Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Carole, as usual, came up with a fun topic this week about the winter olympics

My thoughts:

1) I miss them - no NBC reception means no Olympics
2) When will NBC figure out how to let me stream more than highlights, but less than full events in a nice, easy, way?
3) Yarn for the hideously ugly american sweaters came from an awesome Oregon Ranch. Go read about their REAL sustainability efforts and history
4) I want some of that yarn
5) How did I not know that women didn't ski jump in the Olympics until this year?
6) This girl dances like she's my father's daughter (but she's not)
7) Zdeno (plays for the Bruins in the NHL, for Slovakia in the olympics) is a GIANT and he does this cute little lean when taking pictures with normal/short people. Still a giant. Pictures of Zdeno with other olympians
8) There has never been anything I have even pretended to want to focus enough energy into that I could compete in the Olympics. I think I'm actually OK with that
9) Living without TV cuts off much of my work chit-chat options
10) I need to get off the couch

Want to see the thoughts from people who have actually had a chance to watch the olympics? Go over to Carole's blog to see all of the link-ups

Monday, February 17, 2014

Keeping up

I have been writing about a blog post a day, but I haven't gotten most of them fully ready (missing pictures or links). I'll continue to schedule them out as I get them completed

Today though, I found a super fun topic from this blog post which I found out about via this blog post

I've always claimed that I was born to be an adult. Childhood was hard, but not because I grew up in a rough family or in a bad neighborhood or somehow had a traditionally rough childhood. No, I just didn't thoroughly enjoy the being a kid thing. Adults have it good. I can stay up 'til all hours of the night if I want to and I can have pie for breakfast or lunch and dinner. Sure I have to deal with consequences of those actions in a way that didn't really play into my life as a child, but in the end being an adult is kind of awesome.

There are some drawbacks though, mostly revolving around chores and bills and that sort of thing. Spinning off the motivation from the other blog posts:

Things that I still despise as much if not more so than I did as a kid

1) Dishes - hate them with a dishwasher, hate them without a dishwasher, but believe that I should be responsible and not use disposable plates, silverware and napkins at every meal so they are inevitable

2) Folding Laundry - I don't hate doing laundry, there is a certain joy in the control and OCD I have about laundry, but I could forever cover my body by grabbing garments out of a pile on my couch. Folding and putting away? just... blech

3) Trash - When I got married (well I warned him before the actual wedding) I made it clear that I don't take out the trash. Not because it's not a job "for ladies" but because it's not a job for Britt. My husband, being the saint he is, didn't bat an eye and I don't think I took the trash out as a married woman more than 2 or 3 times before I moved to the cottage.

4) General tidying - I've heard a rumor that some people actually find joy in organizing and tidying up a house. I don't

5) Making a bed - I'm of two schools of thought on this. I used to think it was just a matter of not living alone, differences in sleeping schedules and neither one of us caring. I'm sure that's part of it, but I do live alone now and I still don't really make my bed pretty much ever. I'm sure the extreme lack of ease (my bed is against a wall on both sides and the head so making the bed is an adventure to say the least) is part of it, but maybe I'm also a little like Jim Gaffigan who said, "I don't make my bed for same reason I don't tie my shoes when I take them off. It doesn't make sense." bonus: Jim Gaffigan is hilarious




As with everything, there are some things that I think I enjoy that others would find baffling or at least a little weird

1) Vacuuming - I could vacuum all day I do love it so. I think having a decent vacuum makes all the difference and I LOVE my vacuum. I have even seen the same model at stores for under $100 (grocery outlet and big lots are a good start). I have this model and my husband has this model and we love them both for the around the house vacuuming. I also swear by owning a shop-vac for cleaning out a car and for cleaning up a busted hot water heater

2) Cleaning MY bathroom - I have never shared a bathroom with my husband which is definitely a good thing because the best part of cleaning my bathroom is how quickly I can do a DEEP clean (all surfaces, fixtures, floor, baseboards, etc scrubbed). I highly doubt I could do that same cleaning in the same amount of time if we shared. He's just dirtier than I am in the bathroom - though for the record he is much much tidier than I am in every single room of the house (see item 4 above)

3) Making lists - I found out about bullet journaling via some twitter folks (I don't tweet that often, but find it easy to follow interesting people and conversations) and I use a britt-style method of that technique to really get things accomplished. At one point in my house we had 3 whiteboards which I used for 3 entirely different purposes and they kept my brain on track

4) Cooking - this one isn't that surprising, I have always loved to cook and I make myself dinner many nights of the week. I used to dream of becoming a personal chef, I don't think it is actually feasible for me, but it's a fun dream

5)Washing windows - I should do this one more often, but I keep my blinds here at the cottage closed up so I don't really notice the state of the windows

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Things that aren't as good

Much of the time I go into diatribes about things that I do not miss about New England. I've only been here 7 months, but I have finally found something that just doesn't seem that great in California, but is amazing out in the northeast

Tulip Trees (the magnolia kind, not the poplar kind)

These trees lined the side streets of my college campus (not a traditional quad based/segregated from the area campus) and were one of the first things to bloom in the spring bringing the city out of the season I call death.

Out in the suburbs they were little pops of life bringing with them the hope that at some point the landscape will change from the muddy-snow-sand-grossness into something wonderful and amazing.

In California? They are pretty, but without the contrast of despair, death and hibernation they really just don't do much for me. I realized this last week, but really looked at each one on my run today to ensure it wasn't just one bad tree. It's not.

They really are just less impressive in such a lush landscape. The color seems almost muted and while they still have a beauty close up, it just doesn't take my breath away like it does in MA


Some other pretty things I saw on my run





Saturday, February 8, 2014

How I love monogamy

Knitting Monogamy of course. Usually I only work on 1 thing. Every time I set a project down it means I'm never going to finish it. On rare occasion I am semi-forced to work on more than one at a time.

