Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No Tornadoes-YET!

Wow! Our tornado season got off to a slow start. I think last week proved that it has caught up with the season. I cannot imagine having that many tornadoes in one day, and the big one in Mississippi proved how dangerous these things are. So far we are not affected.

Our sock group met on Sunday. The surprise I didn't want to mention last entry was that I was trying to finish one of the fair isle socks as a demo for everyone. I did not get it finished, but nearly so. I am doing my top down, as I mentioned, my own version of it. Another woman in our group is trying to follow the pattern so she can learn how this designer works. She had started hers and was past the toe and into the first foot pattern. So she was able to demonstrate that to the others.

Normally we have one last cool down before the summer heat. Normally it is the first week of May. Well, it has been here since that storm system moved in over the weekend. We are struggling to get out of the 50's this week, and it has been windy. I actually turned on my heat last night. Tonight is going to be in the 30's, and a possible light frost in some areas in the mountains. Tomorrow they are saying 60's, and I guess I will mow my weekly mow tomorrow. More rain is supposed to move in the end of the week. And storms.

My friend CJE went on a writer's retreat last week, and she is having a little trouble integrating back into the "normal" hectic life she left behind. When I called her last night she said she told her employees at work yesterday, "You know what to do, so you just do it." and she walked back into her office. And they did do what they were supposed to do. She said she was amazed that they did.

I have been thinking a lot about paint ideas for two rooms in the house. I don't want to tackle any more house projects right now. But I can't be out in the yard with the chill and wind, and so I look around the house and think paint. It will all go away when the heat returns and summer arrives. I have too much yard to worry about, and the last thing on my mind is house stuff. I sometimes wonder why I have 1/2 acre to worry about.

I got some yarn on sale at the LYS and I am thinking of dye colors. I also received a HUGE box of wood shavings and chips from a friend. Her husband does woodworking, and she has been gathering stuff for me. One HUGE sack is mixed up chips with various woods. So I am unsure how that will turn out. But she was able to separate some Paduk from a demonstration he did. So that will be an accurate dye job. I have to soak them in denatured alcohol for a while, but it will be interesting to see what I get.

I am also trying to get rid of paper wasps that have invaded my shed. I need to get some things out of there, and there are huge nests of wasps. Tonight is a good night to attack them since it will be so cold. I hate, hate, hate to kill anything. But my most recent sting was on top of my head and it HURT like all get out. I cried buckets over that one. I am able to keep up with the wasps on my front porch. I check every day, and when I see the beginnings of a nest, I knock it down during the night. But these in the shed haven't been monitored as closely, and they are out of hand now.

Nothing else is new. I am busy trying to finish my last glove. I also am trying to finish the fair isle sock. The sock has lost interest to me. I am also trying to finish plying my latest handspun project. I am listening to 206 Bones on an audiobook while I spin. That helps. I haven't really gotten motivated to do a whole lot. I am at that in-between state before the big yard push and finishing last minute projects before summer. I want to get sewing, but that will have to be another motivational talk to myself. That usually comes when it gets hotter and all I want to do is sit under the air conditioning vent and not hardly move. Sewing is great then!

Have a good rest of the week. Keep busy and keep happy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Friday!

"Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth." -Madeleine L'Engle

I will only add to that quote -to knit. I found this on another person's blog, and I googled her to read more of her quotes. I did like the one (paraphrased) that if the book you are writing is too difficult for adults, then write it for children.

I have really pushed myself this week to finish a project I started a coupla weeks ago. It is a surprise, so I cannot reveal it today. I will not have it finished by deadline, but it will be close.

I went to knit night last night at HandHeld. Only a few showed up, but there was a planned class for Mother's Day washcloths. One of the ladies that was there for the class brought in the most phenomenal soft dolls she had made in a class. One was a large doll balanced on the top of a flower. It was in soft pinks and ecrus. The doll had a cute little hat made of petals. The other was a doll made from a purchased tassel. It was really cute. She told us the lady that was having the class made the faces herself. They were really special.

