Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another Day...

OK. I'd say I was sorry for yesterday's rant, but I'm not. There it is. I'm sad because I was raised to believe America was "the greatest." But lately, I'm not feeling the "great." I'm feeling the "screwed." And I am not liking it... 

November is right around the corner. Educate yourself, get involved, help a candidate. Just do something. Otherwise, you've got nothing to complain about. Like Frank Zappa said (and I absolutely can't believe I'm quoting Zappa - Kid #2 would be so proud!): Modern Americans behave as if intelligence were some sort of hideous deformity.

Intelligence is what will get us through the crap and back to "great" - in my opinion. So, also in my opinion, it's best to find an issue which resonates for you and become an activist. Help others. Do something not for yourself, not because it makes you feel good, or will profit you in any respect. 

But do it because it's the right thing to do. If you don't get involved, you can't expect the next person to get involved. And then we're all sitting around a campfire somewhere, sometime, saying, "God, I don't know what happened." 

Well. It's your call.


Plugging away on the second sock of the KAL. Nothing to show at the moment, because I didn't bring it along. I'm on the gusset. It's a forever-lasting decrease, because I picked up more stitches on either side. I'm trying to eliminate the "holes" and I think I picked up far too many!! I can either do a series of decrease rows one after the other (with no Knit around in between) or just deal with the fact that on this sock, the gusset may be nearly as long as the foot!

For next week, since I have a campus full of cops, and to keep me away from the donuts, I'll be bringing the sock and the Blue Baby Sweater, which is near completion. 

After I get these socks done, it's back to Teal Sock #2. I've gotta get that thing done and over with! And then I'll work on the remainder of the WIPs. 

The Junk Drawer...

So I got on a cleaning binge, which didn't last long... and I cleared out the junk drawer that I have at work. I still need to prop up the leaning Norfolk Island Pine and clean out my in-box, which is right now my "hold your breath" box. But the junk drawer is done. 

I took about a gazillion pens home and threw out a bunch of stuff that managed to accumulate. Not sure how. Desk fairies, I think. 

But it feels better to have it more or less in order. 

Next will be the leaning pine and the desk. Our cleaning crew won't touch our desks, which is fine with me. But that means that every so often, I need to put every item on the floor just to give the top a decent clean-off. It's a "white" laminate desk, which is just boring and a pain in the butt to keep clean. 

Oh well. Complaining about it won't get it done.

Nokia Camera Phone...

So I've been playing with the phone's camera. It's the jazzy whiz-bang one. Here's some of the stuff I've been working with.

Bzzzzzzy guy
We have Prairie Blazing Star in our front bed. Which I didn't remember, but was reminded of by my gardening guru, Sue. I did tag it; we have 2 and they're in the front bed. As I stuck the tag in this one, my fuzzy brain detected a really, REALLY close-up BZZZZZZZZ.

It was this guy. Now, I was a good 3 feet from him after I nearly had a heart attack when I realized my hand was virtually on top of him. 

Lucky for me, he was intent on checking out each flower. And each spire. He wasn't afraid of me. I was more afraid of HIM!

So when I got inside, I played with the "crop" feature and this is what I got - a very clear shot and a really nifty frame, at least I think.

It won't beat the EOS, but for those spur-of-the moment shots, this camera is really nice. And I can carry it much more easily on my bike rides! 

Cemetery at sunset
The next shot is of the cemetery at Stateville Penitentiary. At sunset, after I was done teaching a yoga class. I didn't do much of anything with this one. But I thought the light was unique. 

If you click on it, you'll see the gravestones. And if you're anywhere close and have a thing for old burial grounds, you'll notice that each stone is marked with a "W" or a "C" -- the last grave was, I think, dug in the 1960s. And at that time, you can imagine not many relatives claimed the bodies. So they marked them with a "W" for white and "C" for colored. I'll have to get in there and take some pictures of the stones. It's sad but it's our history. 


Well. It appears that Atkins isn't for me. I lost the initial 5 lbs. or so. Then my weight loss stalled. All still in the Induction phase. So I read in the book, "If your weight loss is less than a pound a week, you may have reached your carb load."

I'm sorry. I'm not eating the same 6 things for the rest of my life. And according to this logic, I would basically never have fruit again. Can't do it. Doesn't make sense.

So I'm just eating "clean" and ramping up the exercise. Over the long weekend, Hubby and I took 2 long bike rides. 

Long for me, that is. He said he'd have been surprised if we did 2 miles the first day. We did 4. The day after that, we did 5. And Tuesday, I took a walk. Needless to say, I walk a lot slower, but I'm easing into this. 

Yoga is still my go-to, but I need the other activity - it's all about being well-rounded in exercise so as to not be "well-rounded" in body!

