Saturday, November 29, 2008

What is a good gift?

Chan is having a contest, and I decided to put up a post with my thoughts. (Not that winning the contest itself is important to me, I just like the idea of making life easier for someone else.) I am going to skip the shelter part, not that I won't give a bed to a shelter soon ('cause I have one in the garage that Oribel never uses, so was planning on taking over to the rescue place we got her from), but because the deadline is tonight! So I am just going to go with the “meaningful little gift” part.
Let’s define simple, little gift. It should be less than $30 (WAY less is even better!), and it should be something your average Knight or Page could find in town or without too much trouble online. No knitting/yarn related ideas please, because most dudes just won’t bother, and we’re good at picking knitting goodies out for each other.

One of my absolute favorite things to drink (after my two cups of coffee for the day) is Republic of Tea's Earl Greyer, both caffeinated and decaf (black only, no green greyer). I go through a tin of fifty tea bags of the regular in about three weeks, and the same amount of decaf in about four or five weeks. So when I have my act together (not often) I order the refill option ahead so that I have them and don't end up with a bunch of tea canisters. When I don't have my act together, I go to World Market and pick up a tin, or settle for a different brand at the grocery (but RoT Greyer is my favorite). Not that I am opposed to going to World Market, it is a great store and all, but I just end up with more tins to figure out what to do with. (I don't think the animal shelter needs empty tea tins.) So, tea bags would be a good present..... Speaking of World Market, all of us manage to find stocking stuffers for each other there. Awesome store, I feel sorry for my mom because she doesn't have one in her town (and anyone else who is missing out). Music is always good, of course that sort of means knowing what I like. For the most part, I think my family knows what I like, but then there would be the problem of remembering what I have.... Well, if they live in my house, they can look, or pick out something totally new. They are good about that too! I could say the same goes for books, but they do know all about libraries (I am not sure there is any way to come even close to adding up the number of hours/days/weeks/months my children have spent in libraries. Just suffice it to say we have more than gotten our tax dollars worth every year.) Otherwise, having given it some thought, I have been able to come up with just a couple of other things. A meal or several that I don't have to cook; clean dishes (or several) that I don't have to wash; hanging out together, playing Liverpool/Royal Rummy; listening and laughing to the radio together; enjoying a movie together; in general, time enjoying each other's company.

Most of all though, I think that it is really great to get a card from someone, saying that a donation has been made in my name, either to the giver's local food pantry or to mine; or a donation of time to the same. Seriously, we are blessed with not only what we need, but what we want. We are able to not have to worry about shelter for ourselves, or our pets, not everyone is so lucky. I am really happy when others are cared for in my “honor.” We really don't need anything else.

(Black) Friday

Our day-after-Thanksgiving started out without much fanfare. There was a little bit of yarn purchased, with some encouragement from Hubband. (Something about the money I had earned being an poll worker.) There was general hanging out, relaxing, and stuff (well, I think Hubband may have been catching up on some work). Of course there was some of the *let the dog(s) out, let the dog(s) in* stuff, as well as rescuing small stuffed animals that Oribel had stolen from DTE's room and left about the stairs, hall, etc. Fortunately none of them landed in the dogs' water dish.

