Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good News to Share

I've got good news to share...on Tuesday, I'll be starting my new job in Virginia Beach! My "summer vacation" will be over!

Something About Yarn

A couple of summers ago, I was helping a friend pack up some of her belongings from her apartment in Ghent. She was moving out of her apartment to move in with her mom in Hampton. She'd been hospitalized for a couple of weeks with pancreatic cancer and dealt with chemo, radiation and surgery. All of that time in the hospital and away from work was leaving her severely strapped for cash. Moving in with her mom was supposed to be a short term solution: save some money and eventually buy a house of her own.

Unfortunately, she only survived about six months, give or take. She passed away in the hospital in Hampton right after Halloween, 2006. Her name was Jan Rosser, and she was the first person I made friends with while at Operation Smile. She loved to crochet, plants, her family, Halloween, and Johnny Cash. Jan used to talk about starting an online store (before Etsy was all the rage) called Sew Sassy Kitten Knits.

But getting back to the crocheting and moving out of her apartment...I've been thinking about Jan a lot lately. Those few times at her apartment when she was packing up stuff to take to her mom's, Jan had me taking down her curtain rods and carrying heavy stuff down to her car. As a thank you, Jan loaded me up with some of her yarn. (I consider myself lucky to have friends to share yarn with, since we lost Jan.)

I still have one of those yarns left, three years later. It's the last one from Jan. It's not a pretty yarn. It's olive green, tan and black, all twisted together in one strand. It's like upholstery yarn or something like that. In fact, it reminds me of tweed because of it's appearance and texture. No matter what I make, it's going to take me forever to use it all up, because it weighs about five pounds and is wrapped around a cardboard cone, like it's meant to go on a heavy duty machine of some kind. There wasn't even a label on it and it looked like she never even had a chance to use any of it herself.

Before, I would have used the excuse that I still had that yarn because I always had other things to work on. I actually knew that I would make with it, the moment I saw it. But I think the truth is this: I'd look at that yarn over the years and know that once it was gone, then I'd have nothing left of Jan. I finally broke down a few weeks ago and started a project with it.

This "hobo" bag from Lion Brand yarn was what I first thought of I saw this homely yarn. I made one and am working on a larger one right now. It's like this yarn was meant for this project. It's strong and slightly stretchy, so it's perfect for a trip to the grocery store. It seems to fly right off my crochet hook, and the larger the current bag gets, the more I think about Jan. I find myself looking at it now, thinking that if I had the room, this yarn would make a killer hammock.

I think about how, during late winter, we'd get antsy for nice weather and start counting down to the last frost of the year and compare it to when the Farmers' Almanac said we'd set the clocks forward. When spring came, we'd compare plant and seed prices for the best deals locally, and compare what we were planting. Jan had a balcony at her apartment to die for and enough pots to put a garden shop to shame. We'd talk about new crochet patterns and projects. It was pretty much a given that any co-worker that announced a pregnancy, the new baby would end up receiving a baby blanket and little tasseled baby hat from Jan.

I still find myself even thinking about things that make me go, "Ooooh, I need to tell Jan this," and then I realize that I can tell her anything I want, but it will be a one sided conversation.

So who knows that I will make once this grocery bag is done. I think maybe I'll attempt a new rug for my front step. I just need to remember that I'll always have a little bit of Jan and keeping the yarn isn't the point. I really think that if she knew I had been hanging on to this ugly ass yarn for three years, she'd laugh her ass off and ask me what my problem was because she gave it to me to use.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If Oprah Can Do It, So Can I

According to Wikipedia, "Oprah’s Favorite Things is an annual segment that appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In the segment, which is typically aired during the holiday season, Winfrey shares products with her audience that she feels are noteworthy or that would make a great gift. In addition, the audience members present during the taping of the episode receive items from that year’s list for free.

"The term is also sometimes used to describe a similar feature in O, The Oprah Magazine, though this list is actually entitled "The O List". The two features are often coordinated."

Okay, so maybe it's a little different for one is getting samples of what I list in my favorite things.

