Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mr. Squirrel, You're Not Getting the Point...

As I was up at just-after-dark:a.m., after taking the dogs out for their morning ablutions, I looked out my kitchen window while my water was heating for the morning tea.

This is what I saw... If you click on the picture to make it larger, you'll notice that all my herb plants have screens on them. That was to keep the squirrels out - the little buggers like to dig to plant sunflower seeds. So I thought I was pretty clever. 

Squirrel on the wire
This guy, however, (before I grabbed my camera) was looking right at me...Sitting up on his hind legs. Now, these things are sharp! I just grabbed one yesterday to cut some tarragon. I walked quietly away, grabbed my camera and shot this through a kitchen window with screen, so it's not as sharp as I'd like. By the time I came back to shoot, he turned around. Flicked his tail. And scampered off. 

He obviously "didn't get the point" even though he was sitting right on it!

And then the other day, we brought in all the birdfeeders - at least setting them on the porch, in anticipation of yet another major t-storm. Kid #2 put one on the porch and I didn't think anything of it. I had put a couple there after I filled them. I ran an errand, and then since we didn't have another storm, I figured I'd put them back on their hooks. Walked out to the porch to see one of the more "open" ones dumped over. 

"What???" Then I saw it. A chipmunk. Little stinker had tipped the thing over and was porking out on the seed! He scampered away and there was really nothing I could do. I grabbed a dustpan and just tossed the seed onto the lawn. They may as well enjoy it. 

Cooking: So today I made sort-of-Italian chicken in the crock pot with my own canned sauce. I cut up peppers and chunked an onion. Layered that on the bottom, snipped 2 large sprigs of Rosemary, grabbed some basil and layered the chicken, the herbs and the sauce. Added salt & pepper, added about 10 oz of water and slapped it on "high." Made some pasta that Kid #2 brought home and we just ate that for dinner. Got enough leftovers (or "plan-overs" like they used to tell us as Tupperware sales-ladies) for the week.

Now I have to do about a bazillion dishes. I want my dishwasher fixed!! Even if I can't put every single thing in, it would certainly cut down the load, right?

Knitting: On the decrease on the last Robin's Nest sock!! We may have a pair by next week. I have one gripe: Either I've slept on my hands funny, or I need to take a break with a pair of larger needles. My thumb hurts. That hasn't happened since I recovered from the surgery. Urgh.

Dogs: So far today, the dogs have been out of their "restraints." Quinn's been out of the Thundershirt (which we were using to keep her cysts from getting oozy on the furniture. Tippi was in The Collar of Shame. But so far, she's left her leg alone. 

However, tonight, they'll be in their "suits" because I'm not interested in staying up all night keeping tabs on them! Oh, and they're blowing their coats. Big time. 

Work: I have my "too long meeting" tomorrow, then I assist at a yoga class. I also have to plan the sequence for Tuesday's class. And figure out what I want to do for Wednesday's class. Now that I'm teaching it instead of taking it, I do have to get more disciplined in actually doing the yoga practice.

And at training next week, we have our first quiz. Of course, they're not going to flunk us, but nevertheless, I do have to study. It's all based on homework, so I should be ok if I just review everything. Although I enjoy the training, and this weekend will be observing (I don't invert...), I'm tired. I'd like to be done with it. I have to catch up on one workshop I missed, and then I can get my 200-hour certification.

Well, I'd be interested to hear what y'all are doing for July 4. I'm going to be trying to keep 2 dogs calm. They're not fond of fireworks. And our neighbors are, unfortunately, idiots. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Socks and More...

So, I'm going to try to be more consistent on the blogging thing... 

We managed to escape any t-storms last night; today, it's clouding up a bit (and will most likely break loose about the time we take the dogs out the door to the vet) and there may be t-storms. I got brave, though, and put all the feeders back out and put the gazing balls back into their holders. 

And I hit the LYS for one skein of sock yarn. Go ahead. Laugh. So the LYS is having a KAL. (Translation: The local yarn store is having  a knit-a-long) And the yarn they're using is Trekking XXL - a sock yarn. The KAL benefits Ovarian Cancer research, so the color is Teal and it's called Susanne. It's really pretty - a bright pop of color. 

