Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthday Celebrations

   Yes, today was my birthday. Hubs took me out to dinner, we went to Billy Bob's BBQ, near Vassar College. A friend of mine from our former work opened it up with his family. It opened sometime last fall or winter, I think. This was the first time we were able to get there.

   I must say, I wish we had gone sooner! The food was really excellent, with large portions! We started with some chicken wings, in four different flavors. All were yummy! We sampled the Hot, Teriyaki, Honey Garlic and General Tso's flavors. Then Hubs had the PiggyMac, pulled pork, covered with mac n cheese then topped with bread crumbs. He really enjoyed it, even though he couldn't eat much of it.

   I had a traditional pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw on it. Also very yummy. I couldn't eat it all either, the portions were that large. It could be that we filled up on the wings...

   I had dessert also. I chose the raspberry cheesecake fritters. Oh. My. God. It came as three fritters, they were deep fried and topped with cinnamon sugar. They were so very rich!

   All in all, it was a very satisfying dinner! It was so good to see Bill, he was outside having a smoke when Hubs dropped me off and went in search of a parking space. I can't believe he remembered that I used to say that he was my favorite medium sized person! The first thing, he asked me if he still was. I said "yes!" and gave him a big hug!

   But I think the best part of the evening was when I was sung "Happy Birthday to You" by a really good friend and her delightful Cherub daughter, over the phone. That was a nice surprise!

   Now I'm all tired out and ready for bed. See y'all tomorrow!

Hurricane and Crafting Report

   Today, as yesterday, the sun is shining, and it's gorgeous outside. I looked at the creek through the bathroom window, and the water has gone down a lot! You can see the grass under the water, not like yesterday when the whole thing looked like a raging river. The island of trees in the middle were actually on the close bank of the creek. I will try and get out later for some post high-water photos.

   Hubs and I traveled to the house in Fishkill yesterday, to check on flooding there. We had had a call from the neighbor across the street, she was very upset that her basement was flooding, the water was coming in through the walls!  When we got there she came out and we talked. She told us that there was a literal river running in the yard, from west to east, towards route 9, through the side yard, and across the front of the house. We went inside. Hubs checked out the basement. There was hardly any water! There were signs that there had been water, possibly several inches, but the sump pump had taken care of it. All that was left was a few puddles in low spots in the floor. It is a really good thing that the basement had already been cleaned out! Even the furnace is gone. So that was a load off of Hubs' mind.

   There is still a lot of flooding around here, Staatsburg is horrendously flooded! I was looking at photos on facebook last night. I know route 9G was closed in places, we couldn't get pizza from our favorite pizza parlor last night! They are right in the middle of a shut down section!

   All in all, we were tremendously lucky, and we know it. My daughter still hasn't returned to work, her school still has no power. Son's girlfriends parents whole town still has no power. It could be next week for them! We lost power for about two minutes, at 7:10 pm Sunday evening. It came right back on. And it did flicker off and on for a little while before that. But that's it!  

   Now on to crafty things. I'm working on what I'm calling the hurricane afghan for friend Gordie in Texas. He wants it six feet long! It might be a little longer than that, at least until I wash it. After that, it might be either longer, or shorter! I will measure it before I send it to him. I am also still working on my shawl, but I will admit to being distracted by the afghan. And I'm looking forward to what's next. Hopefully I will be receiving a shawl kit for a gift soon... That one, I'm really looking forward to! It will certainly be a challenge. And what is life, but a series of challenges?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In which I dance in the hurricane rain...

   It's just after 11 a.m. here and the hurricane is still here, but seems to be petering out. We have not lost power, at least not yet, and have minimal water in the basement. And yes, I did go out and dance in the rain. I just wanted to be able to say I did it. I really wanted to do it skyclad, but Hubs frowned upon that idea. I still might, but later tonight after dark, when I won't freak out the new neighbors.

   I've been up since pretty early, at least for me. It feels a lot later than it is. I'm tired and could use a nap. A few hours ago I suggested to Hubs that we should drain some water out of the pool, we don't want it overflowing. He agreed, so we went down and turned the filter on, then set it to backwash. It took a long time to drain low enough, even with the rain coming down so hard! We sat and played backgammon, which I won as usual. I believe it was three out of five...

   I have had to go out once so far and bail the water out of the Jeep cover. There was a lot of water in there. I have to keep a better eye on it, so it doesn't get so full. As I was bailing, I was wishing I had parked him tucked closer under his tree. I got soaked during that activity, and that was when I danced, on my way back to the house.

   I also hope to work on the hurricane afghan today, yes I want to crochet for a while. But first I want to shower, I got all sweaty vacuuming the flea powder off the couch. I put the sheets that were covering it in the wash, and have to wait for them to be done before I take a nice hot shower. After they are dry, I will re-cover the couch again just to be safe.

   Hubs has gone to Ti-Yogi for a while, to shoot. He needs to get in some practice, hunting season is just around the corner. For those of you who don't know, Ti-Yogi is a bow club. He's been a member for quite a few years now. They are a good bunch of guys, and even some women belong now. The club has a connection to Eleanor Roosevelt, she was an avid bow woman, and the club is named after her pet ocelot, I think. I know it was a wild cat of some kind. They have pictures of her at the club.

   So it seems the hurricane isn't as bad as they thought. I can only say thank the Goddess, and Yippee Skippee...  Of course, it's not over yet, and the lights have flickered a little while ago, so we could still lose power. But all in all I think we will be ok. And the one tree that Hubs was concerned about still stands.... so far.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In which I start a new crochet project!

