Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fighting the Good Fight

Things are same old-same old around the old Snot Factory. Production is up. Demand is down. Piles of tissues and empty cough medicine bottles soar. Spirits plummet. Meh.

But at least these last few days have given me a chance to establish a stronger foothold in my ongoing war with Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice. Those of us who live in South Central Wisconsin are entrusted with the keys to a very special kingdom; the magical realm of LinkCat. Whatchadois, go to Barnes and Noble dot com or whatnot and scope out the newest releases, then go to LinkCat and order them from the library system. You must use the secret code number, cleverly hidden in plain sight, on the back of your library card. In the past 10 years , I can count the books they DIDN'T have on less than one hand. And who needs to read 'The 'Secret Life of Dust Mites' anyway? You are put on the list and when the book becomes available, anywhere in the state practically, Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice calls you to come to your local branch to pick it up. Simple, no? You'd think so wouldn't ya? But NO! A thousand times NO! It's very, very tricksy as it turns out.

See the rub comes in that you never know exactly when the books will arrive. Sure the list tells you that you are 7th in line of 400 or 6,000th in line of 72 and a half gagiggabillion and this lulls you into a false sense of 'Oh I Can Order A Bunch Of Books Because I Am Way Down On The List For Most Of Them And They Won't All Come At Once' security. This is sensible. This is logical. But this is wrong. It's very, very wrong. Because you forgot to factor in Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice .

See Harriet spends all day in the library. She's read everything. She sees us coming in and then going out into the bright sunshine. Living our little lives. She's bored. She's vengeful. And she plots. She's on the Internets Y'all. The Matrix. She can SEE you through your light sockets and toaster and stuff. She knows when you have nothing to read but the back of the NyQuil Bottle, and so she holds out the four books she already has for you until eight more come in. Then she waits a little longer until she can see you have other stuff to do and then she calls you. OR, as has been the case lately, she calls you everyday for a week with 3 books each time. Books you forgot you even asked for, you requested them so long ago, but once you see them, you HAVE to read them and they are all due back in two weeks. They just coincidentally all came in at once. All fifteen of them! Right. She's a formidable opponent, is Harriet-The-Automated-Library-Voice. But she underestimated me this time around. She didn't see the latest weapon in my arsenal. This plague I have, for whatever reason, escaped her radar. Heh! So 'check' and 'mate' HTALB! (It's no coincidence that half of the letters in her initials spell 'HAL' by the way.)

I have plowed through the books this week! The codeine cough medicine made some of them even better than they actually were I suspect, but I do have three recommendations for stellar reads!

*The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes-Really good, DaVinci Code style! LOVED it! All of the Vatican and archaeological intrigue over religious artifacts. In fact, I liked it better than the DaVinci Code.
*The Sacred Blood by Michael Byrnes-SEQUEL! Yup, Harriet screwed up and sent them together. Usually you get the sequel 10 months before the first book or so long after the first book that you can't remember what it was about. I liked this one better than the first one and that's sayin' something.
*The Last Child by Michael Hart- This is a mystery that goes over and under and around and through! I love this kind of book where you think you have it all figured out and then NOT SO FAST! This book and Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care are two of the best books I've read in a long time! And that's not the DayQuil talking. Both are 'onion books' with layer after layer of meaning. I read The Last Child in 6 hours. Couldn't put it down-except to snort and blow.

So there you have it. My malaise has been good for something. I've bested Harriet for the time being(Victory!) and given you four great titles to go look for just in time to hit the beach this summer! I'm returning them all to the library now so get your name on the list...and tell Harriet I said 'Hello'!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quarantine-Day Three Exiled with Judge Judy

Be prepared, this post will end up sounding like a monumental whine, but I've been held captive for three days with only Dr. Phil and 80's sit-coms for company. You do the math. Tends to enhance my grumpier attributes.

I called today for my test results and were told that they can take up to a week. WTF!Doc told me that they would be back today. It's a moot point because I'm still sick so I'd have to stay home anyway, but there's something about this mandatory incarceration that offends my delicate sensibilities! Everyone has told me that I should be having fun knitting and spinning and basketing during my confinement. I would hate to see the work I'd put out in my Benydryl, Codeine induced haze. Besides, I am busy enough shoving my lungs back in after I hack them up every five minutes. Sheesh.

I suspect that it's not Flu-us Porcinicus and just the general Flu-us Pain-in-the-assi-cus but it's taking it's sweet old time letting go. Friend Gail did make me smile (and induced a coughing fit) by asking my how my 'Hamthrax' was. I'm starting to get my sense of humor about the whole thing back so I guess I must be getting better. A little. Slowly. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that I'm not the most patient patient on the ward!

