Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Clipart Free
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons.  I usually feel very energetic and ready to go out and "get things done".  This year has been no exception--except that we have not gotten much done yet.

We have been blessed with some of the most glorious weather and being the people we are, have taken advantage of it.  Last weekend (instead of going grocery shopping and other weekend chores) we packed up lunch and went to the park for the afternoon.  Kate brought her loom and I brought my wheel and we spent a wonderful few hours soaking up the last of the summer heat. 

That meant we were supposed to go grocery shopping on Sunday but we went out to brunch instead and didn't feel like fighting the Sunday crowds at the store.  We had a delicious brunch at a small (and I mean SMALL) combination cafe/florist shop.  Yes, I did think it was an odd combination but somehow it works.  We had crepes (I had scrambled eggs and cheese and then bananas and pecans) which were amazing.  We'll definitely go back.  In fact, we are planning to order the crepes ahead of time the next time we go to the grocery store and get them to go.

We celebrated El's birthday last weekend.  My darling first born child is 29 years old.  I'm not at all sure how that happened since I don't feel much older (mentally, we won't talk about the physically part) than that myself most days.  Chinese food and chocolate cake with my family.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Work is moving along.  Our budget is taking a hit of over a million dollars which is definitely not good.  Everyone is a bit nervous (understandably) but we haven't had any news about what it all means to the line staff.  I am forging ahead with my autism research study.  So far, we've had three case conferences and I think they have been interesting and educational.  I am learning so much and hopefully giving the team the info they need so that they keep funding this effort.  I am slowly breaking in the new doctor for the Intellectual Disabilities clinic.  It's always interesting to see how doctors handle being in situations where they are not the most knowledgeable.  Some handle it very well and ask questions and try to learn.  Some others?  Not so well.  The new guy is asking questions and trying to learn.  I think we'll work well together.

I've been spinning some yarn with sparkles and I am enjoying the effect the little bit of glitz has on the finished yarn.  I am also spinning the yak/merino and oh my! is it soft.  I won't have much of it but maybe enough for some mitts or a small cowl.  It'll have to be something worn close to the skin.  I love the tactile sensation of the soft roving moving through my hands.  Spinning is the perfect craft for me.  I like to touch things and I get to touch all the things. 

I've also discovered a home for the small skeins of handspun that I have accumulated.  Kate is going to use them on her loom.  She has already made a few soft pieces of fabric and we think the texture of handspun will make some gorgeous stuff.  And then I get to spin and spin and have a place for my yarn to get used.  Win/win!

I am currently in "doctor mode".  We went to the dentist in September, I'm seeing the gyn tonight and then the kidney doctor in October.  Just the eye doctor to schedule (and the mammogram) and we're done for the year.  It makes me grateful for our health insurance.

We really haven't been busy, but I sure can't tell you where the time has gone.  It'll be time to take down the curtains and wash the windows soon (oh joy) and to put the gardens to bed.  This fall we are ripping off an old, leaky roof and putting on a new one so there's that to consider.  I think we've been more mentally busy and that makes me more tired than being physically busy.  I know Pk is working hard at work to write some software and has been late most nights the past few weeks (it would be very nice if they paid him for the time or at least gave him time off for it but that's not happening-and you can't gripe in this job climate).

And speaking of jobs, I am off to supervision.  I will talk to my manager about my charts and what I'm doing and he'll tell me what's going on and we generally chat for half an hour.  Then it'll be treatment plans all day.  I'm going to sit here and watch the sunshine outside and pretend I'm sitting in the park.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's funny how a month can seem to change the weather.  September has always meant Autumn to me even though our calendar says we have until the 21st until Summer officially ends.  But, as soon as it became September, the nights feel cooler and the days are not as oppressive and they're shorter and getting shorter every day.

Pk and I enjoyed our mini vacation and went back to work for a short week that felt like a very long week.  The problem with short weeks is that sometimes you have to cram all the stuff from a regular week into fewer days.  It's like stretching and bending the spacetime continuum and it can leave you weirdly disoriented and tired.
So, here's some photos of life around here the past week. 

The storm system that brought with it the change in the weather.  It had been so humid all week, even though the temps were lower.  Everything felt damp and icky.  On Saturday this system moved into the neighborhood.  Em said they got pounded with high winds and heavy rain.  We got some rain but not quite like she did.  It left us with blue skies and puffy white clouds and (for the moment) comfortable temperatures.  
evil sheep
sleepy sheep
Sunday when we got up, it was glorious.  Off to the sheep show.  There were mean looking sheep like this guy.  He kept rolling his eyes at me and I swear he was thinking evil sheep thoughts.
There were sleepy sheep.  This poor guy looked so tired.  He had his head jammed into
the bars and was sound asleep.
naked sheep
This poor guy looked embarassed to be mostly naked.  He must have been recently shorn because you could see the marks where the shears had been.  Kinda like the marks the vacuum cleaner makes on carpet.  He wouldn't look at us. 
And LLamas!  This guy was in a stall in the corner all alone.  I think he was lonely.  He was desperately trying to get someone, anyone's attention but then when we got close, he started humming in distress.  He was a tease.

We watched the Border Collies herd some sheep.  The trainer had a seasoned dog paired with a pup.  The difference was so obvious.  The pup kept running into the middle of the sheep and scattering them.   The trainer pointed out that when folks buy border collies, they are getting the pup and not the seasoned dog.  He also made sure people knew that they were very active, intelligent dogs that would find occupations for themselves if you didn't keep them busy.(and that you probably wouldn't like their idea of "occupation")  This beautiful boy just wanted to get into the action but it wasn't his turn.  You could see him thinking "put me in, coach.  I can do better than that!"

