Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Some bad news headed our way this year that will play out over the next who-knows-how-many years to come. I think I've accepted it. Only time will tell.
Good news came our way as well. Younger son graduated High School and started college. Older son seems to be getting his life in better order.
In general, we are healthy and warm and full and that counts for a lot.
In the knit blog world, I see many folks mentioning all the things they created this year. I lost count, so you won't see that from me. I did finish a lot. I also started a lot that I didn't finish!
In the general blog world, I see many listing their reading for the year. I started many and finished only a few books. My ability to attend to the reading I wanted, needed, felt I should do seemed to wander away under the weight of the bad news early in the Summer.
I have been easily distracted. I hope and pray I am on a better track these days.
My sister gave me a wonderful book - Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris - for Christmas. She knows me well and this book I started reading almost as soon as I received it and have nearly finished it. I will re-read as time goes on. I think I will always find something new in its pages for me to enjoy, employ, embrace.
May your 2009 truly shine!
Until next time.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
My first major lace. It is gorgeous, if do say so, my biased self!
Things due by year's end were completed today.
A six hour work day tomorrow leads to the four day weekend referenced above.
whispering, for fear of a drastic change: All is right with my world.
Until next time.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I don't have much to say today. I've been working for the last two days on getting some on-line classes completed for work. I've done it! One more on-site thing to do tomorrow and I will have completed the certification courses required to keep doing my job! :)
I've done the vertical rows on a HAP afghan tonight. I will do the horizontal rows tomorrow evening. If I start early enough, I may also do the border. If not, I'll finish that on Wednesday. I have a few to put together by the middle-to-end of January. More people are needed for this task. Click into the project button on my left sidebar and sign up to volunteer if you like crocheting rectangles together to make afghans!
As 2008 is winding down, I am catching up on last minute things -- hoping to have a clean start for the new year. I have projects I want to start, but I need to finish the current ones before I do. I'm not sure I'll make it by New Year's Day. However, finishing by the end of the first weekend of 2009 should be doable.
Until next time.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I spent most of yesterday
-- reorganizing my stash
-- repackaging yarn in ziplocs and Rubbermaid containers
-- putting like yarns with like yarns
-- identifying the projects to begin and the yarn I plan to use
-- As I ran across pattern pages, they were placed in the pattern binder I started.
in between bouts of yarn sorting
-- I uploaded over 50 CDs and put the CD and the jewel case inserts into a case I bought for that purpose, recycling the actual jewel case and freeing up a lot of space in my desk area
-- I did three loads of laundry
-- I did a brief bit of grocery shopping
-- and I started a sock (three inches into the cuff of #1!)
I also started a list of things that need doing around my house. I have a compiled a list jobs - big and small; from vacuuming to house painting - that will take me at least 1/2 of 2009 to complete. I hope I can do most of them myself, though there is a bit of electrical work that I'll need to hire out.
As I type my 300th post, I find that I have more than 300 things I want/need to do in 2009. These are not resolutions. I am no good at keeping resolutions. But, rather, a list created to help develop an organized plan for success. I really need to do most, if not all, of the tasks on my list if my current future plans (how's that for an oxymoron) are to come to fruition. I feel it only fair to note -- to you and to me -- the list would be much smaller if I had done things as I noticed them rather than waiting to be sick and tired of the undone things.
I hope I have the stamina!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
To the topic at hand. I grew up with a number of Christmas traditions. Some good, some not so good - but traditions nonetheless.
One good one is pictured below.
Mom was given this statue more than 30 years ago she may have bought it, but I think she got it as a gift. Every year, poinsettias accompany the placement of the statue on a tall stand/table. It used to be a marble-topped plant stand. It's current perch is a plant stand, but all wood.
Mom usually buys several small poinsettias to place around the statue. But, it was Christmas eve and she still hadn't gotten even one to place by the Kneeling Santa.
On my way home from work on Christmas Eve, I stopped at the grocery store for two or three last minute things I had forgotten the previous day. This lovely plant was begging to come home to accompany Santa as he gave homage to the Christ Child.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Originally uploaded by radarkaty.
Mom called to me, "There is a little something on our porch for Christmas."
I thought she meant someone had left a little package rather than ring the bell. But we saw the cutest little bird perched on our step. I quietly grabbed my camera and from a distance in the hall, I zoomed in on the Christmas visitor with my telephoto lens.
It is a lovely little birdie. To see the other few shots I took, including one after the bird was disturbed and flew to the wooden rocker... click on the picture. It should take you to my Flickr where you can see the whole set.
Hope you had a lovely day!
The photos are taken through the side lights on our front door, from about 8 feet into the hallway.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The support can be casual or highly involved. It's hard to order them in a way that my readers can see ALL of them, so I hope some of you scroll down and click into a few that reside a little further down the line.
Near and dear to my heart are causes that support our soldiers. I don't personally know any soldiers among my family and friends, but I felt a need to offer my support, to the deployed, to the wounded, to the families.
There are many, many groups that can help you connect to a service member in need of a lift. A couple that I found and joined are in my sidebar links - Soldier's Angels and AnySoldier.com. These two organizations help connect you to a particular service member or a group or a team or a cause. I wrote about Soldier's Angels on my Halloween Good on Friday post. But, it has been a while since I mentioned AnySoldier.com.
Over the course of a couple of years, before adopting individual soldiers via Soldier's Angels, I sent out care packages to individual soldiers I found on the AnySoldier.com list. On this site, service members sign themselves up, offer some brief information and, sometimes, suggest things they need or miss or would like to have sent to them.
I responded to a request from Rick Simmons who flew MEDEVAC missions in Iraq. He was looking for supplies to help spruce up a coffee bar that he and other soldier were setting up to offer an oasis in the desert; a comfort zone in the war zone.
They wanted decorations, games, coffee, flavored creamers, and all the other things a coffee bar might have. I sent a box or two. I remember finding some Java-themed wall art at JoAnn's and some other things, besides coffee, cups, and creamers and sending them out. Apparently many people helped because the pictures showed a great place for the MEDEVACs and the other area personnel to relax. The Original Java coffee bar was left in Iraq for the next unit serving in that MEDEVAC area when Rick and his fellow "OJ" founder, Pete Huggins, came home. I hope there are many supporters to keep this oasis available.
