Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wisdom Wednesdays

Oh the wonderful lessons learned in the last week:

  • If you have a bag of frozen vegetables on your sore hip and an furbeast throws himself down next to you just so, the bag will explode and machine gun tiny bits of frozen carrots, corn, peas and lima beans across the living room. But have no fear, the fur beast will scurry around and eat the frozen carrots, corn and peas. You will have to pick up the lima beans yourself. Lesson: NO ONE likes lima beans.
  • If you take 3 hours of your life to painstakingly knit a teeny, tiny, two-inch high, naked sheep, lots of people will see it, pick it up and want you to 'whip up one' for them. They'll even offer you a dollar. Molly Bee's First Law of Knitted Animal Holdage.
  • When stuck in traffic, if you stop railing at the Universe for the delay and look out your window, you will see the first Belted Kingfisher of the season. Lesson: Submit and pay attention to the miracles all around you.
  • If you are talking on your cell phone, not paying attention and leave your sun roof open while going through the automated car wash, you can create your own personal amusement park attraction akin to Mr. Toad's Wet and Wild Ride. Lesson: Hang up and drive!
  • If you grab the Wisconsin State Journal and try to block the incoming water rather that close the sun roof, you get more amusement park ride for your money. See lesson above.[Note: Though it does sound like something that would happen to me, I am proud to announce that I did not personally learn this lesson. I was behind the man that learned it though and it was highly amusing.]
  • If you have your annual job review and you gift your boss the Bee Barf Honey you got at A-Z last weekend, your review will go swimmingly. Lesson: You catch more bosses with honey?
  • If you speak up and tell your dentist that you are angry with him for hurting you last week and ask for Novocaine (even though he doesn't think you'll need it) this week, he will give it to you . Lesson: Speak up for yourself and ask for what you need. You know what's best for you.
  • If your dentist doesn't think you need Novocaine but you make him give it to you any way, he will give you enough to effectively numb your entire head for the better part of 2010. Lesson: My dentist is a vindictive little bugger.

What did YOU learn this week?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

From A-Z

This was my last day of volunteering out to A-Z Farm. I swear if they asked me, I would spend every Sunday out there. This was the best one of all three of the days I spent doing knitting demos; though it was hedgehog-less (which is probably a good thing or I just may have come home with one for realz). Mad City Mike came out with his sock machine and we got to spend the day working side by side!

Mad City Mike And His Magical Mystical Sock Machine

He's every bit as sweet and talented as he seems on his blog. I had a great time getting to know him and watching him work his magic. Everyone who came into the room was enthralled and he took time to really explain it to anyone who asked. He even let the little kids crank it! And get this...this is what I mean but being sweet...the man made a sock blank, dyed it my favorite colors (purple!!!), frogged it, rolled it onto his sock machine and made me a pair of socks! I KNOW right!? For lil' ol me! And I got to see the making! To think he can create a pair of socks in less than 90 minutes and he's only been knitting on it since January! I bow to his greatness! Thanks again for the awesome socks, MCM!

Molly Bee's Mystical Magical Mad City Mike Socks

I got there early this morning before the hoards arrived. It was quiet and the sun was coming in the back of the barn. The lambies were all cuddled up; soaking up the rays. If this photo doesn't say 'spring' and 'Easter', I don't know what does.

Peaceable Kingdom

I didn't get pics of the pups last week onaccounta my camera upen died. Something about the 35° barn didn't sit well with the batteries. But I got a couple this week by golly!

I didn't say I got GREAT pics. I just said I got 'em.

I can't believe how big they've gotten in only seven days! Last week I could have smuggled one out in my knitting bag. But alas, I waited too long...

Just look how huge- for 7 weeks! This picture was taken by the security surveillance camera just after I said "Give me the Teddy Dog and no one gets hurt" and just before the farm staff tackled me to the ground, cuffed me and retrieved their pup.

Lots of friends stopped by to visit today: Joe and Steve, Pat, Brenda and Wee Paddy, Katie and Cole to name a few. It was great to see everyone even if I couldn't really visit with all of the madness and mayhem. The farm saw 500 visitors the first hour! It was a wild and wonderful day. My last visitor, Donna, gave me a care package filled with goodies from the Amish Bakery in Pardeeville. If that isn't the perfect ending to a perfect day, I don't know what is! 'Night All!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reader Beware: Unusual Fiber Content!

