Saturday, July 22, 2017

On a Scale of...

...one to about 500... The migraine I woke up with was about a 50 or so. Just enough to be a dull roar, not enough to take the Rx that knocks me out. 

Which was good. It was enough to make me miss a graduation party (bad), but that was because I had to teach a workshop tonight (good). A 2-hour "nap" was a help. So was repeated use of my Young Living Deep Relief roll-on. And Excedrin Migraine. 

I found out that even though I thought I was on the highest dose of Keppra, there's one higher. I don't want to go there - I was going to try to taper off this year. But I'm not sure it's going to end that easily. 

For one thing, the braces and rubber bands don't help - they're putting strain on my head. My teeth still hurt, and my jaw is being pulled. I suppose that's helping increase the headaches. 

I'm hoping that we can stop them at the next appointment. Fingers crossed. I've been faithful in this process. I just want to get them done with. 

I'm not sure what another cause can be. I'm sleeping ok - when Mother Nature isn't throwing a party, which may be the issue. We've had about 4 days of thunderstorms and sleep has not come easily - or stuck around.

So while Hubby went to the graduation party, I picked up this old-home recipe.... a flat Coke and dark chocolate. Don't ask why - just trust me when I tell you that it does help dull the pain. I'm glad that you can buy these tiny cans now - I can only get down a half a can anyway, and I always felt horrible tossing it afterwards. At least, with the tiny cans, I'm only tossing about 4 or 5 ounces, as opposed to tossing 8 or 10 ounces with the larger can or bottle. 

I'm watching the last of "All About Eve" and have the chamomile tea next to me. I'll knit a bit and hopefully unwind the rest of the way. 

Knitting...

So this happened. I'm not sure what that is. I noticed it as I (yay!) finished the gusset. See where the needle is stuck in kind of sideways? It's not meant to do that - I'm only illustrating my problem. It almost looks like a stitch crossed over. This is on the SSK side; and as you may see, I was slipping the 2 stitches purlwise, and I have that loopy thing going on. So I finally got wise and started slipping them knitwise and they "disappeared" as they're supposed to do. 

I'm at about 5" or so on the foot, and it's coming along nicely. I've started a "countdown" of about 15 rows. That should get me to 7" and then I can start decreasing the toe. I know - it's plain vanilla and even I can (as The Slowest Knitter On The Planet) get a pair of those whipped out in about a month or so. This yarn is behaving beautifully. If it wears like it's knitting up, it'll rival my "heart" yarn: Opal! I haven't seen the stunning colorways in the OnLine sock yarn; I've only seen the various "striped" pattern ways, but I haven't seen anything else. 

Then again, I haven't seen much OnLine around here anyway. I see it occasionally at Wool & Co. in St. Charles, but now with their new owners, I'm not sure they'll carry it. They seem to be going the Sweet Georgia route, and a few others that I'm not familiar with. I haven't been out there in a dog's age - they sent out a notice that they're now carrying Brooklyn Tweed, and it's something called a "lifestyle yarn." 

I'm not sure what a "lifestyle yarn" actually is. I know knitting is a kind of lifestyle in and of itself. The ability to make things. The ability to take a pattern and tweak it to fit you. Or to create your own pattern. The plethora of yarns around that will allow you to do anything from knitting with the finest yarn that could pass through a bride's wedding ring to the bulky stuff that's actually a 1" stitch on (what I think look like) "tree trunk" sized needles. 

Some of the other blogs I follow do showcase the "lifestyle" of knitting. Heck, the Yarn Harlot has made a living as a knitter. Me? I can aspire, but I know it's not happening. 

I'm the yoga teacher who makes her own socks. And that's fine. What's cool about knitting is that you don't have to "do it all." There's so much out there. You can knit your entire life and do nothing but baby stuff. Or nothing but afghans. Or scarves. Or potholders. Or socks. Or sweaters. Or you CAN do all of it. Shawls, purses, bathing suits(!), "soakers" (the equivalent of rubber pants, or for the younger set: those things you put over a cloth diaper to add a layer of protection from baby pee), skirts, cardigans, toys, ties... If you can figure out what to do with two sticks and string? You've got something that will challenge you. It'll be meditative. It'll frustrate the living crap out of you. It'll soothe you. It'll keep you thinking. It'll keep you from eating (trust me - you don't knit and eat at the same time). 

It'll be the calm in the storm of life. It'll be there when it seems like life is falling apart. It'll be there to help you celebrate new life. And honor the past. 

If that's a "lifestyle," then I guess I'm up to my knitting bags in that lifestyle. 

Essential Oils...

So I was blending up something. I love to blend oils. Young Living Essential Oils has some magnificent blends, but I honestly can't figure out why they haven't done one of my favorites: Geranium, Clary Sage and Rose. I started, a long time ago, with just Geranium and Clary Sage. I added the Rose, and found that doing that even enhanced the "calming" properties of the original blend. I put these together with some avocado oil and have been using it as an adjunct to my Deep Relief for my headache. Rose is so calming - so is Geranium. 

When I'm messing with my oils, I do offer them to the dogs - just to see what they react to and how they react to it. Raisa has, so far, barely tolerated Lavender. The rest of them? She pretty much snorts and turns her head. 

Except today. Today, she perked up. Stuck her snout into my hand. Wagged her tail. 

At Rose. 

Of course. 

At the most expensive oil I have. 

Rose has so many properties that are beneficial. It's a high-frequency oil. It's universally known and universally loved. It hints of love, romance, and joy. 

The oil of rose has been used in skin preparations for years. Centuries, in fact. It's in many of the Young Living blends. 

