What’s on Your Needles?

I’m not a focused person.  I start one project, get bored, then begin something else because it haunts my brain.  So now I have several items in the works.  I have finished a few things, but we’ll talk about those later.  This is about works in progress.  Even more so, those projects that are actually on my needles, not the two or three projects that are awaiting assembly.  More on those later, too.

My favorite yarn right now is Homespun by Lion Brand.  It’s not a fancy hand-dyed boutique yarn.  But it is made in America.  It’s fuzzy and nubby, and even the non-variegated colorways host are multi-hued.  It comes in 2 thicknesses, or weights, bulky and super bulky.  Which means projects finish quickly.  Always a plus for the attention-span challenged like me.

I'm using Homespun and Homespun Thick n Quick to make an afghan.

This afghan is already taking longer than 8 hours!

First up is the “8 Hour Throw.”  I’m not following the pattern exactly.  It calls for size 50 circular needles (needed to hold 40 huge stitches).  I already have a pair of straight size 35 needles and refuse to buy another pair of humongous needles.  Instead, I’m making it in three strips, changing the number of rows to get the same approximate size.  At the rate I’m going (only the first two colors of the first strip are done), I’ll be finished by next winter.  Definitely not 8 hours!

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Knitters Anonymous

Hello.  My name is Gail, and I’m a knitter.  I learned to knit at my mother’s knee, but stopped when I went off to college.  I didn’t pick it up again until all my friends started having babies, over 10 years later.  I made baby ponchos for them in various colorways.  Then another hiatus.  I halfheartedly picked it up again several years ago as therapy.  I knit a couple hats and eyeglass cases (which still need finishing).  I also attempted something for my grand-niece, but that’s a story for another post.  Then Outlander came to my television set, and I became enamored with all the knitwear.  I found Ravelry, along with patterns for cowls, shawls, and fingerless mittens.  Ravelry introduced me to boutique yarn shops as well as some tried and true old-school yarns, all of which offered still more patterns, techniques, and email lists to join.  I searched for yarn shops in my local area, and found two yarn specialty shops, and the ubiquitous Michaels and JoAnn’s.  And now?

Yarn has overtaken my home!

I filled my storage ottoman with yarn, but it overflowed.   I started buying plastic bins and photo boxes to store the yarn in, but I never have enough.

I decided to dump it all out on the floor.  I took a picture then looked around. I’d missed that box, and another box, and another, etc.  And the storage ottoman, and yarn being kept in a big basket, and a few other smaller baskets.

When the blizzard of ’16 hit, what did I stock up on?  Yarn!  Friday morning I sped out to MIchaels (passing several backed up gas stations on the way) for another stash.  And where was the first place I went once the roads were cleared?  Michaels.  For more yarn. :/

Do you think I have a problem?

Today’s Dishes (Take the Poll!)

One-Minute Organizer set of books is written by Donna Smallin.

One-Minute Organizer (Plain & Simple edition)

When beginning to organize your home and life, The One Minute Organizer says to begin by dealing with “today’s mess,” i.e., today’s dishes, today’s laundry, and today’s mail.  But what constitutes “today’s dishes” if  you don’t run the dishwasher every day?  I suppose it means putting today’s dirty dishes in the dishwasher and washing by hand those items that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, like crystal and knives.   Of course, this means you have to empty the dishwasher promptly.

I’m reasonably good about loading the dishwasher, and only slightly less reasonably good at emptying it.  It’s the hand washing that stymies me.

When I emptied the dishwasher, the dishes were clean, but I noticed water standing in the bottom.  Obviously there’s a clog somewhere in the drain.  If it’s reachable by hand, I  couldn’t find it.  But then, I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.

So it was a good day to tackle “today’s dishes,” which included today’s dishes, yesterday’s dishes, the day before’s dishes… you get the idea.   Looking on the positive side, the term “today’s dishes” is now well defined.  The bonus is having clean crystal in which to drink this evening’s wine.

