Friday, August 18, 2006

A blog in my throat

Oops! I can't believe I forgot to blog yesterday! That is certainly not like me. In my defense, I have been trapped in the throes if a marathon game of Chuzzle Deluxe, and only managed to escape it's grasp last night at 2AM (this morning?). My right hand feels like it has been through the wringer from the clicking and dragging. I had to brush my teeth with my left hand LOL. Some people call it an addiction, I call it dedication. Okay. Diabolical addiction. Almost worse than knitting, but if knitting hurts my hands it hurts both, and only when I use cotton. But those chuzzles are just too cute, I just have to....make them explode. Bwa-ha-ha-haa! Yes, ladies and gentlemen. My house is a mess, we have no clean dishes, there is a mountain of laundry (one more day and we all have to wear bathing suits instead of underwear), we are out of most grocery items, there are three knitting projects on the needles, and I have several deadlines to be completed by midnight. AND I SPENT HOURS PLAYING CHUZZLE. Not even sure if I stopped to pee. I don't remember dinner nor putting DD to bed - but seeing as that is where she was when I got her up I assume I did. And I assume that because she was wearing a nightgown and not a princess dress, in case you were wondering. I am like a CSI, so good at looking for the signs and knowing what is going on. For example. I can tell what DH had for lunch my simply glancing into the kitchen. Bag of tortillas drying out on the counter, can of sauce tipped onto the formica (that will leave a stain), shredded cheese scattered six ways from sunday, microwave door left ajar, dog with garlic breath from scavenged pepperoni droppings. Yep, those are the signs of tortilla pizzas, and I didn't even have to check his chair for saucey cheese globs. I can also tell what he is bringing for dinner, since amid the other mess is an empty black tray and a cardboard box that says "seafood lasagne". If I look closer, I might find the piece of plastic that used to be across that tray, but knowing that it will be stuck to something icky side down I am not looking closely thank you. Let it be a surprise for me later, I guess. Ew! My ability to figure out what is going on like this absolutely astonishes DD. I walk by the bathroom and remark "I see your Polly Pockets have been swimming again". She looks at me in awe - "How did you KNOW that?". I tell her mothers are magic and have special powers of deduction. I am not ready to tell her that I am a mere mortal, and the wet dolls all over the counter - not to mention the bowl of water with a barbie slide attached to the side - were pretty much a dead giveaway. This is the same child that can stand there with hooker-red lips and be startled when she gets in trouble for getting into my make-up. None of your business WHY I have hooker red lipstick, smarty pants. A few times we have come home to a mess, and I said "Oh, the cats got into the garbage!". Dh usually follows up with 'How can you tell?'. Well, the fact that there is garbage strewn about is a pretty good sign. And if the hole in the bag is the size of a dime and the lone chicken bone has been dragged out, it is the cats. If the hole is the size of a bowling ball, and food has been LICKED into the couch and carpet, well, that is Ruby signs. He can walk in, walk back and forth and not see (nor smell) the mess and I see it the moment I come in. Of course, I have come to suspect that he believes the "whoever sees it first cleans it" rule so is pretending not to notice - and thus not having to clean the mess. Sigh. I would play chuzzle to feel better, but I think my right hand just fell off. I'll leave it there and see if DH picks it up when he comes home ;).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Knitters ADD. Or is it just avoidance?

