My first hat!

I learned to knit in college and crochet some time after that. I’ve done a ton of different projects, but aside from the few pairs of slippers I’ve only ever knitted things that were square or rectangles. Blankets, scarves more blankets.

I’ve wanted to venture out and try new things but never found the time or guts to do so. With the urging of my boss who made her first pair of mittens, which look so cool, I decided to attempt my first hat! With a few minor lessons, including double pointed needles, after work I was able to finish it and it’s not something I want to throw away!

I wanted a hat with an open top because by the end of my work day my hair is usually up (Hairnet hair isn’t something I can recover from!).

My first attempt at knitting was pretty pathetic but I’ve come along way in eight years as it was during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when I first attempted to knit. I’ve started my next adventurous project, cross your fingers it turns out and you’ll see it on a future blog!

My first “book club”

Three years ago, there was a Big Read in town. The book was Fahrenheit 451 and available at the library. I rode my bike to the library after work on a warm summer day and picked up the last copy they had at my local branch. I was excited for all of the activities they had involving the book. I started reading the book and I couldn’t get through it. I tried more than once to finish it and never managed to get far enough. So I never went to any of the activities because I had no clue what happened in the book.

I had read in the paper back in January that there would be another Big Read but this time the book was Station Eleven. The book sounded interesting so my husband graciously volunteered to go pick up the book at our local branch. They had to go get the last copy on the bookmobile. We must have great timing to have received the last copies at the library two Big Reads in a row.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would like the book. A post-apocalyptic novel about life after a flu pandemic wiped out most of the world’s population didn’t really seem up my alley. But, I read the book in a week and a half and I couldn’t put it down.

On Valentine’s Day my husband and I went to a talk on flu epidemics and the media. As someone who loves science it was right up my alley and I learned quite a few things.

The following evening I attended the opening talk with the author, Emily St. John Mandel. I struck up a conversation with two women behind me before it began. It was so interesting to hear the author’s reasoning for why certain things are in the book.

There was a book signing event after the talk, which is always cool!

There are tons of other activities left with the Big Read. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to attend anything else, but I’m happy that I was able to read the book and meet the author. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of an NEA Big Read, do it! If I had to sum it up in one phrase, it’s one giant community “book club”!

My First Stained Glass Experience

Before Christmas, my coworker asked the ladies at work if we wanted to do a stained glass class. She was the only one who had done it but thought we’d really enjoy the experience. So wrapped up for Christmas s was an invite to the class that wouldn’t occur until February.

The week before the class my coworker told us to plan what we wanted to make with only three pieces of glass. So my mind got to thinking. Could I make a mustache? Maybe in lime green! Then I thought well what if I need something thicker in the middle so it wouldn’t break? How about a donut? How would I make it look like a donut instead of a circle with a hole in the middle? A cupcake came to mind, or a popsicle. I printed a template so I was ready to go.

The night before our class on Super Bowl Sunday we got a dumping of snow and the snow continued into the morning but we all made it!

We practiced cutting glass with different cutters, had to draw our template, after some explanation of what you can and cannot do. Straight cuts are weak, there goes my popsicle idea. Tiny curves are a challenge. So long mustache. I decided I’d make the cupcake. Once I had my pattern drawn, and a drawer I am not, I had to create a copy. And cut out the second pattern so the shape could be traced on the glass.

Then on to find the perfect glass for my cupcake. I found a cool blue and a brown like a cupcake liner but something was missing. No lime green! Someone found a green and it was the PERFECT sized piece that I needed. It felt like it was coming together. Cutting glass is not easy when you’re trying to create an actual object. After I cut my three pieces I was mortified that they didn’t even touch! The instructor looked at it and said they looked great. I thought she was losing her mind! Only because I didn’t understand the next step. We grounded our pieces down on a grinder that has water in the bottom and a sponge to wet the grinder. I don’t know how else to describe it. With a couple tweaks by the instructor I had three pieces that fit together. If I could just remember how they went. That’s where the second pattern came into play.

We had to put the copper foil around the edges and smooth it out. We placed them together and started the soldering.

