What an amazing weekend!

Grandchild bonanza! Book bonanza! Surprise visitor from Denver and Sunday dinner bonanza! How bad can that be?:)  Well dear readers,  since last we left each other (except for the delightful video from one of our dear favorites, Betty Bowers, on Same-Sex marriage), it was Wednesday and I had enjoyed a seminar at St. Agnes Hospital to educate myself on gastric bypass.
The next day (Thursday) started with a walk around Centennial Park with a choir friend, Susan, and Gage the Wonderdog:).   I say Wonderdog because Gage is such a sweet-natured critter, yet he's going through a rough bit of chemotherapy for the cancer with which he is dealing.  He's also
very opinionated about some of the bridges across parts of the lake 
at the park, so we walked about 1/2 way 'round and turned around and came back (going across only one of the bridges - the one Gage was OK with, LOL:))  It was lovely to spend some time with Susan, who is such a fine person and a delight to be with.  We talked about the usual stuff - family, health, kids, choir, you name it! It's funny - we were supposed to be meeting because I left our big plastic salad bowl at her house after the choir party she and Russ hosted and she was bringing it with her, but we had such a pleasant time that we totally forgot it, LOL! The cool thing about this walk was Gage's stopping and starting.  This would drive some people nuts, but I liked it JUST FINE:) after months of relative inactivity:)  It was actually quite good because when we were finished, I just felt good about the walk.
Anyway, as I pulled into the driveway later that morning, my cell phone rang. It was Susan - she had left the dang bowl by her front door so as not to forget it, but, guess what.  So we had another fun visit when she came over and shared a cup of coffee and chatted with me for a bit while John slept upstairs and Sabrina wondered who I was speaking with!
After Susan left, I had to get ready for the afternoon docket, which was really fairly nondescript as these things go.
After court, I had a visit with my Stephen Ministry care receiver - a lovely person, but I will say no more about it to preserve that person's confidentiality!  I will say that I instantly liked this person and will do whatever I can for him/her!
After that, I got a terrible phone call from D, whose husband's Dad may be battling lung cancer. We are waiting to hear and are keeping fingers crossed, hoping that the biopsy next week will show that the masses on the x-ray are "just" scar tissue from Mr. L's history of pneumonia over the years.
Then it was on to St. John's for an end-0f-year meeting between the [bell and singing] choirs and clergy.  I honestly think it was a good meeting where we got to talk about various things on our minds and look at where we are going next year.  Afterwards, I got to talk with Nancy for a while.  She was leaving the next day for a little vacation with her son and d-i-l at a nice timeshare out in the woods somewhere.  She's there now and I hope she's getting the hiking and face time with her son and relaxation and fun she so deserves right now! A dear friend of hers has a son who has trained as a trainer and we are hoping to get some weight training in this summer.  I asked her simply this: don't laugh at me!  It won't be all that expensive, and I am looking forward to it -but don't laugh at me:)
Friday began late in the day with a short hearing for a colleague, but I learned terrible news: that a young woman with whom I work on a regular basis - an attorney who represents DSS at many of our hearings - was just diagnosed with cancer and it looks rather bad.  This lady has two kids.  We are all anxious to help in any way we can, be it rides to work and school or just visiting or sending cards.  It hit like a ton of bricks.  Never in a million years would I have expected this to happen.  This is an attorney who had personal friends everywhere - people she fought against included.  See, here's the thing with lawyers.  We're really not the garbage most people seem to think we are.  We actually get along once the court day is done, believe it or not.  The rest of the
 docket, I was in shock.  Thankfully, it was not a difficult case.  I had a mediation, but they did not require my presence, so after that hearing, I was out the door. We all spoke briefly outside after court  - the DSS attorney, the court clerk, one of the PD panel attorneys, and the master.  It was the only place that they (not I!!) could have a cigarette.  I think we were all in shock, trying to figure out what we could do to be helpful.  TA, the PD panel, lives close by and he and his wife are willing to drive anyone who needs a lift.  The DSS attorney will probably pass on our offers. It was awful. I am still disbelieving the whole thing!
After court, I drove to the local Barnes and Noble and picked up a book (for me) and a card for KBB, the colleague who is suffering right now.  
The card was OK, I guess.  What can you say for someone going through such a thing?
The book was really neat, though. The title: A
 Fine Fleece.  The idea behind the book is to present patterns for hand-spun yarn and at the same time for commercially available yarns.  Each pictured pattern has a model wearing the hand-spun version alongside the commercial one.  I don't really spin.  I've tried it on a drop spindle and it's kind of cool, but let's face it folks: I'm not going to spin up 1800 yards of the finest aran weight any time soon! What I really love from this book are the aran and lace patterns.  They are really nice. There are some examples from the book picture here.

My "pictures of the pictures" does not do the beautiful photography in this book justice.  These projects are just lovely, varied and do-able.  Plus, they come in a variety of sizes - not just for skinny minnies:)

I looked at another book - Marianne Isager's Classic Knits - a beautiful collection of patterns in interesting yarns, albeit in smaller (ahem) sizes and was sorely tempted to purchase that one as well, but it would have been a lot of money I don't have.  (I have a discount card for B & N which still works and in addition had a 15% off coupon for one item, so you see my dilemma!)