   A facebook friend, that I've known since my teenage years, has asked me to make him an afghan. All he asked for is purple and 6 feet long. I can do that. He also asked that it not be "girlie", or his granddaughters would steal it from him. He sent me some money for the yarn, and I've gotten started! I am using my favorite pattern, I just thought about it and I've been crocheting this particular pattern for about 20 years!
   I had originally planned to use one of the yarns that come in one pound balls, but then I remembered that the last afghan I made in that yarn, just a few months ago, went square when I washed it. Julie loved it anyway, but I was unhappy about it. Knowing it might not be long enough with its original stitch count, I added thirty more stitches to the starting chain. Or so I thought. On the last row of single crochet for the first section, I counted stitches as I crocheted along. Turned out I had miscounted a bit. Instead of the planned 181 stitches, I had about 172. But I think it's plenty long enough. I haven't measured it yet, but it's more than 6 feet in Hubs' opinion.
   One reason I favor this pattern is that there are only four rows of any one stitch. It starts with four rows of single crochet, then four rows of V stitch. Four more rows of single, then a funky row of loops. The next row connects all the loops, and then four more rows of single crochet. It's done side to side, so you start with the length and work until it's wide enough. Usually seven panels of the V stitch.
    So this pattern isn't boring! I did an afghan almost 25 years ago, before I knew better, that was straight double crochet. Endless, mindless, boring double crochet. By the time I was halfway through that one, I was suicidal. I learned from that experience to find patterns that mix stitches up and don't get boring!
   I've been knitting so much lately that I've been feeling guilty for neglecting my hooks. But they were still there for me, and rattled pleasantly in their plastic containers as I searched for the right hook.
    I find myself questioning Gordie's sanity for asking me for an afghan. He lives in Texas. They have endured more than 70 days of triple digit temperatures since May! Maybe he has his a.c. set too cold, I don't know. But he's given me the opportunity to crochet again, and for that I thank him!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for Irene, and other stuff too

   This morning, Hubs and I discussed what needs to be done to prepare for the coming hurricane. Mostly outdoor stuff needs to be moved indoors. Easy, right? Maybe not. We have so much stuff just hanging around outside, especially after living here for twenty years. I imagine some of it we can throw away, but I need him to help me decide. I have a feeling that whatever I decide to dispose of will be of vital importance to him!
   So a lot of it will have to wait until tomorrow. He's sleeping today because he works tonight, but when he gets home in the morning his weekend starts. He will probably stay up and we will sort and argue, dispose of and argue, and store and argue. But in the meantime, I will do what I can.
   Today I received a check, a friend wants me to make him an afghan. Why he needs one, when he lives in Texas, is beyond me. But I adore shopping for yarn, so I went.  I immediately changed my mind about which yarn I wanted to use, and found some of what I did want to use, in the color he wants, in my stash! Sweet! So when I got the craft store, I headed right to the yarn as usual. (Side bar - you know you spend too much time in the craft store when the employees know you by name!)The other color he wants in his afghan? They don't have any in the right yarn. I find a compatible yarn in a good color, and they only have three skeins of it. I buy what they have and head to the second choice craft store, which is in the same plaza. They have the second color, but not the first! We are talking purple as the first color, and gray as the second here. I wanted to pick up another skein of the purple, so I have enough to get a good start on the afghan. But I am not going back to the first store. I will make do with what I have, for now. I should be able to get a good start on his afghan, and send him pics.
   I tried to take a photo of the purple yarn yesterday, in a basket, but it looked blue. I wasn't happy. The sun is shining now, so maybe I will try again.
   I am way too busy today to knit, maybe I will get a chance later, after Hubs goes to work. I also want to start the crocheted afghan! I'm looking forward to that!
   With this stupid hurricane coming, we may lose power for a few days, so I may be out of touch. Here's hoping Irene heads out to sea! If you believe in it, pray for us. As for me, I will concentrate really hard and give it a "GNUH" or two, or three.  That's the only way I can think of to spell the sound I use. If it works on football players on television, it should work on the stupid hurricane! Here's hoping we make it through this!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The bestest people were born in August...

   I'm just sayin' is all... Not only me, but bunches of other people too. I've had more facebook friends with birthdays this month than any other month! And I can't forget my cousin Dana, who shares my birthday with me; next Tuesday, for those who need to know.
   Actually, it's not a birthday I'm looking forward to, who wants to be a speed limit age?
I know it's only a number, and I truly don't feel as old as I am. Usually. It helps being married to a man 8 years younger than myself!
   But this is not exactly what I wanted to talk about today. This morning, I went to visit a friend. We have been crocheting together since we were both laid off 2+ years ago. Well, now she's gotten herself a "part time" job. It's really cutting into her friend and crafting time! Not to mention her family time!
   Anyway, I took my camera with me on my visit today. I've sorta decided to take it with me everywhere I go these days. I took a few photos today at her house, when we were out in the craft room.

This is the back of her unco-operative dog, she wouldn't let me take a picture of her face... Isn't she cute?
   I was hoping to find some purple yarn in my stash that lives at her house, but there wasn't any. I did find some in my stash here, though, when I got home. I still need to buy some more purple, and some gray. A friend in Texas would like me to make him an afghan. I don't think it needs to be heavy, it's still in the triple digits, heatwise... Maybe I could make it out of ice.
   Time to sign off, I think I'm getting punchy...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In which I finally get to knit!

   Today I finally got to sit and knit! I switched colors last night, and made some good progress before I went to bed. I picked it up this morning and kept right on going!
   However, I did run into a problem. On the way back across a wrong side row, about half way, I realized I had done the center stitches in the wrong place!! I put it down,  totally disgusted with myself. After a little while, I talked myself into fixing it. So for an hour, I tinked the purl row, then back across the knit row. I even managed not to drop any stitches while tinking! That was a first for me. I successfully fixed my center stitches, and knit on. Whew! I'm glad it's over, but at least I know I can do it if I have to.
   After fixing my boo boo, I took my shawl outside and took some photos! I wanted to show the color change, and how much has been done with the new color.
   And a close up for good measure....

