Thursday, January 31, 2008

Restricted exercise my patootie

I have had to take her off of the fireplace mantel more times in the last two days than I have in the last month.
Has any one else ever played "Catnip Bubbles" with their cat/kitten?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank goodness for knitting

Today I was glad to have my knitting in the car with me. I loaded up myself and my stuff for my usual Wednesday gig and headed off. The roads around my house and the highway were in pretty good shape considering the blizzard we had all afternoon and into the evening yesterday. I drove to my exit, exited as usual, though carefully as there was an icy pack snow floor on the road at that point. Of course it also had sand/salt mix on top of it. I stopped for the red light and immediately after it turned green, a van blew past me on the left as a guy in a truck was turning left across the intersection from me. Well, needless to say, the two vehicles were unable to avoid crashing into each other. I waited a little bit to make sure they were all done moving and pulled forward from my stopping point, through the intersection and over to the side of the road. Several other vehicles drove on past and I am sure they had drivers who had also witnessed said accident. It wasn't like we were the only three cars on the road at 10:30 in the morning. Anyway, I was glad to have knitting to work on while waiting to give my witness info etc. Otherwise it would have been a boring and cold twenty-five minutes, instead of just cold. I was also glad that the heater in my car works.
Thanks to all for the well wishes for Oribel. Normally the vet's office likes to keep surgery patients until between three and five, but when they called to say that everything had gone well, they said I could pick her up anytime after two if I wanted because of the impending weather forecast (but they did have appointments for the whole afternoon so it was up to me). Then at one they called and asked if it would be possible for me to come get her as they were trying to close by two. Yep, our weather went downhill fast. I will say it is a good thing I have car with all-wheel drive (the automatic version). The drifts were deep enough on the secondary road that leads from my street to the main road that I never would have made it otherwise. The main road wasn't a heck of a lot better drift-wise. The wind, blowing snow, visibility thing didn't help much either. But I got to the vet and we got home all safe and sound. Oribel was rather unsteady on her feet the rest of the day and didn't really care to have the dogs snuffling "hospital smells" on her so closely (including Simon who usually barks at her whenever he notices her within about 12-18 inches of him). She is supposed to be on restricted exercises of no running, jumping, or climbing for a week. Right. Last night she tried to jump up to the sink to get a drink of water. It didn't work out so well for her, but she tried anyway. Today she is back to jumping on her gate, the sink, and as I type this, I am noticing she has very carefully balanced her whole self on the rim of the fish bowl and is alternating between trying to get a drink and pet the fish.
Of course she (sort of) moved when I cam over, which is probably a good thing. I can't imagine that falling into a fish bowl is very good for stitches and the "do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision" thing. Do these look like the ears of someone who is going to cooperate with "restricted exercise"?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Knitting update (a day late)

So as I promised yesterday, I will give a knitting update (feel free to skip over any of the details/pictures if this sort of topic makes your eyes glaze over!).

From the last week or two I will start with a missing (to be gifted) dishcloth, another missing (in use) dishcloth,

and move onto my standard ball band dishcloth

(with a close-up just because I love these colors).


Moving on, we have face cloths for Posies and Lemon drops. (There is another one on the needles and almost finished.) Then I finished up last week with a missing (also to be gifted) scarf and headed into the weekend knitting.

Just as promised, Fetching can be done in a weekend, or less. (I started Saturday around noon.) Instead of using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, I used Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran. I used two skeins since it has less yardage (and is a slightly larger yarn). Well, and because I couldn't remember which one it called for when I was at the LYS and the proprietor didn't know what pattern I was talking about. What is up with that?
I used the same size needles but made seven rounds on the thumb as I wanted it a little longer. I wasn't sure who these were for when I started them, but part way into the first one, I knew they were for me. (However, I did use a hand model for the photo shoot.)

After finishing those up, I moved onto starting this hat on Sunday afternoon.
I am using this yarn
in Bijou Blue.