When I arrived at home, what to my wondering eyes should appear but two more knitting books from Crafter's Choice! First was Simple Style - another in the wonderful Interweave Style series - with all sorts of fairly simple, yet elegant projects - the one pictured below is one I'd like to do:

And good Lord, even the back of the book shows a cute project- albeit for a much younger person.  I think the basics in this book will serve as a jumping off point for developing one's own patterns.  I am looking forward to doing one or two of these!:
And if that were not enough, I also got this gem: Design It, Knit It by Debbie Bliss. What beautiful work she does - and the projects in this book are class Bliss style - just lovely! Ms. Bliss really knows how to work that seed stitch (moss stitch for those of you on the other side of the Big Pond, I think).  Pictured below are just a few of the beautiful patterns included in the book. What's more, you get to look at ways in which these design elements impact a particular pattern.
I decide to use the stitch patterns as they were put together for a lady's sweater in the baby blankie at which I am plugging away.

And so far, it seems to be working out fairly well. I decided to work the pattern for the front eight rows at a time (it's a four-row pattern repeat), then knit four rows of garter to give the effect of a block pattern.  More to come on this - I'm finally having fun with this piece, thank you Ms. Bliss!
Oh and lest I forget, a book I advance ordered from amazon.com arrived earlier last week.  It's Knit it Together, edited by Suzyn Jackson. While the patterns are not much to write home about and range from the sublime to the ridiculous:)there was a nice bit of history about knitting togetherand most exciting of all, my knitting 'buds' from the Columbia Sip 'n Knit are pictured, having a great time freezing their toochas' off at Lake Kittimiqundi:) Pictured here left to right are: Denise [ExecutiveKnitter on ravelry], Debbi [Knitty McKnit Knit on ravelry], I can't figure out who the next person is - if anyone from the group sees this, please let me know in a comment below - next is Dorothy [Pheelya on ravelry] and far right is Bridget [casadefred on ravelry]. Don't they look great? And truly, we do have this much fun.  It's a party every time I see these folks - and there are many more.  I think our group is about 200 strong now, although not all of us go to every meeting.  In case anyone from the central Merlin area is interested, we meet Saturday mornings at Savage Mill, Tuesday mornings at the Bagel Bin at the King's Contrivance Village Center and Wednesday evenings at Panera Bread at the Dobbin Center Shopping Center.  I'm lucky to go to one or two a month, but your mileage may vary:)!
On Friday DD#2 (D) had her wisdom teeth removed surgically.  Saturday her DH (also a D) had to go to work, so she and the grandgirls came here so we could watch them while she got some much needed sleep/pain relief.  I was such a grumpy grandma, but the kids didn't seem to notice it - probably the result of staying up too late knitting (shame on me!).  We had a fairly good day, although it was rainy and cruddy and they had to stay indoors.  We watched cartoons and Noggin shows and I mostly kept my crankiness at bay (since it sure wasn't their fault!) and knit. And knit.  So the day was good:) although it would have been fine just spending time with the grandgirls all by itself.
To add to the embarrassment of riches above, I decided to start this by ChicKnits:
As the calculations on the pages show, the pattern is not exactly the easiest to follow.  It includes the words most knitters (at least this knitter) dread: "At the same time" and yes, those words are usually in boldface type.  Not one to just remember things, I had to chart it out for myself.  But isn't the pattern pretty?  I like its simplicity and the fact that it would be something good for work.   Remember that beautiful red red CotLin yarn from KnitPicks I have in my stash? Well, it seems it may be put to good use here.  
  As you can see, I haven't gotten very far yet (had to do the charting thing and I think I'm good with that, except for a few tweeks (famous last words, LOL), so I'll be working on that, the baby blankie and the February Lady Sweater until they are all done.  Hopefully the business of working on three projects at once will be better than working on 8,760 projects at once!
Sunday we didn't have choir, so I wickedly decided to miss church and sleep in. Wouldn't you know THAT would be the day that I get a call/voice message from Donna H that someone had come to St. John's to see me - someone all the way from Colorado?  Needless to say I got showered and dressed in a hurry and got over there as the late service was ending.  Embarrassed, yeah, you could say, but I snuck in as the last words were said and Donna (bless her heart) was there, showing me where this lady was.  We (her five-year-old son, Christine, Donna and I) listened to the postlude (which was excellent, even though it wasn't Nancy) and applauded afterwards (a bit of a tradition among us) and then we chatted  Christine has a twin sister here in Merlin (people, she's normal - did you think she'd fly2000 miles to Merlin just to see someone with a knitting blog?) We all had things to do that afternoon or I would have invited them to lunch/coffee after church.  It was such a pleasant surprise to actually meet one of the many nice people in the blogosphere! Thanks for visiting me, Christine! I hope your "portable knit shop" idea comes to great fruition.
After church, I got home, send out a broadcast request for a dinner head count and realized we were having almost the entire group over for dinner! The weather yesterday was just beautiful,
 so we had steaks on the grill.  What a treat! Put together with one of my asskicking salads, and you have poetry in the mouth! The vegetarians even brought their own fake meat to grill, so everyone was happy.  We even invited our neighbors over.  They had just been to an annual picnic sponsored by the non-profit for which they volunteer - NeighborRide - so they didn't eat anything.  I think the crowd  was just a bit unnerving for them - either that or they were thinking about all the packing they had to do for their trip to Canada to visit their daughter.  But I'm glad they came over. 
I even cleaned up my desk for the occasion - and had my first glass(es:)) of wine in weeks...but I behaved myself!  In fact, during the cleanup process I found this little Federal Rules book.  When I find my Merlin one I will really do a happy dance (I know it's in a briefcase somewhere....)
Well, that's it for now, dear readers.  Have a great week! God be with you 'til we meet again!

PS Remember that Marianne Isager book?  I'm going to get it through Crafter's Choice - another sale:) I am so bad!

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