   My friend Kim dyes beautiful yarn!!
  Now I need to go start some laundry, and vacuum up all this flea powder...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


   Today has been an extremely frustrating day. I have not been able to knit at all today. Instead, I've been at war with fleas. Yes, again this year, we are having a flea problem. And again, they are resisting my attempts to train them for my imagined "world famous" flea circus. Fleas are not as smart as people think.
   I spent a few hours a number of days ago, sprinkling the citrus scented powder on my carpet, then getting the broom and sweeping it in, according to the manufacturers instructions. Later that day, after I could breathe again, I did the sprinkling thing to the couch, which I then covered with clean sheets to keep the chemicals off of us as we use it. The next day, it was time to vacuum the carpets. While I was doing that, I noticed the vacuum was moving easily, it wasn't hard to push at all. I figured someone had adjusted the height to the wrong setting.
   Today when I emptied the canister, I didn't even notice the filter was missing. I had just noticed the canister was full, I couldn't see the filter. When I went to use the stupid thing, it started blowing dirt out the vent. I stopped and asked Beloved Hubs for help. He ended up accusing me of dumping the filter out and not putting it back in. I didn't. The filter wasn't in the bag of dirt I had just dumped, (he emptied it and searched) so that would mean it wasn't in the canister to begin with. But I did something wrong. Uh-huh.
   So I went to the appliance store on 9G and got a new filter. Now the vacuum was hard to push, like it usually is. Nice. So I finished vacuuming the floor, then uncovered the couch one section at a time, and vacuumed each one thoroughly.
   Now it's almost 3:30 and I'm exhausted. I wonder if Beloved Hubs would object if I knit for a while? I think I'll wait until he's napping.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I guess I finally figured it out! Here's half of my shawl!

Let's add photos!

   Yesterday, as I sat and drank my orange juice, I had two stories in my mind. I shared one of them. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember the second story. But I shall persevere.
   Several years ago I bought my Hubs a nice digital camera for Christmas. He hasn't used it that much, just to shoot pics of a turkey he shot, a bunch of pics of birds on the beach in Rehoboth, and some of our now deceased dog and two fish.
   I decided to ask him if I could use his camera to take photos of my craft projects, for use on facebook, this blog, and possibly even my etsy shop. Of course, he said yes! So I have spent the last couple of days familiarizing myself with the camera, and have taken a few pictures.
   As I look around as I type this, I don't see any way to add my fabulous photos to my blog. Wait a minute, there's the "Add" button. Let's give this a shot! Nope, that's just to let you all know where I am, location wise. Not what I am looking for...
   Dang it, I can't drag and drop the photo. I can't copy and paste it either... I guess my blog will continue to photo-less, at least temporarily. I hope it doesn't take too long to figure it out! If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to fb message me, or leave a comment the blog.
   Now, I'm cooking dinner. Hubs and I were up at 5 a.m. So, we are both pretty tired. He actually got to take a nap, but I couldn't get to sleep. Now the chicken breasts are in the oven, seasoned with Montreal Steak seasoning. I love that stuff, on almost everything. I've used it on chicken, pork, lamg, even steak! It's also good on veggies. That's for you, Laura.
   Time to go, side dishes are waiting to be prepared. Have a good night and if anyone can help with my photo problem, please let me know! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to lose me as a friend...

   Today, as I sit here drinking my orange juice, I have in mind two stories to tell you. But which one to share today? I've been thinking a lot about a former friend and how she got that way. It still makes me angry, even now. So that's the one you shall hear about!
   Years ago, I worked at a small manufacturing place, with a small work force. It had four shifts that rotated through the week, 24/7. As usually happens in such situations, some of us became close friends, even spending time together on our days off.
   I had my own apartment, but was having trouble paying all my bills on time. So I decided to take on a room mate. "C" was more than ready to move out of her mother's house. So she moved in with my daughter and I. The very first thing, she moved in two weeks earlier than we had agreed, and didn't pay for the whole month. Now, I had a two bedroom apartment, and in order to accommodate a room mate, I had to share my bedroom with my daughter. So we moved her into my room and C took her room.
   It was a rocky relationship from the start. She didn't know how to lock the bathroom door, I guess she'd never seen a "push and turn to lock" door knob before. So instead of asking me how to lock the door, she refused to shower when my daughter had friends over to play. She stood there, towel in hand, asking if the guest was leaving so she could shower. She thought someone would walk into the bathroom on her while she was showering. It was a small apartment. We knew when someone was using the bathroom.
   C also objected to my keeping my scissors on top of the refrigerator. That was where I wanted them, they were easy to find. It got to the point that I fantasized moving out on her, because everything was mine, the dishes, the living room drapes, all the furniture, everything! Everything except for her bedroom stuff. She would wake up and there's nothing in the place, not even my scissors.
   Then I met my future husband. C objected to him from the beginning. He would sleep over, and she didn't like that at all. Unbeknownst to me, she went to my mother and told her that he was only seeing me for sex. She really did! I didn't know about that one for a long time, until after we were married.
   She finally decided that she had had enough, and found herself a small apartment in another town. Buh-bye! All in all, we were room mates for less than a year. She moved in in January, I met Hubs in June, and we were married in December, and she was long gone by then!  But she left a lasting impression.
   C and I remained friends, even after the company we worked for moved out of state, and I left that job. She followed the job to another state. She met a guy, fell in love, again, and they bought a house together. He, as far as I know, he is still refusing to marry her. If they are even still together. Mind you, this is like twenty years ago.
   She would call me when she was coming back to NY for a visit, and we would meet, and spend time together. How many times did I urge her to drop that guy, make him buy out her half of their house? I've lost track. She wasn't happy and I tried to help. She liked that I was so straight with her.
   The visits got further and further apart. Finally, we were just emailing each other. One day, just a few years ago, I emailed her with the news that my daughter had found her knight in shining armor. She was getting married! I was so happy, and wanted to spread the joy. Well, she sent me back an email saying how immature my girl was, and totally making a mistake, etc., etc.. Since then I have forgotten exactly what she wrote. Mind you, my child is now a grown woman, in her thirties. She went to college. And graduated with a very high GPA. She also has a job she loves, teaching at a nursery school. My "friend" objected to the fact that my future son-in-law gave up his own apartment to move home into his mom's basement to save money for the wedding and a house. And C objected to the fact that he worked in a supermarket. In my opinion, teaching, and working in a supermarket are two jobs that will endure, even when the economy is bad! People still need to eat, and educate their kids!!
   I steamed when I read her email. I immediately started an answer, blasting her every nasty comment. Then I stopped. I decided she wasn't worth it. I never did answer her. I deleted all her contact info from my computer, my cell phone, my address books and my home phone.
   To this day, I have had no contact with her. I hope she's happy. But I know she's not. She's a very bitter middle aged single woman living with a man who doesn't know how to love because his parents never showed anyone any affection. Not even each other!
   C was never happy with her own family, so she made friends into family. I was her "sister", she had adopted "aunts" and "uncles" and all kinds of other pretend relatives.
   The best thing that can happen, is for my daughter and her husband to be happy in their gorgeous little house with the white picket fence (for real), and to love each other for ever and ever. That'll show that bitch. I feel compelled to add that Hubs never liked her from the beginning.
   Hopefully, this will help me feel a bit more charitable to my former friend. NAH - I am not exactly the charitable type... and she attacked my child. NEVER attack my child. I will come down on you with a wrath not unlike a mama bear.
   And this mama bear is now done telling her tale. I would love to hear any comments or thoughts on this, if you dare... Just kidding. You hope.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