Anyway, I finally figured out the "fitness" app on the Samsung phone, and I did 1.1 miles. Lest you scoff, our neighborhood is hilly. So I took my time and I know I'll get back to my normal pace at some point.
Live Oak??

Brought the phone, obviously, and lookee what I found!! It looks almost like a Live Oak. I have to see if we even have those in Illinois. 

Obviously, I mean the middle tree, where the branch/trunk juts out toward the center of the lot. Click on it to see what it looks like. 

Very intriguing. 

So if the weather holds out (we're supposed to get t-storms), perhaps Thursday a.m. I walk again. Or hit the basement for the "elliptiKILL" as I call it. Either way, the exercise is making me feel loads better.

I think that we've finally got the heart Rx down and I can function; I'm not afraid of keeling over like I was before we got it figured out. So we shall continue to move forward and remember that "slow and steady" is the right way for me to go. 

Random Picture...

Yeah. It's yarn. Yeah, it's specifically SOCK YARN. And yeah, it'll be something some day. Perhaps lace socks. While I'm whipping through the "plain vanilla" and it's an excellent pattern, I'd like to do something with maybe learning cables or some sort of interest. 

I added it to Ravelry. I have to go through and actually look at what I've "stashed" and see if what's currently in the work bags is actually already logged. I know. It's freaky. But I like records. 

So anyway, at some point, there will be socks. Lots of socks, if The Stash is any indication. I don't even want to disclose... 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lost Our Collective Common Sense...

Memorial Day is NOT Veteran's Day. 

Just wanted to get that off my chest. Also, FYI, it's not the Fourth of July, so I would really appreciate the firework crazies taking a step back, please. 

And as Americans, we have, I believe, collectively LOST any vestiges of common sense we ever had.

Don't know if you've seen this on the news, but on Friday, May 23, a crazy kid killed people in Isla Vista, CA - 3 people in his apartment (he stabbed them) and then gunned down another 3 near the University of California at Santa Barbara. Why?

Because he said the women he killed "rejected" him. Oh, and they were whores, too... Of course. So, let's blame the women. Again. And let's blame the folks who choose not to carry weapons, because, you know, "good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns."

Except they don't. This kid had actually obtained his guns LEGALLY. He was able to get them because he didn't have a record. So much for screening, right? He had some pretty awful Facebook and YouTube screeds out there, moments before he went on his rampage.

Oh, and the big man -- killed himself. Because every killer channels Jimmy Cagney in "White Heat" - going out in a blaze of glory. (Apologies to James Cagney, by the way.)

The father of one of the victims asks a very pertinent question: "...what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?" Mr. Martinez, do you mean the dolts who blocked the legislation set forth after Sandy Hook, which would have extended background checks for gun sales and banned assault weapons - AND limited magazine capacities? --- Yep, all blocked by our intractable Senate in April of last year. Intractable because the NRA told them to block the legislation. Because they were afraid of losing their upcoming elections. Afraid that their corporate slave-masters ('cause let's be serious - it's out there already) wouldn't be pleased that they didn't obey... 

And then... Here's the kicker. Not-Joe, the Not-Plumber -- yep, that guy. He says, in a stunning moment of absolute idiocy: "Your dead kids don't trump my Constitutional right to have guns." Yep. He did it. Here.  

Go ahead. Take a deep breath. Try not to whack your head against a brick wall. 

This is total and complete: the collective insanity in this country in regard to gun laws. We cannot ever have a sane conversation about anything to do with guns. Because the legislators have been bought and paid for by the NRA and because the folks on the side of reasonable regulation are unable to be heard by the "oh-my-God-grab-your-panties-'cause-the-Black-Guy-in-the-White-House-is-gonna-take-your-guns" mantra.

And that has happened -- exactly NOT. But like Henny Penny, the good little NRA chickies run around with that song and dance and get to change the whole tenor of the conversation. 

A conversation that grown-ups need to have. Now. Before another shooting. Before the memory of this fades as fast as it usually does, particularly since in about a nanosecond, we'll all be concerned (greatly concerned, I might add) with the pics of Kim & Kanye... 

We as a nation used to be great. We're not great anymore. We're a commodity. Bought and paid for by special interest groups and rich white folks. (For the record, I'm white, but I'm not rich.) (And also for the record, my brother, whom I would do anything for, is a gun owner and we disagree mightily on this topic, yet somehow, WE are able to have a sane conversation. Maybe we should be running for office... except we're not rich.)

As a friend in England said to me this morning, "What is wrong with you people?" The only answer I can give her is that we've been purchased. And that 90% of us don't have a clue that we've been purchased. We've bought the party line and we're lined up like lemmings about to go off the cliff. Because we're told to. 