Out of their Original Java experience, a stateside business has evolved - an e-commerce coffee shop - The Original Java. Donations from your purchases are made to Operation Dustoff. From the website:
Project Dustoff is a program dedicated to helping wounded service members and their families as they reintegrate into life at home.
The Original Java offers mailing to APO/FPO addresses. So, if you are like me and don't drink coffee or eat anything flavored that way, you can send 5 lbs bags of certain flavors to deployed service personnel. If you don't know a deployed service member, but would like to offer your support in this way, The Original Java knows plenty and would be happy to ship your order to someone they know.
So, drop by the coffee shop at The Original Java.
Friday, December 19, 2008
-- I've been on Weight Watchers for two weeks and have lost 6.6 lbs. Yay me!
-- My immediate office went out for a Holiday Lunch today and I ate the right foods!
-- My supervisor gave us all a lovely bottle of wine. Mom says it's a good brand. I have no idea, but thought it was a nice touch.
-- I have successfully limited my intake of all the lovely cookie gifts arriving at our office.
-- I am finished my Christmas shopping for the most part. Everything I have is wrapped.
-- Both of my boys shopped by themselves for family gifts, with their own money and without my pushing them, reminding them, shoving them out the door!
-- I am on the last few rows of the stole I have been making for some time... Sis may see it before New Year's (due to blocking time, probably NOT before Christmas).
-- Everyone I dealt with today was exceptionally pleasant. The goodness is out there. Seek it and you shall find it. Spread it and it will multiply!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I do have some small things to get for the boys. They've grown up from cars and yo-yos to razors and shaving cream!
And I have to pick up two things that are in someone else's possession and wrap those.
Then, mail one more box after my mom finishes her wrapping/card-writing.
And Christmas is still a little more than 8 days away! Wow.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
If you want to know a little bit more about The Handmade Afghans to Thank Our Armed Forces Project (HAP) I have linked on my sidebar, visit This Eclectic Life. HAP's founder, Deborah, is Shelley's guest blogger today! It is good to share HAP information any day!
My friend sent me a message about our local county food bank. They are serving 350 families at this point and are in dire need of supplies to fill food bags and pantries. I'm sure the local food banks in your area need your help too!
Send a Holiday Greeting to a long lost friend. Reconnect. Reach out. Be good this Friday!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I had my first weigh-in tonight. I didn't really officially start the program until Monday morning, though I tried to eat better with what I had on hand over the weekend. TaDa moment - I lost 5 lbs! Just many more to go! :)
I will set my goal according to the guidelines, after I reach my first 10% milestone. I think that might be a bit early in my journey because even when that 10% is reached, I'll still have 75 or more lbs to go. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
I basked in the 5 lb loss with a bottle of water, a turkey sandwich and a Diet Coke. I also restocked some things at the grocery store. I plan to keep on track.
We have our office holiday party tomorrow, but I don't intend to stay long and I will be bringing my own lunch! :)
I swatched for a lacy sweater for my mom, which I will start next weekend... it'll be my first of 12 (hahahahah) sweaters for 2009 and my first Winter Lace project for Seasons of Lace, winter edition! A two-fer!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
It's been warm and weird - weather-wise. I even saw lightening in the foggy, drizzly night as I was bringing my son home from work. I really hope the winter is wintery this year. I could do with a break for my sinuses.
Mom is coming home this Saturday after a couple of weeks with her sisters. The house is ready, for the most part, and that's unusual. I good thing, but unusual! :)
Christmas shopping is almost done. Wrapping of purchased presents is 90% complete. Not one decoration has been unearthed. Sunday, for sure, I think, maybe!
Until next time.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
What I would have said had I posted again yesterday:
I mentioned last week that I had decided to look out for Number One. I'm still working on that. To that end, I mailed out a bunch of stuff yesterday to clear my house and my mind. I am fervently ignoring the pull to do more and more and more. When I read of a need, I want to reach out and try to fulfill it. Sometimes, I just have to pray, because I really am only one person and I cannot fulfill every request I see that pulls at my heart strings.
Anyway, back to me and last week and number one. I joined Weight Watchers (again and again and so on and so on...) -- bound and determined to do well, to work on me. I knew I really couldn't get started until yesterday because I needed to assess the food situation and plan some things and had to go to the store to get the right mix of food, rather than the boxes of mix in the cupboard!
Weight Watchers has moved away from the "Core" and now is back to just points. I haven't yet decided if that truly disappoints me. I really wanted to NOT count anything, but I also knew I'd miss some things I like to eat if I followed the Core plan.
Anyway, the point of the point counting is... at my weight I have a boatload of points to eat each day. I have not reached the total any day that I have followed the program so far. It's only been two 'real' days, but I have fallen short both days. I'm not hungry, so eating just to eat points seems, well, pointless!
I shall have to ask about this on Thursday, because you are supposed to eat all your points every day. I just cannot reach the total without adding something that would totally take me way over the points. And I don't want to do that because that's how I got in this position in the first place!
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I dropped my son off at his job this morning and then headed off to Macy's to do some shopping. There was a coupon that expired at 1 PM. I got to the store at 12:15 PM. I was able to use it! This is thrilling, as I am NOT a good shopper. I HATE shopping. But, I had to do it t.o.d.a.y. - because the Angel Tree gifts are due tomorrow.
I did some on-line browsing, so I knew that Macy's had the jeans skirt requested by the 10 yo girl. I just had to hope they had her size because jeans skirts are Spring and Summer wear and any in stock are on clearance racks. SCORE! Tommy Hilfiger, right size, GREAT price ($59.50 for $14.97!) The ONLY size 14 in the entire store - Junior's and Women's.
I also got some gifts for my house and was able to use the $10.00 off coupon that expired at 1 PM. (I was in line before 1:00 PM and they did an override for all of us patient people!)
