Wednesday, June 28, 2017

And The Beat Goes On... 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. 


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... 


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. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It's a Beautiful Day...

 ...for morning yoga. The temperature was in the mid 70s, the breeze was blowing and we had the sunlight filtering through the trees. I also had a few more students! The class has been around for a couple of years, and enrollment has been slow. Because we're dependent on the weather, it's hard to be consistent. But we're getting the word out there, and we're getting to a point where I think we're going to start seeing more people. 

We've been very fortunate to have this garden, about 2 blocks west of the studio - to practice in from about May - September-ish. Not sure how long the season will be; last year we went through the end of September, so we have to play it by ear. 

This year, we tried to start on Earth Day, April 22 - and promptly got clobbered for two months by Mother Nature. We only really started the classes this month, and even then, one was cancelled due to rain. 

Monsoons! The garden is in a lower-lying area, so we have to be careful of the weather and the 'swampiness' of the grass when we're planning to practice out there. 

The Clog-Killer...

Well. They were lovely. They were a present from my friend W who brought them from Amsterdam. I've been wearing them to yoga, and I love to be able to just slip them on and go do whatever I have to do. 

I went into the bedroom to change for my Thursday "Flow Motion" class, and found Quinn, looking guilty. And then I saw my clog... She'd decided that it was a chew toy. Or she smelled the cats that my friend has. But I've had the clogs for a few weeks, so I'm not sure what that was about. Maybe she was peeved at me for some reason - her rope chew was right there. She's 6 years old, so she's not teething. She did have dental work done, but that was about 3 weeks ago. 

I'm not happy. Hubby says he can use some wood filler and make them "good as new" - which I hope he can. He's got some things he can do. Either using the wood filler or sanding and smoothing it down. 

That being said, yeah - such a "first world" problem... It's just a pair of clogs. Not like I'm out anything. They were a gift, which is nice, but it's not like they're my only pair. I'll certainly survive. 

It was just surprising because Quinn's past the "chew things up" stage. Or so I thought. 

Breakfast After Yoga...

So I usually don't eat before I teach. It's easier to teach on an empty stomach. Today, though, we were planning to go on a bike ride, so I figured I'd better eat something. Organic banana and raw cashew butter... Yummy! 

It ended up though that we didn't go for a bike ride. The breeze was pretty stiff today. Even out in the garden, the balance poses were ... interesting! Mostly because just about the time we got settled into the pose, the breeze kicked up and we got pushed over!

We decided to go out to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. It's out by the Joliet Arsenal, which they're gradually turning back to its natural state. Heaven knows what's buried in the grounds of the arsenal, but that's ok. It's being turned back to prairie, with hundreds of acres being replanted with native plants. 

And the bison... It's been my dream, and now it's come true. 


A herd was brought in, and wonder of wonders - several of the cows were already pregnant. These are bison, not a hybrid of cow/buffalo. They're as pure as you're going to get. 

And they're amazing. And they're settling in wonderfully. In 2017, we have five new calves! The volunteers pointed us in the direction of where the herd was last seen, nobody made any promises, and we walked. And walked. And walked. 

And we found them! 

Illinois is a flat state, but there are parts where there are rolling hills and these beauties were in a little gully where it was almost a surprise to see them. I mean, it would've been a total surprise except there was a knot of people standing there ooohhhh-ing and ahhhhhh-ing. So we figured we found them. 

I took about 70 or 80 pictures, and eventually, tick threat be hanged, waded through the underbrush to get up close to the fence so that I could get better shots. There are a few observation posts, but they weren't close to where the bison actually were. 

And as I told someone standing there, the bison's usually attitude toward people is "pfffffffffffffffffffthhhhhhhhh." The one bull did get a little twitchy when Hubby and I were at the fence. He raised his head and sniffed, not quite deciding whether he was going to let everyone stick around. 

But we were ok. And they finally settled down, deciding that after their brunch, they could lay down and nap. 


You can see the lace pattern coming along. So far, everything's behaving. I have no idea how I'm going to do the sleeves. I think they'll still be the 3/4 length the pattern calls for, but I'm not sure how to smoothly attach them. 

Like Sonda used to say, though, "one stitch at a time, one row at a time."

That's kind of a nice metaphor for a lot of life. 

I'm really enjoying the yarn and the stitch definition is superb. It's really heavy, though. It'll be interesting to see exactly how much this thing 'grows' (as the pattern states it will). 

So the trouble is this: hot flashes. I was knitting along last night, and BAM! Had a couple of doozies one right after the other. Got so hot that I started sweating, all the way to the palms, so I thought I'd better set this aside. 

