Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A charming puzzle

Last night, with my feet up and the television providing soothing babble in the background, I finished the body of the Icelandic sweater. Placing the fronts and back on hold and completing the cast offs for armhole stitches, I turned my attention to the sleeves. While I plan to knit them side by side, I only have one set of US size 6 double points, so I have to knit them one at a time until I reach the end of the first pattern repeat and I'm able to switch to bigger needles. Knitting them side by side assures they'll be as close to identical twins as I can manage. Once those are done, I'll knit them into the waiting body of the sweater.

And then the real fun begins...

There is a certain amount of charm associated with this type of knitting. The boring parts, which are the necessary puzzle pieces, will be done and by week's end, I'll start the yoke. The excitement of working with all of the colors and watching the patterns emerge as I take what's on paper and apply it to yarn, will be enough to see my needles flying through this portion of the sweater. Working with color always leaves me saying, "just one more row." Soon, another gorgeous and cozy cardigan will be done.

Just in time for the 90 plus degree weather.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Damp Dungeon

On the Forest level of Donkey Kong Country Returns, there is a world called Damp Dungeon where there is moisture, plenty of unusual creatures and spiders galore. Of course, being my favorite level, I've conquered that world, but cannot for the life of me conquer the real life dampness in my real life basement. This is where I've spent the majority of my three day weekend off--scrubbing, disinfecting, killing spiders (and centipedes), repacking damp boxes and routinely emptying the two dehumidifiers that are working as hard as me to rid the basement of moisture. Today I had a reprieve, but only because Rachel is here and someone has to keep an eye on her. It helped that for the first time in about two weeks, we had a day with no rain.

While I fully recognize that compared to thousands of others, I got off easy, I'm still feeling whiny and exhausted, and not a little sad at the layout of cash earmarked for other things. There will be no summer vacation this year, because instead, we will be providing one for the professionals who will waterproof the basement.

The weather was hot today, and while humid, it didn't rain. Tomorrow's forecast is the same, with I think a chance of evening showers. We've jumped straight from the crappiest spring on recent records right into the depths of summer. Seeing that it was now or never, I planted wildflower seeds, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs and squash. Ironically, I watered the new plants, but hope they won't need more for awhile. The soil was balking at the sprinkle of water I did provide--there truly is nowhere for it to go.

I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow. I need a break. I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day. As soon as I get back from taking Stinkerbell home, I think I'm going to put my feet up, knit a little, and watch Band of Brothers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wanted: Ark in good condition

The only good thing about the three inches of rain that fell yesterday is that we aren't faced with shoveling its equivalent in snow. That would be nearly three feet, give or take. So far this spring, we've accumulated around 13 inches of rainfall (usual is around 7 inches--the record 16) and the weather pattern seems to be holding to much what the winter pattern produced. While my home is standing, and I don't have much to bitch about compared to many, I'm still a little frustrated with this weather.

Two days ago, we stripped sod in our new garden area, but are unable to plant due to all of the precipitation. I just need a day or two of dryness to get out into the mud pit garden. So do more serious farmers. I heard yesterday that many of them have foot high corn growing in their nurseries that they're waiting to transplant. This promises to be a summer of low yield and high prices for fresh vegetables.

Hopefully I can get out there soon to offset those prices. Even a little would be nice.

In the event this weather pattern won't end, I've been reading ark building instructions. If you don't have a spare ark, do you have any gopherwood handy?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Someone's going to sleep well tonight

That's Leo on the left as seen on the camp's doggie cam.

This beastie boy of mine can be completely overwhelming at times. For a much needed break for his routine slaves handlers, the brat will be spending the day at camp. This is his sentence for chasing the chipmunk in the yard last night and knocking over my lavender seedlings during pursuit...the chipmunk was on the other side of the fence.

Doesn't seem like punishment, does it? Maybe it will when the staff hoses him down and douses him with doggie shampoo.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blackbeard, zombies and mermaids...oh, my!

It's with great relief to find we're still here today. After all, we missed Full Moon Movie Night last Sunday and are looking forward to correcting both that oversight, and finding the fountain of youth.

What could possibly be better than a tasty Italian dinner with Johnnie Depp for dessert?


Friday, May 20, 2011

My Last Fibery Friday...Ever?

If I had known this would be my last Fibery Friday, I'd have been better about posting more routinely.

Due to the heavy workload this week, I've been unable to prepare properly for the end of the world tomorrow. I was so certain I'd be well on my way to finishing my Icelandic sweater so I could show it off at the pearly gates, but I'm exhausted and keep falling asleep knitting mid-row. I'm stuck in that sea of stockinette stitch, which, coincidentally, is beginning to feel like purgatory. The color work flies by, but that white? It'll look stunning when done, but it's boring as hell to knit (which is what I told the LYS owner I was looking for--mindless knitting). I'm also behind on spinning and feel bad that won't be ready, either. Every time I think I've spun all the fiber in that color, I find more.

If the world doesn't come to an end Saturday, I've been reading the new CDC guidelines on preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, which we all know is coming. Finally, someone is taking this issue seriously, and I'm thankful to know the CDC and our government are prepared and will have my back.