In today's mail I got this really cute bookmark from Kathleen, who had gotten my
Zippery Wonder this summer. Well, I think it awesome because it is a pig.I always wanted a pet pig....

I also worked on my Giotto socks this weekend. They have been languishing for awhile . I had realized when it came time to do the lace section I had knit too many rows down from the cuff and had set it aside to make room for finishing up The Scarf. So the sock is all fixed and back on track.

Well there you have it, most of my knitting for the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow starts really early, we have to check in at the vet at 7:30 for surgery. Someone has reached that age in life. I am sure she will have something to say about her lack of food when she realizes I am going to bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How cool is this?!

¡looɔ ooʇ sı sıɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ ʇsnɾ ı ˙ʇı uǝǝs ʇ,uǝʌɐɥ ʇɐɥʇ noʎ ɟo ǝsoɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝɹǝɥ ʇı ǝsn oʇ pǝpıɔǝp ı ʇnq 'ʎpɐǝɹlɐ sıɥʇ uǝǝs ǝʌɐɥ ʎɐɯ ǝɹǝɥʇ ʇno noʎ ɟo ǝɯos

Knitting update latter today!

Friday, January 25, 2008

We have a strange kitten

Oribel loves to be inside of stuff. She has a box in the kitchen she is in and out of on a regular basis. Upstairs she has this laundry basket. She is a seriously happy kitten when she gets to be underneath it.

If someone comes over and lifts it up to see if she wants out, she'll look at you like you're nuts. Then she'll reach up and grab you hand to have you put it back down so she is all cozy inside. She often naps in there.

She also finds stuff to play with and pulls it in there with her (not that we can always see what it is). Once "they are in" she baps them around in her little cave. She also is happy to have visible toys like pieces of paper or yarn in there too.

Of course she also loves to see if Sadie wants to play with her too. Not unlike Bag, once she has Sadie's attention. Oribel has perfected the fine art of driving a laundry basket all over the landing and taking it to the edge of the stairs when she want to get out. Of course, then it is there when she is ready to get back in.

The two of them seem pretty happy to just hang out too.

A lot kitten time can kind of wear Sadie out and make her sleepy. (Though she does kind of look like she is having a good old belly laugh!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moon Shadows

(Warning: Picture heavy post!)
The other night we had perfect conditions for the Moon shadows that I mentioned here. The moon isn't in the right position until around midnight or a bit afterwards, so Hubband actually got up to take these. The trick thing about taking pictures at night, even with a full moon? You can't really see what you are focusing on, so you have to take a picture and then adjust focus and all from that image. in addition to that issue, there is a kitten outside the room scratching the door to come in and help. She can't because you have the window open all the way (and she would jump up there and fall two stories down) and it is extra cold outside.
I really don't think there is much more to say about these, other than they are cool in the click/bigger size. Well, that and it is way better in person!








Looks like we are in for a heat wave!

(Sorry about it being so small and blurry. I am working on teaching myself new stuff on my computer and the Internet. Hubband is busy working and I don't want to bother him. That, plus I am learning about a tool that is new to Vista, so he may not have encountered it yet, and he doesn't blog. I will see if I can talk him into doing a short entry with a few pictures of Tibet before he heads off on Saturday for a work conference.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I knit a lot of dish cloths

Seriously, I knit a lot more of them than I actually mention here. I make them and then they tend to get given away, rarely with their picture taken. I make them out standard stuff like Sugar 'N Cream, inexpensive and great colors. I use a few other yarns on occasion, but that is what is readily available. I don't generally call them dish rags, that would be what they turn into after they are well used and rather tattered. Operative word would be "rag" here. Hubbband has been known to call me a "Dish cloth machine" but he likes to give them away too.)
I also knit what I suppose could be called a face or wash cloth. I differentiate that from a dish one on how soft the yarn is. Sugar 'N Cream is OK for faces, but Cottontots is super soft. It is lacking a little in the great color variety department, but softness makes up for it. I will be mixing these into my "mindless dishcloth knitting" a bit more for a outreach ministry started by Patty. She is calling it Posies and Lemon Drops. It is an ongoing quest for super-soft knitted or crocheted face cloths for a women's shelter. I am really excited to have another place to share my knitting in a way that will make a big difference in some one's life. Check out the link and please think about making a face cloth or two as well.
The other "big" thing that I keep thinking about regarding dish cloths, "Why can't I find US #6 circular bamboo needles?" I have looked at every store here in town that carries knitting needles as well as several in the Twin Cities and one in Duluth and no one has them! #6 straights in bamboo, got those; #6 metal circular, they have those. I am not looking for something that complicated, I know they are made, just no one here has a spot on their racks for them. I never dreamed I would have this much trouble finding such a common knitting needle.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Everyone is back to regular abodes