Now that we're back from our adventure, it's time to pick it up again. I want to press on, and if the flashes get really annoying, I have socks to fall back on. They need completing anyway.

Random Picture...

"If I hold verrrrrrrrrrry still, nobody will notice that I'm here..."

That's the big bull buffalo who wasn't happy with us, settling in for his post-lunch nap. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can You Want It Too Much???

Seriously. I'm doubting my ability to finish the *^&$ February Lady Sweater at this point...I frogged back a row. 

Could it be that I shouldn't try lace when I'm watching Meryl Streep movies? Hmmmmm.... I could use that excuse. I didn't even feel the boo-boo this time. But there I was, at the end of the second Row 1 with ONE extra stitch. Crap. 

I heaved a sigh, began frogging it back and then just finished watching the movie. No sense going nuts. 

So today, I don't have to go in to work till the afternoon shift. I'm watching "Top Chef," which (shock, I know) I've never seen. I think I can tink during this one... I'm almost at the button band, and I may have found the screw up. I mean, this is actually the second repeat - the first 4-row repeat went smoothly, so I know it's correct. It's a matter of being present while you're knitting. 

That's where knitting often imitates meditation. I'm anxious to wear this sweater, and it will only be the second one I've made in an adult size. I think that I'm too much of a hurry to get it done. I need to back off. It'll get done. It'll be gorgeous. 

Breathing. Need to remind myself to breathe. 

Frosting Tips...

So I think I told you that Hubby bought me a set of what I've seen called "Russian Frosting Tips." I know - anything "Russian" can be taboo! But it's cake, people! 

My friend D has asked me to make her granddaughter's wedding cake. I'll have to do some serious cupcake baking to get the hang of these. 

I have the full Wilton set. Actually, thanks to my mom, I probably have at least two sets. I had my own, and "inherited" hers when she decided she didn't want to do cakes anymore. Mom's got the Kathryn Hepburn "benign tremor" thing going on, and while she can control it with medication, it has impacted a lot of her fine motor movement. She has a harder time doing things like cutting in when she's painting, and writing in frosting can be a challenge at the best of times - when you're even a tad shaky (even from a bit too much coffee), you'll see it in the frosting. 

I'm a bit concerned that these are small - like I could do garlands of these around the cake? I'm thinking... I'm thinking... It'll be interesting. My philosophy is this: you give me your colors, a basic idea of what you want, how many we're serving, and then - you get out of my way. I don't do try-out cakes, and you get no input into the design. 

Sounds tough, right? But that's what my parents did. They didn't do "bridezillas" and I won't either. We shall see how this goes... I'll have pictures when I fiddle with the tips. I have to visit the internet to see how to use these things. All I have is that picture!

Golden Rule Theme...

So a friend of mine posted this on her timeline and I really liked it. She's an atheist, does a lot of community work, and is involved in local and national politics. I put the "atheist" label in there, because specifically, it seems as if the whole concept of a "Golden Rule" has been co-opted by religion. Particularly in the ultra-conservative swaths of Bible thumpers - the "Golden Rule" belongs to them (in their eyes). A person like my friend (or even my kids, who're more "secular humanist" than any identifiable religion) would be looked down upon by some of those who espouse some sort of "pure" faith -- which in my mind only exists if humans aren't involved. 

Perhaps "pure faith" is only available to the angels. Because once humans get involved, religion can turn ugly. Don't believe me? Look at history. 

From the conquest Canaan to the tribal wars of Afghanistan, men have fought over and over again because "their god" is the "only god." 

So. Read this. What do you see? I see a theme. I see a request that we look at each other as "same" and NOT "other." 

As our(?) government goes about the business of dismantling health care for millions of people, they'll stand there in press conferences with their flag pins and put their hands on their shriveled little hearts and exclaim that this is a Godly country. 

With the travesty occurring in Washington DC right now? There's no "Godly" going on. This is all on men. 

They'd better man-up and own the consequences.  

Random Picture...

This is an oldie but a goodie. This is from my trip to the Zonta International Convention in Orlando. I went with my friend A, and we had a blast. After sitting in the conference hall for meetings, we were able to walk the grounds of the resort. Unfortunately, the extra-curricular events were pretty pricey, so we didn't do any of them. But the grounds were gorgeous once we ventured past the swimming pool complex. The gardens were stunning. I got to play with a lot of effects in PhotoShop for the different types of pictures. 

This palm didn't need any "fixing." The shape was striking. The light cooperated. I was able to catch this and I loved the symmetry of what Mother Nature provided. All I did with it was go in closer and crop it. 

