Sunday, September 20, 2009

Painting the windows- or - the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The windows were installed in 1998. I am painting them nine years later.
To be fair, there are a lot of windows in this house, and I have painted all the other ones, including windows that were new in 2005.
And another point to be considered: While I have not finished painting all the windows, the ceiling trim in the living room has not been completed, and that ceiling went up in 86. We are working on that, too. As a matter of fact, I got out the paint to prime and paint the woodwork before it gets fitted and installed.
We have also renewed our promise to finish the dining room. It's disparate elements do not match each other, never mind matching the rest of the house.
I wonder why this stuff has not bothered us? I think the fact that they were 'on the list' was enough to keep us unbothered in those busy years. In fact, they don't bother us now. We just have the time to do it.
We have never lived in a finished house. I wonder what that's like? do you still have a list? What do you put on it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What to Name the Cat

There's a week's worth of kitty crap in the box, but the cat remains without a name. Of course, the cat doesn't care. But, she IS trying to get herself named. She streaks through the house, starting her ascent to the bathroom counter before it is even in sight. She runs so heavily on the upstairs carpets that she would make a pony proud. She energetically fishes the treat off the top of the stool, manuevering it over the edge of the seat, to fall on the floor, where she chomps it down and looks up for another. She leaves a small dimple in the bedspread, on the opposite side of the bed from the dog's big dimple. She works patiently to get every door open, no matter how long it takes. She sleeps in the Old lady's chair. DH thinks that Parker (a la 'Nosy Parker') fits her. I'm thinking 'Bullet' or 'Crash'.
I'm thinking that a young cat takes a little getting used to, after years with a geriatric one. But I do like the way she feels. She's firm, sleek, and thoroughly relaxed in my arms. She drapes on my shoulder. She stretches up to meet my hand.
I like that the dog likes her. Sally suffered the disapproval of the Old Lady without complaint. This cat not only accepts Sally, she enjoys Sally. Sally is ecstatic.
If you have any good cat names, let me know.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Julie and Julia go to the Panda Buffet.

Went to the movies- Sunday matinee- senior discount ticket. I enjoyed "Julie and Julia" so much. The screenplay should get Nora Ephron an Academy Award nomination, and I hope both Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci get them, too!
DH is ready to read "My Life in France", which I have, and he has some notion of cooking a lot of Julia's recipes, as though their happiness (Julia and Paul) was somehow enhanced by the recipes, and not the other way around.
He also said "You blog." Whatever that means. I think he's got a screenplay running in his head.

We left the mall, and went to the Panda buffet for supper. There's ironic contrast for you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day #2 at the State Fair

On Friday, I was back at the State Fair, this time with a couple of knitting machines, and another MKer, to demonstrate machine knitting in the Arts and Crafts exhibit. BMKFF (Best Machine Knitting Friend Forever - left photo) and I had a great time. We had only met by email before today, and we certainly didn't get as much time as we wanted to chat.
Getting onto the state fairgrounds, finding parking to unload, carrying and setting up, tearing down and repacking aside, the day was a walk in the park. Happily, I had help from the volunteers at the arts & crafts exhibit. I especially appreciated Dan's help at the end of the day.
We were set up, and knitting, shortly after 10:00 am. A steady flow of people stopped by all day. We were scheduled to demo from 10 to 2, but before we knew it , it was 4:00!
Around noon, I headed to the Pepsi International Bldg, for a lamb gyro. It took me until 2 to get it all eaten. Driving home, I picked up some caffeine in Pulaski (and I stopped at Collosse Cheese.) By the time I had unloaded the car at home, I knew I had had a long day, but a great one.
Everytime that I knit with someone else, it recharges my MK batteries. BMKFF gave me a big boost, with her noodlings on the passap. She had some terrific samples, and the cutest baby socks. I came home and apologized to my passap, Polly, which I have to walk by to get to Bette Brother , Susie Singer and Sally Superba. I sense Polly needs more than an apology.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Butter Sculpture at the State Fair