Hubband and DTE made it home safe and sound, although a bit latter than scheduled Friday night. DTE spent Saturday doing assorted things needed (packing and some cleaning) to go back to school. Sunday afternoon I drove her back up to Duluth and then drove back home this afternoon. The drive up was fine, despite the sub-zero temperatures (it had warmed up since the day before and was only single digit temperatures below zero, instead of the double-digits we have been having.) The drive back home for me was almost a heat wave, it was up to +9°! However, just before I hit the Twin Cities it turned icy and there were cars off the road in several places, and the overhead warning sign did have something about "Caution! Crash on Highway 52 Southbound." Yep, that would be the road I needed. On top of that the radio kept warning about horrible road conditions south of The Cities with some big snowstorm for SE MN. I saw more folks off the road but I made it home all in one piece just the way I prefer. I am feeling rather tired and "car-lagged," so I plan on joining the jet-lagged Hubband and read my book. Maybe I'll even have it finished in time for book group tomorrow. Probably not, but I doubt I'll be the only one, and it wouldn't be the first time.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Late breaking news

Well, according to FlightAware they are in the air and have about thirty-five minutes left in their flight. Just about the right amount of time to herd a couple of bassets and drive the long trip to the airport. So off I go......

Changes and updates

We have had a little bit of a weather forecast change as our day has gone on. This is what NOAA has for us currently
Tonight: Clear, with a low around -17. Wind chill values as low as -40. West wind between 11 and 14 mph.

Saturday: Sunny and cold, with a high near -6. Wind chill values as low as -40. West wind between 11 and 14 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around -14. Wind chill values as low as -29. West wind between 6 and 10 mph.

The weary travelers have bee up for 24+ hours due to a six hour stop on a non-stop flight out of Lhasa into Shanghai. Right now they are sitting on the tarmac in Chicago, waiting to take off for home (their plane was scheduled to land here ten minutes ago). When I last talked to them about fifty minutes ago, Hubband was figuring that DTE was going to last for about another thirty seconds, bu she was claiming she would last until take off (which was estimated at ten minutes out at that point). I would bet real money that she didn't make it the ten minutes, much less to whenever they actually do take off.

Forecasters should do a reality check

It is cold and windy here today and for the rest of the week. Mind you I am not complaining about this. In my opinion, weather is weather, there isn't anything you can do about whatever it is at the moment. Give it a little bit and it will probably be something else. Plus, I am lucky enough to have a home to be in, out of the natural elements. However, it is exceptionally cold in parts of Minnesota today. In Virginia, up on the Iron Range, this is what they are facing
Rest of Today
Mostly sunny. Highs 3 below to 8 below zero. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Wind chill readings 25 below to 35 below zero.

Partly cloudy. Scattered flurries. Lows 28 below to 33 below zero. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Wind chill readings 45 below to 55 below zero.

Mostly sunny. Highs 11 below to 16 below zero. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Wind chill readings 45 below to 55 below zero.

It isn't as cold here, but it is still something one shouldn't be out in for long
This Afternoon: Widespread blowing snow and scattered flurries. Mostly sunny and cold, with a steady temperature around 1. Wind chill values as low as -23. Blustery, with a northwest wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Tonight: Patchy blowing snow before 10pm. Mostly clear, with a low around -14. Wind chill values as low as -37. Breezy, with a west wind between 16 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Saturday: Sunny and cold, with a high near -3. Wind chill values as low as -37. West wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around -15. Wind chill values as low as -30. West wind between 7 and 9 mph.

