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ShanKnits

Shan knits, and does a lot of other stuff too.

Going home to the new place

March23

After a Facebook vote on which domain to get, I have moved the blog to my new domain. Come visit me at

http://shanorama.com/

St Patrick’s Cardigan

March17

I am not very good about holidays since I got married. We have Valentine’s alternatives, Mike’s not that into Christmas (though he will play along nicely when asked), Halloween feels like too much pressure, and Easter hasn’t gotten it’s due since my mom’s side of the family got too big to have everyone over in the same house.

That said, I like St. Patrick’s Day. While none of my blood probably is, at least my first name is good and Irish. And it’s a nice, easy-going holiday. A few traditional (but not required) foods, beer for those who want it, and an easy-going dress code. As I was getting dressed today I found a green shirt and green scarf that matched pretty well, all things concerned. And then I saw it on my dresser. The cardigan.

The big deal about the cardigan, because I’m sure you’re wondering now, is this: It was my first. The very first cardigan I ever knit. As with almost every first, there are a few problems and some awkwardness. When I knit it I didn’t really understand the importance of weaving in the ends of yarn that would otherwise hang down, so they are largely knotted next to the fabric and then hanging down. They were left too short to do anything else with. I sewed the parts of the cardigan with white cotton string, which is a fine choice except that it shows through in some places. And it was never blocked, just sewn together right off of the needles.

Technically the cardigan was never finished. I ran out of yarn before I got to the button bands, so it has been sitting, unfinished, waiting for them ever since.  And when I put it on this morning I realized something wonderful. Cardigan patterns these days often don’t have button bands. (For example).

So, in all of her imperfect glory, here is my cardigan and my St. Patrick’s Day outfit.

Hi again

March8

Hello! So… it’s been a while, huh? I… please don’t think I’ve been avoiding you, dear reader. Many forces have combined to motivate me to not post. (Or is that demotivate?) I wish I had a great story… I wish I could say that I was too busy saving orphans from fires, handicapped pets from beatings, or myself from clutter. I wish I could.

And I don’t have a great story of woe to use as an excuse. Yes, I had surgery that one time, but it really only took 5 hours and I was home again, but that’s a story for another day. Yes, I had a bit of seasonal depression, but our new place has a lot more light and I discovered the magic of St. John’s Wort. I’ve been alternatingly very busy and bored as can be.

The real reason(s) for the silence

  1. I feel I made a bit of an error in moving the blog to the business website’s domain.
  2. I’ve been working, imperfectly, but still largely happily, on my new site at http://fastercraft.com/
  3. I haven’t felt much like I had a lot to say
  4. I’ve been meaning to buy my own domain, and it turns out that I did last year, but I couldn’t afford hosting for it for a while, so it sits claimed but unused.
  5. I didn’t want to move my blog again right away, as no one would know where to find it.
  6. Umm… I’m a little lame

So there you have it. All of that said, I hope all of you are doing well. Leave me a comment, if you happen to read this and let me know that this is still visible to someone. Thanks! Peace out.

The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind

August15

The job we (Mike) was hired for was getting footage for a few informational videos for the company, First Wind, that is building the wind farm in Milford. Mike was hired to be the Camera Assistant and monitor the audio.  I, as trailing along spouse, declared myself in charge of making sure stands holding equipment didn’t fall over on interview subjects, checking shots and giving unsolicited opinions, explaining some of our technology to people who asked, and general color commentary.

As it is a wind farm, there was a lot of wind, and as they build a lot at night (when the wind is down) it was often dark, so a lot of curious people asked about whether or not our microphone would be able to hear what they were saying, and whether or not we could actually see anything in the dark. We all got to show people some of the cool technologies/tools we use.

The wind farm was fascinating. The site seemed so obvious a place for one. (For the story of how Milford became the home of a wind farm, check out this story.) Wind power, in fact, seems so obvious.

I know that there are concerns about the visual impact of the turbines and the environmental impact. Our producer/cameraman had worked on videos about quite a few wind farms, and he said that even in places like Maui, where the wind farm is across the bay from a beach, people rarely noticed it. In someplace like Milford where that valley is wide, open, and quite empty, it makes perfect sense, and a lot of the people in Milford thought that it would add a lot of visual interest to the town. The environmental aspect was a huge concern, but the crews there are careful. Amazingly careful. They only drive 15mph on site after dark, because there is an owl that they need to be careful not to hit. I expected a sense of frustration or sarcasm regarding some of the measures they take to protect the area, but they were serious and sincere about it. They didn’t seem to see it as an inconvenience, just part of the job.

When the construction is finished the land will become grazing land again, and the cattle will be able to walk right up to the towers, with no danger to them. Large turbines like that don’t hurt birds, as they can simply fly around them. There is a little danger to bats, because behind the rotors there is an area of low pressure which can injure bats’ lungs. They are working on fixing this problem right now.

