Friday, July 29, 2011

Our lovely summery weather is over and we are back to hot and humid.  We had a few absolutely picture perfect summer days in between these nasty heat waves and we took advantage of them.

On Wednesday, we left work, picked up Kate, called in an order to our favorite Chinese restaurant and headed to the river to enjoy dinner outdoors.  We had some sesame chicken and dumplings and fried rice.  Absolutely delicious and the breezes off the river felt wonderful. 

A huge tanker came down the river as we sat there.  It was riding high so we assumed it was empty.  There were several pleasure boats out there but none of the very annoying ski doos (you know those small motorized things with the whiny motors).

The ships had to share the river with these guys.  The tide was out so there was land for them to waddle onto.  They seemed to have no fear of the boats and swam around them. 

We sat and Kate and I did some knitting and we actually had to pull on a sweater.  We sat until it was time to close the park (it closes at dusk) and then packed up and left.

I love eating outside.

Thursday wasn't too bad either but a large weather system moved into the area bringing storms and then the muggy heat.  Today was miserable and it looks like it'll be this way until next Thursday.  I can't wait to see the electric bill for next month.

Pk spends his downtime at work cruising Craig's list looking for tools.  There's a man in Lambertville (about 90 mins away) selling planes and chisels.  We are getting up early tomorrow to go and check it out.  If he's lucky, there'll be some new and interesting tools to buy.  I'm going along for the ride.  Lambertville is further up the river and is a picturesque town.  It is across the river from New Hope, PA, a town that sells antiques and high end crafty things.  New Hope will be mobbed on a summer weekend so we'll avoid it but Lambertville (which has some nice shops and little places to eat) might be nice. 

Monday is a day off from work and we're planning a day at the beach.  We haven't been to swin in the ocean yet this year and are really looking forward to it. 

I finally finished my anklet socks.  I like the way they came out.  They're feminine and pretty.  The yarn suited the pattern and I'm happy with the finished product.  I haven't done much other knitting except for bits and pieces on the beaded shawl.  It's coming along slowly.  There are some bits with inc3 and I seem to have some trouble keeping the stitch count correct. 
I have 3 or 4 pairs of socks otn and I've found a hat pattern I want to try.  It's designed for handspun yarn.  I think I have one or two skeins that have enough yardage to give it a try.  Small projects that are easily put down have been the only thing I can pay attention to.

And an update on the knittng/crocheting group.  I had 2 women show up this week.  Both wanted to learn to crochet.  I think the idea of more than one hook/needle made them anxious.  The one woman was a lefty and we struggled along but she got the basics down.  The other woman (who is in my social rehab program) insisted at first that a friend of her mother's tried to teach her years ago "but I couldn't get it".  I told her not to worry.  I wasn't going to force a hook on her.  She picked one up and a ball of cotton and before you know it, had a long chain.

I gave her lots of praise and encouragement and then showed her how to build on her chain and make a square.  We're aiming for a washrag.  She was pleased and couldn't wait to show her mother.  Today she came in and beamed when she showed me her square.  It's not how I would do a double crochet but it works for her.  I told her it didn't matter so much how she did it as long as she liked it and she was consistent.  Her mother's friend was very picky and told her it "had to be done a certain way" which can be intimidating.  I was so proud.  The look on her face was worth all the weeks of no one showing up.  And she's heading out to the craft store to find some yarn to make a scarf.  I told her to touch all the balls of yarn and find one she loved.  We'll start the scarf on Tuesday (unless she starts without me!)  Best part of the day.

We did some shopping for Kate's birthday present.  She'll be 22 on Friday next.  There will be family and friends and food and presents and cake.  All the ingredients for a successful birthday party.

We just have to get through the heat first.  If you're looking for me?  I'll be the puddle in the corner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here it is almost a week later and life is just going along normally.  You'll get no complaints from me on that account.

Handle with Care on Friday was a challenge.  The room we held it in is in the oldest part of the hospital (Pennsylvania Hospital is the oldest one in the US, started in 1751 by none other than Ben Franklin) and is not insulated very well.  We did have a/c but after the room filled with 18 bodies, it was only cool if you sat still.  And since this is about how to both verbally and physically handle aggressive patients, some movement is necessary. 

