Saturday, February 28, 2015

Company For Breakfast

This morning while having my toasted banana bread and coffee I glanced out the patio doors and there was a squirrel munching on a peanut watching me.  No matter how frustrated Durwood gets over their blithe ignoring of the Slinkies I think they're clever and resourceful and don't really mind them eating some peanuts as long as they don't chase all the birds away to do it.  And they mostly share, at least they're not sitting on them all the time guarding them so bluejays and woodpeckers can come get some too.

I did get all the vacuuming done yesterday but I saved the floor cleaning for today.  Don't want to pile all the fun into one day now, do I?  No, I do not.  None of this cleaning stuff takes very long if you do it in little bits.  I'm still planning to hire someone to wash down the walls and all the wood trim and cupboards before we have the whole place painted sometime this spring--as soon as we can leave the windows open.

Last night I cast on a little hat.  It's called Fuzzy Little Shapka.  Isn't that a funny name?  The next couple rows will have red eyelash novelty yarn carried along so there'll be stripes of plain yarn alternating with extra fuzzy stripes, and it tapers to a point at the top.  I think it'll be darned cute.

I get a daily email from Allrecipes.com and the other day it was a slew of breakfast recipes.  One is for Overnight Blueberry French Toast, you know, one of those standard "soak bread in eggs and bake in the morning" recipes, but this one incorporates cubes of cream cheese and blueberries in the middle of the layers of bread, and you make a blueberry sauce for topping it..  I might just have to put together a half batch.  Purely in the interests of research, you understand.  I wonder what kind of berry fruit's on sale at Aldi.

February 28--Reagan Bradshaw, Computer Chip.  It looked like a jewel lying in a stray light beam behind the wing chair.  Mae stooped to pick up what turned out to be a silicon chip with circuits printed on it in gold.  She thought it looked like an ornate framed art piece for a dollhouse but she knew it was for a computer or phone, some sort of electronic thing.  The idea that something this tiny could talk to a satellite boggled her mind.  She remembered how amazed she was the first time Mama had called Aunt Trudy in Seattle long distance.  Her voice was so clear Mae thought she had to be right next door playing a trick.

Hey, it's the last day of February already. That means the first day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox is right around the corner, only a bit over three weeks away.  Woohoo!  I can tell that the sun's getting warmer and it's definitely higher in the sky than it was a few weeks back.

Oh, I went to see the doc about my vertigo yesterday and he said it's caused by a virus, I was the 3rd or 4th person he'd seen yesterday for it, and I can cut way back on the sleep-inducing anti-vertigo meds.  He also said I have fluid in my ears, but they don't ache, they clear easily, and he said I probably got it from LC.  Neither of us has colds, how can that be?  I think he made that up.  Time to go Swiffer the kitchen floor now that breakfast's over and blogging's done.  I'm trying to do better with this housecleaning schtick.
--Barbara

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hold Your Coffee

I finished the second, no-decreases coffee clutch last night.  (I think that's a dumb name, I need to think of another one.  Coffee sweater, yeah, that's better.)  I finished the second, no-decreases coffee sweater last night.  I'll have to wait until Monday to try it out since I made it for the skinnier mug I have at work.

Just after 8 o'clock the furnace guys came to put a new furnace in the rental side.  When the guy came to fix their furnace last week he said that there's a burn mark on the control board and the furnace is 12 years old (ours is too) so it's pretty much at end of life.  We had the estimator come on Saturday and decided to get a new one installed.  We could have spent $700 on a new control board but that's no guarantee that the furnace wouldn't pack it in soon.  So there's a new furnace going in next door right now.


Then this morning Durwood helped me frog the green wool & cotton crocheted scarf I made a couple years ago.  It comes to the surface of my scarf drawer every once in a while and it's too small and too stiff to wear so we turned it back into a yarn ball and later (after I vacuum) I'll find a different pattern to make it into.

Yes, you read that right.  I intend to vacuum every square foot of the carpet in this house today.  A lot of driveway salt gets dragged in and spread around in winter so, despite my loathing of the noisy thing, I'm going to use it today.  I'm going to Swiffer the kitchen and bathroom floors too.  I'd better get cracking.

February 27--George White, Hands Reaching Out.  Claire ran and ran.  Branches tugged at her clothes like hands reaching out out of the dark.  Tree roots tripped her and she fell sprawling on the leaf litter, inhaling dust and mold spores, then scrambled up to run some more.  Tears stained her cheeks, her jaw was clenched, and her hands made fists as she ran.  She was angry.  Matt expected her to quit her job to follow him to some one horse town in North Dakota for the possibility of a job.  He had put in their 30-day notice to the landlord and called her employer too.

Time to put on housecleaning clothes and get sucking up dirt.
--Barbara

Thursday, February 26, 2015

All Hat, No Cat-tle

I read that expression in a Western novel (one of the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box [I love the scenery in them]) and it tickles me.  It refers to a man, usually in late middle-age, who dresses up cowboy and talks all folksy-Western (shucks, ma'am), but hasn't got a steer to his name and probably lives in town and always has.  I used it today because I finished the Purple & Red beanie last night after supper (hey, I was busy at work yesterday and with real paying customers too, also Mrs. Boss left a couple of boxes for me to check in, price, and put away) but we didn't see the cat.  (har! got that "cat" part in there, pretty sneaky don't you think?)

