Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

It baffles me, why, in this horrible place, it can not be warm without storms, cool without freezing, or summer without mosquitoes. We generally have one nice week here in the spring, and one in the fall where it's 70 degrees, sunny, the flying bugs are dead, or otherwise occupied, and it's not storming or windy.

Take today for example. It's 68 degrees, and sunny, but there are 30-50 mile an hour winds outside. Yesterday, there was no wind but it was a stormy 85. The day before? It rained. I mean, seriously, it's insane. Why this area of the world was ever settled, and why people continue to live here I can't understand. Even with the week that is nice, you really can't enjoy it because the looming snow, or humidity just hangs over you like a guillotine waiting to drop.

Of course, all of this is made worse when your air conditioner breaks (ok, that is better than the furnace breaking..) and it's 85, with high humidity. Especially when one family member is suffering from broken bones and casts, and the other has rheumathoid arthritis, made worse by heat and humidity.

And let's review exactly what has broken in May - 1 tire, 1 refrigerator, 1 hand, and 1 Air Conditioner. Really, I think the least was overkill. Clearly it should have stopped with the hand, as that is 3. Remember, bad things happen in 3's.. Or maybe my secret happiness that we replaced the fridge I hated made that not count. I'm not sure.

In 16 days, we are leaving on our Epic Adventure to a part of the country where the weather is warm without storms, and no mosquitoes live. That is what I keep repeating to myself, while I watch the A/C repair people hard at work figuring out why the A/C isn't working. 16 days.. 16 days.... 16 days...... I think I'll start packing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Deja Vu

When I went to Shepherd's Harvest this year, I had two vendors on my must-visit list. One was a Cormo breeder, and the other, was a mill that sells Coopworth Roving in beautiful colors. Last year I'd purchased some Coopworth/silk there, and just loved it. I wanted more.

The Cormo was first, and then I hit up the Coopworth booth. I immediately snagged 1 pound of this beautiful purple Coopworth/silk, along with another pound in different colors.

Today I sat down to spin some. it spun just like I'd remembered, with silky smoothness and the Coopworth's qualities made it beautiful and strong. And then I looked down at it.. Not only did it spin like I'd remembered...

It looked the same too.. I had selected the exact same color as last year!
Here is the skein from last year (I have more of this somewhere in the wool closet too)
350 yards of single ply. And on the right this year..
And this year, the first one of several - 165 yards N-plied.
Obviously I really love this color!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I was in such a bad work situation I had to quit my job.

I'm getting to spend a ton of time with the kids.

My sister was diagnosed with MS

I'm now a vegetarian, which is one of the best choices I've made.

My brother had gastric bypass.

I was challenged to lose weigh (35 pounds since the beginning of the year).

Kevin fell off a horse, had surgery, and is now out of work temporarily.

We are getting to spend a lot of quality time together.

There have been tornadoes all over with a lot of loss of life.

Making the people who don't want to move to the coast, more likely to move out of Tornado-world.

I lost the camera (again).

I found these great pictures on my Droid of flowering things.. 

It's all about perspective.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Not Your Birthday

Ok really it is. Well, it was mine. Luckily I don't like birthdays, or birthday parties, and the ballgame I was going to go to and didn't was cool and cloudy, and the Mariners lost. What did I do instead?

Well, I got another 2 squares done for the 1or2 blanket. And I took a nap. And I ate a delicious lunch of Morningstar farms ribs, (really, they do taste like real ribs). And I spent 4 hours sitting in a waiting room while Kevin had surgery on his hand. Yup, this birthday is only eclisped by the one where I had to put my dog to sleep on, don't worry, it was health related, and expected, but not a good birthday.

However, I will say waiting rooms are fascinating. Especially surgical ones where you don't need to worry about people being sick and making you sick by coughing all over the place. Things overheard in the waiting room, are fascinating, and I can spend hours knitting and listening to them. And isn't it amazing how not everyone knits, or crochets in this situation? What do they DO? I mean, reading is fine, but in reality, I like to concentrate on a book. In a waiting room you're, well, waiting. And re-reading the same chapter 20 times isn't my idea of a good time. I did have several people ask me what I was doing. Had I thought about it more, I might have brought a drop spindle. Though maybe that would have distracted the nurses too much, I mean, I do want them thinking about the patients.