Then I shopped for a few other things... and then came home and set it all up to wrap... then visited with my son's friend while son got ready for a party... then watched a movie. Now - I'm blogging to get it in on 12/6/08! :)
I also made two more hats for KnittyBe. Pictures tomorrow, in between loads of laundry.
(will return another time to fix any blatant grammar or spelling issues.)
Friday, December 05, 2008
I've made a couple of Medicine Bags for Sherry at This Eclectic Life.
She could use a few more for the children that attend Camp Sanguinity.
It would be nice if you could do a couple of Medicine Bags to help her reach her goal! Or send some small tokens to fill that bags that others make.
Then you'd have a good Friday too!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I thought about this blankness and realized that I do not take care of Number One. If I do not take care of Number One, Numbers Two, Three and Four all suffer.
I sometimes try to help Number One, or at least I believe that is what I'm doing. I get (overly!) involved in things I like to do - knit, crochet, create. But then I really overdo them. I have to re-learn the art of the word, "No." To truly grasp the sentiment that sometimes No is a complete sentence. To volunteer to help, but not to help with everything or believe I am responsible for more than a reasonable person could accomplish in a given time frame.
I need to work on me and my needs, wants and desires - again. I keep forgetting to think about these things. Mostly because when I think about them, I then think of all the other things I have(?) to do for the other people in my life, whether directly (family, mostly) or indirectly (every worthy cause I think I must help).
I have one more thing to finish that I volunteered to finish in early December... then I'm off to selfish knitting. Of course, some of that selfish knitting will be presents for my family. But that's okay. If I knit them a present, I don't have to go shopping to BUY them one! This is a win for me, as money is tight and will only get tighter in the coming months.
I also joined Weight Watchers tonight. I joined at a place near the yarn shop I like to knit in on Thursday nights. Perfect. WW at 5:30 in the lower level shops, then knitting in the upper level shop until 8 PM! Thursdays will be ME days. If I can't squeeze another complete day, at least I will have this one!
Stay tuned for my creative donation wrap up some time this weekend!
Until next time.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I am making some things... but I can't share.
I am worried about a few things... but I can't share that either.
I am in a sad, mad, stuck place that I cannot describe, so I cannot get out of it.
I generally need to off-load the sad mad stuck stuff in order to release myself, but I am wordless at this point.
Hopefully, I'll crack out of that soon.
I think part of the problem is my ideas, my plans, my 'want to dos' far outweigh my time and resources, both physical and financial
This too shall pass.
Until next time, when I hope the whine has passed! :)
Monday, December 01, 2008
There are two ways to participate. I'm doing the Holidailies at Home. My blog will be listed on the roll, but my posts will not appear on the Holidailies page. I do not aspire to be a writer and I know I will miss entering the information on the portal there. So, I'll just be here.
Off to get tires for the younger son's car so he can return safely to school without fear of a blow-out on the 65 MPH roads that take him there.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Mary Ann - wherever you are.
P.P.S. Ever the joiner, I joined
The only way I actually do SOME work toward something is to join others in the doing. I often fall shy of the goal, but I aspire to achieve it and receive encouragement from the rest of the
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I attended a Creative Memories card party today. The object? To make 20 cards and 20 gift tags in 3 to 4 hours. Well... 20 cards got made. Only 3 or 4 gift tags were finished at the event. I made a few more when I got home. I have materials for a few more of everything! :)
There are long cards and short cards. Cute cards and elegant cards. There are five 'flat' cards with pockets for gift cards or cash.
I am so glad they have a 'planning sheet' with all the information on it. If I had to think of what to do myself, my creativity would run screaming out the back door! And I definitely would not have gotten 20 finished!
It was fun. I'm glad I went. Perhaps you'll get one of these lovely cards!
Until next time.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I've finished a total of 10 hats, so far, for Deb and KnittyBe (see previous posts)... I'll do a few more and get them mailed next Saturday. Pictures before they get mailed.
I'm hosting my younger son and a few of his friends for a snack attack party - alcohol-free. I believe a few will be leaving to find the 'alcohol-included' party somewhere else. None of them are old enough, so it won't be MY house!
Mom headed South with her youngest sister. Youngest Sister was here to celebrate Thanksgiving. Now, Mom is going to stay with the Middle Sister for two weeks, as Middle Sister recovers from knee surgery. It will be a nice break for us all, except for maybe Mom, but she is the Big Sister and said yes when asked to help.
Until next time.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
One of the things I did was print a bunch of pictures I had taken over the past year - weddings and graduations - that my aunts could not attend or at least one of them did not attend.
I also cajoled by sons into posing with us!
So here you have my Happy Thanksgiving photo:
We are all standing. I am just shy of 5'8" tall.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I had been shopping. Mom had been shopping. Things had been forgotten.
The craziness that is the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving must have happened earlier than my 7:10 PM arrival time. I walked through aisles fairly undisturbed. Only one aisle had more than two shoppers at any one time. The checkouts were well-manned and the lines were not long.
I try to avoid this Wednesday before Thanksgiving shopping trip.
I try to make sure all is remembered before this day arrives.
But, today wasn't too bad. I checked out with the groceries in my car at 7:38 PM - and I stopped in the liquor store too! Two stores, 28 minutes, $100.00! Phew!
Turns out, I didn't have to pick up my son. Mom ordered pizza which arrived at our home at the same time I returned. No cooking tonight because I'll be cooking all day tomorrow!
If you celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving Day is fabulous.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The weekend was lost to family and knitting and crocheting. I'll give a Monday's Quarterback recap.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have been making hats. The total count is up to 8, eight, ocho - wow! I've knit a few and crocheted a few and here they are as of yesterday:
I plan to complete at least two more so that Deb gets 5 and KnittyBe gets 5.
After I finished hat number 8, I returned to my Knotty Gloves (ravelry link). I'm really loving this pattern. It is working up nicely in the KnitPicks Gloss. The fingers will be long enough for my long digits because I am making them for me, me, me and measuring and trying on as I go!
