Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Someone Catch Dave!

I'm going to spin tonight. [ THUNK! That was the sound of Dave Daniels hitting the floor at the news! :-) ] I had to stop spinning for a bit when I hurt my foot. I am a rabid Cabin Cove fan and have been drooling over Dave's spinning but was all talk and no action for months. Finally he told me to 'get off the computer and go spin something already' so I started up again and spun up two spindles of a beautiful pastel pink, purple, blue, and yellow merino. I went to ply it and the gorgeous springy colors just looked all muddy together. What's up wid dat? So, being the Queen of Procrastination, I just left them there; two spindles half full of singles and a third with a muddled mess of two ply on it. It's been weeks now. I pop in and check on them from time to time to see if they have learned their lesson, come to their senses, and by some Spinning Miracle, changed back into their former beauteous tones, but so far it's a no go. This could have gone on for some time longer had I not opened up my Rubbermaid tote of fiber stash last night and got all enthused over a little mottled, merino-tencel, claret-colored number I got from Sandy's Palette. Now I need to get the mess off my wheel right now so I can start with the yummy new fibers!

The good thing about spinning is that you can't throw half done stuff to the side if you don't have a ton of extra spindles. You HAVE to finish one thing before you start another. If any of you have figured out a way around that, DO NOT LEAVE THAT INFORMATION IN THE COMMENTS! It's safer for everyone involved if I believe that it simply can't be done! I prefer to remain delusional... just this once...uh..yeah.

Mr. Ben may be a goofy guy, but he's proving to be smarter than he looks. Last night I let he and Holli outside on their leads. For some reason they can't go in or out individually. It's a team sport apparently, which is good because it cuts down on the number of times I have to dislodge myself from my knitting nest and play doorman. Ben got ready to come in and came up on the deck, I opened the door, took off his lead and told him to come in but he just sat there. Occasionally he'd look over his shoulder at Holli was was poking around in the snow and just taking her old sweet time. Finally he got up, got off the deck and walked over to her. He took her lead in his mouth about 6 inches from her neck and gently led her to the door, with a "Come along, Dear' attitude, so they could both come in! She trotted right up with him, like she just hadn't realized that he was waiting impatiently for her! Pretty smart for a goofy moose like my boy, eh? Maybe there's hope. Now if we could get him to stop eating cork coasters and plastic dustpans....

Has someone brought Dave around with some smelling salts? 'Cause if he's OK, I'm off to spin!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Swimmin' With The Fishes At Last!

C'est Finis!!!!!
YAY! Twisted Rib Tropical Fish Socks
Warm colors for a cold winter!
(You can see the colors better if you click on it to biggify it!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Peaceable Kingdom

I've some inquiries about how the new fur baby is fitting in and whether all members of the menagerie are getting along. A picture says a thousand words:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Again...I Learn These Lessons So You Don't Have To...

So I finished my Nanu Nanu Noro socks and was all gung-ho to start knitting up my new Blackberry Ridge Tropical Fish. While trolling though my work basket though, I found this: A long lost Sherbet sock. I'm not sure the circumstances that led to it being a single sock. That's not really like me. Being the responsible knitter I am, I thought, "I should just whip up the second one before I dive in with the tropical fish. It's the right thing to do. Delayed gratification and all that. So I dug through my knitting diary until I found my handwritten pattern from god-knows-when. It was woefully lacking in any kind of detail except the actual stitch pattern for the leg. So I went out to Ravelry where I had logged said sock as a 'work in progress' in the days of yore when I started it and found that I had documented that I used a size three needle. Hot diggity, I was in business. I grabbed my size three needles and my Schaffer "Anne" yarn and referred back to my diary..."Cast on 60/70 stitches" Hmmmm. What did that mean? Did I cast on 60 or 70? I referred to the original sock...obviously it was 60. So I cast on 60 and knit 3/4 of the leg pattern, compared it to the original sock was 70.

I ripped the whole thing out and started again. I did the leg, the heel flap, turned the heel and was half done the foot before I realized it was freakishly big. Again, I dug out the original sock, only to find that although I had documented #3 needles, I had actually used twos. So I tore the whole thing back out and started yet again.Back to the drawing board. Lessons learned:

1. Don't drink and then record things in Ravelry. Impaired judgement and blurred vision apparently makes it difficult to distinguish needle sizes.