Here are pictures of the butter sculpture. This year's entry, called "Cow Power", is a reference to the good old days when milk was delivered. By Milkmen. It also references the generation of methane from manure, a source of fuel that many farms generate and use. So far, so good.
The thing that hit me was: There are 3 cow characters in the sculpture. They are all dressed as males. Not one of the 'male cows' (true oxymoron!!) produces milk. Could we not have had one of them dressed as a female cartoon cow?
Maybe they could have had a female cartoon cow, representing a housewife, accepting a delivery of milk? How funny would THAT be?
I know you are thinking that the sculptor was a guy. Wrong. I saw the tape. Sculptor of this 800 pounds of butter was a woman.
You are also thinking "who cares?" You are right. This doesn't matter at all. Except that the American Dairy Association, which pays for this display, has clearly made sure in the past that the display had 'gender balance': If there's a young boy in the sculpture, there's a young girl.
AND, this is the American Dairy Association, not some other organization that doesn't know a bull from a cow, or which gender of cattle produces milk. Maybe that's the touchy issue here.
Still, I recall butter sculptures in the past (I think they are real memories) that did not shy away from depicting anatomically correct udders- And to tell the truth, you can walk a few hundred feet from the Dairy building to one of the cow barns, and see them in the flesh.
No, I don't think this year's sculpture needed udders. It just needed a girl, cartoon or not.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yarn Love

This yummy pile of yarn is the result of an impulse buy -
Let me start over-
I went to Stone Mills during the wool/sheep festival, and I bought a large bag of fleece. The shearer was shearing the vet's flock. The fleece was pretty clean, but mainly I bought it because it was nice and healthy, and it was the right length- around 3-4 inches. There were bags of lincoln cross fleeces (8-10 inches) and romney fleeces (6-8 inches)- but I wanted something that would run happily through the drum carder. So even though I had to skirt pretty hard to get just the quality part of the fleece, I was happy. It cleaned up nice. I spun 17 ounces total, and 1188 yards. So that amounts to a batch of sport weight (more or less). Then, I dyed it with Cushing acid reactive- Used the burner on the gas grill to simmer the batch. After drying, I rewound the skein. It's just lovely and soft. Glad I left it as a single. I am going to try it on the double bed knitting machine. I'll let you know how that goes.
By the way, this was spun on Big Zippy. (Check the old posts under 'spinning' and 'spinning wheel' labels.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Golf and more Golf!

On Sunday, DH and I joined the fun at Willowbrook Golf Course for the Resolution Center golf tournament. We were in the coed division. (Wasn't it nice of them to have a coed division? I never mind that the hot golfers come to win, win, win. I just come to golf and enjoy the day, and support the Resolution Center. Still- nice to compete in a different division than the 300 yard hitters.)
On Monday, The Ladies Monday Night league at Cedars wrapped up. We had a nice fun-night, and some great lasagna. See you all next year!
On Tuesday, I met up with DC (Darling Cousin) in Cicero, and we went to Brookhaven Golf course for 9 holes of fun. First time for me at Brookhaven. Nice course. then we went for lunch at Pronto Joey's, and my ankles are still sloshing after the having the wonderful (and very bad for you) eggplant sandwich. We did some other stuff, too, but this post is all golf!
Today, it is raining, and there will be no golf.
Soon, we'll be hip deep in bowling season, and as the days shorten it will get tougher and tougher to find some daylight to golf in. Sigh!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Golf on Friday morning---

I was bumbling around at 7:17 this morning, sipping my coffee and going for the paper, when Mark said "What time are you golfing?" THEN I remembered that I was supposed to meet my foursome at 7:15. So I left immediately for the golf course. I was the last to arrive, and I only held everybody up for a few minutes.
After today's round, I think I better golf early in the morning all the time. I carded a 50 (Woo Hoo!!) and I had 3 pars (double Woo Hoo!!!) Of course, maybe it's not the time of day. Maybe it's golfing with no bra. Will find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where have I been?

