Friday, February 28, 2014

Babysitting and New Discoveries

    I know I've been lax and haven't written in a few days. But I was kind of busy. Wednesday, Kim H. thought that since it would be just the two of us for Stitch n Bitch, she proposed a road trip, not just breakfast. So we went to Out of the Loop yarn shop, a LYS down in the Fishkill area. I frequented this shop when we lived down that way.

   I found some absolutely luscious yarn that I had to buy, and of course I had to use it right away! I wound it up after I got home, and started my third Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It's so pretty! I will take photos another day.

    I babysat all day for little OG Thursday and today. It still amazes me that I get so freaking tired just hanging out with a 3 month old baby! It's not like I'm chasing him around or anything. He just lays there! Granted, it's awesome now that he is laughing and smiling.

    The other day, as I was reacquainting myself with the directions for the Pi Shawl, I was flipping through the book Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Almanac. This copy is special, as it was a gift from a friend. So there I was reading her stories, and something caught my eye. It was a little ditty about double knitting, and how it makes a light yet cozy blanket.

    Now, I have done some double knitting, and while it's do-able, it's not easy. But as I read her instructions, it occurred to me that she is talking about doing the whole thing with only ONE yarn strand. Every other time I've seen it, it's always with two strands of yarn. I read it, and couldn't wait to try it. I had some heavy-ish weight yarn and grabbed my size 11 bamboo circulars and set to work. And guess what? It works! I am making a small sample as she suggests, and it works!

    The resulting fabric is soft and extra cushiony just as she said! I will take photos soon, so you can see what I'm talking about. Can you blame me for being excited? I am bursting with plans to make a blanket for my favorite son-in-law, as well as a wee one for his son.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In Which I Get Accepted

   My daughter and her husband have three cats. Two adopted rescues and one they rescued themselves. That is a story in itself. He showed up at their house and wouldn't leave. They never let him in, but he hung around was very sweet and loving to everyone who was out in the yard. Eventually because Winter was coming, they got him checked out by a Vet and adopted him.

   Fast forward to my babysitting. The Dude, mentioned above, has always been sweet and very friendly. Nermal, the female, is friendly after a while. But Lemmy is very shy. He hides when anyone comes in the door, and doesn't come out until they are gone.

    Recently, I was astonished to find Nermal interested in my knitting. I was sitting on the couch, and she came over and laid down with her front paws on my left leg. She played with the yarn while I knit. Nermal has been on me before, usually she uses me as a bridge to get from one place to another. But later that day, she actually came up and laid down on my lap! I was so excited, I took a photo with my phone and sent it to Sara. I was really thrilled.

    But there was more to come! She got up, and turned to face me. She put her front paws on my chest, and I petted her with both hands, from the head down. Then she leaned forward, close to me, and licked my nose! Apparently that's what she does. Sara warned me that she might give me a little love bite, but she didn't that time.

    Lemmy finally felt comfortable enough with me in the house to make an appearance after the second week. He had been hanging out on the basement steps. I would open the door and talk to him, just to get him used to me. When he finally came out, I would just pet him once as I walked by, not pushing my luck. Now he will come into the living room and sleep on the recliner with The Dude. I get to pet him a little and he doesn't run away.

   I feel that I have been accepted into the family clowder. I had to look that word up. It's what a group of cats are called.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Adventures in Babysitting

    I was thrilled that this week I was able to physically get to Sara's house and babysit for little Owen. I missed him last week. I told Hubs that by the time I see him he will probably be walking and talking and swearing! But he wasn't. He was definitely a little bigger, and much more responsive. Lots of smiling and laughing.

    I just can't figure out how come taking care of an infant is so exhausting! It's not like he's running around or anything. I am so tired by the time I get to go home. Yesterday, we had a special moment. He was getting fussy, so I decided to hold him for a while. I laid him on my chest kind of sideways, with his head in the bend of my right elbow. He seemed comfortable there, so I started rocking him. Out of nowhere, I started singing "Soft Kitty" to him. After I sang it once, he looked up at me and smiled! Then he closed his eyes and went to sleep. I sang that stupid song over and over again.