I plan to finish this one tonight and cast on for the right hand. Perhaps I'll have a pair at the end of Thanksgiving weekend! Stay Tuned!
So, that was the knitting and crocheting that occupied my weekend.
The family? Well, my Aunt and Godmother came to visit for Thanksgiving. She drove up from Florida to spend most of the week with us. When she returns to Florida, Mom will be heading back with her for two weeks. Mom is the oldest sister. Visiting aunt is the youngest sister. The Aunt left behind in Florida, the middle sister, had knee surgery and Mom is going to go stay with her and help her out for a couple of weeks.
My older son was part of the family distraction as well. He has a couple of part-time jobs with changeable hours. He doesn't have his driver's license and, if he did, he doesn't have a car, so he can't get himself to these jobs. We live in a fairly rural area and public transportation is close to non-existent.
Because I want him to have his driver's license and I want him to get a car sooner rather than later, I drive him to his jobs. He tries to get a ride home, but I am regularly pressed into pick up as well. Mom helps out during the week when his work hours coincide with my work hours. I'm hoping he gets something worked out for the two weeks she is in Florida!
His farther away job required chauffeur service on Saturday and Sunday. Hope and pray with me that he saves the money and passes the test and gets a car on the road before year's end! There will be times early in the year that neither my mother nor I am available for chauffeur services.
Until next time.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Good (I hope!) - my aunt is coming to visit for about six days. She arrives sometime tomorrow and will be here through Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving, she and Mom will head down to Florida together. It will be a good visit and a good departure. That's how those things generally go!
Good - based on the responses to my very unscientific survey, I've decided to knit and crochet hats at various sizes, but the circumference will not be less than 19 inches. It'll all be good.
Hat pictures --
Kosovo hats - (almost) five so far
Hats for KnittyBe - two so far
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Now, it'll be short and sweet because I am tired and it's late and I need to catch some shut-eye!
I've been making hats. Trying to determine the proper 'child' size for 5 - 11 yo school children. I'm failing miserably. Not at making them. I finished two more besides those pictured in my last post and have only some decrease rounds to go on the third. Bringing the hat total since last Friday to 6. 4 for Kosovo, 2 for KnittyBe and more to come.
But, I'm stymied on the sizing. Most hat patterns I find are either baby sized or adult sized and the adult sizes seem too big, and the baby sizes are way too small. I tried to adjust the adult sizes. I think they'll be okay. People have a variety of sizes on their noggins, and it depends on where you measure what size you say you wear.
I did a brief survey on the CPaAG group on Ravelry and it seems that the children referenced by the responders have 'small adult' sized heads. So, I'm going with that in the hopes that what I send is useful!
Okay - off to bed.
Until next time.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
First up, hats for Kosovo. A school of 125 children is in need of warmth and Deb of Deb's Crafts has put out a call for hats and scarves and mittens. There is a short deadline as her friend is coming home for a visit in December before he returns to complete his tour of duty. That means she needs them SOON, so her friend can bring them with him.
I do hats faster than mittens or scarves, so hats are being made. I've completed three and am working on the fourth. The completed multi-colored hat was done before she announced her need. The two green ones were completed between Friday morning's commute and lunch today. I started the brown one, in progress, on the commute home tonight.
Another cause close to my heart is Macuwita sni (check out the link on my side bar for more information). The current challenge for this group is to make 75 shawls or lapghans for the elders by February. This is my first and I'm trying to knit it. I will finish this one and probably crochet the next one. Crochet moves much faster for me on big projects like this AND, being a thicker fabric, may be warmer for the recipient.
KnittyBe (ravelry link) is also collecting hats (and scarves and mittens) for some children in her area. I'll have more information later. These need to be machine-washable, so I'll be going with crochet and my Encore stash! Only a week or so for this project. Hope to get a bunch done ... and then turn back to the Kosovo hats.
Something to ponder:
I wonder how many is a bunch?
Monday, November 17, 2008
I've been a good employee and good mom.
Now, I want to rest, but now I have to be a good fiscal manager. Today was Pay Day and there are bill payments that need to be scheduled and checks that need to be written.
I'd rather sit and knit.
And I forgot to take pictures of my WIPs and FOs. I was a good employee, a good mom and an okay fiscal manager; but a bad blogger.
'til next time, when I hope to have some pretties to show.
I was packing packages. Getting the mail and the customs forms and such ready to go and just now realized it was after midnight. Missed it by five minutes! Ah, well.
Hat #2 is finished for Deb to send to Kosovo. To be fair in my reporting, I must admit that Hat #1 was done before she needed it, so I've only finished one since Friday.
I have finished two skeins of a four (possibly five) skein shawl for Macuwita Sni. You can check it out on the sidebar. (Macuwita sni, not the shawl!) One of the packages I was getting ready contains five pairs of mittens that should have been mailed weeks ago, but I never got to the Post Office. I'm going tomorrow!
I am trying to finish some long, languishing WIPs, but I find myself itching to cast on for new things!
Must finish the WIPs. Must Finish the WIPs!
I've promised myself a new cast on when I finish one of the two scarves and the stole. The stole is almost done. There are 100 rows left, but they get smaller after the next 20. One scarf is a little over 1/3 complete. The other is a little over 1/2 done. I think I can get 'r done by Friday, then I can start something NEW!
Pictures soon, I promise!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I was driving my son home from college. The sky was spotty. It looked like the long-predicted thunderstorms were on the way. We pulled over at Chik-Fil-A for lunch. We were going to drive through and then drive home. I parked for a moment to get myself situated and then heavens opened up. Wind and rain lashed at the car. It looked like little bits of hail too.
We sat it out. The rain let up about the same time we finished our chicken. The dark clouds were still behind us as we continued down the road. Ahead of us, there was still a light rain, but the sun was shining through the clouds.
It was rainbow weather! I was wishing I had my camera. I would have stopped to take a picture of the biggest, brightest rainbow I ever remember seeing. I didn't have my camera and I didn't stop, but my son captured an image out the back window with is camera phone.