Anyway, today's agenda is to take a shower, scrub the mittens off my teeth, and put on real clothes. I caught sight of Ben giving me 'the look' as he tried to stay downwind this morning. And he likes the smell of poo and dead things so it must be bad. That is one advantage of this plague I guess ; a non-working nose! Stay well everybody!

Update! Doc called and said it's the flu sho nuff, but not the swine flu. Still have to stay down until the Tamiflu is gone (Sat. night) but I'll be back to work bright eyed and NOT CURLY tailed on Monday! Yay!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snuff Snuff Oink

Well, it was bound to happen. I'd been doing the inward happy dance (it's way more graceful than my outward one) that I hadn't had a bad cold or flu all winter when WHAM, Snotfest hit me right between the eyes. Literally It was the weirdest thing ever. I was perfectly fine at 9:oo PM and by 9:15 I was stuffed up, coughing, wheezing, sneezing and generally felt like I'd been flung under a semi. Twice. Maybe three times.

I figured that if it was the flu, you're supposed to get right in and get Tamiflu so I called the doc from work this morning. The nurse was none too happy that I was at work after I described my symptoms and made me go home to wait for my 2:30 appt. Talk about feeling toxic. I felt bad enough anyway, but then to have a mask strapped on for 2 hours and everyone in the clinic avoiding me I have the plague. Sheesh! An exam, chest x-ray and a few puffs on some kind of modern day peace pipe and I was sent home loaded up with Tamiflu, Benedryl, codeine cough medicine and a portable peace pipe of my very own. I am quarantined for the next 48-72 hours until the H1N1 culture comes back. Doc said that he's sent lots of cultures in but all have been negative but I am the first one he's given the Tamiflu to. He patted me on the back and said cheerily, 'You're a contender!' Like I should be happy about it! Swell. Typhoid Molly. Story of my life.

I CANNOT have the 'bad' flu because I spend about 40 minutes holding Sweet William yesterday and if I am responsible for making him sick, I don't know what I'll do. His dad has been really sweet about the whole exposing his brand new son to God-Knows-What thing. He's a newly knighted Physician's Assistant. He even makes house calls and brings chicken soup! I like the way they're training them down at the UW these days!

Anyway, email me, comment me, call me. Ben and I will be here in our hermeticly sealed bubble for the next couple of days at least. With all of the meds, it could be a potentially interesting conversation! Stay healthy everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Like Nobody's Watching...

OMGosh you guys! I went dancing! I had SUCH a good time! Some friends got together at the West Side Club for Fish Fry and dancing. I really wanted to go to supper with them but spent days plotting my escape before the band got started. I haven't danced in about 25 years.

Supper was wonderful. The band started up as we were settling up for our meals; Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, CCR. Great. My era. Crap. I decided to sit and listen to a couple of songs and then sneak out the back before the serious dancing got started. Based on my high school experience, this takes approximately a third of the evening while everyone gets over being shy and sizes everyone else up. Ummmm....seems big people dances are a little different. Apparently, the minute the lead guitar starts tuning, you start dancing. I watched and thought, you know, I can't look any more foolish than some of those folks. In amongst the people doing the latest steps, there was one guy doing 'The Grand Mal Seizure' and a couple more doing 'The Tourrette'. There were also a few that must have had their iPods on because they sure weren't listening to the same beat as the rest of us!

So I decided that if someone asked me, I'd take a deep breath and give it a try. I figured no one would ask me anyway so I'd be safe. No sooner had I formulated my evil plan, someone asked me. Crap. But I hopped up just like I was in my right mind and trotted right out there like I dance every day and it was no biggie. I was softly chanting 'Dance like nobody's watching....Dance like nobody's watching' over and over, but' fake it 'til you make it' right? And the weirdest thing happened. I LOVED it! I danced fast. I danced slow (my favorite by far... Johnny River's 'Slow Dancing' IS my favorite song after all). I was a dancing fool!

The band was 'Midlife Crisis' ; aptly named for my first foray onto the dance floor in my new life I thought! They were great! They played a nice mix and I had a full dance card. For four whole hours I didn't give a crap about anything else and was just happy! Every fear about being a wallflower or looking like a fool was blown away. I should have done this so much sooner! I didn't get home until after midnight. That's right! I stayed up late with the big kids! You can bet your butt I'll be first in line the next time someone suggests it!

For those of you that are concerned, and oddly enough there are a couple of you, Ben had a much lower key evening at home with his new friend MJ who is a dog toy like Flat Eddie the Squirrel and Foo Foo Bunny. They don't have stuffing. Ben eviscerates stuffed animals with disturbing skill. MJ (short of Michael J.) Fox is life size and is Ben's new best friend. He snuggles and bathes him for hours. My carpet is covered with red tufts from MJ's tail, but it's a small price to a pay if you could see what a fool Ben is for him. You should have seen the wrangling and promises I had to make to get him to stop nibbling and pose for this photo!

