Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanksgiving in May?!?!?

On the needles, In the garden and On the wheel

IOW, I'm hoping to actually cover an agenda today rather than my usual blathering about whatever pops into my mind.

On The Needles

Remember the Mitered Tank for Dee? I found some really cute glass beads to work into the neckline, but I sort of ran into a problem. While waiting to find just the right thing, I started the Vacation Skirt in Blackberry. So I now have a project on the needles I need to finish the tank... Oops... /g/ Course, that one is easy. Just finish the skirt and then I can move back and finish the tank. All of this before her graduation on the 24th. Er... not tomorrow, but the 24th of June. So I have a month to get this done.

Shouldn't be a problem except I normally don't knit much at all once I'm out of work. Summer is my spinning time. So I have to actively remind myself to get the project out of the bag and keep knitting away. The skirt is coming along nicely. I have about 35 rows to go in order to finish it, so it shouldn't be a problem.

And I will publicly admit that I've officially snoozed a project until Fall. That sweater I made using the Fibonucci sequence? Well, I still hadn't put the thing together yet. Then, yesterday, I was packing up the sweaters and bringing out the shorts, so I took the body and sleeves and stuffed them into the bag for storage. I did make a mental note to remind myself that I'm going to have to put it together once I bring it back out in the Fall. (Course, knowing me, I'll forget entirely until it comes out of the bag and then I'll laugh and finally get it done. In the meantime, though, it can nap. After all, it's been napping for about 3 months already. What's another 3 months? I know, the height of laziness on my part... LOL!)

I did keep my EZ sweater out for the summer in case I get an itch to knit. I promise it won't last long once the heat of summer arrives, but I like to keep something out in case the itch shows up. Usually it only takes a dose of Zyrtec and one evening of trying to knit wool in 90 degree heat and the itch runs for the hills. But I'll keep it handy anyway.

In The Garden

Not much yet. Three weeks ago, I'd started my little seeds in their little greenhouses. Well, 90% of them took root and they're flourishing quite well. I have a couple herbs, some marigolds, celosia, sweet william and a whole bunch of morning glories. Frankly, I'd thought my clematis was dead, so I figured I could get morning glories to climb the fence between the yard and the driveway. Course, cleaning up the bed yesterday, I found the clematis' are doing just fine. They're just going to take a few more years to really get used to the fence. But I planted a whole bunch of morning glories anyway. So first plants are in the ground.

And the yarrow that I'd started from seed last year? A whole soft cloud of it in my front bed. It's really going to be lovely once it blooms.

On The Wheel

I do have two hanks of lovely natural BFL. It's still on the bobbins and I have to skein that on my kniddy knoddy. Maybe this afternoon if it really does decide to rain. In the meantime, I started some merino in Wild Orchids that I'd bought from Stone Barn Fibers. I do have to predraft it out because it's become quite matted. No fault of Cathi. I've had it hanging around and stuffed tightly into a ziploc bag for the last year or two. So predrafting is a must with this, but I hope to have that spun up by the end of the week.

Summer is my spinning time. I have lots and lots of fiber lined up. Some natural colors and some dyed. Some is BFL (I still have another 2 lbs to go on that.) I have a pound of alpaca with one bobbin of singles done, just waiting for a second bobbin so I can ply that. I bought a couple lbs of Rambouillet at the CT Sheep & Wool last month in a beautiful natural grey. I'm thinking that might make another beautiful EZ-type sweater with the BFL, but we'll have to see how the colors spin up. I like the thought of doing colorwork in my own handspun from natural colors, but it depends how the colors look together. I have another pound of steel grey merino that had come into Country Yarns and the woman who'd ordered it really didn't like it. She thought it would be a softer grey and it's not. But it's a beautiful fiber and I'm thinking it would make a wonderful pair of first socks for the Hubby.

And there's more also. I just can't remember it all, so I have LOTS to spin this summer. But I have to work my way through all of this before I can try The Sheep Shed for their bargain bags of wool. I've heard so much about them and I figure I can ask my spinning group if they'd like to invest in a bag and we can divide it. If not, then I'll do it anyway and have enough fiber to spin for the next 5 years... LOL!

Those are the basic updates of what's been going on. Oh, wait!

Bacon Update!!

Bacon and Waffle now live together in the big cage. Shortly after my last post, we put them together to see how they were acclimating to each other and, the next thing we knew, they were cuddled together in their shirt. I have to tell you about Bacon's little trick on the wheel. They have a running wheel to keep them in shape, specially designed so their tails don't get caught in any spokes. It's all solid except for little holes along one side so they can get in and out. Well, Bacon runs along the wheel to get it moving and then she grabs the sides of one of the holes and spins all the way around with the wheel, kind of like doing a loop-the-loop. It's really cute. She'll run along, grab and loop, then start over again.

Now... what the heck is with the title to the blog?