Unusual in the sense that I rarely seem to post much about fiber-related stuff these days and unusual in the sense that I am now knitting naked sheep and then making 'clothes for them. (Oh, stop feigning shock. We all knew this day would come!) Here goes! Recently I:

  • Spun up this bit of loveliness (and taught myself to Navajo ply-look out world!):
  • Washed and packed up all of my hand knit socks. Winter is officially over at my house!
  • Washed and dried all of the winter spinning in the spring breeze:
  • And started spinning this Eastery mess:

  • And the piece de resistance...(Warning! Nudity! Send the chilluns from the room and steel yourself for the following images!)
A two inch high pocket sheep!

A two inch high NAKED pocket sheep! (Don't say you weren't warned!)

A woolly coat for a two inch high naked pocket sheep.

What have YOU been knitting?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday

So many lessons from this wonderful week:

  • If your 4 year old is running, strip stark naked, down the sidewalk towards a busy highway, and you're yelling "Tanner! Stop! Right! Now! I'm! Going! To! Spank! You!", you'd better be faster than Tanner because this tactic is not going to be very effective. [His Mom sounded so mad, I was yelling "Holy Crap! Run! Faster! Tanner! Run!]. You can catch more flies with honey...

  • If you hold a hedgehog, you will reallyreallyreallyreallyreally want one. Molly Bee's First Law of Animal Holdage.

  • Every single person you meet every day has something to teach you. Given enough time and thought, the gift of the lesson will be revealed to you. It's not always a warm fuzzy lesson. Some people are just put in your path to be a horrible warning!

  • If you are waving a Frisbee over your head and repeating in a goofy voice, "Doyouwantthis?Youdodon'tyou?YouwantthisFrisbeedon'tyou?!??!" to an 80 # dog and you wind up on your butt in the mud covered with scratches...Yep, he wants it. If you ask a question, make sure you really want to know the answer.

  • I've been kinda bummed about having to pay another $650 dental bill tomorrow. Today I was pleasantly surprised by an unexpected windfall that pays that bill and leaves me $100 to spare! The Universe will answer your prayers.

  • Given that turn of events, I talked to the Universe about giving me a hedgehog. Sometimes the answer is 'no'.

What have YOU learned this week?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is That A Hedgehog In Your Pocket...

My life has been an embarrassment of riches recently both of the material and the spiritual variety. The material goods started rolling in when I won this little bit of heaven at the Knit In a couple of weekends ago:

Friday night at Knit Night. I received this from Beth "Chocolate Sheep":

Oddly enough, it's a chocolate sheep! Just the pick-me-up I needed after a particularly trying day at work. He's destined to hold stitch markers and counters methinks. Knit Night was another huge blessing. There's nothing like being with the Hoggen Bloggers to pull you out of a funk. Very special ladies each and every one.

On Saturday, this Care package arrived from Knitzu.

I won a drawing over at her blog. She sewed this lovely needle case and sent it stuffed with treats- maple candy and 'moose poop' (chocolate covered cranberries) for me, and Milk Bones for Mr. Ben. She also sent a wonderful card containing a couple of tufts of fur from the two pups I keep at her house; Gracie and Zuzu. I don't know who went more bonkers over the whole works-Ben or me!

I went out to the farm yesterday for another day of knitting demonstrations and communing with the new babies.

Nothing is more soul-restoring in my life than either spending time by any body of water or cuddling animals of any size, shape or species. After this weekend my soul runneth over.

I got to actually this lambie. It's not a great picture, but he's my guy.

He was a real snuggler. He'd put his little front legs over my shoulder and lean his ear next to mine and sleep. After 20 minutes, they had to physically pry him away from me under the guise that he had to eat or some such nonsense. In order to get me to let him go, they held out a Grand Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix puppy to me. Yep. That'll do it! He was about the same size as the lamb and awful sleepy-talk about a cuddle bug. All too soon it was back to his proud mama for a snack so I traded him in for one of these little guys:

Oh. My. God. I SO want one of these adorable little fellas now! Talk about a perfect pet! They don't make any noise, don't smell funny, are litter box trained and love to curl up in your sweatshirt pocket. If I didn't think Ben would think he was a crunchy little treat, I'd have one right now!