I'm all about activism. I'm hoping that I can educate people. And what I'm educating you on is your right at the ballot box and your right in the arena of free speech. Get out and learn about even ONE SINGLE ISSUE that's dear to you. And then go preach it. I honestly don't care if your issues are completely opposite mine.

All I want is a decent, logical discussion without rhetoric, hype or talking points. I want YOU to make your point to ME. And then I want you to allow me the same courtesy. Maybe, that way, we can become great again; when we start caring about what others have to say and how our actions impact others. 

It's not "all about me and my rights." Are you listening, Not-Joe, the Not-Plumber?? No, actually, YOUR right to wave your metal penis around does NOT trump the right of my kids to live.  

Sure. You can have your guns. And you can stay home if you're that "a-skeered" of the boogeyman, protecting what's yours. And letting the rest of us, the sane ones, live in safety from you and your guns. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Not Sure Where...

...the time went!  Hubby and I just had our 19th anniversary. It seems like "forever" and then it seems like "forever and a day" -- during good times and bad, right? We don't make a "big do" out of anniversaries. For one, our schedules are insane. And we have 3 dogs. And he has a 4 a.m. wake-up call... And my schedule can vary to where I'm either working all day, working the evening shift or coming home from work, grabbing a cheese stick and heading out to teach yoga. 

But we did do a little something. We bought some cranes. I will say I'm disappointed. Menard's has these "two in a box" with one SKU number... but they charge you FOR EACH even though the tag didn't say that. It was a bummer. But anyway, this is what's in the front garden now. 

Eventually, there will be gravel there; we're working on it. 

We did cranes for a specific reason. Cranes are in it for life. Once they pick a partner, they're done. We've had some hard times, and rough starts. But we keep re-starting. We keep working at this thing called marriage. He's my rock. I don't tell him that enough. 

I am always amazed that he's as crazy about me as he says he is. Why is that so hard? Well, I don't think I'm alone - it's a human thing, and probably more of a female-thing. I don't ever think I'm "enough." Pretty enough; slim enough; happy enough; you get the idea. 

But he's shown me that "in good times and bad; in sickness and health" really does have meaning. Deep, abiding meaning. 

And for that, a pair of cranes just doesn't seem to do it. But he understands. 

Happy Anniversary, Dear!!

Crappy Mow Job...

Sounds like a really bad porn movie, right?? Well, where I work, I'm next to an empty lot. It's owned by a company who owns a LOT of empty lots in our county. And the village where I work is VERY particular that you keep your property mowed. 

Last year, I had lots of fighting on my hands because they also own the lot on the other side of my building and I had a huge influx of "critters" due to their lack of maintenance. 

Imagine how happy I was to see the mowers. 

Then look at this. Really??? I could've bought a herd of goats or alpaca and the grass would've looked MUCH better than this. Plus, I'd have gotten yarn AND fertilizer out of the bargain, too... 

I suppose I should just say, "Okey-dokey - not my problem." And really, it's not. And the bug guy will be happy to see this. He's coming out next week. He was gracious enough last year to give me a second spray for free because of the "new tenants" I kept seeing for a few weeks last year. 

And -- there's good news. My Coral Bells have come back!! I bought these at the end of the season, for 99-cents at the local Ace hardware. That was after deer ate the petunias. The pansies. The lamb's ear. Apparently, they don't like Coral Bells. 

Coral Bells
But bees do. And these will throw off some lovely tall white-flowered spires later on. 

I would've sworn they had died off. Those concrete planters are on the north side of the campus, and after all the brutal winter weather, I figured I was going to have to hike off for more plants. 

But lookee!!! I'm so excited!

I had them for years on the north side of my house, but in a bucket, sort of on the northeast side where they got a little more light. They're lovely flowers and if you can pick some up, do so. They come in a couple different varieties and with luck, they last several years. 


Quinn & Raisa
Quinn and Raisa have come to a detente. As you can see, we no longer have exclusive rights to the couch. Well, we do, but we all know that it's too adorable when they want to sit there, especially together. 

For a while, we knew it was going to be a long process. Our patience has been rewarded. They've begun to play together more, and while we're still watchful, it's nice to see them developing a friendship. They make very good walking partners, as Tippi doesn't like to move fast and Quinn's a speedy little stinker. Raisa is the one who can not only keep up with her but probably outlast her. 

Raisa has become quite the vocalist. Every morning, I get a wake-up woooooooooo and every day when I come home, I get the Welcome Home Song. That's in addition to the "The Elkhounds are Singing, So I'm Doing Harmony" song and the "The Harmonica is Playing" song and our very favorite: "The Happy Toast" song. I'll have to get some of them on video. The other day when I was playing guitar, she started in, too, so maybe we'll have a "special screening" of her accompanying me. What a goof-ball she is!

