though the yarn is blue . . . yes, the bamboo has been frogged again! It just didn't have the body to carry off the Check scarf. So it's now going to work at becoming the "Waterfall" scarf. The colors are right for water, so I hope this is it's last change of mind.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bamboozled by Bamboo

Remember the 100% bamboo yarn I mentioned purchasing at Color Me Quilts and More? Before playing with it I asked on KnitTalk for advice from knitters who'd used bamboo, and after much input from them I decided on a lace pattern. Winding this yarn into balls was pure pleasure as the yarn snaked through my fingers onto the ball winder. It has such a pleasant feel I just couldn't wait to cast on with it. For those of you who've heard me bellyaching about my ineptitude with lace patterns, you'll be happy to hear I actually had some success with lace this time around. Unfortunately, after 5 pattern repeats the variegated blue bamboo decided it didn't want to be lace, and off to the frog pond it went. Next up, the Biggle scarf by Louise Fabian Vouk, from the 2008 Pattern a Day calendar, but the blue bamboo didn't like that much either, the gauge wasn't right and it just wasn't a happy marriage. So now it is playing at becoming the "Check" scarf from Belisa Cashmere. It seems to be much happier . . . so wish me luck that this yarn has made up it's mind for the final time.

Also still on the needles, actually waiting in the wings for attention is that Lacy V scarf, as well as the Midnight Mohair scarf. Neither needs many rows to reach completion . . . but the bamboo called and I couldn't resist.

Mother's Day was nice. We visited my DMIL who is on the skilled nursing floor of a local senior facility. She was quite lucid that day, and in spite of her advanced dementia has not lost her sense of humor. Several family members were present when the discussion came up as to Mother's Day and the question was presented "Did you know you're a Mom?" She said yes, and acknowledged that she has three children, and she has grandchildren. When I added that she also has great grandchildren she retorted "You didn't have to go that far!"

Hubby took me to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, which I love. I had recently chosen the KnitPicks Harmony knitting needle set as my gift, so that's what I'm using with the bamboo yarn and I'm very happy with them. DD, #4 ordered the larger size tips to complete the set for me. DD's #2 & 3 sent cash for me to choose my own knitting items . . . maybe the lace samplers from KnitPicks. DD#1 is preparing a memory book for me and needs more time to complete it. DS #1 and his family sent a keychain digital picture viewer with pictures of his family and DD#1's family on it. DS #2 called and we talked for over an hour on Friday, and DS #3 is sending new pictures of our 7 month old granddaughter. Mother's day doesn't get any better than that in my opinion!

Monday, May 05, 2008

A beautiful new pattern on SFTH

One more donation of a scarf pattern has been made to Scarves From The Heart for our knitters to use. It was generously donated by Monika Steinbauer . You can check out her blog by clicking on her name. Monika, thank you so much for generously sharing your time and talents in designing this scarf especially for SFTH. Generally I wouldn't make a scarf with hearts for men, but I don't think this one is too feminine. Let me know what you think!

After she took the photos for the pattern she actually painted this scarf, so go take a look at her blog. As Huell Howser would say "It's Amazing!" Sorry, Monika, it's a family thing . . . my hubby loves to imitate HH, but in all seriousness we love his programs . . . arm chair travel at it's best!

In other news, we attended a research competition our daughter, Darci, was participating in this past weekend at Cal State Hayward, in Hayward, CA. Sadly, she didn't place, but it was still excellent experience for her and everyone felt she did really well. Having said that, however, the judges were not anthropologists and knew little to nothing of what her subject was on, thus the consensus is that the judges tend to choose the winners from subjects they are familiar with.

On our way home we went through Niles Canyon and stopped to enjoy the afternoon browsing there. Ladies, there is a yarn/quilting store there. Color Me Quilts and More. Of course I bought yarn, if we don't support the stores they can't stay in business. She carries a line of very inexpensive yarns I hadn't seen before, Universal Yarn, Inc. and they had a very nice manly colored variegated yarn in acrylic/wool 80/20 blend that I picked up, as well as some 100% bamboo by Yarn Place which is out of Sunnyvale, CA.

The Lacy V scarf is coming along nicely. Here it is pinned to the office chair. I have 8 repeats of each end done now, after having to frog three rows of one end, then losing my place and finally getting back on track with it.

I finished the second skein of Lionbrand's Moonlight Mohair on the other 'in progress' scarf, so I figure half a skein will finish it off. I hope to finish both scarves this week and cast on the yummy bamboo.

The Harmony interchangeable needles I ordered from KnitPicks dot com arrived on Saturday while we were gone. But I have to tell you, that as excited as I was about ordering them it's going to be difficult to get as excited about using them as I am about my single pair of Holz & Stein needles. These are made from left over wood from musical instruments, and the detail in finishing them is just as exquisite as a fine musical instrument. Think I'll go fondle my Holz & Steins.