Saturday, December 27, 2008

MIA and Instant Menopause

I put up a pic. That's the one of Pancake, our tiny, itty bitty sugar glider. And the reason I haven't been around in like... oh, forever is we lost her. All of a sudden one night, she was seriously and, it turns out, gravely ill. We did everything we could through the night (including a jaunt through about half the state to find an eye dropper on a Sunday night at midnight) and then finally got her to a vet in Connecticut who dealt with sugar gliders. They did the best they could, but she was simply too tiny. She should have been about four or five months old by this point and she only weighed 22 grams. To people like me who haven't a clue how to convert to metrics, take 22 paper clips and hold them in your palm. That's how tiny she was. Luckily, Shelby thought to bring Waffle along for the ride as Waffle was easily twice the size of Pancake and the vet determined that Pancake had some kind of congenital problem. If she'd been left at the breeding warehouse or, God forbid, in the wild, she wouldn't have survived long enough to be adopted. Her mom would have thrown her out of the family.

In essence, the vet assured us that we did better than good. We gave Pancake more time than she would have received anywhere else.

Didn't help, though. We still mourn her. She was definitely sweet in temperament and a charming little girl. Waffle? I still think Waffle barks for Pancake at night. Maybe by now, it's become a habit, but she was definitely confused for a few days.

Other bad news? How about a $7000 loan to fix my teeth? I did find a dentist who works with my fear of the dentist. He's doing a terrific job. And he's assured me that I'll be set, with a bit of care, for the next 20 years. And, yes, insurance is involved and that's all above and beyond the $7K that I have to pay out of pocket. But the work is in progress and Xanax is a beautiful thing... LOL!

Last bad announcement (as though this year hasn't been chock full of them as it is) is... er, remember my daughter's accident way back in April? She was cleared by the police of ANY liability in that accident since the other idiot driver tried to turn left in front of Shelby with only about 50 ft. of road between them. Anyway, a passenger from the other driver's car has a lawyer. They've sent a demand notice to my insurance company for $300,000. That just so happens to be the maximum limit of my policy coverage. I guess it would be way too much effort to actually work and get money from the person who's to blame for the accident. So they want to sue us instead.

No, I haven't told my husband about this one. I'm still waiting to hear back from a lawyer friend of mine on how to proceed. I'm just reporting the facts here. The reason I'm not telling my husband is because he landed in the hospital for three days. We won't go into that one except to say that he's got some respiratory problems that he's dealing with and he doesn't need the additional stress this knowledge would cause. We're not being sued personally... at least yet. Until then, I'm hoping we can simply make this go away somehow. I've informed my insurance company that I refuse to settle. I know this girl was seriously injured, but my daughter was not to blame for the accident, so she'll have to pay her medical bills by suing the party who was responsible.

So, to recap this year:
--My daugher was involved in a serious car accident where two kids in the other car were critically injured.
--I had a hyterectomy. Not elective surgery, but necessary nonetheless. Instant menopause. Oh boy... that's been fun.
--My poor beagle/bassett mix, Copper, died due to congestive heart failure.
--We adopted two sugar gliders, Pancake and Waffle, and then lost Pancake to some kind of congenital defect that no one could have foreseen.
--Mark spent three days in the hospital for what the doctors were sure had to be something heart related only to find out it was a pulmonary problem. We're still waiting for final determination and full treatment.
--We're being sued for the accident.

I stopped at the cemetary two weeks ago. It was time to take the winter pillow and clean up the site. Can't let my father, grandparents or great-grandparents start looking untidy or neglected. But I also had a chat with Dad while I was there. I realize that it's been a year and a half and I definitely felt his presence up until about a year ago. I also know that it had clearly been 40+ years since he'd had time with his dear Mom and his Dad. So he had this past year to catch up on news with them. I'm also sure it was a surprise for him to find his little sister, Patsy, up in heaven. So I'm sure they had some catching up to do. But I reminded him that it was time to come back and be the guardian angel for our family. We need his strength and his ever watchful eye for all those bad things that have been happening.

I apologize to the rest of America because I certainly didn't ask him to clear up the economy. I try to be civic-minded and remember my neighbors and do good work for my community, but there's no way I'm going to ask Dad to stretch his guardian wings over people he never even knew. Just us. Just his immediate family, thank you.

Besides, I'm so proud of Mom. In ten months, she's lost 50 lbs. If Dad didn't come back soon, he won't recognize her when she gets to heaven. He's got to stick close to help her achieve her goal and to keep checking in to see how she's changing in appearance.

The good recap for 2008? After all, you never get bad without good. Shelby and Dee are doing wonderfully. Shelby took Organic Chemistry, the bane of just about every science major out there, and managed to pull off a B+. Absolutely amazing! Dee is doing wonderful in her classes and she's received acceptance letters as well as scholarship offers from every single school she applied to with the exception of Quinnipiac, her top school. Not that they haven't accepted her or offered some kind of scholarship. She just hasn't heard from them yet. She checks the mail every day and our collective fingers are crossed. She wants to major in psychology and I hope she gets everything she wants. Shelby is a tough act to follow, but I've always believed in my heart that Dee, in her own way, is just as brilliant and can achieve just as many amazing things with her life. The toughest person to convince of that is her. It's almost impossible when she feels like she lives in Shelby's shadow. I've never believed she did. She's her own person and she'll make her own way. Now, for the first time, I think she's honestly believing it herself and I'm proud of her.

Second good thing is I adopted a new spinning wheel. It kind of came to me under an omen that I was supposed to purchase her. A few years back, I had a credit card to Bonton. Then Macy's bought out Bonton and I was sent a new credit card with their name. Well, to be honest, I just cut it up and forgot about it. Then, this year, I received a letter in the mail to cut up the Macy's card and was given a CitiBank card to use instead.

Well, at the time, I was already looking into getting a castle-style wheel with higher ratios and a blessed double treadle. The last yarn I plied on my little Prelude? I thought my leg was going to fall off because I simply couldn't treadle fast enough to get the job done quickly. That's when I started looking.

And, bingo!, a new credit card shows up. I'd already had a bit over $100 saved towards the purchase of a new wheel. So I sat on it. And I thought about it. I talked it over with Mom who told me to go for it. And I thought some more. Then I broke down and ordered it. I'm still saving money and anything I save goes toward that bill, but now I have a double treadle Minstrel with faster ratios and can be set up with Scotch tension.

I was torn between the Minstrel and the Sonata, which is the travelling wheel. But the Minstrel has more ratios available and I can set it for either double drive or Scotch tension. Having learned on the Prelude, I like the versatility of the Scotch tension. It operates separately from the drive band. I like that. Call me crazy, but it works.

And I've been spinning up a storm. On the little Prelude, it would take me a week to spin up 4 oz of fiber. If I spin more tomorrow, I'll have 4+ oz spun into singles and I literally began this new fiber just yesterday. Even better is the smaller flywheel allows me to ply my singles in a couple hours instead of taking the whole day.

I'm SO beyond enjoying my new Minstrel. And now that I have an "extra" wheel. (Geez.... I couldn't even imagine spinning, let alone owning two wheels. Can you believe it? LOL) I'm teaching Mom to spin. Since it's all her fault that I started with the Prelude (and if you look back, she technically owns it since she bought it for me for Christmas two year ago), I figure it's only fair that I share my love of spinning with her.

So that kind of leads me to a whole new and, hopefully, a much more fun topic...

WISHES and HOPES for 2009:
I hate calling them resolutions because they're more like ideas of things that I hope to accomplish. Things I'd like to do if life would get out of the way. Things I pray and wish I have the time to do. This past year I wanted to make my two Nordic designs and another colorway sweater besides. I didn't get them done. I wanted to work on two lace shawls as future wedding shawls for my daughters. I have yet to complete my Pi Are Squared EZ shawl.... er, oops. So, that said, I have my wishlist on KnitPicks for the first of the colorwork sweaters. All I need to do is click the "buy" and "complete order" button. Whether it's tonight or tomorrow, I'm doing to order that yarn and make my sweater. That will be the first of, hopefully, many.

When I ordered my wheel, Copper Moose had a good deal on 3 lbs of BFL in natural creamy off-white. It's beautiful fiber and will spin like butter. I'm hoping to turn that into skein after skein of gorgeous creamy 2-ply yarn. From that, I have a book on Fair Isle and Aran Designs. I want to put together my own Aran design and knit that sweater.

Oh, I did knit my Barbara Walker top-down raglan. I had enough of an autumn variegated colorway from that bin that I picked up last spring. It's not perfect, but it's really nice. And it surely came in handy during the snowstorm. Mother Winter dropped about 10-12" of snow on us last week and I slid that sweater over my head and stayed nice and warm while shoveling and snowblowing (Mark swears I broke the snowblower, but I'm kinda skeptical on that one). It was wonderful. I was toasty and warm and spent about two hours outside in driving winds and playing with the dog before I was done.

I'd like to knit some more top down sweaters. I just love the whole concept of knitting a sweater in just about one piece. Gee... can I consider it one piece if I spit-spliced all the ends? LOL! I just love her concept of why knit all these various pieces and then basically sew them together? If you want to sew it, then carve it out of material and sew all you want. If you're knitting, though, why not keep it all in one piece? After all, the beauty of knitting is the way the end fabric drapes and moves with the body. So why cut it into pieces and add seams that will inhibit the whole drape effect?

Okay, two last things and then I'll end yet another tome. The first is another plan. Mom bought me a binder. I can get those sleeves for pages and make almost a scrapbook of what I'm doing. Especially when it comes to using handspun fiber, I can take pictures of the fiber and keep a tiny piece. I can take a foot of the final yarn that I'm using. I can take a copy of the pattern and another picture of the final product and incorporate all of that into a sleeve. Date the top of the pattern with when I began the work and when I completed the project. A complete notebook/scrapbook of what I do in 2009. I like that idea.