Yup, Thanksgiving in May. I love summer because I can invite tons of people over. Why? Because my deck is larger than any room in my house. So all the summer picnics tend to happen here. I love it. This is my entertaining time of the year. The only problem that happens is... well, my family doesn't like macaroni or potato salad. All my guests love my salads, so I always make them, but my family doesn't like them. So all leftovers are inevitably eaten for days on end afterward by me and every bit of them end up expanding my butt.

So I had a thought... You see, I got a turkey on sale. It's been in my freezer for about two months. Time to cook it. And every November, these same poor people get stuffed into my little dining room. So I thought why not do Thanksgiving in May? My bird is defrosted and brining in my bathroom. I'm going to stuff it and cook it tomorrow with mountains of smashed potatoes and rivers of gravy. I'll make a mess of corn and bake a berry pie and see if I can talk Dee into another wonderful coffee cake for dessert. And we'll have Thanksgiving dinner out on the deck where we can won't be cramped for a change.

It will be a small party with about a dozen people, but our deck is big enough to handle that and more. Today will be unwrapping all the furniture and hosing everything down. I have to shop for the potatoes and bake the pie. Then tomorrow will be leisurely with the bird in the oven and potatoes mashing in the mixer.

My flower beds aren't ready for visitors yet, but it's still early in the year. I don't like planting before Memorial Day anyway. I did get started to get the morning glories in so they can really take off, but the rest will come in the future weeks. One bed at a time. One project at a time.

I do love summer and it's almost here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New Baby in the house!

The kind of babies that show up in my house are not the kind that show up in most... LOL!
Pocket Pets were up at Hubbard Park last week for the big daffodil festival. It was in the 90's, sunny and a perfect day for working in the yard. So Shelby and I got in the Jeep (darn, still has the hardtop) and actually found a parking place on a sidestreet about 100 yds from the entrance to the park. By the time we actually found the display for Pocket Pets, it was half a mile and I was sweating, but it was worth it.
We showed them all the correspondence from when we lost our dear Pancake last year and they were sympathetic and wonderful. What does all this mean?
Pictures, of course!!!

Her name is Bacon and she's our newest addition. Now, before you think she's quite big, you can check the Pocket Pets website and see other little babies. The towel that she's moving across is a hand towel, not a big one. If I pick her up, she can literally wrap her entire body around my thumb.
I do wish I could have gotten a picture of them together so you could see the difference in size, but they were still cautious of each other. Bacon is a true little sugar bear. She stands right up on her hind feet and will swat at you with her paws, crabbing the whole time. Course, I just talk slow and even and tell her that I know it's all a big show and she's nothing more than a tiny, little scared baby. She hasn't tried to bite at all, which I think is a good sign. Waffle, our big girl? The first time I picked her up, she fought like a tiger, biting every bit of skin she could get between her teeth.
Speaking of Waffle, we have a picture of her also. This is her inside in her little dining room. I have no idea how this picture was achieved and without being fuzzy. (Most of the pictures came out quite fuzzy...) The nice thing is you can see just how big and dark her eyes are and you can also see her "hands". Yup, just like us, she's got 4 fingers and a thumb. She'll grab a bit of glider chow in her hand and gnaw away at it. Then, look down at her back paws. The thumb is really offset because she spends most of her life hanging upside down like a sloth. Only, she's no sloth. she's quick and loves to jump about the cage.
I can't wait until work is done for the summer so I can finally have time to bring her out of the cage and let her explore more of the house. She's very curious and can't wait to come out. Let's face it, she's bored with her cage. But I still get nervous about the cats, so I don't want anything happening at a time we can't supervise.
Last night was a break-through with the girls. I'd noticed yesterday morning that, while I was in cleaning out dinner debris from the night before from Bacon's cage, that she started crabbing. Making quite a fuss and Waffle popped out from her nest and hung onto the cage beside Bacon to make clicking and chirping noises, almost as if to reassure her that we humans are okay. So, after Dee came home from work and we'd finished dinner, she took Bacon from her little traveling cage and put her in with Waffle in the bigger cage.
They spent the next two hours just playing with each other. Bacon is still discovering how to get into the wheel, but she's learning how to run on it. The only funny thing is that, once in a while, Waffle would pop in and show her how it's done. This never went well with Pancake either. You've got one glider running and the other tends to slip and slide around the wheel. Well, once, Bacon was sort of peeking out from one of the holes, hanging onto the sides of the opening, and Waffle takes off. Think of hanging onto a Ferris wheel and suddenly it turns all the way around. She's straddling this hole and whirling around. Needless to say, she chirped in alarm and Waffle stopped to see what was going on and you could swear poor little Bacon's knees were wobbling as she decided to sit out this ride... LOL!
So, new baby in the house!
Other good news: After a bit over 4 months, I'm finally done with the dentist. His work is complete. At least for now. Very strange to look in my mouth and see all kinds of white instead of lots of metal. So 4 crowns and 14 fillings (mostly replacing old cracked fillings), I'm finally done. I don't have to go back for 6 months. Whew! I wondered if this day would ever come... LOL!
Insurance companies. Yup, we've passed the first year anniversary of Shelby's accident and they're still negotiating. I made my position clear. They've made offers and I've rejected both. So the ball is back in their court and I'll be out of work soon. I have all summer to file in small claims court if they don't get moving. I'll have lots of time to finally get this monkey off my back and get Shelby the compensation she deserves. She's given me permission to settle affairs for her so she can concentrate on her studies. And that's working well. She's should make Dean's List again (even with Organic Chemistry Pt Deux) and she was inducted into the Beta Beta Beta Society for the Study of Biological Sciences. IOW, she was recognized for her interest and study in the area of biology. Only 20 students from the university were chosen and she's just ending her second year of study. Pretty good to get this kind of nomination before your senior year.
And Dee finally came into her own. She's worked really hard this year to bring her grades up and she made High Honors on her latest report card! Woohoo! I'm so proud of her and that means we'll have to take her to dinner at a restaurant of her choice.