This reminds me that A is a great person to travel with. One of these days, we need a photo-safari trip. I'll have to propose that to her. It could be fun!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

501 & Time-Out...

Well, this is blog post #501... Yay! That's one positive thing. It seems like a lot, but of course there are prolific "professionals" who do this daily. I'm lucky to commit to doing it "more frequently" and then something happens, I fall off the face of the earth, and then I come back. 


The February Lady Sweater is thisclose to being sent to "time-out." That's where uncooperative knitting patterns go. Usually to die. Part of it's my own fault. I had another migraine (more on that below), and toward the evening of this past Sunday, I thought I should knit. 

Yeah. It was stupid. I had Hubby help me measure the arm-holes, and we decided that I was "there." So I thought I'd separate the armholes, putting them on waste yarn. 

As I was happily counting the 65 stitches onto the waste yarn, I glanced down and noticed that about 45 or so stitches CAME OFF THE RIGHT NEEDLE. Yeah. Laying in my lap. Bare naked stitches, no needle. 

Thankfully, there's enough wool in the silk/wool blend that the stitches "caught" and didn't entirely fade away. 

I was very upset. I almost tossed it in the bin right there. I thought about saying some words. But mostly, I thought about rescuing the blasted thing before it was too late. 

No picture. I was panicky. I actually held my breath till I was almost dizzy - I mean "more than migraine dizzy" dizzy... I was too afraid to move for a moment, much less breathe. This picture above shows how far apart the needles are. They're not supposed to be that far apart. The yarn at the top left is the yarn that's supposed to be on waste yarn for the sleeve hole. The yarn closest to the yarn bowl, and to the right needle? 

That's the stuff that slipped off. It's on another hunk of waste yarn, and I only re-counted it 1700 times... No, not really, but it felt like that. 

And it's still wrong. This pic here at the left shows putting the "fallen" stitches back onto the needle. And sweating. Nearly swearing. 

But I got 'em back on. Did the rest - I mean, I put the other sleeve-worth of stitches on their waste yarn, set it GENTLY in the knitting bag and went to bed. 

I just couldn't face it. I couldn't face screwing it up again. I couldn't decide whether to frog it or press on. So I did the next best thing. 

I went to bed and slept on it. 

It's not a hard pattern. Really, it's not. But it's extremely slippery yarn. And the migraine didn't help. 

So today, after errands, I picked it up again, and counted. And I'm off a bunch of stitches. A lot. And I re-counted. A bunch more times. And I'm still off. 

The sweater is going to grow (she says - and so do the instructions). So I took the number of stitches between the "button bands" and divided that number by 7, which is the total number of stitches in the lace pattern. It's divisible by 7, with a whole number! Yay, no fractions of stitches. 

So I'm going for it. I'm putting this picture here, at the right. It's the completed yoke. I didn't do the lace pattern under the arms, so the yoke part is a little longer than the pattern suggests. But it's not as long as some Ravelers have made it. And at this point?

I'm gonna have to have a priest bless it. Because all I want to do is get it done. It's still beautiful yarn. It's going to be a gorgeous lace pattern. I'm in love with the buttons. 

But I'm a bit annoyed at it right now. One more screw-up and it goes into Time-Out. It's going to be another "Teal Sock" at this rate. 

(It's going to's going to's going to grow) This is my mantra right now. When I'm done here, I'm tackling the first 4-row repeat of lace and we'll see how this goes. I think this yarn needs to be this sweater. I hope this yarn wants to be this sweater. 

More Migraines...

I'm a little worried. I've had a bunch of migraines, which may mean my daily Rx isn't working as well as it used to. And you know what bugs me is that I'm pretty much on the "last" migraine medicine there is. 

Over 30+ years, I've tried 'em all. Including anti-depressants, which caused me to eat like a starving animal, and that's not going to happen. And I still had the migraines - plus I gained 8 lbs. in one week. 

No thanks. Chiro doc says he can adjust me for the migraines. We'll see. It did work for my grandpa's sinus headaches (which I suspect might've been migraines, but back in that day, "men didn't get migraines"). 

I've been on this particular Rx (which I've complained about because it's hideously expensive) for about the past 12 years or so. And it's been working. And I'm at the top of the therapeutic dose. And my neuro wanted to try to get me off it, figuring that as I'm in menopause, maybe it's time. 

But I've had a number of break-through migraines. 

Maybe I need to look at Botox. If you flunk all the Rx treatments, Botox could be an option. I have to make an appointment and see her. It scares me a bit, because I've been under good control for a long-ish while. 

Dogs & Summer...

