Home is where the lazy happens

Posted on March 11th, 2010 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

The same realization that caused me to ditch my dresser a couple years ago woke me up again in the last couple of weeks. I’m a very visual person. That saying, “out of sight, out of mind”, that is 10000% how my brain works. But I tend to forget, or tuck that little bit of knowledge away somewhere I can’t see it so it can jump back out and surprise me all over again.

A couple years ago, that caused me to rearrange my bedroom and finally move any and all clothing (including socks and underware) out of my dresser and into the closet where I could see everything in one place. Those items are in one of those hanging shelf things. The point is, I’m no longer letting the things at the bottom of the drawer sit there forever because I can only see the stuff on top (nor am I never wearing the stuff because it’s hiding inside a drawer). It was one of those personal revolutionary moments and once I started using that system exclusively, I wondered “why didn’t I think of this before”.

In addition to being very visual, I also compartmentalize. One of the things that took some adjusting on facebook (and has me slightly uncomfortable with my wedding guest list) is the fact that all my neatly compartmentalized groups of friends get to mingle and meet each other out of context. It’s not that I’m really any different with one group over another, I just mentally store them in context, so my coaster friends and my college friends and my high school friends and my band friends and my internet friends don’t generally have cause to interact amongst themselves. So, visual and compartmentalizing.

So, the grand revelation? I’ve compartmentalized my daily activities, so to fit something like regular exercise into my life it needs a compartment that visually separates it from everything else. Enter, the Y. I finally figured out that everything I try to do at home isn’t working because I’ve spent 32 years training my brain that the primary function of time spent at home is the lazy. The feeding and the sleeping and the tv watching and the web surfing. Lazy. Home = lazy. Home is where the lazy happens.

Instead of trying to change that, I’m just establishing a new x=y correlation in my head. The YMCA = activity. So, my routine for the last week has been to get up with the alarm, weigh in on the wii fit, brush my teeth, pull back my hair, pull on my workout clothes and get out the door before my brain realizes what’s hit it. That’s the hardest part. Once I get to the Y, I put in 20-30 minutes of whatever I’ve chosen to focus on that day, hit the showers and head to work. The advantage is that I’m still not getting out the door at home as early as I could be but instead of being late for work, I’m a little late for working out. I’ve built enough time in for working out that I can still get in at least 30 minutes even when I’m late and since I’m not at home, I’m not motivated to be lazy, so I’m out the door at the Y quicker and I’m only 2 blocks away from work, so I’m on time for work for the first time consistantly since, well, since I started if I’m honest.. (punctuality has been an issue for a loooong time).

Why didn’t I think of this before?


Posted on February 1st, 2010 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || No Comment

I’m trying not to jinx it, but I found a set of knitting needles in my hands this weekend for the first time in over a year… I’m holding out to see if this was just, as Mike referred to it, a “retro Bethie” moment, or if I’ll start easing back in.

Blogging reboot

Posted on September 9th, 2009 in blog by bethtoons || 1 Comment

I’m not going to apologize for falling off the face of the earth for months and months. I’m just going to start over, tear down, and rebuild. Probably rename as well.

The thing is, the knitting thing has fallen off my OCD radar completely this year. Work has been picking up and keeping me busy off and on, I sort of let FB and Twitter take over my free time (total Farm Town addict). I’m digging into the OCD world of coupon shopping (since Mikey moved in, my only chores are shopping and food prep). 

I’m not yet OCD about wedding planning but it’s coming. I kinda OCD’d over it back at the beginning of the year and have the ideas and concepts that I want worked out already and will just need to execute the plans once we’ve set a date. We still haven’t set a date, the priority right now (that I’m not focussing on like I should be) is to lose some major poundage so I can be a hot bride. If I’m spending major moolah on photos, I’m going to like how I look in them.

I’m going through my usual fall TV OCD prep as well. I’m catching up on some of Mike’s shows and with two Tivo’s in the house, I’ve kinda worked out a crazy full schedule for recording. I’m working on finishing getting caught up on How I met Your Mother, The Office and 30 Rock before I dive into Bones, NCIS, & Lie to Me.