The KAL is for a toe-up sock. Ain't happening; I'm going to do my own pattern - well, someone's pattern that I like. I think it's crying for a great leg; perhaps a little simple lace, or a chevron. The nice thing about the yarn is that there's a TEN DOLLAR donation PER BALL of yarn to research. That's phenomenal. 

I have 2 very simple patterns; and I might just do the swirly rib that I'm using for Robin's Nest. Sure, it's the same pattern, but what do you want to bet that it looks totally different in a solid? 

The Collar of Shame
Tippi got The Collar of Shame last night. She was messing with the site of the pain patch. They removed the patch, but she's sensitive to the adhesive, apparently, and it irritated her skin. I tried to just be stern, but it didn't work, and I wasn't going to stay up all night making sure she didn't mess with the irritated leg. So this happened around midnight. She tried the "stink-eye." Then she tried the "sweetheart" -- and then she gave up. This picture was taken in her favorite hideout: my bathroom. She got it off to eat, but it's now back on. What happens is that she gets grumpy and then she figures out it's a good pillow. We go to the vet for the next bandage change; she's not bothering her incision at all. Thank goodness!! 
Cascade Heritage Silk

So, what else did I get at the LYS? Lots of Opal. I love the colors and it wears like iron! Here's what I have: Opal Sweet & Spicy, in colorways as shown on the pictures. Also, I've wound up the Cascade Heritage Silk. I was going to change to another yarn for G's scarf, but looking at the Heritage, I really want her to have silk. I added this to Ravelry, so you need to go there to find the pattern. The pattern is called Lettuce Leaf Scarf, by Janice Lynn for Madelinetosh. You can also go to the actual Madelinetosh site to find this; it's a free pattern. 

I'm noticing a lot of blue so far! Yikes! 

Opal 6752
Now for the Opals. They're all, as I said, in the Sweet & Spicy variety. I loved what 6752 looked like in the picture. There's a nice tweediness in the heel if I follow their pattern. Either way, it's a very pretty sock that would be good in a clog or even just a Birkenstock. I know - socks with Birks is cheesy. But I'm spending $20 per ball here, people... I want to show off my socks!

Opal 6755
The next one is 6755 - a very nice spring-ish green pattern with hints of taupe. What I like about this one is the variety of colors in this one, and how it's got that pop of orange in it. I think I can still use my size 2 needles. It can go down to a size 1, but I knit fairly tightly on the DPNs, so I don't have trouble doing a few rows and see how it looks. 

I did for grins just buy another set of DPNs - bamboo ChiaoGoo. Not my favorite, but just in case I delay putting the scarf on needles, I wanted a spare set of DPNs in the smaller size to get cracking on socks. At some point, I'll have to go order another set of Kollage. I do have some Kollage size 1 circulars...Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe I should just do one of these in Magic Loop? There's a thought.  

Magic Loop would certainly work better on this kind of yarn rather than the hiking socks that I tried it on! I have the basic idea, so it shouldn't be that hard to just wing it. It's only yarn. All I can do is try. If it doesn't work, I'll frog it. 
Opal 6757

This Opal 6757 was the first one I actually purchased; this was acquired about 3 weeks ago. It's a great fall colorway and I love the star anise on the label. Maybe that's what the German means? Who knows? I can barely ask where the bathroom is in Spanish. And even if I asked, I don't know enough Spanish to understand your directions anyway. 

So as I go forward with these socks, I will be sure to keep you posted. 

I actually went ahead and listed some of my favorite knitting blogs on my site. I really like several of these and I admire the dedication of these folks to blog -- Every. Single. Day. I wish. I was doing that for a while, but I fell off the rails on it. Now I really do need to get back to it.

Oh, the Robin's Nest? I think I'll start the decreases this weekend. I'm at about 6.75" now, and I have to go to 7.5" before I start decreases. The straight knitting is a breeze. 

On the news hole...I've kind of skimmed. I just didn't want to go there. It looks like Gov. Quinn might veto the initial handgun bill in IL. Actually, I'd really like to smack the NRA nutjobs; the only thing Illinois did right was to have the ban. But now, noooooooooo - it's more important for people to carry guns, as opposed to listening to those of us who don't want to be collateral damage. 