It's so cold this morning, -3 right now, that I just leaned out the patio door to snap a quick sunup photo.  I love the color changes in the sky but unfortunately the color's washed out when it hits the camera.  I don't know why but imagine this a slightly (very slightly) more intense yellow-peachy color at the treeline.

The vertigo whirlies are still with me every so often.  Getting out of bed is a treat and anytime I move fast, stand up fast, or turn a corner I need something solid to touch to catch my balance.  It's like having one drink, without the music, dancing, and fun.  Good thing for the pills and I think I'll see if I can't visit the chiro on my way home from work today.  Tomorrow I can couch it most of the day, that feels the best.

February 26--Earl Ripling, ER114.  There's no writing implement as satisfying as a No. 2 pencil with a rapier-sharp point.  The wood shaft warms in your fingers and the graphite glides on the page.  These days it's difficult to find a pencil that can stand up to the rigors of the sharpener.  Too often a chunk of the wood breaks off and then the graphite breaks out of the center too.  There's an art to sharpening.  You don't just cram the pencil in and start cranking.  You need to hold the shaft with the right amount of pressure so that you don't grind off too much at a time.  Good notebooks are hard to find too.  My preference is unlined paper so my thoughts can flow freely onto the page but my innerHitler cries foul when my lines aren't straight.  Being a free spirit takes a lot of discipline.

Yesterday my friend Lala and I booked a one-night, meet-in-the-middle escape in just 3 weeks.  We both need the breather.  We'll take walks and talk talk talk, maybe we'll even write a page or two.  Can't wait.  Then the week after that Durwood and I are going up to Door County for a 3 night escape.  We'll snuggle in with bowls of soup, a fireplace, and a Jacuzzi tub.  March is going to be good.  It has to be since February sucks.  Off to work.
--Barbara

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

More Hat & Less Cat

I spent most of yesterday on the couch watching shows I'd DVR-ed and crocheting on the purple & red beanie.  I kept dozing off so I didn't get done but I'm in the home stretch, or maybe it's the back stretch, anyway I've got less than 10 rounds left to do.  With any luck I can finish it at work today.

I got my last Christmas gift in the mail yesterday too.  The set of interchangeable needles I bought with my gift certificate came.  Eeeee!  I love the sharp tips of these needles and I like the green blue color, it reminds me of the ocean.  Of course I have all these sizes of needles in fixed ones but these are better.  Pointier.  Prettier.  Thanks again, DS, DIL1 & LC.  I love them and I love you.  More.

No sign of the cat last night, although I was watching and whipped my head around every time the outside light turned on, which didn't help the abating vertigo.  Both the anti-dizzy pills and a visit to the chiropractor are helping that go away.  *whew*

February 25--Noel Schwab, Cargo.  The dock was wet and slick with years of spilled grease and oil.  The sodium lights on the tall poles around the edges cast rainbows in the spray and in the coils of oil in the puddles.  Jackson's boots were black with the wet and the papers on his clipboard were swollen into near illegibility.

And that's when the Sandman grabbed my pencil, tossed it and my notebook onto the nightstand, and dragged me off to Dreamland.  I was a willing captive.  Time to pile on the warm clothes and toddle off to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Still Got Marbles Rolling Around In My Head...

...but they're moving a lot slower today.  Whew.  The pills help a lot and not whipping my head around, taking things slow helps too.  I'm glad that Mrs. Boss declined my offer to work today, another day on the couch will go a long way to making things better I think.

Last night I finished up the Many Socks Cowl.  I like it.  A lot.  I'm already planning to make another one holding a lot more strands of yarn, casting on a few more stitches, and knitting twice as many rows.  Don't you love all the colors?  The funny thing is that four of the five balls of leftovers I picked made it from cast on to bind off, one of them just barely, and the fifth one I had to add more yarn to twice.  Knitting this cowl barely made a dent in the bag of leftovers so I'll dive back in soon.

Since I need to sit still most of the day I unearthed some acrylic yarn and a hook to make a couple beanies for charity.  I'm using my old standby, "Better Late Than Never" crocheted beanie pattern and I'm already on the 9th round of 21.  It goes fast and I like that the single crochet rounds are a different color.  Seeing that little stripe color change pulls me through the pattern more quickly.

Last night we were watching Antiques Roadshow and I had scooted my chair over closer to Durwood's so I was in position to see a shadow move out by the birdbath.  The motion sensor light turned on and there was the feral black cat getting a drink.  I carefully turned out the light over the table and turned off the camera flash, then fired off a couple shots.  They're not in focus but you can see what it is.  Pretty cool.  I'm glad it's still around and found the warm-ish water so it has a drink.  I think it might bed down under the park bench I have angled in front of the furnace vent and intake on the back wall sometimes.  I've seen feathers back there and it has to be a warm spot for it out of the wind with the shed on the side the wind comes from most of the winter.  I won't feed it but I'm glad it's okay.