It was a good group (except for one person who was bound and determined to let us know how much she resented being there, I've never heard so many sighs).  We had a decent discussion about incidents people had witnessed or been involved in and how they could have been handled better.  After lunch, we decided to finish up in our building because our a/c is usually high.  Not that day.  The engineering wizards came in and turned it up but nothing was happening so we discussed restraints and called it good.

I went and got my hair cut short and we picked up some cold dinner and went home to hibernate for the weekend.  The laundry got done but not much else.  The house was like an oven when the temps outside crested 100 degrees.  We watched Mummy movies and I moved the spinning wheel to the bedroom.  We had meals cooked in the crockpot or taken out of the fridge. 

We had to go out on Saturday. We got up early and headed to the Women's Imaging Center.  I got the pelvic ultra sound done.  I asked the woman when she was buying me dinner because anyone that intimate with me should be buying me a meal. (in a trans vaginal u/s, they use a long thin probe.  It's an experience)  She let me look at the screen.  You know that ovaries are roughly the size of olives?  Well, I have two cysts on each side roughly the size of quarters.  They don't seem to be doing anything but hanging around but we'll see.  The walls of the uterus are thicker than they should be since I just had a period.  I'm not sure what that means but I'm sure the doctor will let me know.  I did get an all clear letter on the mammogram so that's good. 

We took ourselves out to breakfast and then right back into our nice, cool cave.  We came out blinking into the heat/sun on Monday morning to go back to work and although it was still warm, it wasn't as bad.  The rain came Monday night and swept the humidity away.  Today is about as lovely a day as you could ask for.  It's 75 degrees and sunny and beautiful.  I'm thinking a dinner in the park might be called for.

I have some finished socks but since I'm putting them away for the holidays, I'm not posting any photos.  I have done very little knitting/spinning lately.  It takes a lot of energy to keep my body cool in all the heat so there was a lot of napping.  Pk was getting cabin fever. 

We have today and then tomorrow and Friday and the weekend are supposed to be wicked again.  Pk is heading down to Washington DC for his annual galoot fest.  I don't know why these supposedly intelligent men don't hold these outdoor gatherings in a cooler month.  They hang around outside and use handtools and sweat.  If the weather holds, we've taken Monday off and are heading to the beach for the day.  I love the beach.  Like walking in the woods, it makes me feel peaceful all the way down to my core. 

Other than that, life is quiet.  Kate has a birthday coming up. My youngest child will be 22 (how did that happen?).  She is having us all for dinner and Patrick is making the cake. I told him that whatever he did for Kate's birthday, there had to be cake.  She didn't get one last year and has mentioned it for the entire year.  Birthday cakes are de rigeur in our family. 

And I thought I'd report on the Keurig.  I like it.  I'm not fond of their k cups and will probably not buy them.  I will invest in a second filter to use my own coffee.  It's nice to come downstairs and put my travel cup under the spout and push a button and within a minute have a cup of hot coffee.  Pk can put a tea bag into a cup and have a hot cup of tea in a minute.  I set the timer to come on at 6 am and go off at 12 so for those hours, the water stays hot.  Any other time, you just hit power and it takes 4 minutes.  Not too shabby.  Their k cups are ok.  They have name brand coffee available but it's the same amount whether you choose a large cup or a small cup so either it's strong or weak.  We have a selection of decaf cups for emergencies. And I can get them at the grocery store.  It's a convenient machine and there is less waste of coffee so it's all good in the long run.

Time to pick up the phone messages and get some charts and start work.  I have group today and have yet to decide on a topic.  I hope your weather is as nice as ours is today.  When it's this nice, I want to share it with everyone.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You know what I've noticed?  Heat makes people cranky.  Yep.  I can attest to that, being a cranky person myself right about now.  We were going to grill some meat for dinner but opted for sandwiches instead.  I didn't have the heart to ask Pk to stand in front of a grill in this heat.  It's 100 degrees out there.  I have a feeling we'll have some different kind of sandwich tomorrow.

