Friday, June 26, 2009

We May Have a New Puppy...

For now we're dogsitting a friend's found-puppy. He wandered in her neighborhood for days before she broke down and fed him, then he stayed at her house on the front porch protecting her property from everything for the next few days. She's going out of town for a week today and she was frantically trying to find someone to make sure he was ok while she was gone.

But truthfully she doesn't want a dog anyway, she's scared of anything that looks like a pit bull and said the only reason she could be near this one without being in a full blown panic attack is that he's so young.

We're trial-ing him at our house. He's a very good boy. Her son named him Luke, so that's what we're calling him. He will either return to her when she gets back, or stay with us, or we'll speak to the lady at the Mt. Juliet shelter who does pit-type rescues (Jill Hart). I'm not sure we can handle another dog - Kara is already more than a handful!

But last night they played until they collapsed, then got up and did it again. It was like outsourcing all the attacking of us she normally does for attention! Some nights I don't even get a chance to knit because Kara pounces me repeatedly. She does the same thing to DH who says its like a tank rolling over him out of the blue when he's playing video games. She WILL get your attention, and then you WILL play with her, there's no other option.

But now there's Luke, who did the same thing to Kara all night long. He wanted to pounce, he wanted to play tug, he wanted to run & chase her, then be chased by her. They didn't bother us at all! If they hadn't been so damn entertaining, we might have been able to knit and play video games but instead we were laughing ourselves silly and taking pictures of the critters playing.

Looks like, if we can work on his housebreaking, we might have ourselves another puppy. Only one question remains: I think he's a boxer, pure and simple. Hubby thinks he's a pit bull, all the way. We'll wait until after our friend gets back from vacation and if she doesn't take him back we'll take him to the vet and get his opinion on what we have.

Truthfully, I really love puppies. OTHER PEOPLE'S PUPPIES! Kara, who is well on her way to being two years old, is just about the youngest animal I really wanted to adopt. Kara loves PJ though, she's adopted my husband even though she adores all of us. So we'll see. Keegan has been lamenting not having a dog of his own so Luke might fit that bill. Of course you don't really "give" any animal to a 10-year-old - before anyone snaps my head off! But my dog Pixie, the mini-schnauzer, is madly in love with my 13 year old Kieffer and is unofficially "his" dog. Has been for years now. We joke that he's her boy, she's raised him, she's his fur-mother. Even though he'd never be allowed to take her with him when he moved out and the burden of her care is still mine.

By the way, she's in KY with the boys for the summer. This is tradition, she loves getting to be a "real" dog once a year. She's not dog aggressive and she basically leaves the other animals alone so that's a privelege we allow her to have. Kara isn't allowed on the farm because she IS dog-aggressive and she would kill cats/chickens/bunnies/wild animals and potentially even horses. She's just not the kind of dog we could trust to be out there. At least not now. Perhaps sometime in the future.

Don't you love the playdate pictures? Please excuse the condition of the "man room" where we were. That's PJ's domain as he keeps telling me, and he doesn't want me interfering with its cleaning or decorating. Not much happening in either category there if you ask me, but it's his so I let him do what he wants with it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Knitting Update

First part of the tablecloth finished last night! Now I can get back to my Icarus, because I know this yarn and needle size will work. This is a over-flashed close up.

A farther away shot of the whole thing. You can sorta see the pattern here. I couldn't hold it stretched-out enough and still take a picture. Drat, I miss my minions.

I was trying here, to hold out the corner a little bit. Doesn't really improve the visibility of the lace though, unfortunately.

I've got five more to make, potentially more if I have enough time and yarn. This was a 12-row lace pattern around the edge of a store bought hemstitch napkin. Each napkin will have this lace edge around it, and will be kitchenered together on their edges to make a nice wide lace panel in between them. There's an additional 5 rows of lace that will go around the perimeter when it's completed, to give it a picot edge. It only took me a few hours of actual knitting to make this edge around one napkin, so I have hope I can accomplish this before the end of summer for gifting purposes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Final Post of the Day

I've gotta start posting during the week!