JF and I sat next to each other. Since she goes to work at 5:30 am and works all day, she was very tired. She and her husband had been out on a social event the night before, and she didn't get a full night's sleep. She did show me what she is doing with her pink yarn I dyed. I think it will be a pretty shawl. I am so happy that she liked the color. It is really a cranberry, burgundy color, and is really nice. She had tried muting the color originally with tea, and that skein was darker than the others. So she overdyed the four others I had dyed with tea. They are not a true match, but close.

I worked on my handspun sweater last night. I ate nachos from Hugos, and I got very sleepy. I have tried to cut back on the bad food for a coupla weeks, and I was very hungry last night. So it was nachos or a blue cheeseburger. So after gorging myself and pigging out, I found the knitting to be very soothing. I had to leave or go to sleep in the chair.

I love reading other people's blog. I have a favorite in Knitting in Color. I love to see what she is doing. She puts links on her site to people who are doing colorwork. I am so in awe of what others are doing. It makes me feel like I am not doing anything. I cannot believe the intricacy of some of the work. It is inspiring!

Sunday is our sock group meeting. We are beginning a new project with colorwork socks. I have a pep talk prepared in my head for those who feel overwhelmed by the project. It really isn't that difficult. You just have to follow the chart, and the magic occurs. I like to just focus on one thing at a time, instead of looking at the whole sock and sighing. This one is Bazaar Socks, from Interweave Knits, designed by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. So it is a patchwork of various colorwork patterns. I like to isolate the one pattern I am working on at that time, and just focus on that one. Somehow this works for me.

I have put my glove on hold right now, but hopefully I will get that done next week. I have something else percolating in my brain, so I need to get the gloves off the needles and done. I do not like to have more than three projects started at once.

I was listening to my podcasts last weekend while spinning. There was one with an interview with Kristin Nichols. She said she thinks the reason knitters give away so many of their things is because we can only have so many sweaters to wear. She was advocating that we should knit pillows or home dec things. Unfortunately I don't need any of that. So I continue to give away, I guess.

So enough rambling on and on. Believe it or not, while I was typing we had a brief little rain. The north sky is dark, so hopefully there is more on the way. I heard last night that there were 32 tornadoes reported in Kansas yesterday. I wondered where they were, since we haven't had any so far this season. I would love to go through one tornado season without one.

Have a safe and productive weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thank God for Rain!

Everyone I know has been praying for rain. The pollen is so thick and covers everything. Everyone I know is snuffling, blowing noses, hacking, coughing, and is plain miserable. So it is not just me. We expected rain all weekend. We got a few splatters that made the pollen a paste on my deck and outside table/chairs. Last night as I was trying to sleep without coughing I heard real rain falling. Whew!

This morning I opened the door to the deck to check out the mess, and there were two young deer in the back yard. They were as surprised as me. They didn't run away; just a general freeze. I quietly closed the door and they continued their browsing. One enjoyed reaching tree branches that were low on the edge of the woods.

It is a little bit chilly; not bad compared to 14 inches of snow a month ago. It is a surprise to have 80 degrees the middle of April. I did get the yard mowed again before the expected rain.

I still have a little trouble talking. I start out fine, and as I talk it gets huskier and huskier. I start coughing before long.

I did get my spinning done this weekend and I got a new colorway carded and ready to go. I didn't get as much yardage as I was hoping from the yak/merino. I only got 515 yards. Will put a pic out next entry.

I am having a little trouble getting my knit mojo, and I know it has to do with the time of year. I want to be outside working. I also like to sew this time of year. I just haven't been able to be outside with this upper respiratory thing. So I am trying to focus on what I have to do inside. I really need to run the dust mop. There is a film of dust on the floor from the pollen and the cat hair. It is shedding season. Notice I said I need to do that.

Has anyone else noticed there is nothing on t.v.? It is a great opportunity to read, but I like to listen to t.v. while I knit.