Saturday I'm going for my mammogram and the pelvic ultrasound.  It's an odd feeling to lay on a table with your legs in the air while a stranger manipulates a wand inside your vagina.  The last time I had one done, I told the technician they owed me a meal since we were being so intimate.....
I got the blood tests done this week so I should have some results on what's going on in the female parts of my body soon. 

I have noticed that there are very few colorful flowers in our neighborhood this year.  Right after we planted two flats of brightly colored impatiens out front (figuring it would do like it always does and fill in the bed with lovely colors), we had a major heat wave.  We watered but it wasn't enough.  And then we've had one heat wave after another and rather dry weather so the poor little plants didn't stand a chance.  This morning on our way to work, I noticed that most of our neighbors have empty beds too.  I refuse to waste all the water it would take to keep those plants alive this year.  And with it being as hot as it is, seeing the sprinklers running is obscene somehow. It takes a good deal of water to keep grass green in this weather.  Our front yard is crispy and will stay that way unless we get some rain.  We should have planted cacti.

We saw the last Harry Potter movie last night.  It's really good.  They did a good job with telling the story and keeping the mood.  It moved along really quickly and is very dark, literally.  The landscape throughout the movie is all grey and brown.  Very little color.  We'll go see it again.  Pk wants to see it in 3D next time.  I have my reservations about that.

I am working on a mindless, mostly garter shawl at the moment.  The pattern is designed to use up bits and pieces of fingering weight yarns left over from making socks.  I'm doing it in a fairly heavy laceweight in blue and rose.  It's plain with some rows of yo and k2tog and then ends in feather and fan.  I like the design feature that has increases along the shoulders as well as down the back to it will sit on your shoulders and fit without falling off.  It's good for this time of year.  Fairly mindless and easy to modify to suit yourself. 

Just a few short months ago, we were dealing with this!  It makes me feel cooler just looking at it. 

Tomorrow night is Psychiatric Rehab night at the Phillies (local baseball team).  Unfortunately, it's supposed to be 100 degrees then, too.  We have quite a few clients that were planning to go but the heat may prevent that.  Psychotropic meds mean you shouldn't be out in the heat.  It can mess with your head.  Blood pressure meds can cause lightheadedness and the tendency to burn more easily so I'm careful.  And I really don't like baseball so we're not planning to go. 

I have a Handle with Care class to teach tomorrow.  It's a full class with 18 people signed up.  There are only two instructors so it'll be a tough day.  I just hope the a/c is working in the building we're teaching in.  That could be ugly.

As far as the knitting group goes, I'll probably not go.  The idea of paying for the priviledge of knitting somewhere is abhorrent.  I like the store and may go back sometime but probably not to knit.  Pk doesn't seem to think it's a bad thing (after all, if I go, he'll go and sit at the bar/restaurant with the good German beers) and thinks I should go at least once.  But the idea of paying just to occupy space? I don't think so.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's almost bedtime here and I'm writing with the hum of the a/c in the room.  Why a/c?  Because even now at 10:30 at night, it's 82 degrees (28C).   We are in the beginnings of what looks to be a vicious bit of weather.  Tomorrow and Wed are supposed to be in the mid 90's and Thursday and Friday are supposed to be close to 100 degrees.  Ew.

Our weekend didn't turn out quite like we expected but it was a good one nonetheless.  Friday night, we went and bought the coffee maker.  It's different and since I can use my own coffee and not have to depend on their rather expensive little pods, it's not as expensive to use as I was afraid it would be.  We bought a selection of their little pod/cups of coffee and they're ok but we also bought a teeny tiny filter basket (no, really, it looks like it might be made for a hobbit) and I can use my favorite brand.  I set the timer to go on at 6 in the morning and when I get downstairs, it's ready to brew.  I put my coffee in the basket (I'm trying to remember to do it the night before) and put my cup under the spout and push a button.  In less than a minute, I have a cup of coffee to go.  Very cool.  While we were in line to pay, three different people gave unsolicited testimonies regarding how much they loved their Keurig.  It was funny.

Saturday, we were so lazy in the morning.  We got up and ate some breakfast and sat around in our jammies until we had to shower to go out.  We met Kate and Patrick at the train station and went to the Chestnut St Food store for sandwiches for lunch and then headed to Nangellini Gallery on South St.