This is what's on my needles right now. More pictures tomorrow, when the 1st one should be completely done! It's going to be a beautiful lace tablecloth. Hard to imagine from this one little picture, eh?

This is my first open tomato flower! I've been waiting for this for weeks now. My tomatoes just took off when I planted them in that wonderful compost and now they're covered-up with flowers. I really need to reposition some of my plants, but I haven't yet because I'm worried all those beautiful flowers will drop if I do! There's always next year to do it differently if this doesn't work so well.

Here's my sunflower. Apparently it is a flower and not a new bunch of leaves. I'm just waiting for this one to open. I've got a bunch of them with these buds on them, but this is the largest one. In a few weeks, the bird-planted-garden underneath my seed dispenser is going to be in full bloom and it will be magnificent!

This is my beans, my first bean plants are already on their 2nd bloom after the first harvest. I don't think there's enough nitrogen in their soil though, they're turning yellow. I'm going to put a few handsful of compost on top of their soil just to get them through. I think these I'm going to let the beans mature and dry so I have some for planting next year. If I can keep myself from eating them all, that is.

Presenting Baby Regan!

This is Ayla Regan, that I knitted the two blankets for earlier this year. She's two months old now & she came to visit me just the other day for the very first time. She's precious.

She loves to knit already.

Jeremy and I with her, doesn't he look formal? He felt more comfortable with me between him and the baby!

This is how he feels when he actually holds the baby. Terrified man, ha ha ha. We couldn't stop laughing at him.

This is Gwennie-Gwen, me and baby Regan.

I didn't want to put her down, let alone say goodbye. I was really glad they got a chance to come visit though, it was so nice. I wished they were closer, rather than in North Carolina.

Birthday Travesty Pictures

Sometimes we make children do things... horrible things... in the name of "fun". Here are pictures, to document for all time, the joy of parenting. We're bigger, so we can make them wear birthday present ribbons & bows in their hair. It's like being a bully but legal! See the joy in his little face? Yep, this will come up in counseling later.

I had a great birthday party at my Mom's. Keegan eventually smiled and got into the spirit of the beribboning. And my Mommy bought me makeup! Yay!

Critters on the Farm

These pics were taken the day we dropped the kids off at my Parents' farm - the same day I rode in the rain on the motorcycle in the last post. :) Been saving these, but had too much knitting going on & didn't post about them in a timely manner.

Look at this beautiful frog! She was sitting on top of the chicken's fence. There's no more chickens, and my Mom had folded an old pair of painters jeans over the top for some reason. Couldn't move them later because this critter was on top of them.

Below is a little froglet on top of the dog's pen fence. Both of these fences are really tall. How did these guys get up there? I'd have loved to see them climbing.

First frog kept yawning. We apparently bore little froglets.

Now THIS thing is freaky! First of all, it's about as long as a big person's hand - from pincher tip to wing tip. It was extremely aggressive. And it FLEW AWAY after we'd snapped a bunch of pictures of it. It was the size of a hummingbird! Freaky.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Worst Day on the Bike is Better than the Best Day at Work

We dropped the kids off at my parents' farm this afternoon. It was a little overcast here in TN but when we called my Mom she was planning a combined birthday picnic for PJ and I and said she'd double-checked but there was no rain in the forecast at all. Then we called my best friend Scott who lives up there near her and he said he might not be coming around after all because it was just too pretty a day to miss riding.

DAMNIT! I want to ride too! So after checking the forecast for up there, PJ says "Why don't we take my much smaller car, you can take the motorcycle and we'll each haul one kid so there will be enough room".

And that's what we did. We headed out of our house & went to IHOP for our last family breakfast together for the next month or so. We had a great time, the kids are HILARIOUS! Then we headed out to the farm.