And speaking of patients, Kevin is fine, the hand is feeling pretty good, and we enjoyed a nice relaxing evening watching American Idol and The Biggest Loser (thank goodness for DVR). Now it's a brace for 2 weeks, and then a cast for 6-8(!) Evidently he is on forced summer vacation this year. His shoulder is still in a brace too, so he is still essentially armless.

All in all, it was a memorable day. And now I am going to bed. Go Scotty :)

Monday, May 23, 2011


On Saturday we had tornadoes all around us that did very little damage. I wish the people in Joplin had been as lucky. I wish the people in North Minneapolis had been as lucky as well, and those in La Crosse. And all the other communities affected.

Tornadoes are so powerful, scary, shocking, and kill and main with such ferocity. It makes you question a lot of things. The uncertainty of life, and all those things that can happen. How lucky we are, to have our homes and health. Not to mention our pets, and loved ones.The fact that we can just have a bunch of broken flowers and shingles, versus broken homes, and destroyed lives.

I used to live in Missouri, and it holds a special place in my heart. The generosity and independence of the people there has to be seen to be believed. We lived about 2 hours from Joplin, and visited there quite a few times. It is a wonderful little city, in a beautiful corner of Missouri. Near the battlefield of Carthage, and George Washington Carver's home, it was a hideout for Bonnie and Clyde, along with being the main city in the southwest corner of Missouri for a long time.

While the tornadoes make Kevin's broken hand look mild in comparison, this has sure been the year where I have been reminded to be thankful for what we have, and how lucky we are.

If you would like to help the people of Joplin, here is a great link, go to the bottom for Missouri organizations who will be assisting the people.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Darwin Award

All weekend long the view has been this

Dark skies surrounding us

Wall Clouds coming in
So when the tornado sirens sounded

All the neighbors ran to the end of the block to watch for the funnel cloud.
They probably would have been better off though to actually look in the direction
the storm was coming, or like us, run downstairs to the tornado room...
Oh well. Survival of the fittest*

*to my knowledge no one here was hurt, even the little kids running around in the thunderstorm. Hopefully they'll stay that lucky in the future.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Carnival of Storms

This is the weekend The Boy Scouts sponsor a carnival in the parking lot across from our house. The kids of course watch the building with baited breath, and can't wait to get over there the second it opens. Last year the weather was spectacular, and the carnival was really lightly attended. This time, the local troop decided to bring in a bunch of other troops and do a talent show, a concert, and a bunch of other events. So of course it rained. I kept telling the kids not to panic, we live close, so we'll get over there in between showers....

I love this picture of them!

The Tornado

Cory had no desire to go on the Ferris Wheel -
notice his hands holding on for dear life.

The Tilt a Whirl in sprinkles

And a rainy cherry tree

And rainy kids

Back to the carnival for one more ride

And running home in the dowpour


Oh well, it's only water..

And they needed a shower anyway

Friday, May 20, 2011

Piano Man

 On Tuesday, we went to Devin's spring piano recital. Where he wowed the audience with his playing, and then received awards that he'd won for contests, and completing tasks. He's now starting to compose his own songs, evidently undaunted by the fact we can never get him to any event without getting lost. It will be good practice for when he has a tour bus driver in the future.

Meditating before the concert. Note his drummer brother, and Kevin
with his broken bones behind him..

First trophy: Age 11

All sorts of awards, we needed a separate car to get them home

Monday, May 16, 2011

Up In Arms

To say that this weekend was interesting, would potentially be the understatement of the decade. We had our lovely Saturday tour of college campuses and 4th streets, so I was determined that Sunday we would have a relaxing day enjoying the sunshine working on projects. This seemed like a great idea, and I was off to a great start.

I cleaned out the hall closet, sorted through shoes and coats and made a bag for the goodwill. Got our tornado room cleaned out, and organized and then we ran to get dirt for the new garden. I spent the rest of the afternoon working outside planting flowers, and digging in the dirt making a lovely mess and pretty pots.