South St in Philadelphia is unique.  There are store fronts that look like this. The door says "art in the real world".  There is a large variety of stores such as one called "hats in the belfry" which sells hats, CondomNation and you can guess what they sell.  If you can't, one look at the sidewalk in front of the door would give you a clue.  There are little sperms painted all over the ground.  There are food places and clothing places and lots of people. 

We found the gallery easily.  Probably because it had an awning with Nangellini Gallery on the front.  I walked in and automatically felt at home.  It's bright and colorful and there are knitted items everywhere. 

I got to meet Nicole (notwosnowflakes on ravelry).  We moderate the LOTR board and had never met, only exchanged many, many messages.  She is a knitwear designer and this was her trunk show. 

Kate and I bought some yarn and sat down to knit and schmooze and wait for the show.  Kate mentioned how much more welcoming this group was than the other knitting group we went to.  Everyone talked to everyone and we felt wanted.  The fashion show was really good.  I bought two patterns, one is for a hat (and you know how I feel about hats).  This one is a beret style designed for hand spun yarn which I happen to have a bunch of.  I put on the sample and Kate kept telling me it looked good so I'll probably make one for me.  The other one is called Icicles and is a lacy shawl pattern.  There is a resident knitting group and spinning group there, too.  They charge 5 dollars (or you  have to make a purchase) and I'm not sure how I feel about it since I'll have to spend 6 dollars on a train ticket just to get there.  We talked about going on Sunday afternoons but the fact that they charge doesn't sit real well with me.  Do groups usually charge and am I just behind the curve here? 

Meanwhile, Pk and Patrick were in the Brauhaus having beers waiting for us to finish.  They also had a good time. We got home about 5.  Just in time to change into some summer jeans and head out to the Moroccan restaurant (called Cous Cous) for dinner with some friends.  We chose the 10 dish feast and really enjoyed the food.  It's a good place to go and sit and talk while they keep bringing you new dishes to try.  The belly dancer didn't come out until we had finished but we waited for her.  She didn't disappoint.  She moved her body in ways that were mezmerizing. 

Sunday, Pk went to Kate's to watch the US team give up the World Cup to Japan.  I was not feeling well so I stayed home and did laundry and sat around watching my favorite movie (The Women, both versions).  I love them.  We had a cold dinner and I watched Camelot.  What a really really good telling of the Arthur story.  A totally different take (and did I mention it was good?).  Now I have to wait for them to make a new season. 

Tonight, I've got things to put into the crock pot for dinner tomorrow. I can't stand to eat too much take out food and I know no one will feel like cooking.  It's one of Pk's favorites, pork with figs and rosemary.  If I put some potatos in with the meat and make a salad, we will have a great meal.

So, if you go to a kntting group, tell me about it, please.  Is it free?  Is it in a store or free floating?  Would you go if you had to pay or buy something?  I'm afraid they won't like it if I knit something I bring from home and didn't buy there. 

That could get expensive.  Thing is, I liked the store owner, Nancy, and the other women.  I'm just conflicted by the whole pay to knit thing. 