I've kept a notebook with notes and adjustments. Listing the yarn, but not including actual pieces. And, let's face it, it's nice to know that I knit the Pembrokeshire Pathways socks in Koigu whatever # they call it, but isn't it a better reference to keep the actual ballband and a piece of yarn to go with the pictures? Yes, I think this is a great idea.

Now, I have a question. I think there are about 6 people who read my blog. I never get comments, so it's hard to tell if I even have 6. But I have a question for the ladies out there who might be able to offer solace/advice/encouragement for someone who's now charting that broad unknown territory called menopause. I'm 48. Younger than some, but not so far out of range that it's not unusual. What's unusual is that I was put under anesthetic with female parts and hormones and I woke up 3.5 hours later without either.

That was the easy part. The doctor prescribed an estrogen patch to get me over the rough times I was certainly going to face. Not the hormone cocktail, but straight estrogen that doesn't have the cancer scares of the cocktail. Well, I had the flu just after Thanksgiving and forgot to change my patch. By the time I remembered, it was 10 days later. Now, to be honest, I hadn't been feeling the best for a couple months. And I wondered if maybe my body really didn't want to go this route. So I stopped the patch about a month ago.

I can't say I get hot flashes because I don't get the red face and sweat dripping down my skull and the back of my neck. I don't wake up in a pool with night sweats. I do get periods when I'm warm, but totally manageable.

So what's the question? The one thing I do seem to get are almost anxiety attacks. I'll be going along in my day and all of a sudden my heart starts racing and I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. I've had allergy attacks in the past where the heart is racing, the blood pressure is up through the roof, tightness in the chest. But these are different. I'm not having trouble breathing, but my chest feels tight nonetheless. Another taut rubber band between my shoulder blades. If I don't catch it early, I'll literally pace the floor. And I feel like I either want to throw up or cry until my heart breaks out through my chest (you know the scenes from the Alien movies, right? LOL).

Luckily, to help with my anxiety with the dentist, he gave me a prescription for Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug. He prescribed 1 mg as needed, but I break them in half to "take the edge off". And, additionally lucky, I have 40 pills which means I have 80 doses. Now, I'm not about to abuse these suckers. When I feel the panic start to come, I take half a pill and I'm fine.

Is there anyone else who's had this happen? In the past month, before I started using my "dentist" pills to help offset this, the episodes were bad enough that I landed in the ER three times. (Oh, wow, while typing, I'm now having one of those short, tropical warm waves. Never enough to actually sweat, but enough to notice that a wave of warmth is washing down over me. Yeah, I know, shut up and consider yourself lucky, stupid! /g/) Anyway, the point is that I'm using the Xanax to offset those episodes when they start. As soon as I start to feel a little restless and "antsy", for lack of better words, I get my bottle and take half a pill.

So, my usual short story made long, this isn't something I've read about when I look up menopause. Am I weird? Am I the only one who's got this offshoot reaction to a total lack of hormones?

This is one time where I could use either some comments or some emails.

Now, last note, I feel bad that I can't list a whole ton of great things about why I've loved this year. So far, it's been a real pisser. But I do pray and hope that next years' recap will be the opposite. The conservative part of me says to wait and see. The ever hopeful part of me can't wait to find out.

So, for 2008, I hope we've finally reached the bottom of this damn barrel. The last couple of years haven't been easy. But I'm still here. I'm still hopeful. I still have dreams that things turn around and get easier. Financially, it's not easy, but we're lucky in that both Mark and I still have jobs. His employer downsized 20% of their workforce and Mark wasn't part of it. I feel sorry for those who found themselves without a job (Merry Friggin' Christmas, folks /sigh/) and my employer has instituted a hiring freeze until they can determine what will happen with tuitions, enrollment and the effect of the stock market on their endowments. Because of the accident, I now have a truck payment I wasn't prepared for. Insurance has increased because of the added insurance on a new car as well as Dee now being on our policy and, let's face it, accidents, regardless of fault, always increase your policies. So that's a huge chunk of change we now have that we didn't have a year ago. The payments on my dental work hurt, but you do what you've got to do. If I don't do the work, I could end up paying double because several teeth are in the processing of cracking. And, of course, the economy in general is in the tank.

But we can pay our bills. There isn't much left over and Christmas was slim. But we have our health and our family is strong. I love my husband and my girls and everyone else in my family. Our bonds are stronger than ever. I continue to knit and spin for sanity (and use Xanax very judiciously when stress overwhelms).

My hopes for next year? More sweaters. Finish my shawl and start another. Have lots to show at the Durham Fair in September. And I'm definitely going to attend the CT Sheep & Wool show in April. Golding is planning on being there and I'd love to sit at one of his wheels if one is available and I'd like to purchase one of his drop spindles. I certainly can't afford a Golding wheel, but wouldn't it be sweet to own a spindle? Just to be able to say I own a Golding. Maybe design a crazy pair of leg warmers.

I love to wear exercise pants. But I have that space between the top of my socks and the end of my stretch pants. Leg warmers fill that gap. I made a big chunky pair yesterday and my feet are toasty warm. Yup, I've missed that old 80's fashion and I'm going to do my best to reintroduce it to the younger girls at the college. Boots aren't an option on a lot of days because I kick off my shoes when I spin, so I wear clogs almost exclusively. Hence, cold feet while spinning. But today I wore leg warmers and never once did my feet get cold.

2009 is definitely a great year to reintroduce leg warmers... /wry g/

I hope your Christmas was everything you wanted it to be. Mine was wonderful. A warm house, good food and great company is always welcome. Let's hope 2009 will be equally wonderful for each and every one of us!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where did the time go?