It's always been a favorite of mine. I had a Yoga Nidra class tonight, and I diffused this blend. My students were relaxed and happy - and one of them said to me, "Wow - you brought the best tonight, didn't you?" 

Yes. I did. 

And apparently, even my dog knows it. 

Random Picture...

Today, I had a wake to attend. As I was waiting for a friend to join me, I was looking at the house across the lot from the funeral home. It's a gorgeous place - and had a beautiful garden. 

But then there was this door.

Apparently a door to nowhere? Or is that a door FROM nowhere? 

What was interesting was that the planting along the backside of the house was stunning. The patio (to the left, not in the picture) was small, but nicely kept. The yard had a nice berm near the street, and the lot was pretty large. This door looks like it's to a utility room, or perhaps part of the garage. 

But is it me? Or shouldn't there be a stoop or some steps there? The garden comes right to the threshold. Maybe they don't use the door. But it's an odd placement for sure. 

They're right next to the funeral home, which advertises as "family owned and operated." One may well wonder if that's the family. And I still get a bit perplexed by this door.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bit by Bit and Piece by Piece...

...just about sums up my approach to cleaning the house. 

Yes, I know. It's only Hubby and me. And 3 large hairy beasts (the dogs, a/k/a "The Girls"). And the occasional Kid who comes back. But only for a visit. 

Except now, Kid #2 is moving and is "temporarily storing" some stuff in our already-overflowing basement. 

Kid #1 has already informed me that, upon our demise, he's putting a large dumpster out in the front yard and sticking a "For Sale As Is" sign in the yard. Lest you think he's joking? He's not. And please - don't misunderstand. We're hardly in the category of "hoarders." It's not as clean as my mother or grandmother would want it, but it's not "Let's call the health department" bad. 

So today, after a couple hours at work, I tackled my Aunt Mary's sewing machine, a cabinet model that used to be the table for Arlo the now-dead canary. He moved from Aunt Mary's to the front window daily. So I also did his front window table. I also dusted the bookshelf and rearranged some stuff, dusted pictures, and lit a candle for a friend's daughter who's having surgery. 

The stuff on the sewing machine has been disbursed to various other locations, including the back room. Which, of course, is where Kid #2 is storing MORE of his stuff... (sigh).

Rocks in My Head...

So I went to the gem/rock show this weekend. As I may NOT have mentioned -- in my new job, my office is next to the X-ray room. Now, I'm not superstitious. But I don't want to glow; nor do I want to wear a lead apron all day! 

There are some rocks and crystals which, because of their properties, do protect against EMF. So I went looking. I bought a few pendants, and I have some to set on my desk. As you can see, I have a nice haul here. I had already had a bunch of tumbled amethyst. But I added a few nice ones to my stash. 

Crystals and stones are used in alternative healing, as meditation devices, and there are even people who "infuse essential oils with the power of crystals." Now, that's a step too far for me. My Young Living Essential Oils are pure enough, thanks!

The Rock Guy said to me, "Oh, there's black tourmaline (I knew that one), and hematite (ditto), and then there's shungite - the hottest thing out of Russia."

You mean aside from Nectarine Nemesis and his kid?? No, seriously - I had heard of the properties of shungite, and I found a few really pretty examples, so I got them. As far as EMF protection, the kyanite is also on the same order and it comes in a couple of different colors. I love black stones, and I love clear quartz. I also found a nice chunk of Iolite, a "water stone." 

I also couldn't pass up the lovely jade rock, nor the tumbled and ever-so-slightly faceted garnet. 

I did buy 2 rough stones for meditation, to put by my little Buddha. So, right in front of Buddha, on the left, is a cluster of citrine. Right - the November birthstone that's usually depicted as (so says Hubby) "urine yellow." It can actually range from nearly clear to a deep brown. This, even though it's hard to see, is a rich orange/rust. He couldn't believe it. And next to that is a rough green opal. 

On either side are the rocks from Lake Michigan. They're similar to the kinds of rocks we'll be painting at the studio for our "Yoga and Peace Rocks" workshop. I got a little bit of a head start on that with a painting project (see below). What I like about one of the rocks here is that, even though you can't see it - on the rock at the farthest left point? There's a heart-shaped lighter area. That was one I spotted right away and couldn't wait to grab it up and bring it home. I don't even care about the geological properties. I just think it's really neat. 

Peace Rocks...

I don't know if you've noticed them in your area, but around here, we're seeing "peace rocks" or "kindness rocks" around the trails. There's a local organization that's coordinating painting dates and you take your rocks home after they've sprayed them - and drop them where you want to. Usually, it's on the trails so someone else can find them and take the word or words to heart. And then they pass them on. 

Naive? Maybe. But it brings a smile to your face, and Heaven knows we can use more of that. And who knows? Kindness ripples. It's gotta start somewhere. 

So in August, we're going to hold a workshop. I'll lead the students in a short yoga practice (just some really basic stretches), a Metta meditation - which is lovingkindness, and then we set up to paint. Renee and Joy will bring both shale-type rocks and river rocks. And some will be pre-painted with a base color, so that all we need to do is use permanent markers and/or paints to write or draw what we want on them. They have a little "short affirmations" book that you can use to draw some quotes from, and obviously - small rocks, so small quotes! 

One of my students says she's already found a rock. She picked it up and placed it somewhere else. 

That's the idea. Simple. Perhaps incredibly naive, given what's going on in the world and especially in this country. But we have to make ourselves more mindful. We have to make ourselves more civil. One representative in Illinois is proposing "National Civility Day."