Anyway, tomorrow it's off to Epplegarten to get some asparagus with friend D. and then lunch at Red Robin (YUM! Blue Ribbon Burger) and to see 'Angels and Demons'. Then it's back home to make pork chop casserole and rhubarb pie for William's folks for supper. Hope you all are having a fun weekend too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Funny Tasting Clams and Dropping The Alpaca

I believe I have again heard a phrase never previously uttered by human kind. I brought two big bags of red Twizzlers in for my kids today. My boss took one and said,

Do you know how much I love licorice? Way too much!”. I said, “I just can’t get too enthused about it. To me it tastes like wax.” To which he replied, ‘Oh, but it’s chewy! It tastes like a strawberry flavored clam!” I know!!! Chew on that one!

Went to the Farmer’s Market by work this afternoon. It’s every Thursday during the summer and is microscopic compared to the one Downtown, but I love it anyway. I picked up some cheese curds for my neighbors. The curds are the really garlicky kind so they’ll ALL have to eat them or else they’ll bad-breath each other out of the house. As long as everyone participates, they cancel each other out! I picked up some baby carrots, lettuce, rhubarb and Swiss chard for Ben and I. I’m in LOVE with Ziploc Steamer Bags. Pop the carrots or chard in the bag and throw ‘em in the micro for, like, zero nanoseconds and perfectly steamed veggies every time. Zucchini is to die for made this way. As is broccoli. And cauliflower. You can even put the seasonings right in with it. YUM! Ziploc says you can’t use the bags twice, but I do ‘cause I know that they aren’t very environmentally friendly and they are a little on the spendy side for what you get. Just wash them up and let dry and you can use them a couple or three times at least.

Mad City Mike is such a sweetie!

[You should totally go over to his site and see the cute dog cake on today's post. I'll wait. Welcome back! What did you think? Adorable right?!]

Did you see in the last post comments where he offered to have me come over and run my Bovinus Steelwoolicus through his new drum carder? And he’s even met me before and KNOWS what I’m like! (Although I’ve only met him once and never seen him again….hmmmm…maybe that should tell me something!) Fortunately for him, I’ve finished spinning B.S. roving already and didn’t take him up on it. Might just try spinning some more someday soon so I can go over and meet Don, Copper and the assorted critters he has at Chez Mike! (If you see a big ol’ moving van in front of MCM’s house tomorrow, you’ll know he got wind of my evil plan.)

I also plied a third of a bobbin of Zig Zag The Alpaca that I had leftover. I dug out my drop spindle used that. I learned another important thing. Despite all of the wheel spinning in the last couple of years, I’m still really bad at drop spindling. They don’t call it a drop spindle for nothing I guess. And I wrapped the singles around my hand incorrectly while trying to Andean ply and nearly had to amputate because I cut off most of the circulation in my middle finger. (If you’ve seen me on the road, it’s probably best I don’t have that particular one anyway.) Needless to say it wasn’t a pretty or smooth process, but I managed to get some decent lace weight two-ply out of it but I’ll stick to Mabel from now on!

Well, off to chop up some veggies, walk the doggie and go get my hair cut. Evenings don’t get much more exciting than this one, no?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steel Wool Sheep and Secret Cats

I pulled a rookie mistake many months ago and am only now realizing its consequences. I’ve started spinning some sheep roving I got at a local farm. They had beautiful, dark, rich colors so of course, being a newbie with no idea about fiber content and spin-ability, I bought a BUNCH of the stuff. I started spinning my first ball of it last weekend and I swear it must have come from the breed Bovinus Steelwoolicus. The stuff is beautiful to behold, but NASTY to spin. Guard hairs, shrubbery and the fact that it wasn’t carded near enough is making something that is so enjoyable a real drag. Valuable lesson learned. Rats!

Yesterday I was on my patio when I heard a scritchity scitching in the gutter pipe that run down the outside of the building to the right of my door. Thinking a squirrel had gotten caught in there, I unhooked the flexi pipe at the bottom that diverts the water away from the foundation and out in the lawn somewhere thinking that the critter could get out now. Even if it was Sheldon/Sheldona, I still wouldn’t wish that kind of an end to anyone! Then at 2ish this morning, I was awakened by “Meow (two three four) Meow (two three four) Meow…..for 20 minutes. Finally I got up and took a flashlight outside to see if I could find the cat. I sourced the noise up towards the eaves and then remembered the scritching and thought, ‘Crap, it’s a CAT in the drainpipe!’ When you put your ear up to it, you could hear it plain as day and there was still some rustling going on. I decided that there was nothing I could do ‘til morning’ so I went back to bed. The cat continued his constant cadence of meowing until 6AM so needless to say, no sleep was had after 2AM. At around 4:00 I called the management maintenance line and left a message. At 6:00 I got up and took a shower and took care of Ben etc. and noticed that I no longer heard the cat. I, of course, feared the worst ‘cause that’s how I roll.