Stay cool, y'all. (we're probably cancelling program this week due to heat.  We have too many folks with COPD and asthma).  It could be real quiet at work.  Not a bad thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Pk and I ride the train together into work everyday and we often look at the people around us.  Very rarely do you see a smiling face.  Now, I know that most of these people are going to work but wow, they look miserable.  I am a smiler.  I smile at people all day (secretly, I think that if I smile at the train driver, he'll stop the train so that the door is right in front of me).  I don't think people pay attention to what their face (expression) says about them as they walk through their day.  Mine says "here's a goofy woman.  Talk to her"
We finally broke down and put the a/c in the bedroom windows on Tuesday night.  After a succession of days when the temps crested in the high 90's (35C) and the humidity was unbearable, we caved.  I took a mental health day on Tuesday.  I just couldn't make myself go to work so I stayed home and spent most of the day just sitting still since it was so hot.  I put dinner in the crock put and made some rice early in the day so I could just reheat it at dinner time and not have to cook when it was so hot.
Pk came home and put the window units in and it was bliss.  It's so much easier to sleep when you don't stick to the sheets.
We have one of those weekends coming up when there is fun planned but no time to get the chores done and no down time.  While I like being busy, I crave downtime so it'll be a challenge to find some.  Friday night we have to do the grocery shopping and buy a new coffee maker (Pk broke the carafe to the old one and it's over 10 yrs old and irreplaceable).  We have been doing some research and are probably going to buy a Keurig.  Someone told Pk how much they love theirs and he was intrigued by the "cup of coffee in one minute" part.  As long as it's a good cup of coffee, I don't really care.
We also need a new clock radio.  This proves to be a challenge because we need two alarms and they don't make many models that have that feature.  Our current one is dying by inches and it's gotten to the point where I can't stand it anymore.
Saturday we (Pk, Kate, Patrick and I) are going to a fiber/yarn/knitted goods trunk show put on by a local indie dyer.  We thought we could catch the train into Philadelphia, have lunch and Pk and Patrick could walk South Street for a bit while Kate and I check out the yarny action.  I just got the most amazing wrap pattern called Isengard (Susan Pandorf) and I need some fingering weight yarn to make it.  It's a charted pattern and I am hopeless with them but I'm willing to try again.
Saturday night we're having dinner with some friends at a Moroccan restaurant complete with belly dancers.  Pk and I have eaten there before and the food is tasty (except for the chicken in pastry that had a quarter inch of powdered sugar and cinnamon on top-that was just odd) and the entertainment was fun. 
Sunday is Women's World Cup.  Pk has been watching the games (loudly and vigorously) and was excited to watch the US women's team advance to the finals.  He mentioned to one of his coworkers that she should have a world cup party on Sunday and she took the bait.  So, we may be heading over to Pennsyvania for that. 
Somewhere in all of this, I have to find time to do the laundry, change the bed, clean the bathroom, vaccum and dust and clean the kitchen.  Something has to give and it will probably be the cleaning.  I have my priorities, you know.  Clean underwear being one of them.
It sounds like a good weekend.  I can take some knitting with me to the World Cup party and just sit quietly since I'm not a soccer fan.  I like Pk's coworkers so it's not a chore to spend time with them. 
So, how about you?  How are you holding up in the heat (or cold if you're in the middle of winter)? Any good plans?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We had another power outage at work on Friday.  At 3:15.  There was a loud bzzzt and then nothing.  I was just finishing up some stuff and getting ready to go home anyway so it wasn't a big deal to me.  Until I walked downstairs to go outside and could see the rain pouring down.

And of course I had on sandals.

It rained hard off and on all night and Saturday was a sunny but humid day.  Pk mowed and I cleaned and we sat around and were sweaty.  We decided that Sunday we'd attempt another day at the lake.

We got up early and headed out the door by 9.  We stopped and bought some sandwiches and ice and got to the lake at 10.  We set up umbrellas and chairs and plopped ourselves down.  Of course there was liberally applied sunblock.  The building behind us there is the bath house.  There is a snack bar in which they cook french fries.  This is a fiendish plot to make people hungry.  And it works every time!

Look at how clean the beach is. The sky was as blue and cloudless as it can be.  There was even a gentle breeze.  If you got to choose the weather for a day at the lake, this is what you'd choose.

We sat and Pk watched movies that he'd loaded onto his ipad and Elanor read her book and I listened to a favorite audiobook and did some knitting on a sock that is definitely eye catching.
Look at those wonderfully fuzzy vertical stripes.  It's a ball of yarn by Dave Daniels of Cabin Cove sent to me by Roxie.  I wasn't sure what to do with it so I just did a plain toe up sock and let the yarn be the star.  It's a cashmere/merino/nylon blend and wonderfully soft.

After a while, Pk and I got warm and decided to go swimmng.  It was a short lived swim.  The water was COLD.  The lake is fed by the mullica river and after all the rain, it was just freezing.  And you have to creep out into the lake slowly.  It's like  slow torture but very refreshing.

We stayed all day.  It's the most relaxing way to spend a weekend day.  You can't DO anything but relax.  You can swim or sit and read/talk/play games/knit.  Nothing taxing or difficult. 