    Today I went with Sara to see my mom. She takes Owen every two weeks to see her. I went this time because I had promised mom I would come see her while Hubs is gone and I haven't gone yet. Besides, I wanted to get a photo or two of her holding Owen.

    And because he's so darn cute, here's a close up of Owen!

    There's more about what happened at Sara's, but it wasn't to do with Owen. I'm saving it for tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Progress photos!

    I got to knit quite a bit today, and I'm proud to show you a new progress photo!

    You may have noticed the name on the yardstick. Yes indeed, we are related.

    That Scheffler was my Hubs' dad. Sadly, the lumberyard burned years ago, and he has since passed away. A very dear friend of my late mother-in-law's gave this to Hubs a few years ago, before she herself passed.

    Earlier  I commented on facebook that I am going to need to watch something light and fun before I go to bed tonight. I spent most of my afternoon watching Paranormal Witness on the Syfy channel, and getting the shyt scared out of me. It always worked for me as a kid, I sure hope it works now. One more hour until The Big Bang Theory comes on. I really don't want to be spooked tonight.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back to knitting!

    That's right, I'm finally back to knitting. Hubs and I had a glorious weekend together, including a very nice dinner out, and he's now gone back to the land of the MASS-holes. Seriously, people say New York drivers are bad, they have clearly never tried to get out of a parking lot in Mass-hole land where the drivers on the main road completely block the exit, during their own RED LIGHT, and won't let anyone out. At least we stop for red lights and let people trying to get on the road actually get on the road. OK, rant over.

    I'm so glad to be knitting again. As much as I miss Hubs, it's really nice to have some alone time. I can imagine that eventually it will get really old. Then I'll be very glad to see him by the time he comes home! It kind if make me sad that I can't travel with him this time, but at least I get to spend two days a week with little Owen. Although I didn't get to last week because of all the snow. I can't wait to see him this week!

    There are no photos today of my progress on my legwarmers, you'll just have to trust me. I'm getting ready to increase again, 12 more stitches. I've been doing to it with the backwards half-hitch thing, I think it's called, but this time I'm gonna knit through the front then the back of the same stitch. It's a little faster. Sometimes I'm all about efficiency.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

What I've been up to

    Part III of the storm wasn't much at all. We got another 1 to 1.5 inches of the white stuff.  After the almost 2 feet of snow from parts I and II, that was nothing. Hubs spent most of the day trying and finally succeeding clearing the lower part of our driveway, with a lot of help from the next door neighbor's plow guy, and his childhood friend Gary. It was a very large task, he wouldn't have been able to do it alone with just his snow blower. The berm at the top of that part of the driveway was over 6 feet tall.

    What I really wanted to tell you about today was an adventure I had after this past weeks Stitch n Bitch. Kim H and I went on a short road trip to Hobby Lobby. She needed something, I forget what, and as long as I was there, I found a couple of things I had needed! First, I found that they had some of the plastic rings I couldn't find anywhere else. The ones I use for the Lazy Kim's Cat Toys. I also found some black elastic thread to use in the top ribbing of my legwarmers. Huzzah!

    Of course, I haven't worked on them in days, since Hubs came home for the weekend, and I want to spend as much time with him as I can before he has to go back. In fact he's taking me out to dinner tonight, and this time we are actually going to go out, not just ordering in.

    I've also been enjoying watching the Curling tournament at the Olympics. I feel bad that our men's and women's teams aren't doing very well, but it's amazing to watch.

    Tomorrow I will get back to work on the legwarmers. Promise.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Big Storm, Part II

    The last storm was bad, and when I went to bed last night, the weatherman was telling me that there would be up to another 6 inches by morning today. I figured I could break through that berm in four wheel drive, and get to Sara's to watch Owen.

    HA the weatherman was  *surprise* wrong!  When I got up and opened my front door, all I could say was "HOLY SHIT!" There was more snow last night than all of the more than 20 hours of the last storm! The walkway to the front door looked like it had never even been shoveled! The Jeep was buried so deep I wasn't sure we could get it out. But plow guy Matt got it out. He is a miracle worker.