Boy, there's the question. Do you mean geographically? I've been to VA, NC, and Ontario.
Do you mean I haven't been blogging, and why is that? That's a longer answer.
Do you mean you missed me?
I'll try to catch you up later, but for now, I'll just tell you about today.
Today, I went to Lake Bonaparte, and joined a picnic with hand spinners. There were children in the water, there were wet dogs under the picnic table. There was fleece, and linen, and spinning. There were kayaks and canoes. There was FOOD! I don't know when I will be able to eat again. Not today, for sure.
The breeze off the lake just blew away everyone's cares.
We noticed that there are DEC campsites up the road by the boat ramp. Hmm. We are thinking of coming back here in September, with the camper. The dog agrees that that is a great plan.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A week At Wellesley Island is like a Month...

We dragged the camper to Wellesley Island, a whole 35 miles from home. We got there, in the rain, on sunday. We slept 10 or 11 hours. The phones are turned off because we are on 'roam'- nothing but canadian towers in range. We can't get US radio, just canadian. we might as well BE in Canada. the border is actually about 100 yards in front of us- the Canadian Coast Guard boats are by several times a day. Monday, I read. And read. The rain had stopped. We drove back to Carthage to golf inour leagues. Tuesday, we went to Kingston- a little shopping, and lunch at a favorite restaurant. An hour at the casino on the way back. Wednesday, we laid around- friends came by for the afternoon- then more friends showed up for an ADK event- a kayak paddle from our campsite to the rift and back. I turned around before the rift. I didn't want to deal with paddling against the current to get back through the rift. (For those who do not know the waters around Wellesley island, the rift is a narrow granite channel in the river, over which the international bridge, and border, is located. If you paddle in the rift, you can paddle under the bridge at the border!!! (We have done this before, notable on the day after 9-11. You gotta love life in the North Country.)
Any how- we had a great covered dish picnic, with burgers and dogss, and s'mores.
Thursday- we went golfing at the little 9 hole course in Fineview (another state park- the senior greens fee is $6. )
Came home Thursday night, as it was going to rain again.
Now it is Friday, and we are doing a week's worth of laundry and then heading out for a weekend in Corning, with you-know-who, and you-know-who-else.
I hope somebody wants to go to the races.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sally + Porcupine = Tainted Love

Oops! It happened again. Sally found the porcupine- her barking told Mark that she had the critter cornered. by the time Mark met up with her three minutes later, she was sporting a face full of quills.
Sally was a good girl, and took her medicine- all those quills had to be pulled. Her face was puffy for a couple days after.
Then, she had a few quills in her face--AGAIN! How could that be? She has been on her leash the whole time.
Well, it seems that Mark collected the quills in a bowl as he was taking them out of her face, and left the bowl on the porch. He found them dumped on the porch. Guess Sally couldn't resist a sniff.
She can NEVER resist. She is ALWAYS sorry..... but she can never, never resist.
I know how she feels.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A job with the Census

I forgot what a pain-in-the-ass a job can be. No, you can't take your phone calls. No, you can't knit. (16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older an deeper in debt.) Anyway, the folks I am working with are nice, and it's nice to be out running the road, and getting paid. Oh, yeah! Now I remember why I'm doing this. It's the money.
And, I can still fit in my spinning day, my mk day, etc, during the month. And it's only part time and ends in the summer. (I am really saying all this to de-stress myself. Guess I like retirement a lot after all.)
Mark and Sally have been taking long walks in the woods, where Sally can find places to swim (the swamp). When they get home, Sally takes a nap on my side of the bed. The comforter looks like it's been to the swamp. The dog, however, is shiny and fluffy.
Gotta go to work.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Home Improvements

Whew! Home again! We spent a couple days in Tucson and then went to Denver for a visit with Gkids and their adorable parents. Mark decided to tackle a home improvement project- just something small to pass the time. Maybe he'd replace a light fixture. Well, the kids wanted to take the carpet out of the bathrooms and put down flooring. So that's what he started. Mark and Mark would pull the carpet, take out the toilets, and prep. Sharon and Kate would fit and put down the new sheet goods. You can already tell what is going to happen, can't you. I will only say that, by the time we were finished, no one will fall through the new plywood. No, toilets aren't supposed to rock- fixed that.
Anyway- we are back home, having flown on the only day last week when things were not backed up all over the country by weather and wind. Nice ride home. Glad to be in my own bed.
I saw the robins and starlings out shopping for nest material in the back yard. They were pulling pieces of dried daylily leaf from the flower beds. I put out a big wad of wool, knowing from past years that the birds consider it premo nest lining. They found it immediately, and started taking strands of it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wobbley Stripes!

