Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Name Things. It's What I Do.

Faithful readers may have noticed that I name things; spinning wheels, slippers, chairs, dog toys. Everything has its name and it's place. It balances My Universe. Molly Bee Names aren't crafted over time, they are most often blurted out before I can stop them. I am as surprised as anyone at what pops out-sometimes more so.

So there's this church down the road. The front lawn is a favorite of the local turkey tribe. 1 outta 3 times I drive by to get to town, there is a Tom and his bevy of beauties in the yard, doing their turkey thing-stuffing themselves on bugs I guess...stuffing themselves....get it? Anyway, this to me is an unusual phenomenon, so of course, it's inevitable that said church will eventually get its own special 'Molly Bee Name'.

It suddenly came up when someone was asking me yesterday where I live and I was trying to tell them, as I am wont to do, by landmarks rather than street names. I was confusing her more and more when I eventually mentioned the church. She perked right up and asked me its name. You know I've driven by approximately ten-thousand-bagiggatrillion times and never looked at the sign. The Jurassic-sized birds prancing around distract me quite frankly.

[A little back story before we continue... Back in The Before Times, when I was a kid, we used to go visit family in Hampstead, New Brunswick and often passed a church on the way that was built thisclose to the Trans Canada Highway. I'm not sure which was first, the church or the road, but the the church's name was 'Our Lady Of The Highway'. It always stuck me as odd and I always looked for it as a landmark on our journey down country. I had forgotten about it long ago...or so I thought...]

So I said I didn't know and she kept badgering me, "Come on! Remember! I know a lot of the area churches." Pressured and panicked, I blurted out, "Oh! You know! Our Lady of The Perpetual Turkey Herd!" Sigh. Molly Bee Naming Tourette's rears it's ugly head again. She wasn't amused at first, thinking I was poking fun at all organized religion or something, so I apologized and told her the back story and she was OK.

[Dear Lord, I wasn't making fun of You or Your Turkey Church; in fact I'm a big fan of your work , and those potential Thanksgiving guests make it my favorite church to drive by. Today I ask that you somehow reinstall the filter that keeps me from blurting out odd things in front of others. It's taking a toll on my street cred. In Your name we pray, Amen.]

And now, those foolhardy souls who have hung in this long, you will be rewarded with Actual Knitting Content (Echo Echo Echo)!!!!! I finally finished my Highlighter Mittens!
The black is Dale of Norway Baby Ull. The color is my own hand spun, variegated 3 ply, Navajo chain, Blue Faced wool. The pattern? MINE! That's right I designed 'em! Simple 2 strand pattern, after thought thumb, K2P2 rib wrist and a funky decrease top that I won't do again (next time I'll just make a wider version of a sock toe and Kitchener I think.

Anyway, done just in time since cold weather is setting in tonight. I hope the church turkeys are wearing their woolies as well!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo Essay Tuesday

I've been busy living life at 100mph lately so have been lax on the posting. I've accumulated pictures that don't really go with anything, not even each other. But it's a photo essay of my recent days so here goes.

Beautiful sunrise outside the nest.

Mr. Ben-Not a morning guy.

Ben and his new buddy Sheldon Sheep. This is their normal perch when I work from home.

Pretty yellow flowers in the prairie across the street
I like that there's a fly in this picture. His name is Waldo. Can you find him?
New Glarus Brewery

I encourage you to tour the new site if you haven't already.

The mums on my patio. I love the purpley-pink color.

Told you none of it went together!
In other news, I finished my self-designed-knit with-my-own-handspun-yarn mittens. As soon as I block them I'll post pictures. Judging by the weather forecast, I may need to wear them to Mt. Horeb Fall Fest on Saturday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Just Want My Money Back!

I just had an interesting interaction while trying to return a pair of shoes at a local big box store. (Yes, the one I abhor that rhymes with Schmallmart.) I bought them on Sunday. I tried them on in the store and they were comfy and looked pretty sharp too. All was well until I got home and put them on in the silence of the nest; step, squeak, step, squeak. Sigh. Now I have been down the 'I-Can-Break-Them-In-And-They'll-Stop-Squeaking' road many times, and I have a closet full of fully-broken-in-and-yet-still-squeaky shoes to prove it, so I knew they would have to go back from whence they came. Crap. I finally summoned up fortitude to go back today to do the deed.

I was pleasantly surprised to see no other customers in The Return Line. Usually, at this store, you have to stand for at least 30 minutes before talking to anyone. (It's kind of like the doctor's office that way, but honestly, I'd rather have (insert procedure of your choice here) done at the doctor's office rather than return anything to this particular store.) I thought that luck was with me. I'd be in and out and could get on with my life. Yeah. I'm delusional like that. Hope springs eternal. Kick the football again Charlie Brown.