What really caught my attention this morning though, was what I heard on the radio
High of zero with sub-zero wind chills.
Ummm, hello? Can you have a wind chill factor above zero if the air temperature is zero or below?
I just hope it isn't to windy for planes to come in from Chicago tonight.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It still fascinates her

Since she has to come watch the water fill the washer every time I do laundry;

then pet the water, because that is what running water seems to be for

(even if you have to dry your foot off afterwards),

and also check out the inside of the dryer every time it is open, do you think she could just take over doing the laundry for me?

What Oribel really wants to do


Last week our deck looked like this right outside the door. Tracks, along with all the cute little birds that left them, but they kept leaving when I tried to take their picture. Oribel spent a long time watching them through the glass and finally DTY took pity and let her out.

After spending some time under the bench and then the chair to let the birds come back, she started her slow stalking process towards the bird feeder. She is very good at taking one step and then stopping to see if the birds noticed her presence.

All of this stalking took her fifteen minutes or more. She has learned to take her time and hold her tail still.


Around this time she realized she wasn't really going to be able to jump up as high as the feeder.

This was a somewhat disappointed cat after the birds finally noticed that they were being watched from below.

From there she went back under the chair to see if a bird would come close enough to get. I decided not to find out because it drives me crazy to be inside watching the kitten shivering out in the cold. Of course as soon as we had her in the house to warm up, she was scratching the door to go back out. "Heat! We don't need no stinkin' heat!" Apparently we need to catch a bird more than to be warm. (NOT!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How I am not alone, even with everyone gone

My dear friend (and other mom since I was about seven), who still lives where I grew up, has a daughter that lives to the north of us in the Twin Cities area. My friend is visiting her daughter for a few weeks and I got to have her down here for a couple of days. So Monday I went north to pick her up. My friend had decided she wanted to make Hubband and I a quilt for our bed and Hubband said he would leave the whole thing up to me to decide on colors, pattern, etc. (Apparently he really trusts my judgement.) So after we got back home and let the dogs out and back in, we went fabric shopping and hit three quilt shops in two days. We actually went to one the first day, the other two the second, and then back to the first one after determining the second and third shops didn't have what I wanted. We had found stuff that I really liked at the first shop and after thinking it over, I liked it even more the second day. I present the fabric for our quilt.
This is part of the main feature fabric that will be used in various combinations of motifs and sizes of sections.

This is it with most of the accent fabrics laid out with it. (I realize it isn't a very good picture, but it will get bigger if you want.)

This is the backing fabric (please ignore the piece of red lint). It is hard to describe what the quilt will look like as it will be kind of a "design as it is made" deal. It will however be very cool when it is done and a lot of fun for my friend to play with as she is designing and making it. It might be a year or two until it is finished, since she has a couple of other quilts to make for some of her grandchildren as well, but we are willing to wait. She did tell me it could get done sooner if I come out to visit my dad and help her sew it together.
I took her back to her daughter's house Tuesday night, so I am officially without other humans until Friday night. Somehow between two dogs and a kitten I don't really feel alone at all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Travel day check-in

They called this morning from Lhasa, Tibet, all safe and sound. Still having a great experience and all. Pretty much that was all we covered due to roaming charges for international cell phone use. But that was the important stuff anyway.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Youngest Daughter update

DTY is winging her way back to school this afternoon. General classes aren't starting for another two weeks, but she is going early for licensure for RAM as she keeps calling it. Upon Googleing it, I am thinking it is known as RML. Seriously, it probably isn't what first came to mind for most of you. Both of her grandfathers probably had such a license, and maybe her great-uncle. By the time she is done with Spring Semester, she hopes to also have an Operator's license. It could well lead to a second work-study job; she plans to continue with her theater set construction job next year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stuff we have been known to do in stores