Raisa is also doing quite well in Obedience. At least in class! I think we'll get Intermediate done with and then have her spayed. That'll get her over the rest of the summer, I think. It'll be interesting to see if we can keep the Red Husk-Cat Ninja away from her incision. The tube we used on the Elkhounds isn't going to be enough for this contortionist. It looks like it may have to be The Cone of Shame. 

That ought to be interesting. 

Sock KAL...

Sock KAL
So you know the Sock KAL is going along well. Sock #1 was done in a record 13 days. Yep. Thirteen days. By me. 

Go ahead. Fan yourself. My needles were practically on fire. I'm taking it a little more slowly on Sock #2, but Sock #1 won't have long to wait. Why is it that 1x1 ribbing takes forever??? Elizabeth Zimmerman used to say, "Knit the ribbing till you just about can't stand it, and then it's long enough." It works great on sweaters, but socks pretty much have to match. 

Except these won't exactly match. The construction will be the same, but I didn't want to waste the yarn to find the area closest to the beginning of Sock #1. It's a yarn that I'm not sure I can find again, and honestly, it's the same hank. If you're going to be that critical, then knit your own socks the way you want them. 

Isn't it enough that I'm knitting my own socks? I don't mean to be cranky, but occasionally on the knitting discussion sites, there are the "matchy" people and I don't happen to think that there's a strict rule about matching. Some yarns are really easy to match - I've seen some stunning, gorgeous, MATCHING socks. However, at least in my mind, if you have a ball of yarn that makes a pair, use it. Deal with the fact that even if you DID manage to find the starting point, unless you're doing 2 at a time, they're not going to be exact anyway. Every day you knit, you knit differently. Your state of mind, the weather, how you slept, how your hands feel... All of that impacts your knitting. My granny was a stickler for tension, so I'm usually ok with that, but as far as matching these?

This would drive her nuts. But she wouldn't have knitted this anyway. She'd have done argyles. 

Junk Drawer

Cleaning, first. I had a spare moment, so I dove into the Junk Drawer at work and got rid of a car-load of pens. I brought them home, because our house apparently devours pens in the night. It's a lot neater now. I keep the coffee machine money in there, and it was becoming a disaster area. 

Nothing big, right? But "spring cleaning" starts incrementally. At least for me it does!

I'm told that this is the Year of the Deck. Our back deck is pretty horrid and it needs to be replaced. I keep nagging suggesting that this be done sooner rather than later. I finally got an assurance that yes, this is the year it'll get done. Along with the gravel in the front bed, and cleaning up the south bed. The south bed is about 99% done anyway; we just have to get some landscape brick or other system to contain it and we'll be putting slate chips in there. It's too much to maintain a garden on that side, and it's muddy right now. I don't want to put grass all the way to the house, and Hubby thinks it's just an invite to mice. 

Pictures of any progress will follow. I promise. I don't think he'll let me do anything else. 

And... nothing says "spring" like the annual (sometimes 2x/year) pedicure! I should have waited, I guess, but I was able to get in on a day off, so I took advantage of it. It's a little spa down the way from my house, and they're very nice there. The technician and I spent most of the time discussing our dogs.

Spring Toes
The only thing I would say that I don't like is that there's not a huge array of colors to pick from. The spa across the way from my office is larger, and they're about the same price. With more colors.

I finally found some nice, dressy sandals that are comfortable and have support. They're a little "retro" but I like that. They're made by Earth, and I got them on sale at Zappos. 

I like the rose-red color of the polish, and it's pearlized. I like that better than the solids. I apologize in advance for the "winter white" skin, but that's about as good as it gets. I'm not a sun-bunny. I'm a firm believer in sunscreen, hats and staying in when it's the most likely to scorch me. 

Anyway, these sandals are going with me to our Zonta convention in Orlando. This June. Really. Orlando in June. Yeesh. Last time I went, it was San Antonio. In June. I gotta get somewhere more temperate!

Random Picture...

Stingray Toy
Raisa is a toy hog. Seriously bad, and we don't want to start a war. And most of them, she destroys. Or the squeakers drive us to distraction. 

This is a new one. The tail is already chewed (and it's rated 7-out-of-10 in "toughness"), but I expected that. What I like is that it's not only keeping her occupied, but the squeaker is there and quiet. So she gets her squeaks and we can hear ourselves think. 

It's from Fun Time Dog Shop, of course, and it's the "Ray-Ray Sting Ray" toy. Click on the link and browse. All profits go to rescues and you can pick from a very nice list she has. 