I had decided to make black bean tacos for dinner, so I was just finishing up when the phone rang. Kevin had gone horseback riding on his leased horse, while I had stayed home to garden, and I figured he was calling to say that he was on his way home.

As it turned out, he was on his way to the hospital because he had been bucked off and dislocated his pinky finger. 30 minutes later, when I got there, I found out it wasn't only the pinky finger, but also his shoulder. Hmm.

Let me go on record here, and say, if you fall off a horse, I am not the person to call, I am incredibly bad with injuries, blood, needles, xrays. Frankly, I can barely watch an episode of House without gagging. Now if your HORSE fell, I'd be the person to call, cause I can deal with animal injuries, blood, and needles just fine. It's a weird thing, and don't ask me to explain it.

With that said, emergency rooms, and I are not friends. Especially when now, they expect you to stay in the room practically the entire time. When placed under this stress, I tend to revert to jokes, and sarcasm to deal with this. Luckily Kevin has a sense of humor, but I do think the nurses thought it was a little weird.  That's ok, I thought that they were a little odd too, especially the guy who came in to explain the fact they'd be putting him under with Propofol 'which is what killed Michael Jackson'. Sure, someone on pain meds needs to know that. It would have helped if I'd brought knitting with me. I don't know what people who don't knit do in these situations. Frankly, it's such a handy thing. Relaxing, productive, and if necessary, you're armed with pointy sticks and strings.

The nurses though, changed their tune, and started seeing the humor in this when they realized that not only would his left hand be in a cast, since along with the dislocation there were 2 fractures, that his right shoulder was dislocated and would be in a sling. He is essentially armless. Shall we discuss what you use arms for? A lot of things. Eating, drinking, driving, working, typing, phone calling..

The good thing is, dislocations aren't as painful as breaks, and he's managing just fine on Advil. The cats are thrilled that not only is someone hanging out the couch, he can't even move them off his lap. And the dogs are thrilled that he is ok. So am I of course. The flowers are super pretty, and we got the dirt moved pre-injury. The tacos were great too. I do think horseback riding is on the backburner for awhile, I suggested he take up knitting, you know, after he has arms again.

The injured, and his heating pad. He's not allowed to move the slinged arm either.

Starting to look like spring outside..

And the pots are progressing

But more planting to do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures in Piano Playing

It seems a simple enough activity. Place your child (or a child procured by you) into piano and let them learn to play. Except for the fact, that piano is evidently a contest and exam driven instrument, and as such, many exams and contests are staged at multiple areas. These require months (or at least weeks) of preparation, and transporting of your subject to the areas of contest.

The child we have procured for piano, loves to practice, loves to play and loves to compete. So when he chose to go out for his piano trophy, and thus complete the piano exams I didn't think much of it. We hopped in the car this morning, ready to go complete the exams. Devin was ready and waiting with his 3 memorized songs, the ability to sight read, to play scales and a zillion other things my non-musical mind can't begin to understand.

Time: 1:05 to exam time. Our trip was slightly rocky in the beginning when I couldn't find the address on my phone, but we recovered it, and headed out, with the thought we'd get there 20 minutes early.

I was using the new GPS instead of my handy-dandy phone GPS because I wanted to get used to it before our trip next month. I did find out the voice was really annoying, so that was a good thing. We zoomed through downtown, onto the the college campus and turned left where it said. How easy is this?

:20 to exam time. The problem arose, when I looked out the window, and noticed the building didn't have the name on it that it should have. But this is a college campus, maybe it was inside, or, mislabeled? We circled around, I put it in my phone and got the same building.
:15 to exam time. So I stopped in front, and sent the Piano Prodigy and my mom in to look while I waited. There were a ton of people wandering around, which I thought was really promising, until out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone in a graduating cap and gown. At that point, my phone rang and I heard Kevin talking saying that he was trying to call me to get me back. At this point I panicked.