2. Don't watch a Dr. Who marathon while knitting the second sock. The lovely David Tennant and his ongoing battle with the Darliks makes you not want to tear your eyes away and look at the sock you're working on, let alone compare it to the original until it's way way way too late.

3. Just knit the %^&* second sock right after you knit the first one!

Am I ever going to get to run off to the tropics?!?!?!?

(Do yourself a favor and click on this picture. It really is yummy up close!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

OoooEeeee! Put On Your Sunglasses!

These colorful socks will brighten up even the darkest, coldest winter day! Totally not what I expected from looking at the yarn! They were fun to knit, you never knew what color would turn up next. Since they are so bright and whimsical and remind me of Robin William's suspenders, they are hereby dubbed my Nanu Nanu Noro socks! (Colorway S182).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

She's His Valentine!

Last night I was curled up on one end of the love seat and Holli was snoring away (literally) on the other end. Ben comes ambling over and starts his humming squeaking thing that he does when he wants something. So I say…

Me: What do you want Ben?
Ben: Moan Moan Growl Squeak .
Me: What do you want?
Ben: (Meaningful stare) Grunt, Growl, Hummmmm.
Me: (holding out my hand) Do you want me to pet you?
Ben: (backing up) Moan Growl Squeak Belch .
Me: Do you want to go out?
Ben (Enthusiastic wiggling of the tail and butt) Snort! (Heads for the door.)

So I put down my needles and my Noro sock, dig myself out of my cozy nest, go to the patio door, open it slightly and…no Ben.
I retrace my steps and find him. He’s curled up in the warm butt print I oh so recently left on the loveseat with his head on Holli’s back and his eyes closed. Apparently I have slipped a few notches in the pecking order at Chez Bee! Ben has a new Valentine!

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, Mr. Bee sent me the most beautiful roses in a red glass vase. He’s the biggest sweetie! He also got me a copy of Outing Riley, a movie I’ve been wanting. We were going to go out for sushi tonight but decided to just order Chinese and hang with the puppy loves this evening. I’ve ordered Seasons 1-3 of The Vicar of Dibley from the library so we may curl up and watch that. But I’m guessing it won’t be on the loveseat!

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So Long and Thanks for All The Snow!

Bring it on!I say if we're truly going to break this total accumulated snowfall record, we go for broke! Let's shoot for 100 inches!!!! No wait...I'm only 62 inches tall. And I don't know how to snow-swim. (Changes mind and starts chanting: No more snow! No more snow!) Enough already!

Thanks for all of the welcome messages for Holli! After a couple of bumpy days, she has settled in and is Best Buds with Ben now. Everyone’s ears and jowls and other assorted parts are getting licked and the growling has stopped. Next stop, toy sharing!

There has been knitting going on between all of the snow shoveling and Fur Baby lovin’. I have been working on my Nuro sock. Weirdest. thing. ever! Look at the picture of the skein. Melted peacock right…all blues and purples...So I pull out the middle of the skein and much to my surprise it’s hot pink! I knit a while and it turns lime green, then bright yellow, orange, red, teal and bright green again. Then finally, as I’m almost done the foot,the bright blues come out and I suspect the toe will be purple. They are really rainbow-y and beautiful just not what I expected when I looked at the skein. It has made knitting them fun. What will be next? Just one more row! I have to find out! I have one almost done and will prob-likely start the other one on Knit Night at The Sow’s Friday night.

Speaking of Knit Night at The Ear, this Friday is Beach Party night to promote Sheryl Theis' new book, Ocean Breezes .Don’t be afraid, I won’t be wearing my swimsuit to this one like I wore my jim-jams to the Sow’s Ear slumber party. I wouldn't subject anyone to that even if the weather was warmer. I may show up in sunglasses and a tropical shirt. The jury’s still out though because I don’t know what kind of slippers would match that kinda outfit. I could wear my piggie slippers because, well, you’ve see ‘em. They truly go with everything. But one has mysteriously come up missing. Not Lefty. This time Hank has gone AWOL. I haven’t noticed any pink piggie fur in the ‘canine contributions’ in the yard so I don’t have solid (no pun intended) proof, but Mr. Bentley is the prime suspect in the case at this time. After all, he has a prior record. I’m not pursuing the matter that stringently though because it could just be the state of the walk-in closet where Hank and Lefty live. At this point it is truly a sty! Really though, it’s not that bad and those guys really stand out in there, so I'm not sure what's going on. The case is still open pending further investigation. Let's just hope Hank has just wee wee weed away for a couple of weeks to the sunnier climes of Hogduras, New Guinea(pig) or Paleswine for a much needed cabin fever break! Come home soon, Hank!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Two Dog Power Snow Sled