Bob the maintenance guy, came at 8:00 and I explained the situation. Bob said that he heard it yesterday but didn’t know where it was coming from. Another neighbor happened by and said that he had heard the cat all night too. Bob pounded on the pipe a few times and said he hoped it wasn’t in there because he didn’t know what to do about it and had a busy day so he couldn’t tear it all apart. That hopefully the cat would come out on its own and if I heard any more tonight, I should call him. So I went to work, ticked at Bob and worried about the cat cooking in the close quarters of the gutter pipe in the 85° heat that was predicted for today.

At lunch, I ran into the upstairs neighbor, Brian. I asked him if we woke him up early this morning by banging on the pipe that ran by his window. He said that he hadn’t heard anything so I proceeded to tell him the whole sad tale. He said, ‘Oh that was MY cat. I accidentally locked it out on the patio last night’. Sheesh! That’s right! He and his fiancĂ© have been hiding two smoochable cats right over my head for almost a year now and I never knew they were there. I felt like a monumental idiot. I called Bob and told him that there wasn’t a cat and went to put the downspout back together. I gave it a shake for good measure before I hooked it back up and a squirrel fell out so that was my little noise maker. Thank goodness it wasn't a kitty and the squirrel seemed none the worse for wear. It's always something....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cheesecake and Beefcake

Neighbor Aaron graduated from UW this weekend and his wife Terri ordered a 12 pound cheesecake from The Carnegie Deli in NYC for him. He brought me over a piece Sunday night that would feed a family of four! I tried a couple of bites before bed and Oh. My. Gosh. You may not hear from me for a few days as I will be quitting my job, packing my possessions and moving to The Big Apple immediately! If you need to reach me, I'll be renting a flat directly over the deli with a trap door over the cheesecake case! I have never had better cheesecake in my life! Sooooo smooth! Yum! I'm rationing it out and not sharing so don't even think about it you guys! A fork in the right hands can be a formidable weapon.

Aaron and Terri also brought William over in his new manly outfit. He had the hat I knit on as well as a new onesy that their friends gave him. It's black and says 'Lock Up Your Daughters'. He doesn't weight as much as his Dad's cheesecake but he's sure a beefcake in his new outfit, that's for sure!

(Update: I totally just scammed this photo off his parent's website! I love the Yo Dog/Pucker Up And Give Me A Smooch pose!)

Ben and I woke up before the alarm this morning and went for our walk. We went a little further than usual since we had some extra time. There is a road at the edge of my neighborhood that skirts a field and some woods. I love it, but Ben doesn't because we have to pass a farm that has a lot of big, white, farm geese in the yard. When they start honking, he cringes, tucks his tail and squishes his eyes shut tight. I'm thinking he was abducted and water boarded by a bunch of ruthless geese (a gangle?) in his life before I got him. I'll bet they were from the Fitchburg Historical Society. We lucked out this morning because they were on the other side of the barn harassing some other dog, so he was safe. A flock of turkeys crossed the road right in front of us though and his butt bottomed the asphalt like it was full of lead sinkers. He sat perfectly silent and still, except for the drooling, until they passed. The boy may hate geese, but he hows a herd of Thanksgiving dinners when he sees one!

When we returned home I found that I had forgotten to turn my alarm off before I left and it had been beep-beep-beeping for a half an hour in our absence. Yes, I'm THAT neighbor. I'm surprised the other tenants didn't meet me in the dooryard with torches and pitchforks. It may have been a bit too early in the day to get that organized. I'll have to drive around the block a couple of times and check out the situation before I come home from work tonight just in case they've been talking it over in the meantime!