My daughters and I have been known to do random and weird things in stores while shopping, like play "Who can find the ugliest shoe?" (In case you haven't noticed, there are some really ugly shoes out there, more in the women's department, but for men too. BTW, I have nothing to do with Hubband's shoe purchases. Well, not since I requested he have a new pair of cowboy boots for our wedding.) It is fun and entertaining for us, but we get really weird looks from other people in the store, especially the people that work there. We also have a tendency to smell shampoo and soap and have discussions about them. Stuff like, "This shampoo definitely smells like flowers and then you would have bees around your head."
"Well, it smells like coconut all right. Ewww!"
"The cucumber and melon is alright. Do you want to smell it?"
"Hmmm, I wonder what this one smells like?" Daughter, looking at the label, "The promised land, of course!"
Guess what went home with us? And I wasn't even planning on buying soap that day.

Weekend listening

I was just listening to the soundtrack of my weekend and heard this
They closed the base down in 1946. Even though the base was closed, the streets were still there and so were the hangars. There was also over a mile and half of runway that was very, very wide. When I was in high school, we would go out there and drag race on the old runways. There was only one policeman around most of the time, and he didn't even have a car. I've driven over 115 miles per hour on that old base. And my parents are dead so they can't hear me say that, which is a good thing.

DTY and I both think that sounds seriously awesome. It could be a lot of fun. Probably smoother than the highway.

We also heard a very cool story about the sound of cancer. If you don't get this show in your area, it is available as a podcast to your computer. (Never forget, you don't need a pod to listen to podcasts.)

Pictures from the other side

Hubband was able to Skype me a few pictures from the other side of the world. (Too bad we can't travel that fast. They can in the Star Trek world, lucky people.)
These are taken at their visit to Forbidden City.
There is some interesting information at that link,if you are into reading stuff like that. (Or do it out of the habit, like reading everything in the museum.)

These are taken on their excursion to The Great Wall. (Which, despite the urban legend, can not be seen from the moon with a naked eye.)

This was also taken on that trip, click on it so you can see what it says. (Just because I decided to make all the pictures small instead of medium or large today. Saves space or some dumb thing. Seriously, all of these are worth looking at in click-make-it-big-mode.)

This is the two of them with our friends that they have been visiting there.

This is the (I was told) world's largest LED display screen and is
over 6,000 square meters (about 200 meters in length and 30 meters in width). The display at the International Trade Center in Beijing, will be one of the promotions for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Here is a You Tube link of it in action. (Hubband said he forgot to take his own video. I think he forgets that his camera has that very cool feature. I have videos, just still working on getting them into the actual viewable mode, instead of just pre-viewable to me.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

A quick update

Hubband and DTE have spent the last several days with our friends in Beijing. They got to Shanghai safely, spent one night there (instead of two) and caught the day train to Beijing. I have been told, via a Skype chat, that they have eaten great, albeit strange, food. Apparently even my picky eater DTE has been eating all sorts of stuff even when she knows what is in it. Sometimes it seems like it is better not to know what you are eating, but she needs to be a bit careful due to an anaphylatic reaction to eggplant. (Yes, she had to be really careful in Greece last summer too.) They have also been to the Great Wall, and seen other really cool stuff. Hubband might be able to send me some pictures via Skype sometime in the next ten hours before they head off on the train to Lhasa, Tibet. If he does, I will post them here for you all to see. Apparently there had been some confusion about those train tickets and they weren't absolutely sure they were going to be able to get them after all. That would have left them at loose ends for almost a week and probably cutting their trip short. But all is good, the CEO of the travel company handling the Tibet segment brought the train tickets to them last night at the restaurant where they were having dinner. So they are very happy travelers to have their trip all on track!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's that time again