At last, knitting!

    At last is right! I got lots of things done early today, so now I have time to sit and knit and just relax! I made a list this morning, all the things I needed to do, the places I needed to go. And most of it is flea related. Yup, the fleas are back this year.
   So I went and bought the powder to sprinkle on our sectional, and a different one to sprinkle on the carpet. At some point tomorrow I will be vacuuming it all up again. The hardest part is moving all the stuff off the floor. I still haven't decided what to do with the excess karate trophies from the son's room. We have so many of these things, we'd need a bigger room in a bigger house to store them all.
   Now Hubs has left for work, and I can sprinkle the carpet. The good news is that he was pleased with all I got done today! He told me not to kill myself to get it all done, do a little each day. I told him that when I do it that way, it doesn't look like I've done anything! A big effort makes a big impact.
   Anyway, now I get to sit and knit. The shawl is coming along nicely. And I'm looking forward to the color changes. It even relaxes me to just knit one row and purl the next, mindlessly. Gotta love stockinette stitch. One of these days, I will have to crochet something, so I don't get out of practice! Wait, I forgot, I have an order for a 6 foot long purple afghan for a friend in Texas. I just need to nail down exactly what he expects, pattern wise.
   As I proof read this, it strikes me again, what is in my mind to write seems so much longer than the actual end product! When I'm thinking and planning what to write, it seems like pages and pages. What I read when I'm done seems very compact and brief! What's up with that? Maybe I can learn to stretch out my stories, with more in-depth descriptions, and junk. Could be I have a book in me after all?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yarn, storms and hail

  Good day! Today we were expecting thunderstorms, so I didn't uncover the Jeep and go anywhere. Besides, I am not all that eager to spread the fleas. Yes, we have fleas. Again. This time I think I caught it early, so it won't get insane like last year.
   Anyway, I decided to wind up the rest of the yarn for my newest shawl project. It's been staring at me, calling me, sending me subliminal messages. So I caved, got out my swift and ball winder, and wound my yarn. I enjoy seeing the swift spin, but do not enjoy the winding of the handle of the ball winder. By the time I'm done, I am usually in pain. This time wasn't too bad!
   I am making some solid progress on the shawl, and I'm looking forward to changing to the next yarn. It's getting bigger and bigger. I think I will be putting it on a bigger circular needle soon, I love to spread it out and see how it looks.
   Just as Hubs was getting in the shower today, We started hearing thunder. It got louder and closer, until I told him he better get outta here, or he was gonna get soaked on his way to the truck! Luckily the rain held off. But he called me from Fishkill, it was hailing there and they were marble sized!  He said it was hailing so hard, there was a coating of hailstones on the hood of his truck!
   He also told me that he would drive thru the hail, stop at a stop light, and the hail would catch up to him. Over and over this happened. Then finally it turned to just rain, just as he pulled onto the site. I wish I could have seen the hail.  
   Now I think the storms are over. I do love a good thunderstorm! I can feel the electricity in the air. It's very energizing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

P.S. more about the shawl...

   I realized I neglected to mention that the name of the shawl is The Comfort Shawl, designed by Sarah Bradberry. I found it on a free pattern website. I will admit to changing it a little, however. I didn't like the original design done in garter stitch, so I do it in stockinette. It's just my own personal taste. And best of all, no pattern errata!    Thank you, Sarah!

New shawl started!