I also did a bit of research on Friday to be able to answer a question DTE had for me. For some reason she was wondering what I might like for my birthday and/or Christmas. I told her that I had read about a new spiral kneeding hook KitchenAid had come out with. I thought it would be helpful to her if I did a bit of research to figure out where she could find one, and in the process figured out that it wouldn't work on my model. Oh well, it was an idea. (I did wind up ordering a new bowl for my food processor though. It is about time; it has been cracked for over a year. It isn't very useful when any and all liquids leak out as soon as they are put in, and flour, etc. flies out the crack whenever it was turned on.)
For the most part it was looking like it was going to continue to be a laid-back, easy day, not needing to go anywhere if we didn't want to (well, except to get milk, but most of the time I get that at the gas station). All of those illusions came to a screeching halt when DTE came down to the kitchen to tell me what my “evil cat” had done. It would seem that Oribel had been hanging out mostly behaving herself, when she was struck with an urge to do one of her favorite things. (Of which she has several, as you may have noticed by now.) She decided that she hadn't done anything exciting with her teeth for awhile and needed to bite something. It just so happened that the “something” was DTE's computer power cord! Fortunately she bit the side that goes from the converter to the computer (vs. the side that goes from the wall-outlet to the converter) as she had bitten through enough to break at least one wire, causing a short! DTE and Hubband did a bit of work on it and have come to the conclusion that it cannot be fixed and is definitely toast. Well, better it than Oribel, but DTE still isn't too happy about it! Neither am I, as I can't really send the girl back to school tomorrow without a power cord to her computer. Fortunately one of the “extra” ones Hubband has here will work and we will be able to acquire another one for him. Have I ever mentioned that Oribel is a bit of a trouble maker?
The rest of the day was rather uneventful, after DTE and I got home from the milk run, we made three pans of Lasagna, one for dinner and two for the freezer, for her to take back to school. Food for crunch/finials week so that she doesn't have to spend time cooking.
So there you have it, somewhat of a rundown of our “Black Friday.” (With no thanks to the cat!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving day

started with frost on the grass (and most everything else). There was putting dogs out and in (and *out and in,* repeat between *'s as needed throughout the day), feeding of dogs and a cat, making pumpkin pie, washing of dishes, and reading up on some HTML code, and stuff. Well, that was how my day went any how. Hubband did work things; DTE slept, relaxed, and stuff. (Isn't "stuff" a great, all inclusive word?)
In the early afternoon we all bundled up to set out on the annual Thanksgiving expedition with the dogs. Normally we would have loaded up in the truck with the dogs in the back, but since it still has a bunch of wood in it, they had to ride in the back of my car. Sadie loves riding in the truck as it normally means she gets to "sit on the furniture," but three adults and two dogs in the cab of a small sized pick-up just wasn't going to work. Simon doesn't mind the back of my car too much, but Sadie isn't usually impressed with not being able to leave dog hair all over the seat.
She did manage to survive the ordeal, especially with the excitement of the proposed outing.

After we arrived at our destination and got leashes attached appropriately to all involved parties, we set out on our way.

(Of course we followed the directions on the sign; it is not a good idea to let a basset roam free, and never two or more together!)

We saw a lot of things while we were wandering the trail, starting with some berries,
which look much better close up.

There were more signs to pay attention to,


harvested fields,

as well as ones "in process."

We never did see the field being harvested, but we could hear it happening, along with the jingle of the bouncing dog.
We also saw fallen logs and moss,
remanents of Halloween,
frozen creeks,
the last vestiges of a light snowfall and other trail users,
and tree mushrooms. (I am always amazed with these; I don't remember ever seeing them before we moved here. They seem to be all over the place, we even have one growing on a table on our patio.)
We also saw seed pods,
and more seed pods.
Of course there were all kinds of good things to smell on our adventure,
as well as a some of waiting for the rest of the pack to catch up. A great time was had by all, and then we headed home, with a couple of exhausted dogs!

After we got home I put the chicken on to brine, prepped items for cooking, and then put the garlic-rosemary chicken on to roast. Of course when everythig was done, we enjoyed our meal, but most of all we enjoyed each other's company! All in all, we had a low key Thanksgiving, but sometimes those are the best.
(I will give you an update later tonight or tomorrow about how today went. It is a bit of a different story with other characters involved.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yesterday's visit to the vet went,

well, OK. The actual vet visit and the drive that is. The getting Oribel into her carrier part, not so well. It took ten minutes and a fair amount of flying fur to finally get her into it. (For as much as she likes her kitty treats, they are not to be eaten in a carrier it would seem. Nor is there to be any tricking her.) Next time I might just use Sadie's puppy carrier. Oribel made a little bit of noise at me once I had her in and the door closed, but she was very quite on the drive to the vet. (Not that she is a very talkative cat to start with, but I once had a cat that only made noise in the car or when the electric typewriter was turned on. Other than that, he never talked at all.)
Of course, once she was at the vet and the door to the carrier was opened, she wasn't in any rush to get out.


