Friday, October 15, 2010

That wonderful chill is in the air!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. It always has been. I miss fall. Southern California doesn't really so much have "seasons" per se, which is sad because fall is so wonderful. (Any SoCal resident will now try to tell you that they have Hot, Hotter, Fire and Mudslide seasons, just smile at them)

It has been unseasonably fall like here a lot lately and I have absolutely been soaking it up for all I can get.  I made my friend Tammy go out and play in the leaves with me. We walked to get a pumpkin latte afterward. Apparently that is how Southern Californians note the change in season - new flavors of coffee at Starbucks.  (Not that the pumpkin latte wasn't delicious and the perfect ending to our fall festivities.)

I always thought it was strange that I enjoy Fall so much because growing up in East Central Illinois, Fall was the week between average temps in the 90s and average temps in the 30s.  It wasn't very long.  And I HATE cold weather.  Well, I did when I lived there. Maybe that's why I liked Fall so much.  It didn't overstay it's welcome (I'm lookin' at you winter).  Fall kept you on your toes.  It meant seeing your breath as you waited for the school bus in the morning.  Wearing layers to school because you knew it would be hot by lunch.  Fall was the only time you ran the heat in the car on the way to work, the air conditioner at lunch and heat again on the way home!

Fall also meant the start of football season.  Even before my current obsession with Ed Hochuli's biceps, I loved watching football.  I grew up watching Cowboys games with my Dad and watching the Fighting Illini lose was a great family tradition (also applies to basketball, but that's for winter).

Fall is the time for looking back on your year and realizing all the things you have to be thankful for. All the blessings you have in your life. I'm not sure why, but that always seemed so much better to me than Spring. Yes, everything is green, shiny and new and you have so much to be hopeful for in the Spring. I guess that is just my practical nature to enjoy the things you have more than the things you wish you will do.

Fall is also home to my favorite holiday - Halloween!  It was always so much fun getting dressed up and going trick-or-treating.  My Great-Great Aunt Betty made the best popcorn balls and pumpkin cookies.  My Mom was always pretty creative with costumes. I remember my sister and I wearing cardboard boxes covered in white tissue paper with black spots and we were a pair of dice. I also have vague memories of a sweatsuit, a lot of balloons and being a bunch of grapes. Then there was this awesome clown costume that was enormous enough that even I didn't outgrow it in a week. And that's saying something. To this day I go crazy at the first sign of Halloween decorations. I have enough Halloween stuff to decorate a mansion covering every surface of our cozy little home. I also get a little angry about the way the Christmas has totally eaten Thanksgiving and is making its move on Halloween. Labor day had better keep an eye out. Was the entire month of December really not enough for you Christmas? Seriously!

I seriously hope the next place I live has Fall. I want brisk air and crunchy leaves. I want a chance to wear scarves and mittens and beautiful knitted hats. So Fall, if you are listening, I will enjoy our chance encounter here in SoCal but mark my words - you and I will be spending some quality time together in the not so distant future my friend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So totally not back on the tracks

But that's ok.  They are fun diversions, like my mom, sister and niece coming to visit for a few days.  Then there are not fun diversions like my guy needing an epic 3 part root canal.

As I was sitting in the waiting room at the endodontist today I had the sudden realization that I am a true child of the computer age.  I design my charts for knitting patterns using...

...not graph paper (but I do love me a green engineering pad and some crayons)

...not even Microsoft Paint

wait for it...

Excel.  That's right kids!  I use spreadsheet software to design my charts.  It's like graph paper but changes are instantaneous and way less effort.  The intarsia blanket I am designing has gone through 3 complete overhauls all via Excel.  It's so easy to set the column widths to make the cells squares instead of rectangles then you click the little paint bucket and have at it.  You can even set certain rows/columns to have thicker borders every 5 rows to make counting boxes on your charts a breeze!  Seriously.  Stop laughing and try it.

Anyway, so I think I have just about figured out the design for this intarsia blanket I have floating around in my head.  I wanted to call it the "Harlequin blanket" because it has green, purple and black diamonds on it.  I would have even settled for the "Joker blanket" but Chris has started calling it the "Halo blanket" which seems to have stuck.  Why the "Halo blanket"?  Because he asked me to pick colors to make his armor on his Halo character and I told him purple and green.  They are kinda my default colors.  Thus the color of this blog in spite of it being kinda hard to read.  But there you have it, the "Halo blanket" it is.  Someday when it jumps out of its spreadsheet and into real life I will show you a picture.

Speaking of someday.... someday I will restart that silly Super Bowl Scarf.  I think I have that bad boy figured out too, no excel needed. I'm just not quite ready to take it out of time out.  I don't think it has shown adequate remorse over its behavior.