Let's start with the fun stuff. Here's a pic. It's a bit fuzzy and I apologize for that, but I couldn't get another because the flash was working and scared the he%% out of her. Her name is Pancake and she's the adventurous one of our pair of sugar gliders. I do believe she's the runt of her litter as she's about half the size of her adopted sister, Waffle. OTOH, just look at those eyes. The biggest, blackest and brightest eyes I've ever seen on a cute little critter.
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She's our "fun" one. Waffle still "crabs" at us, but she's slowly coming around. She still doesn't like to be picked up, whereas you can see that Pancake is having no trouble with that. Pancake likes to wander your shoulders, then climb onto the ear pieces of your glasses and then perch on top of your head. Probably because it puts a couple of feet between her and the dog. Lacy wants SO much to meet them and lick them (no, not eat them. I know her expressions and she just wants to make friends.) But Lacy's sheer size and the fact that she tends to be a bit high strung makes them nervous as all heck.
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Let's see... why have I been missing in action for the last three weeks? Honestly, I haven't got a clue. I feel like I have SO much to do and not enough time, but I think back and try to remember anything I've accomplished in that three weeks and can't think of a thing. Other than swilling tons of coffee and being addicted to talk radio (yes, I lied! I'm listening to the talking heads! yikes!), I can't think of anything I've done...
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Well, okay, a few things. I did finish the yarn for Dee. Somehow I'll turn this into something amazing for Christmas. I'm not sure what yet. Maybe the Moebius or some other kind of "smoke ring". Maybe a pair of mittens. Maybe a hat. I really like that "fuzzy toque" from the latest Interweave Knits, so maybe I can add some kind of fuzzy-type yarn in purple and that might do it. I haven't decided yet.
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But I do like the yarn. I spun it a bit heavier than the Buffalo Soldier because that was bordering on lace weight and really too fine. This yarn has a bit more substance to it, so the end fabric will have more body to it.
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I was going to take some pictures of the fall colors and load them here, but fall sort of breezed right past us before I could take note. The leaves were green one week, in full color the next and then we had a couple of hard frosts this past week. That brought out the fall foliage in full splendor, but then we had a huge windstorm last night. I mean HUGE. I swear it sounded like a hurricane was blowing through. And now all the foliage is on the ground. I really don't want to take pictures of the ground. It's not the same as capturing that color while it's still on the trees.
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Good news is that our new boiler is in the basement. That happened last week. Yes, $5000 later, but we should be able to save huge amounts on our fuel consumption this winter. Already, I'm noticing that our house feels MUCH warmer and yet the boiler works about one-third as hard as that old ancient curmudgeon. Oh, and to add to that good news is I called around and was able to get my tank topped off for a bit under $500. $2.87/gal for fuel. I jumped on it before OPEC could shut down their production to drive the prices back up.
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Yes, God forbid they only make $4mil in profits instead of their usual $30mil profit margin per quarter... /sigh/ Geez.... we can't survive with our ski resort in the middle of the desert if gas is less than $3/gallon or fuel oil is less than $4/gallon... Greedy b*st*rtds, aren't they?
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Bad news in the last week is I finally went to the dentist and I have a LOT of work that needs doing. Yeah, I'll have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it, but I should be set for the next 20 years or so once it's done. I think I can do this. I just have to get online and see if I can get the financing. Yup, another bill to pay for the next five years... Yikes!
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Now, of course, I have to talk politics. You know it. I know it. I mean, someone has to do it. I made the mistake of checking out Mollywobbles this morning before coming in to update my own blog. I've been reading Aiden's blog for a long time, but he's really gotten my gander up. Sorry, Aiden, but you sort of pushed my button with this comment: "I can assure you a) that he isn't a terrorist, but rather a 64 year old professor, a devoted expert in the education of urban, high-risk children..." [posted on or about 10/4] Yes, he's talking about Bill Ayers. This is the man who was quoted the day after 9/11 as stating that he wished he and his Weather Underground buddies had done more bombing. If he was devoted to children, he wouldn't have made a spectacle of himself in an article, standing on the American flag, entitled, "Guilty as Hell, Free as a Bird, Isn't America Great?"
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Does Obama consider him a close and personal friend? Probably not. But I can't believe he isn't aware of his political leanings if Obama could blurb his book either. See, there are two things that people have to consider. First, if Obama blurbed the book without reading it, then I have to question Obama's judgement. Why would you give your name and position as an endorsement for someone you don't know? As a politician, all you have is your name and your position as a recommendation for people to vote for you. So that name and position must be protected from those who could later use it against you. It also scares me that Obama could later be signing documents upon the recommendation of others without reading. Sorry, but I'd like the President of the United States to read stuff before he signs it. I know that's asking a lot, but there you have it. If he's reading without signing, we could very well end up owned by Russia. That brings me to the second point. If Obama read the book before he endorsed it, then he certainly can't be telling the truth when he says that he hasn't got a clue that Ayers was a leader in the Weathermen and now openly admits to bombing his own country. And Obama endorsed it anyway.
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Now, let's discuss Biden and his remarks last weekend. Don't try to disclaim them because I heard the sound bites. In the week prior, both candidates were briefed by the National Security Council on what's happening internationally. This makes sense. One of them is going to be President and they should be aware of what's happening in the world. They should be part of the "in crowd" as to what they could be facing when they take office. Then Biden goes off to Seattle and San Francisco and he says that if this administration takes office, mark his words, there will be an international crisis within six months. And they will need the support of the communities that support them to keep everyone calm because the decision that administration makes will not immediately be seen as the correct response.
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Yeah, I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the sound bite right here on my computer. But he clearly said "this administration", not the new administration. Before anyone else analyzed his statement, I heard that he was referring to Obama particularly. Not that the international community would test any new administration, but that they would feel the need to test Obama. Because Biden did go on to say that they would learn he has a spine of steel. Not for nothing, but we already know that McCain does. Taking on McCain would have been like taking on Ronald Reagan. And, let's face it, as soon as Reagan won the election, Iran released the hostages. They'd been held in captivity for almost three years, but the terrorists knew that Reagan wasn't going to let the situation slide. Reagan would have bombed them, if necessary, in order to stop their nonsense. Jimmy Carter was still trying that "negotiation" thing. Hmm... sound like two new candidates running for office? Sorry, but I see Obama as dead set against force of any kind and trying to negotiate his way out of an international situation.
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Especially when you read the last of Biden's statement. That we, as the American public, wouldn't understand or necessarily agree with his resolution to this international crisis. Biden did go on to say that he could easily give 4 or 5 scenarios...
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Yikes! Sorry, but Biden sounded to me like someone who's been told a great, big juicy little secret and can't keep it to himself. He knows something that he's dying to reveal to the rest of us, but his position demands silence. Why? Because Obama spent the next two days trying to smooth it over with platitudes and generalities. He never denied or negated what Biden said. He simply stated that of course it was possible the international community is always trying to test any new candidate.
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Sorry, Barry, but that's not what Biden said. Nor is it true, either. Why did we have the longest run of peace and prosperity under Reagan? Because the international community knew he wouldn't take any nonsense from them. He wasn't a President who offered the other cheek if slapped. He would have slapped back and then followed it with a punch.
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Let's move on. Let's discuss how Obama has been adament that his comment to poor "Joe the Plumber" is exactly what he meant for his economic package. He hasn't said that his comment was misconstrued. He hasn't said that it was taken out of context. He's maintained that "spread the wealth" is exactly what he meant to say. The fact that the people who own the businesses are already paying 40% of the taxes in this country is meaningless to him. (Check the facts. The top 10% pay 40% of the taxes in this country. The bottom 40% of taxpayers pay nothing.) Obama wants to increase the taxes for the top 40% and give rebate checks to those in the bottom 40%. So the people at the top should, in effect, just send a welfare check to those at the bottom.
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Sorry, but the people at the bottom aren't going to take those checks and create new jobs. But the side effect of this economic principle means that the people at the top will not only no longer create jobs, but they'll have to cut jobs in order to send those rebate checks. So unemployment is going to raise even more. This is Obama's way of stimulating our economy? I don't see how that can be done. It will financially strap the very people who hire. They can't hire anymore. Jobs go out the window. So now, instead of creating jobs, people will have to subside on that $5000 check they get back.
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Call me crazy, but I'd rather see tax breaks in business to create new jobs worth $20,000 rather than instituting new taxes to offer a $5,000 rebate. I may be nuts, but I think it's easier to pay rent and utilities with $20,000 than $5,000. I must be weird.
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One last thing because I simply can't ignore this one. They've run out of ammo against Sarah Palin. They're now discussing her wardrobe. $150,000 for a new wardrobe so she can look the part of a VP candidate. Think back, people. Do you honestly think the Democratic Party turned Hillary around for a mere $150,000? I'd love to see the figures on that one. And do you know why I think they needed to spend the $150,000? Because I betcha that Sarah's wardrobe consisted of parkas and LL Bean. Sure, she was a governor. But I'll bet my remaining salary that Sarah didn't have a designer wardrobe to begin with. So they spent some money to boost her wardrobe. I'd love to know how much Obama's suits cost. He and Michelle were ordering caviar and lobster before the final debate. I can guarantee he wouldn't be caught dead in a $200 suit. How much you want to bet his suits costs $3K each?
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Little tidbit. Hillary brought 3 pantsuits to the convention so she'd have a choice when she gave her speech. They checked the 3 against the background so she'd look "just right" when she spoke on TV. 3 pantsuits = $18,000. For one speech. And the Dems are complaining about an entire wardrobe and makeover for $150,000? And all those clothes will be given to charity once the dust settles. How much do you want to bet that Hillary's pantsuits are still in her wardrobe? And I don't hear of Michelle donating her wardrobe to charity. Or eating a burger from the hotel menu.
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Obama says let's stick to the issues and stop with the character attacks. Yet it's his people who did a background check on "Joe the Plumber" and came up with the bill for Sarah's wardrobe. Sorry, but his reaction to "Joe the Plumber" has been reprehensible and this man wants to be president. An average middle-class guy goes to a rally and asks an innocent question and Obama turns him into a punchline. Obama's people did a full background check on "Joe". Can you believe that one? Poor guy asks a question and now he's being ripped apart by Obama and Biden. He's the punchline with jokes like "Do you know of any plumber who makes $250,000?" Maybe not, but that wasn't the question. Joe asked about the economic policy if he manages to buy the business he works for. And, yes, hundreds of thousands of small businesses (the very people -- the sole proprietorships -- that you want to increase taxes on) make $250,000 per year. I ought to know because I work for one. But that's okay. According to Obama, Joe doesn't get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He's worked 20 years so he can be in a position to purchase this company. Now he doesn't get to enjoy it. He has to take all that extra money he's earned and give it to the very people he employs so they can buy him out. So, in essence, the very people he employs will make more money at the end of the year than he does.
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It destroys the very fabric of free enterprise and incentive. Why make more? You'll only pay more, so don't bother. I mean, $1 trillion needs to be financed by someone. I don't want to finance it. So don't bother working for more.
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'Nuff said. Aiden says he's got a handful of readers. I think he actually has more readers than I do. So no one is listening. Why do I bother? According to the polls, I'm talking to the wind anyway. Regardless of what I read in the paper on Friday. The pollsters explained how they skew the numbers to report what they want to report. And, yes, the media is definitely on the Obama bandwagon. So I'm the one who's banging my head against the wall. Why should I argue and fight when everyone says that I'm fighting a losing battle.
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Probably because I hope people come to their senses and read between the lines of rhetoric. I pray that you all vote your conscience. And I hope and pray that I'm not singing the song of "I told you so" a year from now...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Entries, Gliders and more Politics

Let's start with the fun stuff. Durham Fair was last weekend. I won ribbons on all my entries. Fiber Entries: I took first place with my socks. The yarn was a bit uneven in tension, but it was really fine handspun and I think that's why I won. Most of the other handspun was worsted weight or bulkier. I tend to spin more of a fingering or maybe DK/sport. My handspun skein of Buffalo Soldier took third place. The judge commented that there were too many "weights". I think she meant that it wasn't consistent enough. Considering I've only been spinning on a consistent basis for about 4 months, I'm ecstatic. No, I'm not even in my tension or even in my thickness, but that will come with time.

I did spend the weekend spinning for demonstration. I'll write more about that next week (as time is limited today) but that was a LOT of fun and I met a LOT of people. I also tried to spin a bit thicker since this yarn will be used for a Christmas moebius. I don't need fine fingering for that. (Not if I want to get all the fiber spun and the yarn knitted up before the holidays... Yikes! /g/)

At the Fair, they had a display of Sugar Gliders (http://www.sugargliderinfo.org). My daughters and I fell in love, so we brought two babies home. Their names are Pancake and Waffle. Pancake is adapting to her new home quite well. Waffle is more of a challenge, but considering she's just more fearful gives us more incentive to work with her on a regular basis. We've only had them for a week, but I think they're doing okay. Pancake has crawled into my daughter's hand twice now. Waffle isn't ready for that, but I think she'll be just fine. She's just more hesitant and will take longer. A tougher nut to crack, but I've been known to crack nuts in my time... LOL!

Of course, this puts me behind. Every spare moment, I'm trying to spend with the gliders. I know they recognize my voice because they peek out in the morning when I go in to remove the extras from the cage. And they're quite calm when I do so, but we're not at the point of picking up and holding in my bare hand. I tried that with Waffle and it was a disaster for the poor thing. She freaked and nipped the heck out of me. I tried to calm her down, but she was having none of it. So we slowed down to a crawl and I'm slowly getting her used to me. She'll come out in the morning, but she's not ready to explore. She sits in her corner, quietly as long as I don't try to approach her with my hand. So I use that for now.

Today, she's been in her bonding pouch for the last four hours tucked inside my bathrobe. I do have a bunch of stuff to do, but that's okay. Shelby has agreed to take her once she's done with her shower. At that time, I can get the laundry started and get some cleaning done. (My furballs have rolled into the size of goats, so some vacuuming is sorely needed.) We also need a few things at the store. I'm going to try and take the baby with me. Tuck her inside my shirt and just come along for the ride.