On SCOTUS. I'm sorry, you can gut the Voting Rights Act, and call that "effective use of time" but the DOMA thing you're having a problem with??? Justice Scalia is a nitwit. I would have loved to see Justice Ginsberg catch Alito in the eyeroll. 

On Texas. Well. What can you say to a Governor who's willing to spend millions in taxpayer dollars to legislate vaginas, but who won't pass a jobs bill, then claims to be "passionately pro-life" as his state executes its 500th person. And who says of those executions, "I can sleep at night" and not worry whether they're all truly justified. Lovely. Not. 

So, what's on your needles? What are your summer knitting projects? What else can I add to my own WIP stack??

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Oh my. It's been a while and I've been busy, busy, busy. 

The Robin's Nest sock is coming along. I had a short burst of SSS (Second-Sock-Syndrome) where I actually didn't pick up needles for almost 2 weeks. It was staring at me, guilting me into picking it back up so it could be worn. I know it was. Socks do that. 

I did buy yarn for the Lettuce Lace scarf; I know - I don't need another scarf. And it's not for me. It's for my yoga teacher. I have to take a picture of it and get it on the Ravelry list. 

Hubby is off helping out his mom. Of course, that leads to all kinds of fun. So here's what happened. Tippi had a lump on her back right foot. We had it biopsied because she was worrying it. The biopsy showed "abnormal cells" and the initial pathology report said either "basal cell or melanoma" with a strong lean toward melanoma. Yikes!!

So she was scheduled for surgery. The day before he left. Of course. The DAY he left, Quinn decides that the 2 cysts on her back must burst. Now, you all know I'm a total wimp. I don't do blood, bodily fluids or the like. I'm a community barfer. You barf, I'm right there next to you. Not necessarily for support, but because I'll be barfing right next to you. 

Hubby cleaned Quinn up and suggested a visit to the vet. 

Then we had rain, hail, frogs and locusts. In about 10 minutes. The power was out from 6 p.m. Sunday night till 3 a.m. Monday morning. I had a migraine. Our neighbor across the street got his power back on in about 10 minutes after the microburst, derecho, or whatever they're calling it. 

I'm calling it a "Big Honkin' Storm." Luckily, I was a worry-wart and I'd removed all the birdfeeders, gazing balls, etc. and stowed them along with the patio furniture. "Patio furniture" being those molded plastic chairs we spray-painted along with 2 side tables. Not necessarily "good" furniture, but then we're not really "patio" people. It's just a place where I put my herb pots!

Oh, and the Super Moon.... (See how random this is? My mind is all over the place...) Oh, and I have a temporary crown that did NOT make me happy.

OK. Focus.

Crown: My former dentist (who shall remain nameless, but at whom I am EXTREMELY mad) somehow missed a fractured tooth. Actually, TWO fractured teeth. Molars. So my new dentist told me that at "some point" I would need crowns on both of them. Conveniently, one's on the left and one's on the right. So I did the left side first. That was the week before Hubby left. It hurt. Yes, I was numbed up, but it still hurt. The temporary is in and next month I get the permanent one. I'm going to try to put off the right side till September or so. Just to give myself a breather. 

Super Moon: The Super Moon coincided with what would have been my Granny's 100th birthday! We were able to see it Saturday, but by Sunday, the clouds came in. Granny taught me to knit and crochet, so in her honor, I spent a lot of the day Saturday knitting on the sock.  In between...

Shower cake
Cakes: Baked a shower cake on Friday for delivery Saturday. Baked a retirement cake Saturday for Sunday delivery. Seriously LOVE my Windows phone. Seriously HATE the camera, but again: we knew it had a crappy camera. So sorry about the quality of the pics, but you get the general idea. Here they are. The shower cake was for 30 people. Buttercream frosting, yellow cake, chocolate buttercream filling. Cornelli lace, which (amazingly) happened to match the napkins. Wilton didn't make a lime green tint, so this is Leaf Green with a touch of Lemon Yellow. 