   After spending a few days thinking about it, I have started my next shawl. And yes, I started thinking about it *before* the Pi shawl was done. In my stash, I have 2 balls of Chroma fingering weight that I bought from Knit Picks. It amazes me that with all the awesome colorways they offer, I chose "natural"! I have also been given a skein of beautiful hand dyed yarn from my friend Kim, of AtKnitsEndYarns, in a colorway experiment that she wasn't happy with. Its gorgeous, shades of pink, with natural also. Then there's another skein Kim gave me, in a beautiful bright fuschia. She told me it's just not her color, but she knew it was mine!
   My shawl is going to be done in stockinette stitch, to show off the different yarns and colors. It will start with the center top, and expand out from there. To explain better, the stitches on the needle (circular, of course) will be the two long sides, so it will look like V stripes when it's done.
   Anyway, I am starting with the natural, then moving to the hand painted shades of pink, then to the solid pink. Three stripes only, and when I come to the end of a color, I'm just gonna attach the new one, whether I'm at the end of a row or not. I am really looking forward to seeing this one, I wear a lot of pink, so I should get a lot of use out of this one!
   While I have you, I must tell you about how the Pi shawl came out! It's awesome. It's plenty big enough, and so pretty! And it only took four hours to dry. I was a little concerned about the purple section, as I had run out of the Malabrigo sock yarn. But the Malabrigo had quite a bit of purple in it, so the solid purple works, and looks great.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blocking my shawl, what next?

   To my great delight, I got to block my 2nd Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi Shawl this morning! I had a few other things to do, phone calls to make, but suddenly found myself ready. While my shawl soaked in the bathroom sink, I went downstairs and started the pool filter, and did my other associated pool duties. Except the skimming. There was no point in that. On my way back upstairs, I gathered up the boggest pool towels.
   Meanwhile, in my bathroom sink, the water had drained out. I expected this, it won't hold water for some unknown reason. So I squeezed water out of my shawl, then set it to rinse in plain cool water, until that water drained out. I squeezed it out again.
   I took the pool towels and spread two of them on the floor of my son's room. I spread the shawl, folded in half, out on the towels. I folded the edges of the towels in on top of the shawl, so it was covered. Then I rolled the whole mess up, and moved it to the door, so I had something to hold on to for balance. I proceeded to stand on the towel roll, moving my feet from the edges to the middle. I repeated this several times, until my feel were getting wet. I unrolled my towels, and took out the shawl.
   I spread it out on my son's bed, centering it, and worked on the side nearest the wall first, then spread the rest of it out. It is definitely bigger than the indigo one! I am very pleased. And this time, like the last time, I didn't really need to use pins! I guess the fleece sheet on the bed put enough tension on the shawl to hold it in place. I turned on the fan in the window, and left, closing the door behind me.
   At that point, I got dressed, since I was meeting a friend for brunch at Cranberry's! I love going there, and can't wait for school to be back in session, so Stitch n Bitch can meet there again! It was nice to see Joni again! We talked for a long time. I asked her if she had applied for any jobs online. When she said no, I explained how absolutely annoying it is, since the first thing you have to do is attach your resume. Then they proceed to ask you all kinds of questions, the answers to which ARE IN YOUR RESUME.... It's getting to the point that I am going to begin putting "see my resume" as answers to these questions!
    Now that that's off my chest, I think I will go check on my shawl! It's been three hours, and in this heat, it just might be dry! Until tomorrow, then!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Random thoughts...

        I am full of random thoughts tonight, I thought I'd share some with you!
1.  There was once a movie called Sharkboy and Lavagirl. I remember it specifically because the kids that starred in it, the boy and the girl, were both named Taylor. And now this boy is mostly grown up, and he stars in "Twilight" as Jacob the werewolf. His name is Taylor Lautner. It rang a bell in my brain when I was watching something show business related, and Mark Wahlberg said that Taylor is the biggest new hunk in Hollywood... Why does no one remember this earlier role? I'd like to watch it again, and see how he's changed.
2. I ran out of purple yarn today before finishing my shawl. I was greatly bummed. I had no desire to go and spend $10 for another skein, just to use a small portion of it. But I went to Michaels this afternoon, encurring my husbands wrath. I also went to Stop n Shop, so I was killing two birds with one stone. When I returned home,  Hubs informed me that I better put the top back up on my Jeep at the next opportunity, from which I gathered that he would not be letting me use his truck on rainy days anymore. Some times men can be such assholes. But he's in a much better mood now, since he retrieved the memory card from one of his field cameras, and there were pictures of some really awesome deer on it!
3.  I also used Hubs' truck this morning to go to spinning group at the library in Clinton. I had a really good time! There were lots of people there this month, so there was lots of lively conversation. It was so good to see Terry and Denise! I brought Denise her order from Pampered Chef, And she was so excited to get it!
4.  I am so very sick and tired of all this rain. It feels like any minute now, Noah is gonna pull up in back of our house in the ark, and tell us it's time to go! I am beginning to feel like Swamp Thing, covered in green stuff that's growing on me. I will be so glad to see the sun when it finally comes back!
5.  My daughter and son-in-law celebrated their 1st anniversary yesterday. They went to Cape Cod, and I guess it's raining there too. Poor babies, they will have to stay in! I wonder what they will find to keep themselves occupied? Could a grandbaby come out of this trip??? Hmmm? 
6. I want to knit some more!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Karate School Picnic!

   Today was the annual karate school picnic. We usually have a really good time. This year, however, it was raining and I think that's why so many people didn't show up. There was supposed to be contest for the best tasting ribs. But no one who came brought any. There were lots of salads to eat, four different macaroni salads and a cole slaw. There were also several batches of cookies, and some brownies too. They were all good! One adult student brought the only warm food, some corn on the cob... it was yummy!
   The kids all went swimming, and most of the adults played volleyball. It rained on them the whole time, and they all got wet! No one seemed to mind getting wet. I am not athletically inclined, so I sat at a picnic table and worked on my knitting. I got quite a lot done today!
   It did get chilly, though, so I eventually put on my sweater. We called it a day early, around 4 pm. Some people had to leave for various reasons, and I think the rest of us had had enough of the frivolity.
   All in all, it was nice to see everyone who came, I just wish more people had come. Well, there's always next year.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Everyone has a story....