At some point, we're hoping to gradually go through the toy box and get rid of some of the more "loved" toys. If we put a few of them out there, then perhaps she'll share. If not, she's going to learn how to share anyway. 

She only THINKS she's in charge. But then again, every Siberian Husky does!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tea, Death, Knitting, Weddings...

Yeah, I know. What???

It's just kind of the order in which I think things will go in today's entry.


So on a normal day, I usually drink about 4 cups of tea. Two are "real" and the others are decaf or herbal.

Today, I'm going with one extra "leaded" cup, but I'm using a tea that Hubby brought home from a recent trip to MT.  Apparently, Montana having more elk than people, he actually KNOWS the gal who has the shop that creates this tea. He also bought some coffee from her. 

Normally, I like my green tea "straight" - maybe iced, but usually just hot is fine. However, I'm craving sweets today, and this tea has hit the spot.

It's loose leaf, and I did a double brewing. So the first cup actually was full-caf, and the second was way less. 

This is truly a "dessert" kinda tea. I mean, it tastes like an Almond Joy bar, minus the chocolate. I'm enjoying it. I don't think I'd do this iced - too cloying. But hot is nice.

Especially since today is grey and damp; nothing iced today. Except my salad this noon.

Speaking of salad, NOTE TO SELF: When you go to dismember an avocado, don't use the cheap-o knife!! I went to the grocery store a while back and needed a sharper knife than the one I had. And I should've just spent the extra few bucks. 

I have a sliced thumb, but it's nothing serious. Annoying, yes. Stupid, yep. But really - I'll live. 

Good knives save lives!!


I subscribe to The Sun magazine. It's lovely, a compilation of essays, articles, poetry and photographs. Kind of an expanded Atlantic without the snootiness. 

Katy Butler was interviewed, and she's got a new book out: "Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death." It's not at all morbid. It's about "That Conversation" that everyone should have. In several versions, actually -- because it truly does matter where you are on the age spectrum, and illness spectrum.

My family is pretty much "shoot me now" -- we don't want a lot of intervention. I've seen death, and I remember the line in the Irene Dunn movie, "I Remember Mamma" where she tells Kristina, "I want you should look on death so you are not afraid."

Well, I'm not jazzed. Slightly scared, but hey - by this time in my life, I've lost a parent, 2 friends, more than several acquaintances, all the grandparents, the great-grandparents, my father-in-law, and a sibling. That doesn't count a rash of great-aunts and a few cousins. Believe me, wakes were social events when I was a kid. I was lucky enough to have great-grandparents till I was in my teens, as did our boys. 

That doesn't mean I'm happy with my own mortality. Frankly, many days, it scares the crap out of me. 

But we've all had "The Conversation." My own kids have even had their own versions of that talk with us. 

Butler's book and interview in the magazine center around our country's cultural aversion to death and she specifically talks about her father's death, then her mothers, which was vastly different, mostly due to what happened with her dad.

It's a romantic, Hollywood idea to have a "peaceful death at home." It's not like it is in the movies. It's scary, overwhelming and sometimes harsh. 

But it's worse if you don't have The Conversation with your family. My sister, a former ICU nurse, has seen that side of it. She's encouraged all of us to talk about it, because she's seen the way most families are confronted by death, and it's not good. 

Yes, I have my funeral planned. Don't have a plot yet, but it's likely I'll go with cremation anyway and have the kids scatter my ashes. They're boys - they're not gonna want to haul around an urn. And I'm claustrophobic - don't necessarily want to be stuck in a cranny on a wall... (work with me here...). Though the columbarium of our church is a nice alternative. Either way, none of us is much on "grave visiting" so it won't matter whether I'm in a church or scattered along the banks of Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park. Nobody's gonna leave flowers somewhere for me. 

Plant a tree. Have a party. I'll appreciate it more. 


I'm not sure if I posted a decent picture. Yarn bowls are all the rage. Many are truly works of art and they're just lovely, handy items. When my mom's friends moved, they had a bowl I coveted. It's this one. It's hand-thrown and glazed. My mom's friend said she used it for watermelon in the summer. 

All I could think of was "yarn bowl!!" Kid #2 had made me one, but it was quite small - it's still handy enough, but this one holds a bit more. Normally, it's tucked under this table, because the canary is still alive and kicking, if not necessarily tweeting much. 

He does tweet, but only under duress. Anyway, once he goes, this table will go away, too. This window is where our Christmas tree usually sits; we've had it on the dining room table forever because (a) there's no room; and (b) then we had puppies... 