I’m scattered all over the place and not really sure what direction I’m heading in but I want to get back to paying some attention to this little niche I’ve carved out for myself.

The knitting has returned

Posted on March 22nd, 2009 in personal, socks by bethtoons || 8 Comments

It just required a bus ride and a four hour flight, but the letter worked and my knitting mojo showed back up with it’s deadline.

I’m currently in California, we’re packing today and the movers come to collect Mike’s belongings tomorrow before we hit the road for two weeks. Because if you’re going to drive from California to Michigan, you may as well go slow and actually see the parts of the country you are driving through. We are staying south for most of the trip and hitting Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before venturing up through Arkansas to Tennessee then north from there.

 We’ve spent the last three days on our feet at amusement parks here in Cali with some friends. Thursday and Friday we were at Disney, and Saturday was spent at Winter Coaster Solace at Knotts Berry Farm.

 But, back to the knitting mojo’s safe return. I brought along 4 unfinished socks and yarn for 2 more pairs, along with the started baby projects for the twins (who were born on Thursday). Three of the pairs were at a point where they really just needed a foot and toe before they were finished. Two of those pairs were finished with the flight.

 This pair will be going in the mail tomorrow to my grandma. They were started back in January and even though I haven’t really knit much since then, I still managed to knit most of the pair of these socks. The foot and toe finished up quite quickly on the bus and flight Wednesday night.  Just plain stockinette out of some Patons yarn.

 This other pair has been lingering in my UFO pile for a long long time. I started these Pomotomous socks over 2 years ago. They were less than 30 rounds from being finished when I last set them aside. So, they got pulled out on the plane once grandma’s socks were done, and I finished them up at the end of the flight. I’m pretty sure they were my longest standing project to date. It’s nice to have them finished.

I also started and knit about half a socks over the 3 days of park walking since I’ve been here. It’s another stockinette sock out of some self striping knit picks yarn and wil either be heading to grandma as a third pair for her or I’ll hang onto them for myself. I’m starting to put holes in some of my more warn handknit socks, so I’m due to make myself some new ones soon.

One final really big thing that has happened this trip, Mike proposed yesterday. :)


I’ve known it was on the horizon for months now since we were shopping rings together online in December. My ring doesn’t quite fit (I misjudged my size when I gave him the info, so we will have to send the ring back for resizing once we get back to Michigan) but I absolutely adore the one we chose together.

Spammy approves of it too.

Dear Knitting Mojo

Posted on March 10th, 2009 in personal by bethtoons || 3 Comments

You have served me faithfully and unfailingly for nearly 3 years now, and for all of that time I have valued your enthusiasm and willingness. I apologize for taking you for granted and for testing your limits. I know that I burned you out at Christmas time with all the gift projects and I respect your need to take a break.

However, we are coming up on nearly three months of your break. I would appreciate you coming back soon. I miss you. I miss all the fun times we had and all the fun projects we worked on together. I would love the unfinished projects we have left languishing to peak your interest again, but if we need to find something new to get you rejuvenated, I’m willing to try that as well.

I can’t promise that I won’t abuse you again, I would love to only knit what you want and when you are willing to participate, but Grandma has been asking for a new pair of socks since Christmas. She even tested her karma by making a big stink about how long we were taking to my mom and subsequently broke her ankle and knee.  It’s not nice of us to test her temper further when she was so gushingly thrilled with the last pair of socks she received. Also, all those babies are still coming whether you want to knit for them or not.

I have a busy week ahead. I’ve got plans with a friend this weekend, my flight to California is next Wednesday and my apartment is still a royal mess. What I’m saying is, I can find other ways to occupy my time this week. However, I would like to utilize you on my flight and I have plans for you on the 2-week road trip back from California.

So there’s your deadline, please take your time this week wrap up any projects you’ve been working on in the meantime and I would like you to report back on duty fit and ready to work when we get on the bus to the airport on Wednesday.



