Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Benefits (?) of Pets

Somewhere I have read that pets are good for you. I've always wondered about that. We have two pets. Well, to be precise, my husband and son have two pets and I don't really remember being seriously consulted about welcoming them into our family. However, as pets go, these two are just about perfect. They can easily keep themselves entertained for days or weeks at a time and seem pretty happy to forage for themselves in the backyard. All we really need to provide are some supplemental nutrition, shelter, and sturdy walls to keep them in.

You may be wondering what sort of wonderful pets we have. These great beasts are California Desert Tortoises. They do have a few drawbacks in that we have to be careful about what we plant in their area and we cannot take them out of state should we move. Given that they sleep for half the year, these are small inconveniences. One of our tortoises is a rather surly male who is 25+ years old. The other is six years old. We are almost certain that the younger tortoise is a female. We won't know for sure for a few more years, but the male is quite interested in the younger tortoise so we think he has spotted a potential girlfriend.

This morning, I was awakened by rainfall on my window. This is fairly unusual since it doesn't rain all that often in Southern California. Well, that is true most years. This year the jet stream seems to have us confused with Seattle so we have had far more rainy days and nights than usual. As I tried to go back to sleep, I remembered that our younger tortoise did not yet have a good shelter. Then I remembered that the last time I checked on her she was hanging out near the drain that prevents our side yard from becoming a pool. My brain started conjuring all the dreadful scenarios that could occur should that drain become blocked.

All this explains why I was outside at 4:30 a.m. under a raincoat that no longer keeps me dry slogging through the side yard with a flashlight to find a tortoise. The drain was not clogged, but the tortoise looked pretty miserable. I brought her in, dried her off, and found a box in which she could stay until her side yard dries out. It's hard to tell, but I think she was happy with the change.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A tisket, a tasket, a yummy yarn basket! Posted by Hello
Errand Adventures

Have you heard the one about the knitter who ran errands? Sit down, this one is good. This weekend was one of those weekends. You know the ones. We had a long list of places to go and then Darling Son came home with a pile of unexpected homework. If he doesn't do it at school, it doesn't go away. Such a good lesson. To get through it all, we scrapped plans to go to the local arboretum's show as well as the idea to check out a garden room showroom. Darling Son didn't seem to mind these changes (we didn't tell him about the turtles that were at the arboretum). Several hours of intensive labor later, all the homework was finished. Sunday afternoon I realized that I had just enough time to hit the local yarn shop. I had a skein of Donegal Tweed that I had picked up convinced that it was the same color as previously purchased skeins. Foolish of me to trust my memory, I know. It wasn't even remotely the same color so I was determined to return it. I announced my plans to the family and started for the door. On my way out, I was reminded of a prescription that needed to be filled. No problem!

Ten minutes later I was pulling off the freeway and into the yarn shop. The results make a very nice basket (far better than the sweets that were in it originally). I found more skeins of the wild sock yarn to make a pair for my neighbor (it was even in the same dye lot as the 1/2 skein I had left from my socks). I found some black to try out a dress sock pattern for the husband and more Denim DK for socks for another neighbor. I started wandering around and found some luscious Rowan Calmer to make chemo hats per a wonderful Knitty special issue. You might also see some Silky Wool peeking out. I was going to hold out for a green or verdigris, but this blue was too wonderful. Eventually this will become Branching Out from the current Knitty issue. I also picked up some #2 DPNs. All was good.

Back on the freeway and off to the pharmacy. They filled the scrip in minutes and I was off again to look for a place for my tempest. Target was out of teapots so I headed home. All errands were completed and I was home in less than 1.5 hours. Fantastic!

So, can you guess the punchline? C'mon, it's right there, you have to see it!

Yes, the skein of Donegal Tweed never left home. That's right, I have to go back to the yarn store!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Who, Me?

This is thanks to Hakinimomma.

gold key
You're a little gold key, and you unlock other
people's hearts. Your kindness and willingness
to be there for those you care about lets
people open up to you knowing they will be
accepted. People will rely on you, but be
careful not to give more than you have.

What sort of key are you and what do you unlock?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Are these bright enough for you? Posted by Hello
Socks, Socks, Socks!

I am really having fun with socks. This surprises me. It never occured to me that knitting socks could be so satisfying. I finished my second pair last weekend and started the third pair Thursday during a school field trip. We were stuck on a bus for over an hour in each direction and I was up near the front away from the screaming hoards. Okay, so the hoards weren't that bad, but it was much more peaceful up front. I really wanted to start work on a felted bag. Since that bag is intended as a gift for the teacher who was in the seat across the aisle from me, this did not seem like the best time to begin. Thus, I picked socks. They are small, portable, and they amazed the children sitting behind me.

The pair I finished last weekend were just plain fun. I used Regia Stretch Crazy Colors and the Unity Socks pattern (which seems to have disappeared from the web). My neighbor now wants a pair as does my son. Another neighbor wants a pair like the first pair I made. This could get addicting.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

I finished this book last night. It was a good read and an interesting study in the responses to a tragedy. The heroine, Carrie, is in a waning relationship when her fiance is injured and becomes quadraplegic. I understood Carrie's fear and need to run. I also understood how she was pulled back to her small town. Of course, I will point out to the author, Ann Packer, that Madison, Wisconsin, seemed like a very large city when compared to the truly tiny town closest to where I grew up. Even so, I can relate to the "Midwestern Nice" that Carrie exudes even when she is in New York City. I even related to her compulsive sewing. There is nothing strange in that!