So all in all, I've been a very lucky little girl this past week; riches upon riches. Keep your eyes and your heart open and you get what you need....and sometimes a lot extra!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

This week's lessons:

*What do you call an Irishman who stays out all night? Paddy O’Furniture. You can tell the same St. Patrick’s Day joke for 18 years and you’ll always find someone who hasn’t heard it.

*A 3 year old boy disappeared from a local day care yesterday prompting a massive 2 1/2 hunt by emergency personnel. We all thought the worse. He was finally found asleep under a bean bag chair at the day care by a police dog. We all lost sight that sometimes there are happy endings. (Note to local law enforcement. Call me next time. Ben would have found him in under three minutes, especially if he had cookie crumbs on his shirt or a grape juice grin.)

*As I said in my previous entry, the sock machine lady at A-Z farm was ‘less than successful’ during her demo on Sunday. This lesson was a twofer: High tech isn’t always better and ‘slow and steady really does win the race’.

*I have reflected several times this week about my experience knitting at the Bishop O’Conner center on Saturday. I had a quiet little nook, overlooking the garden; no TV, no phone, no Internet. Just a few hours to reflect in silence. It’s O.K. to just be ‘still’ sometimes.

*My Uncle Tom had cataract surgery on his good eye this week. He has only a small field of vision left in one eye. He was marveling at the fact that he could see gravel in the pavement instead of a blurry flat, gray road and that he could distinguish faces on the T.V. Another twofer: Miracles don’t have to be huge earth shattering events. And never take anything for granted; appreciate the smallest blessings.

Speaking of blessings…four years ago today a little boy was born. Neither he or I knew on that day that a ways down the road he would become the apple of his mama’s eye and her saving grace in so many ways. He is handsome, funny, loyal, loving and always in my corner.

Happy 4th Birthday Bentley!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Implants Are Fabulous!!!

That is to say implant…singular. (I oughta get some weird search hits on that title though, huh?) I went to the dentist to have the bone graft I got installed in December checked. It’s solid so this Thursday I embark on the journey to getting all of my teeth back. I still won’t get the actual implanted tooth for 6 more weeks but at least we’re headed in that general direction after all of the hurry up and wait of the last three months!

Had a fabulous weekend as I knew I would. The Knitting Guild Knit In at The Bishop O’Connor center was wonderful. I parked my tookus in a quiet little nook overlooking a serene little courtyard and knitted the day away.

And shopped. My favorite purchase? A pin that says “If knitting was exercise, you could bounce a quarter off my a**! “. And I won a fabulous door prize; a skein of (60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% silk) bulky single ply that feels like snuggling a cloud. And get this…the color…Iced Violet!!!! It’s like the Knit Gods were watching!

Speaking of God. He apparently saw fit to smite this tree in the courtyard sometime recently. I took it as a sign to watch my Ps and Qs while over at His house. I did pretty well…except for buying a pin with a swear word on it and all.

Sunday I went out to the farm to knit during the Lambing Open House. I got there early and was able to snog and snuggle all of the sheep and lambies before the ravenous hordes descended.
This little guy (below) would definitely fit in my knitting bag but I restrained myself in case God was still keeping His eye on my from Saturday.
(You've gotta click on this one to really do!)

I sat next to a lady in the demonstration room who had a knitting machine that was built in 1820-something. I was armed with only my trusty double points. I finished a sock leg on a toe up and one on a top down between 10-4 yesterday (as well as a little bit on the entrelac scarf) and she went home with nothing. Things got tangled and skipped and missed and sworn at over there. I was amused. She would tell visitors, “This is a sock knitting machine from 1820.” Then people would come over to me and I’d point at myself and say, “This is a sock knitting machine from 1965.” Yeah. We’re thinking about taking our act on the road.

No lambies were born yesterday. I guess they’ve been keeping the farmer up nights instead. But when I got there yesterday there were 3 little chickies in the incubator in our room and when I left there were 7 so there was birthin’ of some sort going on. And these little guys were less than a week old as well. (Notice the 'ghost orbs' in the photo. Actually I'm sure it's dust since I was in a BARN! I watch WAY too much Ghost Hunters on SciFy!)