There is this poncho I am SUPPOSED to be making. The pattern is not hard at all, the yarn knits like a dream. But it is a lot of counting, and for counting I need aloneness and quietness and no distractions while I complete a 24 row, 100-odd stitch repeat. Unless I plan on moving into one of those hermetically sealed bubbles it ain't gonna happen. "Make two, then join". Who are they kidding. So I decided that maybe I could extend the size of one of the sides to make it bigger, and call it a wrap. Yep. That's the ticket! With a nice fringe it would look better as a wrap, at least on a mature adult woman. But it is still a lot of counting, and for counting I need aloneness and quietness and no distractions. This is why I have been working on a million other things, rather than getting down to business and completing the poncho-cum-wrap. I should mention, it is one of those projects where you seem to knit and knit and knit and it just doesn't seem to grow, even though you can count one more repeat and set of leaves so for all accounts and purposes it should be longer. Rather than lift myself by the bootstraps and start working on that before it becomes an Easter present (rather than a christmas gift), I have started yet another project. Another poncho. I was finally able to cast on and work rows for DD's request. The only way I could do it was to hold the skinny yarn with a strand of white worsted, to get it started. After several rows, I have now cut the white yarn and using just the fluff line alone, and believe it or not, it is hard to see or feel any difference in the rows. Maybe once there are more rows and thus more weight and drape, but for now I can't even see where I stopped using the worsted weight. I haven't finished the first ball yet, which is good. I hope I have enough......two more balls of the blue then two balls of grass green. It only has to cover to the elbows, so I think I am okay. The irish hiking scarf is done, I have decided not to fringe it. And while it looks astonishing in real life, in pictures it just looks like a scarf (tee hee!) so I didn't bother to photograph it for you. If you want to know what it looks like, read back several posts to find it, then imagine it longer - har de har har. I have swatched a blue lacey scarf (but out of worsted weight) for my mom, and will probably start that soon on long needles so I can do two halves at once. Then they can be joined in the middle so the pattern falls correctly. Knitting the halves at the same time from two balls of the same yarn goes so much faster for me, than knitting on half then knitting the other before joining. I also find the gauge remains the same across both so they mirror each other better. I'll take a pic when I get started. Any minute now I will be starting some socks for my niece as well - funky ones with a separate toe so she can wear flip flops in them. I have everything ready for them, and I think they will become my "travelling project" to carry with me. Nice to have something to do in long lineups or waiting for appointments. I see the lineup of projects (some started, some swatched, some on hold, others just printed patterns and balls of yarn, still more printed but not 'yarned' yet) and I see the amount of time in a day, and realize that maybe I need to give something up to get it all done. Housework? Well, I already don't do that so giving it up won't help me much. Seriously, I think I might give up eating. I need to diet anyway. And if I don't eat I don't have to cook, shop, or put away groceries and that will buy me LOTS of time. Heck, I would have time to knit a car cozy if I gave all THAT up. Why are you looking at me like that? At daycamp this week, they are having "Christmas in summer". So tonight DD and I will be decorating christmas cookies, but using a beach theme LOL. I foresee gingerbread men in swim trunks, and gingerbread girls in swingy summer dresses. Rest assured, if the results are cute there will be pictures!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friend or Foe, you tell me!

So. I bring my car in and find out my engine was falling out, and we could have been killed. I bring DD to the doctor to do a check on her arm, my doctor notices I have a headache, and insists on taking my blood pressure. Sky high, even though I am on medication and never had high blood pressure to begin with. Today I went for blood tests, and the lab was running slow. The wait was over an hour, so I was late for my next appointment. When I got there, the glass of the door was all busted, and the foyer was a mess. It seems a distraught patient came in and started trouble when his therapist could not see him, and he went into a destructive rage. They managed to evict him before the police came, but he came back an hour later and threw a brick through the door. If I had been on time, I would have been standing in the foyer when the brick came through. On the way home I picked up my prescriptions, and the pharmacist told me one had switched to a different generic. I noticed it was missing a certain warning sticker so I asked about it. Whoa! They were giving me the wrong medication! And the dosage on the other was increased tenfold (it was only supposed to double). If he wouldn't have said anything I probably wouldn't have noticed, and apparently bad bad things would have happened to me tomorrow morning! So. Do I have an angel looking out for me? Or is there a diabolical force trying to get me, but so far has been unlucky? Perhaps I should start paying good attention to see