Flyby Blur

Posted on February 13th, 2009 in blog, personal by bethtoons || 2 Comments

I was just starting to get over the whole “I blinked and 2008 disappeared” thing until I looked up at the calendar and realized I’ve also just blinked and lost all of the month of January and half of February.

Things are starting to get a little crazy around here, and the knitting has basically fallen out of my radar since Christmas. I think I burned myself out with all the deadline knitting. Since then I’ve started a baby gift and am almost done with a pair of socks. That’s all I have to show for January and February so far.

I’ve been hibernating big time. I escaped to Chicago last weekend for our anual Whirlyball game which was a blast as always. I’ve been sucked into Facebook. And I’ve been trying to keep the Tivo clean while sitting in front of the laptop. Kind of a quiet unexciting existance.

However, I’m also planning for what will be a fairly monumental life change come early April. Mike lost his job in December (it was going to happen regardless of the recession, it just had stellar timing) and we had sort of been holding out for that end before taking steps to close the geographical gap. I go out to Cali on a one way ticket at the end of March, and we are road tripping back to Michigan with whatever he can cram into his car (and shipping the rest). It’s a huge step.

So in addition to hibernating and not knitting, I’ve been trying to figure out where he’ll “fit” and just generally clear out some space for him so he actually feels like he lives here and isn’t just visiting all my stuff.

Christmas Eve

Posted on December 24th, 2008 in baby, Christmas, family, gift, hat, mittens, pattern by bethtoons || 1 Comment

For as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve has been spent with my dad’s side of the family and I’ve been on the kids list for gift exchanges. You just don’t graduate to “adult” until you’re married. So, this year, I drew the baby to gift in the exchange.

Max is nearly two, and he’s very into trains.  So, in addition to a toy train, I had to knit something.  And since I’ve been on a personal pattern binge, I didn’t go out looking, I designed something.

FO: Max’s Train Mittens and Track Hat

Pattern: My own. (I have two other patterns for the same age range that use the same mitten base, so I may just publish all three mittens and the hats as a set, but that won’t come til after the new year).

Yarns: White, Brown and Black Dale Baby Ull, The Red/Yellow/Blue is Knit Picks Simply Stripe Crayon colorway, and the smoke is Paton’s Kroy in Linen. I had intended to do the whole thing in Baby Ull, but the grey I ordered was too dark, and the colors I ordered were backordered. Because I used the striped yarn, the white/yellow faire isle name and year didn’t show up, so I added the overstitch outline in black. I’m kind of glad the other yarns were back ordered, as the striped train is more interesting than a solid blue train would have been.

The train continues onto the palm with a box car, and the smoke trail follows it around as well.  And the hat is simply lined with an enlarged version of the track.

My fingers are crossed that they fit. I had assurances from two coworkers with children around Max’s age that they looked like they would fit a 2-ish-year-old and I browsed around for hand and head sizes as much as I could, but those things are so variable at that age, it’s still a bit of a gamble.

I don’t expect much reaction from Max since he’s so little, I expect him to be far more interested in the toy train that is accompanying this gift. We’ll see how well it goes over tonight.

Merry Christmas!

Bombarded with babies

Posted on December 4th, 2008 in baby, Christmas, pattern by bethtoons || 3 Comments

I’m trying to stay focussed on the Christmas knitting, I have a plan and if I can stick to it, I should be able to wrap up all my holiday projects in time (however, it is a really good thing that this is the year that my brother and his wife are coming to do the holiday on New Years instead of Christmas day). So, before the 24th I need to finish two pairs of socks (one is almost done, the second hasn’t even been cast on yet) and a pair of mittens and a hat for a toddler. Before New Years, I need to restart mom’s mittens and hat, and finish 2 slog-full pairs of man socks which are both in progress.