Oy... Everyone: news flash.... Be a nice human. That should cover it. 

Orchids...

I have twice been given orchid plants. One is in the studio, and it's having a bit of a rough go. I may have to move it, because it might be too warm where it is. This one is the one I had in my old office. I just repotted it today. I had to buy the orchid mix online because all we get around here is the soil - and I prefer to pot them in bark. I stick a couple ice cubes in there about once a week or so, and then we're good to go. I know that some folks put them on a large tray with pea gravel and keep it wet - "constant humidity" they say. In my experience, it doesn't matter one way or the other. It's mostly temperature, remembering to water it and having good growing medium. 

So this one is sitting on Aunt Mary's sewing chest, because the instructions recommended letting it be in a little less light for a few days. We'll see how this goes. But it looks lovely, doesn't it? 

This is really 2 pots in one. Each are stand-alone, but I noticed that the darker brown plastic one, which has holes in the bottom, fit nicely inside the copper-ish one, which is advertised as an "orchid pot." But with no drain holes. Together, though - they make one very nice container. As I recall, this is a white one. The stalk, though you can't see it, has another shoot on the end of it. We'll see if it blooms again. The one in the studio did re-bloom, so I wonder if it needs fresh bark. I'll be bringing it home and hopefully getting it freshened up. Maybe that'll give it a boost. Need to dig out Orchids for Dummies to see what's going on.

Knitting...

So you see it's a heel, and you see the gusset there. I'm liking it. Just a few more rows till I can just whip along on the foot. 

I haven't done anything with the sweater, which is fine right now. It's going to move along quickly - at least this body section. The sleeves may be interesting, but I don't know. It's been a long, long time since I did sleeves, especially set-in sleeves. These are also 3/4 length. And I'm the queen of short arms - so Heaven only knows what I'll have to do to finagle them. They "bell" out with the lace, so I'd prefer to keep them at the 3/4 length. 

I've been drooling over some shawls and shawlettes. I have some lovely sock yarn - fingering weight - that I really don't want to use for socks. I have a mulberry silk blend that - really -- I do not want to stick in a shoe! It's in an amethyst color-way with shades of blue, so if I do this right, and can find both a simple + complex enough pattern? Beautiful biggish scarf/shawlette thingie. I'd like to find something solid bodied, with a lace edge because I'm afraid that if the yarn flows like I think it will, the lace will muddle the color, or the other way round. It'll be too busy. 

For what I paid for the yarn, I want it to be the star of the show. I have 3 of those skeins (different colors and different dyers) - just so gorgeous that you don't want to make a pair of, let's face it, "disposable" items like socks. 

I also want to do a little "medicine bag" for my other loose stones. I'm going to see if I have more of Sonda's blue/white hand-dyed. I did a hat with that, even though it was fingering-weight (socks). It's a very light hat, and not suitable for heavy winter weather. But it's a nice one for Fall and early winter. I made a mala bag out of some of the leftover, and I think I may have enough for a medicine bag for the stones. 

Reading...

As always, re-reading the classics! So I was griping about Murder on the Church Council. And the ending was not cool. I mean, it made sense. But it was like, read-read-read, story-story-story and then, "Oh my God, we have to END this sucker" and BOOM! Denoument and over. What??

And seriously, as crazy as it may seem, the typos and inconsistencies bothered my enjoyment(?) of the book. 

So in between reading a book on the Episcopal Church, I started re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I want to see how they sanitized the movie. If you read it, Go Set A Watchman, the "missing" Harper Lee book, had Atticus as quite the racist. And that was purportedly the first draft of Mockingbird. And the movie? 

Well, Gregory Peck. Even though he was an incredibly versatile actor, I wonder if he wanted to be best-known for a role in which he was a virulent racist? 


I don't know, but much like Hitchcock's Suspicion - they changed the original ending because Cary Grant couldn't be seen as a villain. The original ending was purported to have had him killing off Joan Fontaine. But the ending was changed by studio bosses. 

I read that Cary Grant REALLY wanted to kill off Joan Fontaine, because he was tired of "always" being the good guy. But the studio didn't want to mess with his pristine reputation as the hero. 

And I don't know - maybe Gregory Peck said, "Let me do this - I have the chops and I need to do it." Maybe - it could happen - he said, "No, let's clean this up a bit." I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe anything either way. It's just a thought because I know that the book is never like the movie. 

But I have a theory. Everyone should re-read the things they read in high school English class, when they've got some living and some years behind them. That's the only way really (unless you were born an English teacher) to really appreciate what you read when you were a teenager. Even if you loved them the first time - read them again. 

You'll have a whole new experience when you do. 

Random Picture...

Where I went for the rock painting project was at a park. I had some time, since I had put the wrong time on my calendar and I was a whole hour early. It was ok - I had a book, though I wish I had brought my knitting! So I read and I sat. Turns out that I was in the wrong section of the park anyway, which I figured out about 10 minutes before it was supposed to start.

I found them. But in the meantime, I got this shot of the little lake there. People were fishing, and some folks were walking around the path. I have no idea what kind of fish are in there, though I suspect perch. 

It was a pleasant evening for nearly-August. Actually, it was nippy! At least for us in summer. The breeze ruffled the water, and the willow tree was skimming the surface. 

I didn't see any little fishes breaking the surface, but that's ok. I was more intent on framing a decent shot in the fading light. I only had my phone with me, so this is the best I could do. 










Tuesday, July 11, 2017

OH SNAP!

Yeah, no - that's not the slang version of the word. 