if I hear a cosmic "d'oh!" after the next near miss. In happier, less diabilical news, I have finished my first baby sweater. In honour of an October due date, it is accompanied by a punkin hat! It's hard to tell, but the buttons are wood and the holes are burned through, an effect that really goes well with the theme. I love how this turned out, and I think a boy or a girl could wear this ensemble. The sweater and the hat might even stretch enough that the baby could wear it again next year when the cold weather begins. This is for my cousin, it is her first child. I just feel bad that I wasn't knitting when her brother and her sister each had their children, like they were left out LOL. Too bad. They jokingly asked when their kids should be expecting sweaters, and I told them I am not a union shop - it's not like retro pay. There will be no "retro knitting". If they are at all lucky, they might get a pair of mitts out of me LOL. Still working on a new poncho for DD. Her instructions are quite clear. Blue sky, green grass, a tree, a puppy and a rabbit and a bird, oh...and a bush. So far the plan is to knit a basic poncho using mostly blue then switching to green near the bottom for grass. Duplicate or maybe sewing on some I-cord for the tree, duplicate stitch for a bush. Then I was thinking maybe pockets and finger puppets (or pocket pets) on strings for the rest of the cast. Or even animals made from felt cutouts and just slightly stuffed to make them plush, which might work better in the pockets without being bulky. My main problem at the moment, is DD chose the softest, fluffiest, and silkiest yarn for the sky area. It is like a piece of dental floss with fluff on it. I have started no less than four times and had to rip it back each time. Note to self: yarn that looks like dental floss with fluff on it is IMPOSSIBLE to crochet. No way can you see where the next stitch is. And knitting? Well. Knitting. It doesn't seem to fit all the way around on a circular needle yet (neck down), and I keep messing up trying to cast onto DPN's. I have twisted when I joined, somehow knit the wrong stitches unto a needle, and a few other things that were so odd I still don't know how to describe them. Talking on the phone to my sister during one such episode, I realized I had ONCE AGAIN made an error and had a hyserical giggling/crying fit. Yarn was flung, my sister was worried, and Ruby looked very concerned for my welfare. I decided it would be best to put it down for now and try again when I am sure my sanity won't be affected. Perhaps it will be a wedding poncho for my daughter. I might want to rethink the finger puppets ;). Yesterday I got the bright idea to clean out the fish filter tube thingy. To do this you have to remove the cover, take the filter thingy apart, wash all the little thingies, then put them back together again. That is a lot of thingies, and a lot of stuff to do when you have no attention span. I lost interest somewhere between the washing and reassembling. Blah, I said to myself. I will finish tomorrow. I had used the old filter as a back up so I wasn't worried about my poor fishy darlings asphyxiating. But I did not count on another factor, which is the reason they advise the use of lids on your fish tanks. Some fish are terminally depressed and prone to suicide. They fling themselves out of the tank in hopes of finding better waters, or perhaps to find valhalla. It seems our algae eater is of this suicidal cult, that upon seeing open sky above the tank fling themselves to coveted freedom (or death). Lying on the carpet, linty, and covered with dried playdough crumbs, being stared at by two fascinated yet horrified cats, he didn't look very dignified. Alive, covered with crap, and embarassed, I am sure he will think twice before trying this stunt again. Then again, he is just a fish, and likely would do it again right now if I took the cover off again. He is just lucky Ruby didn't find him first, because she eats first and asks questions later. More than once she has gobbled up something that looked delicious while on the floor, but not quite so in the tummy, and "regifted" it with a mighty 'Yech!". Sometimes she shakes her head after, and gags a couple of times too. Delightful, especially early in the morning while you are eating your breakfast. Just doing her part to keep your diet in check, how nice of her. The oddest thing about it, is that litter box crunchies are tasty and worth keeping down, but black licorice is not. Sock fuzz fallen from sweaty socks is delicious, but a chunk of banana is to be chewed, swallowed, then ejected with disgust. She will race you to eat a hairball the cat just coughed up, but won't even PRETEND to eat one of her vitamins. Nope, she places it on the floor and barks at it - puts it in its place, for sure. If she gets a whiff of my breath right after brushing, she gets close up to smell the toothpaste then gives a good long retch. But dirty underwear smells so delightful that she rolls and revels in it. If nothing else, she is good comic relief. And speaking of, she is sitting forelorn on the step again, I guess I should let her in before one of the neighbours takes pity and calls the humane society.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It puts things in perspective