Hopefully next Sunday there will be a little more action! I’ll keep you posted!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Weird IS The New Normal.

It just occurred to me that I will be spending the weekend thusly; Saturday, in a monastery, and Sunday, in a lamb birthing barn. That has to say something about me, but I'm not sure just what. And I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere...Monk walks into a birthing barn? Sheep walks into a monastery (monkery?)...

In my ongoing effort to reach out and grab life by the ba...ahem...knitting bag...I sometimes end up in surreal situations such as this. Saturday is the MKG Knit In at what used to be the Bishop O'Connor Center in Madison. Dale Harriet and I will shop, lunch and knit to our hearts content. Best of all, Franklin will be there! It will be nice to see him again. He's such a cutie...and funny... I loves me a man that can make me laugh...and draws a mean sheep cartoon to boot! (Note to self: Pack Depends.)

Sunday, I will be at A-Z Farm doing knitting demonstrations during their Open House Lambing days. I KNOW right?!! Shhh! They don't know I'm not a Knitting Jedi (yet). I'm in no way qualified to answer questions about knitting. In fact I have way more questions than answers myself, but I heard about the opportunity to spend three consecutive Sundays in a barn full of little lambies, chickies and bunnies, got all excitipated and went for it before I thought it all the way through. Again. Now I'm torn between trying to keep a low profile or flamboyantly faking it. But what a delicious dilemma!

So as you can see, Molly Bee is getting her knit groove back! I made these dish cloths for friend Gail:

I dunno if you can see (maybe if you click to bigify them) but one is Maine, where she's originally from, and the other is North Carolina, where she lives now. She says they're too nice to use and that she's going to carry them in her car in case she gets stopped by a cop. She'll whip the NC one out, claim she's lost and point to the cloth saying, "I think I'm here...but I'm trying to get over here...."

And I went to my second class for 'Two Toe Up Socks At The Same Time On A Ridiculously Long Needle'. I completed my homework....
I completed the heels from this week's lesson....
And then I pulled out the needles, ripped out both socks and cast anew but with only ONE this time. I think that was my problem. Since I hadn't ever made a sock using either 'toe up' construction, a ridiculously long circular needle, doing both for the first time and making two at the same time was just a lesson in frustration. So I cast on a single sock on one long circ using variegated yarn so I could see what exactly was going on. I used the instructions that Annette gave us and it's totally ROCKING MY WORLD. Granted I'm only up to the heel. I'll turn that tonight and see how it goes, but I'm a much happier camper than when I had my tent set up over in Two Sock City!

Well, off to pack up my knit gear for the weekend. Be prepared, I'm sure I'll have tales to tell (or at least cute lambie/bunnie/chickie) pictures when I get back!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday

I've been fortunate to learn a lot of valuable life lessons. In my opinion, there's book smart and then there's common sense - andthe two are not mutually exclusive. There's formal education and there's wisdom.; one you can get from a book, the other you have to experience, endure and survive to get. While fancy book learnin' has it's place, if pushed to choose, I'll pick wisdom every time. Some of the lessons are painful, some are shocking, some are amusing, but they are each a gift. I've decided to devote Wednesdays to little snippets I've picked up during my education in U of Life. This week I learned:

  • If, when involved in a discussion about the merits of Mane and Tail shampoo, you mistakenly call it Hoof and Mouth shampoo....#1. You can't try and cover it up like you never said it and #2. People will point, laugh and make horsey noises at you for the rest of the day. And a little bit the next day

  • Even if it's a job requirement, getting walked on too much makes even a sidewalk sad.

  • If someone gets up in front of the group and says that she will be brief in the interest of time, then leans on the podium and says "When I was a girl...", get comfy 'cause she's LYING! It will not be brief and she has no interest in how much of your time she steals.

  • If you ply the handyman with freshly baked cookies, he will be more cheerful about getting your earring out of the drain. Again. And won't give you the lecture about pulling up the sink stopper when putting on said earrings. Again.

