Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ticks, Treasure and Things That Go Poof In The Night!

Where is the time going????? All of a sudden tomorrow is June!?!?! How did that happen? I can totally see how the oil companies could be ‘unprepared for seasonal changes’. [That was the last reason I heard for the exorbitant gas prices….”Sorry American Public, we had absolutely no idea summer was coming this year! So in response to this huge surprise we will be offering second mortgages on your homes so you can afford enough fuel to get to work every day”] I’m not prepared for the heat. I’m not prepared for all of the events; weddings, graduations, festivals. Sigh! Time, she flies, no?

I waxed all poetical-like about our Geocaching experience last weekend. But you know the old saying that ‘it’s always fun until someone gets hurt’. Well, Geocaching is always fun until you discover you’re infested with TICKS! Ewwwwwww! We went to get a cache that was in high weeds and when we came out they were everywhere! We picked off as many as we could and still found more when we got home. I hate the little buggers. They are so determined to stick you and have such a bad attitude that there is just no reasoning with them. I even tried crying. Nada. Lesson learned. If the treasure is in the weeds or dense foliage it waits until autumn! No McDonald’s Happy Meal toy is worth contracting Lyme’s Disease!

On the knitting front, I started my Maple Leaf socks for myself. I am using the men’s pattern but working them on size zero needles which I specially purchased just for this occasion. I knit the ribbing and two repeats of the pattern and lost one of the needles-while I was using them!!! Honestly, I had it in my hand and then I didn’t and I can’t find it anywhere! I turned the sofa inside out. I scoured the carpet and the darkest recesses of my knitting basket. I checked the entire living room in case I ‘flung’ it somewhere as I am want to do. I put the dogs through the Spanish Inquisition and looked all around their floppy gums and gullets for evidence of an impromptu bamboo snack but it was nowhere. I can only guess that it was one of those flukes where a rift opens up in the space time continuum and a black hole momentarily opened up and swallowed it. Or a tick lugged it off. Either way until I can get a new size zero stick, the socks are grounded, so I started a EZ Baby Surprise Jacket. Not as easy as everyone told me it is, but interesting nonetheless. I am nothing if not bounce-back adaptive! Except when it comes to gearing up for summer apparently.

We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean last night. A lot of bad reviews, but I didn’t think it was bad at all; just kinda long with a little too much cannon fodder. Of course # 2 is my favorite. The Bone Cage was truly inspired, as was Jack Sparrow, the wandering fruit kabob. But Jeffrey Rush was back as Barbosa in this one so it was worth the price of admission. They totally left it open for a Pirates IV. Now if we could just convince Keira Knightly to take her ball and go home (or at least eat a sandwich for God’s sake) the franchise would be perfect!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wonderful Weekend

So far the boys are getting along fine and providing lots of entertainment for us! They are so little trouble that Mr. Bee had to actually talk me down from bringing a 6week-old puppy home from PetSmart yesterday; a golden/Irish Setter mix. I held her while she was asleep and she was all warm and floppy-like. Soooo cute! He had to reeeaaaaaalllly paint a picture as to how different things would be when she woke up to convince me to walk away!

Today we went geocaching with friends E, E and R. The thing I love most about caching is seeing new parks and beautiful spots that I otherwise wouldn't know were there. There is something to be said for spending a few hours where things are quiet and green.

Or along the creeks and lakes...

with good friends...

May your Memorial Day weekend be filled with such simple pleasures!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Knitting Stuff and Big Doggie Stuff

I'm working like a mad dog on yet another multidirectional scarf. This time in the bright colored wool/acrylic that I got at The Ear on Friday. I was about 8 inches into it when it hit me that all of the colors exactly match those of hi-liter markers, so heretofore it shall be known the ‘Cramming For Exams’ scarf. (It's not as wonky as it looks in this picture, though it will need to be blocked.) It will be perfect for a little 7 year-old friend come Christmas time! I am filling up my gift box with all kinds of little treats for giving. Feels good to have stuff on hand rather than sitting up until midnight on Christmas Eve finishing projects!