Once they removed her from the carrier to torment her with scales, clippers, and a blood draw, she tried to make herself small and flat. (I am not sure if the fur she kept leaking during the whole experience was supposed to help make her smaller or something else. This is just a small sampling of what she left on the table. It doesn't include any of the stuff at home, in her carrier, all over me or any of the personnel that got to hold her. I am surprised she has much left, for all that was everywhere else.)


Then she thought about seeing if she could climb part of the exam table to escape all the mistreatment. (For some funny reason that didn't work out very well.)


All in all, she got a clean bill of health, with comments about how tiny she is (a whopping 6.4 pounds), how long and sharp her claws were before their clipping, how beautiful and white her teeth are (no comments on how sharp, because it would seem that she keeps then to herself when away from home). The vet also commented on how beautiful, soft, and thick her fur is (well, it was thicker before we came, I am sure), and she also mentioned how long and amazing her whisker are.
Of course, everyone that saw her, from the check-in folks, the guy that took her picture for her file, the technicians, to the vet, all commented on how absolutely beautiful she is. Yes, she is, when she doesn't have her teeth sunk into your ankle or arm.

Then it was time to put her back into her carrier, which she didn't think was any better of an idea with the vet doing it in an exam room than me doing it at home. (Fortunately, I didn't have to stuff her in there to go home.)
Once she was in there and we were waiting for the results of one last test, she decided to let me know what she thought of this whole process.


But then she must have decided it wasn't such a good idea to not be able to see what I was up to, so she turned back around and went to the back of her carrier, out of my reach.

Apparently all was forgiven when we got home, as she was willing to take a few kitty treats from me and get her ears and chin scratched. (Sadie did find an uneaten kitty treat in the carrier when she came in the house. I guess I was informed of the proper and improper ways to dispense treats.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

People often want to know, "Does he travel a lot?"

It depends on what one means by "a lot." It has been known to come and go like waves. (Or something, maybe not waves. I guess I haven't spent enough time at a beach to say for sure.) Basically he has always had to travel some since, well, since I've known him it would seem, but at least always since we have been married. It used to be more than it is right now, and it may pick up again in the future. We never really know.
However, all that said, a while back it looked like Hubband was going to be going to Geneva, and then not, but maybe to Palo Alto instead. Now it looks like he won't be going anywhere for a while. This means he will be home for the annual Singed Cat celebration after all! (Yes, there have been years that he has had to be gone for it, or other family members' celebrations. It really is OK when it happens, and we are all OK with it.)

A movie that I might consider going to at midnight.

The movie Coraline comes out in February of 2009. I am really looking forward to this one and have no real worries about how it may or may not have been changed from the book. Neil Gaiman is the author and he was heavily involved in the making of the movie, just as he has been with all of his book/movie conversions. On his journal Neil gave all these passwords for the official movie site. Seriously worth checking out (especially if you like looking at really tiny knitting projects used as part of the costumes).

stopmotion : the Biggest Smallest movie ever made.

buttoneyes : Meet the cast...

moustachio : Bo Henry, art director of Coraline, shows off his remarkable moustache tricks.

armpithair : Every hair in the film was placed there by hand...

puppetlove : Director Henry Selick explains what it must be like for the puppets in the film.

sweaterxxs : Micro-knitting. That's right: micro-knitting.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My weekend plans

are about to start. Well, I guess they started this morning around 7:30 when Hubband kissed me good-bye for the weekend. He is off to Boston for a seminar/conference and will be home on the last plane from Chicago on Sunday night. Well, given that AA and the weather co-operates; so far it looks good on the weather front.
Anyway, the rest of my weekend will be starting with making four pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving Dinner at church tomorrow night, calling the vet to schedule Miss Oribel's annual check-up/one-year-old shots/claw trim, packing up a few things in some boxes, stopping by the post office, and then helping decorate the parish hall for said dinner. Then it is out to dinner with at least one of my co-committee members as her husband is in El Salvador for the week on a medical mission trip (there may be other that join us).
Tomorrow I will be up early to roast my turkey (fortunately I am only responsible for one of the five to be served), then it will be back to church to make the rest of dinner and finish getting ready for every one's arrival at six. After the clean-up is all done it will be home to collapse after tending to the dogs.
Sunday I will be up early (again) to be back at church to project at the first service. (I do get to knit during Adult Ed though! Yeah that!) After that I have an errand to run and home again. Then I will get to curl up on the couch, knit and listen to my favorite Sunday afternoon NPR program, moving only when absolutely needed.
I would consider going to see a movie this weekend, but I just can't see having the time (or the energy when the time rolls around). Besides, I am not sure I want to see it by myself. Maybe next weekend I could sweet talk bribe DTE into going with me (food she doesn't have to cook for herself may wind up going a long way). She hasn't read the book yet, as far as I know, but maybe she'll want to over her winter break. (Which would be kind of cool as then we could talk about it and the pros/cons of the movie together.)
Well, I had best be off to bake.....
What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She didn't suffer from the misunderstanding,

