Thursday, June 17, 2010

Getting ready for a fun-filled World-Wide Knit in Public Day event....

What was the line we heard Liam Neeson's Col. Hannibal utter (several times) while watching "The A-Team" last week? "Oh, how I love it when a good plan comes together!"

That's how I'm finally feeling about this weekend's World Wide Knit in Public Day that the Guild is hosting this Saturday. For a while, it all seemed to be an abstract bunch of ideas: we'll get together, have some games, eat some food, and *hopefully* knit some stuff.

With the arrival of the super cool "Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild WWKIP Day" bags; a trunk full of picnic necessities; game needles, crochet hooks, and yarn, and a newly printed Guild banner; and a forecast of semi-sunny and hot weather (no rain, folks, no rain), I'm just now starting to feel like things aren't as bad as I had feared earlier in the week.

Haven't heard of our event already? Then, be sure to check out the details on the MMKG's website:

I'm ready to have a party! Who's with me?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finally an UPDATE and loads of complaining

Okay, so if you know me, you know by now that of all of the things I love to do most in the world: I love to complain. If you aren't up for hearing the gory details of the past two months, then I suggest skipping this post and hope that my future works of writing genius can be described as "happy thoughts".....

Honestly, I've been swamped on every level: work, knitting, helping with Sylvain's scout troop, housework....sometimes I feel like I just need to have a good ol' lock the bedroom door, scream into my pillow and cry moment. Where should I start first? Well, since it would be wholesale unprofessional for me to get into the gritty details of the work stuff that's been bothering me, I'll skip that and talk about the fun stuff.

Buff and tan bodies!

In early May, my little brother competed in his first ever bodybuilding competition. He's always been a pretty fit person and having any amount of body fat has never been a problem for him. Hell, I remember when we were kids, he couldn't wear belts because none were ever small enough and instead wore suspenders. Suspenders! At the time, they were cool; but that was when Mork was on TV to make them look cool. Nowadays, I dare anyone to put suspenders on a skinny kid......

Anyhow, if you ever want to go somewhere where you quickly start to feel quite self-conscious about your own appearance, try being a spectator at a bodybuilding competition. My brother worked pretty hard over the past year to get into shape and ended up placing second in his class in the local Mr. All Natural competition. With the auditorium being poorly lit and the cameras we had on hand not being normal, digital cameras, the pictures came out a little grainy, but you get the picture -- he's pretty cut. If you saw him up close, you'd see that even his muscles had muscles.

I'm very proud of him and hope that I can get him to share his workout routine with me. Heh, who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll be tired just reading the details of his routine and would be in need of a nap afterwards....

E-mail is a dead form of communication

If you're reading this and you've sent me a message that I haven't responded to lately, then please nod your head in agreement. My e-mail box is a mess -- chock full of spam, many tweets and FaceBook messages that need to be deleted, and unread messages that get lost in the din.

Anyhow, I can't tell you how many messages I've sent out related to organizing my son's Boy Scout Troop's week-long resident camp (that is only a week away) only to have parents send me e-mails requesting the information that was in the original message. Its one thing to have unread e-mail that you know you need to get to; its a completely different situation to use those unread messages to send replies requesting for information that was actually in the first message. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've sat, flabbergasted, with my blackberry in my hand, reading their questions in disbelief.

For instance, here is the exact contents of the latest camp message I sent out:
"Hi everyone,

As promised at tonight's Court of Honor, attached is a copy of the Summer Personal Camping pack list. I apologize if you had not previously received this, since I had thought it had already been distributed previously. As you will see, most of the items are ones that your son likely already has. The only item that is not on this list that your son will need is a bike helmet (if bringing his bike to camp).

Thank you to the parents who spoke with me after tonight's meeting to volunteer to be carpool drivers or to spend a night or two at camp. Any way that you are able to help will be greatly appreciated. We have space for the equipment, bikes, and most of the scout backpacks already accounted for, but making sure there are enough seats in vehicles for the kids to physically get there AND back can be a challenge.

Also, I had an opportunity after the meeting to talk with [my edit to protect the innocent], the Council representative present tonight, in which he made it clear to me that ALL parents coming up to camp (those staying overnight as chaperones, those dropping or picking up scouts as carpool drivers, -AND- even those planning to visit camp for a few hours mid-week) need to fill out the form AND have a copy that clears you submitted to the council.

I checked out the form at the Council's website ( and wanted more information, so I followed the links on that page to the State's Registry website where I found the following directions:

'Section II. Michigan Residents Requesting Information on Themselves

Individuals requesting a central registry clearance on themselves who are Michigan residents should complete the Request for Central Registry Clearance (DHS-194) form. Mail or take the completed DHS-194 to the DHS office in the county (county directory). To pick up the results in person, the individual must present picture identification. To have the results mailed, a copy of the individual's picture identification must be provided with the DHS-194. (Note: Results will only be mailed to the address on the picture identification.)

If the subject of the inquiry is NOT listed on central registry and provides written consent on the DHS-194, a copy of the results of the central registry clearance can also be sent directly to any of the following for the individual:

* Employer.
* Potential employer.
* Agency for which the individual is volunteering or applying to volunteer.'