Yeah, normally it's "dogs OF summer" but I have a little PSA (Public Service Announcement) for you all. Print the image and stick it on your fridge. And do this test. If you can place the BACK of your hand onto the asphalt or concrete, and hold it there for over 5 seconds -- and I mean pressing it in as if you were standing there - then you're good to walk Fido or FiFi.

If not? It's too hot. Remember - they're barefoot. And wearing fur coats. 

And really - with the temperatures in so many areas being so hot so often? For the love of Dog - don't jog with the pooch, even if you and the dog are "used" to it. Temperatures across the US are rising. It's not "normal" summer anymore. Storms are more violent. Heat is hotter. Dry is drier. 

The dogs need to adjust and so do we. So please be aware of what's going on outside before you take the dogs out, or even let 'em loose at the dog park. 

And let's talk ticks... Ticks are spreading into regions they haven't previously inhabited. Ticks are leading the Lyme disease charge. Our girls (the Elkies) are both positive for Lyme disease. We got them like that, because in Northern Wisconsin, where they were, they didn't bother to check them for Lyme, but we do in Illinois. 

When we got Tippi & Quinn, their Lyme numbers were in the triple-digits. A couple weeks of doxycycline? We're good now. Numbers are stable. And of course, we're on flea & tick prevention year-round. 

I'm also using an "outside fun" spray from Young Living Essential Oils. It's made of a couple of oils, plus the foaming Thieves soap. I spray it on myself when I'm doing outside yoga. I also had Kid #2 try it up where he lives, in "skeeter central." He says it works, but of course, you do have to reapply it. Not like DEET, but that's fine. I don't want to poison myself or my dogs. 

So take care of your family - the bald ones and the furry ones. 

The Ring...

So my friend "L" is a bigger Cub fan than I am. And this is his newest acquisition. We go back and forth on FaceBook about how the Boys are doing, and I'm kind of chill. It took us over 100 years to win the Big One. It's early yet. We're at .500 and it's ok. 

Obviously, a replica. But still stunning. I hope he brings it to church soon - I want to try it on. And I'll make him take a picture for me! 

He said it weighs almost a pound. I wonder how he can lift his hand up off the table even! 

There's a wimpy Bradford Collection version for the women, but if I'm going to go there, I'm going there the right way. 

But I don't think I'll go there. I'll just borrow his ring for a photo op, if it doesn't break my hand! If I can get him to bring it, I'll get the picture for you. 

Random Picture...

About 6 years ago, we had lots of rain. Lots. Of. Rain. It flooded. Our local park, where the dog park area is, was virtually ruined because the river there didn't "overrun" the bank - it charged through the park and took out trees, benches, pavilions and anything else in its way. 

This shot is the back fence, nearest the river, of the dog park area of the park preserve. The area on the other side of the fence was all low-lying grass where the dogs would mosey around, nosing for bunnies and deer poop. The river wasn't really near it - probably 20-40 yards away. 

Well. Mother Nature had other ideas that spring. It rained and rained and rained. And while we've had a "rainy" spring this year, we also had an extremely mild winter. The ground is still cracked and hard, even with several inches of rain at once, and with several days of rain over a long-ish period of time. I notice it when we're doing garden yoga - even though we're in an area which should be nicely drenched, it's not. 

I guess we're lucky that our garden is native plants - they're used to the vagaries of Illinois "spring/summer" weather. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And Even More Excitement...

No, thankfully, nobody else is pregnant and no babies due are here yet. I'm not being mean - I'm just still recovering from "baby knitting!"

But I took an interesting phone call, and while I normally don't pick up calls where I don't recognize the number, I'm kind of glad I picked up THIS call.

Because Hubby's identity was stolen, and Ginormous Cell Phone Company was going to toss him into collections for a bill he owed. 

Except we've never had an account with Ginormous Cell Phone Company - ever. We have The Other Ginormous  Cell Phone Company as our carrier. 

Soooooooooo - after losing his temper (ahem!), we got hold of an actual human at GCPC and they walked him through what to do. I mean, I get it: the guy on the phone, from the collection agency, has probably heard every single excuse in the book. And he's used to people saying, "It's not me!" But he was rather obnoxious. And Hubby, being in the middle of a VERY large family? He can give as good as he gets... We got a police report, checked all of the credit bureaus, and gathered proof that we have indeed been at this particular address "for more than 10 years." 

What's even worse was that the ID theft occurred in town! Someone who lives across town managed to open an account at GCPC with Hubby's name, at a different address. 

It was a mess. But it turns out that we were able to swiftly provide what they needed, and GCPC will (a) clear Hubby's record; and (b) eat the large bill that they said he owed. Which, of course, he doesn't owe...