Anyway, back to the bowl. I did put "footies" under the bottom rim, so as to not scratch anything. But otherwise, I'm enjoying using this in an unusual way. It's a thing I look at every day and it's fulfilling its purpose as a vessel. Just holding yarn, not food!

Speaking of Food...

I saw this on Facebook. It's a really cute idea. I'm a total cookie-baker and so is Kid #2. This is a diagram on folding a plate to make a container. 

I do have lovely "holiday box" thingies to put cookies in, but they're all red/green and candy striped. This is something nifty for a birthday or other occasion. 

If one was really creative, one could make them for centerpieces on the holiday table or as a shower theme. 

Come to think of it, this might make a good way to take home cake when we're at a birthday party, instead of trying to balance the slices on an open-faced plate, covered with foil or plastic wrap that only clings to itself.

May have to try that the next time we have a birthday. 

But it won't work for pie, I think. And it'll only hold 2 regular-sized cupcakes, and perhaps 4 - 6 small ones.

However - it looks like it'll hold about 6 decent-sized fudge brownies.

Ok. I need to stop now...


So in last Sunday's Chicago Trib was the story of a "Wedding That Won't Be." Sadly, this couple, Ann and Holly Cook-Graver, asked their pastor if they could be married, since we can now do that in Illinois. The wedding was set for June 28, 2014 at Faith United Methodist Church in Orland Park, IL... 

Everything was on track until late April, when the pastor emailed Ann. Nothing good can come of an email with the subject line: "It's about your wedding in June."

Apparently, they can't be married at Faith United Methodist Church. While they've been members of the congregation for quite some time, and while the pastor initially said yes, and the church's wedding planner walked them through the whole thing... it's all for naught.

Because the pastor had talked with "several key members" of the church's leadership and realized that the United Methodist clergy are prohibited from presiding at same-sex civil unions or marriages. 

In reality, while Illinois has passed Senate Bill 10, legalizing same-sex marriage, the fact is that many denominations still won't honor this. And I don't mind that part so much.

I appreciate the separation of church and state. 

I just think it's rotten that the pastor said he would, and then said he wouldn't. I don't think that the Methodists' Book of Discipline changed in that time. 

Think about the recent story in the news about a Methodist pastor who was told that he basically had to denounce his own son because the son is gay and wants to marry his partner. The father, I believe, said, "I can't do this to my kid" and he's left the church. So yes, religion is fine, but how "fine" is it when the intolerance starts to tear families apart?

Ann and Holly, the Episcopal Church welcomes you. I'll even bake the cake. 

Random Picture... 

This is a shot of Raisa and Tippi. Tippi's face had just been washed by Raisa. They're getting along fine, and we are just about at the end of Raisa's heat. Thank goodness!!

My intent is to "finish" Raisa  - at least get her to Advanced Obedience this summer. We have a lot to catch up on with "Intermediate" and we still have her spay to go yet. Eventually, we get her to CGC and TDI. 

How long will "puppy brain" last??? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I am, Clearly, an Idiot...

"Put things where they're supposed to be."

"Put that where you know you'll find it."

Both of these were things I heard (frequently) from my (obsessively neat and compulsive) grandma. I am neither obsessive or neat.

And I am, clearly, an idiot.

Remember the Case of the Missing Needle? I was all kerfuffled, bemused, annoyed, frustrated, and bamboozled. 

Till I got home. Yeah. There it is. Just where I put it. Because it's near my other knitting stuff (where it's supposed to be) and because I knew I'd be knitting last night (so I knew where I would find it).... Big as life. I stuck the white card behind it just so you could see it.

If it was any bigger, it would've bitten me...


I'm back on the "right" formation of needles for the KAL sock and I'm forming the foot right now. When I got back from my Zonta meeting, I knitted a few rows while watching the nail-biter of the Hawks' eventual win against the Wild.

I'm not a huge hockey fan, but knitting helps take the edge off the frenzy at my house.

What can I say? I'll never be my granny; I just have to keep better track of my stuff.

Hang on. She used to tell me that all the time, too.... (sigh)


Lunch today was actually particularly good. I mixed an Italian blend of lettuce, butter lettuce blend, olives, avocado, roasted chicken and a small cucumber. Add a lemony Greek-ish dressing, and you have a delicious (and filling) salad.

Which is good, because tonight is yoga, and I find that I can't eat a "real" dinner on yoga nights. I know - you should eat regularly. But you haven't lived till you're in Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) and your dinner starts moving back up your esophagus. 

Trust me on this... It's just easier. So my lunch was a little more "carb" than it probably should be, but I'm happier on yoga nights. 

I feel lighter. I'm not sure if I truly AM lighter (other than the 5 lbs. I lost the first week of Induction), and I've learned in this 2-week induction phase that I have to still watch portions. But I'm finding that I have almost lost the craving for sweets (except for that rogue carrot cake last night, but I have an excuse). 