We had :10 minutes to get to his exam, and we were lost. Yes lost. Totally lost. Cause if this wasn't it, I had no idea where it could be. I had no map, and this is a huge college campus. In my panic I looked over my other shoulder to realize a bunch of cars had pulled next to my parking spot to wait for people. Meanwhile I am shouting into the phone that I am where I was, and that they needed to get out here NOW!! I hang up the phone, jump out of the car and scream at the people to move that I have to get out. They drive away with fear in their eyes and I pull out of the space directly blocking the road, while mom, Kevin and Devin come racing down the road in a flat out run. They jump in the car, and between breaths Mom tells me that they ran into a buffet for graduation, asked 25 people and finally found someone who gave them directions. We were to follow Washington down, and turn onto some other road and look for a building that looked like a mushroom. Alrighty.

We have :8 minutes to find a mushroom building. After this point it becomes a blur, I remember 3 wrong turns, 2 red lights I deliberately ran (and a stop sign, but who's counting), along with a pedestrian or 2 that I swerved around. Mushroom building was nowhere in sight, and I started apologizing to Devin who wasn't going to get his trophy, or his exam certification, and his hopes for getting into Julliard and being the next Billy Joel would be over, and his piano life as we knew it would end. By the time I was done I had mentally cast this as ruining Devin's life, and cementing his hatred for music. I was picturing him in a sterile non-music world, telling the story of how his aunt ruined his life when she couldn't get him to his piano exam on time, costing him his trophy, and because of that he never performed again.

Right when I was imagining whether he'd still have a job or whether he'd end up homeless under a bridge due to this trauma, one of the others spotted the building (non-mushroom shaped) and I stopped in the middle of the road, threw on my flashers and Mom and Devin leaped out and into a dead run. -:7 minutes to exam!! Let me just add here, Mom has Rheumathoid arthritis, has had multiple foot surgeries, and doesn't run well. She can run a lot faster when she is under a time limit than one would imagine. Very impressive, though I partially credit her new running K-swiss ziggy shoes.

I said a quick prayer and found a parking spot so we could track them down later, this was especially important as Mom's cell phone had slid out of her purse at the first building, and she had thrown it back into the car, narrowly missing my head. I was also prepared to plead my case and tell the story about mushrooms, street signs and the difference between 4th st S and S 4th St and that they should NOT be allowed on the same college campus if they hadn't allowed him in. We followed the teeny signs pointing downstairs and found the hallway. I began to feel a small bit better when I saw a man come running in with his little girl literally flying behind him like a kite as he gripped her arm. I'm willing to bet they also ran into the 4th st S vs. S 4th st issue.

10 minutes later, Devin emerged victorious, none of the crying, swerving, slamming on brakes, or general panic had broken his cool calm Piano Prodigy level, and he had aced his exam, and was ready for lunch. I was ready for a drink.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Staggering Into Existance

Feeble attempt though it is, it was only 51 degrees again today.. A couple days ago we actually got up to a humid 77 degrees. The day before it was warmer, but I am discounting that day due to Tornadoes. It isn't spring if you have to hide in a basement for part of the day. To celebrate the fact that the trees are still alive, we went to the park. The trees have just started leafing out in earnest here this past week or so. Tomorrow: Flowers, even if it is still 50 degrees, I can't handle the lonely empty flowerpots outside anymore!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I learned to spin on a wheel first, and until last year drop spindles mystified me. Once I changed to top whorl spindles, I was no longer mystified in a bad way but in a good way.

Whenever I pick up one of my drop spindles to play with it, I am reminded that if I had been born 200, 500, 2,000 years ago, this would have been a part of my life as intrinsic as cooking dinner, or sleeping. Each thread we would be wearing would have been spun by hand.

What is even more cool, is that each area, had their own drop spindles, with a different look and purpose, depending on what fibers they used.

Here is a link to a blog with pictures of Egyptian spindles.

And here is a link to a small collection of spindles from around the world.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day and Misc.

Happy belated Mother's day to everyone who it applies to whether in the literal sense or in the poetical sense. After all, is a mother the one who gave you birth, or any woman who has put you first, and helped you along the way? All I know, it that my mom is the best, hands down, as she has taken care of anyone who has crossed her path, whether for a short time, or forever. Through the years she has touched a lot of lives of kids who needed her, not just the ones she was legally responsible for.

