Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day . . . Whatever. Where Did My Summer Go?

I started my day with this, and I think now that everyone should have to see it.  And the follow up clip too.  We're still giggling about it.

The rest of my day has been spent wondering what happened to Summer.  Not the actual days.  I'm pretty sure that I can account for most of them and they were pretty good, even if I proved to be a spectacularly lax blogger.  It's that "summer feeling" that I failed to capture this year and, now that I've done the school shopping and marked the first day of school on my calendar, that's making me a little blue.

For a while, I couldn't figure out where things had gone wrong.  The weather in July was unrelentingly summery:  sunny, hot, dry.  We went to the water park; we went camping; we visited farmers' markets and made jam.  Those who were willing went to fabulously creative summer camps.  We even spent long, lazy days doing nothing in the back yard.  It wasn't until Emma treated me to a 10 minute tirade on how lame we are for not having a pool that I understood the problem:  we did not go swimming.  It's not even that we didn't swim enough.  We did not go swimming.  Not once. And in a place where you can comfortably swim outdoors for a whopping three months of the year, how can you possibly believe it is summer if you have not been swimming????

I'm stunned.  Every year at the beginning of the summer I sit down with the kids and demand that we make The List.  We brainstorm all of  the great things that we can't wait to do with our summer and the conversation usually goes like this:

Me:  It's time to make The List.  What should we do this summer?
Them:  Swim.
Me:  Yeah, I know.  What else?
Them:  Swim.
Me:  We always swim.  How about we try the farmers' markets this year?
Them:  And swim.
Me:  We should also do some kayaking.  And go to the zoo.  And pick fruit and make jam.
Them:  And swim. And the water park.
Me:  Got it.  We always swim.  Don't worry about it.  Let's remember to bike to the library.
Them:  And swim.

It goes on like that for a while and normally I'm so dismissive of the swimming thing because we have been joining the local pool every summer, so swimming really is a given.  But this summer we balked at the price increase.  Last summer they offered a great deal where you paid on a monthly basis and the fee was $30-ish per month.  This was perfect because we really only swim in July and August, and the pool is only available to us on the weekends and after 4 on the weekdays.  This year,  the monthly rate was not available and the only option was to join for a full three months and pay $350 to do it.  It seemed a bit steep for the 15-20 swimming trips we typically manage, so we didn't join.  And we didn't swim. And now it doesn't feel  like we really had summer.  Obviously my kids were on to an undeniable universal truth involving swimming and summer and I think they are entitled to issue a big, fat "We told you so."  I suspect that next year we will either join the pool again or buy a pool; I really can't take another non-summery summer.

One of the upsides of failing to blog for six weeks is that it makes me look like a tremendously productive knitter, which I am not.  I did work a on bunch of stuff, though.

First, my Dryad scarf:

One Dryad cabled scarf for El Husbando.

 I started this in December, about 30 seconds after I got the yarn in the mail.  Then I realized that scarves, by nature, are long, shapeless, and repetitive, and I got bored.  I picked it up now and then, but usually late at night when the attention required to knit the cable pattern correctly proved too much for me.  Two rows were generally enough to knock me out for the night.  Salvation came in the form of a 5 hour drive to go camping.  I piled this project-- and (here's the key) nothing else-- in the car with me and proceeded to finish it as an alternative to making everyone else in the car crazy with my fidgets.

The second project is a surprise project.  It is part of a mystery knit-a-long and, in addition to the surprises inherent in knitting something without a clue of where it is going, we have the surprise of me actually deciding to knit this right along with a bunch of other people.  I was too cheap and lazy to spring for fresh yarn, though, so I am using some of my unique and precious handspun for the project.  If the overall pattern turns out to be a dog, there's also going to be some surprise bloodshed.

Westknits Myster KAL shawl.

Here is another surprise:  a shawl that I also started because a bunch of other people that I have never met thought that it would be a good idea for a lot of people to knit this shawl at once. Another lemming moment for me, exacerbated by my finely honed inability to concentrate on my existing knitting.  The timing on this is inexplicable:  I am leaving on vacation in a few days and have already decided on two totally new and thrilling projects to take with, so how can I possibly start another project right now?  I haven't figured that out yet, but to top it all off I will probably toss this one in the suitcase along with the others since we are going on a cruise and there is always the remote possibility that we'll end up stranded on an island and then wouldn't I be sorry if I didn't have enough knitting to keep me busy?

Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark.  This has already been knit by over 9,000 people; why do I feel compelled to knit it too?
Below is a shawl (what's with all the shawls?) that I was already knitting when I was seduced by the two monkey-see-monkey-do shawls above.  It's a perfectly nice pattern and yarn, but it is not holding my interest right now and I will not speak of it further.

Here is a sock in progress.  It's existence is owed entirely to the fact that the yarn is named after one of my favorite children's animated movie characters, Toothless the Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon.  Toothless is black with neon green eyes and a yarn called Night Fury was beyond my powers to resist.  It is paired here Cookie A.'s Wanida pattern, which is fun to knit.

I did finish the weaving project that first showed up here. As a little tease, here is the finished item, further discussion of which I am leaving for another time.

In its place on the loom now is a set of placemats.  I'm half-way through the first of six mats and looking forward to making a lot of progress once the kids go back to school and I get back to my regular work schedule.

And, finally (yes, I could tell you were getting a little tired of this), here is the spun yarn from the Tour de Fleece.  I was not a very successful participant this year.  I did just fine at the beginning, and then I suddenly had to work my butt off to finish some work and I had to let the spinning time go. The multicolored yarn is from Louet; the green and purple are from Spinner's Hill.

And that's it for now.  It's dark out and the inmates are demanding dinner.  Again.