TO EXPEDITE THE RECEIPT OF THIS FORM BY THE COUNCIL: The form can be dropped off directly to the the Ingham County DHS office located at the corner of Jolly and South Cedar AND the Council can be listed as a direct recipient of the results [
address removed from original message]. I advise everyone participating to take their copy of the State's response letter with them when heading to camp (even if it is on file with the Council) so that they have it in hand.

YES, this is a complete and total pain. But, please help by making sure we are in compliance with their rules. With everything that's been in the news over the past year, I don't blame the Boy Scouts with having to take such drastic child protection measures.

IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THAT FUN STUFF: Please make sure that your son provides to the Troop a completed health form and a copy of your insurance card. This form can also be found on the Council's website at the same link above.
[my edit to protect the innocent] has done a fabulous job collecting these forms. If at all possible, please bring this to next Monday's meeting at the barn so that she can have time to make a scanned copy before camp as part of our Troop's permanent records.

LASTLY, with 21 scouts attending, any and all parents (and former alumni - hint to all recent Eagle Scouts!) that have some time available are welcome to help chaperone. Of all of the camping activities that we do, this is by far one of the easiest trips since the scouts are busy with badge activities during the day and the camp provides all of the food for meals. Traditionally, we do cook together one night at Camp and have snacks in the evening, but chore for chore, this is definitely an easy week. Please let me know if you're interested; and, yes, the health forms are needed for all adults too.

Well, that is about all that I have space for within Troop Kit's character limit. Please let me know if you have any questions. I won't be at next Monday's meeting, so please e-mail or call me.
[my edit to protect the innocent] can answer any camping or equipment questions in my absence.

Ready to send my son off to a fun week at Northwoods (and hope you are too!),

Now, being the smart and reasonably intelligent people that you all are (of course you are! You're reading my blog, aren't you?!?), you now know where to go to get copies of the forms, that all adults need to have a State DHS letter as proof that they are not on the sex offender registry list, and that there's a medical form that needs to be filled out. Even after my verbose description, I still received questions as to where to get the forms and whether they really need to cleared on the sex offender registry. No kidding. Oh, and let's not mention that in mid-April, I actually handed out camp packets of medical forms, camp information, and class schedules to every scout at our meetings who was interested in attending camp along with a separate parent volunteer packet that had a copy of the DHS' registry clearance form and a BSA medical form.

Gah! I honestly don't know how I could possibly have made myself any clearer, but am quite ready to call it quits on volunteering to help with summer camp. So, take note friends with young children: when the volunteer list comes 'round -- whether its for school, sports, or (sorry to say it) scouting -- keep it movin' and do. not. sign. up. You will be let down by the few other adults around you who can't be bothered to pay attention to the information you're trying to convey to them and who are surprised when you get testy because you're not willing to spend individual attention to their kids' needs. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

Okay, enough PSA time....

I hate my knitting

Yep, you read that right and I really, really mean it this time. Last time, I was working on a supposedly nice and easy cotton summer sweater. In that blog entry, I made the mistake talking about how happy I was in grafting on a different border and how all that was left was blocking and seaming. That all fell apart at the following Tuesday night knit-in. Feeling pretty smug, I triumphantly started to pull out the body pieces from my knitting bag as I was explaining to everyone there the border mishap. Coolly looking over, Irene paused her knitting and said, "Well, it looks like you have a dye lot issue going on to me....." I have no idea how it was possible that I did not notice before what became glaringly apparent as soon as she said it. But, yes, she was 100% correct -- there was a severe dye lot going on with two slightly different colors of green in the sweater. I immediately pulled out the sandwich bag in which I kept all of the yarn lables and carefully examined them. All claim to be from the same dye lot -- bastards!

So, I picked out the offending ball's worth of yarn out of the sweater (which, of course, was in the center of one of the body pieces) and reknit the piece using up all of the remaining matching colored pieces, then cannabalized the sleeves for additional yarn. Now, I'm trying to mix the off-colored yarn with scrap ends of the matching colored yarn while reknitting. Since the yarn supply is on fumes with this project, I have a million ends going on within the reknit body and sleeves and I'm so completely disappointed in the whole thing.

In addition to that mess, I had a pair of Zauberball socks that I was nearly to the heel on; the socks were being worked two-at-a-time using the Magic Loop method, so was pretty happy with the progress -- until I tried to put them on. Typically, I'm able to work plain stockinette stitch socks using 70 stitches on size 0 needles. In this yarn, I couldn't even get the socks onto my foot. In complete disgust, I tore out the entire project and am starting over with 88 stitches.

On happier thoughts, I finished a really fun project for the Guild's project exchange (the "Wrap Me Up Shawl" in a mish-mash of fun yarn that was gifted to Jane; and which the previous four photos are of -- yep, I'm a terrible photographer!) and received a gorgeous crocheted scarf from Sarah.

Well, that's about all that I have to vent about at the moment. I hope to have more progress done on my projects, Sylvain on his way safe and sound to Scout camp, and me being a bit more effective in my volunteering. Yep, it's been a fairly negative post, but I needed to get that out and in writing so am feeling a bit better....