Since our van ended up blowing another tire on Saturday afternoon (long story for another day), we never made it to Shepherd's Harvest, which was probably a good thing for our wallets. Instead I cooked a late brunch for Mom, and we hung out playing games and relaxing with my brother, sister in law, and the kids. It was nice low key day, and I think everyone had fun. I made barley risotto, sweet potato salad, pesto rubbed cod, pasta salad, and caprese salad. A lot of my favorite foods that had happened to be hanging around. Becoming a pescetarian has definitely opened my eyes to using foods and herbs in varying ways. And honestly, with the meal yesterday, I barely touched the fish, I was all about the salads and risotto. The risotto I could have eaten the entire bowl of myself. Good thing it's filling.

During that time, I spun some of the fiber from Shepherd's Harvest, and tonight, I finished up a blue and yellow bobbin I had started pre-fest. I can tell as the weather gets warmer, I want to spin more and more, when I finally move to a warm climate, it will be interesting to see if that holds true. If it does, I may end up drowning in a sea of yarn.

Wool/mohair blend from SH. 140 yards N-plied. Soft, fuzzy and lovely.

A blend of BFL (the blue) and alpaca/silk (yellow) 180 yards 2 ply

I have a lot of the wool/mohair left.. I wonder what it wants to be....
That is gray by the way, not green, weird lighting evidently.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time to Stashify

Shepherd's Harvest day! Ok, really day 1, whether or not I make the trek back is yet to be determined. Mom didn't go today, and I'd really like for her to have a chance to see things. Plus the kids kind of want to go. And yes, of course I want to go back! I mean, I still have 4.50 left from my fiber fund! Today was so much fun though. We woke up to lovely weather, spectacular blue skies and it was the warmest day for around 9 months or so. Once we got over there, the shopping and looking commenced. I want to note a few things here:

1 - I did not buy any yarn.
2 - Going to fiber fests with the boyfriend means he'll take things to the car for me, which means I don't have to carry everything around all day.
3 - This means that I can't keep track of what I buy until I get home and actually look in the trunk.
4 - This means I may buy more than I actually realize.
5 - I really think fiber is like Christmas trees. You know how they always grow between the lot and your house? Same thing.
6 - I resisted buying a rabbit, therefore, I deserve more fiber.

Cutest bunnies EVAH! As soon as I move to CA - I am getting German Giant Angoras. Love them!

This is a walking wheel. As soon as I move to CA I am getting a walking wheel..

Drop Spindles as soon as I move to CA - oh wait, one of these came home...
Now I'm regretting there wasn't a 2nd one there. May have to fix that tomorrow.

Line after line of booths

All with fiber!

And Fibery things!

And a barn of sheep! You know, when I move to CA - I'm gonna get a sheep... Maybe.

Or a BLUE EYED Llama!! I love llamas! I think they exude elegance.

A pack of llamas!

So regal!

And cute!

Weirdest food vendor ever. No, I did not eat the lefse - or the uffda dog.

I love me some hats! I wish I knew what vendor this was, they had awesome handpainted yarn!

Lunch break, and knitting break, it was gorgeous out.

Freshly shorn llamas.

And someday I'm gonna have a border collie who I can do this with!

I love herding dogs

You can see the sheep weren't stressed. This was when they were calmly wandering to the grass.

Through the gates

Showing excellent eye, I love BCs.

Sheep getting lunch.

Heritage spinners outside.

Llamas are cute from any angle

The cute little spindle that came home!

And, um, some other stuff... Want the list? Starting in the top left hand corner..
1# cormo/BFL/Silk, 5 oz cormo/silk, 6oz alpaca/wool, 1.5# wool/mohair (gray/pink)
8oz blue coopworth, 8 oz green coopworth/silk, 1# purple coopworth/silk,
2 Falkland braids, 1 merino braid. That's only ummm 5.5 pounds. See, not nearly 10 pounds.