I am listening to an NPR report on osteoporosis effects on the skull. Now I never thought of that. I just thought our aging was skin sagging, wrinkles, etc. But it is shown that there is loss of bone in the jaws, cheeks, and eye sockets. Evidently our skeletal system completely regenerates by the time we are in our 40's. Unfortunately the quality of the bone is not the same as when the first time it was made. It is rougher and not as dense. He said by the time it is completely regenerated coincides with the first time we notice our appearances are changing. It is not enough to take more calcium and exercise. So great! It isn't only skin deep anymore, is it?

Well, I guess that's all I have for news. Have a safe week.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Day Off From Knitting!

Well, my cousin and I took off yesterday to find the Polson Cemetery. I had googled a map, and we followed that sorta to the tee. But we both have similar memories of the cemetery being differently. I remembered the arch into the cemetery, and that there was this huge big ole monument to Stand Watie there. My cousin had a similar memory. But evidently they have opened the cemetery within the last 10 years, and now there are new, modern markers there. So now they have an ugly pink,newly made monument carved like a document outside the gate telling who Stand Watie was.

This was in the part of the cemetery where he is buried with his wife and some children. It is pretty old, as you can see.

There were two markers for John Ridge. This one has his Cherokee name, and the other one has John Ridge on it. This one states he was assassinated at Sugar Hill, AR, but my memory tells me he died nearby. The other marker states he died within 10 miles of the cemetery. His whole family was assassinated by Ross's command. They missed Stand Watie, and he went on to fight for the Confederacy.

We both disagree with the roads we took to find the cemetery. Of course, they were dirt roads when we went last. It is possible that they moved the roads when they paved them. It doesn't matter, because we both found what we were searching for.

I also like barns. I try to get pictures to preserve the memory. I used to paint them when I did watercolors. But I often cannot find them again if I want to go back, and a lot of times they are torn down. I got lots of shots of this one. It is obviously well loved and cared for.

I have laryngitis now from being out in the wind and the pollen. My allergies did a major flare up and my body is reacting. At least I don't have to say pleasant things to people and act nice. I can just look at someone grumpily and they may leave me alone.

It was interesting this time with my cousin's visit. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to talk about much at dinner Wednesday night, because I only socialize with knitters, spinners, and fiber folk. I really haven't much practise talking normally in a conversation, but it worked out well. I did not take my knitting with me to the restaurant, and tried not to think about "What am I going to do until the meal gets here?"

Yesterday we took off to Oklahoma as soon as the lawn mower was repaired. I did stick my knitting into my bag automatically, but I purposefully did not pull it out during the drive. I tried really hard to have conversation, although my voice was husky and then whispery from this allergy attack. So one whole day without knitting is HARD!

I have a bunch of errands to run this morning, and I have to mail a pkg at the post office. Then-maybe, just maybe-I can get the lawn mowed. YEAH! No knitting until this evening. I will stay busy and not think about it.

Have a good weekend. I hope the pollen is not going to get you too. It is really miserable having this drainage and gunk. It is hard to not talk, too.

Keep knitting and keep going. That's all I can think of right now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holly is Blooming!

This is just a quick update. Did you know that holly blooms? Me neither. Well, I was using the push mower-gasp! gasp! gasp!(that's me trying to breathe)-and I kept smelling this weird sickly sweet smell. I finally got my head up to notice that their were wasps, bees, flies, and other insects buzzing all over the holly bushes. So I got as close as I could get without being attacked, and it looks like tiny little nups on the end of a stick. They are light green color-like new growth leaves. It is totally weird looking. I don't know if I can get a picture because of the insects.

Also while I am trying to mow, bumblebees kept dive bombing me. They are very protective. But I could not figure out what they were protecting this early. Maybe it is a mating thing and they are setting up territory. I do have to watch them in the back around the comfrey when it is blooming. There are two or three bumblebees that are very aggressive. I usually watch them. When the one chases off the other, I rush in to mow around it. Or go to the compost pile at the back of the shed.

I went to the DMV and spent my money getting my driver's license renewed and getting the sticker for my license tag. I just hate bureaucracy, and the DMV is full of it. But it was tolerable. I did not have to wait too long.