I was eating, and one of the rubber bands on my braces snapped. That wasn't cool. It didn't hurt or anything, but I was worried I'd swallow the blasted thing! And my jaw felt strangely out-of-kilter. So I stuck a new one on, even though I'm changing them tonight when I brush my teeth. 

Speaking of which, I'm having more migraines. And I'm not sure what it is, but Doc says I'm experiencing some strain with the rubber bands as they're pulling my jaws. Since I have TMJ anyway - that makes sense. Now, if I can at least get adjusted enough so that it starts to subside...

How My Garden Grows...

So the wildflowers are, in their 3rd or 4th year, now coming into their own. The "shade" garden is going nuts - lots of brown-eyed Susan, and some pink stuff which I can't recall  
(UPDATE: it's phlox). I mean, I remember planting it, but I can't remember its name. There's also bee balm, columbine (which is done for now), and foxglove in there. 

I saw a Monarch butterfly hanging around, and he enjoyed the flowers. I was really excited, even though the camera was beyond my reach. And the hummingbirds are visiting. So, it's a win. 

And in the "sunny-side" part? I have 2 milkweed plants, something that Hubby swears is a flower and I swear equally vehemently is merely a weed (and yes, there's a big difference between a wildflower and a weed), coneflower, lavender, salvia, gallardia, dill and purple bee balm. The foxglove and poppy are done for now. Oh, and the Prairie Blazing Star is blooming - so it survived its surgery where I split it this year to send half of it to my friend in the UP. I hope hers is thriving... Just now, there was a big old bumblebee on the Blazing Star just kind of gorging himself. Good for him! 

I'm trying to figure out where to plant the milkweed seeds my UP friend gave me. Those will be stuck in there in the late fall, before the first frost. I have to mark the two that we have, so that we get them planted in a similar spot. The ones at the rectory are really tall, so I also have to think about that - this garden does get a northwest cross-wind sometimes; one of the phlox bits is pushed over. So I wonder if I have to stake the taller flowers. 

I'm not staking the weed... 

Looks like a wooly worm!
This is odd... At first, I thought I had a wooly-worm on the flower, but I realized it was the center of the flower that kind of warped. I've never seen that before. Kind of cool, though!

We really have done well with this space, and even need to thin out the Brown-Eyed Susan. I might take some of it out and plant it at the Rectory to cover some of the bare spots in the garden. It'll spread. They seem to be hardy enough to tolerate being dug up now and stuck somewhere else. And the rectory has a nice little garden area right at the front door. It'll look sweet. Especially since it's another maintenance-free(ish) plant. I'll get the hostas from Church Lady Across the Street and by the time we have a new vicar, he or she will have a low-maintenance garden. 

I haven't seen any caterpillars on the dill yet. I need to get some of the heads in the freezer, and some of the fronds, so that we have them for later this year. 

Not to shabby for a shabby garden... Or maybe I call it "shabby-chic" natural landscaping. Now, to get Hubby to get rid of the ENTIRE lawn on the one side. Hmmmm...

Mother Nature's Glory...

On the way home from yoga last Sunday night, I saw this coming out of the studio. I haven't seen a thunderhead like this in a while. 

It just kept building and the way the light was hitting it - it was beautiful! I knew it was a portend of storms later that night (and I was right - about 10:30 or so), but it was still stunning. 

I live in a suburb. We do have farms around us, so there's a lot more "open" than most people appreciate. But there's not as much open as when I was a kid. And there's no where near enough "open" for me right now! So to see this, it was pretty spectacular. 

I've been noticing the sky and we of course noticed the full moon on Sunday. It was a "buck moon" - the moon in the month where the male deer are supposed to have finally grown their full rack. I've also heard it referred to as a "blessing moon," so I guess you could go either way. It turned into a lovely creamy gold on the way home, and I was able to pull into the middle of the street (no, I don't live in Mayberry, but it's close!) and snap this through the windshield. I thought it would be really creepy if I just got out of the car. Though the folks on this block are kind of used to me slowing down to snap a full moon. This is a block with some amazing old trees and in the fall? A harvest moon through the bare branches? Yes, I'm stopping. 

At any rate, I was up late with the dogs, and I was knitting (as usual) and thinking about how, lately, I've got time to notice things. I mean, I've always been a bit of a sky-gazer. Love cloud formations. Love to see what the weather is doing. But lately, I do seem to have time to breathe. And it feels good. 

Knitting...

I've turned the heel and I've closed the gusset. Now I'm doing the gusset decrease. Unless you're the Yarn Harlot and prefer matching socks, it gets a little weird with the self-patterning yarns around this spot. The grey and light-grey stripes, as you can see, are much larger, and the white/black, and grey/blue patterned areas are going to be a bit wonky. 

But I don't care. They're usually going to be fraternal-ish when it patterns like this. And it's close enough. 

Actually, with a 7" leg and a foot length of about 9", there's enough yarn to make them match. Maybe one day I'll do that. But at this point, I just want to plow through them and get them done. I may do another star toe. I like that. Though that usually works better with a variegated yarn rather than with this kind of a bold pattern. 

After this, I get back to the Sole-to-Sole sock, to finish that one, and then get back to the sweater. 

Socks are awesome because they're portable. As long as it's a fairly simple pattern, it's great lunch-time knitting and great "wind down from your day" knitting. And you make quick progress, even though sometimes ribbing takes FOR. EVER. For 2" or so. Like the last 2" before you decrease for the toe! (Sock humor - just trust me on this...)


Reading...

And then there's this. I'm going to be snarky now. 