If you haven’t read Jodi Picoult’s ‘Nineteen Minutes’, do so. It was AWESOME! All of her books are, but this one really resonated with me. I read it right after the Virginia Tech massacre. The book is about a high school shooting, bullying and cliques. It doesn’t get all gun-control-y and really looks at what happens to kids that don’t fit the cookie cutter mold in school. It was sad, horrifying and wonderful all at the same time. Jodi ROCKS!

The neighbor kid had a round, air-filled rubber ball. Notice I said ‘HAD’. Yup. Bentley ate it. The kid and his friend were out tossing it in the yard next to ours. That was his first mistake. Any ball with in the Great Lake Region belongs to Ben and he will take any opportunity to retrieve them whenever he sees one. He burst across the backyard, leaped high and snagged in out of the air before they knew what was happening. Then when DID they realized what had happened, they started laughing and hooting and hollering. Mistake # 2. Ben thought that, at long last, he was being included in the reindeer games that go on around our neighborhood every day, which we are forever telling him he is not a part of. He took of like a shot, running in circles, jumping and playing keep away with the boys. Yeah…it’s always fun until someone gets hurt. In this case it was the ball. Just as we caught him, there was a pop, a hiss, and a deflated look on everyone’s faces. Mr. Bee has been trying for three days to find a replacement ball. Of course it’s a ‘special’ UW ball so we will probably have to go down to State Street to find one.

Ben is a typical 1-year-old.....everything goes in his mouth. There has been a baby robin on the deck railing for the last couple of days. He flies a little but not well. I think he got over confident and hopped out of the nest a week or two to early. Mom has been feeding him and so he sits out there and screams for her. Ben interprets this as little robin calling him to come out and play and begs to go out all the time. While I’m sure his intentions would be good, I would hate for baby robin to suffer the same fate that wee froggie was dealt the other night. For now at least, we are limiting play with other animals to those that are larger than hors d’ouevre size. Oy! Now that he has come out of his shell he is much like a toddler….a 70# toddler! And we wouldn’t change it for the world!

Ripping up other kids toys and eating small amphibians takes a lot out of a guy.

"Play hard and then sleep hard.That's my motto."


(P.S. I love you, Grammie and can't wait for you to come visit!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finished Object/Half Finished Object/ and Gratuitous Swag Shots

Knit Night at The Sow's Ear on Friday night was a blast. I started another multi directional scarf (pinks and greys) and bought fiber for another (aqua, pink, yellow). I'm not TOOOO addicted...yeah right. I sat at the Troublemaker's Table which may or may not have been called that simply because I sat there-I'm not tellin'. When the conversations turned to nuns underwear, or 'nunderwear' ,I knew I was in the right place. Another tasty tidbit was when Friend-Anne said that she had recently seen a sign in a restaurant that said, "Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy" which set us all off. That's the kind of night it favorite kind.

The Ear has been sold to someone else, but looks like things are going to stay much the way they are right now. The new owners were introduced and were really sweet. Don't know what I'd do without my favorite local fix!

Spent all day yesterday sick. It was a glorious day and I spent my day in bed. Did get some reading done though. Pig Island is one creepy book!

Today we are puttering and my boss is bringing his dog by later to meet Bentley. We'll see if they get along before he leaves him here for two weeks while he goes on vacation. I don't imagine there will be a problem. Both dogs are the same size and temperament and I think they'll have a blast. We'll let them have a little doggie rampage in the backyard this afternoon just to make sure. But wanted to get these photos posted before they get here.

Finished Multi directional Scarf

Fiber for a new multi directional...

Half Finished Multi Directional Scarf

(Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas? )

Luscious hand painted merino to knit some Maple Leaf socks for ME!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Knitting and Dog Blog Updates

I took the multi-directional scarf class from Liz at Sow's Ear on Saturday and am soooo addicted! I finished up my Virginia Tech squares (here are two of the four) in record time so that could work more on it. I'm not thrilled with the Silk Garden Koigu. It's a beautiful color but it's not evenly spun and is absolutely full of 'stuff', sticks and mossy junk, but I LOVE the method!

