Friday, July 31, 2009

Back to Knitting

I have finally begun a new project, so now I have four, no, five, ooops, no four projects OTN. This one is a hat for younger daughter:

It is the Basic Tam with Flowers from One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites. I'm using size 7 needles, 7 inches long and I'm having a hard time with the stitches coming off the needles. My LYS was out of 8 inch needles when I checked last night, so I'll make do. Thank goodness I don't panic/freak out the way I used to when I drop a stitch.

I'm using Noro Silk Garden, color 47, which is a mix of browns, grays, and a few colors yet to show up. This is the first non-baby hat I've ever made, so I'm having fun with it. And if I decide I love it, don't worry younger daughter, I'll still send this one to you and make a second for myself!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two TV Show Reviews for the Price of One

Two times zero is still zero, right?

Stars: Kenneth Branagh.

Wallander, a PBS Masterpiece Theatre mini-series, shows Mr. Branagh concentrating, observing, worrying, seeing, thinking, pondering, sleeping, studying, being comatose (now stop that, Knittergran), and ....well, I don't know what else because his face looks pretty much the same no matter what he is doing. Because most of the running time of each episode shows Branagh concentrating, observing, worrying, well, you know, there isn't much dialog, action, or even plot, really.

As a result, I've had lots of time to notice that Kenneth Branagh has a freakishly small mouth and almost no lips. It's quite odd.

Burn Notice

Stars: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless


The sky is beautiful.

The ocean is beautiful.

The palm trees are beautiful.

The nighttime sparkly Miami is beautiful.

The people are beautiful.

The plot is irrelevant.

And it's funny!

Every time I watch it, I want to move back to Florida. Florida without the humidity.

The End.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Housework is Dangerous

HAH! I've just figured this out.

How on earth did the hassock get where I would trip over it? I wracked my brain, and then realized that I must have moved it where it was while I was vacuuming, then went on my merry vacuuming way and forgotten to put it back out of the way. Which still wouldn't have been its original position, but it wouldn't have been in my path either.

And how did I re-injure my knee??? I washed mini-blinds in my bath tub and then cleaned out the tub, and I was on my knees to do this.

So, I deduce that housework is dangerous.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. No more housework for me. (fat chance)

Isn't this pretty?

Isn't it? Sure, but I'm not too fond of it today.

I bought it a few years ago in Austin, Texas, picturing my grandchildren playing on it. And they did, last week, especially grandson who has never found anything he didn't like jumping off of. We had worried about him here - all the new potential dangers for Danger Ranger. I reassured myself and my daughter by remembering that the nearest ER is only 1.6 miles down the street from my house.

The week went by; no injuries to report; no trips to the ER. Success!

But last night, in the dark, I fell over it. It hadn't gone back to its normal spot in the room, because the coffee table is still out of its place. I can't help lift it - it's some sort of stone slabs on a wrought-iron base and it's really, really heavy. So I came downstairs late at night, fell over the hassock, and to protect my already-injured knee, let my face break the fall. O.U.C.H. I lay on the floor for a minute or so, waiting for blood or the pain of a broken nose. Nope. Just the normal pain caused by FALLING ON YOUR FACE from 5'10".

So no trip to the ER, but I look awful today. Fat lip, odds and ends of cuts, swollen nose. My husband is in Louisiana on business, so he doesn't get to see his vision of beauty.....He returns tomorrow and I hope my face returns to normal by tomorrow also. It's knit-night and I can't miss that!

I have moved the hassock to a safer (for me) location, and I swear I will not walk downstairs in the dark again.

And even though today is not Fragments Friday, which I learned about from Mary Ellen, I am adding a story to this story. The hassock is from Egypt, and I bought it in a specialty import shop/belly-dancing studio in Austin. I knew it wouldn't fit in my luggage so I asked for a bag to carry it on the plane in. I didn't notice until I was in the Austin airport that the bag had a website on it: (World Music and Dance Productions-but I didn't want to have to convince security of that) The rest of the writing was in Arabic. And there I was, going through security. I put the bag with the writing-side down and hoped for the best. I made it, but the store really needs to get a different web address.