How in the name of Heaven do some people get published? She thanks her proof-readers. Who must've been family. Because I've found a half-dozen errors. And I'm not liking the formatting. 

It's a crime novel. Please. No footnotes. Ever. 

And by the way: Italicize the titles of TV shows -- since your main character is a TV addict, you might've wanted to check that little rule. Or your publishing house editor should have caught it. 

I might need to bring this one to church. I know several folks who'll get a kick out of it. 

I mean, so far, it's engaging, but the mistakes? They're driving me nuts. Maybe this is another reason for me to email these authors and say, "Hey, I'm a totally anal proof-reader and I'd love to make you look 100 times better than what this looks like."

Too much? 








Friday, July 07, 2017

No Outrage?

I know we have lots and lots of big issues to worry about. The Nectarine Nitwit is loose in Poland. Poland is going more and more conservative - which is scary in itself. Paul Ryan has decreed that women "must wear sleeves" because apparently OUR "right to bare arms" is scandalous. 

But where's the Twitterverse outrage? Where are the "shocked" reporters because Melania met the president of Poland and his wife in a (hang on, folks, it's a doozy) SLEEVELESS dress? 

Michelle Obama's (flawless and) bare arms generated comments flying right past misogyny to racist, vile and cruel (ape, anyone?). 

Yet Melania wears a sleeveless dress and everyone is all, "Ohhhhhhhh, Neiman Marcus!"

Oh, and Neiman Marcus... Jeeze. I remember walking through there. Nothing I could afford. I mean, I get it. Jackie O wore Halston (the pillbox hats) and her wedding dress was designed by an African American designer who was told, on the day of the wedding, to go to the service door because she was black... Though Jackie had a serious Givenchy addiction, and JFK wanted her to wear American designers. 

Which Michelle did. And Jackie, too. Not sure about Melania, and frankly, haven't been paying attention. And honestly, I don't particularly like this dress. Maybe without the red thing at her hip? I don't get the purple suede shoes, either. 

I'm just kind of stunned because there's been no huge outcry about the clothing Melania's wearing. 

Maybe they're all just happy she's wearing clothing... 

Jackie Kennedy's Wedding Dress
I'm not "slut-shaming." She made some pretty risque choices, and you know what? It's all fair game. She knew what she was marrying and what she was being bought for. 

I'm news-fatigued. There's so much bad crap going on. There seems like there's not enough rope, and Nectarine can just keep on keepin' on and cozying up to Vlad and we do.... Nothing. 

I guess the good news is, Illinois has a budget. We have a long, long way to go. There's a lot that needs to be done to make this state a decent state to live in again. I read Tammy Duckworth's post on this and I can cheerfully tell you that I would have no patience with politics. I realize she must have the hide of an elephant because some of the comments are absolutely nasty. 

How can you accuse a US Veteran of not supporting the country? She gave her legs for it. If you're going to say that John McCain supports this country, you have to give Tammy Duckworth her due. If you don't, then you must be a conservative, because they've got one crazy warped lens with which they view the world... 

Saturday Plans...

So Kid #2 and I are not making the annual vacation trip. If we had, I doubt we'd have gone back to Oxford. We might've tried to hunt up Emily Dickinson. Be that as it may, we didn't plan a trip this year. He was going to go to visit Kid #1 or go to Alaska to visit another friend, but since he's decided to move, he's not doing much travel. 

The Dove bite I had this morning is amazingly prophetic... 

We're going to visit Centuries & Sleuths, a phenomenal bookstore...I've been wanting to take him there anyway, and since I'm not teaching tomorrow morning, off we go. It's an independently-owned bookstore I've talked about before. 

They have a number of writing groups who meet there, and many author meet-and-greets. I actually met Sara Paretsky and had a conversation with her! 

You don't get that at Barnes & Noble. At least not in the ones around my town! 

So we'll probably find somewhere to have lunch (where I can chew something?) and see what we can see in the shop. I do need to get the first Grantchester mystery. I have to say, James Runcie can ignore a contraction like William Faulkner can ignore basic punctuation. 

I'll also say that while I like the "Grantchester" series on PBS, I like the more gentle tone of the novels. James Norton is drop-dead handsome, but I like the way Runcie is treating the story line far better. I won't do anything to spoil anyone's enjoyment, but I will tell you to pick up the novels. 

Knitting...


Continues. The sock is coming along. I was kind of "ho-hum" about the color changes, but it's given me a jolt with the blue stripes. Rather reminds me of one of the Chicago Cubs uniform choices. Minus the red accents. Maybe I should've picked up some red yarn and knitted that in every inch or so? 

Anyway, this is coming along ok. I hope to alternate it between the other Sole to Sole sock (to finish that pair) and the sweater. It's going along quite quickly because it's just plain. 

I think I'm liking the 16-row rib. I've never done that. I have actually (I'll confess) skimped on the ribbing because it's so stinking dead-boring, even while it's necessary. I mean, you've gotta hold up the sock, right? 

I've caught up on my 2 main knitting blogs, and I should revisit some of the others, just to see if I'm still interested. The Panopticon, though? I think Franklin has dropped that entirely now that he's busy teaching and writing regularly for Lion Brand Yarns. It's a shame. I loved his blog. 

Star Trek Original...

Just a quickie: What the heck - from this distance in time, what in the world were they thinking with those women's uniforms? I get that they were "advanced" for their time, but crikey. 

Cheeseball story lines, and Kirk always wins, but I'm looking at a woman wearing a "wrap top" that's barely staying on... Just heard one of the male leads say to the female lead, "As a scientist yourself..." -- all the while, the "scientist" is dressed in a butt-skimming blue number with a scoop neck and scoop back. 