Here is a sunset shot I got of the turbines:

Sunset at the wind farm

Blow me away

August14

It’s been a busy few weeks. We worked on an MTV show being filmed here and then, the last of the 6 days, Mike was booked for a 6 day gig in Southern Utah, starting the day after.  This is wonderful, as we really love our work. Though Mike was hired for the second shoot, knowing that he was going someplace… you know, not home, I decided to go with him. So, a week ago, we found ourselves in Milford, UT.

For those of you familiar with Milford, it needs no introduction. Mostly because it only takes a few hours to meet the whole town’s inhabitants. I exaggerate, slightly. Milford’s a town of about 2,000 at the moment. Once a Union Pacific hub, it was also the home of a very successful silver mine. The silver ran out and UP cut down their operations dramatically, so most people now work either on the wind farm (more on that tomorrow,) the less profitable copper mines, or on the hog farms.

Milford is a perfectly nice place, but for someone who has just lived in the downtown area of a city, even a smaller one like Salt Lake, it feels like it’s dying. Having once had multiple hotels, restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and commerce in general, Milford is a shadow of what it was. There are two gas stations, four restaurants (two diners, a take and bake pizza place, and one Chinese place,) a grocery store, a hardware store, a liquor store, a post office, and an antiques shop/florist/craft boutique/video rental store. This is not so bad, but to get to any of these you drive past an example of a similar store that has closed, and the Chinese restaurant has a For Sale sign in the window.

One of the problems in a town like Milford in Utah is that they have a Mormon majority, and those Mormons have a pretty closed society and don’t come off well to the rest of the town. People recently arrived in Milford often feel, if not intentionally, accidentally excluded. It made me really appreciate the more urban ward that I was just in that welcomed all comers, and with kindness. I do hope that progress will be made in Milford, because the construction workers, even some who grew up with a lot of Mormons, have had their opinion of the group as a whole soured.

That said, the people seemed friendly enough. Unlike people in Salt Lake, who we often have a hard time convincing to be on camera, people in Milford not only easily agreed to appear on camera, but offered great ideas for backdrops, events, and people that we should film while they are there.

Here a a few pictures that i took during my walk around the town/grocery shopping:

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Check me out!

July25

Check out my article at Simple Scrapper:

http://www.simplescrapper.com/2009/07/24/getting-out-of-a-slump-randomly/

More about moving

July9

The signs were clear. It was time to move, to find greener (ie. cheaper) pastures. But despite the obviousness of the decision, I still waffled. More than once I had something like this conversation with Mike:

“Look, I don’t want to move. I like living downtown.”
“I know, but our new place has so many advantages and SO much space.”
“But it won’t be the same building. You know how lazy we downtown people are. We don’t like to drive more than 10 minutes for anything but yarn/shoes/antiques.”
“Yarn/shoes/antiques?”
“But what if Ivan and Kristina won’t hang out with us anymore? What if I don’t get to talk to Sarah anymore? Kim and I are supposed to get together and knit! What if Liz and Franklin stop inviting us over because we live to far away? I’ve been meaning to visit Shantell for a while, and now and it. will. be. so. far. We won’t go to church with Linda Rae anymore. Who will tell us we’re special? Whatifnoneofourfriendswillbeourfriendsanymore?!?!?” <sob>
“That’s silly. A lot of them have moved or will soon, and you’re still their friend, right?”
“Fine, you win, Captain Logic.”

So… yeah. As much as I will miss living downtown, I do still have an Einstien’s, a coffee shop (though I do not know the quality of their hot chocolate yet), a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a library within walking distance. But the people… that’s what I’ll miss the most.

I think if there’s one life lesson I can learn/be reminded of by this move, it’s that, in the great words of Lucas in Empire Records, “I do not regret the things I have done, but those I did not do.” There were so many times I thought “I should stop and see so-and-so,” but I didn’t because I was feeling shy, or nervous, or depressed, or like there were things I needed to to at home first. And I’m sorry that I didn’t take advantage of more of those opportunities. I no longer beat myself up for being a rotten friend, as I know those people could have stopped by to see me if they’d wanted to, and they didn’t either, but all the same, I wish I’d done more stopping by. And I wish I’d walked down to the Broadway for more random French movie afternoons.

So this time I’m going to make sure that I walk every interesting place around. Assuming I don’t sprain my ankle again.

A whole new place….

July6

I won’t lie. We’d been talking about moving for a good long while before we actually decided to look at other places.  For a good long while we’d discussed the fact that we have some things we really want to make happen (international travel, health insurance, breast reduction, paying off all of our debts, etc.) And one thing kept coming up. All of those things require money. Lots and lots of money.