More interesting perhaps than the book itself was the discussion among the members of my book club. I found that I was in the minority in that I didn't dislike Carrie. Several members of the book club were unhappy with the choices that she made or didn't make. One member was convinced that Carrie was a dreadful, evil person. In the year or so that we have been meeting and discussing a wide variety of books, I have learned that this person sees the world in sharp black and white. There is no grey in his world. People are either good or evil and his classification of people can be based on something so simple as political affiliation or religious choice.

Believing that the world is this simple, this cut and dried, is certainly tempting. It would be so much easier to be able to judge people with a quick test and then dismiss and ignore those who don't pass. Too bad that I have met very few people who are this easy to classify. Sad too, that I think this person is missing out on a lot. When you don't see the shades of grey, I think you miss the rainbow as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

I've Been Found Out

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

5% Midwestern

0% Dixie

Friday, April 15, 2005

Book Meme Bandwagon

Okay, okay. Since I got pinged by both Sheelzebub and Amazonfemme, I guess I had better play along. Here you go, my first meme.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

Hard to pick, but I'll take The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Oh, yeah, I had it bad for Aragorn when I first read LOTR.

The last book you bought is?

It was either Elegant Gifts in Polymer Clay by Lisa Pavelka or At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

What are you currently reading?

At Knit's End, The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer, and all the other books on my nightstand.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

I very much like Sheelzebub's idea and will go with books on first-aid, hunting, plant identification, and raft building. If I'm actually enjoying myself on this island, then I want a good knitting reference book.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Hmmm. Since two of my favorite bloggers already did this, I'll try to pick three others. Definitely Hakinimomma because she reads really good books. Another interesting blogger is Anne of Creating Text(iles). She is another reader and knitter. I'd also be very interested to read JJ's picks since she also picks out some great books.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

One baby sweater! This is a pattern from Lion Brands using Baby Homespun. Posted by Hello
Taking Stock and Taking Credit

It's been a busy week, but I feel like I've accomplished a few things. On Friday, I (finally) sent in my Red Scarf. I also sent a check to represent the red scarf that I'm knitting for a gift (thus saving Lisa the shipping hassle). Friday was also Goodwill donation day. Many perfectly good clothes made their way to the local store. Since some of those were donated because they were too big, I was especially happy to see them go to new homes. I also got a bonus by finding three 100% wool sweaters that cost me $14 total! Monday night, DH and I finished the edits to our wills. That's not something we want to think about, but we need to get our wishes on paper to ensure that darling son is cared for.

Today was the day that I spent some time on myself. This was annual mammogram day! Woohoo! Okay, so it's not the most fun event of the year, but it is an important one. I'm to the point now when I get to have them every year. To my knowledge, no one in my family has had breast cancer, but there is always the possibility that I could be the first. The squishing is worth the peace of mind.

On the knitting front, I finished another baby sweater on Saturday (pictured above). This was one of the weird dye lot sweaters. I'm still not too happy with it. It's okay, but not what I pictured when I started. I'm about 2/3 finished with a scarf for one of my son's teachers. Shhhhh. It's a surprise! She is moving (waaahhhh) and I want to do something special. I'm also planning to make her a felted bag. I was weak on Friday. The flush of good feeling after visiting the post office lasted all the way through a trip to the yarn store where I was sorely tempted. Resistance was futile. I just couldn't help myself and I ended up with several gorgeous skeins of Noro Kureyan. Ah, well, so much for frugality.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sometimes Things Are Better Than They Seem

I was all set to post about what a rotten week this was. This was Spring Break week and I had tons of parent guilt because we didn't do anything except work and send Darling Son (DS) to daycare at his school. The guilt intensified Tuesday night when DS slipped in the bathroom, split his chin, had his first trip to the emergency room, and received his first stitches (eight, to be precise). Work was stressful and the entire week was topped off by my catching a cold and spending the entire weekend recuperating.

So, why am I not actually complaining? First, I watched DS at daycare. He had a great time with hours upon hours of unstructured play time with his favorite playmates. His best friend even paid a surprise visit one afternoon. Second, after the initial shock and pain of the injury, DS learned that not only would no one tease him about getting stitches (he was initially worried about looking like a zombie), most kids were pretty much awed about the "trophy" and many adults had their own stories about how they split open their chins. Third, spending the weekend at home gave DS even more time to play the way he wanted to and he spent hours creating Lego cars and having pirate battles. Fourth, DS and DH spent hours on projects around the house and garden and DS had a wonderful time digging up the garden. Finally, hours of feeling too cruddy to move gave me with hours of knitting time.

A few months ago, my favorite socks in the world finally gave up and developed holes in the heels. A few weeks ago, I found some wonderful yarn that was nearly the same color as the sorely missed socks. This weekend, I took this yarn and made two matching socks that actually fit my feet. The yarn is Sirdar Denim Tweed DK and I managed to get both socks from one ball. This means that I can use the second ball for another pair! These are snuggly and wonderful. I am definitely a convert to hand-knit socks.

So, maybe the week wasn't so bad after all. It's all in how you look at it.

I did it! My very first socks. Posted by Hello