Liz is a great teacher with lots of experience and the other ladies in the class were really sweet so it was a great time.

And of course what would a blog entry from me be without gratuitous Bentley shots? When the 10 # kitty comes up on the love seat to snuggle, he curls up on the arm rest. Doesn't work so well for 70# doggies.

Bentley and Mr Bee watching NASCAR. They both love the way the cars go round and round. Mr. Bee wants to drive one. Bentley wants to ride in one and stick his head out the window! What a pair!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beware! Camels Aren't The Only Animals That Spit!

I’ve almost finished my second, eight inch square for the Virginia Tech Project. I'm using some beautiful winter-white wool/alpaca yarn that is sooooo soft. I am just knitting background patterns; one has a little checkerboard and the other is seed stitch. I am trying out stitches to see what I will use on my gansey sweater whenever I get to it. I would like to make one square for each of the victim's families, but the deadline is the end of May and I might not have time. I’ll see what I get done. Photos to follow in a couple of days.

I have a short row (multidirectional) scarf class at The Sow’s Ear this Saturday that I am really looking forward to. Liz is one of my favorite teachers. I could probably figure out the pattern myself but I’m too lazy and too social. Afterward, it will take all of my almost nonexistent 'will power' to put the scarf down and continue work on my squares through the rest of the month. Knit Night is next Friday (18th). I usually get at least 5 hours of knitting time in so I should be able to get at least a couple done there.

We had friends over Sat. night and one of them said something interesting. Why do dogs like to hang their head out the car window to catch the wind, but they don’t like to have you blow in their faces? This must have been in the back of my mind when Ben ignored me as I pleaded with him not to run away and join the US Postal Service a couple of days ago. I finally caught him and had him sit. I held his big, dopey face in my hand and said, “Bad Dog! No! We don’t run after people!” All the while he has his eyes turned toward Travis-the-mailman and his magical, little, white, truck. You just know given a half a second he would have been off again. So in a moment of true inspiration, I took a big breath and blew in his face to get his full attention. Well, at least I thought it was truly inspired! He looked startled for a minute…and then…he blew back in MY face! Yup! He narrowed his big brown eyes, looked right at me and issued a big “huff” containing equal parts yucky, dog breath and fresh stringy slobber; which was waaaaaay grosser than what I did to him-even if I had just had tuna for lunch! Yeah! This is what I’m dealing with, People! A dog that’s smarter than me, that apparently has a vengeful streak, doesn’t put up with any crap and has an unlimited supply of drool to use as a very effective weapon. Even though it was disgusting, I quickly got over the shock, and started laughing thus losing what little credibility and authority I might have imagined I had.

It begs the question; who’s teaching what to whom? The whole experience taught ME never to blow in Ben's face again but you know he’ll try to climb into the truck with Travis-the-mailman again first chance he gets. He so badly wants to be pals and so dearly loves to go for a ride. I just hope poor Travis doesn’t blow in his face to try and get him out! I imagine there is a pretty hefty fine for sliming a government employee.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tissue Tiffs and Frogger Dog

It was an interesting weekend. Mr. Bee and I went to Belleville on Sat. a.m. to some yard sales. My best find was a huge box of old “Crafts” magazines…FOR FREE! Also found a cool tea strainer and some great toys for friend’s kids who came to visit Sat. night. We had a friend P& B and E over for pizza and games. They have three kids between them; 12, 6 and 3. Sunday was E’s birthday so we had a cake and some of those ice cream ‘Dibs’ which the three year old though was manna sent from Heaven directly to him! Way easier than scooping too!