This picture does not do justice to the bright colors and the width of the rainbow in my rear view mirror, but it's pretty good nonetheless!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I left work a little early, got home about the same time. Traffic was spotty with the dribbly rain and the foggy roads. I got a lovely rest on the bus. My body knows when the regular trip is almost over and I awoke to find myself still 1/2 an hour from my stop. So, I continued knitting on a hat I am making to send to Deb, who will send it to her friend to distribute at a school in Kosovo.
Oh, and you might want to check it out if you like to knit or crochet. Hats and scarves are needed.
After the put-together tomorrow, I'll be picking up my younger son from College for a visit at home.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It could be because I went to sleep at 9:30 PM and missed my normal blogging time of post 10 PM. Or it could be because I was just exhausted, and forgot about it until this morning.
I'll be picking up where I left off, but I missed 11/12! :(
I'm still tired today, but not quite as bad as yesterday. I'm not sure if it is the time change; the weather change; the dead and dying leaves and their concomitant mold causing an allergy uprising; or something else entirely. But I'm dragging and yawning and having a hard time keeping awake.
If it persists beyond this weekend... I'll seek some help!
I'm trying to get the last of the Put-together afghans I signed out put together for the Handmade Afghan Project (see the side bar). I don't think I'll finish before the Saturday Put-Together event. From my last pick up of rectangle sets, I have turned in two and have two here ready to return on Saturday. That will leave me with this one. Next week for sure. I have the side-to-side rows, the border, then weaving in the ends. I should be able to finish early next week during Monday's Dancing with the Stars and Tuesday's Results Show.
Next I'll turn my hand to using the leftover border yarn to make rectangles for the next put-together event. If you haven't checked out the project, you should give it click. The group has delivered more the 1600 afghans to wounded service personnel over the past 4 years. That's just awesome.
Until next time.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Originally uploaded by radarkaty.
Here is a photo of the things I brought back from Stitches East 08. I can't show you the knowledge I gained, or the great conversations, or the experience of the days... but I can show you the loot! :)
I won some prizes and bought a number of things. If you click through the picture to my Flickr page, you'll see notes on this picture, plus you'll have access to the Stitches East set that has individual pictures of each item and a bit of an explanation.
Enjoy. I know I will! ;)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Today, I filled 25 small bags with a variety of hand lotion, hand cleaner, lip balm, nail kits, mini-make-up, flavor packs for water bottles, body wipes, shower gel, and other goodies to be sent to a group of female soldiers serving our country. It is part of Soldiers Angels (link in my side bar) called Ladies of Liberty. A group of Soldiers Angels is given a list of female troops to pamper a bit with little luxuries, words of encouragement, or just a postcard to let them know someone cares.
The packages are ready for labels and customs forms. I have run out of both! I had hoped to get these in the mail today. It looks like next Monday. In the meantime, I'll send some notes.
I did get several other things ready to go and they'll be dropped in a box on my way to work on Wednesday, tomorrow being a Federal Holiday.
I'll be spending my Holiday - finishing my laundry, finishing the crocheting of a HAP afghan, writing notes, take pictures of my goodies from Stitches. How will you be spending yours -- if you have one?
Until tomorrow. With pictures. I hope!
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Stitches East '09 is a bit farther afield, and not near a Federal holiday weekend, so I may not make it there.
I found a new wool that is superwash-y fabulous - Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash. DK weight. (go to their website Missions Falls and check it out!) Knits like a dream. Cushy. Great stitch definition. I even get good row gauge with it (I'm fairly notoriously bad at evenly knit rows on knit a row, purl a row patterns). I'm hooked, or cabled, or intarsia'd or something! :)
Now I'm headed for my beauty sleep. I'll try to get pictures and a complete run-down of all my doings over the next two days. I took Monday off and Tuesday is a Federal holiday - Veteran's Day, so I'll be doing a lot of cleaning up.
Cleaning up my house, my laundry, my stash, my boxes, my mail (if I promised to send you something, you'll see it this week! I hope to mail everything Monday, Nov. 10)
See you later.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Today's class didn't start until 1:30 PM. So, I hung around the hotel and got a few things together and headed over at about 11 AM. Walked through the market again. Bought a few little things, then headed to Celtic Cables with Melissa Leapman. A fabulous class. A marvelous teacher. A great desire to buy her books. All the vendors that had them were sold out.
I'll have to put them on my wish list.
Cables Untangled and the new one Continuous Cables
Friday, November 07, 2008
I'll have to recap later because tonight my GOOD FOR FRIDAY! is a special thank you to Shelly at This Eclectic Life.
Shelly ran a contest for free tickets to see
My mother and I had a lovely, lovely evening listening to the fabulous voices of Celtic Thunder! It was phenomenal. I am so glad I won and that I was able to bring my Mom to see this marvelous show!
Thank you, Shelly.
P.S. One medicine bag made; one in idea land and will be done next week!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
It began today at about 9 AM when I arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center to pick up my registration package. I walked right up and got it... no line. Yay! Of course that meant I had a bit of time to
At 10 AM, I entered my first event. Beyond Sox -- Five designers were given the task by XRX to use sock yarn and create something other than socks! Since I have decided that I am undecided on whether I like handknit socks, it fit my current knitting conundrum (lots of sock yarn, not quite enjoying the socks, what shall I do with my yarn stash? Well, according to the designs presented, I can make jewelry - a lovely beaded cowl or wrist warmers. Or I can make a hat with sock and other yarns carried together; a lovely bag or two or three; a gorgeous tam, though that was the reject design, or an asymmetrical stole with squiggles! :) Entrelac was also featured. Beautiful designs. Wonderful use of the yarn. Knitter's Magazine will be publishing the patterns in an upcoming edition. You should check it out!
Then lunch and a go at a smaller version of the Wall of Yarn (yarn companies send samples of their yarns. You get a list, pull a piece of each yarn and tape it to the paper so you know what you saw and what the yarn was like). The full yarn is in the Market. I filled both papers! :)
First class 1:30 - 4:30: Superb Seams. So informative. I might be ready for my first sweater!