That rare occasion has been upon me as of late. I had promised a work-friend that she could have fingerless mittens for her birthday. Unfortunately her birthday is Monday so I had to stop knitting the sweater and start knitting those. I knit them up quick, using a combination of my own pattern and a cabled pattern I found on ravelry.


I mostly made my own length and I added thumb gussets and thumbs because I think those look so much better than mitts with just a thumb hole.


The good thing, is that I was able to use up some stash yarn. The bad thing is that I had to knit the mittens 2.5 times (2 is normal) because I messed up the thumb and finally just gave up.

Finally I finished those up and took them to work last week.

Of course while I was working on that a church leader requested a handknit heart for decorating our relief society room. Granted that didn't take a very long time, but I did have to buy some yarn because despite the plethora of yarn and leftovers I didn't have any red yarn in a quantity or weight necessary for the project. I hit up joanns and bought some Lion Brand Heartland Terroir. It's 100% acrylic, and very soft and it's one that I would use again for a blanket. Not luxiorious, but it served the purpose mightily.

I wasn't sure exactly what kind of heart they wanted so I made 2 - 1 larger in stockinette, 1 smaller in garter. Thankfully those were accomplished in a quick evening of knitting and passed off to the right people on Thursday.
Garter Knitted Heart

Stockinette Knitted Heart
Which means I can get back to my sweater! I only need to finish up the sleeves and then I can block and do the button band stuff. I love working on this sweater, it is such a joy and I can only hope it turns out as perfect as it is in in my head.

Swap!

I received a WONDERFUL box for the swap I referred to previously. This swap was great because it required that at least one of the items be pre-owned. It had to include either a book or movie and something to be warm (like hot chocolate or coffee or whatever) and a skein of yarn and a pattern to make something small to keep warm.

Well, since I don't drink coffee or tea my poor partner had the hard task of finding something to consume that would keep me warm, but she chose a great alternative. It was a meal kit for spicy asian noodles. Did I take a picture? no. (theme of the post). My package also contianed two chocolate bars and two books. The first was a book about a food critic and I'm barely started but so far it is very entertaining. The second is called hanging by a thread and I haven't even read the back to know what it is about.

Then there was the pattern Warwick which is perfectly Britt-esque. It's lace and shawl-y with out being a traditional triangle lace shawl.

Finally, the yarn. OH THE YARN!
The first thing I noticed was the adorable shimmery tulle-y purple bag


Then I immediately saw the teal and purple

Then I felt it and oh it is absolutely lovely, no idea what I'm going to do with it (maybe the shawl, maybe something completely different)



All in all I couldn't have asked for a better swap package. As I suspected I was not disappointed in this swap at all, I might do another one sooner, rather than later.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Volunteering

I’m alone out here in the cottage since Jim is still living in MA I don’t have to plan my schedule around anyone else. That means I have a lot of time to define selfishly. This has led to some prioritizing. I make time for a workout at least 4 days a week, I cook dinner as often as possible, and I knit whenever I want. All of this is my way of enhancing my life. Luckily there is time left over and I was encouraged to enhance other people’s lives as well. My company has a volunteer group where I can easily find volunteer activitites where I can spend some time. I've worked at a handful of events, and really do enjoy the time I spend volunteering.

One of the events I attended through my company was a food sort, basically sorting the food donated to the food bank. I actually did this twice and the second time I went, the volunteer wrangler (aka the actual employee) asked if I was regularly available to volunteer. I waffled a bit on whether I wanted to make the commitment, but decided that it was a great chance to really feel like I make a difference. So I have now been volunteering for about 3 months. During the holidays the sorting is every week, but after the first of the year the evening sorts are only twice a month. It’s been three months and I’m still enjoying the regularly scheduled “doing good” time.

Some things that I have learned (or re-affirmed)at the food bank
- Food banks are far-reaching.
      o A lot of the food goes to lunch programs in schools and food programs for seniors, soup kitchens, etc

- Food banks have great buying power.
       o I know that it doesn't seem like donating money is the best move, but honestly they can buy food in gigantic quantities for cheaper than you or I can. That doesn't mean you shouldn't donate food, but money is just as good

- Food banks really do RELY on volunteers.
 - Many companies don’t print best by/expiration dates on the cans
       o usually when they come in larger packages and that makes the life of a food bank volunteer VERY HARD.
       o This especially annoys me if they still print lot numbers and such on it

- Food is good well past its expiration

- I prefer volunteer work that takes advantage of my physicality

Little Library Mailboxes

Between May and December I try to make it to the farmers market at least once a week. There is one on Saturdays in Palo Alto and so I can take my bike and get a decent ride in getting to and from the farmers market.

One of the great things about where I live is the weather and the kind of gardens and lawns that it enables. This means I often pay more attention to the lawns, curb appeal, etc than I do to anything else on my bike ride. Obviously, I pay attention to the traffic around me, but I am mostly on side streets that allow for noticing cool things throughout my Saturday Bike Adventure.  Things that I have seen and love: random lawn art, the most intense and gigantic geraniums. Fall colors, those are slow and selective here.

The thing I find most interesting is the 2 different littlefree libraries along my route to and from the market. Honestly there is also a normal library, but that is not as cute and independent as the cute little free libraries. One of them is walking distance to my house, close enough that I have dropped a couple books there and I’ve also picked up a book or two during my regular walk/runs throughout the week. The second library is closer to the market and I have yet to stop and look around, something to plan for the new year


Are there any little free libraries near you?