It should be about more than the clothes (see the beginning of this blog). But still - women are always judged on their appearance. And it's not usually kindly. 

Random Picture...

Dinner tonight. Pulled pork and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Don't judge. I do the pulled pork myself. And I felt like Kraft Mac & Cheese. It's all "mushy" and the rubber bands are bothering me today for some reason. I double-checked and they're on the correct teeth. 

But all day today, it felt like my teeth weren't "quite right." I'm pretty sure it's because they're actually moving, but it's very disconcerting to feel that during the day, when you're speaking or even when you're not. 

I've also begun (again) "chomping." Today, I woke up with a bit of an achy jaw. So, moving teeth, chomping jaw... Yeah, that's a recipe for an interesting Friday. 

Back to the sock. I'm feeling like at least that's on a roll! 






Thursday, July 06, 2017

Random Ramblings...

1.  When you have an idea for a blog, you should blog. Don't assume you'll remember it. Because you won't. 

2.  I wrote a song in my head at 4 a.m. this morning. I don't write songs...For some reason I thought I'd remember THAT too. 

3.  I haven't. 

4.  Could the US be any more embarrassed? The Nectarine Nitwit just said, in POLAND, for God's sake, that it must've been "tough" to be invaded by the Soviets and Germany. Oh good grief! And they're apparently having to pay crowds to show up for him. Because, you know...tiny hands, large ego.

5.  Illinois...The Board of Elections says it's taking a "long, slow" look at the demand from the Fraud Fruitcakes. Oops - I mean the "commission" to look for "fraud" because, you know...tiny hands, large ego. They finally got the letter because the "commission" sent it to the wrong department. We've flooded Springfield with our very strong suggestions that they tell the "commission" to go jump in the lake.

6.  Illinois, #2...the legislature has voted to increase taxes. No surprise. The governor has sworn that this is a "2x4 in the face." Madigan needs to lay down and actually die - he's been in power 30+ years, and kinda reminds me of a zombie. Rauner needs to understand that, until and unless Madigan lays down and dies, he (Rauner) isn't going to get what he wants. The state has taken one small step to avoid being the first in the nation to have "junk bond" status. Lucky us. Jailing governors and being broke...it's a legacy of sorts. I think the taxes suck, but if you look at the taxes around us? We're just about on par with neighbor Indiana - who also told the "commission" (see above) to take a hike. Yes, there's a better solution. No, I don't have a clue what it is. Yes, we've dug our own hole here. No, I have no idea how to get out of it. Yes, I'd like to leave the state. No, I probably won't. 

7. Back to reading Faulkner. I just can't get on with "It Can't Happen Here." That one is by Sinclair Lewis, and I've been plowing through it since January. And I just can't. I really. Just. Can't. If you wonder why, pick it up. Sinclair Lewis is amazingly relevant. Berzelius Windrip reminds me of someone. Someone Nectarine. Read the parts about the 15 promises. If it doesn't send a chill up your spine, then you're either a member of "the base" who'll believe the swill coming from the un-drained DC swamp, or -- you're dead. Or - you may be very wealthy and above the fray we mere mortals have to deal with. Either way. Check your pulse and your privilege. 

8. The vanilla sock is coming along. It's great to have a mindless knitting project. I was jacking with my sister, who has to go to a shower (neither of us are much on baby showers, and particularly the games - we love to give the mommies the gifts, but we'd rather skip the whole "let's taste and identify the baby food" stuff). I don't have to go because I haven't been invited. And I'm not heartbroken. And I'm tickled that I don't have to crank out baby knitting. So I can concentrate on the socks and the sweater. And maybe crank out a few washcloths this summer. I'm still trying to get through some of the stash, and these projects will help. 

9. I have at least one more sweater I want to try. It's a plain, more of a t-shirt thing. It's a cotton-silk blend yarn, and I have a lovely chocolate brown for it. That will be nice - it's where the seams are "showing" as an element of the design. I started it a while ago in a beautiful grass-green, but I "outgrew" the size (I got heavier). I'll have to pull out the green one and see what it looks like - maybe now I can actually fit in it. If I remember, the green one is about 2/3 done! I set it aside when I gained the weight. 

10. Hubby got a bumper for the "heart phone." When we got it, we did get the gorilla glass, but there wasn't any kind of case available, and I have the heart monitor on the back, so I couldn't put an Otterbox or anything on it. Well, I dropped it one too many times, and the gorilla glass did its job. It shattered, not the screen! Hubby did find a bumper made for this model, and I can still do all the stuff with it. And still record the daily EKGs. Everything's fine. I'm just making sure it stays that way. It's cute and it's such a bright red that even I should be able to find it at the bottom of one of my more bottom-less purses! It's a small phone, and it tends to disappear in the nether regions of whatever bag I'm currently carrying. 

11. I switched to a slightly smaller purse. Let's see how this works! It'll fit my Kindle, but not my knitting. But I needed to lighten the load. How did I imagine I actually needed all of that stuff? And how am I going to function now that I'm not carrying it?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Fourth of July Frustration...

...This is my "not favorite" holiday of the year. The only bright spot is that the moronic pyromaniacs haven't been shooting off their stupid boomers since Memorial Day. Which has happened in the past. I will say that it's mid-afternoon and sunny - and they're just starting. You can't even SEE the sparkles so what the ????? 

I'm exhausted. Quinn's been throwing up for two days. Hubby and I are snapping at each other because we're taking the dogs in shifts, and it's getting old. 