Then the Market -- overwhelming! So much to see. It was the preview - so I was able to walk around - a lot. I think I saw every booth once. Ran into friend and directed them to booths I thought they'd like. I only bought one thing... A book - Knit One Below. The author, Elise Duvekot, was one of the five women from the 10 AM presentation. I liked her technique... and she was signing them! :)
I saw a number of things that drew me in, but haven't been hooked yet. I didn't buy because I really didn't plan projects I might make and, therefore, I have no plan for the yarns available.
I wanted a spindle. But I didn't see any there. So, I'll use the teacher's student spindles in the morning. If I like it, I'll order one from an etsy shop or on-line somewhere... or maybe not.
Good Night! I'll be checking in tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I left work at 3 PM to drive to his school to pick him up (he's a freshman, no car on campus, almot 60 miles from home). It usually takes about an hour from my work to his college, then about an hour and fifteen minutes to home.
Not yesterday. The forces of nature were battling with rubber tires and wary drivers causing multiple fender benders to slow my way as well as two full roadway accident stops (all lanes on 295 N at 100 were blocked, I finally baled into 100 and took a 7 mile detour; then all lanes on Route 4 S were blocked. We were stuck there until they opened one lane).
Left the office at 3 PM; arrived at the polling place at 7:23 PM - two extra hours beyond the time I thought it should/would take.
But we made it. And he cast his first votes ever.
I, however, did not make it home for good until McCain's Concession Speech had already begun. Left work at 3 PM; arrived home for the day at 11:15 PM or so and the only thing I did besides drive here, there and everywhere, was vote, stop at K-Mart, get gas, drive through KFC. It was not a good day.
Today I get to go to Baltimore and begin my Stitches East adventure! I booked my room for tonight so I can be on hand first thing on Thursday to get started... I'm at classes; at the market; at the show(s); or meeting people, my people, knitting people, ravelry people... Fun for me for a while!
I brought the computer so I can keep going with NaBloPoMo '08! We'll have to see how that goes!
Do you think I'm excited? Do you think I could use any more exclamation points? Hehehehehehehe
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Not that you could forget with the constant barrage of political advertising from all areas - from signs lining the road to billboards to radio ads to tv ads to phone calls to fliers in the mail and on your car and handed to you as you pass by the supermarket, the metro, the bus stop...
Tomorrow will be a lovely ad-free day. Of course, we'll begin hearing non-stop how the President-elect will have to do this and that and the other thing and how he plans to do this and that and the other thing. However, that message of transition will reside mostly on the news shows themselves and NOT through advertising blitzes. We can then vote with our clicker and turn them off and on as desire -- to make it stop or to listen, if we so choose.
Me? I'll have the news clicked off for a while -- I'll be at Stitches East enjoying a lovely fiber-filled vacation -- meeting new people, catching up with friends, putting faces to some of the pixels I've been chatting with on Ravelry. I'll be learning new things, honing my craft, and having a good time strolling The Market.
Just what the doctor ordered (well, it would have been had he known about it!)
Monday, November 03, 2008
Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...
Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.
Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.
People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.
On a completely different note: I love this post at Persistent Illusion. I wish I had the right tools to start one too!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Younger son needed warm clothing. His natural tendency is shorts and t-shirts year round. But it got pretty chilly these last two weeks and he had a lot more outdoor time on the college campus than he ever had going to high school.
He found five long sleeve shirts and/or sweaters that he liked. Some will be fine by themselves and some will need layering.
He has not found a brand of pants - jeans or otherwise - that he feels comfortable wearing.
So to promote warmth, he got a hat instead, at the Burlington Coat Factory. A black wool hat similar to the Carrimac Cap -- but not that pricy!
We hit the supermarket to stock up on goodies for his dorm and other necessities and made our way back to unload the car.
It was a good day.
* I don't think I have ever been to the Bass Pro Outdoor World store before - it is indeed the great outdoors brought in. A rock wall, moose and bear and fish and geese and ducks and guns and fishing poles and clothes and ATVs and kayaks and wow - totally overwhelming.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
National Blog Posting Month 08 - though it seems that EVERY month is NaBloPoMo! :)
I've seen it pop up every now and again and decided to try it for November.
Then I remembered - "Hey, You are going to Stitches and weren't going to bring your computer."
Guess I'm going to bring my computer! :)
Once a day for 30 days. I think I can do that!
Friday, October 31, 2008
I know the young people think the good thing to do this Friday is go Trick-or-Treating! Well, it can be a good time, but also too much of a good thing! :)
On the Some Good for this Friday...
I am a member of Soldiers Angels - from their website:
Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. Founded by the mother of two American soldiers, we are an international organization with members in all fifty U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and several friendly countries who support America's men and women in uniform. We were incorporated in the state of Nevada in June of 2003.
There are a number of ways to help through Soldiers Angels. I hope you'll visit their website and check them out.
One of the programs I have been involved with is the Adopt a Soldier program: When you adopt a soldier through Soldiers Angels, you make a commitment to write letters, send cards, send care packages and otherwise let this soldier know someone cares. This program provides a personal connection to an individual soldier for the length of their deployment. There are many soldiers in need of adopting. If you can commit the time and financial resources to this project, I hope you consider signing up.
The Adopt a Soldier program is just one many programs and teams available to support our troops. While this one requires a consistent commitment of time and care package sending, there are 19 other programs with varying degrees of commitment, if you want to give your time, your talent, your financial support to keep them going.
Over the past several years, I have adopted three soldiers. I have been involved with the Chaplain Support group. I am now on one of the Ladies of Liberty teams, supporting deployed female personnel. On the Angels Forum, there are calls for one time needs where you can opt to help fill special requests from various sources.
Currently underway for the 2008 Holiday season:
Wrapped in Holiday Spirit
As with every program, there are a number of ways to help. You can spread the word with the flyer from the site or by linking to them on your blog! You can make a blanket. You can sponsor a package. You can contribute smaller items to be included in the packages being sent. As you wrap a Soldier with the Holiday Spirit, you can warm your own spirit as well.