So. I've been having car troubles. While driving last week, we heard a 'clunk' and my car got louder. I recognized this noise as the exhaust breaking at the front of the car (catalytic converter) rather than the back (when the muffler falls off LOL). I brought it in Friday to be fixed, and yes, they had to replace the exhaust system from the cat back. The muffler was under warrenty, but the tail pipe was almost three hundred dollars! I bit the bullet and paid around 400.00, figuring it was due for an exhaust system, normal wear and tear, blah blah and blah. When they were done, I went to drive away and realized that a) the car is even LOUDER than when I brought it in, b) when in drive the car had a vibration so strong that it gave me double vision, and c) it was only loud INSIDE the car. Outside, it sounded like a typical Ford Escort (kind of like a golf cart with athsma). It was too late in the day for them to fix it right then and I needed the car over the weekend so I decided to wait until this week to bring it back. Today they had an appointment open, and I was figuring that maybe one of the clamps was too tight or attached to the wrong part of the frame and just needed adjusting (that happened the last time I got a new exhaust system, but at the back of the car). It turns out that the ONE bolt that holds my engine in place was sitting on one of the hoses, the nut was gone, and my engine was essentially being held in place by the hoses and the new exhaust system. We think the clunk I heard was the nut falling off, the bolt falling out, and my engine falling. The added strain and sudden weight knocked off the exhaust system, which was probably ready to go out on it's own anyway (it was pretty rusted where it broke, that is why there was no reason to look much further into the problem). The mechanic had noticed that the engine was low, and recomended that I consider replacing the mounts soon, but the extent of the problem was only visible from the above view, and he pretty much was only looking at the underside of the car where the exhaust system is. The engine was now sitting directly on the frame and new exhaust system, causing the heavy vibration and noise. I was like, wow, I never considered the engine might try to fall out! The mechanic told me that it was no joking matter. If I had been driving and it let go fully, that engine would have fallen, bounced, and likely killed both DD and I. I DROVE THAT CAR ALL WEEK-END. WITH MY DAUGHTER IN IT. I made the decision to drive it all week-end and bring it in this week because I was lazy and didn't want to have to walk to pick up DD from day camp. My own laziness could have killed my child. They fixed it, no charge, but it was very sobering. This was not the kind of thing to think about with a sore throat, sinus headache, and aching ears. Saturday night we went to a campfire at my brother's house. What he has done with his yard is rather impressive. Immense plantings with paths winding through, a sitting area with fire pit, a grassy strip with a horseshoe pit, a tiki bar, and more. The bugs were out so he lit some of those citronella torches. I think I am part bug, because if I am anywhere and they have those things out, I spend the next few days with a sore throat, headache, and sore ears. And I am withdrawing from a medication because my prescription ran out, and my doctor is insisting on a visit and blood test before renewing. Itching like crazy, like I am being bit by mosquitoes only not. This happened the last time as well. It sounds like poor planning, but because of insurance restrictions and things this is the only way we can do it, and I have to endure two weeks of intense itching that the doctor and drug company insist is completely unrelated, but only happens when the prescription runs out. But what do I know, I drove a car around for two days with the engine ready to fall into my lap. As I write this I am eating a tomato sandwich. Toasted bread, miracle whip type stuff, salt, pepper, and slices of a sun warmed vine ripened home grown tomato. It was the last of the miracle whippy stuff but just the beginning of tomato season, which sounds like a big problem since I won't be buying any more. Don't panic! There is another version of the sandwich that calls for toasted bread, butter, salt and pepper, thin slivers of sweet onion, and slices of a sun warmed vine ripened home grown tomato that I enjoy just as much. It gives me onion breath (poor DH) but that is the price we pay for bliss on bread. Notice how I am much better about paying these prices when it is others that get the brunt of them...after all, DH has to endure the breath even though he doesn't get to partake in the beauty of the sandwich. And I am ok with that ;). Shhhhhhhh. Do you think they know they are about to be eaten? I wonder if they have a feeling something is going on. Poor tomato family. Mommy, Daddy, baby. Or, more appropriately, breakfast, lunch, and salad. On a side note, why the heck is my windowsill so dirty, and why did it take a picture for me to notice? I am a bad baaaaaaad housekeeper. I have a question. On any given day, Ruby asks to go outside a million times. By "ask" I generally mean that she gives me a meaningful stare, but sometimes she actually 'wuffs" or spits, or oofs at me and leads me towards the sliding door. Many times she immediately plops down on the step and looks forelorn. Why does she ask to go outside if she doesn't want to go? What must the neighbours think, seeing her sitting on the step looking sad and bored. Do they say to themselves "What a bunch of meanies, making that poor dog sit outside like that"?. If only they knew! I have a second question. How dirty is this window, and like the windowsill, why did it take a picture for me to notice? Crikey.