    Many years ago, when I first started working in the semiconductor industry, most of my co-workers were young people, like me. There were some older people, but mostly the workforce was in their twenties. And most of the workforce was female. There was this one petite, older european woman who mostly kept to herself. She was very timid, and startled easily. Well, once that was discovered, some people would go out of their way to drop things near her just to see her jump and cry out.
   One night, she was sitting alone in the break room, so I joined her. We started talking, and I ended up learning her story. It absolutely floored me. She was Hungarian, and had been in the resistance in that country's civil war. She had been married, and her husband had been killed. She also had a young child, a daughter, who had to be left behind when her mother was secretly smuggled out of the country!
   This poor woman was a widow at a young age, and had to leave her only child behind while she was smuggled to freedom in the United States! It was many years before she would find her child and be reunited with her.
   Listening to her talk that night, it taught me a valuable lesson. You never know what other people's life experiences are, what they have lived through. No wonder she was so easily startled! After all these years, I don't remember that woman's name. But I do remember her story. How she survived, came to the U.S. and became a citizen, and found the courage to go on. She even got married again, and from what I could tell, was quite happy.
   I seem to remember that someone had a few words with her tormenters that got them to stop making loud noises on purpose. That experience opened my eyes and my mind. It got me thinking about others, as well as myself.
   And I still remember that night, as I sat open mouthed, while she told me her story. That one lunch break of an hour seemed to last a whole lot longer, as she transported me to Europe in the 1950's and told me her story.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Closet cleaning

   I have a lot of thoughts running rampant in my mind tonight. Today was the first time I've been to the house in Fishkill by myself since we moved back home. It was weird being there. Usually Hubs is with me, but he's doing stuff outside. So I'm in the house alone. But today, I knew he wasn't outside, and it disturbed me more than I thought it would.
   My assignment was to clean out the coat closet in the living room, in preparation for some work being done in the house on Sunday. I successfully completed my mission. I sorted through the coats; keeping mine, putting hers in a bag for donation. Then I had to clean off the shelves in the closet.This proved a bit easier. There were games stacked up, but nothing really worth keeping, like checkers, Monopoly, and Scrabble. I did keep the letter tiles from Scrabble for my mom, who plays regularly. I thought she could use them, and I was right! The friend she plays Scrabble with is going blind, and on mom's current tiles, the letters are wearing off. So she was happy to receive the ones from the closet.
   Tucked at the back of one shelf, I found some treasures! Three editions of Trivial Pursuit, and an accessory set of cards! I have no use for them, since Hubs won't play with me any more... Ever since I knew that the names of the Katzenjammer Kids were Hans and Fritz. But I didn't want to throw them away. I sent Sara a text, asking her if she wanted them. She answered "Yes", so I packed them in the Jeep for the ride home.
   I also brought home a box of old photos. We have no idea who these people are, but an old friend of Betty's will know. They grew up together in Rhinebeck. I just have to get them to her. All in all, I about half filled up the garbage can, throwing out all kinds of useless things, and things no one else would want. I'm getting over the guilt, and it makes me a little sad.
   At the lunch after her memorial service, we were supposed to tell Betty stories. I had some ready, but it never happened. So I will tell you one now.
   My mom had a friend who lived up the street from her. This friend got a job at the postal facility where Betty worked. After she had been there a while, she and my mom were talking, and it was mentioned that my mother-in-law worked where Lynn did, and one thing lead to another. Lynn was shocked that I was married to Betty's son. All she could say was "Oh, that poor girl!" So Betty had quite a reputation as a bitch! When we were staying with her before she passed, I told her the story, but wouldn't tell her who said it. She laughed!! She thought it was really funny...
   Lastly, I will close with the fact that I brought my knitting with me, but didn't get to knit today. Just so you know, I usually have either my knitting, or my nook with me whenever I go anywhere.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Got a lot of knitting done...

   I spent most of this evening with my best 9 year old friend, and her mom. We sat around watching the Disney Channel, and while we grown ups worked on our latest knitting projects, Miss Mellie put on a "pageant" which included her guinea pig, Fluffer. Her mom and I were the judges, so of course, Fluffer won, hands down. And I actually got a lot of knitting done! I am almost done with the knitted on border that goes on forever! Now I'm looking forward to blocking this shawl on my son's bed, while he's gone all day!
   Now I'm home in the land of grown ups, and watching one of the shows I like, Burn Notice. And I'm cooking my dinner, left over pizza. I am splurging tonight, and actually heating it up in the oven, not just nuking it in the microwave. Big treat for me.
  My most generous friend Kim gave me some more yarn while I was visiting! She is keeping me supplied while my spending is suspended due to lack of funds. What a great friend to have! And she gets to feel good too, since she can call it de-stashing! My Hubs doesn't approve, he says she's enabling me. But I love her in spite of this enabling and mean-girl-ness that I hear she has...
   Now I have to go, because my dinner is ready, and I'm hungry... Here's wishing you  a hot pepperoni pizza and garlic knots to all!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Club Scheffler