So the rogue cake?? Our women's group met last night. I knew it was going to be "appetizers, salad, dessert" instead of our regular meeting fare. And I figured the appetizers part might be mostly fried stuff. 

But I didn't count on calamari. 

I hate calamari. That was the last-minute substitution of "appetizers." Needless to say, almost 40 women were NOT happy. We had all of THREE calamari fans at our table. I wasn't one of them, and I did really well avoiding the breadsticks and rolls. 

Then out comes the salad........ Oh yeah. I remember THIS disaster from last year. The restaurant does this "salad" that they claim is one of their most popular lunch specials. Not so sure about that.

It's a sliced baked potato - served cold. Layered with tomato slices, green pepper rings, cucumber slices and carrots on the bias. With a small bunch of sliced mushrooms, and sprinkled with green onions. Your dressing options are "Creamy Garlic" and "Italian" - and the garlicky one was REALLY strong. 

No, I didn't take a picture. And yeah, it looks "vaguely" like a sorry imitation of a Caprese salad. 

I didn't eat the peppers. Or the carrots. Or the spud. I was starving. Well, probably not really starving. But hungry. 

Then they set out the carrot cake. I ate it. I'm not sorry. I learned one thing in Weight Watchers - log it, move on and just try harder. 

It was worth it. The salad sucked. 


Introducing -- BUDDY. This is my mom's new dog. He's a Pug-something that she found in the local paper through a new rescue, so new that half of its website is still "under construction" so I won't post the link here. 
Buddy & The Bone

She's had him since Saturday. He's already peed in the house, totally normal behavior for a rescued dog in its new home. He's making himself totally at home, as you can see. 

As a "welcome home" package, Hubby and I picked a selection of stuff from Fun Time Dog Shop, an online shop we frequent where all the profits go to rescue. Check them out at this link:  FUN TIME -- and they're having a Fourth Anniversary Sale, so go and shop!!

My friend Sarah, who owns and runs the business, was kind enough to provide a receptacle for the "basket" and she also tossed in the sample of that green bone Buddy's protecting. He loved it. It's in their shop, so go find it... Can you tell, I'm enthused about their products??

Buddy Basket
So my mom says he's already glommed onto the Tuffy starfish. Love those Tuffy toys - they're just about Husky-proof, too! He's not so sure about the grunting hedgehog. I thought I got the smaller one - this guy is just about his size!! 

He's got more toys than you can shake a stick at, but that's ok. Our dogs have a full toy-box. Buddy will likely get a basket full eventually. 

He's already very protective of my mom and quite attached to her, which is just what I want to see. The little bugger took almost HALF AN HOUR to get near me. But yet, my nephew walked in, and according to my mom, "Buddy just snuggled right up to him."

What??? I even smell like GIRL DOGS.... Aurrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhh!!! Dogs. 

But really, I'm glad he's cautious. I'd rather he be a noise-maker for her, and he was. He barked at me and for a little guy, he's got a lot of bark in him. If you didn't see him, you'd think he was bigger. 

She's happy. He's happy. It's all good. 

Random Picture...

Clouds. Which is what we've had a lot of. This was from a few days ago. Everyone's sick of the rain - just like they were sick of the snow. But it's spring. It's helping the drought we had last year.

Yep, believe it or not, even with all the snow this year, the water table is still a little shaky. We need all of it we can get. The farmers need to get their crops in, but Mother Nature has not been all that cooperative. Rain, yes. But not floods, please, if you don't mind! Let them get the crops in at least!!

Our garden is doing nicely. We already have the radish seeds starting to sprout!! 

OK, blog done. Gotta knit a couple of rows on that sock, then go do my lunch dishes. And I need to get up from this desk anyway. I've got "sit-itis" and it's gotta give soon!

Oh, one of the things we did at the meeting was write 3 goals we want to accomplish for summer; they've been saved and we'll revisit when we reconvene in September. Mine are:

  1. Bike the I & M Canal Trail
  2. Get Raisa through Obedience
  3. Knit a pair of socks (preferably lace?)
Even if I just bike a tiny bit of the I & M, it'll be a true accomplishment. I haven't been on my bike since I started the heart meds. For some reason, I don't do heat all that well... I get really dizzy. So if I can even bike a mile, I'll be feeling rather proud of myself. 

The rest is up to Raisa and the Knitting Goddess...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Where's Waldo??? Or What Happened in a Blink...

Nothing rattles you more than something that happens in the blink of an eye. And I'm rattled. And perplexed. Flummoxed. Kerfuffled. Discombobulated. In a tizzy.