Tell me I'm not alone in being ill prepared for the end of the world or the Zombie Apocalypse. You're running behind, too, right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moon over Detroit? You betcha.

Dear Ms. Full Flower Moon,

Don't think because I can't see you through all that cloud cover that I don't know you're there. Your hidden presence has brought an abundance of lunacy and work overload and your assistance in vacating the atmosphere around here would be greatly appreciated. Incidentally, if you have any pull with Mr. Jet Stream, it would be nice if you could ask the clouds to get the hell out of the way, too. I mean, really...How can there be a Full Flower Moon if the sun can't shine upon the gardens?


Nurse Rudee

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reflections of a hoarder

I'm becoming the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother, Irma, but only when it comes to sweet pickles (she hoarded ground coffee, salt and pudding mix). Apparently, I'm forgetful when I get to the grocery store and cannot recall if I'm out, or flush with pickles, so I buy more. It would seem I also don't know when one jar is already open and go ahead and open another and only I can be the culprit here as nobody else eats them. It's not like I open a jar at snack time, either. I only eat sweet pickles when I make grilled cheese sammies and tomato soup.

For some reason, I think I'd better stock up on sharp cheddar cheese.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring decorating

Today I have to take the hockey banners down from my site. I really should have done it Thursday when the Wings were done in by the Sharks, but I was busy. Today is the day I'll clean things up, and not without a little sadness. What can I say? Go Lightning!

With most of last week being vacation, I went nowhere, but I did get a few things done. Most importantly, I planted some new flowers. Today was going to be for renting one of those sod strippers and getting a vegetable bed started, however, it's looking like we're in for an all day rain. Tomorrow doesn't look too good for that plan either. This slow moving system is taking its time getting out of here.

There is a special project that went up in the yard last week, but I'm not going to show you until the muralist gets here. Suffice it to say, it involves a fence and paint. The fence, long in discussion, was to keep Leo separated from that damn pitbull, and to prevent us from having to look at the accumulating piles of dog excrement that my irresponsible neighbor fails to clean on a regular basis. We were going to put it right against the existing fence, but decided to move it forward some. Once it was up, we realized that without a dog to trample the plantings, it would be a great sunny spot to grow veggies and herbs.

Along the existing back fence, I plan to grow lavender--lots of it--to shield my eyes from the pit and provide a little perfumed respite from the dog-do. She--my neighbor--is just plain ignorant. I'd thought Isaac had gone to Maryland, and come late January, I was a little sad to see him out there because she doesn't take care of him.

Blogger is apparently having a few decorating problems of their own with some of us having an inability to publish and mysteriously vanishing comments. If you've commented here and can't find your comment, it's Bloggers fault, not mine. I treasure every word you leave here and comments feed the soul--even when we don't see eye to eye on an issue. Unless you've been incredibly insulting and your link leads to sites with people performing questionable acts, I'd never delete your comment. According to this post from blogger, all should be back to normal, soon. I hope it's not raining at Google. It could be a long weekend...

The photos are mine, snapped this morning during a lull in the rain. The stunning lilacs belong to my next door neighbor, and the minute I see her car pull out today, I will be doing some surreptitious pruning (but only on my side of the fence). The aroma is intoxicating.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pants on fire and other thoughts

If you don't want the sun to awaken you in the middle of the night, don't fall asleep reading your kindle and forget to turn off the lamp. I'll let you think about that.

Along the same lines, if you don't want to dream you're trapped in a maze with gorillas, chimps and bizarre looking bad guys, do not engage in playing Donkey Kong Country Returns before you go to sleep.

Thursday is a great day to watch hockey, especially when your team has forced a game seven!

The dog is a liar and pits his handlers against one another. It's true. Yesterday morning, I fed him and then washed the caked on food off his chin. Thirty minutes later, he and my husband joined me in the living room, where I noticed that, once again, the dog had caked on food on his chin. He'd conned my husband into feeding him a second breakfast by making him think he was starving. What is he? A hobbit? I swear, if allowed, he'd eat 20 times a day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On keeping faith

He shoots....He SCORES!

I can't tell you how many times in my life I've heard those words, but it's a lot. Growing up, I was surrounded by hockey fans, but none more rabid than some of my own family members. From the time my brother could walk, he was playing "hockey" in the long hallway of our suburban home. By himself. He was both goaltenders, and the only player, but for hours, he'd entertain himself. The hardwood floor told the tale of all of his games. When he got a little older, he played the sport on a team, on real ice. And then, well, life has a way of going on, but he still adores hockey and his beloved Red Wings. I doubt he's missed attending, watching or listening to a single game--especially playoff games.

Late last night, I knew I wouldn't be disturbing him by shooting a text when the Wings finally threw a little chum on the ice for the Sharks and drew blood. Of course he was awake and watching. I can count on him being right where he's supposed to be during a game because he is a die hard fan, not a fair weather associate.

He was a fan when everyone here called his favorite team the Dead Wings. The franchise couldn't give away tickets in those days and it was not uncommon to see empty seats in the arena. Still, my brother had faith, and for that he was rewarded with some hockey fan glory days. Even though this series with the Sharks was not going our way, I doubt my brother's faith was tested.