Also, the silly Christmas cactus is blooming again. Let's recap. The first blooms were October 11, Veteran's Day. Then January 21 more blooms. Now April 6 and more blooms. It is one happy cactus, I guess. It has never bloomed so much before.

No more news. I just had to relate the holly news. I never knew it bloomed. That is so weird.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Dyes!

A friend asked me to overdye this yarn she has had for a while. She doesn't mind the pink, it's just the amount of pinkness that she doesn't like. She just wanted it toned down.
So now she has a really nice burgundy, pink, violet, and toned-down pink yarn. I didn't spend a lot of time on it. It will be a semi-solid with some other color thrown in. It is alpaca/silk and they take the dye differently.
I didn't do a whole lot else yesterday. I am really disgusted with my yard right now. I will not rant about the lawnmower situation, but I cannot hardly wait until the repairman gets here on Thursday.
I was reading Judas Kiss by J.T. Ellison last night. I really like the characters in this series. I kinda figured out who the killer was, but it was good to the end. I stayed up until after midnight to finish it. I also finished Wesley, the Owl Saturday night. So a little more reading has been done, but then, there is nothing on t.v. anyway. Amazon sent out an email telling of new fiction, and there is a new China Bayles mystery being released this week. It has been a while.
My cousin is flying in on Wednesday this week, instead of the original plan of Thursday. So we have dinner plans. He has to be in business mode the rest of the trip, and this gives us a chance to catch up on news. He has to leave on Saturday to be in North Carolina on Sunday for some event. So I guess we won't be going to find Stand Watie's grave after all. I did google it, and it is in the Polson Cemetery and I think I can find it pretty easily. Maybe when my friend from California gets here at the end of the month, we will go off to find it. She's interested in that.
It has been overcast and gloomy for two days now. Yesterday there were some peeks of sun, but mostly it was overcast. It feels like more humidity in the air, so we should be getting a rain. But I guess the low isn't near enough. We are officially in tornado season, and Spring storm season. This is the season to be very vigilant and watch the skies. I have lived through three tornadoes in my lifetime, and that's plenty.
I now have 4 fingers on my glove. It is really nice. Just the thumb to finish. Then on to glove #2. I like the fit, I like the yarn, and I like the weight of the glove. Perfect-they "fit like a glove". I can't wait to get pics of it.
I have been studying the new sock pattern that we are going to do in our KAL in the sock group. I have been digging through the yarn box of yarns that I have been using for the sock blankie. It is the preparation that requires so much time.
I also got a book on afghans last Thursday at the LYS. My nephew is getting married in 2011, and I had been thinking of a quilt for their wedding gift. But now-maybe a pretty afghan would be nice. So that is percolating in the back of the brain. I can't even think of that right now. I have to finish the sweater I am knitting before I can take on anymore projects. I am halfway there with the gloves, but then I have the socks to fall into place after that. I don't even count the Lifetime Blankie any more. It is a separate entity of its own.
Nothing else new since I last wrote. Have a good week. Enjoy this nice weather and get outside. It is so nice to be able to finally spend some time outside instead of inside. And keep an eye on the skies!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Whew! What A Week!