Kangaroos and Kidnapping

On Saturday, I was ruthlessly kidnapped by the Fitchburg Historical Society. I went to O'Fitchburg Days and decided to take the 'Trolley Tour of Historic Fitchburg'. Since most of Fitchburg is approximately 27 minutes old, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I asked how long the tour would be and was told that we'd be back in about a half an hour. So I boarded the 'Trolley SS Minnow' and off we went. The tour guides were an elderly couple; the lady was from the Historical Society (who, let's just say, didn't make a great first impression) and her husband, who looked exactly like an octogenarian Ed Begley Jr.. Fitchburg started about 1857 or something and I think they've been around from the very first day. They threw around names and pointed out lots of spots where historic buildings (mostly in the flavor of either old barns, general stores, or one-room schools) used to be. I looked at lots of ditches, overgrown fields and tree groves that supposedly hid mystical treasures of ancient Fitchburg. I learned where all of Ed's cousins, uncles, grandparents, car mechanics and chain saw sharpeners lived. I listened to lists of practically every item the general store used to carry. But the best part of the trip was them constantly grabbing the overhead PA mike from each other in an effort to correct, one up , and squabble with each other; including arguing about exactly where 'the-thing-that-used-to-be-but-now-isn't' was located!

Our poor beleaguered bus driver, hadn't driven the route yet, and was constantly being smacked on the shoulder or the back of the head by one guide or the other and screamed at to 'TURN LEFT TURN LEFT TURN LEFT!!!!' after we were almost past the road in question. Trollies don't have a really great response time or turning radius, which turned a gentile tour into somewhat of a thrill ride as two wheels nearly left the road on some turns.

Two hours and 10 minutes later we returned to the fairgrounds. Oh.My. God. I disembarked humming the Gilligan's Island theme song ("A three hour tour...a three hour tour....") to the delight of the couple seated ahead of me who smirked and snickered through the whole ordeal too. But the good news is, I packed a lot of knowledge into those two hours, so if you want to see a lot of boring places where not-really-that-interesting stuff used to be (for instance, the overgrown railroad tracks where Harry S. Truman once watched the Circus train go by) I'm your girl! And I'm fairly certain that, with a little practice, I may be able to give you the Reader's Digest version in 7 minutes tops!

At any rate, I did get to see animals and you know, in my book, that always makes for a good day.
I saw some wallabies but the Wallaby Lady, despite the fact I TOLD her that I got to snog them in Florida, wouldn't let me touch them. In fact they may have moved them back a little to ensure that they safely out of my reach.

I also saw these Irish Wolf Hounds.
(Isn't the rose garland adorable!?)

They were just BIG schmoopies and the lady that owned them let me snog them all I wanted. Take that Wallaby Lady!

I also found this great Boston Rocker at a garage sale in my neighborhood. I fell in love with it just because it was a comfy chair and paid $30 for it. Upon further investigation, when I got home I found that it was likely manufactured in the late 1700 to early 1800's! Not a bad little find even if I did have to walk home with it over my head for 4 blocks. At least I had a place to sit when I got tired!
All of that, as well as getting to hold new Baby William ( 1 week old yesterday-YAY!), gardening at friend D's, a night on the town with friends Sat night, taking in a PeeWee soccer match, and lots of baking and spinning made for a hoppin' weekend for ol' Molly Bee! Gosh! Next weekend is three days long! I wonder what kind of trouble I can get into with a whole extra day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Knit Night Snippets

The late night knitters didn't let me down! They even discussed past statements that have been made so I'm including them here although there were plenty of new gems last night. These are statements usually heard when everyone is talking at once and then it gets quite and there's that one lone voice still speaking. So for those of you who picture Knit Night at The Sow's Ear as a bunch of little old ladies sitting around primly, knitting up lime green toilet paper covers; here are a few of the snippets of conversation overheard last night! No explanation. Draw your own conclusions.

*"I was 18 before I saw my first cow in the wild..."
*"I can't get my Google up!!!"
*"I eat baby bananas from Kwik Trip from the wrong end. Like a monkey. Then you have a handle..."
*"FACT. If you put your underwear on backwards, you walk funny..."
*"I'm contemplating my toes..."
*"I saw my first artichoke on the subway...."
*"It's on 5 acres so we call out behind the house 'the back four'..."
*"In our pool, we don't skinny dip, we chunky dunk..".
* "Dicken's Great Expectations is about this guy in Florida who lives near an ocean or a lake or a river or something....I saw the movie..."
* "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana..."

And my personal favorite of the night...

*"NO! I said there would be a shower IF there was mud wrestling!!"

And just so you know, there was productivity going on amongst the giggles. I knit this for William.