From paper template to finished product it was such a fun time! There were only a few moments when I had to hold my breath! I had a great time and look forward to doing it again some day!

“I’m feeling very OLYMPIC today!”

With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games just beginning, the Opening Ceremony isn’t until tomorrow but there were already some events that started today, I felt it necessary to share my love of the Olympics with all of you. For those that know me, even just a bit, you know that I have a love for the Olympics that’s pretty intense. You may be wondering how did this 28-year-old come to love them so much?

Here’s where the story begins…

It’s the Summer of 1996, I had just turned 7 years old. My parents told us to pack our bags, or maybe they packed for us, because we were going on vacation. They claimed they didn’t know our destination, we were just going to get in the car and drive and see where we ended up. I find this hard to believe as an adult, but that’s what they told us. So the next day we hopped in the Suburban and started driving. We drove until dark and we stopped at a hotel, I believe in Kentucky. My mom and sisters got out to “see if they had a room for us” and I decided to stay in the car and park it with my dad. We pulled up next to a red Jeep Grand Cherokee. I made a comment how my Uncle had the same type vehicle and it had Illinois plates. Of course my dad explained that there are lots of vehicles that are the same and it was just a coincidence. As we walked towards the entrance there was a man and young girl standing in the window at the end of an upper floor of the hotel. I tried to tell my dad I thought it was them but he told me they were people who looked similar or something to that effect. The two figures as we came to find out were that of my uncle and cousin.WHAT A COINCIDENCE! After discovering that we were at the same hotel, it was decided that my older sister would stay in their room.

The next morning we all went to breakfast and hopped back in the car. My mom hands us a movie, Babe Pig in the City, and asks if we want to know where we are going. I’m sure we pierced their ears with our little girl screeches, but they told us we were heading to Atlanta to stay with Nana and Papa and go to the Olympics! I can close my eyes 22 years later and put myself back in the car with the warm sun shining and that VHS.

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There were a lot of behind the scenes details we didn’t know at the time, but it was a somewhat spur of the moment decision to go to the Olympics. My mom was on the phone purchasing tickets the night of the opening ceremony as we were downstairs watching in awe. My grandparents lived in a suburb of Atlanta at the time so we had a place to stay. It was a no brainer! For those who remember, there was a bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park. This happened the night we were at the hotel. There was a phone conversation between the adults and my grandparents the next morning on whether or not we would still be coming. The decision was we weren’t going to let that stop us! I’m SO thankful we still went!!!!

There are moments of our Olympic adventure that I remember vividly.

  • Waiting in line for security checks, which I’m sure are much less than they are now.
  • Eating lunch at Wendy’s one day and cooling off with some ‘scream.
  • Taking the shuttles to and from the games. There is a funny home video of one of these trips.
  • Seeing the giant red torch (yes I just googled a picture because I remembered it being red, but it’s been 22 years!)
  • Watching field hockey and wondering what the heck it was any way! Using binoculars to see the rest of our family across the stadium.
  • Watching a baseball game. I believe Japan was playing.
  • Hearing other languages as people walked past us
  • Watching the track and field events on TV with Nana and Papa as our parents watched in person.
  • Playing in the fountains at Centennial Olympic Park
  • Finding our brick in the park. If you ever get down there go look for it.
    Visiting the brick in 2007 during a HS orchestra field trip.

I suppose someone could poo-poo this and say it’s just a bunch of sporting events, but until you experience it it’s just not the same. I’d say this was my first glimpse into the world. At 7 I’m not sure if you really get the whole other countries and people living there yet.

I suppose you could say that the torch lighting was my own torch lighting for my Olympics love. Whether of not my parents know it, this was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, and there have been a lot in my lifetime. I’m sure it was stressful with three small children and all of those people, but no one got lost, maybe just lost in the moment.

We got to dress up in the Olympic wind breakers and a gold medal around our necks!

The US Speed Skating Long Track Trials were held at the Petit Center in Milwaukee this past January. Luckily we had another day off before we went back to work and were able to experience a new sport in person and an Olympic Trial.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling very OLYMPIC today! Go for Gold, Team USA!!!!

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