Last Sunday was our Sunday Sock Knitters Group meeting. CJE and JE came over to my house afterward so we could celebrate the birthday girl. JE tried on the socks-see last blog-and they fit. I couldn't believe it! They looked so HUGE!
I took a picture of CJE's socks, as well. She mentioned that since she started knitting socks, only handknit ones feel good anymore.
Just a reminder-it is time to wash our sockies and start putting them away. I know, I know, it is only April. Keep one or two of the favorite ones out, but time to put away the woolies.
Monday I intended to do chores in the yard. Neither one of the two lawn mowers would start. I am always so frustrated at this time of the year. I am upset that I have limited ability to take care of things like small motors. I know basic motor info, but could not fathom why neither one would start. So I climbed up on my tall ladder and repaired my gutter that needed repair, and I cleaned out the back gutter under the tree. I also did weeding, etc. That is never ending.
Tuesday I was determined to get one of the mowers started. I finally got the small push mower started, and mowed the edging around the yard, etc. It is very heavy and hard to push. I was huffing and puffing after that. I could have blown the house down, but instead I lay down and tried to do deep breathing exercises.
My neighbors are still away, and their son came by to tell me they would be home late next week. I asked if I could borrow his dad's battery charger. We walked over there to get that and discussed the mower situation. He listened as I tried to start it, and pronounced that it was not the battery that was the problem. He poked around as much as I had already done, and announced he just did not know enough to tell me what the problem was. So after he left, I called Sears and set up and appointment for next week (the soonest they could get me an appointment). And yes-I got the riding mower serviced last Fall after the season.
Wednesday I was still fretting over this lawn mower. I was really frustrated that I could not figure it out. So I got the flashlight, and started seriously looking at wiring, etc. I wanted to make sure that some mousy had not nibbled the wires over the winter. I noticed that the ignition plate is loose, and I held one hand on that and pushed with the other hand on the wiring to the ignition. Sure enough it started! Then I could not get it in gear. Somehow the transmission handle thingy was dangling.
So I turned it off, and pulled it out of the shed. Yes-it's heavy! Then I got down to see what the transmission handle thingy's problem is. Somehow it is falling out of the hole it is supposed to be in. So I managed to get it back into the hole, hop on, start it up, and zoom we are going backwards. When I try to shift again, the thingy was out of the hole again. Okay-remember that reservation car that drove backwards in some movie a long time ago? I can't remember the name of the movie. It was about an Indian reservation in South Dakota.
So I turned it off, got down on the ground again, got it into the hole, and put it in gear before I started it. I could not change the gear once I started, so I had to make sure it was the right speed. So I did the majority of the back yard until I couldn't turn in tight spots. I have a few spots that you have to go into, back out, and return around things. Not with the way it was acting on Wednesday.
So yesterday, I decided to mow the front lawn straight bits. No way! It will not start again! So I guess I am through with this whole thing. The mower repair people will have to fix it next week. I can't live like this! How dramatic that sounds, but it's the truth.
It's time like this that I am frustrated with my limitations as a single woman trying to keep things up around a house. I have to hire out so much, and it bothers me. I am able to do simple repairs, and I do have a lot of power tools, but there is a limit to my ability. It reminds me that my husband and I used to live in a two-story Victorian house in Little Rock. I wanted a new kitchen so badly. I begged my brother in construction to please help me. His only response is,"You know you can do it yourself. You know how to do that stuff." My response was always,"Yes, I know how to build things, but it would like I did it. I want it to look right, not homemade." I never got my kitchen.
Yesterday was another day on the notches for this week. I have never participated in the April Fool's thing. Besides-it was my wedding anniversary and the anniversary of my mother's death. I think it was some karmic joke yesterday when my Noodles did not come home all day. This is how he looks most of the day, and that is what I am used to.
Imagine my panic when he couldn't be found by noon! It isn't so unusual that he or Baby may go out for an hour or two to hunt, but not all day. I climbed down into the ravine twice, and I went out there every so often to call and call. I searched trees to see if he was up a tree. I drove up and down the road to look for a body. When he missed his afternoon wet food feeding, I was really upset. I tried banging on the can, I called and called. No Noodles. (This is the cat that starts begging at 1 p.m. and does not relent until I give in at the appointed time of 3:30 p.m.)
I finally gave up and left to go to the knitting group. I could not concentrate, but I forced myself to knit one decrease repeat on my sweater sleeve. I finally left at 6:45 p.m. My stomach was in a roll by that time, and was worse by the time I got home.
And there he was, in the house when I got home. I was so relieved. He sat in my lap the whole evening and slept with me last night. Today he is really close by, and he follows me around. I will never know what happened yesterday, but I am glad it is over for now.
Today I put feed out for the plants. We are scheduled for a rain today. It is overcast, and the air is heavy. I did more weeding in the front flower bed. I think I am going to just rest today. It seems I have had enough for this week.
Enjoy your Easter weekend. I know it is supposed to be really pretty. It will be nice for Easter Egg Hunts! Have fun!