  • If you're feeling down because you can't go home to Maine to celebrate your Grammie's 98th birthday, you can bring bagels in to work, and celebrate with your coworkers. Turns out they will (very realistically) pretend to be happy for Grammie just to get the bagels. It's not a sure fire solution, but it does make you feel a little better and hey, there's bagels.

  • If your old method works fine, sometimes it OK not to switch to a new one. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)

  • If everyone would just remember to stay to the right, there wouldn't be as many 'around the corner collisions' or doors in the face.
  • And if there are, a smile and heartfelt 'excuse me' goes a long way. Manners matter!
  • If your 'friend' lays out her new plan to systematically destroy her life as well as that of several others (collateral damage) and asks your opinion, she doesn't really want to know.
  • A real friend would really want to know.
  • When you are secure in the knowledge that you have literally HEARD IT ALL, you will overhear a conversation that contains the snippet, "You're in luck...I have this sebaceous cyst..."

What have YOU learned this week?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring Sprong Going Blond!

The weather was great this weekend. I heard Canadian geese and Sand Hill cranes. It was warm enough to run around with no jacket. I got new sneakers:

...which despite their appearance in the picture are the grapiest grape color you've ever seen. Think grape Bubble Yum, purple crayons or Barney. [AND they were clearanced at $5! ]All these contributing factors point to one thing. Spring is on its way!!!! Must make a note to buy marbles, jacks and a jump won't be long now!
Here's another purple thing; well, two actually. These are the sock toes I started in class last Tuesday. Despite being commanded to have them finished along with 7" (14 inches total!)of sock foot done by Tuesday (Yes, day after tomorrow, I know...) they look much the same as this photo from class five days ago. I knit and I knit and I knit and nothing happens. I swear to God! The socks don't get longer and the yarn doesn't diminish (although it tangles fabulously thank you very much). This would be a great sock knitting technique to use if you were on a strict yarn budget and lived in a warm climate where you never intended to actually wear a pair of hand knit socks. You could just knit happily forever. No yarn would be harmed in the making. No socks would be produced, but you could still stitch to calm your nerves.

But since I live in a cold climate and intend to wear the socks someday, and am a good girl who does everything she's told, this technique is having the opposite effect on me. I'm freaking out that I won't get my homework done on time, thus not being prepared to learn to turn the heel, thus not completing my socks, thus making the knitting teacher snicker and insult me in front of the class as well as talk to the entire knitting community in snide undertones behind my back... until everyone on the planet just points and jeers when I walk by, and my photo will be posted on every yarn shop wall labeling me a colossal failure and the worst possible example of a slacker knitting class student known to man. They'll all see to it that I never knit in this town again...or any other!!!! something.... Sometimes my mind works in mysterious ways. Must be all of the chemicals from this:

That's right, I've crossed over the the light side. I've begun growing my hair out into a longish bob for the first time in eons. It's growing about as quickly as those damn socks! Patience has never been my strong suit! I got highlights last week and WOW! They came out more 'all over lights' and now I'm blond! Just in time for that warm spring weather I was mentioning. Now to see if I have more fun like they say. I'm hoping not! I don't know if I could take it!

Friday, March 05, 2010

The One About Sock Class, Talking Snow, and Sidewalk Bubbles

What a busy week! Seems like I’ve been on the go with one thing or another all week. Highlights include supper and a visit with friends, hanging with new folks in my building, lunch with friend Pat (lobster -YUM), a trip to the salon to get all blonded up for summer and a class at The Sow’s Ear on Tuesday night.

I took the Two-At-A-Time-Toe-Up-Socks-On-One-Ridiculously-Long-But-Not-Really-Long-Enough-As-It-Turns-Out-Needle class. There were tangles, confusion, tangles, near strangulation, tangles, tears, tangles and WTFs. A lot of WTFs. And tangles. We cast on and learned how to increase for the toe. Our assignment for next Tuesday is to have the toe and rest of the foot to the heel done. I’ve been working on it all week and have about an inch done. Sigh. It’s awkward and confusing but I’ll keep at it and see if it gets better. I guess after you’ve knit 45 giggabillion socks on double points, that’s just what your hands 'know' to do so the change in method is difficult. I’m trying to give it a fair shake but I have a nagging feeling that this isn’t going to stick.