I visited Karen Allen's site
last week, and was inspired by her stitch designs. Thought I might have a try at some of these wonderful stripes. I figured out that all of her sweaters, scarves and hats are based on a couple of multistitch tuck patterns. I found one of the patterns in the stitchworld collection, and I recreated the second one from scratch. Then, I sampled.
Pictures 1 and 2 show a 2 color, two row stripe in a simple 1 row tuck. I will play with this some more, as I think this is how the caravan pattern stripes are made-
The pic 3 is knitside, and then, purlside. I used 4 colors and the stripes were 4 rows. Stripe order: BRB, ERE, GBG, EGE, RBR, EBE, RGR, GEG. I am loving the possibilities.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Zippy's Birthday!!

Now, I built Zippy, and you all know how pleased I am with Zippy. I want to point out that Zippy was put together out of PVC pipe and pipe joints. It is held together with rubber bands, because I have not yet glued the PVC pipe. Even so, Zippy is a work of art because she lets you spin Soooooo faaaaaaasssssst. I have been spinning dog hair, and I can fill a bobbin (2 oz) of a nicely spun single in mind bending time.
DH planned and built Big Zippy. It has a louet jumbo head, so Big Zippy does fat yarn. Of course, DH is not going to put something together out of PVC pipe. Oh, no. He is going to built a freakin' work of art. It not only spins like crazy, but is pleasing in every other way, as well.
(I think Zippy can hear me....) I THINK THEY ARE BOTH BEAUTIFUL!
I'll tell you what part of me thinks that: my feet and my hands! My feet think so because they are not trying to treadle like the wicked witch of the east on her bicycle. My hands think so because they are drafting faster and faster. (My whole body enjoys spinning about 6 feet back from the orifice, a trick that cannot be accomplished if you have to treadle.)
Zippy and Big Zippy join an extensive family of spinning wheels. I have the terrific open spindle spinner that DH made for me last year, the $10 Lendrum, and 2 Adkins double treadle wheels. I feel like Mia Farrow (If Mia Farrow was a handspinner and adopted every wheel she saw...)
Well, you know what I mean.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Hair of the Dog

I made handspun yarn from dog hair, for a woman who wants to knit a sentimental piece for the dog's owner. I made 240 yards, and when she picked up the yarn, she wanted about three times more. Okay, then. She dropped off a large bag of dog hair, and that has become my fill-in spinning. When I don't have a project, I spin the hair of the dog. On Zippy. My spinning speed is next to incredible on Zippy. I have gotten faster and faster.
Meantime, I think Zippy 2 will be ready for a test drive today. DH has been fussing with Z2 in the shop off and on for several days. Z2 will be cosmetically more attractive than Z, and has a bigger bobbin and is bobbin drive/flyer brake (it's a louet head).
Back to the Dog Hair.
This stuff is really very soft, and spins up nicely. (Note to BrooklynJogger: If Frederick ever grows any hair, save some for me.)
On to Knitting machines: This event will be known as the Crash of 09. I am talking about a 20 meg hard drive on a 386, with 8 meg of enhanced memory. Is there anybody around who still knows what that is? If so, this part is for you. The only thing this old 386 had to do was run an old version of knitting machine software- a DOS application that is basically a very enhanced bar code reader. She has been doing that since the early 90's. Well, not today. Oh, No! the 16 year old 20 meg seagate crashed. Totally. I did all the things you do, but she was dead. A goner. passed on. crossed over. Kicked the bucket. Not coming back any time soon.
Of course, the tragedy of any crash is not the drive, but what was on it. When I lost the drive, I lost the knitting machine software. The software, which I love, has been through a few upgrades since my version, and I had to go shopping. Sticker shock aside, I located the stuff and I'm still entitled to the upgrade price!! (Look for the silver lining...) So, I will shortly be back in business, with both of my electronic KM's on the same 'page' (of the software, that is). NOW, I'm excited. I am going skiing today. It is 'poke you in the eye' beautiful outside. A brilliant, clear, sunny day, with a couple inches of new snow on a wonderful, dense base. Perfect for a glide in the woods. The dog will get all the exercise she can stand. If you could look out over the corn fields, to the woods, and see the crisp shadows that every stick and stalk is painting with the early morning sun- you would want to be me today. Wish you all were here.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two Left Hands