Lastly, have you been paying attention? I see so many blogs out there for people who are supporting Obama. At least of the people who's blogs I normally like to read. No one seems to be openly vocal for McCain and Palin except for me. I know I promised not to talk politics, but someone has to do it, don't they? /g/

Because the debates don't start until 9PM and I'm normally crashing for the night by about 9:30, I do tend to pick them up late. I got the Presidential debate on my iPod by downloading from Cooper Anderson. I was able to tape the Vice Presidential debate and watched it Friday night (with both babies in a pouch around my neck, please note ). I think the thing that disturbs me the most is Rush Limbaugh was the only one who caught the quick comment by Biden that I caught. When talking about the economic mess, he said that the Federal Manager (whoever that will be and PLEASE tell me that it won't be Chris Dodd) not only has the ability to adjust the mortgage interest rate on those purchased mortgages (less money back into the taxpayer pocket), but they will also have the ability to adjust the principal loan amount. A very quick mention. But this was also reiterated by Sean Hannity Friday afternoon (when I get his talk radio show) and that fact was built into the bill that Congress passed. So... in essence, those people who bought houses they couldn't possibly afford will now not only have a lower payment because their interest rate can be adjusted, but their principal can also be lowered?!?

I'm skeptical and downright disheartened by this whole mess. If those mortgage holders now get to pay back less than what they borrowed (losing interest as well as principal), that means that I'm the one who'll now be paying their loan. So it's not bad enough that I'm struggling to pay my own mortgage, but I'm now going to lose that "investment package" by paying their loan for them.

Funny, but I don't see Congress running to help me pay MY mortgage. Almost makes me want to stop paying mine and see if they'll grandfather me into their package... /g/

Not that I would do that. After all, I'm one of those few people who did what Sarah Palin told us we have to start doing. I haven't borrowed more than I can afford. Yes, I have credit card bills, but I'm paying them. I've refinanced my mortgage to my advantage, but I'm paying it. I'm not standing around with my hand out to Congress. I'm doing whatever it is I have to do to pay for those things I need and want. And, I'm sorry, America, but we're a bunch of spoiled brats. We want what we want and when we want it and to hell with being able to afford it. And, now that we've overextended ourselves and put this economic strain on our economy, we're crying in our beer and waiting for the gov't to bail us out.

Not for nothing, but the Dems are trying to lay this blame at Bush's feet. Oh, the White House forced the de-regulation and put us in this mess. Sorry, folks, it was our Dem-lead Congress that passed the de-regulations, not the White House. This mess began back with the Clinton Administration. A Dem in office. And it was pursued and escalated in the past two years once the Dems took control of Congress. You might want to point the finger at the Rep president, but he can only do so much when he's got a Dem Congress with their collective feet firmly planted in the ground. And the bottom line is, regardless of regulations or de-regulations, we did this to ourselves. The banks didn't have to sign the papers. People who didn't read the contracts they signed overextended themselves to the point of bankruptcy. It's the fault of everyone who signed those contracts.

And the bottom line is that NONE of that matters. We're in the mess. Who's to blame for it isn't worth the time I'm taking to point it out.

It's about time we stop pointing fingers and try to FIX the problem. If you're going to lower the interest rates for them, then you'd better lower the interest rates for me. Free up some of my hard-earned money so I can put it back into stablizing the economy. If you're going to cut their principal, then cut mine. I'm paying my mortgage. Lower my principal and I can refinance back to what I've got and take that money back into the economy with jobs. I still have a few improvements I need to make on my rickety house. Free up my money so I can hire a contractor to finish what needs finishing. That's spreading the wealth and I'll be happy to do it.

Unfortunately, what's going to happen if the Dems get the votes next month is they'll raise taxes to pay for this mess they created and my money will be tighter than a piano wire. It's going to stifle me by strapping every last dollar I've got and I won't have anything to keep the economy running.

Sorry, but I think we ought to take this "rescue package" and see it for what it is. It's a loss leader. It's money we'll never get back unless we take that same principle and apply it to the people who actually ARE paying their bills.

And the only ticket that can apply that logic is McCain and Palin.

C'mon. I know you want to respond. With 30 days left before we enter the polls and let our voices be heard, it's time for some honest and soul-baring debate. Since no one else is taking on the Dems, I'll be more than happy to be the guinea pig. I have one of those adorable little creatures, so I have some experience. I'm open to debate. I dare ya... LOL!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Photo'd 'n' dropped off...

Yup, I did it. I found the camera and took some pics. And I've dropped off 3 of my 5 entries. It's been a crazy week with lots to do and lots of places to go. But I was determined to memorialize this moment before I dragged off my entries to the Fair. So I got the camera and hope the pics are okay. First off, here's my Wool Peddler's Shawl.


I knit this for Mark's aunt last Christmas and it really did turn out lovely. I knit it out of KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes in hollyberry, I believe. The pattern comes from Cheryl Oberle's book Folk Shawls. Truly a joy to knit and a project that I won't mind knitting again. The upper triangle is all garter stitch and then the pattern begins about halfway through. Here's a pic of the details of the pattern...



It's a very easy pattern, easy to memorize and easy to keep track of where you are. Very nice, indeed.





So that's my first entry.





I also entered that very first sweater I steeked. This was a Philosopher's Wool kit that I'd bought last fall. It's their Color Your Own kit in the colorway Fire with Yellow. Those creamy bands are yellow. But this was really fun to make. I think I knit this sweater in about five weeks.

I had enough fun with this one that I did buy their book with all their patterns and I'm dying to purchase the yarn and knit another in their Windows pattern.




Anyway, next and last in the hand knitting categories is a pair of socks. This is Brenda Dayne's pattern called Pembrokeshire Pathways. I forget where I got the pattern (Knitty.com?), but you can always get a link from her www.cast-on.com website. The pattern looks really complicated and it's beautiful once made, but it's actually quite simple over four rows. Really, nothing to it with a simple two-stitch cable. I knit these in Koigu PPM, I believe it's colorway 101.
~~
Next are two entries for our Fiber Dept.
~~




First up is a pair of plain st st socks in my own two-ply yarn spun from fiber I'd gotten from Cathi at www.stonebarnfibers.com. A gorgeous 100% merino fiber dyed in various shades of blue, hence the name Blueberries N Cream. I ended up with about 480 yds of 2-ply just in this one hank (which was wound into a center pull ball on my trusty ball winder). I still have another skein of about 300 yds of 2-ply. I'm thinking I might just have to knit up a matching pair of mittens... /wry g/


Here's my last entry. Some simply 2-ply handspun of 100% merino from Crown Mountain Farms in their colorway called Buffalo Soldier. It's an interesting mix of yellow, orange, brown and a touch of army green. I guess that's where the soldier part comes from... LOL!


I was able to spin up two skeins of yarn from 8 oz and I have a grand total of something like 680 yds of 2-ply. Yeah, I think I'm definitely fine enough for the sock yarn I wanted to spin. Too bad I don't need more socks right now... LOL!

Anyway, those are the entries. I have my fingers crossed that I can earn some ribbons and maybe some prize money so I can go buy more yarn and/or fiber. Not that I need any. I have tons right now. But more is never a problem. I have more projects planned for the next year than I probably have time to make them... /wry g/


I have to pass along an amusing story. A friend of mine had a "Quick Cuisine" party last night. She asked me and I said, sure, why not? She did explain that this is a kind of party where you put together food to take home. Two nights a week, Dee is stuck not only cooking dinner, but everything that goes with it (planning, preparing, cleaning, etc). So I'm thinking this would be nice for those nights that I'm working late and won't be home. I could plan the meals and she just has to pop them in the oven.


So I drive down to Clinton last night and I'm in Linda's driveway and the house is dark and her car is gone. I knock on the door. Nothing. I try her cell. No answer. So I called Dee and asked if she knew Linda's daughter's cell. I explain I'm in the driveway and no one's home and I'm hoping everything is okay.


Long story made short (too late!), Heather comes over from next door where she's babysitting. No, the party isn't at the house. It's at the business. This is not a home party. So she gives me directions and I find my way. I actually was getting worried when I'm sitting at a traffic light, look up and there's a sign attached to the side of the building "Quick Cuisine" with an arrow pointing me right to the front door.


It's a kewl idea. You go in and you can either purchase ready-made dinners or you can compile your own. There are various stations with all the ingredients and you simply follow the directions, put everything together in either ziploc bags or aluminum trays and take home for cooking. I bought six meals and several desserts for about $120. Not bad. I spend more than that at the grocery store on a weekly basis.


So I'm planning on doing this once a month. Get 8 or 10 meals to toss in the freezer. Either they can be used on the nights I work the second job or if we need something fast and easy. (Though some meals are even better... They're made to toss in a crockpot! Woohoo!) No planning. All the prep is done. You just cook it up and eat.


I like that idea. And the best part is that they change the menu every month so you don't end up with comments like, "Mom is working so it must be chili night..." followed with a big sigh.


Tomorrow I drop off my fiber, getting back to the Durham Fair. I'm going to ask about parking. I really hate the thought of having to park offsite and take my wheel on a schoolbus. My little Prelude is very portable, but she's not a traveling wheel. (Hence my new itch to own a Kromski Sonata. She's a double drive and she's built to travel. Even comes with a bag for that purpose. Kewl or what? I just have to save the $500+ she costs.../sigh/) Anyway, I'm hoping I can park closer since I plan to come up and spin with the ladies. I've even committed myself to showing up all three days.


One last thing. Even though I've already posted " 'nuff said", I simply have to make one more comment on our election. I read the paper. Always a mistake for me. A woman from my town wrote in to our regional paper that she couldn't believe McCain thought he'd get the Hillary voters just because Sarah is female. The audacity of McCain to think women would fall for that ploy!