Message received: Check your credit reports annually! If we'd done that, we'd have noticed that GCPC had run checks on his credit and maybe we'd have questioned it earlier. 

Crock-Pot Dinner...

I woke up with a migraine. I think it's related to my shoulder issue and it finally culminated in a headache that I couldn't shake. It's Father's Day and I was planning on a lovely bike ride with Hubby. Well. Another plan shot down the crapper...

Hubby pulled chicken out of the freezer, and suggested we do something with it in the crock pot just so we can not have to worry about cooking. Right now, he's making a horrible racket fixing one of the baby (dog) gates, and Quinn's sitting here wondering what all the chaos is about...

I browned the chicken, grabbed a package of mushrooms and leeks from the freezer, pulled three large cloves of garlic out of the garlic keeper, and then found a sprig of last year's Rosemary in the freezer. All I added was pepper. And I used (yeah, don't judge - migraine, remember?) "cream of something" soup. 

We haven't used canned creamed soups in ages, but frankly? My head's pounding. I'm dizzy, and feel like crap. We're lucky I got this far. 

Why, you ask, isn't Hubby taking care of dinner? Because he cooks all week long, and I figured that if I just plowed through, ignoring the headache, it would go away. 

I'm wrong; it's not leaving. But that's beside the point. 

I just wanted to do it, and I figured this was simple enough that, even in a migraine-haze, I couldn't screw this up. He'll boil up some noodles when it's closer to dinner time, and we'll be good to go. I'll add some veggies to the crock-pot for a little color, and we'll be fine. Somehow, I missed that we had a couple of bags of leeks in the freezer downstairs... That's ok - Hubby doesn't like mushrooms, but thankfully, what I have in there - they're big enough for him to pick out. 

If I even feel like eating, it should be good. Which I probably won't. 

I bought a little 12-oz Thermos thing that I can take to work, since we don't have a kitchen or break area. I usually go to the local Starbucks, buy some iced tea, and eat there. The little Thermos holds the food hot and has a little spoon (metal, even!) in the stopper. I figure that if we shred the chicken I can take it for lunch on Monday. 

How My Garden Grows...

This is the first year we haven't planted a lot of flowers. We let our "last year" wildflowers come up and some of the perennials are doing quite nicely. We trimmed out the dill, which is next to the Prairie Blazing Star, as it was (per usual) taking over the front bed. The shade bed under the maple tree is doing well, but has minimal blossoms right now. I expect to have to thin out the Brown Eyed Susan this year. 

We cut the Prairie Blazing Star (see left) in half, sending that part to my friend up in the UP. She sent me some Milkweed seeds, which I have to wait till Fall to plant. 

Milkweed needs to winter over - which is why the seeds in the little Seedles balls didn't sprout last year. Who knew? Well, now I know... We have one Milkweed plant this year, which is fine; I'll know where to plant the seeds. I understand I can place a rubber band around the pods if I don't want them to "go dill" on me and take over the yard! 

The Gaillardia came back nicely - I love this flower. My old neighbor from VA, Mrs. Silver, had a HUGE patch of this in her back yard, along the fence. I always loved it. It's a variation, she claimed, of the Brown Eyed Susan. It was the first time I'd ever seen it, though the Brown Eyed Susan grew like crazy in IL while I was growing up. Unfortunately, the areas where it used to grow? Now they've been 'growing houses' in those fields... All look-alike, beige cookie-cutter houses. And that's supposed to be progress, they say. 

Hubby put up the hummingbird feeders, and we did see one. He just bought a pair of big hanging baskets; it's hard to find them with hummer-friendly flowers. I have to tell you: petunias don't do it! He found a pair with Lobelia in there, so we know that'll be ok. The birds (songbirds, I mean) have been visiting the birdfeeders, and we have to get ourselves straight on the birdbaths. One of the glass ones from last year cracked, so we're down to one in front and one in back. 

We finally saw a Blue Jay - they were decimated a while back with West Nile Virus, as were the crows. We'd been hearing him, but he didn't decide to show himself till recently. It was nice to see him back. 

The Bee Balm (pink) came back in great form! It's doing its thing, and we're happy to see that it seems to like being next to the lilac. The bees are enjoying it, and again - once the hummingbirds come around more regularly? Maybe they'll enjoy it, too. I found a second variety that I was going to plant at the studio, but I decided to plant it at home. It's a purple variety - and Bee Balm is also supposed to attract butterflies. So the purple one is next to the dill, which is a favorite of Swallowtails. We'll see how this works out. 

All of our solar lights have simultaneously died - and to replace the batteries would cost more than what I spent on the lights! We will work on some of the lo-voltage lights, but may not get to them this year. We also really haven't done anything with the concept of the flower beds next to the new deck. 