and I didn't get any pictures of her getting treats today, but I promise you, Oribel got several, more than once. Have I ever mentioned that she really, really likes her kitty treats?
I did get some videos of her playing with the cherry tomato bag she pulled out from under the dishwasher where she had put it for safe keeping from the dogs. I will share those with you as long as you promise to ignore the floor in front of the sink where I haven't completely cleaned up from a run-in I had with some coffee. (Don't ask, as that would show you weren't ignoring it.)

Can you tell she was having fun?

If you look closely you will see that she was stepping on it towards the end. Right after that she headed past me and up the stairs with her prize. From there it got a workout, but I think it got the better of her more than once, since both of them ended up tumbleing down the stairs together several times.

I have a confession to make

I found my missing sleeve. Oribel was in no way responsible for its missing status. As soon as I found it in my purse, I remembered that I took it to the fabric store to find matching thread. So, I just wanted to let everyone know that it isn't always the cat's fault.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good to know

Yesterday after church I was having a wonderful conversation with a couple that are long-time members of our congregation. Until recently they had always sat rather close to the front, often filling a whole pew or more when all their children and grands are here. Mrs. K. mentioned to me that since they moved toward the back, sometimes they have trouble hearing the people making announcements and such. I asked, "Did you have trouble hearing me read this morning?"
"Oh! No! We never have trouble hearing you! You project!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jacket update

Well, welcome to "One of several reasons why I haven't sewn lately," and this is before machine had been moved to the more convenient location than its normal corner. Except this doesn't include the help I got from the dogs.



Once I had the machine going, she was helping me by trying to catch the moving fabric, whapping the moving thread-take-up thingy, and then she decided it would be most helpful to just steal the spool of thread and run off with it while I was sewing along. I don't have a separate room to sew in, though I could lock her up in her (bath)room. Of course, then I would just have to listen to her banging the door and Sadie whining about how much her cat was suffering.
In addition to all this help, I defiantly don't have enough of my fabric, so will need to start over with the cutting. It may be just as well. One of my sleeves seems to have gone missing overnight. Who knows when it will turn back up. No, it isn't in the dog's water dish (one of the first places I looked).
Maybe some of those things will just be stuck in my head for a bit longer. Or maybe I will pawn her off on some other family member whenever one is home. Poor person.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today I started a sewing project.

Sewing is something I used to do a lot, but now it is a bit sporadic. That little fact is a bit unfortunate as there are a lot of things inside my head, just waiting to get out at the sewing machine. There is a varity of reasons why I don't sew as much as I used to and would like to, but I digrese. Today I started a jacket that I am supposed to have ready for the "How to Finish Step" class on Monday. Now I am not sure I have enough of the fabric to finish. This is not really a good thing, I can't run off and buy more. I am using fabric that I dyed years ago.
By the way, a cat and a rotory cutter are not a good mix.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This morning at our house