Maybe I'm the real Danger Ranger ....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


-Dr. Johnston-(photo not the result of stalking :

I just returned from an appointment with my very cute orthopedic surgeon (although I think he may be just barely out of high school so forget I called him cute) and I do NOT need surgery again on the knee I had surgery on last summer. What I thought was a repeat injury (torn meniscus) is instead two injuries: an inflamed bursa (which in those people older than I is called bursitis) and patellar tendinitis. I injured the knee about two weeks ago, and because I believe that most things get better on their own, I ignored it until today, when there was an available appointment.

So now I have a weird strap that goes across my knee in order to help the tendon heal, but also sits right on top of the bursa area - OUCH! - so I may have to give up wearing it.

Anyway, with some ice and ibuprofen, this will get better almost on its own. Again, WHEW!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hee, hee, hee...

We English majors love puns and wordplay.
And my favorite play on words is from Groucho Marx: Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obsessed Much?

I have written before about my thing with the Post Office, and now I am at it again. It will not surprise anyone in my family that this is how I spent today, the day after my two daughters and four grandchildren returned to their homes.

I have been packing up everything that needs to be shipped to each of them, but before you think that my children have early-onset forgetfulness, I will explain:

Because older daughter was flying by herself with her four children, ages 8, 6, 2, and nine months, she shipped a lot of clothes, stuffed animals, books and other necessities ahead of time. She had enough to handle in the airport with four children, backpacks and car seats without hauling all the luggage she needed. Because UPS destroyed the boxes, I have had to repack in new boxes and I hope they arrive in Texas in better shape than the originals arrived in here.

Younger daughter moved to Los Angeles almost three years ago, and left LOTS of things here even though she filled her car to the top with her belongings and also shipped many, many boxes to herself. While she was here this past week, she went through what she left behind and sorted out what to ship, donate, or toss. SHE would say that my ideal basement would have lots of sturdy shelving and nothing on them. (Actually, she's sort of mostly right.)

And so my predilection to get everything that's not mine out of the house and TO the post office post haste explains my activities today. If only the post office had been open, these would have been there already, but alas, they must wait till tomorrow.


What happened???

It's eerily quiet here...

Oh, rats. My daughters and grandchildren went back to their respective homes. And we were having such fun!


Poor older daughter was so tired (Elizabeth just wouldn't sleep through the night) that she fell asleep on the floor and her three older children attacked her. (Not really - though I bet she could have fallen asleep on the floor!)

They all arrived on Saturday, and on Monday, my HERO, the dishwasher repairman came and fixed my dishwasher. Yay! But now my washing machine is leaking. It's a million years old, so it may just be begging to go to "a better place," as younger daughter's abridged copy of Little Women said about where Beth went when she died. Years later when we were discussing the book and we mentioned Beth's death, younger daughter said, "She died!!! I thought she went to the beach."

For grandson, though, a better place is his own home, with his daddy, his bedroom, and his bed. The poor little guy was so homesick that we once found him at the front door, trying to get the door open while crying, "I want to go home."

So now they are all home, and I'm off to do laundry......or not.....

Friday, July 24, 2009


My shawl...ooops...wrap is finished, and so, nearly, is the visit from my two daughters and my grandchildren. Poor, poor me. I will miss them all. Four children are a lot of children, and a LOT of fun. They are really funny and don't even know they are funny. And Elizabeth is just every kind of sweet:
Elizabeth (9 months old) with younger daughter

Younger daughter has a talent for the fiddly bits of any type of project, and she put all of the eleven-inch fringe on the sha....wrap. Doing that is sort of beyond my natural patience. Now I owe her a wrap like the one Reese Witherspoon wears in Sweet Home Alabama. I hadn't really wanted such a large project, but believe me, getting that fringe done by someone other than myself is well worth it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shaun (aka Sean) says

that is he is quite comfortable in his new home: soapstone countertops and tumbled slate backsplash. He says he prefers natural to man made (formica and drywall), so these natural surfaces make him feel at home. He is complaining a bit, though, about the lack of a grassy field to graze in, but he'll be ok. I'll feed him tea and scones instead.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

With a Nod to Spongebob

(© Viacom International Inc. )

Oh tartar sauce!!!