And we're not upset at the dogs. We're upset that people are so oblivious. The town next to us has really cracked down, and they've actually arrested people and fined them $500 each for possession of illegal fireworks. On the other hand, while our city is patrolling, they missed an obvious pick-up. The kid across the street actually tossed a big boomer, and the smoke was still in the air as the cops pulled past the house. And they didn't stop. 

What does it take? Someone blowing off their fingers? Maybe. 

We've tried the Thundershirt. We've tried Benadryl. We've tried Pulsatilla (a homeopathic remedy). I massage them with lavender essential oil, and I've got it diffusing now. 

So far, Quinn's still hiding in the bathroom. Tippi's out here by me, snoozing before the late-night barkfest. Raisa is out with Hubby on a walk, to blow off some steam before the "festivities" start. 

For several years, I've really hated the Fourth of July. Actually, since Quinn became so spooked by the noise. I can handle Tippi barking - though that's only been in the past few years. Quinn's been really awful at this time, and we've tried everything we can think of. 

I'm actually ordering some CBD oil. Yes - I'm putting my dog on canabanoids. A friend of mine uses them for her dogs, and has had really good results. I need to do something because when you see your dog trying to crawl behind the toilet, when her pupils are dilated, when she's drooling like crazy, and now spending days barfing? It's time to do something more. 

I've ended up putting her in her crate early each night. Set the diffuser up in the kitchen, draw the drapes, crank up the fan for some white noise. And hope for the best. 

CBD oil is derived from hemp - it's pot without the THC. So it should relieve her anxiety and aggression issues (particularly with Raisa - and come to think if it, it might help Raisa with HER aggression issues) and it won't zonk her out like doggie valium. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Knitting...

Yes, it's another pair of socks. The sweater was getting heavy. Though I might switch back to it tonight, as long as I'll be up with the dogs anyway. 

This is a plain vanilla pair. I have a 15-row rib going on and then plain sailing through the rest. It's OnLine self-patterning. I've never used it - I actually won it in a raffle, and so I'm trying it out. With this kind of "busy" yarn, plain is best. Maybe a rib down the side, or K6 P2? But for the most part, let the yarn do the talking and skip the fancy stitching. 

And on top of that, it's kind of a brainless knit. The yarn is in a grey/black/blue/white colorway, and it looks like it'll knit up nicely. It got great reviews from my online (ha) sock knitters group, and they said it wears like my favorite: Opal. 

I like the way it's working up now, and I think it's going to be a nice "basic" sock - I mean, not my usual "wildly" patterned colors, but something I can wear like the grey variegated ones that I have. I may also try the "Strong heel" variety again. That worked up nicer than I thought it was going to. 

And the sweater is just going along. Like I said - not being a speed-knitter, I can't show you a "front" today, a "sleeve" tomorrow...I'm just plugging along. 

Go Cubs Go...

So yeah, this happened at Mass this past Sunday. My friend L officiated at the wedding of his niece and her new husband. This is what they gave him. Of course it's a replica. A very good replica. And it weighs a stinkin' ton! 

The women's version that I saw - and there was only one, which is really not cool - was a wimpy-looking thing that resembled a high school ring. This is something that they need to remedy because there are quite a few women fans. Many of us have been fans for a long, long while, too. 

But apparently, the ring can't be downsized? I mean it is rather a hunk of gaudy stuff - but I wonder if they could've modified it? Either way, it was rather thrilling to have even a replica. 

I mean really: A World Series ring. With a Chicago Cubs logo. The first in over 100 years. And I was able to, even with a replica, put it on my finger. 

Yes!  

Everyone's freaking out because they're 41-41 now. Relax. By this time, normally, we're rolling up the grass on the infield. This is an extraordinary time. Last year? Indescribable. Wonderful. Wonder-filled. Awesome. Can we repeat? Well, I don't know. I think so, but then I've been a Cub fan my whole life. I always think "This year!" 

This year, we have all the talent. We just have to get it together. It could happen. If the front office lets Maddon be Maddon, and then perhaps lets him get the players he needs? We'll be fine. And I have the feeling that even if the just let him do him? We'll be fine. 

Random Picture...

This is the lily garden next to the spot where we do garden yoga. The flowers are in bloom and the garden is shaping up nicely. Next week is "Art in the Garden," so I'm not sure if we'll be outside. I have to call them. If they're setting up for that lovely event, I'm pretty sure they're not going to want us around. 

Our own garden is doing well, too. The brown-eyed Susan and cone flowers are now in bloom. The dill is growing. The bee balm is bright and beautiful. Lavender and Salvia are adding pops of purple to the patch. We have a few gazing balls out there, and Hubby will put up the one bird bath. The hummingbird feeders have attracted a bit of an audience, so I'm looking forward to a lot more traffic in the coming few weeks. 

Our own day lily "fence" around the front yard is coming along, though we could use a little thinning out. 

Back to knitting. Gotta get a leg on that sock! Happy Fourth of July - if you're celebrating. Me? 

I'm trying to keep dogs calm. 



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

And The Beat Goes On...

...so did you think of Sonny and Cher there? See, here's what happens with a sweater that's "big person" sized and not baby-sized. 

It can, in certain circumstances, take forever and show nothing that looks like progress, even when progress has indeed been had. 

Ah well. Suffice to say that I am actually progressing on the February Lady Sweater. 

However, I did take some time to put in 4 or 5 rows on the Sole to Sole sock, #2 of the pair. It was about time. 

Orthodontist...