Missing Needle #5
Here's why. Notice what's missing??? That would be Needle Number 5. Crap. I've managed in the space of one eye blink to lose a needle. And I've looked everywhere. 

In my bag. In my handbag. On my desk. On the floor. In all my pockets. I laid it aside to pick up stitches with a crochet hook for the gusset of the sock. And from there? Who knows.


I can knit these on 4 needles. I just don't want to. (A) because these are BRAND NEW Karbonz. And (B) because I like using 5 needles. Just the way I learned. 

Anyway, during the storms last night, I turned the heel. It's coming along and today was my day to get going on the gusset and perhaps the foot. This is for the Plain Vanilla KAL (knit-a-long) I'm doing. Have to have a pair of socks done by June 30. No pressure... And best yet, the yarn was already in The Stash. Gotta love that. Practically "free" socks (work with me here; knitters understand this philosophy).

It was nice last night, during all the hubbub of the storm to just watch the magic happen. I keep saying that, but you gotta wonder... Who was the first person to think of this way of making a sock heel happen? Whoever he or she was? Genius. 

I've been asked to teach my friend Roberta how to knit socks. I will do that on 5 needles, thanks!! 

Oh, I did switch to the "Doris Heel" - which is basically the slip-stitch heel, with K3 at each end. I didn't like the directions on the other one. Oh, and I didn't understand the directions on the gusset either, so I did something else. 

It'll be a nice sock. Even if it IS on only 4 needles. Grrrrrrr.


Front Garden
So we got the garden in this weekend. About all of it, I think, just waiting on what may have survived the brutal winter.  The front is mostly flowers, but I have some basil, chives and dill that I'll let go to seed for the birds and bees. I have rosemary and more basil out in the back, so I'm covered. Also, lavender and some purple coneflower. The hyssop and borage will go into pots in the front.

And we've already seen our first hummingbird - just put those feeders up yesterday afternoon!

Monster Bleeding Heart
The Monster Bleeding Heart is back, and you can see in that first garden picture that our tiny little lilacs came through the freeze quite nicely. I'm still trying to convince Hubby that I want a compost bin and I want to take over that one side of the front yard for a flower garden...

I don't know if I have a full view of the Monster, but it's fully 20 years old if not more. It's taken over the northwest corner of the front sidewalk "garden" area, which is really crummy soil and mostly pea gravel. But for some reason, this thing is thriving. 

The lily of the valley are up, but I haven't seen the big hosta yet. I need to get in there and thin the lilies out again. 

Here's what the bleeding heart and lilac look like. I'm sad that the lilac only lasted one day in a vase. They're a fleeting flower - tells you that it's time to sit and enjoy, right?

Actually, gardening in and of itself tells you that you must have patience. And you have to see incremental success. And you work to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 
Lilacs and bleeding heart

It's like therapy, only in dirt. 

The sum total of what we have is as follows:  3 kinds of lettuce; 2 tomato plants; 2 kinds of cucumber (salad and pickling); carrots; radishes, scallions.

Herbs include: rosemary; basil, lemon thyme; parsley, garlic chives and dill.

Flowers include: marigolds; purple coneflower; lupine; flowering chives; hyssop; foxglove; borage; lavender. 

I think it'll be beautiful, fruitful and eclectic.

Just the way we like it.

Mother's Day...

Mother's Day
Was quiet, except that late after dinner, Mother Nature threw a phenomenal hissy fit. Hubby got me flowers. We don't "do" Mother's Day much. Just cards. Kid #1 called me early to wish me a happy day, and Kid #2 gave me a card that said, "You know it's all your fault."

You have to understand, we're also not a "sappy card" family. And I'm good with that!

I mean, they're not snotty or nasty... There's just a good dose of snark in them, with no mean intent or anything. We just like it that way. 

One year, I got my dad a "normal" (not sappy, but not snarky) birthday card, and he called me and asked me if I was mad at him... So that's just the way it is.

Random Picture...
The Girls

The gang. Left to right, Tippi, Raisa, Quinn. Tippi had gotten an end-of-the-year present from one of our therapy gigs, and they all saw the bag. So everyone got some.

This is "the rug." As in, "Get on the rug!" when they're getting treats or we want them out of the kitchen. 

Raisa is almost done with heat, which will make Tippi happy.

Tippi was very good last night with the storms, which normally terrify her. She was still scared, but she glued herself to my chair and was fine. 

Quinn is still Quinn - a lovable bundle of nervous energy. Each one adds a little something (besides tons of dog fur) to the family, and while it gets a little nuts navigating whirling big bundles of fur, it's still fun. 

And no, I haven't found the needle yet.

And yeah, I'm still annoyed.