I kept my purchases to a minimum.  I promised myself I would only buy something unusual, different or something I didn't already have.  I bought 2 oz of a yak/merino blend (clouds in a box).  It comes from a farm in NJ.  We have yaks in NJ!  Who knew?  We're going to take a trip out to the farm in October (for their sit, sip and spin day) and see them in person.  I don't know how something so big and shaggy can make the softest, most beautiful fluff.  Pk is not interested in the spinnable parts of the yak but the edible parts.He's looking for yak steaks or yak kabobs.

When Christmas comes and it's cookie making time, we'll have these to add to our collection.  Who wouldn't love a t-rex with a holly wreath?  or a sheep with some pine boughs?  Pk chose the moon and the batman.  Batman with a Santa hat?  I can't wait.

Kate stopped to admire a Cricket loom and the (very smart) woman behind the counter offered to show her how to work it.  Kate has been wanting one of these for a while so she said YES. (one of the best parts of the NJ show is the smallness.  You can talk to vendors and not feel crowded) I knew it was all over but the signing of the credit slip.  Kate brought home the loom and within an hour of being home, texted me some photos of the weaving she had done.  Then she asked if she could bring it over because Patrick wasn't impressed enough and she wanted to show off. 

And since I always encourage my children in their craft endeavors, I said of course.  She was most of the way through her first ever piece of woven fabric.  A lovely green and purple thing which she will keep forever to remind herself where she started. 

I also bought a very large bag of kettle corn (I love this stuff) and a few ounces of alpaca/silk that will probably spin like spider web.  It's so smooth.  We had a great time.

I watched and listened to some young folks' merino sheeps being judged.  The judge explained about how the very best had a micron count that was this much and how that made all the difference.  Those kids were getting an education as well as being judged on their sheep.  And since this is technically the Garden State Sheep Breeders Show, this is what it's all about.  The vendors and such are what keeps them solvent, but the education is the key.  Those kids paid attention.

We went to dinner with Kate and Patrick and came home to fall asleep and get up way too early this morning for work.  It was still dark when the alarm went off!  Like I said, these days are getting shorter and shorter.  


Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Day 5 of our 6 day end of summer vacation.  I've kind of lost track of the days and have to keep reminding myself that it's Labor Day.  Most people are going back to work tomorrow but we took the extra day off and so have two more lazy days.

What have we been doing?  Well, Thursday we ran some errands in the morning and then Kate and I took our wheels to the park and entertained various people including one 80-something year old woman who thinks she might like to learn to spin.  She was fascinated by the whole thing.  The weather was perfect and it was a great way to unwind and to begin our vacation. 

This little guy was in the tree next to us, pecking away.  He scampered all over the branches and was hard to catch a clear shot of.

Then he just sat there watching me taking photos.  We have a few woodpeckers in our neighborhood but you only hear them in the early morning when it's still quiet.  They are funny little birds.  We got Kate home in time for work and we got home and had some spaghetti and meatballs.

Friday, Pk and I got up and moved lazily through our morning and got to the lake about 11.  It wasn't crowded since it was a weekday and the weather was gorgeous.  We put up our umbrellas and sat ourselves in the sand and watched children make sandcastles and run in and out of the water.  The lake looks blue because the sky was cloudless and endlessly blue.  The reflection was complete.  It's a "cedar" lake although the brown color is caused by iron and not cedars.  This area of NJ was once known for it's iron ore and the rivers and streams and lakes are all root beer colored.

You can see that it's not crowded.  It was great.So great in fact, that we decided to come back on Saturday since the weather was supposed to start turning ugly and it would be the last nice day.  And the last weekend the park would be open.  It's only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Our morning moved a bit more quickly.  This lake is a very popular spot for families during summer holidays.  We have never been able to get in on a holiday.  We were there 6 minutes before the park opened and there was a line already.  We were probably the 20th car in line.  We got in and spent the day much as we had the day before.  I pulled out some bubbles I had in the bag and ended up giving them to a brother and sister who were sitting next to us.  It was a win win situation.  They got to blow bubbles and I got to see the bubbles without all the bubble mess.

It was clouding up as we packed up to go home.  You could see the edge of the storm system moving in. The remnants of Issac which are still hanging around (and will be until Wednesday) coming to visit.We picked up some chinese food on the way home and watched The Fellowship of the Ring.  Perfect day. 
Our second half of the vacation is being spent closer to home.  I'm spinning some lovely fiber and Pk has made repairs to his computer monitor.  It had a flicker and would take some time to settle down when you turned on the computer.  He found out on line he could repair this with some replacement capacitors.  We ordered them and he took the monitor apart and replaced them.  He is very handy to have around since a new monitor would have meant spending much more than buying a few capacitors (the postage cost more than the electronic parts).

We put in a small vegetable garden in the back this year, just before the near drought conditions set in.  None of our tomatoes produced.  Or so we thought.  Pk found this on the plant yesterday when he went out to pick some basil to make me an omelette for breakfast.  It's a Barble sized tomato!  It's so cute but rather sad and pathetic.  The gardening was not a successful venture this year but there's always next year. 

Pk is writing some programs and I am getting ready to head into the spare room to commune with the fiber.  I want to see about mixing some sparkly bits into this yarn.  I have some angelina that Em gave me for Christmas that will match/contrast really well with the roving I'm using.  This is the merino/cashmere/silk I won in the TdF contest.  The color is called Water and Sky and there are bits of blue and purple and some light teal in there.  It's really pretty and so hard to capture the color.  Especially with no sun.

So, a few quiet days for us to continue to unwind.  We're going to be quite unwound by the time we go back to work.  And next weekend is the NJ Sheep Show!  Kate and I are going on Sunday.  Lots of local vendors which is nice since we like supporting our local folks. And of course there will be sheep to pet and Pk is hoping for a nice lamb sandwich.  I don't think he gets the spirit of the show......

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...