    You see, we park on the side of the road, and the county plows throw lots more snow on our cars than you can imagine. You know how you get upset when the end of your driveway gets plowed in? The entire front of our property is where we park. There used to be 3 vehicles there, now there's just Hubs' truck and my Jeep.

    Needless to say, I didn't make it to Sara's. Again. I feel so bad, but I don't think she will get in trouble for not going in to work. I was really shocked by how much snow we got hit with. Here is a photo of the Jeep, followed by our shoveled walkway.

     And they are saying it's not over yet. It's supposed to snow again tomorrow. KMN. It may not look like much, but the snow depth on the walkway is at least 24". Let's hope tomorrow's post is NOT entitled "The Big Storm, Part III" !!                         

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Storm Day Activities

    Today it's snowing a whole freaking lot. We have at least 8 inches already, and it's gonna keep snowing until sometime tomorrow. I'd been waiting all day for our plow guy to call, so I could go out and clean off the Jeep so it can be moved so he can plow. (<-I know that's a horrible sentence) He called a while ago, said he would call me again when he was almost here. He didn't. He beeped. So I got dressed again and went out.

    The first time I went out to clean off the Jeep, it was really coming down. I cleaned off the front, then the sides and roof. By the time I finished the back and walked around to the front, it was covered again. WTF. He is a really nice guy (now, he was a brat when he was a kid), and when I expressed my fear of trying to break through the road berm, he even moved the Jeep for me!

    I came back inside and fixed myself a drink. Then I hear shoveling noises outside. I thought it was Hubs' friend Gene, who said he would come shovel me out later in the day. Imagine my surprise when it was our next door neighbor! He had borrowed our shovel yesterday and didn't return it. I was gonna go over and ask for it back, but no one has been home all day.

    Aside from all that, I've been mostly knitting today! I've made some real progress on my legwarmers. Between knitting and playing free cell, I'm managing to keep busy.

    I've also been keeping tabs on various family members who had to be out today. My daughter Sara didn't have to work, but her Hubs did. He's home safe and sound. Son Jesse didn't have to go in, but future daughter-in-law Julie did. I hear that they let her go home at noon. I know she's safe because she's posted photos of their snow accumulation on facebook.

   I know son James and his wife Jessica are safe too. My mom is safe because she didn't go anywhere. Friend Kim and her Cherub are home, still waiting for word on her mom, who should be arriving home from work very soon. I just got word that she's home!! Friend Bonny is safe for now, but she has to drive in to work later tonight. I will be anxious about her until I hear in the morning that she made it home safe.

    Once Hubs checks in tonight, then I'll know that everyone I care about most is safe. I didn't sleep very well last night, worrying about the snow, and if I would have to get to Sara's or not. So around noon, I got really sleepy so I went in to lay down and try to take a nap. I laid there for about an hour, but couldn't get to sleep. I kept hearing plowing noises that I thought was our guy. Eventually I gave up and got up.

    I've also been watching this really interesting show on Netflix. It's called The Following, and stars Kevin Bacon. Wow, it's really good. It was recommended to me by friend Kim. I'm glad I gave it a chance.

    I hope if anyone you care about is affected by this horrendous storm, that they are all home from wherever they had to go, and that they are safe and warm.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I am so lucky!!

    I truly have the bestest knitting friend in the world. Kim H. has gifted me with another pair of felted clog slippers. I am truly blessed! This is my third pair, I have worn through two pair already.

    I went to Stitch n Bitch this morning as usual, and when she got there, I was presented with my new slippers! They were unfelted at the time. I was too excited to take a photo of them pre-felting, I wanted to get them right in the washer! I put them in the dryer and after one cycle they were almost done. I tried a second cycle, but the stupid dryer is stopping early again. So I took them upstairs and they are drying on the baseboard heater by the front door.

    That's where I put my slippers every night when I go to bed, and in the morning they are nice and warm. I have to place a pair of boots next to the heater, and then rest the slippers between the boots and the baseboard. I've already turned them a few times.

    Here's how they look! They are so pretty!