February 23--Gallucci Studio, 1040 Puzzle. Tom stood, fists on his hips, glaring at the drifts of papers that covered the dining room table.  He hated tax time.  Every year he resolved to set up a system to organize his receipts as time went by to make tax time simpler and, so far anyway, every year he'd end up with about two months of organization and the rest of the year in chaos.  Every hear he listed each and every deduction and each and every year he'd just missed it and had to use the standard deduction, so all his frustrating work sorting everything had been for nothing.  He'd concede defeat and just take the standard but he lived in fear that the year he gave up would be the year his deductions would put him over the edge so he'd get to keep more of his money.  Even $50 over would do the trick.

I called the chiropractor and got an appointment for this afternoon.  I don't know if she'll be able to do anything about the vertigo but it can't hurt, right?  And it might help.  Fingers crossed.
--Barbara

Monday, February 23, 2015

Not the Way I Wanted to Start My Monday

I rolled out of bed when the alarm rang and nearly fell over.  I was suddenly so dizzy I couldn't walk straight.  It took me a couple hours to figure out what was wrong--vertigo.  Don't get this, trust me, you don't want it, not even for a minute.  I tried to slough it off but ended up seeing the doc and getting some pills for dizziness.  Stupid calcium crystals in my inner ear.  The doc says I just have to wait them out.  I'm taking it easy the next couple days, but this is not the way I wanted to extend my vacation.  NOT even close.

I spent most of yesterday downstairs working on the book clutch.  I got the zipper enclosed in fabric and ended up having to unsew the cover sleeves to get the zipper sewed in.  It's in there and it zips but it doesn't lay flat and the zipper fabric pooches out weird, but this is a practice one so I'm going to keep fiddling with it.  You get the idea now.  I admit I might have to fall back to making it the way the tutorial says to make it but I've got plenty of books to cut apart, lots of fabric and a couple more zippers, all I'll have to buy is the special glue and some heavier Heat & Bond.  (Joann only had "lite")

After supper I let myself cast on a new, quickie project.  Ages and ages ago my friend, Z-Dawg, gave me a bunch of sock yarn leftovers.  I've made tiny purses out of it, used some of it for my maple tree scarf project, but mostly it just sat there looking at me with its big puppy eyes.  Then last week I found a pattern for a scarf/cowl thing made with US19 needles and 5 strands of DK weight yarn held together.  Well, I have US17 needles and most sock yarn's skinnier than DK weight so I cast on 10 extra stitches, and I probably should be carrying 6 strands but I'm 3 rounds in and I like it.  I'm calling it the Many Socks Cowl.  And because the coffee mug sweater I knitted a couple weeks ago slips off my work mug I cast on another one that I won't do the decreases on, that way it'll stay snug on the slippery cheap plastic gimme travel mug I use at work.

February 23--Andrew Child, World Map on Sky and Wall.  Kinsey was never still.  Even as a child she had to move.  Her Grandpa Charlie called her "the dynamo" and she took numerous trips to the principal's office because she had a hard time staying in her seat.  Until forth grade, that is.  In fourth grade there was Geography class and Kinsey learned that countries weren't just vari-colored spaces on paper, they were actual places where people lived, went to jobs, and spoke different languages.  She checked out an atlas from the downtown library and it was very hard to have to return it.  That year she asked for a world atlas for Christmas, only an atlas.  Grandpa Charlie subscribed to National Geographic.  He had years and years worth of them stacked in the back bedroom he used as an office.

Didn't everyone's grandpa have stacks of those yellow magazines tucked away somewhere?  I'm off to sit on the couch and knit.  Maybe I'll watch a movie, or take a nap.
--Barbara

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pretty Snow

It started snowing yesterday morning, just a few tiny flakes dancing in the wind, and by the evening we had a couple inches.  It kept snowing a bit, off and on, so we probably got a couple inches of the fluffy white stuff.  Not the heavy wet snow, thank god, this stuff I can shift with a shovel.  No need to crank up the snowblower.  A lone bunny hippity-hopped through earlier, I was pleased to find its tracks in the smooth new snow this morning when I went out to fill the feeders.

With the furnace hubbub and getting my nails done (why does that seem to take so long?) the day got away from me, craft-wise.  By the time I was ready to settle down to some sewing it was time to get ready to go to Friday Night Knitting.  Time flies when you're having... life, I guess.

L&F found these cute "knit wit" buttons and brought one for each of us last night.  I'm nearly the end of my design project and I'm real happy with how it's turning out.

February 21--Alan Kaplan, KAP 523.  The blond woman kept looking off to her right while she talked on the phone.  Meg tried to remember if lying people looked to the right or left.  She was sure that whoever was on the other end made the blond nervous.  Meg couldn't hear what she said but she could read body language pretty well.  The woman was definitely lying.  Maybe she was talking to her boss, maybe trying to talk her way out of a jam.  Then the train began to move and Meg soon lost sight of the woman on the platform.

Aaaand the furnace estimator guy just called and he'll be here in about 20 minutes, so I'd better run if I don't want to greet him in my jammies.  Seeyabye.


--Barbara