And Hobby Lobby (auuuuuuuuughhh!!!) is getting away from Wilton product for some off-brand. Thanks, guys... Anyway, I felt sorry for the gal hosting the shower. She had planned a back yard shower, but the skies were already spitting and it didn't look good. So she was able to put it in her basement.

Which of course begs the question of my own basement, also known as The Pit of Despair. Crikey, we'd have a hard time sheltering from a tornado...but I digress and I need to focus. Anyway, she ended up hosting it there, and she said that the bride loved the cake. I was happy. 

Retirement cake
The retirement cake was for my fellow alto Sandy, as she retires from the education field. She had a big bash, and this was for 80 people. Chocolate fudge cake with raspberry filling. Now, you have to notice the crown. She told me she wanted pink as a color and that her theme was "Retire like a Queen." That was all the direction she gave me, aside from cake flavor and filling. 

The pans I managed to find at Hobby Lobby. They were the LAST Wilton pans; the new stuff is all the off-brand... (yes, I'm still stewing about that). The pan is called "Paisley" and they showed it with fondant, of course. I don't do fondant. 

I had to send The Kid out for an emergency purchase of disposable frosting bags. My plastic ones are really worn and I need to get restocked. 

I put edible glitter on the cake and headed to the Party Store for a crown. We had the party Sunday, and I couldn't stay long. Aside from that being the day of the Big Honkin' Storm, Tippi was still on pain meds, and I needed to keep an eye on her. Of course, while at the Party Store, I picked up a couple more headbands for Tippi - she has to look good for her therapy gigs!

Sandy's Party
So I get there to set it up, Sandy takes one look at it and squeals. She hollers at her hubby to "show [me] the decorations!!" and her hubby drags me into the dining room to see Sandy's decorations... Now remember, we didn't consult on this... And again, pardon the crappy picture... Yes. Crowns. Lots of them. People didn't believe we hadn't coordinated that. But Scout's Honor - nope. 

We were all sitting on her deck having a lovely conversation as the clouds rolled in. Those of us with smart phones were checking radar and one lady said, "Oh, look, blue sky; it'll blow over without a problem."

Well, then thunder...then PELTING rain!! Ended up with about 50 of us in her house. I drove home and noted areas that had flooded because the rain came down so fast and in such quantity. 

Storm(s): So Hubby's not home. The lights go out just as The Kid is making dinner - he was very proud of making dinner and very annoyed that we lost power for so long. Luckily, I have a candle addiction. We were trying to find a flashlight. Well, there was one. But no batteries. And mysteriously, the mag light happened to disappear. But we were relatively good sports about it. Power came on at 3 a.m. and I was fidgety all night. 

So how do you prevent future storms? You go the next day to Menard's and buy 2 lanterns and 2 flashlights, plus a whack of batteries. There were no storms Tuesday. See? 

Tippi: The doc removed the large lump. She's shaved up her leg, and was on a pain patch for the week. They did a pathology report and came back with NO CANCER!!! Yay!!! The vet did say that it was a good thing we removed it because it was "abnormal cells" and it could've gone either way. He said it could have been an old injury which got irritated, much like a pearl is created from a bit of grit in an oyster. She's gimping around a bit, but is getting back to herself, having pooped and now eating like a longshoreman. 

Other Knitting Blogs: I'm going to have to take a cue from other bloggers and link to blogs that I read. I have a list of new ones to check out. As soon as I figure out how to link them on this new version of Blogspot, I'll get them up there. I see The Panopticon, and Franklin is knitting a pair of bathing shorts. Man, if I hadn't used up all my vacation, I'd go on that cruise just to meet him and see the results. He sounds like a hoot, and his work is phenomenal. I do have his listed, and the Yarn Harlot. Just have to update it a bit.

Sadly, Mary Lynn Quilts and Knits is no longer. Our dear Knitwit friend Mary Lynn died from lymphoma in May. I wonder if she knew more than she'd say...she was, up till 2 weeks before she died, knitting furiously. 

OK, I think that's all. Whew. Yes, I have to get back to this. We haven't even touched on SCOTUS and all that stuff. But then, I deliberately went into a "news hole" on TV. I'm reading the Trib and skimming HuffPo, but I really, really don't want to dive into the cesspool. 

I'll get back to it. Just not now.