Actually, and this is why I have to rant a bit, I can't believe this woman would honestly believe that's the whole reason he choose Palin. The writer is the one who's terribly short-sighted and totally naive if she honestly believes that I'm going to vote one way or another because a candidate is female. Course, it just begs the question if she was going to vote for Hillary based on the fact that she has ovaries, doesn't it? /wry g/ Is someone that honest-to-God stupid? I would never base my choice for candidate based on race, creed, religion, color or any of those other insignificant details. I do my best to do my homework and make an informed choice. Who are they? What kind of experience and past history do they bring to the job? What have they actually accomplished (repeat-not promised, but accomplished) in their term(s) in office? What do they hope to accomplish? And, most important, how do they plan to accomplish it? I don't want to hear "pie in the sky" promises that are just as easily broken as they are made. I want to hear an honest, workable plan. If you only stick to a couple issues, that's more realistic than promising everything, including a cure for cancer. That's impossible and we should all know that. But a few choice and key issues and tell me what I want to hear and you've got my vote.


McCain is the man. No, he did not endorse this ad. He doesn't even know I exist. I doubt he really cares (other than the fact that I'm a voter). So, take it for what it's worth. As I said last time, you know where I stand. Have you done your own homework and made your choice? Whatever else happens, this election will be historic and I bet it's going to be one of the most public and down-to-the-wire in history. I'll be watching... Will you?


Have a wonderful week! It's looking to be spectacular (especially considering I'm taking a vacation day on Friday so I can go meet some new spinning friends).




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Camera MIA and politics... Yikes!

If anyone knows where the camera is hiding, I'd certainly appreciate being let in on the secret... /sigh/ Taking pictures was never the problem. I knew how to do that. You point and shoot. But I'd finally learned not only how to download the pics to the computer, but also how to place them exactly where I wanted them and now I can't find the damn thing.

Life is never easy, is it? LOL!

Yesterday I had to finalize my entries for the Durham Fair. (Yes, this is the reason I wanted to take pics. Let's memorialize this moment kind of thing.) I'm still entering my Philosopher's Wool sweater. That's a given. I'll take it out of the winter clothes storage this week and freshen it up. Next is that pair of Koigu socks where I knit the Pembrokeshire Pathways pattern. They really did turn out lovely. Then I have to call Aunt Lois today and see if I can stop over during the week and borrow her Wool Peddlers Shawl. I was really proud of that one. That's it for handknitting. Sad, isn't it? They do offer a LOT of categories, but I tend to knit a LOT of socks and I can only enter one. Sidenote: Would you believe they only offer one category for socks? Sorry, but there should be 3 categories -- plain socks, patterned socks and colorwork socks. Funny because the Fiber Dept has all three categories, but not the Needlework Dept.

Anyway, let's move over to the Fiber Dept for my two entries there. A plain pair of socks in that lovely Blueberries N Cream that I got from Gypsy Girl. They did come out nice, though I do have to admit that my stitches are so darned even that the small inconsistencies in the spinning really do stand out. Course, that just makes me want to get better with my spinning. Second entry is I finally finished my 2-ply hanks of Buffalo Soldier from Crown Mountain Farms. They turned out much lovelier than I'd thought. Yesterday, I finished plying the second hank and then I washed and whacked and hung them in the bathtub to dry.

My friend Linda stopped over yesterday and said that I should make everyone mittens this year. Everyone she knows wants mittens, so I should do that for Christmas. Now I'm torn. I was going to knit Moebius' for everyone from handspun. Now she has me thinking about mittens. Course, I was also going to look for some patterns on "smoke rings". Basically, they're a cowl that's fairly lacey with a pretty pattern. If I get some nice smoke ring patterns, maybe I could take the handspun that's left and knit mittens to match. Hmm... that's an idea. And maybe I could translate the smoke ring pattern to match on the back of the hand. It's another idea to toss around while I keep spinning. I only have another 5 lbs or so to spin before I have to decide... /g/

Let's see... what else is new?

Oh! I finally started a sweater from Barbara Walker's book, "Knitting From The Top". Remember I bought that huge bin of yarn from CT Wool last spring? Well, I figure, I have the whole school year to work my way through the bin. Why not start with chapter one of the book and simply work my way through each one? Lord knows, I have enough yarn to make a number of sweaters. And my wardrobe is woefully sweater deficient. Why? Because I hate buying sweaters when I can knit them myself. These will work up a lot quicker than those gorgeous Dale of Norway patterns I'm hoarding. So let's start with some neck down sweaters and then, maybe around Christmas, when I'm looking for something with more of a challenge, I can cast on for a Dale of Norway. That will also be around the time when I plan to cast on for one of those future wedding shawls for my daughters.

I have to do something other than socks for a while. I counted at the beginning of summer when I stopped wearing socks. I have something like 25-30 pairs of socks. I don't need more right now. Yes, I will probably cast on a few pair for the Hubby just because. But I surely don't need more right now until I can wear out a few pairs.

On other news fronts... Not much to report. I have a wedding to attend the first weekend in Oct. And, now here's a shock, but I'm going to buy a dress. AT least, that's my plan. I haven't bought a dress in probably 10 years. I figure it's about time I finally got into the 21st century and bought something good. After all, I have this wedding, the hockey and basketball banquets at the end of the year and the service awards dinner at Mark's job. There's 4 occasions to wear it. And won't it be nice to play like I'm grown-up and wear pantyhose and heels? It's a thought. I'm actually kind of excited about it. So I'm going to take youngest daughter with me. (You know the girl... the one who's effectively hidden the camera and is still playing dead in her room... /g/) She's got a good eye for fashion. Me? I'm the worst. If there was a way to wear jeans and not humiliate the groom, I'd probably do it. So, rather than humiliate him, I'm going to try my best to look like a proper wedding guest.... LOL!

Oh, speaking of humiliation. I try NEVER to discuss politics. Really, I do try. Unless someone asks my opinion, I figure you'll vote the way you want and I'll vote the way I want. There's a good reason for a curtain on that machine and let's leave it at that...

BUT (you could see that one coming, couldn't you? /g/) one of the blogs I do read is Mollywobbles by Aiden in Chicago. He called Sarah Palin the worst "effing" mother in the world for humiliating her daughter by accepting the VP nomination from John McCain when her daughter is 5 months pregnant. He thinks it's reprehensible to parade her daughter around while she's unmarried and pregnant. I was going to put a comment on his post, but I didn't. I really don't want to get into a huge political discussion, but my question to Aiden is this...

Why does Aiden assume that Sarah's daughter is humiliated? First off, she is engaged. Okay, so they haven't married yet, but they are engaged. Second, who are we to assume that they didn't plan to have children right away anyway? Just because you wouldn't want your teenager to become a parent at an early age doesn't mean that that isn't what she wants. Maybe she's a girl who grew up with the hope to marry early and have a whole passel of kids. Just because society no longer wants that for their female offspring doesn't mean that said offspring doesn't want that for themselves.

I knew a lady years ago through a bowling league. When she and her two best friends were in high school, their goal was to get married, buy houses near each other and have tons of kids. They all got married shortly after high school, bought the houses near enough that all their kids attended school together and went on to produce, collectively, 29 children. Yes, 29 children. Claire had 11. Her two friends had 13 and 5 respectively. And they were all happy. Two divorced. One remarried. But they were all happy with their lives.

So.... humiliation? Who are we as public outsiders and observers to assume that anyone was humiliated? That's the "talking heads" making assumptions about what is in another person's mind. And this is the reason why I don't listen to the talking heads. They sit around and "analyze". Let's face it, they guess. They hear a speech, extract one single line and then construct entire articles about their assumption of what was meant by that one single line.

No thank you. I will never determine the way I vote based on something that someone other than the candidate themselves have said. The media has turned this election into the circus it is. Forget their analyses and conjectures. Don't let them tell you how to vote. Do your own homework and listen to the candidates yourself and make your own opinion and then vote your conscience.

Now, just to set the record straight, I'm voting for McCain and Palin. I voted for McCain in the 2000 primaries. The only way he would have lost my vote is if he'd lost his mind and taken Lieberman as a running mate. Instead, he solidified my vote with his choice of Palin. There. I've said it. I've always been a Republican, but I won't say that I've always voted my party. Sorry, I'm not a party girl. I'm an issues girl. And McCain has the answers I wanted to hear.

That's me. And that's my rant on politics. Now go make up your own mind.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back in the saddle...

The madness is now settling down. The kids are moved in and I'm back at work. Shelby moved into her dorm on Tues, Aug 19th. A day earlier than everyone else because otherwise I would have had to take Wed, Aug 20th off in order to move her in. So, the boss got permission to move her in early to free me up to start my job.

That was a lost day. We moved most of her stuff in and then it was the obligatory trips to BJ's for bulk stuff and then Ikea for extra kitchen stuff. Because Shelby loves to cook, she offered to outfit the kitchen. (She also had stuff from last year, so we had a good start already.) Still, a couple hundred bucks later, we had her stuff in the suite.

Next day, I was at work to move in the next crop of transfer students into my complex. Work the other job that night. Back at the Village on Thurs and Fri with overtime being worked on campus at the end of the day. Worked Sat and Sun for the rest of the move-in. My knees and hips do NOT (is there a way to underline that word 5 times?) like me standing in a parking lot for 10 hours at a clip. Work on Mon, other job afterwards. Work on Tues and Wed, with overtime after hours to help out with doing decals for the commuter students.

Thursday was a half day because it was Dee's 17th birthday. Happy Birthday to Dee! Happy Birthday to Dee!! No, I won't sing the rest because my voice is kinda shot.