Hopefully this will appeal more to his macho fashion sensibilities than the girly pastel number I forced on him a couple of posts back! I had to cobble together a pattern and a graph because, oddly enough, I couldn't find a pattern out on The Internets even though I googled 'baby hat with skulls and crossbones' and everything. Go figure. A couple of ladies asked me to write it up and put it on Ravelry so I'll do that when I get a chance. Apparently there are other 'macho' babies out there that need hats!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hello, My Name is Molly Bee and I’m Just A Klutz…

I went to an evening class on Monday night after my misadventure in dog walking in the morning. Afterward, I stopped into Target to pick up a couple of things. I noticed that several times when I approached couples who were talking and they immediately clammed up. If I neared a person by themselves they gave me a wide birth. I thought it was weird and started to get a complex. I HAD taken a shower that day! I didn’t figure out what was going on until I got home and took a look at myself in the mirror. Both of my wrists are bandaged with white bandages because the owies are on the heel of my hand and my wrist where I can't get Band-Aids to stay on and they need to be kept clean. AND I had forgotten to removed my sticker badge from class that said “Hello, My name is Molly Bee”. Put that together and I must have looked like I had participated in some kind of a support group gone horribly wrong! I wish I’d realized what was going on when it was happening. I could have had some fun with it! I have seen Sweet William in person and here is photographic proof of his existence. I received this picture with a note that said ‘Thank You for the hat. I really like it!’ Take a good look at Sweet William’s face. Is that really the expression of a wee lad who’s grooving on his new toque? I think not. His Daddy wears a do rag sometimes. I’m thinking of giving William one of those to try to see if he likes it any better! The pastel, knit cap is obviously cramping his fashion sense!

There has been knitting. Here are the Fetching fingerless gloves that I knit from my extravagant, luxurious Yak yarn that I got at The Sow’s Ear last Knit Night. They look just like Katie’s (Cowgirl Purl on Ravelry) because I want to be just like Katie when I grow up! They are uber warm and will be good for Spring and Fall when mittens are too much, but it’s too cold for bare hands. Even in warmer weather they could also be used protect the heels of my hands from any unscheduled flights I may take when walking Bentley! Maybe I should make knee pads too. Can you knit a helmet? I’d only need to wear them until I work more on my dismount and get a 4.9 or higher from the Ukrainian judges.

I cast on a lace stole yesterday. 104 stitches and I got 26 rows done. Took me almost all day. Then I decided that the pattern looked crappy and undefined on size 3 needles with cobweb yarn, so I ripped it all out and found a more heavy weight yarn to start over with. Wasted time? Nope, I enjoyed every minute of it even if there was no end result. The joy is in the doing.

This Friday is Knit Night. For a while now, Chocolate Sheep and I have knocked around the idea that we should get a dry erase board and write down some of the hysterical statements that get heard out of context. I think I’ll take my notebook and jot them down for new bi-Saturday blog feature. Of course if I’m looking for it it won’t happen but I’ll give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, meh, it’s still free smoothie sample night and I could sure use some ‘smooth’ in my life these days!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Molly Bee On The Rocks

I started off this beautiful Monday in my bathrobe and slippers, face down in the shrubbery outside. ‘Molly Bee’, you comment…’Isn’t that how you start most days?’ Yes! Normally I start off my day face down in the metaphorical bushes…not the actual ones planted in the rocks outside my patio. I went to let Ben out at 6:30. He was on his retractable leash. He usually goes out, does his business, and then comes back in since he knows breakfast is next and it’s his most important meal of the day; right up there with his supper. The boy does love him some kibble. He also loves him some squirrels. Sheldon/Sheldonina was in the big tree out front and I didn’t see him/her. The big tree is approximately two feet further away from the patio than the retractable leash reaches as it turns out. I, in my usual befuddled morning state, saw him running, but didn’t put two and two together and drop the leash in time. I say, ‘in time’ because once my feet were yanked out from me and I was launched forward onto my front amongst the river rocks, rhododendron and hostas, I dropped it. Might have been due to all of the air being knocked out of me. You tend to drop things when you’re on the verge of unconsciousness. It skittered two feet away and stopped when he did.

I got up and took stock of the situation; the heel of my left hand was hanging in one sheet. I had a puncture wound in my right wrist. Both knees and thighs were scraped and full of holes. I bumped my forehead and chin. Both elbows were bruised. Oy! Good thing I just took that First Aid Class last Thursday! What a way to start another work week! To say that Ben is in the doghouse is an understatement. He knows it too. You should have seen the puppy dog eyes I got when I left without giving him his customary treats as I walked out the door.