    And just as I requested, they are a little big. Perfect!! I can't wait for them to be dry so I can wear them.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A sad comparison

   This has been on my mind for a while now. I am still not sure how to go about explaining it to you. I have seen, as have we all, the videos of the soldiers returning to their families. The tears, the joy, the surprise of it all. I have no desire to take anything away from that. These Americans deserve to be celebrated.

    However,  I have gradually come to compare these homecomings to the ones that our Viet Nam era veterans had received. Those brave souls were just as deserving of our country's recognition. Instead many of them were spat on, and called names like "baby killer". It seems to me that those soldiers felt that they had to hide the fact that they had served in the military at all.

    It seems to me as if those soldiers homecomings were kept secret, almost like they were snuck in the back door. I'm sure their families were just as glad to have them home, but it was not done in public. And that wasn't fair. Granted, I was still in high school when the war ended, and never personally knew anyone who served in the military at that time.

    It just seems so sad to me. That's all I wanted to say. If anyone in your family served our country's military during that era, please thank them. And once for me. And if you agree with me, share this post. Thank you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Visible progress!

    At long last, I have actually made some visible progress on the legwarmers. Huzzah! It seems that in the last few days I've had more free time than usual, so I was able to knit up a storm. At this rate they should be done in a flash.

    I have altered my plan for the legwarmers, I've decided that they don't really need to be knee high. They just need to be long enough to cover the part of my legs that get cold, so maybe halfway up the calf. Years ago, I developed the habit of wearing the bottom ribbing pulled over my feet, like a toe-less sock. That was back in the days when legwarmers were actually new, so mid to late 70's?

    Some of you may notice that I am using a different needle. Yesterday My friend Bonny called and asked if I wanted to go to Michaels craft store. Of course I said YES! So we went, and I figured that as long as I was there, I might as well pick up a shorter size 3 circular needle. Now I can return the borrowed one to it's rightful owner. Not that there was a problem, I just don't like having to borrow things, as I tend to lose things, usually my own.

    And lastly, there's an idea for a post that's been rattling around in my mind for a while now. I still need to think about it some more. I'm trying to figure out how I want to say what needs saying. The topic is something I've gradually become aware of over the last few years.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Knitting and memories

    I was thinking about my grandmother a little while ago. The one who taught me to knit when I was 10, whom I lovingly refer to as The Knitting Nazi. I was washing dishes, and she frequently enters my thoughts during that particular activity. Maybe she is the reason I hate doing it so much. She was a particularly unpleasant person when she got old, and I remember telling her I hated her when she made me wash dishes when I had a friend over to play.

    That train of thought reminded me that when I was a kid,  I hated that all the silverware was in the bottom of the sink. Do you know that as soon as I moved out on my own, I found a large plastic tumbler to be kept by the sink, that I put all the dirty silverware in. I put a few drops of dish detergent in there, and fill it with hot water. That way, the silverware isn't all in the bottom of the sink, and if I need a spoon I can wash just that one spoon. I have one there to this day.

    I managed to get some knitting on the legwarmers yesterday. I don't know if I'll be able to today, as Hubs and I are spending the day together, culminating in dinner out tonight. I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Here's the deal

    I must say, it was an absolute joy to drive the Jeep without fear or worry. I had to promise Hubs that the next time I think there's something wrong with my vehicle, I will make him listen to me. You would think he would already do that, considering this is the third time this has happened.

    The first time, I told Hubs that there was something wrong with the Lincoln I'd been driving. I told him it was vibrating really badly, that my butt was going numb. He told me it was probably a bubble in the tire, until he drove it. Apparently something really important like the drive shaft, but not the drive shaft, had broken. I drove that car all the way to Wappingers and back to Hyde Park like that. To this day he says he doesn't know how that car kept running.

    The second time, I was sitting in my car, at that time I was driving a Nissan Stanza. As I sat there waiting for someone, I felt a thunk, and the sound of the engine changed. It had been humming, and after the thunk, the hum was lower pitched. I mentioned it to Hubs and again he blew me off.

    Until one night, I had to drive him to the E.R. because he had burned his eyes while welding. Since he could only listen, he noticed the change in the engine sound. The next day we went to the drub store to get the meds for his eyes. He sent me in, telling me he would check the engine while I was in the store.