We've been getting lots of snow in Wisconsin this winter and have found that Ben, while having lots of energy, is just not enough dog power to haul Mr. Bee and my chunky butts around should it ever come down to that. What to do? What to do? So just to be on the safe side.....

Here's our big surprise! Drumroll please! Meet Holli!

Holli is a 4 year old boxer lab mix that we adopted from Madison Mutts yesterday. It's the same place we got Ben from last year and I just CANNOT say enough good things about them. They don't have a shelter. They operate out of a series of foster homes and the dogs are loved and treated really well until they can find a forever home.

Holli has been through a lot lately. Her daddy loved her very much (he even sent along a video of her as a puppy...awwww!) but moved away and could not keep her. He gave her to Madison Mutts and then she was adopted out to a home with eight children who basically scared the crap out of her. Who could blame her! Eight kids! So she went back to Madison Mutts. Despite what must have a been a stressful few weeks for her, she is fitting in extremely well at Chez Bee. She pulled a bit of the diva routine with ol' Bouncin' Ben yesterday but that's to be expected. Ben is an aquired taste for some. But today they are getting on great! Here they are recharging and soaking up the sun together. Look at those chunky monkeys! That oughta be enough sled dog power!

But mostly she is veggin' on the sofa, restin' up and settlin' in. She doesn't like to have her picture taken and is really good at fending off the papparazzi. If you come to my house, I'll show you the album of the 75 photos I've got of her butt and the top of her head so far. The 'good ones', such as they are around here, are much like this "I van't to be alone..." shot below. Finally a dog to blame my shoddy camera work on! It's the subject, not the arteest, thank you very much!
Please join us in welcoming a new Furbaby Daughter to our family. Building commences on the ark once the snow goes off!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

I'm a little late, but Happy Year of The Rat everyone! I love a new beginning and another chance at those resolutions! I hereby resolve to remember the new changeover and to not write 'Year of the Pig' on all of my checks for the next two months like I usually do...

PS. Hopefully I will have a BIG surprise to post about tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hookin' Up The Sled Dogs!

As you can see by the crappy picture above, today was...well...a little snowy. Work was cancelled. School was cancelled. Just about everything was cancelled. That's ice build up on the outside of the window. We got 13-14 inches of snow which the wind promptly rearranged into 140 foot drifts through some voodoo physics I'll never understand. We spent a snug and cozy day inside with quick trips to dash outside and try to keep the dooryard and deck open. Don't know why we bothered, our street wasn't open until 6PM! I feel so bad for the plow guys. What a winter they are having!

We heard on the news tonight that Interstate 90, a couple of miles south of Madison all the way to Janesville and beyond, is bumper to bumper traffic and has been since before noon today. They talked to a lady via cell phone who said that she has been 'parked' on the highway since 11:30 a.m. and it was now 5:00 PM and she hadn't seen one plow in either direction. I feel bad for the folks that have infants etc. sitting out there. But she said that they were doing pretty well taking care of each other and that farmers from the surrounding area were bringing out food and water. Hard times usually bring out the best in folks. Too bad we can't rememer that once the crisis is over.

Mr. Bee and I, as I said, pretty much hunkered down. I finished my Mountain Colors socks with the mini bamboo stitch: and started in on the much coveted Nuro sock yarn. The colors are so pretty that I'm just knitting them in straight stitch. I put a crock pot of hot chicken soup on this morning and it smelled divine all day and tasted pretty good after all that shoveling at supper time.

Mr Bentley wondered how he was going to get out to take his 'bio-breaks' in all of that snow. It turned out not to be a problem when some ancient wild hare gene kicked in and had him bouncing all over the backyard like Tigger. His head's a made a the rubber! His seatsa made a the spring!

