Saturday, July 29, 2006

Last day for the home girls

KnightStar is on his way home, and Katie and I are enjoying our last few hours of leisure. (Leisure, my ***. I've been cleaning.) (OK, so I've also been watching Mythbusters.)

Last night, I started the heel flap on the zebra sock.

When it's hot out, Miss Katie does what she does best.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I thought about using "Ow" for my title yesterday, but I'm glad I saved it.

Today, everything between my shins and my mouth hurt from the CPR training. As luck would have it, today was when my company had their massage therapist in for chair massages. I counted my quarters and scheduled an appointment.

She zeroed right in on my right shoulder and gave it a hefty workout. "It may hurt for a day or so," she said. Sweet jeebus. I got home and started doing normal things, like washing dishes and working a crossword puzzle, and I can barely move. Even watching TV hurts.

I hope I can find enough pillows to get into a comfortable position for sleeping.

Sorry for the whining. Maybe I will feel all better tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No good deed goes unpunished

I took my annual CPR recertification today. It was mostly uneventful, although there have been some changes in the procedures since last year.

One thing hasn't changed - the hands-on part of the class is strenuous, even more so than in the past. I was already a little achy from some work I did around the house yesterday, and now my neck and shoulders are positively sore. My surgeon told me last month that I may continue to have occasional aches around the surgical site for several months, and it turns out that performing CPR will bring that out, as well.

If that is not enough - I came home with a battle scar - a nice little bruise.

If I popped a vessel for a rubber dummy, imagine what I might do in the event of an actual emergency.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bachelor girls

KnightStar is off exploring the galaxy, so Katie and I are home alone for a bit. The side of me that misses him has a poem in the Piker Press this week. I wish I could say it was a heartfelt outpouring of my feelings, but in fact, I wrote it several days before he left. I am taking the poetry class and Barnes and Noble University, and this poem grew out of a challenge posted in the clubhouse. I knew he was going on his trip, though, and that certainly affected the direction of the poem.

Saturday, I got up early and went to Sergeant Bluff for the prequel to RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, which started Sunday. I helped sell newspaper souvenir packs and hand out t-shirts. It was warm, but not blisteringly so, and we had a nice breeze most of the time. Still, it was a long day, about 20 hours from the time I got up until I crawled back into bed.

Tonight: Change the cat litter and take out the garbage (usually KnightStar's job.)

Tomorrow: Finally catching up with the CPR training I was supposed to have May 31, the day I had surgery.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nature report

Item: Today was cooler, and tomorrow is supposed to be cooler still. As hot as it has been here, our friends in Kansas and California and Nebraska have it much worse.

Item: When I came home from work, I heard little peeps from the finch nest. I think we finally have babies.

Item: Last night, KnightStar rummaged around the kitchen until he found an old cottage cheese container. Then he took it to the sink and started filling it with water.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"It's been hot," he replied. "Chuckie probably needs water."

I'm not the only softy around here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

RIP Woody

I was doing dishes this morning when I heard a woman shrieking outside. I looked out the window, expecting to see kids misbehaving or a creepy boyfriend trying to be macho. But no.

Instead, I saw someone from down the street was walking her two dogs - and one of the dogs had Woody in his mouth, shaking him.

She finally got the dog to put Woody down, and got both of the dogs away and back home. One of the other neighbors and I went outside a few minutes later when the dog's owner came came back to pick up the deceased. Apparently Woody broke away a couple of times, but the dog probably broke his neck the third time.

Just a couple of days ago, our next door neighbor and I were talking about the groundhogs. They hang around in his backyard a lot, and he was wondering what kind of food he could put out for them. (He's a tender-hearted guy who has also protected baby bunnies from sneaky cats.) I have never seen all three of them out of hiding at the same time, but he has, and said it was one adult and two babies.

He thought one of the babies was crippled, because it seemed to have trouble moving its hind legs. Terry and I had also noticed that one of them didn't move very fast. That's the same one in the picture on the link above. When the others ran home, they hid. Woody would waddle under the shed when he spotted us, and then turn around and stick his little white nose out to look at us. We saw him doing that yesterday, in fact.

Until I see the other two, I won't know which one the dog got, but I have to think it would be the curious and slow-moving one. I'll miss seeing the little guy.

I learned something else this morning, too. Knowing it was going to be hot today, I called Animal Control to report there was a dead animal on the sidewalk. The dispatcher told me "they only come out for domesticated. You'll probably have to throw it away yourself." With all their protective gear, they won't come near a dead groundhog on a public sidewalk, but they expect me to pick it up with my kitchen tongs and throw it in the trash, where it will sit for three days until the next garbage pickup. If a rabid fox stalks your kid's swingset, you better hope Atticus Finch is around to put him down.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mea culpa

I've been a bad blogger this week, but I have an excuse. I signed up to take the poetry writing class at Barnes and Noble University. I tried taking the same class it last year, but my vacation to Waythehelloutthere, Nebraska fell right in the middle of it, and I never finished.