It is time for me to post another questioner. (Hubband hates it when I do this. Sorry honey. At least you aren't reading it today and might get lots of some other posts to read all at the same time.) It isn't like I didn't give you all a bit of a hint after all, when I told you the seasonal "Defeat the Winter Doldrums" dish cloth exchange was coming up. So now is the time to post the information about me, knitting, dish cloths, and "stuff." Also another reminder that if you are a knitter and haven't been in one of Anne's swaps, now is the time to check it out. Remember you can't go wrong this time.
1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?
2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths?
Bamboo circulars
3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try?
Sugar'n Cream or Peaches'n Cream, and sometimes CottonTots. Not that I can think of for dishes.
4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)?
Umm, the kitchen,none. It's base colors are black and white, so everything. (As an aside, I did notice Oribel matches the chocolate brown rug better than the pink one.) Oribel's bath is a sea blue motif and our bath has fixtures of a color Hubband would rather ignore.
5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Least favorite?
Seriously, when it comes to yarn I don't dislike any of them.
6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends?
I love winter. It gets a bit old when we don't have snow. (Don't believe everything you hear about Minnesota winters. They must be talking about up north. I would swear we had more snow in any given winter the last ten years we were in Utah than we have had all together since we moved here. But up in Duluth where DTE is in school? They get snow! So much that they once spent an afternoon jumping out of the third floor dorm room windows into snow drifts. That is serious snow! Lucky girl!) I absolutely love it here when we have fresh snow and it is a clear night on a full moon. We get some breath taking shadows of our oak trees that I love!
7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps?
Reading a book, knitting, weaving, hanging out with Sadie or Oribel. (Simon is seriously Hubband's dog and really doesn't leave his side when he is home. When he is gone, Simon sulks and is sad. Yes, you can tell when a basset is sad, they look different than normal.) Cooking often works as a drug of choice too.
8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps?
Reading or knitting. Drinking a cup of tea or coffee.
9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa?
10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do?
I would absolutely love for Hubband and I to pack our girls up and take them to Rome. Show them all the cool places and things we saw.
11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of? Strong perfumes, cigarette smoke.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mystery items

This is what I did last week while DTE was playing with fire. I had a brief lesson on Judy's spinning wheel and here is the product of that, skeined up and loose so you can really see what it looks like.

Finally, the mystery item Jessi has been going crazy for weeks now with curiosity about. When I told her that my friend needed a foster home for it and Hubband said our house was the logical fostering place, she wanted to know what kind of wheel it was. I asked the owner if it had a name, and she kind of gave me a blank look and said, "Is it supposed to?" I then asked her what kind and she didn't know. So after I got it home, I told Jessi it was a Louet something. Seriously, that was the best I could answer at the time. Therefore she has been dying to see a picture of it so she could figure out what it was and give me long-distance help when I need it.
I am not sure how she is going to give me help from Alabama with what could prove to be my biggest challenge when it comes to learning how to spin. Oribel has already shown me how much she likes any yarn, and she particularly loves yarn that is moving. Fortunately I have figured out how to stop it when she decides she needs to jump up on the moving wheel to knock the drive band off, or stick her paw into the spokes. Don't be expecting any awesome spinning out of me very soon. I am thinking I could end up with a kitten with a broken leg, a smashed head, or some such similar horrible thing.
Today she has been really busy with distributing presents. She has given the dogs three coasters and the fish has been blessed with two. Apparently there was something wrong with their clean dishes having just water in them. Fortunately I didn't get any wet ones dropped on me at 6:30 this morning for a game of fetch. It has been known to happen.
Oribel also likes to be up high to be able to see, so she tends to spend a lot of time riding around on my shoulder. The other day we went up the stairs, put stuff away and then back down the stairs, got a cup of coffee, and then back upstairs, the whole time with her hanging out on my shoulders. Today she decided she needed to be just a little taller to look at a curtain rod and thought the top of my head was a good place to look from. It didn't work out so well for her, what with slippery hair and all. It was kind of funny though.
In other news, Hubband and DTE arrived in Shanghai, spent one night, and then took the train to Beijing to meet up with our friends and their hosts/guide for a few days. They called this morning (for me, but it was late tonight for them) to let me know they have passed the latest stage of their journey safely.