My short-term dilemma resolved, now I must decide what to do long-term.  Do I call the repairman or bite the bullet and get new appliances?  The dishwasher is several years old, but I like it.  If necessary, I could just buy a new dishwasher, but since I’m planning to remodel the kitchen, I’m not sure updating just one appliance is worth it.  Both the refrigerator and stove are ancient (original to the aging home) and in sore need of updating.  But I’m not yet ready to do the full remodel.  The one time I watched The Nate Berkus Show, he recommended (to an audience member on a budget) to buy new appliances first, then save up for the rest of the remodel.

What should I do?  I’m terrible at making decisions.

Spring, er Winter Cleaning

It’s time to revamp and reorganize the blog. The Skeptical theme served me well for a couple years (especially since it was literally picked at random via a random number generator).  But a renewed interest has me itching to post pictures and the old theme was too narrow for what I’d like to do.

That renewed interest is knitting, brought by my current love affair with Outlander.  And since we’re in the middle of a prolonged cold spell, it’s not too late to make some chunky cowls and arm warmers.  Look for some project photos and knitting thoughts coming soon.  As well as some additional blog housekeeping.

I'm making a pair of "garter stitch mitts" by Ysolda from Ravelry.

Almost finished: Ysolanda’s garter stitch mitts.

Serendipity @ Midnight

Chris Hardwick awards points to guests for funny comebacks.

Points! [photo from funnyordie.tumblr.com]

Last night The night before last (I’m really horrible about posting in a timely manner!) I was still up late enough to watch @Midnight live. It’s a fairly new quiz-type show on Comedy Central hosted by Doctor Who mega-fan Chris Hardwick.  He poses questions to three guest comedians based on some of social media’s wildest postings.  The guests compete for “Points!” and the honor of “Wins the Internet for the next 24 hours.”  Unless it’s Thursday, in which case the winner gets to claim  for the entire (extended) weekend, until a new winner is declared the following Monday.  Unlike SyFy’s now-defunct The Wil Wheaton Project, @Midnight is hilarious.  (Incidentally, Wil and Chris were roommates at one time.  Scifi nerds, unite!)

The show is so hipster-oriented, I often have no idea what they’re talking about,.  Not so much because of the social media stuff, but because of the slang used.  This ignorance of course, is a product of age, which is something the show loves to make fun of.  To which I say, “Just you wait!”  Heck, if you don’t grow old, something’s happened—and it’s not good.

Nonetheless, I’ve learned many things from watching this show.  One of which is a “furry” is a person with a fetish for dressing up like a stuffed animal, and seeking like-minded individuals for various forms of “social” intercourse.  Which means, of course, there are indeed furry-dating websites.  [All this makes me think I ought to change my “Furries” category here, because that is not what it refers to.]

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand.

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Throwback Thursday

#tbt:  Apparently it’s quite The Thing on Twitter.  I’ve been thinking about reblogging some of my posts from The (Old) Stream of Conscience, and “Throw Back Thursday” seems as good a day as any, yes?

When deciding what post to reblog, I took a look at my 34 categories.  How to choose?  Why, my old favorite, of course, Random.org.  (I also used it to pick the style for this blog.)  It spewed out 14, which turned out to be the ubiquitous “Life & Musings,” i.e., pretty much any damn thing.  Since the blog covered 5½ years, there were 9 pages of posts to peruse; yet, the one I chose was on the first page.

It was written on December 8, 2012, in response to WordPress.com’s Daily Post challenge, which asked “What is your earliest memory?  Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”  Mine was easy-peasy.  (I’ve edited only slightly.)

My Earliest Trauma Memory

And how appropriate for the season!

A two-and-a-half year-old me entertains Christmas visitors.

Entertaining visitors; permanent crisis averted

Harken back to a slower, quieter time: the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up a roll of film and get it developed.

Christmas day:  One 2½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.

But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.

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Romeo has found his preferred sleeping spot.

Romeo in 2 Parts

Part 1: When Insomnia Is a Good Thing

I’ve battled insomnia most of my life.  Exceptions would be graduate school and the Navy.  Nowadays, it’s more annoying than debilitating, since I don’t have to work.  Once in a while, though, sleepless is rewarded with something special.

Romeo head into the kitchen.