1. Wake up to cat poking me to move over so she can curl up and sleep on the bed. I have no idea what was wrong with the completely empty other side of the bed. Oh, right. She's a cat.
2. Go downstairs to get a cup of coffee, carefully stepping over the cat on the top stair while holding onto the railing. Carefully watching the cat the whole time to make sure I know where she is to keep from being thrown down the stairs unexpectedly.
3. Go upstairs with cup of coffee, watching carefully for cat to appear out of nowhere to attach me and/or my ankle on the stairs.
4. Look in shower for a cat, coasters, and other cat toys.
5. Put drain screen back where it belongs in the shower after it has been used as a cat toy.
6. Turn on water for shower so it can heat up.
7. Recheck shower for cat and coasters.
8. Take shower and notice an orange blob watching me through the shower door. Be glad I have doors on the shower instead of a curtain like the other shower. (People using that shower often have a cat in between the two layers of curtains, "helping," if they forget to remove the cat from the room when checking the shower for the cat.)
9. Climb out of the shower, very carefully stepping over the orange blob on the bath mat. Remember to hold onto something and watch blob for movement while stepping over it.
10. Open contact container while keeping orange blob away.
11. Put in contacts and the orange blob turns into a cat. Keep cat from drinking contact solution in container before I can dump it out.
12. Go downstairs for another cup of coffee, watching the open linen close door for something to jump out at me.
13. Tell the cat that she can't go outside this morning as I need to leave in an hour and I am sure she won't be back by then, no matter how wet and cold it looks to me.

So, how did you start your day?
Can you guess what today is?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Well, here it is,

a new basic phone. Well, as basic as they come these days. Is a camera in a phone really all that basic? I don't need my phone to take pictures; I have a pretty dandy camera for that job. I don't need it to play games to entertain me; I have books, knitting, pets, and family to do that job. I need it to make and receive phone calls, and take the occasional message; isn't that a phone's job after all? Oh well, it all worked out, and the people were very nice, helpful, and didn't try to sell me anything more than I wanted/needed. Gotta love that!
It doesn't have the pesky external antenna to break off when it gets dropped, and I think its internal antenna is stronger than the ones on my previous phones; it actually rang inside the house tonight! That is pretty much unheard of for any of our phones unless one of the girl-almost-not-children have their phone very close to a window. Our house is covered in steal steel siding and for some funny reason that seems to interfere with the signal. Thus, the reason why my phone lives in my car. Well, that and I have a perfectly good "in the house phone" and I consider the cell phone job involves "not in the house." Like car trips to The Cities to see friends; or in the case Hubband or children, to be able to call home when out of town.

Just another day

As I am sure you know by now, Miss Oribel loves to dash into the Great Outdoors any chance she gets. I decided to let her out this morning, but there was no dashing involved. In fact, she had to think about the whole idea for a little bit and look around before venturing out at all.

Once she did finally go out, she stuck to the areas under the eves and bench.

After awhile, she did wander across the deck, but there was a fair amount of leg shaking involved.


Sadie, being the most excellent babysitter/worrier she is, was quite concerned about Oribel being out there too long. She kept going out in efforts of convincing Oribel that she should come in out of the cold, but of course she paid no attention to a silly dog. Then Sadie would get cold and come in, and I would have to listen to her whine and tell me all about the fact that the cat was outside, unattended, and all. I was getting to the point that I wanted Oribel to come in just so Sadie would shut-up be quiet! I am not sure if either one of them would have even gone out if we had had as much snow as they did to the west of us. Sadie may have had more fun though. She could have made tunnels/paths for Oribel! (Not that I would have considered even opening the door for them if the wind was still at gale-force!)

Last weekend Hubband and I went to some friends to get some firewood for the patio. I asked him if he just wanted to leave it in there on a "as needed basis" so that he would have some weight in the truck this winter and it would stay nice and dry. Of course, that would kind of defeat part of the purpose for owning a truck. (Last year we never managed to even get the snow tires on the truck, so were a one-car couple for a fair potion of the winter. It worked then, but won't so much this year.) I guess finding a better spot for this is the next step.