 On the way home, we always stop at this stand.  The lake is in the Wharton Tract, a large state owned and preserved forest.  It's the Pinelands area and a unique habitat.  On the edges of this are farms.  There is always corn, blueberries and soon watermelons and pumpkins.  This guy puts out wonderful produce and leaves a cast iron box to put your money in.  Today we got 3 pints of fresh blueberries (which are incredibly sweet and delicious even though blueberries aren't one of my favorites), 4 tomatoes (large, round red beauties) and two good sized cucumbers.  It's an honor system.  I've often wondered how many people pay and how many people just take the fruit and vegetables. 

Two pints of the blueberries are already in the oven with a cinnamon flavored batter on top.  In about an hour we'll have blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream for desert.  I set up a roast beef with potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms in the crockpot so we have a delicious home cooked meal with minimal effort on anyone's part.

It was a good weekend and while I'm not looking forward to going  back to work tomorrow, I'm not dreading it.  I feel like I had a weekend (you know how sometimes you feel like the weekend just flew by with chores and things and there was no relaxing).

I am going to check on the dinner and watch a movie with Pk and maybe work on my shawl for a bit before going to bed early.  All this sitting in the sun makes me tired.  Today, life is good.

"You brought your Sunday morning sunshine
Here into my Monday morning rain.
You taught me happiness just one time
It keeps on coming back again and again"
~Sunday Morning Sunshine by Harry Chapin

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I think the person who invented window fans is a pure and simple genius.  As long as the temp goes down somewhat at night, it keeps our rooms cool and we've been able to avoid using the a/c.  We haven't even put them in the windows.  It's been a warm week but that's what passes for normal here on the eastern coast of the US in July.  
Hobbes rolling in the dirt.

I like July.  I like summer in general.  There's something unrushed about the long days and soft sultry nights.  The mosquitos have been awful this year so sitting outside is not something we do often.  We sat at the park on the Fourth (no lake joy for us.  We got there at 9:30 in the morning to be told it was "at capacity".) and my feet are still itchy.  There were tiny little bugs (could have been sand fleas) that made sharp little bites which turned into large itchy welts.  I've been putting ice and some spray on them but all I want to do it scratch.  It's hard to ignore but I'm trying.  I've already scratched some raw.  We're going to try for the lake again this weekend.  It's not a holiday so we may have some luck.

I had knitting group today.  Group may be a misnomer.  How many people do you need to have a group?  It was me and one other woman.  We knit and chatted and it was pleasant.  She asked me how much one of those "things of yarn" cost.  I explained that it depended on what it was made of and how it was dyed.  I talked about the sock yarn club yarn and how it's individually dyed by an indie dyer and how I look forward to it each month.  She was a bit taken aback that I spend 30 dollars each month on a single skein of yarn.  I explained the value of the yarn to me and how we all value these things differently.  She saw some at a thrift store and wondered if it was any good.  I told her my feeling is that all yarn is 'good'.  It's all good for something and if she liked the yarn, she should buy it.  She's a brand new knitter and has no idea yet what she's stepping into.   Maybe I shouldn't tell her.......

I thought of a good way to use us some of those bits and bobs of leftover sock yarn.  I bought the Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern.  I thought I could use the lefover bits for the colors in the crosses and then find one bright color to tie them all together.  I think it'll be a good use of all the bits of sock yarn I have lying around.   and the squares would be portable for train knitting.  And I like the way it looks.

We have no real plans this weekend.  Just Pk and I doing chores and then sitting at the lake.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  Another thing to like about summer.  I don't feel like I should always be "doing something".  The weather is so conducive to just sitting still. 

I'm anxious to see the new Torchwood season.  Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until Netflix picks it up.  Once in a while, I am sorry we don't have a television. 

This is such a random post.  Random thoughts from a random mind.  One of my doctors is having surgery and will be out for the next month.  This is good/bad.  Good because it means no clinics on Mon/Tues afternoons.  Bad because if our clients need anything, they only have me and I have to find some other doctor to help them. 