It seems like we're just letting summer unfold this year. And maybe we just need to do that. The garden is mostly where I wanted it anyway: lots more native plants rather than what I call 'garden center' stuff. There's nothing wrong with that. I like a nice petunia, a nice geranium, etc. Just that I wanted more "prairie" than "big box" look to the garden and I wanted it to be unique. 

I mean, don't get me wrong. I've got lilacs in the front yard, and day lilies. And Icelandic Poppy - not exactly a native plant! And our foxgloves aren't the native ones (which are pretty - I'll have to go looking for those!). But I wanted to make sure that we had a garden that attracted the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds so that we had our chance to contribute to keeping them on track. Yeah, it's little -- not like we have an "estate." But every little bit helps. At least I think so. 


Continuing to forge ahead on the yoke of the February Lady Sweater. I will try it on in a few rows (and also, as soon as the Deep Relief roll-on that I put on my neck dries!). Then, I should be able to get back to the lace pattern and feel like I'm making progress. 

Not that I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm wondering what to make with the remaining yarn. There's quite a bit of it. And I don't know if I want to perhaps seek out some ivory or a darker shade of lilac and do a sweater with contrasting yoke? Or maybe a shawlette? I mean, mitts aren't out of the question, though I'm starting to think that perhaps silk + merino isn't the greatest combo for something like a mitt that may take a bit of punishment. As I look at where my hands rest on the laptop, I see the potential for wear and tear that would likely bug the snot out of me at some point. And who needs that?

My vision is to finish this sweater, finish TWO "second socks" (mainly the Bowties are Cool and the other Sole to Sole (blue/yellow stripe), then the Shape-It scarf, then dive into stash to get the next project rolling. Oh and sometime before I hit my next birthday: finish the Dreaded Teal Sock. 

Yeah - longtime readers will remember that poor pathetic thing... One day, I'll finish it. And I want to get to a point where I have a dozen pair of hand-knit socks. That means at least 3 more pair to finish. 

I'd like to whip out another sweater, too. I have a couple of patterns plus yarn, and I think I could at least start one. 

It's fun planning - almost as much fun as the knitting!

Random Picture...

One of my favorites. And I will post this as many times as I can. This young lady is one of Tippi's biggest fans. She's going to be a doctor. She's studying hard, and is an outstanding student -- and human being!

We have so much fear of "the other." This country is being torn apart by people who can barely have a conversation about what day of the week it is... We need to recognize our own fundamental humanity. 

We want to compartmentalize people. We need them to fit into little check-boxes or our own little - tiny, sometimes irrational - preconceived notions of what "that kind" of person is. 

They're human. We're all human. And if we, as specks on the backside of the Universe, are going to come out of this in one piece -- and IN peace -- we need to recognize that we have to start looking at each other "with a child's eyes." With the notion, especially if you're going to claim that you're a Christian, that each of us is a child of God. Doesn't matter WHICH God. Because you know what? In each of the major religions, the Golden Rule is the same: treat your fellow being as you wish to be treated. 

Look at how you treat people. Then look at yourself - take a good long look. Are you following the Golden Rule? The only way to peace among us is to do that. You don't have to be a doormat. 

You have to be a human. 

By the way, this is my 500th blog post!! Yayyyy!! Comments welcome, of course!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Last Three Inches...

Seems like I was just here. At least in terms of the February Lady Sweater. I had Hubby help me measure last night, and I have about 3" to go on the yoke till I can RE-do the sleeves and then start the lace pattern again. 

For some reason, it's going more slowly than I remember it doing the first time around. But I'm really glad, now that I'm into it again, that I frogged. I think I have the size better, too. Even though I put the eyelets in there, it's not as "swingy" as it was the first time around. I'm hoping it's not too snug, but then, it's going to grow a bit anyway. 

They usually don't but this one seems to do so. We'll see. I can understand it, because the yoke is pretty heavy, considering. And the lace will stretch. The sleeves are only meant to be 3/4 length. I have short arms - they should come nearly to my wrists, and I can always add a row or two. I'll have to see how it goes. 

I'm finally using the "too small" yarn bowl I bought. I couldn't find a hank, skein or ball small enough, but since I have a few of these balled up already, I think I can use this for now. It'll actually fit the entire skein, but I don't think it's center-pull, though I can fiddle with it. 

It's a pretty bowl, but has been, for the most part, useless because of the lack of depth. I was resigned to using it as a notions holder or just as a pretty wooden bowl, but at least for this project, I can use it for its intended purpose. 