My dishwasher is broken. It was fine until the team putting in new countertops pulled it out to put in something to reinforce the cabinets so that they could hold the weight of the soapstone. When they put the dishwasher back in place, it started flashing all its lights and now won't run.

The repairman is supposed to show up tomorrow and I hope he does and that he can fix it because

I have two daughters and four, count them, four grandchildren arriving Saturday for a one-week visit

and boy howdy, will I need my dishwasher.

Or paper plates and paper cups. Spongebob Squarepants paper cups and paper cups, of course.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Lace!

I am so pleased, and sort of surprised, too. The six-hundred yards of alpaca turned into lace! It wasn't even terribly difficult. The pattern was over ten stitches, with repeats every eight rows. The wrong-side rows were just pearl stitches, which gave me a place to go back to when I made mistakes, which really was pretty rare with this. I think I found it easier than the last lace project (which drove me nuts) because I HAD to pay attention; this pattern is more intricate than the one for the simple scarf I made.

Now I'm blocking it and it's my first time blocking lace. Lace fights back! Thank goodness it's not as fragile as it looks to me because I really had to tug on it to get it to size. I'm starting on a second wrap from the same pattern but with a different color of the Peruvian Tweed Yarn, and I think I am investing in blocking wires before I block the second one.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Dust Bunnies

(photo: Wikimedia Commons. Definitely not mine! I swear!)

I was just doing a bit of cleaning up and I need to make one thing very clear to whoever or whatever rules dust bunnies: Dust bunnies belong under the bed, not on the furniture.

Got that?

Thank you.

Bear Hair

Because I am always on the lookout for unusual sources of yarn, and because we knitters use yarn made from all sorts of things - sheep, alpacas, bison, possums, llamas, angora goats, angora rabbits, silk, soy, milk, and ....shudder....human hair - it was no surprise to me when this information from Yankee Magazine came across my desk (well, OK, across my kitchen table via a letter from my sister). Clark's Trading Post grooms its bears to get hair to make into yarn and this woman, Maxine Taylor, is the official bear hair yarn knitter.

All it takes is bears willing to be groomed and someone willing to groom them.

Bueller? Bueller?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm Pretty Sure That This Is Icky....

I know that technically, it shouldn't be. After all, we knit with stuff from all sorts of animals, but this???


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two Movie Reviews for the Price of One

Synecdoche, New York

(Disclaimer: I only watched half of the movie because, well, what the #$%^&*() is this about?)

Starring: lots of otherwise talented people.
Review: What the $%^&*() is this????

Mamma Mia!

Starring: Meryl Streep (I love her.)
Review: Someone, please, please stop Pierce Brosnan before he sings again.

The End.
You're welcome.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's looking a lot like lace

and that's a good thing, since that's what I set out to knit! After my last lace-knitting adventure, I thought that I might never try lace again, but I'm nothing if not stubborn. Which is why, when I decided to learn to ski, I ignored all the crying and bruises, and kept going back up mountains (small ones) in order to fall over and over again on the way back down. After lots and lots of effort, I became a very-below-average skier. Yay me!

So this is my newest attempt at lace and it's going sort of well: not much swearing, lots of counting, no crying or bruises. The pattern is called, plainly enough, Peruvian Tweed Shawl, and the pattern calls for - surprise, surprise - Peruvian Tweed yarn. It's great soft yarn, 100% superfine alpaca, spun in Peru, and a skein of it has a whopping 600 yards of yarn. I had named it Hank and was keeping it as a pet, but it kept calling out that it really wanted fulfill its purpose and become something.

It's becoming a shawl but I'm not sure I am old enough to wear a shawl. Maybe I'll call it a wrap instead.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Cat Days of Summer


That's what my almost-fourteen-year-old cat does all day.

Sometimes he moves.....head towards the west....
head towards the east.....

The cat's life - ahhhh.....