He was happy to come back inside and curl up with his people and warm up his big floppy feet though!
Hope things are significantly less snowy in your part of the world and if not I hope you have good sock yarn, warm furbabies and rocking chicken soup!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend Update

Why are weekends so short?!?!? Friday night was Knit Night at the Sow's Ear. I got there good and early and cranked away on my Mountain Colors socks. I got the entire leg done before I discovered that I had dropped a stitch about 1" below the ribbing on the top. Sigh...Since I am knitting the Mini Bamboo pattern from the Vogue Stitchonary, it was not as easy as just going back and getting it so I unraveled 6.5 inches of leg and started again. Somehow it's not so bad when you have good company around. Had I been home watching TV I may have turned suicidal.

I managed to buy yet another skein of sock yarn since we all know how little I already have! Actually I didn't buy it. I have a gift certificate from D&T from Christmas that I put to good use. There was a lady sitting at the end of my table knitting a sock in Blackberry Ridge "Tropical Fish" color way. It is something I would have never picked out in a million years but the sock that she was knitting was turning out so beautifully that I was inspired. I'll have to remember that she was knitting it in Twisted Rib stitch when I get started on it.

We had a great time on Saturday. We bundled up and trudged up State Street in the snow to go to the Historical Museum and see Dale Harriet and Mr. Dearling in their fur trader regalia. I hadn't been to the museum in so long. What a treat! Dale and Mr. Dee taught us all about the fur trade back in the day and were very tolerant of me fondling the animal pelts. So soft! And then Dale left her post (literally and figuratively) and showed us all around the Native American exhibits. She knows everything, Dale does! She made the long ago days of Wisconsin come alive with her facts and stories. If we hadn't had to leave for an appt., I would have gladly stayed there all day! Alas, we soon meandered back down snowy State Street, stopping at Ian's Pizza for a slice of spinach, chicken, pesto (YUM).

Yesterday was a chore day. Lots of cooking and grocery shopping and laundry. I got my sock leg redone and almost finished the gusset while watching the last part of the Super Bowl and waiting for House to come on. The Giants deserved to win. Is that little Eli Manning the cutest thing ever or what! I feel bad for the Pat's, but was appalled at the total lack of sportsmanship when they lost; both the team and then the locker room interview with the coach. Made me a little embarrassed to be a New England fan. Put on your big boy panties and deal! Geez! (House totally rocked incidentally. Hugh Laurie rules and so does Mira Sorvino! )

Hope to finish my sock tonight and take a photo in natural light tomorrow to post. My blog has been sorely missing photos lately and I have another good one of the Benmeister too. 'Til tomorrow!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Finally! Finally! Finally! Fabulous February!

Top Five Reasons Why February is Better Than January...

5. It's not January!
4. Groundhog's Day!
3.Even if it sucks, it's only 28/29 days long rather than 31.
2. Valentine's Day!!! (Also the 20th Anniversary of the day Mr. Bee and I 'met')

Yeah, I take umbrage with January. I don't know why. My Mum was born in January for which I am eternally grateful. I'm sure it's a perfectly good month with lots of redeeming qualities in some parts of the world. But on my planet, January is something to be endured, much like a blister on your heel, or a Mel Gibson movie. The holidays are past. My "My-Holiday-Projects-Are-Over-And-Now-I-Can-Start-My-New-Year's-Project' high, which started on December 25, is over. My 'I-Can-Rule-The-World-If-I-Only-Stick-To-These-Three-New-Year-Resolutions' phase has died a slow and painful death. It's cold. It's miserable. I'm extra grumpy. God! I HATES me some January!!!!

By the 31st I start counting down the hours until February arrives and will share this information with any other human who crosses my path on that day. I have it down to 5 minute incidents because anything less than that...well...that would just make me some kinda nut. And then I wake up on February 1st. For a minute I forget. I think, "It's freezing and snowy and dark and dreary and I cannot survive one. more. January. day. I'm just going to pull up the covers and stay in b.... Wait! It's February 1st!" And then I bound out of bed like a kid on the first day of summer vacation, all smiles, lollipops and rainbows.

I know February can be just as brutal weather-wise as January. My fixation on the ills of our first month is not logical, reasonable or possibly even sane, but there's something about Feb. that makes everything alright again. Whatever gets you through right? Happy February everyone!!!!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...