Mine own was wavering. I had visions of a sweep, and not the way the one with the Coyotes went down...more like last year's with the Sharks. Going into game 4, down by 3 games, the Wings pulled a rabbit out of the hat and forced game 5. Against all odds, last night they forced game 6 and my brother's team is still alive in the playoffs.

I'm quite sure that's no surprise to a man with faith.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Short and Sweet

"Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back."

~Florence Nightingale, 1914

Happy Nurse's Day to all of my nursing colleagues.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's officially a staycation

I was hoping to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. It's held the first full weekend in May, and this year, it falls on Mother's Day weekend. Though this would not ordinarily hold me back, Stinkerbell is quite sick with some sort of viral pollution and the thought of being so far away from her doesn't sit well. So today we'll go to the doctor and take a few pictures to be certain it's not worse than I think it is.

Neil Young was spectacular. I've seen a lot of aging rockers in the past few years, and this man's unique voice is still as special today as it was 40 years ago. He was solo--not necessarily unplugged--and played an array of music from throughout his career. I thought several of his song's from last year's release, Le Noise, were spectacular, and moved me emotionally. I got chills listening to his song, Love and War. You can listen to the HD version here on YouTube. While there, listen to Walk With Me. The man is a genius with a guitar, but more than that, he's a very moving poet. A solo act is the perfect venue to demonstrate his writing and musical skills.

If you have the opportunity, don't miss this concert. It was totally worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I'm more than happy with the appearance of the first color chart the second time around. Ripping was totally worthwhile, so thanks for the encouragement to do so. Though there is a little something different to the darker shade of gray/brown yarn (lying against the white), on the whole, I don't think it's that noticeable. Close up, you can see the sheen of the mohair in the fiber that's absent from the lopi. It'll do.

Though I've had a few exercises in futility these past few weeks, I'm not going to let that trouble me. In the first place, I'm on vacation until the 16th of May, and in the second, we're going to see Neil Young tonight.

OK, that's enough foolin' around. I've got to go find my cowboy boots.

Wish I could take you all with me tonight, but since I can't, here's a little Neil Young for you:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Heeding advice

Let it not be said that I don't listen to what people say here. I've taken your advice and ripped the first color chart of the sweater out, out, out! It wasn't speaking to me (not to mention some of you), but in the past, that hasn't stopped me from moving forward. This time it did. I kept the brown border because I couldn't bear the thought of reknitting all that one by one ribbing I like it, but I ditched the ecru.

In the frogged photo, the ecru doesn't look pink, don't you agree? This was how I was led astray in the first place. With my second choice, I strayed outside of the Lopi selections and purchased Lamb's Pride bulky. The fiber content is slightly different, but it's spun similarly and knits to the same gauge.

And lookie there....I even knit a little swatch to see if the colors play well together. I liked Unmitigated's idea of blue in place of the brown, but that's for my next Icelandic project. I've been thinking I need a maize and blue sweater for next fall's football season.

Just to give you all a clearer idea of what I'm aiming for in a finished product, here's the picture of Elka from the book. Apparently, I'm going to have to improve on my crochet skills as that button band is nothing but crochet. One bridge at a time...

Monday, May 2, 2011

On running hot and cold

I wrote something really whiny for the weekend, but didn't post. Something didn't seem right to me about that, especially after I saw a colleague at the hospital who was distraught over learning of the death of her niece in the Southern storms. Her family's hopes were lost when they found her body ten miles from where her children had been rescued. The family had all been together when the storm struck. How does my week even seem worthy of mention after that?

Still, it doesn't mean I didn't feel spent after the paces I went through. Though I had no hopes of a solution, I completed the expert rated Saturday Yahoo sudoku puzzle (in record time). Feeling buoyed by success, I went to the yarn store and bought a sweater's worth of yarn for another Icelandic sweater. Funny that...today I tried the easy puzzle and had a heck of a time finishing the dumb thing. And now....now I'm wondering if I made a mistake on the colors for the Lopi sweater.

I picked the pattern, Elka, from the book, The Best of Lopi (note--that link is to that top secret society to which I belong and unless you do, too, you can't go there). Though the colors didn't seem quite right to me, and nothing in the store exactly matched those used in the pattern, I came away with what I thought were close approximations. Saturday night I knit the border--no easy feat with US size 6 needles and bulky yarn--and on Sunday night, right about the time the big news was being splashed across the television, I knit the first of the color charts. As you can see by how much I accomplished, I stayed up late knitting and watching history unfold.

What do you think here? The brown has quite a bit of red, which to my eye, turns the ecru shade pale pink. The oatmeal colored yarn has no red, and a lot of gray. Do I keep on knitting, or start over with a another beige that's more a member of the gray family? It's not a great amount of work, so I'd rather rip now, or we all forever hold our peace.

Top photo--although there is a political elephant in the room, I thought I'd post a picture and a comment about the newest edition to my neighborhood. Here he (or she) is posing at the peak of my garage. I tried to get closer, but it ran away. He (or she) is probably one of the squirrels living in my attic.