Yesterday was my first "normal" day since the madness began. And, yet, it was a day of a few pitfalls and prats. It began early. I was checking email and went into the kitchen to refill my coffee for that frantic first few cups before I have to trot off to work. I'd just refilled and the cat jumped up on the counter to get my attention. Yes, I'd forgotten to refill the water dish with fresh, cool water. Bad Mommy! So I patted Phoenix on the head and assured him that I'd take care of him. So I refill the water dish and go to grab him... Let me break real quick because Phoenix is a hoot. If you run the tap, he'll just plant himself and drink from the faucet. I have no clue where he picked up this habit, but you've got to watch him. Leave a faucet running and he'll just block access while he sips away... /sigh/..... Okay, back to yesterday morning. I go to grab him and catch the top of my freshly filled coffee cup. Coffee everywhere!

Course, he just sits there and wonders why his feet are now wet. So I have to toss him down and mop up everything in sight. Lovely way to start the day.

Then it's off to work. Things are going well. I'm currently working on finishing the plain socks in Winter Wonderland while also working on the Pembrokeshire Pathways socks. To keep interest high (and keep boredom from setting in), I usually work on one colorway for a while, then switch to the other for a bit. Back and forth. This way I'm never working on any given project long enough to get bored with it. I also try to stagger my projects so I'm working on the first sock of one set while finishing the second sock of another. This way, every time I finish a "set", I have a new colorway or pattern to look forward to. This method keeps my interest for those long stretches of time that I have every day for knitting.

Anyway, so I'd started with the pattern. It takes a bit longer because it's a bit more involved, so I tend to spend a little more time with that. In the meantime, I also listen to podcasts and books in audio. I'd finally gotten over to Heather Ordover's CraftLit podcast and I have a LOT of catching up on the books. So I'm listening away to Tristan & Isolde (yes, I started in the middle and let's not even bring up the trouble I've had with my iPod lately) and paying attention because this was my first time listening to the final chapters when I decide to switch over to the Winter Wonderland socks. I can pay more attention to the podcast because this is straight stockinette stitch and I can practically knit these socks in my sleep. So I look quickly and figure I've got to turn the heel, so I put my hands on autopilot and direct my attention to the podcast.

So I spend the next few hours listening to chapters of books and switching between the two socks. It's about 2:30 in the afternoon when I look down and the ball of Winter Wonderland is looking mighty small. I'm only halfway down the instep and foot and panic begins to set in. I'm going to run out of yarn before I can finish the toes on this sock. This has never happened with Gypsy Girl yarn. Ever. And I'm thinking I might have to write and complain to Cathi....

Then I turn the sock to work on the other side (I knit all my socks in Magic Loop) and notice that it's looking VERY long...

I really should have saved it for a picture. Or even taken a picture with my phone.

I'd turned TWO heels. Thinking back, I'd just reached the end of the foot the day before. It was time to begin the decreases for the toes and I'd set it aside. I really hate beginning a decrease and then having to stop. The day before, I knew I didn't have enough time to finish the toe decreases, so I'd set it aside and made a mental "note" to just finish the toes the next morning and the sock would be done.

So much for "notes", right? Instead of doing the quick 20 rows of decreases and a Kitchener, done with the project by 10AM, I'd turned a second heel and spent half a day knitting a new 40 unnecessary rows....

/wry g/

Like I said, I really should have taken a picture of this thing with two heels. Luckily, it was early enough before the end of my shift that I simply frogged the whole thing back, added my toe decreases and was done with the sock in short order.

Needless to say, when I got home last night, I tucked away anything with needles and spent time with my wheel.

The other thing I did last night besides spin was to go to the Durham Fair website and begin the process of committing myself to what I'm going to enter. I picked out three categories--Fiber, HandKnitting and Sewing. In the Fiber Category, I'm going to enter some 2-ply handspun and a pair of knitted socks from 2-ply handspun. That's all I have to enter for Fiber. Maybe next year I can try a 3-ply as well as a 2-ply, but I'm not brave enough yet for that. I'll also need a Lazy Kate because my wheel itself has 2 posts built in to hold bobbins for plying, but I'll need 3 posts to do a 3-ply. Anyway.... In the HandKnitting category, I'm going to enter my PW sweater in a colorwork pullover, a plain sock, a patterned sock and I'm going to enter Dee's fingerless mitts (the ones that are purple, pink and white) in the Miscellaneous category. I have to check with my MIL to see the state of her shawl that I made her last year. If it's in good shape and she hasn't felted it, I'd like to enter that one in the shawl category. But I haven't committed to that one yet as I have to check. Finally, I have a bunny that I made _years_ ago that I'm going to enter in the Sewing category of Handcrafted Toy. I did enter another bunny years ago and won a first place ribbon, but this one has been adorning my shelves without a ribbon to call its own. So I'm going to dust her off and enter her so she feels special like her buddy.

I won't win enough points to earn the Hall of Fame in any way. Someone who enters Sewing stuff always gets that because you can sew a LOT more stuff than you can either knit or crochet. I always wanted to win a Hall of Fame (they display all your stuff separately from everyone else), but knitters and crocheters don't have a chance... /sigh/ Six articles won't get you into the Hall of Fame area.

Let's see if there's anything else in the past couple weeks. I wanted to mow today. The grass is almost knee high because I haven't been home to mow, but it's misting/raining. Too much to be a mist, too light to be rain. So, would that be rist? Or would it be main? /g/ That's okay, though. I have lots of laundry and housecleaning to do. When you only come home to flop for 10 days, things tend to back up and stall. And I have a cake to bake for Dee's official "party" tomorrow. We're taking her to Red Lobster so she and I can pig out on snow crab and then we'll come back here for cake and coffee. That's when I can check with my MIL about her shawl. I might have to wash and block it for the Fair, but that's okay. My mom has tons of floor space. Can't do it in my house because the boys would take one look and exclaim "CATBED!!!!!" White cats on a burgundy shawl. Not a good mix.

Okay, time to hop in the shower and then get on the cleaning gloves and work my way around the house. Start with the bathroom and end up at the radiator in the living room. It's amazing the accumulation of dust that can gather in the crannies of a radiator, isn't it? I've never been vigilant, but with oil prices going through the roof, I have to be better about "clean" heat so the boiler doesn't have to work so hard.

Have a wonderful week!!!! I'll gather items for pics for next week. I should have the Pembrokeshire Pathways socks done by then and they truly have turned out gorgeous. So gorgeous that I actually want to knit more patterns in the future. What a concept. After four or five years, I now want to knit patterns. Heck, I'm even thinking of an Aran sweater. I must be way too tired if thoughts like this are cropping up... LOL!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Completed... Wow!

I'm now done with 4 projects. It's hard to believe how they all finished around the same time, but lots of pics to take. YD actually got up before I finished updating this post, so I grabbed the camera and shot away. Well, okay, she shot the pics, but I have pics to show!

It takes so little to make me happy, doesn't it? Almost downright pathetic... LOL!

So, what have I done? I've finished 3 pairs of socks that were begun way back when. I've got my last pair of Plymouth Happy Feet all set and ready to wear.










I also finished another lovely pair in Stone Barn Fibers' Spring Fling. Geez, this yarn is simply divine to work with. Seriously, though, if you're a sock knitter and you haven't tried Cathi's yarn, you should. You're depriving yourself if you don't. She uses the same "blanks" as Koigu, but you get more yardage and enough to finish a healthy-sized sock. As soon as I get back to work, I'm placing another order because I'm running low and she's got some new colorways that are itching to be added to my stash... /wry g/
Anyway, last pair is done in Cherry Tree Hill's limited edition of Cherry Blossom. Nice yarn, nice variation on color, but the yarn is thicker and loftier than their normal "blanks". In fact, the socks are a bit big for me. So I'm going to pass these over to a friend of mine. I'd promised her a pair of socks this summer and this will be the pair.

She'd bought a skein of Farmhouse Yarns Fannie's Fingering.... Hmm, I think the colorway is Secret Garden. It's greens and pinks. Either way, I'd told Linda that I would knit her a pair of socks from it, but the CTH actually cost me more... Yikes! That's okay. Linda is a great friend. I've begun teaching her to knit because she absolutely LOVES handknit socks, but progress is slow and she's not ready yet for socks. She's not really a crafts type person. Long story, but she's one of the few friends I have who I'd consider knitting for rather than teaching her to knit her own. I'm not sure she'll ever complete a project, so I don't mind tossing in a project every once in a while. Anyway, I'm going to give her the CTH socks and I know she'll love them.

Lastly, I finished the Stone Barn Fibers' Blueberries n Cream fiber. I really think this yarn is fine enough for socks. I have 600+ yds of it, so I kinda hate to limit the knitting to socks, but my goal was to spin my own yarn to knit socks and this one fits the bill. So I'm now knitting like crazy so I can make a pair of socks for the Durham Fair. I can enter the other yarns into the fiber category for handspun, but this yarn definitely needs to be knit into something.

So I have several projects now dedicated for the Durham Fair. I have to check the categories, but I want to submit my Philosopher's Wool sweater into the sweater category. I want to submit handspun into the fiber category (I'm currently working on Crown Mountain Farms' Buffalo Soldier). A pair of socks in my Blueberries n Cream into the handspun/handknit category. Then I want to knit up that Secret Garden into a plain vanilla pair of socks. And I should be ashamed of myself for not thinking sooner, but I ran out yesterday and got a couple skeins of Koigu in a multi-hued pink/lavendar for a pair that I want to knit in Brenda Dayne's pattern called Pembrokeshire Pathways. I'd begun it in a variegated, but the colors hid the pattern and the pattern is really pretty. These socks have to be knit in a fairly plain color so the pattern will really shine.
~
It's funny because I've looked at the pattern since it came out. It looks so durned hard and intricate. It's not. It's labeled for intermediate knitters, but it's really only a 4 row pattern. Yes, there's a 4-stitch cable. Big deal. And then there are some yarnovers and k2tog in the 3-st band. Seriously, not a big deal. But oh, so pretty.