So here's the sock. Or at least the top few inches. I had taken this picture (sans sock) a few months ago, but I hadn't done anything with it. 

When I took the picture yesterday, the woman sitting next to me, who I thought was glued to her cell phone, looked up and just gave me "that" look... "what a kook" - you know the look. 

Or if you're not a knitter, who likes to KIP (Knit In Public), perhaps you're not familiar with it. It's a "whoa - is that knitting??" or "what is this thing with all those sharp sticks bristling out of it?" look. I think the woman was just amazed that I'd put the sock on top of the model of braces. 

By the way, the "ancient braces" on the right side of the top (as you look at it) - those were what I had when I was a kid... 


And...

I've got some new toys to play with. 

Rubber bands. 

Orthodontic rubber bands. That I have to wear 24/7. For at least the next 6 weeks. 

I am not jazzed. 

I spent last night wanting to vomit because my mouth felt like I'd been whomped on with a 16" softball (which, in my youth, actually did happen when my sister threw a wild pitch).

I don't know if you can see it, but in the one "brick" colored package, there's this little hooky-thing. Since I have limited movement in both hands, I asked my tech "how in the name of God am I getting these things on??" 

She gave me hooks to use. Thankfully, they work, but I still feel "all thumbs." And I spent last night sitting up on the couch trying to sleep. 

That being said, I do feel better today. And I think I might be able to sing on Sunday, which was a concern for me yesterday, I have to tell you! I thought, 'Ok, here goes another 30 lbs.' because it seriously hurt so bad that I really didn't think I'd ever adjust. 

But it's ok. I'm not thrilled; I'd love to yawn! But apparently, it was in the plan. Somehow, I didn't recall that part of the conversation. 

They want you to eat with these, so "when your jaws move, you get the pull that makes the bands work better." They're (a) assuming you can open your mouth; and (b) you can chew! But I wear a bite splint during sleep. I'm a chomper.

That's different than a "grinder." I don't grind. I clamp down. My dentist says that "in another life" I was probably a wolf! Anyway, 4 cracked molars, TMJ and migraines later, I got a bite splint. So, my point is, I've continued to use one, even with braces. My jaw, after the past decade or so, is now mostly "trained" to open. 

So picture the bands, already being held open, all night, by my pre-trained jaws... I'm doing the work, believe me! 

It's to correct an overbite - which I never realized I had. And remember, this is Round Two of braces. Of course, my old orthodontist wasn't the "latest and greatest," so I'm not surprised. 

Bats in the Belfry...


Well, we don't have a belfry in the church. But we do have a bat. He's a young one and he was in church this past Sunday. Threw everyone into a tizzy, but aside from crapping on the wall (which was there, thank you, BEFORE the choir started to sing!), he just kinda hung out through the whole service. 

The church is in a very old neighborhood, so it's not surprising that he made his way into the building. 

I didn't think I'd have to bring the "big camera" to church! Obviously, taken with cell phone... and he created quite a buzz during the passing of the peace. 

Hopefully, he got himself out of there. I suppose we'll see this Sunday. 

We are still in the "search mode" for our permanent vicar. I'm hoping that the search committee comes up with some good candidates. I think that we'd like to have some closure on this. On the other hand, I don't want them to rush the process. 

This is all unique to me - as a Catholic, we took whoever showed up. We got no choices. And yeah, you can argue till the cows come home that that's a good system. Or not. Given that our bishop was one of the "movers" in the whole pedophile scandal. 

We'll see how this goes. I'm not used to getting a choice. It's an interesting process. 

This is Why it's Raining...

I washed the car. Or more correctly, had the car washed. After I went to get myself "wired up" (oh, yeah - got new wires, too! double the fun), I went to the local Meijer to pick a few things up, and I needed to get the car washed. 

In the parking lot where I work, it seems like every bird in town loves my car.

And I knew this was going to happen. The rain, I mean. I probably should've just let Mother Nature wash off the bird crap, but I couldn't. It's nice to see the car in its original color - for a while at least! 


Random Picture...

It's actually a video. I got my new Dessert Mist diffuser. It's interesting. It has 3 modes: High, Low, and Intermittent. The "low" setting goes for a full 8 hours. The light function is kind of amusing. It cycles through colors, or you can hit the "light" button a certain number of times for holding on a specific color. Or you can shut the light off and the diffuser can stay on. Thankfully!

The Rose diffuser, the "entry level" one that so many of us have, doesn't have the "lights off" feature, that I can find. I even read the instruction manual! So this kind of replaces the one of mine that died on me. I have to try to get it fixed, but otherwise, I have this one. Kid #2 took my one spare. 

I use the Dewdrop in my bedroom. That one goes for about 6 hours, and you can also turn the light off. It's easy to use, too. I'm using distilled water. My friend G uses tap water, but I figured that, since our city water isn't fantastic, I could spring for distilled. I wish those water dispenser things in some grocery stores did distilled, though. I feel guilty using up all the plastic, even though we recycle. 

I haven't opened up the insect repellent yet. And I have a new blend from the Convention, "Fulfill Your Destiny." That's an interesting one. I have to see how it smells both diffused and on the skin. 

I'm enjoying learning more and more about the oils. Young Living Essential Oils provides us with a great deal of learning opportunities and there's so much support. They're the real deal. If you want to learn more, leave a comment. Seriously, go for the best. Those oils you see popping up everywhere? Just people climbing on the bandwagon -- kind of like the "lately" Cub fans! 

As a Young Living distributor, I can help you with your knowledge and with wonderful products. Don't settle for less. You deserve the best.