    When I came out, he was sitting in front of the store in the car, all grim faced and staring ahead. I got in, and asked him what he found. We drove directly to the garage, where he told me that an engine mount had broken, and the engine was falling out of the car. He fixed it and it wasn't a big deal to fix. But I was hoping he would learn from that and listen to me when I tell him something is wrong with my car.

    With the Jeep, I had asked him more than once to drive it, maybe he could tell what it was from a test drive. He has mad diagnostic skills. But I was unsuccessful. Do you think that maybe he will listen to me in the future? Only time will tell....

    I realize this post may repeat old stories, and I apologize if that is so.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

After the storm

   At this point, all I can do is hope the storm is over. We must have over a foot of snow at this point. We have shoveled, and been plowed out. Maybe this afternoon I can get some work done on my legwarmers.

    Yesterday I didn't get to knit at all, we were busy at doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and picking up meds at the drug store. Hubs needed blood work, so that took a while.

    The bad news is that my Jeep broke. I made it home from Sara's house Friday, barely, parked it and swore I wasn't driving it again until it was at least looked at. I didn't get to tell Hubs about it until Saturday evening after he got home from work. With husbands, timing is everything.

    Friday night he was too busy venting about work. I would just have added to the stress, so I made the executive decision to wait. In the end it turns out that once again my instincts were correct. It seems that my right rear wheel was falling off. Two of the studs were broken off, and the whole thing was wobbling when I drove. That would have been the "whoop whoop" sound I was hearing when I drove.

   The good news is that it's now all fixed. And Hubs can return all those other parts he bought before he realized what the problem actually was. After he came home with my repaired Jeep, he was freaking out that he hadn't noticed the problem. And the fact that I had mentioned to him twice that there was a problem.

    So I get to babysit for little Owen tomorrow. I can't wait to see him! I just hope the roads are all passable in the morning.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back to knitting!

    I've been working on my legwarmers frequently, and have progress to show you! It's helped tremendously to have the circular needle, and things are moving right along. Without further ado, here is today's progress photo!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Laundry Sauce update

   Last year, I made my own laundry detergent from a recipe I found online. I have recently seen the link again on facebook. I thought it was time to tell my experiences with it.

    The first batch I made was the only one that blended properly. I was pleased as punch because it had a mayonnaise like consistency, just as explained in the recipe. The rest of the jars didn't blend completely, there were two layers. It did still work, however. The other two jars I gave away. I used my jar of Laundry Sauce all up, using one tablespoon per load, just as directed.

    It worked well, just as they said it would. That being said, I did have some problems with it. It did not remove stains, as stated. I tried it multiple times. My stains remained. I even rubbed it into the stain and left it overnight, and it still remained. My laundry did smell fresh and was clean, though.

    There was another problem with it. After long term use of the Sauce, my dryer stopped working. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. I would set the timer for an hour and after an hour the clothes were still wet. Eventually I stayed down there while the dryer was running, only to find it was stopping after approximately 5 minutes.

    Upon close examination, the lint screen was completely clogged. Every hole was filled. I remove the lint after every load, and this was the first time this had ever happened to me. I ended up having to take the screen upstairs and soak it in a bucket to loosen the dried up gunk, then take a scrub brush to it to clean out the holes of the screen.

    In my opinion, the laundry sauce was the culprit. In the past, I had examined the screen and it had never been the least bit clogged. I have stopped using the laundry sauce regularly, and only use it once in a while now. Those who use public laundry facilities will have better luck.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Successful Transition

    I have been working on my two-legwarmers-at-once most of the morning. Using the straight needles was getting really old. I have talked about this before, I am totally spoiled by circular needles. I use them for everything I knit.

   I borrowed a size three circular needle from my good friend Kim H. and have successfully transferred both legwarmers to it. Now I'm ready to rock and roll. There is enough of them done to easily tell which stitch to do now. The first few rows were tough, between the black yarn and the tiny stitches. I was sitting here chanting "knit, knit, purl, purl" over and over again. Gotta love 2 x 2 ribbing. There's going be about 5 or 6 inches of it, so I could very well go insane before it's all said and done.