So I have one sock to finish in Stone Barn Fibers' Winter Wonderland (yup, one lone sock for a pic) and then I can cast on for the Pembrokeshire Pathways. Lastly, I have to see if the girls know where their fingerless mitts are. I did knit those in the last year after the fair had finished, so they should be eligible for this year's fair. Actually this yarn would have been spectacular for the Pembrokeshire Pathways pattern, but I've already finished the first sock and I hate to even think of frogging the whole thing just to add a pattern. Maybe sometime in the future I can order more yarn and do a second pair in the pattern. I really do think this is one of the few with splashes of color that won't detract from a pattern, especially a pattern that looks as complicated as Brenda's.
~
Course, who knows? New patterns might come to my attention. Wouldn't it be funny to just order lots and lots of this yarn and make all different patterns from the same yarn? Oh boy, my brain is starting to fry... /wry g/
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Oh, I have to tell the most wonderful news! Cathi at www.stonebarnfibers.com created a whole new color just for my Mom. Mom was saying that she'd like to see more yellow. After all, it was spring and you can't help but think of daffodils and jonquils and crocus. So Cathi created Buttercup for my Mom. A beautiful hued yellow. I have to get over and order some.... but then, I already admitted that, didn't I? There are some lovely patterns that have come out recently that I'd like to try, but you really need either a plain color or tonal yarns so the patterns really shine. I've done a few socks combining very simple patterns with variegated yarns, but you either lose the pattern in the colors or the colors in the pattern. Usually, it's the first.
~
Besides, I have that textured argyle that I still have to finish. I think it would look gorgeous in Cathi's new hued color called Miss Mary. Let the texture speak for itself. What's more is that the texture would really shine in Cathi's yarn because the yarn is very shiny, which relates to highlighting the individual stitches very well in the completed project. (If only I could afford to make an entire sweater out of Cathi's yarn... Wouldn't that be heavenly?) I think her yarn would show better in a textured pattern than, say, Crown Mountain Farms Bearfoot yarn, which has mohair and is a lot softer in texture.
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Can you tell I'm fumbling through what I'm trying to say? LOL! But some yarns are better for stitch definition than others. Not that the yarn is hard. It's not. It's just so smooth that it gives a better definition of the individual stitches than other yarns. Lorna's Laces is another example. Even though it's wool, it knits up similar to cotton. Very defined stitches. That would work well in a textured pattern like Cathi's at Stone Barn Fibers. Yes, even Blue Moon Fibers' Socks That Rock (STR) is good for stitch definition. Then others, like Sheepaints, Fannie's Farmhouse and Bearfoot give a softer appearance and wouldn't work well for stitch definition. Heck, my own handspun is too soft in appearance.
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Oh well, I'm beginning to ramble and, as usual, I haven't taken my shower to start my day. We have pictures to pick out for YD's yearbook in about two hours, so I s'pose I should get moving. Today is a day to catch up on bills and get more spinning in. I have a couple pounds of roving to spin up so I can do my Christmas projects and, though it might only be August, Christmas will be here before we know it. (Yes, this is me nudging not only you, but me! LOL!)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mosh Pits and Dragsters

No pics yet because DD hasn't cleared the memory card out of the camera. But I have pics to take of several ongoing projects. Maybe I can get to that tomorrow.

In the meantime, let's start with Mosh Pits. Last weekend, I went to my first all-day concert in probably 25 years. My girls wanted to go to the Warped Tour and they were at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island last Saturday. I did make them wait until we knew that the weather was going to work with us. (I went to one concert in the rain and never again! /g/) Well, the weather looked good, so we ordered the tickets and took off for a 2-hour drive each way.

Traffic worked well and we arrived shortly before 11AM. We parked, crawled into the crowd and made our way in. Think of this. Six stages set up in various areas of a huge parking lot. Probably 40+ bands, all playing at staggered times, but each stage having some band playing at all times. Lots of tents with promotion stuff. Tents with other stuff (like sun lotion for $8 a tube). You don't know how much money I spent that day, but overall, it wasn't bad.

And I was honored that my girls invited me. Okay, okay, let's be honest. I was invited by younger daughter because her boyfriend couldn't go unless I did the driving. But I have to say that older daughter invited me (and offered to pay for my ticket) because she thought I'd enjoy it. She was right. It was just as hot and sticky, but fun, as the concerts I'd attended when I was a teen. And my girls are old enough that I didn't have to worry about riding herd on them all day. There were parents there with 10- and 12-year-olds. Course, I wouldn't consider it when my girls were that age, but I'm considered a very restrictive parent. Go figure. I'm a strict PITA and my girls invite me... /shrugging/ Maybe parents should be reading my blog and taking notes... LOL!

Well, the day went well until the very end. Poor Shelby. Her favorite band, Anberlin, was hitting the stage at 6:40PM (yes, it was a long day), so they'd worked their way into the crowd during the band prior to Anberlin. They did manage to get right upfront, against the barrier that kept the crowd back from the stage. ABout three songs into the set and disaster struck. Some guy was launched up for a session of crowd surfing (if you don't get some of these terms, drop me a note and I'll be happy to explain) and landed right on her. Smacked her face down into the barrier. There went the nose again.

I was standing at the other side of the stage. Yup, I knew they were up front and that little warming light was flashing in my head because I'd seen the mosh pits and the crowd surfing all day. Next thing I know, their friend Joe comes from behind the stage and tells me one of the girls is hurt. I run around and find Shelby covered in blood. All I can think is Not Again!!!!!
Yes, this is the same daughter that had the accident three months ago.

A day later and once the bruising really came out, I don't think she broke the nose again. I think it simply got smushed against the barrier. She had bruises on her cheeks, a couple small cuts to the nose itself and a healthy fat lip that showed the clear line where the metal barrier hit.

She's fine now. Worse part for her is that the band did not have a good night. She'd waited all day since this was her favorite band and they played lousy in her opinion. Everyone else was okay with their performance, but she was greatly disappointed. And to end up bloodied in the midst of it certainly didn't help.

The other bad news is that the concert ended up very expensive. Earlier, she'd gotten caught up in a mosh pit at another band's concert and lost her brand-new prescription sunglasses. We did our best to find them, but they were nowhere to be found. And it cost her $200 to replace them... Yikes! Poor kid just can't catch a break this year.

Last night was the drag races. We go to Night of Fire at Lebanon Valley racetrack every year. They bring in jet cars and a good friend of ours races. Kind of an annual outing. It was a gorgeous day. I even got some excellent video of the jet cars that younger daughter uploaded to youtube. Great smoke and fire and this year I wore my ear protection.

But the best part and the reason I have to get younger daughter to free up space on her camera is because I finally took the time to teach myself to spindle. I grabbed some old fiber and tossed it into a ziploc with the drop spindle I'd bought at the Connecticut Sheep & Wool Festival back in April. I've been meaning to sit down and simply Do it!, but I always found some excuse why I couldn't. Well, I had time. I took the blanket up to the grandstand to "mark out our seats" and simply made myself sit until I got the hang of it.

After spinning with a wheel for almost two years, it wasn't hard. A few tricks, but I already had a basic understanding of draft and twist. It was simply putting it together and just doing it. I had about two hours or so during the time trials to play and I took full advantage. In fact, I was having so much fun that I'd pull it out later when there was a break in the action during the actual races. And I got some of the strangest looks possible. People trying to figure out what the heck I was doing, but no one had the guts to outright ask me. I could have explained, but I liked being this weird lady doing something beyond comprehension. It kept them watching as I'd set the spindle to spinning and then pinch out the fiber and let the twist run into it. Pinch some more, draft more, pinch and draft, pinch and draft. Then wind it up as the spindle lost steam and start again. It's not even, nor is it pretty, but it's hand spun on a drop spindle. So now I have to refine my language. I have my spinning and I have my spindling. I kind of like that idea. And I might just have to take some to work with me when I'm back at the university. I may not have room in my booth for a wheel, but if I can drop spindle in a crowded granstand at a racetrack, I can surely spindle in my booth... LOL!

I'll see if I can get back tomorrow with some pics. I did finish that first bobbin of Blueberries & Cream and I'm about halfway done with the second bobbin. Then that can be plied, washed and whacked. And I think I'm just going to reach into my big box of fiber to see what comes out next. I have no idea what it'll be, but it sure is fun to have a choice and I can't wait to see what I'll be spinning next....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pics, plants and yarn



Let's start with the garden. Yup, that's me sitting on the boulder in the middle of my garden. This is the garden I dug out with a hawser axe last year. Each foot of sod painfully hacked with the axe and the sod tossed.

I'd just finished weeding the top half (the bottom is still painfully green in places). That big bush to my left is our forsythia. I have some shaping to do to keep it from encroaching on the rest of the garden. The little purplish growths are my purple smoke trees. They're very happy, but they're slow growing, so it'll take quite a few years for them to bush out. Surrounding them are the strawberries 'n' cream grasses. I'd just topped the grasses to encourage root growth because I'd divided them a few weeks back. Below the forsythia are six diamond grasses that will top out around 4' tall and spread about 3' in diameter. They won't bloom this year, but when they do, it's a very feathery bloom that catches the morning dew and sparkles in the early light. Hence the name - diamond grass. Just to my right are black-eyed susans with blue balloon flowers next to them. Behind them are supposed to be my Alaskan shasta daisies, but they're not looking too good this year. (Read last post and my usual problem with bare root plants... /sigh/) In front of them and barely visible are about 20 red yarrow (Achillea) plants. I grew those from seed and I'm watering every other day. They're tiny and feathery right now, but if they survive the winter, they should be brilliant next year. Lastly, behind me, those fluffy little things are my wonderful lavendar plants. 21 in all and they'll be great erosion control on the steepest part of the hill. They'll fill in to create a blanket of lavendar. I love watering them because their scent is just too sweet. You don't even need to crush the leaves. Just stick your nose in the plant and you can smell that gorgeous scent.