Unfortunately, mentally, I would much rather dive into the pile of baby knits I have planned than slog along on man socks. When I say bombarded, I mean bombarded. I have 5 babies due to friends and coworkers in the next 6 months, and 3 of those have toddler-aged older siblings who I didn’t knit for when they were born and I’d like to include an older sibling gift when I gift the baby stuff.  So that’s a lot of baby and toddler stuff to dive into once the Christmas stuff is wrapped up. 1 of those is due in about a month, 3 are due in March (one of my coworkers is having twins) and the other is due in May. Most of them are Michigan kids, so warm weather wear is good and they should all hit the 6-month sizes in the fall.  I’m definitely having an eyes are bigger than stomach moment with what constitute acceptable levels of knitting though, and granted, these are all theoretical knits since I’m still slogging through Christmas stuff.

So, what am I theoretically knitting in my head while actually working on man socks?

1) A couple of these for the twins. I have the heavyweight Socks that Rock in Jasper and Pond Scum for the girl and Spinel and Pond Scum for the boy. I have the same colors in the lightweight as well to test knit the baby size of the monkey mittens and hat set that I’m working on for mom for Christmas.

2) Toddler winter sets. I’ve alluded to the set I came up with for my cousin’s son for Christmas I think. His mittens and hat will feature trains. When I put his set together I also came up with a car design and a crayon design as well which are both toddler boy appropriate. Since my other two coworkers have boy toddlers and live in Michigan, I’ll likely pass on the test knits for those patterns to their sons for wear next winter.

3) As for the other 3 babies and the other older sibling, I have a million ideas, I just haven’t narrowed them down yet. It’s a lot of boy knitting for one thing, and they are spring babies, and the one that isn’t a spring baby lives in California as does the other older sibling. I’m thinking I’ll pull together a blanket of some sort for the Cali baby and another stuffed toy for his older sibling. Then maybe some fall-appropriate 6-month sized sweaters and socks for the other two newborns.

It’s a good thing they’re little, because there sure are a lot of them! But in the meantime, slog on, Christmas is only 21 days away!

Sneak Peak

Posted on November 21st, 2008 in Christmas, pattern by bethtoons || No Comment

After some very haphazard knitting and blogging this summer, I’m coming back around and have a stack of things just waiting for their time in the spotlight. New designs, Christmas gifts, nearly finished projects are all whacking me upside the head and demanding immediate attention. It’s causing some fractures in my ability to pay attention to any one project as I’m trying to do too much at once right now.  So, since I’ve been a bit distant, this post will be a massive update of all the things that are pulling me in a dozen different directions.

So, here’s a preview of just a few of the projects currently tugging at my attention. 

Socks for Adam: I’m working on the foot of sock #2. The pair I made last year came out  baggy in the foot, so I modified the pattern (added ribbing, went down a 1/2 needle size) and I think this year’s pair should fit perfectly. I also went toe up this time to keep the cuffs at a reasonable length without being paranoid about yarn shortages. The yarn is Louet Gems in Pewter and Cloud Gray. 4×1 rib and 4×1 stripe, toe up with short row heel.

Socks for Dad: I’m on the foot of the first sock and they’re coming along well. I’m doing a the 3×3 cable and seed stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks on US2 1/2 needles (the 0′s last year about killed me). The yarn is Alpaca with a twist Socrates in Khaki.

Mittens and Hat for Mom: I finished a mitten and I don’t like how it fits her or me (I had her try it on last week). The cuff end is too short and I held back too few stitches for the thumb so it’s tight. I’ve made some adjustments to the chart, changed the thumb and will be starting over again soon. I should still have enough yarn to do another pair and the hat without ripping it out but it’s there if I need it. I’m going to start the hat next though. When I adjusted the chart, I also sized down the pattern for a child’s mitten and a baby mitten and the hat should be sizable as well. I know that’s the only complaint I’ve had with the frog mittens is that there’s no easy way to size them down for children so the monkeys will have options. I’ll also be test knitting the baby size as baby shower gifts later this winter.

Then there are the other 12 project tugging at my attention… including some more new designs. But those will have to wait for another post. 

Posted on November 4th, 2008 in Uncategorized by bethtoons || 1 Comment

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