On the bright side, it could have been much worse. Last big ‘incident’ with Ben ended up with me having surgery and being in a walking cast for over 6 months. And there is the fact that I FLEW people! For a few glorious seconds, I was soaring through the air with the greatest of ease. Oh the freedom! I just have to work on sticking the landing!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Babies

What started out at a ho-hum weekend definitely picked up momentum as it rolled along! I spent the entire morning Saturday curled up reading the new Jodi Picoult book, "Handle With Care'. I haven't read a book that good in a looooong time. I highly recommend it. Ran into neighbor Aaron in the afternoon and he said that Terri, his wife, was finally experiencing some labor pains. She was due last Saturday and it's been a looong week of waiting for them! I had told him that when the time came to go, to just call me and I'd come get their firstborn baby, Brinkley and babysit while his new brother was being born. Ben was uber thrilled! He and Brinks have been buddies for a while now and Ben, well, Ben just loves him a sleepover! Aren't they handsome boys? This is one of the only good shots I got of them since they are in almost constant motion, playing. Plus Brinkley seems to be very camera curious so most of my shots look like this:
Both dogs slept on the bed with me last night. Go ahead and look back at that picture of the two of them laying by the kitchen....I'll wait. Yeah! Both BIG boys! Brinkley slept in the bed's passenger side like a human with his head on the pillow and Ben slept at the foot like always and they never budged all night. Didn't have a speck of problem.

We got a call at 7ish this morning that Brinkley's new baby brother, William, was born at 11:30 last night, about an hour after I picked Brinks up! Fancy pushin' there, Terri! It went so well, that they even came home early this afternoon! I haven't seen him yet but I'm thrilled that he's finally here!

Here are some new babies that I HAVE seen today.

I know. Awwwww, right?
Friend Donna called this morning wicked excited. She had found these four babies in her garden shed. I went out with an abandoned kitten kit and some blankets and we got them warmed up and fed. They are between 8-14 days old. Their eyes are open but they are still blue, blue, blue. One of the little guys had fallen between two boards in the shed and couldn't get out. One is a little weaker than his siblings and they were all hungry and cold. Looks like Donna was their angel of mercy today. She was working in the garden with her husband when they heard their crying. I told her since they were in the garden shed, they should be named, 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme'!

Friday, May 08, 2009

First Aid and Frustration

Well, I passed my First Aid Class yesterday. With my CNA and Hospice Volunteering, it’s pretty old hat, but I try to keep my certification current by getting a class in once a year. I figure odds are good that one day I really will slip a cog and try to rough up one of my kids, so it’s good to know the latest techniques on how to revive ‘em and patch ‘em back up if I need to. So if you are unconscious, heat stroked, seizing, bleeding, broken, burned up, or have a Portuguese knitting mishap, I’m your girl!

I’ve been having…um…issues with my new work computer. My old one had had enough, coughed up a fur ball and died a couple of weeks ago. My new one is flashy and all that, but it doesn’t understand me like the old one did. It takes time to build a new relationship I guess. My main point of contention with it is that it second guesses and micro manages me. I hit print, hop up from my desk and trudge the 3 cubicles over to the printer and…nothin’. I trudge all the way back and I have a message…

’Are you sure you want to print? Really? ‘Cause even though, just seconds ago, you pushed the button indicating that you wanted to, and walked all the way over to the printer and stared at it expectantly for what, quite frankly, seemed like an eternity, I would think that by now you would be having second thoughts about paper usage and the environment so thought I’d better to double check…’

Sigh….Yes, HAL! You SAW me headed to the printer? And the printer, who I’ve always considered a good friend, is in cahoots it seems because it can SEE me coming…It's obvious I want SOMETHING, but it’s not gonna give it up until I go back and talk to his new BFF, the computer. They don’t even care that I can hear the tiny, digital snickers and giggles coming from both sides of the room. So I hit the button. AGAIN. And trudge on over to the printer. AGAIN. To get my print. FINALLY. And I can't do anything about it, because they didn't teach us any First Aid tips for patching up office equipment that has been pummeled relentlessly with a baseball bat.

I suppose the worst part of it all is that since HAL arrived on the scene, I’ve hit 'print' approximately eighteenthousandgabigagillion times [Calm down, Eco-Warriors, that’s only ninethousandgabigagillion copies. See ‘hitting the button twice for each copy’ above.) and I STILL don’t anticipate that it’s going to question my authority and that my print won’t be there. Sigh. I’m SO glad it’s Friday!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Productivity and Porcine Paranoia

Is anyone as bummed out as I am that Dom Deluise died? I LOVED him! I haven't been this sad about a celebrity passing since The Crocodile Hunter bought it. Maude didn't even make me this sad. Dom always made me smile. Blazing Saddles was the greatest!

Life has been moving fast around here lately. I've just been trying to keep up. Weekends are filled with social things. Work is filled with project things, and evenings are filled with homework, chores and errand things. But I have been sneaking in time here and there to work on fun things too.
I finished spinning up ZigZag-The-Alpaca's fleece and got it washed and dried-outside in the breeze . It spun up like a dream. I two-plied it into lace weight and have a scarf pattern in mind for it. It's soft and light as a feather. Just natural ZigZag coloring...Totally makes up for my bad experience with the last spinning I did...