My regular readers know that I am left-handed. All the lefties have figured out how to get along in a right-handed culture, and I don't know of any that would want to change hands. Of course, the older you get, and the more things you do, the more you learn that you were born with a PAIR of hands, and while one is, so-called, dominant, most tasks take two hand cooperating. Lefties don't have a dominant left hand, so much as their 'control center' for two-handed operation is not in the same brain real estate as the righties.
Lefties are 10% of the population, but are way over-represented in sports (go Rafa!), politics (lot of left-handed presidents including Obama), and science and engineering. I think part of a Lefty's success comes from being in the minority nearly anytime they are in a group. Lefties adapt.
Lecture over.
I had a treat of a day last Tuesday, when K came for the day, and we quilted ALL DAY! K is also a lefty. We had the pleasure of sitting side by side at sewing machines, and sharing cutting space and an ironing board. A lefty and a righty teaming up for this would have a different dance to do. Odds are, the lefty would have been a bit hypervigilant to keep out of the righty's way, and the righty would not have noticed. Ah, but TWO lefties - it's all good.
K finished an adorable quilt top in crayon colors. I made another tote bag. (Quelle surprise!)
Wait- I know that THIS will impress you- the bag is finished! Totally!
Now, since the sun is shining on the several feet of brilliant snow that we have, and since, while the temperature is bitter (0 degrees), there is no wind, we will be taking the dog out for a romp while we haul in firewood. We will have to shovel our way to the woodpile, but it's fluffy, sort of. We have not had any warm weather, so there will be no icy layer to make the shoveling interesting.
We have definitely arrived in the pit of winter. The bird feeders in the side yard are bracketed by two knife-edge drifts. The birds are hanging out in the deep valley between the drifts, under the feeder. They are cozy and out of the wind, with free food all around them. You can't see them on the ground, unless you look down from an upstairs window.
But now, at the end of January, the sun is high enough that it will warm you, even on a 0 degree day. Spring will come. It is inevitable now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's up to 40!!

Degrees, that is. that's the first time over freezing since Christmas time. I went out in the sunshine, with a shovel and cleaned off the steps and the walkway. Such a treat to see the packed snow peel up on the shovel, and the steps and bricks reappear. We have not been able to keep the walk bare- too much snow, and no place to put it, really. With a little above-freezing weather, the top of the snow crust melts a little and slumps, so that what was 27 inches is more like 15. And, you can finally see what slobs the birds are! Under the feeders, the seed hulls and chaff are appearing out of the snow. The dog wants to stay outside. She curls up on the snowbank by the door, and snoozes with her nose in her tail. It's quiet outside, but a very alive quiet. I shoveled out the end of the driveway, where the plow has shoved the road-scraped packed snow and ice. It is heavy work, but I went at it slowly, stopping and leaning on my shovel and giving a neighborly wave when any car passed.
Inside, I watered all the plants. Great news! The Amarylis is preparing to bloom! The flower bud has emerged from the bulb and is headed skyward. It's about 4 inches tall this morning. It will be 8 inches tall tomorrow. The amarylis is another of my houseplants with birthdays, though she is only 5 years old. She was a marked-down-to-50-cents after-Christmas purchase in 2003. I brought her home, where she bloomed in February. Then, I put the pot outside under the lilac branches, and forgot her. In the fall, I noticed the bulb was showing good green color under the brown husk, so I repotted her and brought her in. She bloomed in February again. I have repotted her annually since, though I have not really put her in a bigger pot. She bloomed twice in 2007, and once in 2008. Each time she blooms, she gives me 4 or 5 big blossoms. I have no idea how long this can go on. Does the bulb ever divide? And who cares? Come February the first, there will be big red blooms in a south window, looking out over the snow. I can never repay her.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Alternate Bowling Arrangements