I think the top thing on the list (at least for today) would have to be Ortho Weed B Gone MAX. Quite honestly, this stuff is fantastic. It kills weeds in 24 hours without damaging your yard or flower beds. And it comes in a handy version that hooks right to your hose so you don't have to lug a canister along with you. And just so you know, the K-Mart and Wal-Mart versions don't work as well as the name brand.

My sister used to work part time at Bath and Bodyworks. She'd send me a variety of their soaps, lotions and candles for my birthday and Christmas. They had a line of 3 in 1 shampoo, soap and shower gel called "Temptations." The scents I had were Simply Divine Cherry Pie and Peppermint. I've got one more Peppermint left that I started a few days ago. Unfortunately, they no longer carry it. If you get the chance, check eBay for them. They are definitely worth the reasonable cost.These soaps smell good enough to eat. You won't want to get out of the shower!

Another thing I'm really enjoying this year is Caron's yarns. You can find them most anywhere that sells yarn, but I get mine from Hancock Fabrics. They have very affordable yarns and in the past, I always felt like this was a good yarn to start out with, whether you're learning to crochet or knit. But if you started a new project, you might not want to use their yarns. However, that's all changed. I think they've done something to their yarns...they are just incredible! They hold their shapes so well and just seem to glide right through your fingers and around your hooks. Right now, I'm all about the Simply Soft Baby yarns for their choice of colors.

The 2009 Yamaha Vino 125: what can I has a 1.2 gallon gas tank and get about 73 miles to the gallon. This little scooter is a lot of fun! It's an automatic with some decent storage space under the seat. They even come standard with a nice little luggage rack on the back. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeehooooooooo!

Trader Joe's has Blood Orange Italian Soda. They sell them in 32 oz. glass bottles. A friend of mine and I cracked open one of these babies one day while sitting around the kitchen table, BS-ing. It didn't last very long. For something carbonated, it goes down pretty smooth.

So I think that about wraps up "My Favorite Things for 2009." If you try out any of these products, let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

I've come to realize since becoming unemployed that I'm becoming more of a night owl. I'm watching too much late night TV and becoming re-addicted to "Roseanne." "'Roseanne' is the story of a working class family struggling with life's essential problems: Marriage, Children, Money and Parent's in Law. A classic sitcom, the story circles around the Connor family - a family of five (DJ, Darlene, Becky, Roseanne and Dan). The household's mother, Roseanne, is being accompanied in her quest to keep the family together by her sister Jackie and various friends over the years."

When "Roseanne" premiered in 1988, I thought it was just funny and enjoyed it for that reason, nothing more, nothing less. I was a freshman in high school and new nothing about life. I admired how the Connor family got through the rough patches with sarcasm, humor and love. I would watch it and see myself more as Jackie and my best friend at the time as Roseanne. She would be the one with the family and I would almost be the tag along.

Dan Connor: You want me to make dinner? Fine, I am making dinner!
Roseanne: Oh but honey you just made dinner 3 years ago!

So I'm watching it again these days. It seems like TV Land Prime is showing more of the Season 1 and Season 2 episodes. I've found a new appreciation for the times that "Roseanne" was set in, during the late 80's.

During Season 2, Roseanne and Jackie quit Wellman Plastics and have to find new jobs. Jackie decides to become a police officer. Roseanne cycles through a variety of menial jobs including telemarketer, secretary for Dan's boss, bartender, cashier at a fast food restaurant, and, finally, sweeping floors at a beauty parlor.

Today as a married woman, I identify more with Roseanne: looking for a new job, to continue my career, something. Her series has become so relevant again today: people in Lanford are looking for work and their economy is tanking. Wellman Plastics ends up closing it's doors, Dan starts out doing drywall contracting, he starts his own motorcycle repair/sales garage and loses it, Roseanne opens The Lanford Lunchbox with her mother, Jackie and her former supervisor from Rodbells. Shoot, we just had Hurricane Bill go shooting up the Atlantic Ocean this weekend. (Okay, so that one's a bit of a stretch.)The same scenario is playing out across the United States again today.

I think that if I ever got the chance to talk to Roseanne, I'd like to tell her that her program is still true to this day. Sure, there are little things here and there that "date" the program to a small degree, but it's really standing the test of time.