My plans for tomorrow involve going to The Twin Cities to see my friend J from Idaho Falls who is there taking care of grandchildren. She told me the other day that she loves her blue socks and was beginning to worry about wearing them out. I assured her that there was no need to worry, as there can always be more where those came from.
Since tomorrow involves a long drive and iffy weather, today involves going to the local mall to discuss my cell phone with the nice people again. When I decided it was time for our family to have a cell phone plan about six years ago (it involved new teenage drivers, old vans, country/winter roads; aka peace of mind for the mom), we got two brand-new phones to start with. One for me and one for the new driver. Hubband was sceptical at first, but decided within six months or less that life would be easier if he had one too. (Yes, he used to travel without one at all and yes, we are all glad that changed!) Then we got DTY her own when she started driving. Over the years everyone else in the family has had new phones for various reasons, and I have mostly stuck with my original one. At some point I switched to DTE's original phone (which was just like mine and being unused) since mine had been dropped in a parking lot one too many times (thank goodness for transferable SIM cards!). Then I switched to another hand-me-down phone when that one got dropped too many times, which lead to having a flip phone which was a "step-up" as far as my pockets were concerned!
Well, it seems that it may finally be time for me to get my very own brand new phone after all these years. This one has stopped getting a signal at all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oribel has an obsession.

Well, she really has several, but for today, we are focusing on just one. Oribel loves her kitty treats. When she was a wee small thing, she would come running for them, jump up on her step-stool, and wait for them. Of course the dogs wanted to get in on the act, and since they always have to sit for most anything to happen in their lives, they would park themselves on the floor next to her stool, waiting their turn. Somehow, Oribel decided that sitting was an important part of getting treats, and started parking her behind on command along with the dogs. (Sorry, as many times as we have tried over the months, it is really hard to fit/catch all three of them doing it together.) Her treats also come in handy for getting her to come most of the time when I want her to; kitty treats make a very distinctive noise when shaken in a glass jar that gets Someone's attention almost every time.
Oribel also knows exactly where her treats are kept in the pantry, and is more than willing to run over and show us, just in case we forgot. (Right, like we are going to forget where the one thing that might be able to control her is kept?)

Apparently the other day while I was out, Oribel decided she wasn't going to put up with Hubband not giving her anymore treats and would just have to get her own. (He wasn't ignoring her as much as she thought as you can see here.)


When he told me the tale, he explained how she kept trying to get the jar, but couldn't quite see it, reach it, and stay on the shelf the right way all at the same time. Later that night she decided the boxes of mac and cheese were in her way and tossed them to the floor. I decided I had better consider moving her treats to a plastic jar so that when she does manage to get a hold of it and toss it to the floor, she isn't walking in and eating glass. We could go with the "remember to keep the pantry door shut" thing, but we all know that won't work all the time. Plus, a closed door is always more desirable than an open one, and how can I cook with the pantry closed?
So on Monday, while at the store, I got a couple of new containers of kitty treats in plastic containers, just in time it would seem. This is what Hubband found on the stairs when he came down this morning.

Silly obsessed cat.

(Don't forget to check out Whiskers on Wednesday.)

Thank you everyone

for being kind to your poll workers yesterday; it was a long day for a lot of us. Poll workers start an hour before the polls open (at least here) to make sure everything is ready for voters, and stay until everything is counted and cleaned up. For me, that meant being at the polling station from 6 AM until 11:30 PM. It also meant I was up at 5 AM and not even home until after midnight. The head judges probably were still on the clock delivering stuff until after midnight.
Some of the high points of the day? Helping a lady register to vote for the very first time after finalizing her citizenship within the last six months (and seeing how proud she was to show me her certificate!); having a brand-new mom come in to vote, even though it meant a temporary discharge from the hospital and leaving her baby there; lots of people that care, one way or another, about their country and the process of having a voice; being able to give one of my best friends a hug when she came to vote (and finding out they closed their small business a bit early yesterday so they would have enough time).
If you have never been a poll worker, think about it. It is an interesting and informative process and has good training. You don't have to work all day, half days are an option, some of us are just gluttons. Of course, it also meant we missed out on watching stuff on TV that the rest of the country may have been tuning into. But I think it was worth it.
Have a great day (and I will be back later with your weekly Oribel update)!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do you all know what today is?

Not only is it Election day (go vote if you haven't already), it is "Be Kind To Your Poll Worker Day."
See You all tomorrow!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Signed, sealed, and delivered,

well, I guess that really is "Knit, bound-off, and delivered." The shawl will be blessed at the first service and given to the baby at his Baptism during second service.
Tomorrow I will return to regularly scheduled knitting.