I took the shoebox out of the bag and put it on the counter and put the receipt on top of it. Skippy, who was all of 8 years old looked at it and asked me what he could do for me. He even smiled. I was on top of the world. This was it! The moment I'd been waiting for! I was going to have my first ever good experience at this store! But then it went a little something like this:

Me: I'd like to return these shoes please.
Skippy (offended tone of voice): What's wrong with them?
Me: They squeak.
Skippy: (picks up a shoe with two fingers looking suspicious and incredulous all at the same time) They squeak?!?!?
Me: Yes, they squeak.
Skippy: Well, didn't you try them on in the store?

(Mom? Is that you?)

Me: Uh, yeah. But it must have been loud in here. I didn't hear the squeaking 'til I got home.
Skippy: (conceding a little) Well, sometimes it IS loud in here.

(Skippy silently eyes me and the shoes for 30 full seconds without any action.)

Me: ...Soooooooooooo I'd like to return them.
Skippy: You can't wear them if they squeak a little?

(Now he's done it. I'm getting a little annoyed. It's open season.)

Me: Um, no. Actually they squeak a lot and in my line of work I really need to sneak up on people.
Skippy: (predictably) What's your line of work?
Me: (eyeing him menacingly) I could tell you but I'd then I'd have to sneak up on YOU.
Skippy: Oh. (crickets chirping..........)
Skippy: So which shoe squeaks?

(Does it matter!?!?!?! You can actually see the little gerbil wheel in his head turning, trying to figure out a way that I can continue to sneak up on people while wearing these lousy shoes!!!)

Me: Only the right one. You can probably still sell the left one.
Skippy: Oh. Yeah....(crickets chirping again...) Well, probably not....
Skippy: Do you want to try another pair?
Me: No, those were the only size 6 ones back there.
Skippy: Did we have any 6 and a halfs?

(Oh. My. God. What is the deal! )

ME: Does it matter? I wear a size 6.
Skippy: Yeahbut...sometimes my Mom......
Me: (cutting in) Look. I just want to return them. I don't want them. They squeak. I don't want to try another size. I don't want to try another color. I would not like them in a house. I would not like them with a mouse. I. just. want. my. money. back!
Skippy: OK ... (and then under his breath) Jeez!

It took 10 full minutes of fumbling with the shoes and the computer, all the while shooting me sulky looks, before the transaction was complete so I didn't have time to go to another store and buy sneaky shoes. I'm going to need them for my next visit to Skippy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A-maze-ingly Corny Afternoon

I was invited to participate in a Team Building event for work last week. We went to Shuster's Fun Time Farm in Deerfield to try our luck in the Corn Maze. It was a blast! A swanky limo showed up to ferry us to the farm. You can't see it here, but there was even a little sink in the thing!

When we got there we had an opening ice breaker exercise and snacks in the round barn. What a beautiful building with the silo in the middle!
You can see a bit of the outside of it in the background of this picture where one of our colleagues from Italy is taking a little rest in a very big chair!

We participated in a wide variety of competitive activities. Like Pig Racing...
And goose racing....

And the corn maze....
which was a little bit terrifying to be honest. This was taken from the top of a bridge above the maze....a vertically challenged person's nightmare....nothing but a sea of corn. AND the fact that we RAN it. I'z built for comfort, not for speed, I iz!
After the maze, the owners pulled out the big guns. This one was my favorite. It's a corn cob gun. A half a corn cob is shoved down the tube with a long stick and then you press the button and compressed air shoots it out. It was very Wyle Coyote-esque. I've ordered a Build Your Own Corn Gun kit from the ACME folks. I turned out to be a pretty good shot!

Oh, but I said they pulled out the BIG guns didn't I? Well how's this? The bad boy on the back of that truck shoots small pumpkins. I don't know the exact distance they go, but I think we should have gotten permission from the tower at Dane County Regional to launch and there is a very good chance that although we shot it last Tuesday, it still hasn't landed. It was AWESOME!

By the way, the guy in that picture was our limo driver. When he picked us up he has on a bright,white,business shirt and tie and looked like a Secret Service agent. After we INSISTED he participate in ALL of the events with us he looked a little Running the corn maze is dirty work. I think his shirt and tie may still be in there somewhere. It would've been fun to see how he envisioned his day going when he got dressed that morning.

It was a total blast and the farm has a lot more to offer than what I've shown. It's open all fall so check it out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In The Presence of True Greatness

I've long suspected that a Superhero may live in my building. I've never actually met him, but occasionally, when turning a corner, I swear I hear the faint swish of a cape in the hallway. There's a huge crack in the parking garage wall quite possibly hides a lair of some kind. And sometimes I catch what can only be the blur of an incredibly fast individual out of the very corner of my eye. I've always wondered who it could be and I was finally able to prove my suspicion and identify our hero at the same time this weekend.