Another "something for everyone" organization. There are things to be done on a local level. Something as simple as sending cards to veterans, to deployed soldiers, to families left behind - to something as big as funding a voice recognition computer to help our wounded soldiers open lines of communication that have been taken from them.
I hope you check it out Soldiers Angels and find a way to help our service personnel and thank them for their service to our country.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I woke to winds, but outside my window I saw this:
Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature! :)
We did get some more rain and a lot of wind and one distant rumble of thunder much later in the day... but not anything like what I was expecting!
Friday, October 24, 2008
I love to crochet, to knit, to create. I don't have a lot of people in my life that like to get handcrafted goodies. Even if I did, I make too many things to NOT give things away. So, I do.
Actually, I often see a good cause and say, "Yes!" and then scramble to mail the promised items in a timely manner. Finishing them is generally no problem. Getting them to their intended distributor? Often a problem.
A couple of years ago, I was looking for local causes - well, local to me, even though the reach is far. I had a few motives besides the generally altruistic ones that overcome my sense of the time-space continuum.
I wanted to be able to have 'in person' contact periodically.
I wanted to make some new friends.
I wanted to help others, but not be in charge.
I belong to a number of Yahoo! Groups and the founder of Handmade Afghans for our Wounded Warriors Project wandered in to one of them.
It turned out Deborah lived pretty much 'up the street' from me. I live in a fairly rural area, but I pass her exit every day on the way to work. That's close enough for right up the street! (I looked it up -- that was May 2006.)
The website linked above and to the left does justice to the details better than I ever could. But, to give you a little taste...
Volunteers -- in almost every state and a few non-US countries -- crochet and knit 6" x 9" rectangles in machine-washable, worsted acrylic yarn - all colors EXCEPT pastels and other 'girly' colors. These rectangles make their way to other volunteers in Maryland who sort them by color and store them until a Put Together Event is convened.
At a Put Together Event, even more volunteers (and those local to the event that are rectangle makers and gatherers) assemble at a donated venue and design afghans using the mountains of rectangles.
It takes 49 rectangles to make one afghan the size of hospital bed. Each designed afghan is pinned in precise piles, matched with a skein of yarn to crochet it together and bagged up ready for the next step.
These designed afghans are sent out with still more volunteers that crochet them together. When they are crocheted together, the finished afghans are returned to Deborah for a wash, a photo shoot, and special packaging that honors our wounded warriors.
Finished, washed and packaged afghans are hand delivered to a few locations in the Washington DC area by volunteers. Others are mailed off to hospitals in Germany, Afghanistan, Washington State, Texas, Georgia and more.
Pictures of the designed afghans, the completed afghans, the put-together events and more can be seen at the Shutterfly link on the website.
Yarn workers are needed. Local non-yarn workers can design or store or transport or serve lunch or whatever! Non-local non-yarn workers can sponsor a mailing (postage on mailing afghans can be high!) or send funds to help buy put-together skeins or other supplies needed for everything to run smooth.
This is an ALL VOLUNTEER group. Everybody. Nobody profits from the cause and donations may not be tax deductible. 503(c)(3) non-profit status has not been, and will not be, requested. Again -- you'll find all the information at the website: www.rectangle6x9.org!
So Good For a Friday!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Oh, but wait, the prize from my third winning event was in today's mail. No false memory. A dollar bill goes fluttering down the highway -- thrown away with reckless abandon on a fool's errand
Well, anyway - on to my win.
I made donation in memory of my father to The Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute supporting Carol of Mad for Knit in the 1/2 Marathon she ran on October 12, 2008.
Carol had a contest amongst her donors. I was one of the winners. I won a lovely skein of Bonnie's Bamboo Sock Yarn. The prizes were first announced here. The winners were announced here.
When I opened the package today, I realized this was my third win (though it may have been the first chronologically). But where did it come from? I had tried to find the third bit of correspondence before I posted about winning a few days ago. Yet here was the yarn and I couldn't remember. Well, I renewed my efforts and finally tracked down the messsages -- on Ravelry!
I had been looking in my Yahoo! e-mail account for an message I might have sent to someone that contained my address. But Carol and I corresponded on Ravelry, not Yahoo! Duh! I forget what a great resource that place is!
Do you belong? No? You should join. Especially if you knit or crochet or weave or spin! :) Ravelry
Friday, October 17, 2008
I participate in a number of groups whose focus is on providing warmth, providing hope, providing hugs, through hand-made items. Some of this may seem like tooting my own horn, and I do not mean it to be that way. I'd like the focus to be on the groups and not my participation. The pictures will show some of my contributions. The links will take you to find more information if you'd like to participate. Today's focus may be a little repetitious - I posted the mitten picture earlier this month (week?), but I really didn't describe the group well, nor did I mention future projects. So, first up on "Only the Good Fridays" is Macuwita sni.
"Macuwita sni" (pronounced “muh-CHOO-wee-tah shnee”) is a Lakota term which translates to: "I'm not cold"! The Yahoo! Group was founded by Kary (theknottysheep on Ravelry) after she read an article in the Northeastern Alumni magazine. Another Northeastern Almunae is our point of contact. We mail our warm goodies to Peg and she gets them to the places they are needed most.
Last year, I sent a sweater and some hats. In a most gracious thank you from the YMCA, I was told, as were the other group members, that they could really use some mittens.
So, we made mittens.
The goal was 250 pairs and we have achieved that goal. Here are my five pairs:
The elders are the next focus - though hats, socks, mittens and sweaters are always welcome. The next group goal will be shawls and lapghans and items of warmth for the elders, some wheelchair-bound, all living in a cold, cold climate. While their weather looks a little better than mine today -- they will hit sub-zero with negative wind chills for many, many days this winter.
If you are interested, click a link.
There is a group on Ravelry
and a Yahoo! Group
Spread some warmth and do something good!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
On the winning... Mom says I should buy a lottery ticket. I say, "If good things come in threes, I'm out of luck. I've already won three things" :)
Most recent win: CELTIC THUNDER! I was one of the four names pulled out of the bowl on This Eclectic Life! I'll miss the fashion show and dinner at Stitches East, but Mom and I will get to see this phenomenal group!