And I got started on my bread basket. It's not much to see, but I put it here as proof to a certain brother who mocked my power drilling skills. Yeah, Shiela told me! (BEHOLD, BUBBER KEV! If I could photograph my own hands to prove there are no holes in them I would!)

A certain blog buddy in Maine surprised me on Saturday. A bunch of us from my building were having a barbecue out on the front lawn in the afternoon and we noticed the mail carrier go into the building with a box. I commented that I never get any boxes so it wasn't for me. Turns out it WAS! Knitzu took a vacation to Florida and sent me a box chock a block full of lovely pine needles! She picked some good ones-a nice, deep, red color. And she sent some sea shells to boot! Thanks for being an enabler there, Lisa! :-)

I bought some beautiful Yak yarn, purple of course, (40% off Y'all) at The Ear on Friday night. Enough to make some fingerless gloves. It was pretty dead for Knit Night. I think it was the perfect storm of a yarn sale at another yarn shop, too nice a weather for sittin' inside knittin' and the initial paranoia of The Flu Formerly Known As Swine. I think we need a symbol for the disease like Prince had for a while there when he wasn't Prince. Don'cha think that our flu symbol should be a little pig face? Not like the cutsie Piggly Wiggley one, but one with bloodshot eyes, a runny nose, NyQuil mustache and those little characters that signify swear words in a thought bubble over his head. Would kinda defeat the purpose as far as the Pork Council is concerned I suppose, but I think it would be apropos. And it would make me happy. And it's all about ME!

At least I'm glad the you-know-what flu isn't turning out to be as bad as the media blew it up to be. I find that The Sow's Ear Flu is much more contagious and dangerous. I caught it from Katie who I sat next to on Friday. First you get a fever and then an unalterable compulsion to buy expensive Yak for fingerless gloves. And if you get the rare Portuguese strain of the disease, you get a weird rash on the back of your neck.

At any rate, those evening chores are a callin', better wrap up for now. Say a prayer for the Deluise family and stay safe and healthy!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Snoutbreak and Strangulation

Does anyone else love the fact that John Stewart over at The Daily Show is calling the Swine Flu pandemic ‘Snoutbreak ‘09’?

Well, I made it home safe and sound from Portuguese knitting. Upon reading yesterday’s entry, a friend urged me to make sure that I wasn’t the only one in the class that The Ear was encouraging to put yarn around their neck, that said yarn didn’t just happen to have some kind of a slip knot in it, and that it was actual yarn and not piano wire. So I checked it out thoroughly before I even picked up the needles. It was legit. I call it ‘Opposite Knitting’ because it’s just backwards from how I, as a 'thrower' (Say it loud and say it proud , Sister!) knit. The yarn is around the back of your neck for tension and is all controlled by the left thumb. Therefore, the purls are wicked easy and the knits are a little more complicated-just opposite of throwing with my right hand. I really liked it though and can see two distinct advantages:

*If you are knitting something with a lot of purls in a row(for instance the back side of a lace piece), the purls would go faster this way. You could knit ‘the regular way’ for knits and then Portuguese back.

*For us folks headed down the carpel tunnel road, your wrist stays pretty straight, particularly the right one, so there is less stress. Not sure what the repetitive left thumb motion will reveal, but I’ve never been one to plan ahead on these things, Lord knows....hence the Carpel Tunnel in the right hand!

I used the $20 gift card that I won at the last Knit Night to purchase some decadent sock needles from Lantern Moon. Rosewood shorts. Positively sumptious!I wouldn’t normally do that, but it was free money! It was a difficult choice though as there are so many luscious yarns too. I fondled one made of sugar cane for quite some time before reluctantly putting it down. I’m not sure that knitting with a yarn that is potentially edible is the right path for me.

Speaking of fondling (we were weren’t we?) Heather brought in her ADORABLE fur baby, Beatrice for us to meet. She’s a 4 month old Japanese Chin and is the CUTEST. PUPPY. EVER. I think she is about 4# and is the softest, sweetest little thing I’ve ever seen. Plus she is housebroken and has manners…at 4 months, Y'all! (This makes me realize now that there really is no hope for three year old Mr. Ben! ) Plus I love the fact that they surreptitiously named her after me (they call her ‘Bee’) because as we all know, every dog on the planet, belongs to me. I just keep them in different places because I only live in a one bedroom place.

So to recap:
I made it home safely and without being strangled and garroted in any way.
I liked the new technique.
New sock needles=good.
Sugar Cane yarn=possibly edible? Check Wikipedia.
Beatrice=most scrumptious, delicious, huggablest, softest, best puppy EVER!

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...