This time, I am trying hard to keep up with the assignments, and so far, so good. I've already written three poems that I would rate "Good enough that Aser is going to plotz when she reads them", have started on a fourth, and am thinking about the fifth and sixth. Some of the assignments don't really seem to be up my alley, but I still try them, and hey bingo! They work out.

Wednesday was six weeks since I had surgery, and I'm finally feeling like my old self again. Back in the old days, major surgery like this was an automatic six weeks recuperation at home, and I can see why. This week was the first time I could wear pantyhose or zippered pants without wanting to claw them off my body by the time I got home from work. Of course, back in those days, a burst appendix (which is what the doctor thought I had, although I didn't) was a short road to a tragically early death. I've said it before - it's not perfect, but I still like modern times.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

At the picnic

DMAS had their annual picnic yesterday. This year, they had a joint meeting with the Central Iowa Mineral Society. I thought that seemed like an odd pairing - stargazers and rockhounds - but it turned out to be pretty entertaining. Both groups are interested in how things came to be the way they are.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a couple of rabbits enjoying their own dinners. They obligingly stayed put while I sneaked around with the camera, trying to get closer. This one, the larger one, had a nice white cottontail.

This one was smaller. Terry called it "that scwewy widdle wabbit."

It's a little hard to see, but that one is munching on some greenery. Click on the closeup to see it even larger.

I didn't have any road-ready knitting, so I grabbed a new ball of sock yarn and some needles to take along. This is Opal's Zebra stripe yarn. Not the most exciting as far as color changes go, but it was nice and meditative, and I got a couple of inches done.

Warning! Warning! It's just a month until Stitches Midwest. We are expecting to have six KnitWits there, plus a friend of a KnitWit who is flying in. Plus Terry. No, he is not going to Stitches, but he is going to come to Chicago for a long weekend. I've printed out the Market floor plan, and have located the places that I remember from last year, in that "I like X that I got there, but I really wish I had also bought Y." I'll be shopping for the Ys next.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5, 1996

5:00 PM...

and 10:00 PM.

To this day, we still believe that the only good part about dressing up is when you can finally take off your shoes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fun on the Fourth

No work today - that's fun. (For me, anyway. KnightStar is slaving away.)

A barbecue with the KnitWits - that's going to be fun. (KnightStar is also having a barbecue at work. Apparently, they actually have a grill at his office. Man. My company only has a popcorn machine.)

Digging through my mom's recipe box for my favorite Jello salad recipe - that was fun. I'm not a big fan of Jello, but I like this one because it has lots of fruit, and pecans, and a layer of sour cream in the middle, and hardly any Jello at all - just enough to hold it together.

Looking through patterns, trying to decide what to knit next - that's fun. I may finally cast on the fraternal twin mate to the unfortunate sock.

Seeing what Katie usually does with her day while I am at work - that's fun. She was too quick, and I wasn't able to get a picture of her chasing her tail around like a kitten. When she slowed down, though, I was able to catch her sitting in her bird blind.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Felting Party

The KnitWits, miffed because their usual Friday night hangout has adopted "summer hours" and closes at 10:00 PM, decided to meet at Amy's last night for a felting party. Four of us had items ready to be felted. I had the Booga Bag and Felted Bowl.

They are both upside down here, being shaped while they dry.

This was my second attempt at felting Noro Kureyon, and I had the same experience as the first time. Thus, here is my Kureyon felting tip: You can wash the bejeebers out of it, and it will felt some, but not quite enough. Take it out of the washer and let it sit overnight while you fret about what you are going to do with it. The next day, decide to give it one last chance. Throw it back in the washer for about five minutes, and it will felt right up.

Amy had a skein of yarn that caught my eye. It is space-dyed with light blue, medium purple, and light greenish-yellow. We all passed it around and discussed what one might make with it. Eventually, it landed in my lap, and I brought it home and wound it up. I forgot to take a picture of it in the skein, but here it is on the swift.

And on the ball winder.

[Non-knitter glossary: The most traditional way of organzing yarn is in a skein, or a big loop. It's hard to knit directly from a skein, though, because it would be all spread out and the yarn would get tangled and the cats would attack it. For easier knitting, the yarn is wound into balls.

[In the first picture, the skein is on a swift. This swift opens like an umbrella to hold the yarn firmly, and spins so the yarn feeds off evenly. The second picture shows the yarn being wound onto a ball winder, which produces a compact biscuit of yarn that won't roll away.

[You don't absolutely need these tools - I remember hold skeins of yarn on my outstretched 8-year-old hands while my mother wound balls by hand - but they sure are nice.]

Yarns that are dyed like this always look much different when they are wound into balls, and they look much more like they will actually appear when knitted. Here it is in natural light, with my day lilies in the background.

I'll take it to our next gathering for everyone's continuing perusal and planning.

On the other side of my porch, I have some little roses.