The body may look sleek, but it’s solid—and heavy!

A couple nights ago, at around 3:00 a.m., I heard someone in the new “diggie-box” currently in my bathroom.  Since Shadow was on the bed with me, I knew Romeo had come out of his hiding spot.  When he came out of the bathroom, he looked around, saw the door to the bedroom was open, and decided to go exploring.

Romeo and Shadow get acquainted by touching noses.

Greetings

A short while later, I too got up for a mug of warm milk to stimulate some melatonin.  When Romeo and I passed in the hallway, he didn’t bolt.  He came into the living room and then ventured into the kitchen, where I could hear him licking out a can of Friskees.  (Gigi loved to lick the can clean, and I got in the habit of putting the empty can on the floor for Kimmi and Shadow.)

Romeo then wandered around a bit, eventually leaving Shadow and me to watch tv (me) and snooze & snore (Shadow).  When I went back to bed, Romeo was apparently still checking things out as he wasn’t under the bed.

Sadly, though, he was back under the bed in the morning and stayed there all day and the next.  I’d really hoped we’d passed that milestone, but knew it would have to be on his terms, not mine.

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Where Art Thou, Romeo?

Romeo has arrived!  I couldn’t wait any longer to bring him home.

Romeo's new homeunder by bed.

Here he is! Under the bed.

The first thing I asked as I walked into the shelter was if Romeo was still available.  He was.  When I said I wanted to adopt him, the gal at the desk gasped, “The 12-year-old?”  I suppose they’re so used to people wanting kittens or young cats, someone actually requesting an older animal is a surprise—and a delight!

Someone had paid for his adoption, so he was free!  I plan to “adopt it forward” and pay the adoption fee for another cat.  I was going to do so as we left the shelter, but the gal at the desk computer had never done it before and it was taking longer than usual.  Since Romeo was scared and nervous, and in a too-small carrier, I didn’t want to keep him in it longer than necessary.  S0 I asked if I could do it later.

Yep, the carrier I brought with me turned out to be too small.  Romeo’s bigger than I thought.  In fact, he weighs more than Shadow, who is no thin mint.  He was so good on the way home.  Even though he was scared and the carrier confining (although he was able to turn around in it), he meowed only once.  I think he meowed once more when we got home, but that’s it.

I put him in my bedroom, thinking it’d be a good place for him to get used to the smell of Shadow and me.   It wasn’t my greatest idea.  I should have put him in a spare room I don’t use so often.  Because wherever I go, Shadow goes.  (Closing the bedroom door when I’m in there doesn’t help, becase Shadow can open the door!)  Since I don’t have anywhere else to sleep, Romeo has to share the space with us every night.  I don’t think it helps his stress level.  But he did come out some time last night to use his box.

So far Shadow hasn’t hissed, and shows signs of curiosity rather than aggression.  He knows something’s under the bed, but hasn’t pursued it much.  So that’s encouraging.

I’m not going to rush Romeo to come out from under the bed.  But damn, I want to play and snuggle with him!

Romeo lashed out at me for taking his picture.

Apparently Romeo doesn’t like having his picture taken.

I’m off to the Alexandria Animal Shelter website to pick out a cat to sponsor.

♪♬Woh-oh, No Domino♫

(A riff on Van Morrison—if  your old enough to remember him, that is.)

The kitty search saga hit another snag; another adoption attempt has failed.  And I was this ->||<- close.  The way these rescue groups act, you’d think I beat and starve my cats.

Domino is a tuxedo cat with an adorable pink nose.

Aw, just look at that sweet face.

A couple weeks ago, I met Domino, an older kitty with a thyroid problem.  Fortunately, I’ve had experience with thyroid problems. Gigi had one, which we treated for two years.  Domino and I got along famously.  He let me hold him, he purred, and he even licked my finger.  And his foster mom was simply thrilled I wanted an older cat.  (She and I seemed to get along, too.)

But, I failed the vet check. It’s a long story that I’m sure no one is interested in.  Suffice it to say the rescue group thought I’d been untruthful in my application, and were concerned that Shadow hadn’t been to the vet in a very long time.

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