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved where we were living. I loved being in walking distance of Temple Square, the Broadway Centre Cinemas, the Gateway Mall, Golden Braid Books, Hatch Family Chocolates, the Atlantic, Sam Wellers, more restaurants, parks, shopping, and entertainment than you can shake a medium-sized stick at, and Trax, which gives you access to everything else. (Just writing that paragraph made me homesick.)

Despite my sincere love of downtown living and it’s benefits, things slowly started happening that felt like signs, put there specifically to get us thinking about moving.

The first was the dishwasher. Up until this incident we’d always been very satisfied with the building’s maintenance department, so when we noticed that the dishwasher had started leaving a film on everything, we expected that they would come, fix whatever the problem was, and we’d be done. They came, they ran some sort of acid through the system, and said that that should clear it up. And when it didn’t they said that it might take a few acid washes, we called again. And again. And again. In short they did the acid wash 4 or 5 times, and we could see that the white film on our dishes was getting worse and worse, and wouldn’t wash off. Finally they sent up the head of maintenance, who told me that it was probably not a film to much as the fact that the glass was being etched. Meaning that a lot of our dishes were now permanently damaged. This felt like a bit of a sign, that our apartment was starting to break our stuff.

The second happened a day later. The newly installed dishwasher seemed okay, but we noticed that there was a spot on the floor right in front the sink that looked like water damage. I reached into the cupboard to get the dishwashing soap and realized that it was wet, and the whole cupboard was wet, in fact. We called maintenance again (which was starting to feel like a mistake.) They came up and said that it looked like one of the valves hadn’t been tightened enough when they put in the new dishwasher, but it should be fine now. Later in the evening we noticed that the cupboard was even wetter, there was a wet spot in the carpet on the other side of the kitchen, and when we stepped on the floor water came up between the floorboards. We called again, this time the night manager. He managed to turn the valve the way that closes it, but the water was there. By the time they came to look at it the next day every floorboard had warped, necessitating a new floor, and not the nice real-wood one we had before, but a laminate in a color that was pleasant enough, but not near as nice as the old one.

The third was more what I did to myself, but it seemed to be pushing us out a little faster. When we moved downtown walking a few blocks felt so far away to me, coming from the suburbs. 2 months ago I realized that I would grab whatever I needed to mail, my wallet, and good walking shoes, and I’d hit the Post Office, Tony Caputo’s, Bruges Waffles, and Frosty Darling all on the same walk, and not even feel that I’d gone far. I love walking around downtown. No matter what direction I went from home, there was something to see or do. So about a month ago I sprained my ankle. The ankle in question is not in the best shape anyway (mission accident) but I managed to wrench it twice in two days.

The fourth came two days before we moved. One of our regrets, and our friend Laura’s very biggest regret about us moving was leaving the hot tub. Last Monday, after moving about a third of our stuff, we decided to take one last dip and relax those moving-strained muscles. We got our suits on, grabbed towels, and found ourselves standing in front of a “Pool closed for maintenance” sign.

It was time to go.

Friday Fun – Staying in edition.

June5

It’s pouring rain as I type. I love big storms like this. I feel serene and refreshed.

That said, you’re probably not going outside to play this weekend, if Weather.com is telling the truth. So I thought I might suggest a few ways to entertain yourself.

1) Listen to Stephen Fry’s Podgrams. His podcast has never failed to make me smile, and think. Think in a happy way.

2) Watch Christopher Walken dance in the Weapon of Choice music video. This video is one of my happy places.

3) Take pictures of storm clouds.

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This may seem obvious or boring, but if you enjoy storms, and don’t live in the Northwest, these photos are going to seem really nice to you in the middle of August when everything is hot, dry, and getting brown. Or just hot if you don’t live in Utah.

25 minute layout and a really cool thing.

June4

So, first, the cool thing. Audrey Neal, a digital scrapbooking designer who I really, really admire writes a column on writing. Her column this week uses a page that I created as a (positive) example. I am so excited! You can read it here:

http://wearestorytellers.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/06/writers-notebook-3-tips-creativity-by-shanknits.html

Yesterday I had an interview for a temp job. It’s a new thing for me, being interviewed for a 2-day temp job, but it sounds like a really interesting one, so I’ll play along. I needed to do all of the pre-interview grooming (mostly body hair management-type stuff) but I also was waiting for an important call and couldn’t get into the shower until that was done.I calculated that I had 15 minutes and decided to see if I could get a layout done in that time. The actual time ended up being 22 minutes, and then the computer froze up on minute 23, so I wasn’t able to save the page until last night. But, here it is:

22 minute layout

The kit used is Maybell by the aforementioned Audrey Neal of Audacious Designs. The template is a Page in a Pinch tempalte by Red Leaf DigiScrapping. The font on the title is A Truer Blue from kevin and amada.com. The photos were taken with my iPhone while I was running errands the other day, walking across downtown Salt Lake.

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