Knit Night is tonight at The Sow’s Ear. Maybe I can pay Jen to do my homework since the Toe Up Fu is strong in her. Dale and Mary won’t be able to make it so Jen and Beth and I will have to be extra loud and obnoxious to make the Naughty Girls group what it’s truly meant to be. Hopefully Elizabeth will make it too or we may not be able to make a fetch of it.

In Bentley news, spring has sprung and a young dog’s nose turns to all of the new smells. Our walks are getting shorter in distance and longer in duration as he investigates every newly revealed blade of grass and puddle. We also have to stop if the sun is shining on the snow and it’s making ‘Rice Krispy’ sounds as it melts. He turns his head one way and then the other, staring psychotically at it. I’m not sure if he thinks there’s a mouse in there or if aliens are trying to communicate with him or what. And he WILL NOT move. If a dog that big wants to stand and communicate with Martians, there's nothing you can do about it. Just wait it out. It was amusing the first 80, 000 times it happened, but now I seriously considering making him wear ear muffs so we can just get on with it already!

Yesterday’s discovery was the bubbles that come up between some of the sidewalk cracks when there’s a lot of water under them. He pounces up and down on his front feet, howling like a banshee and snapping at them. It’s good to know that he’s turns into a Mad Dingo and will protect me against the dangerous things in life like snow whispering, bubbles, plastic shopping bars, garden gnomes, flags and the vacuum cleaner. However when strange men (Bob the maintenance guy) come into the apartment, Ben hides; a fact which is not comforting at all! Bob told me that it was a few weeks before he even knew I HAD a dog. Here does an 80# fur beast hide in a one bedroom place?

At any rate, must get packed for Knit Night, but I would love to hear from you about your preferred method of sock knitting and why you like one method over another! Enlighten me!

Monday, March 01, 2010

So THIS Is How It's Gonna Be, Eh Monday?!?

My Monday started out with a bang-literally. I dropped my blow dryer in the sink and there was a big flash of light, the loud blow drier noise disappeared and now I have a new paperweight. Some guy cut me off on the way to work and the pear that I had been lovingly rotating and ripening to perfection since Thursday, took a running start of the passenger seat and plunged into a pulp on the car floor as a result. I suspect Monday has it out for me. Unfortunately for Monday, I am feeling so much better than I did last week, I am ready to take it on! I'm strapping the seat belt around the Mineola tangerine I'm planning to bring back after lunch. Take THAT Monday.

Had an interesting conversation recently with my friend Jason who naively thinks I should go sky diving with him this summer. I'll give you a minute to picture that, stop laughing, dry your eyes and gather yourself back together again. Go ahead. I'll wait.....Y'ok? Good. Never say never and all that, but I just don't see myself jumping out of an airplane on purpose. Oh, I've imagined myself hurtling to my death, but it was was for a multitude of reason, not one of which began with my desire to do so. But I thought I'd entertain Jason and maybe become more enlightened on the subject:

ME: So how to you 'learn' to sky dive? It's not like you can REALLY practice. Jumping off a chair or something and knowing what lever to pull is fine, but there is a significant difference between that and 'practicing' a giggabazzilion stories up.

JASON: Well the first couple of times you jump tandem.

ME: Oh yeah! I've seen that. You are strapped to the back of someone who is experienced and knows what they're doing right?

JASON: Yeah, well...he's strapped to YOUR back...but yeah.

(Insert crickets chirping and me looking incredulous here.)

ME: Jason?

JASON: Yeah.

ME:Let me get this straight. I jump...(let's be honest, I will probably have to be pushed although knowing me, accidentally falling out is also not out of the question...but I digress)...from an airplane.

JASON: Yeah.

ME: I plummet hundreds of feet to the earth and by some saving-grace-miracle-the-likes-of-which-have-not-been-witnessed-since-the-birth-of-littlebabyJesus, I manage to safely land on my feet.

JASON: Yeah.

ME: And before I am even able to high five my victory over death, I am immediately squashed by a 200# man who is strapped to my back?!?!?!

Jason: Phil doesn't weigh 200#.

Oh. Problem solved I guess. But until Phil grows an actual set of wings, I won't be trying skydiving anytime soon.

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...