Previously, even though I was a giant fail on completing anything in the Seasons of Lace to qualify for any of the judged or category prizes, I WON a Random Joy drawing -- two patterns of my choice by Melanie of Pink Lemon Twist.
I chose Leda's Dream and Scheherazade, in case you are interested!
hmmmm.... I thought there was one more. Maybe I should go buy that lottery ticket!
Check out the contest on This Eclectic Life by NOON Texas Time today. TODAY!!
Celtic Thunder is a Fabulous, Fabulous, Marvelous group of five men. Well, one of them is a mere 14 years old, but Man what a voice. Their voices are phenomenal and their staging is inspired. I watched their PBS show a while back and was mesmerized. My mother was too.
We'd love to go see them when they come to Baltimore on November 7th (though I'll miss some of Stitches East if I do!). Perhaps they are coming to a venue near you? Check out their tour schedule and go enter the contest if you'd like. Or don't, so I have a greater chance to win! :)
From their website:
Celtic Thunder is a new group and concert special featuring five Celtic male vocalists: Paul Byrom (age 28, Dublin, Ireland), George Donaldson (age 39, Glasgow, Scotland), Keith Harkin (age 20, Derry, Northern Ireland), Ryan Kelly (age 28, Moy in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland) and Damian McGinty (age 14, Derry, Northern Ireland). Taped August 2007 at the Helix in Dublin, the group’s debut performance is a celebration of Celtic heritage and men—their loves, attitudes, individuality, power and strength, throughout life’s journey.
I saw it and it was breathtaking! If you can't get to the concert, you should definitely check your PBS listings for re-broadcasts!
Here's a YouTube taste:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A knitted Helmet Liner (Ravelry Link; or the non-Ravelry .pdf link. This tan one is finished. I have the 2x2 rib around the face to complete on a blank one and I will have finished two in the last two weeks.
Five pairs of mittens heading off the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota through the Macuwita sni Yahoo! Group project. Two of the five pairs were finished in the last two weeks. The others over the last two months. (Rav link; non-rav link for the pattern) A lot of warm, wooly items are needed. Check out the link, if you are so inclined.
A better view of the brown ones:
Now, I will pick up where I left off on my Secret of the Stole, so I can get it to my sister before Christmas. I am also on the look out for a pattern to make a warm pair of gloves, not mittens, for ME!
In between the stole and the gloves, I'm sure there will be mitten or Magic 28 socks or hats or scarves or beanies on the needles... I seem to be addicted to the quick (except for the scarves!) knits that I send away.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I brought my camera. I left my memory card at home. No pictures. But, I've been there before ... so you can see some things the bottom picture here and here and here! ;)
At PRAD, the Boy Scouts help you park - and sell you popcorn! :)
The Knights of Columbus solicit donations, hand out Tootsie Rolls and tell you the lay of the land (boat rides every 1/2 hour!).
The 4-H and SMOCS (Southern Maryland Oyster Cultivation Society) help you understand how they are helping re-oyster the tributaries and how they are helping, with DNR (Department of Natural Resources - NOT do not resuscitate), to re-oyster the Chesapeake Watershed.
The Calvert County artisans were out in force. The boat builders were showing off their creations. The Marine Museum Volunteers were tickling our sweet tooth.
And we enjoyed the 1/2 hour boat ride onto the Patuxent and close to the Bay.
It was a good time. Beautiful weather. Lovely friends.
Adjourned to the homestead for movies, wine and cheese! Good times. Good times!
Sue had promised to send me pictures... If she does, I will post some! ; )
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
I'd like you to visit (and comment, if you will) on a blog started by a young man I know. This young man graduated from high school last June with my younger son. Instead of going to college this Fall, he headed off to Malawi , in South Africa, to help with the Peanut Butter Project. He started the blog, in part (mostly?), to satisfy his parents' need to keep in touch. I've found it fascinating and I hope you will too.
Billy is Away In Malawi. Please stop by and visit with him.
and a that:
Older son finally got his learner's permit so he could finish his driving class. He finished the classroom portion, but needed his learner's permit to get the 6 hours of instructor drive time to get his certificate so he can get his real license. He finally seems motivated about this. He volunteered to cover two different shifts this week... because he needs money to get a car! :) Yippee! He's slow to the table, but when he gets there he goes for it!
and another this:
This weekend begins my fall clean up (so I'm on the internet avoiding it! HA!). Anyway. Younger son needs some $$ and he can't get a job on campus because he doesn't have a GPA, being a first semester freshman. He can't get a job off campus because his driver's license is suspended for 30 days because of excessive speeding and many points, so he can't drive to a job. I offered some recompense for his assistance this weekend.
He's going to help me organize the Christmas overflow in the basement so I can sell things on eBay or have yard sale or something. He'll get a percentage of the take. AND he'll mow the lawn on Sunday, for the immediate cash incentive. (though I will probably advance something on the take as well! :))
and another that:
I'm also trying to sort and cull the yarn stash. I'll be doing some donating, perhaps some selling, but definitely identifying and organizing.
It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood. Hope it's lovely wherever you are!
Monday, September 29, 2008
I've been changeable today - kind of short tempered, kind of snarky, kind of out of sorts. And then just fine and getting along okay. I guess it'll be that way for a while.
Major decisions should come with a warning: May cause major mood swings!
Today, I did some yarn cataloging and calling around to sell a few things (Lenox China, pattern: Chesapeake. Apparently there is a surfeit in the resale marketplace and only the few service pieces I have are in demand at the moment. Ah, well. It was a good plan while it lasted.)
I took my son to his post-op appointment. All is well. Made the second post-op for him and one for me for next Monday.
Bought lunch. Made dinner. Now, I'm hiding behind my computer for a while...
Major mood swings are the pits.
To distract you, here is a collage of some yarn I 'stashed' on Ravelry today.