Anyway, there it is in all its sad glory. I still have to re-edge the border. The grass is trying to encroach as you can see all the way around. And it's gotten a bit late to mulch. All the weeds have definitely established themselves this year. I knew a late start was going to put me behind the eight-ball, but I've played catch up before. This year will be about damage control with my garden. Next year, though, early attack and I'll get it back on track.

Next topic is I have actual yarn!!!!!

This was my first yarn in months. It's a marled red w/ a maple variegated. The red is 100% merino. The maple is a blend of merino/tencel. The sun wasn't on the deck yet, so the picture isn't as bright as I'd like, but I'm thrilled. I have about 400 yds of handspun goodness of this one. I'm thinking my mother-in-law for Christmas. Like me, she has a thing about red. She wears lots of it, so it should work well with her wardrobe.

This yarn is maybe sportweight or DK. I haven't checked the wpi yet, but when I get to knitting it into a Moebius for my MIL, that will be one of the first things I check. I'll probably end up with a size 8 or 10 needle as I want the Moebius to drape. But the whole point of this is the first actual yarn is ready to go.

Now, for the next yarn.....







Isn't this one just lovely? Another marled yarn. The green is a merino/tencel blend. The yellow is also a variegated, though. It has small bands of green and red that ran through the roving so it adds a blush of color every now and again.

Add to that the fact that my spinning has gotten finer, I'm really pleased with this. Youngest daughter thinks I ought to use this to enter in the Durham Fair in the fall. I do take her opinion because she's a sometimes knitter, so she's worked with yarn before. She thinks it's good enough to stand against commercial. I think she's optimistic on that one... LOL!

But I'm very happy with the end product. I'd completed the bulk of the red a few weeks ago and just wanted a change, so I'd switched to the yellow. But once I got the yellow spun and plied, I wanted to get them both done. So I quickly spun up the small balance of the red, plied it and then got out my trusty niddy noddy. Skeined them up, washed with a squirt of shampoo, rinsed and then (here's the part I really enjoyed), whacked the heck out of them against the deck railing. Then I hung the skeins from the braces on my canopy to dry overnight. Luckily, the yarn balanced out beautifully and I was able to coil them up and take pics.

I'm now spinning up some gorgeous Blueberries N Cream roving from http://www.stonebarnfibers.com/ Again, I have 6 oz of this gorgeous stuff and I'm going to spin, ply and then make it into a Moebius for older daughter. Who knows? If I can get it fine enough, I might be able to turn it into a pair of mittens, but that might be ambitious yet for me.

But, either way, I'm going to save a bit of the fiber in case I want to enter this one into the Durham Fair in their fiber category. They have fiber categories as well as categories for articles made from handspun.

And, boy, have things changed since I last entered the Durham Fair. I remember winning a blue ribbon for a sweater years ago and the prize was the ribbon and $10. Now they're paying upwards of $35 for first prize. Yeah, I've been out of the loop... LOL! Regardless of whether I have anything to enter in the Fair, my goal is to take a vacation day from work on Friday and see if I can join their little "spin in" demonstration in the fiber barn. That would be a LOT of fun.

Okay, off for more spinning... er, if I can keep the fiber from sticking to me more than it sticks to itself with all this heat and humidity we've had lately. All I want to do is crawl in my AC'd bedroom and watch old DVDs. Unfortunately, too much work to do before I can afford myself that pleasure. (Course, if I could fit my wheel into my bedroom, I'd have more success justifying my time in the AC... LOL!)

Have a wonderful week and now that I've figured out how to take the pics, upload them to the computer and actually put them where I want them on the page, I can update more often. I definitely need to add a pic of my yarn drying on my deck and hanging on the frame of the canopy. What's worse is that I actually liked the way it looked. the DH? He looked at me and asked when he can expect to come home and find a sheep grazing behind the garage... /wink/

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Misting nonsense

All week long, they've been threatening me with rain every day. Heavy downpours and thunder and lightning and even a possibility of hail. Uh huh. The best I get is maybe a light mist that barely dampens the ground. My plants are upset. I'm upset. If it's going to rain, could you please do it right?

IOW, I still have to water my poor little plants. The ones I'm worried about most are some Alaskan Shasta daisies that I'd ordered. I'd hoped for little 3" pots, but I got two bags with bare root plants.

I'm good with plants. I can make a lot of things grow that shouldn't grow. But I'm death on bare root plants. I've never been able to figure out if I water too much or not enough. I just know that they hate me. So I have 6 little tiny rounded areas in my big garden out front that are supposed to house some bare root Alaskan Shastas and, so far, they look pretty damn dismal. No top to speak of and I can't tell if the roots are alive because I'd have to dig them up and shock them again. Only time will tell.... /sigh/

I did collect my seedlings from Mom last Sunday. I'm hoping to get the yarrow (Achillea) into the ground today. A cute little bed of feathery stuff down near the front of the big bed out in front. The color is supposed to be brilliant red. We'll see. Right now, each plant is one feathery tiny shaft of potential. The others that are simply too cute is I started geraniums from seed. They're adorable and tiny. I know they're just waiting to take off once I get them in the ground. But they're so darned cute that I've decided to plant from seeds again next year. LOTS of them... /g/

Oh, speaking of geraniums, I did finally get to the cemetary. Thursday, I think. I couldn't stand the guilt anymore. Now, I know that Dad totally understands that I was late this year due to the surgery, but that's besides the point. There are several stones in the area that people come and tend and do take very good care to show that they love and remember and honor their loved ones. And I hadn't been to the cemetary yet. It's like I couldn't care less anymore and that wasn't true.

Normally, I never care what other people think. Trust me on this. My family will be happy to attest to that fact. But this is one place where I do care. I didn't know my great-grandparents all that well and... er, let's just say I wasn't their favorite great-grandchild and the feeling was reciprocated because their favoritism was so blatant that it was hard to ignore. But I loved my grandparents and adored my father. So it matters that I plant and maintain the small plot at the family stone. Anyway, I had my last post-surgical follow-up on Thursday morning (I've been cleared for all active duty... YEAH!) and I loaded the back of my Jeep with all the tools and plants I needed. It took me a while to dig out the weeds, but I dug it out and planted geraniums and I have some cousins of petunias -- I forget what they're called. I also brought a hose so I and others could water our little areas. I hope no one steals the hose like they did a couple years ago.

The last two beds to weed and plant are the two by my front door. Being at the top of a hill, they're usually the last to get done because, let's face it, no one can really see them. They're tucked behind my huge garden on the hill so you can't see them from the street and our front porch is too small to really sit on unless you're taking a quick break or waiting for someone to come over. Mark and I would really love to have a larger front porch, but we have a lot more work to do inside the house before we can even think of tackling that project.

Anyway, so two last areas and then I'm down to sheer maintenance on the yard. Oh, and the purchase and spreading of a couple yards of mulch, but that's a given. I'm hoping to get to that today as well as vacuuming the pool. The water is crystal clear and the chemical balance is right. I just need to vacuum the damn pine fluff off the bottom. Have I mentioned before that I truly hate my neighbor's pine trees? Yeah, probably.

The good news is that I've been a spinning demon. I finished that first bobbin of bright red and plied it with a variegated "maple" that I'd had sitting around. Yes, I bought the red to ply with a yellow variegated fiber named "daffodil", but I had a feeling the maple and red would look wonderful together. So I tried and it worked.

So, in the past week, I kept to my plan and did get spinning time every day and I spun up a whole bobbin of red and another bobbin of the maple. Now, I'm in the midst of plying those two together.

And, yes, practice is certainly helping. My singles are much finer and much more even. I think I might have gotten a bit too much twist in some areas of the maple, but I'm hoping that setting the twist (as well as the inevitable whacking) will smooth that out. I'm going to wait to set the twist until all the skeins are created and then do it all at once.

Next I'm going to work on the daffodil because I have a lovely green variegated that will look lovely with that. Then I can finally get to the gorgeous merinos that I'd ordered from Stone Barn Fibers. Blueberries & Cream, Wild Orchids and a third in Arcade Treasures. Those will be absolutely lovely to work with and make wonderful Christmas Moebius' for the women in my life. Light and fluffy and warm as freshly-made toast.

And it also gives me a chance to catch up on my podcasts. I'm SO woefully behind on those. It's easy when I'm working because I'm sitting in my booth with nowhere to go and nothing to do but knit. But when I'm working in the yard, I usually just toss music on the radio, so I'm far behind on my spinning and knitting podcasts. But my spinning is a good time to plug in the earset and listen while I zone to the thrum of my wheel.

One more quick update for those who might be interested. I received a phone call from my insurance company. A lawyer has requested a statement from them that I don't (yup, you read that right... _do not_) have an umbrella policy. Right after the accident, we were sent a letter to inform us that one of the passengers in the other car had retained council. I agree it was a good idea since the driver at fault (who is NOT my daughter) was painfully underinsured. Yes, I believe they're going to have to sue in order to collect enough money just to cover the medical expenses this poor girl has accrued.

But the bad part in this is everyone seems to forget that my daughter was also a victim. She had no fault in this accident other than being in the wrong place when the other driver decided to turn left in front of her. Yes, I carry more insurance. But that's not my fault. My daughter was just as much a victim as this girl who landed in rehab long enough that she attended her prom almost a month later in a wheelchair. I'm sorry the other family was underinsured, but why visit that on us?

God forbid they file against us, I can only hope that a jury recognizes the fact that my insurance rates shouldn't be increased because the other family didn't carry enough to cover costs.

Oh well. This is Connecticut, a no-fault state, which means they can try to collect from us. They have two years to file. We have 22 months to go before we're safe from persec... er, prosecution. Lovely thought, isn't it? My fingers are crossed.

In the meantime, a lovely day outside. I'm going to go pull some weeds and vacuum my pool. Then I'm going to take my wheel out on the deck and catch up on some podcasts. That's a plan I can enjoy. I hope you enjoy your week!