We played Scattergories which was fun. The very first question on the very first list was to write down something that started with the letter G that you’d find in a dessert. So I wrote grapenuts (since my Mum makes grapenut pudding). I’m so proud of myself. I think I have a unique answer because I’ve never seen grapenut pudding out here in the Midwest so when we check the answers I am the first to yell out, “Grapenuts”. Did you know that the word ‘dessert’ and ‘desert’ look very similar in the heat of the battle that is Scattergories? While others had ‘giant cactus’ and ‘Gila monster’, I had grapenuts. In a bold twist of strategy I tried to concoct a story about the annual grapenut harvest in the Mohave Desert, but it didn’t fly. (Note to self: learn to read.)

I finished Mr. Bee’s boot socks. They came out well. I won’t do another picture because the second one looks a lot like the first one! The yarn is Fortissima wool/bamboo.

I had a knock down drag out with the manager of Shopko West Madison (the store we should all boycott from now on!) on Sunday. Puffs Plus were on sale 3/$3.99. I went to the tissue shelf. There were a lot of single boxes and a lot of three packs banded together with cellophane. The sign was under each shelf of tissues so I just picked up a three pack. I check out and of course they ring up at $5.79. So Mr. Bee takes the loot to the car and I take the slip to the Courtesy Desk. I use this term only because there was a sign over it marked “Courtesy” not due to any actual courtesy I received there. I was told that the Puffs were only 3/$3.99 if you bought three individual boxes not the three pack. I argued that there was no difference (other than the cellophane wrap binding them together) and that the sign had been under all of the tissues with no disclaimer. No go. Division specialists were called. Theories were debated. But in the end, no one knew why but that was the way it was. By this time, Mr. Bee has come back in the store and I explain what happened. He says something like, “You’ve gotta be kidding me” and stalks to the back of the store to check, only to discover that the signs that were there two minutes ago have now been removed. I was ready to just forget it and leave never to return since this was just the final straw in a long line of incidents where sale things are miss-marked or not in the computer system. People, who expect to get the sale price but, don’t check the receipt, never know they are being taken.

Mr. Bee however was not ready to let it go. He made me go down and get three boxes of individual tissues and he went back to the car for the three- pack. When it was our turn we asked the ‘Courtesy Specialist’ to call a manager. I swear to God, Guy Smiley from the Muppets showed up. I calmly told him the situation and told him that $1.80 wasn’t a big deal but that this was a ridiculous situation in a long line of ridiculous situations and that we had had enough and thought we at least owed him an explanation as to why he was losing two faithful customers. He totally didn’t get it and wouldn’t admit that the store was wrong or that the signs had been removed. With a bright plastic smile and all of the enthusiasm of a bad game show host, he did refund our $ and give us the tissues for free but he acted like it was no big deal and never acknowledged that he was losing a customer, just that he was refunding some money. So goodbye forever Shopko West. God knows that there are enough other big box stores around without wrangling with you every week!

Oh, and to top it off, Ben ate a wee frog. I saw him pouncing on something on the deck at bedtime last night. He picked it up in his mouth. I told him to drop it and out comes this little quarter-sized frog that frantically tried to scramble away. I say, ‘Oh no no! We don’t eat frogs’ and move towards him to pull him away when he hoovers it up, looks right at me and swallows hard. And I swear he smiled! Poor froggie. At least it was quick.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday Afternoon Smile

Am almost finished the leg on Mr. Bee’s second sock! I am trying to rush through it so I can make a couple of squares for the Virginia Tech project:

I figured it would be a perfect excuse to try some of the pattern stitches from my new Gansey book and see what I like without committing to a whole sweater with summer coming on. Also I have a class at The Sow’s Ear on May 12. It’s a short one on Multi-Directional scarves. Should be fun!

We are going with friends-D & T. to see Loreena McKennett ( in concert tonight. Can’t wait! I just love her music and we always have a blast with D & T.. Rumor has it there might be violet gelato involved either before or after. It’s all good.

I’ll leave you with a joke my friend-S told me last night as he cut my hair:

Q:What did the bra say to the hat?
A:“You go on ahead and I’ll give these two a lift.”

Boo! I know! But it made you smile didn’t it!