Friday, July 20, 2007

D-U-N-N DONE! Done Something for the First Time

My Neighbor and I have decided to host a block party for National Night Out, no big thing really just some family friendly beverages, ginger snaps, and a chance to meet our neighbors. Yesterday we went door to door to leave invites for people, and as we did we chatted, mostly about the fact that she is training to do a Half Iron-Man Triathlon.

One of the things she said as we walked stuck with me. She said "It's been a long time since I've done anything for the first time." It got me to thinking about doing things for the first time. There's a certain excitement that only happens the first time, even if you do those things again. If you do them again it's because you love them, or at least sort of enjoyed yourself, but the first time, that's a thrill. It got me thinking about things I've done for the first time, especially things I've done lately for the first time, and if indeed I did things for the first time often enough.

The Block party will be a first. In fact, moving to Austin was the first time I have ever lived anywhere other than Minneapolis. My recent trip to San Antonio was a first. I'd not been there before, and was not sure what to expect. Granted, it's not a triathlon, but I have, in fact done that also.

That's me post-race, in front of the then LYS. The store happened to be along the race course and the yarnies so graciously cheered me on, that I went back for a photo. I did the Triathlon for the thrill of it for sure. I wasn't sure I could, I wasn't sure I'd finish, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to drown, and it was the excitement of not knowing that made it so fun.

I was thinking about all this while I did finishing work on Sizzle. And that too is a first. My first hand knit garment. I've done lots of accessories, but never clothing. Again, it's not a triathlon, but it was still a little thrilling. Every week I'd say to the ladies at my Sit and Knit, "...I hope it fits", never sure that it would, and enticed by the fact that it would probably be beautiful, but it might not. In the end the shirt fits, literally, and it's mostly beautiful, and I'll actually wear it. It makes me a little proud.

I think the important thing about doing stuff for the first time is the thrill. The thrill of anticipation and not knowing for sure what to expect. The risk that it might suck - the pride in the accomplishment even if it does, and the new found passion if it doesn't. Thrills come in all sizes. We can't all be adrenalin junkies, we can't all run the Iron Man, and we can't all knit wedding gowns. But we can, and should, all experience the thrill of doing something, anything, for the first time.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ravelry and a Frogged Tank

Sweet! I finally got my invitation to Ravelry. If you haven't heard it's an online community for knitters, crocheters, and yarnies. It hasn't fully launch yet, but is up and running with volunteer testers. You can still get on a list to be invited as a tester.

I've been poking around, trying to find my way, and so far I think I love it. You get a notebook to track your projects, you can put future projects on a queue, you can track your stash, your needles, and you library. There are also the usual friends, forums, and groups features that you typically find in cyberspace. The only draw back I've found so far is it seems a bit daunting to add my stash. Over all though I quite pleased to be a part of the community.

On another note... I finally frogged the orange Tank Top I've had hidden away since early Spring. It's an easy pattern from the One Skein Book, and I was working with Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, which I love, but I just lost interest. I guess mostly because I just don't need another tank. So I frogged!

I'll reclaim the yarn for a future project. I'm think the Cast Off Sweater in The Natural Knitter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Live from The Landing...

I'm back from a long, soggy, Holiday weekend in San Antonio. We did absolutely nothing to celebrate the 4th of July here in Austin. Too wet, Zilker Park was underwater so no fireworks, and no symphony orchestra. Instead we stayed home and cursed the rain.

On Thursday we began our long weekend away in San Antonio. It was nice, despite the continued rain. I bought a cowboy hat to keep myself a little dry, and we walked for miles, in the rain. We walked the Riverwalk, we saw the Alamo, the Spanish Governor's Palace, and the San Fernando Cathedral. The Alamo was jammed full of people, and was mostly just boring. The Spanish Governor Palace is a much better bet, we were the only people there and it's filled with great antiques and has a fabulous courtyard. The cathedral is incredible, and I'm told the oldest building in all of Texas.

The highlight of the trip, by a million miles, was seeing The Jim Cullum Jazz Band at The Landing. When I lived in Minneapolis the Public Radio Affiliate aired "Live from the Landing, on San Antonio's Historic Riverwalk, it's The Jim Cullum Jazz Band..." every Sunday evening at 5PM. I rarely missed a show for years. Like people get hooked on "must see TV", I was hooked on a radio show. I'd plan my weekend around catching the show.

I was thrilled to get a chance to see it all happen in person. They weren't recording that night, just playing. I was surprised by the size of The Landing, in my mind it was an old classy theater. In reality, it's a very modest little jazz club with a full bar and sandwiches. In my mind the tickets were expensive. In reality it's a $6 cover charge. And I'd venture a bet that it's the best $6 you can spend in all of San Antonio. The band is a bunch of old guys, very old school with suit coats and ties, and the chops to play 4 full sets.

I took full advantage of the opportunity and purchased two CDs, and had them both autographed by Jim Cullum. I'm not much of a "fan" when it comes to TV or Hollywood personalities, but I admit I was a little star-struck for old Jim Cullum. He's a bit curmudgeonly, wears a bow-tie, has messy hair, and has duct tape on his coronet. He was very gracious about the autographs, and chuckled when I told him I used to listen every Sunday Night at 5.

If you ever find yourself in San Antonio, and you want to hear a bunch of old guys play great jazz, pay the six bucks at The Landing. And if you aren't down San Antonio way, check your local NPR listings, tune in, and turn the radio up. You'll be glad you did.

On a little side note: It has finally stopped raining here in Texas, today the sun has shone. A few stats I found interesting: We've had 34.8" of rain so far this year, that's an all time record. Until today we had 8 consecutive days of rain. It has rained 42 of the last 70 days. That's a lot of rain, and that's global warming my friends.