I understand it's really cold in parts of Australia right now.  Cold enough to wear alpaca sweaters.  I can't imagine it.  I'm watching some heavy duty storm clouds roll overhead.  Pk was going to fire up the grill but maybe not.  I think the burgers will have to be cooked inside. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is probably best known for her studies/writings on death.  On Death and Dying was so popular when I was in college.  We all discussed it.  She was a very positive person with a positive outlook on life.  One of my favorite things she said is this

People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

I don't know why but it resonates with me.  I know people who are stained glass beauties.  The people who quietly make the world a better place just by being themselves.  I'm feeling grateful for these people today.  It's been an interesting week and I have been blessed with the presence of a few such folks.

I better sign off before I start singing period must be due.  I'm feeling emotional. 
Have a good day and a lovely weekend. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of July! Today is only the third but people are celebrating the entire weekend.  We've been listening to fireworks for the last two nights.  They sound an awful lot like pop corn popping in the pan.

Our town cancelled the fireworks for tonight.  "budgetary constraints".  We have opted not to travel to find some locally.  A few small towns around here will have displays but it's difficult to get there and home without sitting in traffic for well over an hour.

We took a few days off this past week.  We had some vague plans and then Pk wrenched his back on Sunday.  Nothing serious, just painful.  He had trouble standing and walking.  We have a massage pad and a support belt and some pain patches and now he's moving easily. 

Unfortunately, we had to abandon some of our plans.  We had hoped to go to the lake today but it was raining this morning and there was a 70% chance of rain all day.  We're going to try to go tomorrow.  I say "try" because it's often crowded and they only allow so many cars into the park.  We're leaving early in the morning and will spend the early part of the day there.

Today we're sitting as still as possible since it's hot and very humid.  We're in the middle of a Star Wars marathon. 

I've managed to do some spinning and I finished the anklets.  Unfortunately, when I pulled out the camera to take a photo, the battery was dead.  It was on in my purse and ran completely dead.  I do have some photos of the alpaca fleece I washed.  (Is alpaca coat called a "fleece"?).

Soaking the fiber

Very dirty water

We bought bags of alpaca two years ago at a show and it's been sitting in the closet since then.  I took out the cream colored bag and filled the dishpan with cleanser and warm water.  Then I used a mesh laundry bag to wash the wool.

The amount of dirty that came out was amazing.  It took one soapy wash and then several clear rinses to soak the bag and have the water run clear.  There is still a lot of dirt left in the fiber.  I took several handfuls of the cleaned fiber and flick carded it to pull out the vm and other dirt (all the while trying not to imagine what I was cleaning out of the fiber).
Washed fiber

I have a pile of fiber still to card and prepare.  It took all afternoon to pick a ziplock bag full clean.  It's very time consuming and I'm not sure I like it.  I'm fairly sure I'd rather pay for the already processed fiber but I'll see how nicely this spins.

I am taking part in a Tour de Fleece challenge this year.  I am pledged to spin at least 10 minutes each day of the tour.  I seem to go through fits and spurts with the spinning and I'd like it if I could just get into the habit of spinning regularly.
No knitting goals this time.  I don't do well with those kind of goals.

Darth Vader is getting ready to reveal to Luke that he is his father.  I remember seeing this in the theaters.  They are some of my favorite movies.  We've also pulled out a Monty Python and Batman and of course we still have another Star Wars movie.  This is one of my favorite ways to spend a hot summer afternoon. 

I have been absent from the internet for a while.  I have not turned on the computer much while we've been on vacation.  Today, I needed to charge the camera so I figured I'd update the blog.  I haven't been reading much, just listening to a few good books and knitting and relaxing.  We've been taking it easy so Pk can mend.  Something bit me at the park and I have a large welt on the back of my knee.  I smashed it so I have no idea what it was.  I only know it left me with an itchy painful bump. We're keeping an eye on it since I have a tendency to cellulitis and am a MRSA carrier.  I'd rather not be hospitalized again.

It's getting too hot to sit here with a computer on my lap so I'm going to say goodbye. I hope you all are having a good weekend. I am enjoying the fact that we have one more day off. When I go back to work on Tuesday, I am teaching our new crop of interns how to use our computer software. I figure they'll be easier than teaching a bunch of middle aged social workers since they all probably grew up using computers and won't look upon them as tools of torture. I think they'll be fun.

Happy Birthday USA! 


Happy Sunday!  I am sitting here working on my sweater made with the cashmere yarn my husband gave me for my birthday last year. I’m further...