I'm already thinking about my next project. I will finish the Shape-It scarf - I'm so close, and I have to fix that little snag. Then I can take care of blocking it and actually wearing it. It being June, I've got time! 

I want to do another sweater, and "J" at work reminded me, "It's 6 months till Christmas!"

So I need to figure out if I'm doing any Christmas knitting. One of our colleagues doesn't celebrate holidays so I'm not sure how we're going to do this. It's going to be interesting, to say the least. I was thinking of knitting up some washcloths and getting some fancy soaps for some quick gifts. 

Young Living Essential Oils makes some nice bar soaps, some foaming soaps and some nifty "bath bombs" - and that might be a nice option for something different. 


Well, I wasn't going to go there, but I think I have to. There was a shooting today in Washington DC and everyone's all a-buzz. I even had someone tell me it was an "assassination attempt." 

Call me jaded - maybe it's our proximity to Chicago. It was a shooting. Plain and simple, another example of the daily violence that's endemic in our major cities. 

Yes, if you want to split hairs, it was an attempt to assassinate someone. If you look it up, "assassinate" means to kill someone. So yeah - someone attempted to kill someone. 

Stop making it partisan. Start working on reasonable gun laws. I'm not telling anyone that someone from the government is coming to get your guns. Lord knows that President Obama never did that - do you hear that, crazy uncle of mine?? 

Too many people (Newt, I'm lookin' at you) are spouting nonsense about how Democrats are evil killers. Crap, people...we can't even win an election we're supposed to have walked away with. 

We do need to stop the hate at the highest levels, and I'm not sure I even have the imagination to know where to go with that one. But until we start to address the violence and hate at the local level, we can't get to the higher levels. 

Storm's Coming...

Yes, that's a song by the Wailin' Jennys. Awesome music. But this is more in line with the last "random picture" which wasn't so random. Yesterday, I took a shot of the clouds building for a storm that resulted in a warning, with "high winds and hail."

And we got nothing. 

That is, till about 5:15 p.m. today. It broke over the office just as I was trying to leave. And it kept bucketing. No hail, thankfully, but a ton of rain, lots of wind. And it's going to continue for a while. There are breaks and I'm taking advantage of one of them. 

A few more stitches on the long, long yoke of the sweater and then I'm off to bed. I have a funeral to go to in the morning, and then work. 

Sleep tight, folks! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It's a Sad, Sad Thing...

...the sweater got frogged. 

Not all the way. But enough. Remember I said I was going to tink back and "fix it" today? Well, I tinked. And man...I have no idea what happened, but I couldn't find the mistake - though I did find 3 more!

So I had to frog, but FIRST - I spent a couple of hours figuring out how to do what I should have done in the first place: Put in a lifeline. 

Normally, one puts a lifeline in BEFORE it's needed, especially when knitting lace. The "afterthought" lifeline is kind of a pain in the rear end, to be honest. 

Here's where I found the biggest mess, and I really don't know how to fix it. I must've tinked the row UNDER where I was, and that really screwed it up. And then, somehow, stitches got crossed over. And then I just figured that it wasn't worth trying to fix, tink or do anything but frog. 

So then I looked back at the pattern and thought that maybe this was the Universe answering a thought of mine - I really was regretting the third buttonhole because I didn't like where it landed. Well, lucky me - I got to rip it out! 

But first, as I said: afterthought lifeline. I grabbed some contrasting yarn of the same weight, a tapestry needle and then looked at the pattern to see where the most logical spot was to rip back to. 

I figured just after the shoulder darts. I have no idea what they're really called - they look like darts, as this is a top-down sweater and the yoke has a drop-sleeve feature in it. 

It really is good to frog it (I keep repeating that...) because if you recall - if I even said - the directions had this wonky "knit 1 pattern repeat of the Gull Lace" and then you separate the sleeves. But that wasn't what the pictures showed, and it didn't make sense. If the designer was just telling us to knit the 8-stitch "button band" before and after the Gull Lace pattern, then that's one thing, but that's not how I interpreted it. So I was able to frog out that random 4-row repeat of the pattern - which ended up right under the arms - which is an idiotic place to put lace upon which to later attach a sleeve... So this is MY interpretation of HER pattern. 

This could be interesting. Or a total disaster. 

Anyway, as you can see, if you have garter stitching (knitting every row), you have a little "in between" space that has those little upside-down "U" shaped stitches in between the bumps. Those are where you run your lifeline. On the right leg of those. It took me 4 tries to get that done correctly. 

I wasn't going to do the yarn-overs, either, but then, after more study of the pattern (this is why this took me all afternoon), I realized I truly had no idea of how to increase to the stitch count I needed unless I did the yarn-overs. My friend "D" isn't able to help me on this one, so I was on my own. So yarn-overs were going to happen. 