Faster than a roaring Vespa...

Able to park by tall buildings in a single space....

It's a Bee? It's a Bat? No!
It's BumbleBat Man!

Apparently he forgot to engage the Invisibility Shield on the old BumbleBat mobile thus enabling evidence to be captured on film. He soon discovered his mistake because I haven't seen it since.
But I know you're here BumbleBat Man....and I sleep just a little better at night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Loot To Boot!

Had a wonderful time with Miss Mary at the Sheep and Wool Fest yesterday. I marveled at her willpower when it came to keeping the purse strings tied up tight. I did pester her into buying some roving and borrowing my drop spindle in an effort to entice her over to the dark side when it comes to spinning. She fell for it hook, line and sinker, and bet she will be a formidable opponent at next year's buying spree!

I had zero willpower. I was reasonable however and didn't go hog wild....sheep wild? Anyway, here is my loot:

Kauni Yarn with ridiculously long repeats and more colors inside than you expected. I have a hard time finding this locally although I hear the Sow's Ear may be getting some in this fall!

Kindred Threads-merino, alpaca and little shiny bits batt

Coopsworth (which I've never spun before ) roving in 'Jelly Bean' colorway.

Frabjous Fibers Hand Dyed Silky Cashmero roving. It says it's 70% superfine merino, 15% cashmere and 15% mulberry silk. It feels like it's actually derived from unborn baby panda pelts it's so soft. However I didn't buy it for the touch. I bought it because I saw it across a crowded room and thought, "That's just the color of fiddleheads!" Green's not my color, but I had to go look. My little Yankee heart fluttered when I saw the name of the colorway, 'FIDDLEHEADS'. I may be the only spinner on the planet who buys roving because of it's named after my favorite vegetable!

You can't tell because the sun it on it, but this bit of lusciousness is coal black alpaca. 8 ounces worth to be exact. Can't decide if I want to spin it or just lay it out on the living room floor and roll in it!

Oh and I got another bobbin for Mabel seein's how she's been all up in my bid'ness about it. She works hard and rarely complains so I thought I'd buy her something pretty. So, not a bad haul eh? Best be goin' for now. I've got me some fiddlehead to spin!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Day Finally Came!!!

As you know, I've been chompin' at the bit to get to Sheep and Wool this year. I woke up this morning and it was POURING rain-harder than cats and dogs....more like rhinos and wildebeests. The first think I though was, "Great! If this keeps up, the sheep will be the size of chiuauas by the time I get there!" But by the time Miss Mary got to my nest and we hit the open road, it had let up to a drizzle, then a mist, and as we were pulling into Jefferson, it was just gloomy. By then the damage had been done though. Yesterday this sheep won a prize for being the largest sheep in all the land....and today..shrunken to a shadow of his former self.

It was only gloomy outside lemme tell ya. The shop barns were positively vibrating with happy shoppers and color! Color!! COLOR!!!

Multicolored Roving

Solid colored roving
Cones of yarn and more solid roving...

And ummm...some cute kid that I made pose in a dorky felted hat...You can't really tell, but it has these ridiculous, little, white, squigglet thingies on the top. But I think he rocked it don't you?

We shopped one barn and then went to lunch. Miss Mary had the lamb sandwich she was after. I tried not to slap Mary for eating poor defenseless baby sheep. I had the Fully-Grown-And-Therefore-Able-To-Defend-Himself-If-He-Really-Wanted-To Pork Loin sandwich which was marvelous. (Those of you out there who know how the slaughter process works, please don't leave me comments. Just let me live in my own little world where eating baby lambies and cowies is wrong and where fully grown animals throw themselves in front of the ax willingly for our nutritional needs! Thanks!)

After lunch, we shopped the other barn. I got a roadkill sheep toy for Ben (Sheldon Cooper Sheep) at the Border Collie booth and visited the lady who painted the sock blank I just finished. She told me that folks had been looking at the blanks and saying that they had seen the pics of the socks I finished on my blog. Once again, I had forgotten that other folks read this rambling other than Mum!

After Shopping-Round-Two, we went to watch the sheep shearing demonstration or as I like to call it...The "There Was A Sheep? I Didn't See Any Sheep!" Demonstration. This guy picks up the sheep and walks it on its hind legs from the holding pen to where the cutter is.
I know these pics make it look kind of brutal, but the sheep go with him willingly and just lay there while he manipulates them every which way to get the quickest, most efficient, cut.
I mean, just LOOK at those bulging muscles. I'd lay there too wouldn't you? :Blush: My! Is it getting warm in here.....?

Yup. There is no such thing as a bad angle with this guy!