So, I got picked up by another team at another bowling lanes on a Friday night league. It's a little like being adopted- There's loss and guilt to deal with, and not as much joy as you'd think. However, when you gotta bowl, sometimes you are going to feel dirty. I'll get over it.
I wasn't thinking about bowling today. When the snow finally stopped at noon time, I headed out to unbury the vehicles and get some firewood in. Two hours later, I was stripping out of wet jeans, and I had been through three pairs of heavy wool mittens. The wood was in, the cars and the driveway were cleared. That is the moment that the plow came by, winging back the bank, and filling the end of the driveway with heavy, chunky road snow. I took some tylenol, and after it kicked in, I booted up again, and put in another 30 minutes clearing the driveway. The banks are high, so each shovel-load had to be flung up, over the banks. I was so aerobicized today I made Mark get those Pepperidge farm raspberry turnovers, and some really great vanilla ice cream to help reclog my arteries this evening.
The rest of the fun I had today involved entering several months worth of bank transactions in Quicken so I can start the taxes. Mark has been handling Quicken for the last couple of years. He stopped putting in transactions a few months ago. Surprise.
Oh, well. As Scarlet says, "Tomorrow is another day." I hope its not like today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh, No! Not the Bowling Alley!

I awoke this morning to the news that my bowling alley is gone- burned down last night. I am is shock and in mourning. Once again I find myself a member of a very small set: bowlers whose lanes have burned down THREE TIMES! What are the odds? I mean, this isn't Baltimore, or some other fine bowling city where people actually insure their bowling alleys for what it would cost to rebuild them if, god forbid, catastrophe strikes.
The first disaster was January (I think) 1991. Okay, the alleys burned, but they were able to save the outer walls, and we were bowling again by September. The second time was '99. The alleys were not rebuilt. So, I bowled a couple seasons at Pine Plains, and then went to Lewis Lanes. I can tell you this: there is no joy in Lowville (or Carthage) today.
As it happens, I AM bowling today- at Pine Plains with the Senior Citizen league. The mood will be glum. Every person in that league bowled in one or the other of the lanes that are no more.
You know what? I bought a new ball on Friday. So did 3 other members of my team. My ball is with me. Theirs are all at the bowling alley. Pass some more kleenex, please.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Getting back to knitting (spinning, quilting)...

It's January 2, and 2009 is spread out before me. I want it filled with knitting, spinning, and quilting. Prospects look good for January. The calendar reveals a spinning gathering on the 14th, a roadtrip the 16th - 18th to pick up a new (to me) knitting machine, and a January 27th day of quilting with Cousin K.
I had planned to forego resolutions, but I think I was just reluctant to name my true resolutions, as they had nothing to do with self-improvement, and everything to do with bliss. Mine.
The mice were in the kitchen again, which resulted in a New Year's foray - drawers were emptied, implements put in the dishwasher, traps were put down. An execution occurred sometime during the night. While reassembling the kitchen, I sorted out some items to be discarded. Wooden spoons. We don't cook with wooden spoons. DH said he could use the kindling. I noticed that each wooden spoon had a groove or knob at the end of the handle, just right for a half-hitch if you had a mind to use them as drop spindles. Spoon number 1 had a wildly eccentric spin, which I could have predicted if I had looked at how warped it was from tip to tip. Spoon number 2 spun well, and was heavy enough to produce a decent yarn. DH and I discussed the merits of spoons a spindles. I recalled Ruth Allen's demonstration at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival last September. I described to DH her insights, which she shared while demonstrating spinning using a twig and a rock. DH suggested that the spoon would spin as well as a drop spindle with a conventional whorl.
I don't think so. I think it works. A 'twig and a rock' works. A drop spindle with a whorl works. But one works better than the other. One reason the spindle with whorl may work better is that it would be less affected a breeze- just in case you spin outside - and if you spin and walk, that spindle and whorl might just keep spinning better when you swing it, or when the camel you are riding sways from side to side. I'm just saying. But you know I will check this out as soon as the snow melts. And I get a camel. But the other stuff, sure.
Advice for all my friends: Bliss is where it's at. Don't wait. Make your resolution.