   I had nothing to say the last couple of days, but today, as I was attending to the pool's needs, I thought I would talk about Club Scheffler.
   We have a pool, and it's pretty big. It's 20' by 40', and goes from 3.5' to about 8' deep, in a straight slope. No hopper in this pool! We estimate it holds around 44,000 gallons of water!
   When Jesse was small, there were always kids going swimming, and when Hubs worked at the garage, he would bring all the guys home at lunch time to cool off. Back then, the pool got a lot of use. These days, however, I am the only one who uses it on a regular basis. I think Jess and Hubs both have only been in it maybe three times each so far this year. Sara has been here a couple of times too.
   Before we opened it this year, Hubs and I discussed having it filled in. It really is a lot of work for him, since he does all the vacuuming. And if, for some reason, we decide to move somewhere else, it's too much work for Jess since he's gone, almost literally, from near dawn til after dark, and has no time to do the necessary chores involved in taking care of the pool. I convinced Hubs to open it for one more season, then in the fall we can decide.
   I am making the most of the pool this summer. I am down there every day, for at least a little while. Every morning I get my suit on, go downstairs and turn on the filter, then go in the pump house and check the pressure on the filter. I let the air out of it also. Then I open the gate, and walk out to the skimmer, check the skimmer, and dump out all the pine needles, dead frogs and bugs and such that have collected there.  
    I carry my nook, the house phone, and my cell phone out to the table and chairs we have at the far end. Then I have to go back to the club house, because I usually forget the test kit. I test the pool, then jump in the shallow end and reach under the bottom step and get the thermometer to check the water temp. We like to keep it down kinda deep, so we get a more accurate temp reading, and not a false reading since the water in the top four inches or so is much warmer.
   Then I start to skim. I always do it from inside the pool! I have taken the skimmer head off the pole and keep it on the side of the pool so I can just grab it. I skim from shallow end, back and forth, to the deep end. When the water gets too deep, I have two noodles that I straddle to float on for the rest of the pool. This way, I'm getting some exercise too. I discovered a long time ago, it's waaaay too much work to skim from the edge of the pool. Many bugs and things are too small to be seen from way up there. It's much easier to see them from in the water!
   Our pool doesn't get really warm. First, because it's got so much water, it takes a lot to warm it up. Second, it's not in full sun all day. It only gets full sun from 11:30 a.m. til about 4 p.m. or so. This year, we actually hit 82 degrees for a couple of days when it was so freaking hot for those two weeks! Since it's been raining and chilly the last few nights, the temp has been hovering around 76-77 degrees. Still a really nice temp for cooling off!
   There are so many memories associated with our pool! Teaching Jess to swim, his first summer we put him in the water, and he was kicking his chubby little legs like a little frog! And I'll never forget the underwater pictures we took after our vacation to Hershey Park and Sesame Place when he was four. Every year we have had lots of frogs in the pool. We swim with them for a while, then we catch them and set them free.
  We have had our share of animals in there also! There was a very angry snake in there one year, and another time there was a baby skunk. We rescued him, but still aren't sure he survived. We've found dead rabbits, mice, moles, and even worms in there.
   I don't know if I can convince Hubs not to fill in the pool. We are still talking about it, and he will not agree to making me a lawn backgammon board. I keep trying, though. I thing it would be fun to play backgammon in the lawn, with big playing pieces cut from some of the trees we need to take down. He thinks it would be too much work, to actually play the game. He's probably right.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Breathing update, and more

   Well, today I can report that I'm breathing much better! I listened to Hubs and turned on the portable a.c. unit we brought home from the Fishkill house. It's working really well. I didn't turn it on yesterday, because it wasn't hot, just really humid. And frankly, it didn't occur to me! Today is humid too, but it's also hotter than yesterday. And thunderstorms are still predicted for later on today.
   So now it's on to knitting news. I am making some real progress on the border of my second Pi Shawl. It's so pretty, made in a Malabrigo sock yarn. I only had two hanks, so I bought some solid purple sock yarn to end it with. I did the last ten rounds lacey, with YO, K2tog for one round, then straight knit the next, then repeat the rounds.  I finished with the straight knit round, then added another before I started the knit-on border.
   It's so cool, watching the border grow. I've even had time today to work on it. In between washing dishes and doing some laundry. It feels good to be able to do these things, as I couldn't yesterday.  Let's all hope it continues to get better!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Breathing difficulties

   Today I am having a lot of trouble breathing. I'm exhausted, just from the effort that it's taking to breathe. So many people don't understand. But it's Pulmonary Sarcoidosis.
   I was diagnosed after my youngest child was born. Those of you who have been pregnant and have had kids, you remember how, at the end of your pregnancy, it can be hard to breathe because the baby is taking up so much room? After my son was born, that feeling didn't go away.  I would get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs, or sometimes even from talking too much! I wasn't too concerned about it.
   When I went to be prepped for having my tubes tied a few months later, a routine chest x-ray was done. While I was recovering from the surgery in the hospital, the Dr. came in and told me there was something unusual on my x-ray. At that time, I became intensely aware of every breath!  He had his nurse schedule an appointment for me with a pulmonologist. So I went to see him, and he told me I had Pulmonary Sarcoidosis. I had never even heard of it! He told me about the particular pattern he could see on the x-ray, it looked like a pawnbrokers symbol, three balls, one over two. He turned out to be a very new doctor, and he was all excited that I was his first Sarcoid patient. He sent me to see another specialist in the Westchester Medical Center. He wasn't so thrilled.
   He told me it would either get better, stay the same, or get worse. He began me on the regimen of drugs that, to this day, are basically the same. At first I had to carry them all with me everywhere I went, because I had to take the inhalers every 4 hours. Since that time, they have developed new longer-acting ones, so I only have to take them every 12 hours. Even one of the pills I had to take twice a day, now are only needed once a day. I have learned to take pills by the handful.
   People usually assume I have Asthma, because I wheeze a lot, and that's the best known lung disorder. I have gotten extremely weary of correcting them, so I usually just change the subject. And it turns out that all the drugs I take are primarily for Asthma! But they work pretty well for me, and I can usually function pretty normally. I just have trouble with stairs, I need to take them one at a time. And I do get out of breath from talking too much. Which will highly amuse my high school friends if any of them ever get to read this...
   I qualified for a Handicap parking permit, which I got since my Hubs encouraged me to. You should hear some of the comments I have gotten. "You can walk, why do you have a permit?" "You look fine, what's wrong with you?" It got to the point that when I got out of my vehicle, I would do so very slowly, and walk slowly, or even limp across the parking lot.
   This is where having Alopecia has  actually helped me! Since I lost my hair, not a single person has given me grief. I am assuming that they're assuming I have cancer... It does sometimes come in handy.  And I don't feel evil at all.
   Would you like to feel what it's like to breathe as I have to? All you have to do is take a straw, put it in your mouth, and breathe thru it. Don't cheat and breathe thru your nose for back-up. I will advise you to breathe very slowly, not normally, or you will quickly be yanking that straw out of your mouth!
   So this is how I live. And live I do! I do the best I can, but some days, like today, are harder than others. Some people have bad hair days? I have bad air days!
   I would love to hear how your straw experiments work out, leave me comments, please!
Thank you so much for listening!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pondering while knitting