It was Miss Mary's first time at The "There Was A Sheep? I Didn't See Any Sheep!" Demonstration and it was fun to watch her reaction. I think I had to tell her to breath more than once and she may have drooled a little!
We made it home in fine fettle. Tomorrow I'll share the treasures I found while shopping; bobbins and roving and yarn-Oh My! But it's time to rest now. I'm going to count sheep (shearers) as I drift off tonight!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wind In The Willows

I have been remiss on blogging lately. It's been a pretty busy time with not a whole lot of blog-worthy stuff happening. Plus, in my old age, I post updates on Facebook and misremember it as making a blog entry. Sheesh.

I have a large three-month project coming up at work that most likely will eat up a lot of my free time so I have been making the rounds with friends now-hoarding up on fun; Farmer's Market, suppers, brunches, Knit Nights, Game nights etc. I'm truly blessed to have such a supportive family of friends near and far!

Ben has been his normal Bentley self. Up to his old antics. The neighbors must think I have a paranoia disorder because when I take him outside, I hook his leash on and then look down and left, down and right, a little further out and left, a little further out and right; scoping out the whole area through the sliding glass door before we exit. You see, Ben has a toad licking problem, that with little provocation often leads to a toad eating problem if not closely monitored. Mr. Toad, who has been in and around my patio all summer, looks like a mighty tasty tidbit as far as he's concerned. Since I made a pact with Mr. Toad that he would eat bugs and I wouldn't let HIM get eaten, I have to be extra vigilant. Especially with the mosquitoes being so bad this year and all.

One night last week, we were going outside before supper. I hooked up Ben's leash, did my checking over of the patio, determined the general area was toad free and out we went. I turned to close the door and then turned back around 6 nanoseconds later only to see Ben mulling something over in his mouth. In one swell foop, I yelled,"No! What have you got! Drop it!" and administered a Three Stooges-esque slap to the back of his head. Now normally he doesn't drop anything. Ever. But apparently he was so startled, he didn't ask any questions, he just spit the hors d'Ĺ“uvre out pronto.


It wasn't big enough to be Mr. Toad. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a pretty good-sized mole. Yes, I apparently have the entire cast of 'Wind In The Willows' living on my patio. I got to him quick enough though; he was still alive. Ben hadn't chomped him yet, just sucked on him a little...well a lot actually. The little fella was sitting there stunned, wiping the ectoplasmic dog drool off his face with a 'WTF-Just-Happened 'look on his face and then he took off as fast as his slime-laden body could go. I guess life is just one big buffet to Ben. Wonder what the neighbors think now that I have to make a thorough Secret-Service-Agent type sweep of the entire perimeter before we go out.

In other news I have been knitting a mitten pattern that I am designing as I go. For those of you who know me, this is HUGE! Despite my penchant for NEVER following a food recipe exactly, knitting patterns are a different story. I NEVER 'wing it'. So to just go 'sans pattern' is...WOW! Also a first... I am using the Highlight yarn that I spun with my own fair hand!
Usually I spin up fiber and then either give it as a gift or keep a few of my 'preciouses' in a box to fondle now and then and then put back. The whole project is way out of my comfort zone but I'm groovin' on it. Here are some crappy pictures of my progress so far (mostly for Mum who wanted to see what I've been talking about). Better pics coming when I finish the project.

Mitten without black top or black afterthought thumb.

Detailing of pattern and color

Off for now-laundry to do! Mount 'Wash'ington won't take care of itself. Tune in this weekend for Jefferson Sheep and Wool Festival pics!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Blankety Blank Blank Socks!

I was going to go to The Sow's Ear tonight for iced tea and knitting, but since I am still a little draggy from my recent migraine/gastric misadventures (TMI?), I bagged the idea in favor of a long bubble bath and a good book. But before I settle in, I wanted to post these pictures of my Sock Blank Socks. Everyone is probably getting tired of seeing them, but I wanted to get the picture out there because they may be the only way my Mum ever gets to see how the sock blank I got her knits up. (Snicker: This is me being bratty and picking on her for not knitting more! It's so easy at 1500 miles away and out of 'swingin' range'! Heh heh heh!) So here they are along side the bit of blank that I had left over. The legs are 7 inches long and the feet are only 9" long so there is plenty in a blank for larger sizes.

These are totally out of my color comfort zone. I prefer the blue-teal-purple-aqua side of the color wheel. Those of you who know me personally have probably heard of me refer to my favorite color as 'melted peacock'. Well, melted peacock this ain't, but I really like 'em. And I like the way that even though there are funky color changes and no discernable patterning, the socks still match because the blank is double knit. This is the rest if the blank. Enough for a child's pair or a couple of baby pairs at least.

So to to recap:
  • Feeling draggy (but better than yesterday) so staying in.
  • I highly recommend blanks from the Fiber Art Cafe.
  • Plenty of yarn for all sizes of socks.
  • Great colors.
  • My socks are done.
  • Mum's aren't (snicker).