Speaking of Dee, I have knitting news. I'm almost done with the Mitered Tank from the spring/summer 2009 of Vogue Knitting. It's a Norah Gaughan design and will look fabulous on Dee. It looks pretty skanky right now because it's not finished or blocked or anything. I'm knitting it in KnitPicks' Cotlin. It's knit from the hem up, with mitered corners on the flare below the waist. Then you rib at the waist and then increase for the bust. It's actually coming along very nice and will look great on her. The color is Island Coral and will complement the red highlights in her hair as well as her tan. Next, I'm hoping to knit up the Vacation Skirt pattern from Amy Polcyn in the March issue of Creative Knitting. This will also be in Cotlin, but in a dark purple called Blackberry. Very casual, but I think the drape of the hem of the Mitered Tank above it will create a very chic silhouette on her figure.
Last week was the CT Sheep & Wool Festival. I was going to update the blog then because, of course, I bought stuff, but it's been hectic and I never got the chance to sit down and blog. Golding had a booth and I bought myself a Golding spindle. One of the ring spindles. Yes, one of his least expensive, but I did give it a spin once I got home. Oh my goodness!!! What sheer joy!! I might have to begin doing some spindling just for the awesome joy of feeling that spindle working.
And, yes, I bought more fiber. I got a great deal on some Rambouillet. 2.3 lbs for $34.00. It's a beautiful natural grey so it's mixed light and dark fibers. Not a solid color. I'm going to see if it goes well with some gorgeous dark merino I'd picked up a month ago. Between the lb of merino and 2.3 of Rambouillet, I could have enough for a new top-down raglan from Barbara Walker's book. (Yes, part of my brain is thinking Aran again, but let's not even travel that road... LOL) Or maybe I can blend that with the natural creamy Corriedale I'm currently working on and I could do a colorwork of cream and grey. I'll have to see where that leads.
But I have lots and lots of gorgeous wool to spin this summer and that's the point. I don't want to have to buy. I want to have fiber lined up and ready to go once I'm out of work so I have no excuse for not sitting down at my wheel after dinner each night.
The other reason for a delay in posting is we moved Aunt Lois into a retirement community. One that has a memory unit so the staff can remind her to do things like shower and eat. That happened last Friday, so it's been almost 10 days. I wanted to give her time to adjust to her new surroundings and we're planning on visiting her on Tuesday. I won't go into details other than she wasn't amenable to a move, so we sort of did it all while I took her out for the morning then I used an excuse to get her in the door to show her her new apt. It was heartwrenching to do this, but it was necessary. And she's adapted beautifully. She's getting along with everyone and the staff has assured me that she's the darling of everyone who works there. They adore her now that she's come out of her shell and adapted to the new experience.
So that's taken a lot of time because it'll be up to me to get her old apartment packed up and ready for storage. I still have to sort through all the paperwork that was squirreled away in every corner and drawer of her apartment. That job is going to take weeks, if not months. But she's safe now and the care she's getting is everything she couldn't do for herself anymore.
Final news is that I have 7 days of work left. Five days of classes/finals/move out and then two days of graduations and I'm off for the summer. I've got most of my yard prepared for the summer. I seeded 4 trays of seeds in preparation for Memorial Day weekend. Lots of color and lots of variety. Yup, I can't believe how much I've gotten done, but it's all one step at a time. I have tons of work over at the doctor's office, but I'll have more time for that also once the job at the university is over. Then I can also start on my house, my yard and finalizing Aunt Lois's settling into her new apartment. Lots of work yet to do, but I have lots of plans for this summer. I won't have a lot of money to spend, but that's okay. Most of my plans won't take much.