    I was sitting here on my couch, knitting, and you know how your mind just wanders aimlessly while you knit? Well, yours might, but I am busy counting the stitches of my knitted on border. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ! Then back again to 9, and k2tog. When I don't count, I somehow end up with more than 10 stitches... so I count.
   Anyway. I manage to get in some thinking while I'm counting. I wonder what I shall blog about today. Shall I tell the promised story of how I met the man of my dreams and how we got together? Should I bare my soul, once more, but this time about Living with Sarcoidosis? (Go ahead, google it, I'll still be here.)
   Nah, I think I'll just talk about how good it feels to knit. The softness of the yarn sliding thru my fingers. The pleasure I get from choosing a wonderful yarn from a whole wall of gorgeous yarns. The ecstasy I feel as I run my fingers thru my stash, recalling where I found each skein. Mmmmm and the smells! Yummy. I must give thanks to my friend Kim H. who introduced me to smelling my natural fibers. Which makes me think of my other friend Bonny, who goes "Eeewwww, do you know how many people have touched that?" We just laugh.
   When I make my favorite crocheted afghan pattern, I only have to count the stitches every 5th row or so. It can be very freeing. That's when I really have time to let my mind wander.
   How about you guys leave me a comment, tell me where your mind goes when you knit or crochet? It will help me not feel like no-one is out there. And I promise, at some point in the future I will talk about those other topics I mentioned.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts on living with Alopecia...

    I am really frustrated right now! I was almost finished with this post, when something happened and it all disappeared! I don't remember all I wrote, so there's no way I can re-create the whole thing!! I was pouring my heart out, telling you all how it began, and how it's getting better now. Telling all about the recognizability I have because of wearing my hats, but it's all gone. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!
   Thinking about it, that may have been the Goddess's way of telling me I shouldn't write what I was writing... Oh well.
   I have Alpoecia. I'm dealing with it. My hair is coming back, slowly. My eyebrows and eyelashes are back already. The hair I lost on my legs can stay gone, as far as I'm concerned! And the rest of it can join what's already gone!  The hair on my arms is still gone too. Sometimes I look and see a few fine hairs growing there.
   I have friends who have never seen me with hair! That's gonna be wierd when it grows back! Even my drivers license has a picture of me wearing one of my favorite scarves.
   I need to mention how much I admire the women I've seen that can go without a hat or scarf. I can't. I am not that brave. I do have some hair growing, but it's white, and very sparse. So I shave my head about one a month. And when I'm laying out in the sun, I will take off my hat, or roll it back so my forehead and my ears get some color. So far, it's working, and I haven't gotten sunburned. But then I don't burn. My husband tells people I get a tan walking under a lamp....
   But now it's getting late, and I'm tired. Until next time, buh-bye.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A few more things that bug me.

   While watching TV, I am perhaps one of the few who actually pay attention to the commercials. In general, I find them very entertaining. There are a few, though, that when I watch them, I think to myself "Something's not right about that...". I  proceed to watch, and think some more, until it finally hits me what is wrong with the commercial. Here are a couple that annoy me...
   In one for a liquid soap, they make a big deal about the pump of the container being dirty.  Well, what do you do immediately after touching the "dirty" pump? YOU WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! So it doesn't matter if it's supposedly dirty, now does it?
   A few commercials for medications advise you to tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Uhm, DUH. He (or she) is your doctor! It is in their records what medications you take!! Even if you regularly see a specialist, the same thing applies. After your first visit, they should know what medications you're on!  
   I'm afraid that's all I can think of today. Maybe some of you can let me know if you've noticed this kind of thing...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pi Shawl Progress!

  My second Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi Shawl is nearly done! I finished the shawl proper today, and started the knitted-on border. YAY! I am very happy, I can't wait to see it all stretched out for blocking! It should end up bigger than the first one, which didn't stretch as much as I would have liked since it's 50% silk.
   I have to report that I was shocked by a recent catalog that I received from a company called Annie's Attic. There, in amongst all the other crochet patterns, was nestled a very familiar looking object... Elizabeth Zimmermann's Suprise Baby Jacket... but done in crochet!  The shocking part was that Mrs. Z didn't get any credit for the design. Just because it was done in crochet? It's still her one piece design! She should get the credit. The catalog even calls it a Suprise Baby Jacket, but nowhere is the name of the ORIGINAL designer, Elizabeth Zimmermann!! I tried to email her daughter at Schoolhouse Press, but my computer was unable to do so, something about a default email thing. So I thought I'd spread the word this way... to all the thousands of you who are reading this! Hahahahahaha.... See you next time!