It's important to use a contrasting color to do this after-thought lifeline. One website I read even said that unwaxed dental floss would work. Though since this is a silk-wool blend, I wasn't keen on that, even if I had unwaxed floss. 

Side note: I used unwaxed floss to lace up the back of my counted-cross stitch pieces. It holds like iron and doesn't deteriorate like thread might. There's your nickel's worth of trivia just in case you want to be a hit at your next party...

I got the lifeline in place, did a simple knot to hold it together and then started to pull it apart. Bye-bye lace... 

I didn't cry - I don't cry about stuff like that. There's a lot going on in the world, and knitting isn't something to cry over, really. Am I frustrated? Yeah. But I'll get over it. 

As you can see, I got to the lifeline and along the way, I was rewinding the yarn loosely, so as to not compromise its tensile strength, but also so as to allow it to unkink. I'm setting one of the balls aside, so that it can relax. Thankfully, "D" gave me more than enough, so I can start a fresh ball when I need to do so. 

After reaching the end of the frogging, I started putting the stitches back on the needle. You have to be careful to not twist them - with the way this yoke is constructed, you'll spot a twisted stitch from 40 paces. Or at least your friendly knitter will... Of course, it's easy to untwist it before you knit it, but "as long as you're there" anyway, fixing it up - you may as well do it right the first time. 

You run the needle alongside the contrast yarn, and just pull it gently along. This is done on a circular - Addi Circulars, a part of the interchangeable set, with a cable extender because it's almost 300 stitches. Once I got all the stitches on, I was able to unknot the lifeline and pull it out. I still have the yarn I used to hold the sleeves, so when I get back there, I can re-use it. No sense tossing it. 

I counted again, and am now doing the RS row (which is where I should be) for the yarn-overs. I've adjusted all my notes, and I'm ready to go at it again. 

In Other News...

I now have my first essential oils education class under my belt. My mentor/friend/sponsor (in no particular order) and I did this class, "Essential Oils for Dogs." It was nice to do it with "G" because there are, obviously, compliance issues. I had a lot of worries about not knowing enough, and fearing that I'd say something wrong. But we went over things, and I've been studying since I started, so I knew she'd be there to help me if I got lost.

Attendance wasn't what I'd have liked it to be. And honestly? One friend of mine was downright rude about using oils on her dog. She's entitled to her opinion. She's not entitled to be rude, though. Which is why I sometimes have trouble and compartmentalize people in my life. Unfortunately, I know some very narrow-minded people. 

I'm going to do the class again, and "G" says she thinks I'm ready to do it on my own! 

Hot, Hot, Hot...

...or not so hot, thankfully. We thought it might've been me, but today it was kind of warm in the house. My temperature sensor has been whacked for a while (thanks, menopause). But even Hubby noticed it wasn't as cool as it should be. 

Now, neither of us is fond of heat. I went outside after Mass and planted my spare Bee Balm, and even with water, it was as droopy as I was. And the plants in front of the studio were not happy either. 

Turns out our home A/C unit was freezing up and it apparently needs a recharge. As Hubby was sighing, "It's always something," I reminded him that when the old unit went out, it was the last week of July a few years ago, and it was about 102 degrees outside. It's 83 degrees outside tonight. They're coming out Tuesday to recharge the unit. 

We'll be fine. 

Oh, and the Yoga@The Fields on Saturday was GLORIOUS! I changed up where we were facing in the garden, so that the students had a beautiful bank of flowers and trees to look at, and we were shaded by the huge honey locust trees. The resident hawk wasn't around, but the breeze was pretty stiff, and the folks fixing the road had the day off (yay! no asphalt smells!), so we weren't disrupted by construction vehicles. I think this might be the year this class takes off. If Mother Nature continues to play nice.

Random Picture...

I'm really sad that we don't have a garden this year. For some reason, both Hubby and I are in some sort of inertia. I have one hanging basket. We did have a hummingbird at the feeder this afternoon, but it wasn't because our yard is full of color! 

While the wildflower garden is coming along, we've gone to more trouble in prior years. I don't know why, but between the crazy spring, rain/cold and lack of time to plan and plant? We're garden-less this year. 

The raised beds are still there, but they're lying fallow this year. Maybe the garden needs this, and maybe we do, too. 

Sometimes, rest is needed for growth. Sometimes it spurs imagination. 

And maybe we'll just stick flowers in there next year. I don't know. It's too far ahead to think about. 

For now, I'm going to finish that yarn-over row and get to bed. The morning will come pretty early!