It got darker and darker. More and more ominous. I can feel PJ behind me in the car shaking his head because he'd said that it looked a little overcast even though the forecast was good. It's a two-hour drive to their farm, first hour by interstate and the 2nd hour by extreme backroad. It started sprinkling a -little- bit when we got off the interstate. By the time we were 5 miles from their house it let loose on us. I was a drowned rat by the time we got there & Kieffer, behind me, wasn't much better. We whipped the bike into the barn which was the only covered spot we could get into at the time and breathed a sigh of relief.

It stopped raining after about an hour & we proceeded with our picnic as planned. It was fabulous! My Uncle Marc cooked the steaks, my Mom (coincidentally, her name's only one letter away from Mmm!) cooked everything else and we all ate until we thought we might need medical intervention. Then we wandered around in her garden & took tons of pictures of awesome critter-bugs and frogs that I'll share later-on this week.

Then we had to leave because the storms were sweeping back in toward us with a vengeance. My Mom, in a psychic act that I can't begin to thank her for now, stuffed a big bulky smelly rain coat into my saddlebag on the bike at the last minute - "just in case" the rain caught us.

Thank God she did it too, because just 5 short miles from her house the sky turned upside down on us. I don't think there's any way I could have made it without her barn coat. Below is me stopped at the end of their road putting on that jacket and the kids' helmet that's too small for me but has a visor.

These are two pictures PJ took along the way. He said there was a halo around me when it was raining really hard, from the raindrops hitting me & splattering @ 55+ mph & creating a splatter-aura. He said it looked really eerie and he wished he'd been able to catch a picture of it.

I was soaked to the bone within the first minute, but my choices were slim. I could try to wait out the rain somewhere & continue driving home in absolute darkness with road water spraying up on me from every vehicle in front or passing, or I could tough out the painful numbing rain and try to utilize the last of the evening light.

There's no windshield wipers on a motorcycle or a helmet, so I chose to persevere. Unfortunately, the kids' helmet with the visor cut off my circulation painfully after 30 or 40 miles and I couldn't take it any more. The little "brain bucket" I'm strapping on here was my Aunt Sundown's - I don't actually have a helmet of my own. Hers isn't quite legal in Tennessee either... and it's less than warm. I briefly tried to wear my jacket hood under it but that failed dismally. I had to make the last hour of the trip in the whipping rain with no visor... on the interstate.

Even with all the rain, and my entire body going numb from the cold and wind (except where the icy rain pelted me like buckshot at highway speeds on my hands face & neck - that didn't quite get numb...) it was still an adventure and it still beats the HELL outta even the best day at work. I found myself smiling repeatedly all the way home.

It's great to be alive and riding a motorcycle, even if it is in a torrential freezing downpour on the interstate.

Live free, drive fast, and make your own happiness.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great Blooming Cactus(es), Batman!

I've had this little cactus for a few years now. I've just been happy that I've not killed it. I think everyone's gone to Ye Olde Home Improvement Supermarte and purchased a little wonky cactus with a glued-on straw flower, right?

Well this little fella is named Petey, he's one of the first plants that my hubby purchased for me. He didn't have any glued-on straw flower, thankfully, but today while sitting on my happy deck I noticed that there was a little something on him! Keep in mind that little Petey is a tiny nub of a cactus, even after these past three years of me loving him dearly and praying for him to grow and repotting him in the optimist-pot with lots of growing room and a special blend of soil mixed myself. Nope, nothing. He's just a midget. This bloom is probably his last grasp at reproduction before he kicks the bucket. I WILL have a funeral, should that happen! Petey is precious just for being one of the first.

What a pretty little flower though, huh? And if it hadn't been for the kids I might have missed the window of photographic opportunity for it! Who knows how long this tiny little beauty will be with us. It was completely by chance that I saw it in the first place, as you'll see below.

I went to WWKIP day this morning at Panera Bread on Old Hickory Blvd. I rode the motorcycle & took my older son Kieffer. They had free coffee/cokes and snacks for the knitters. For that, Kieffer knitted in public. I noticed a friend's little girl take several pictures of Kieffer "CrazySkillet" knitting, so there will be an opportunity later to get proof, because I didn't remember to take my own camera. :(

When we got home, I did the kids' hair for them. It's been our long-standing family tradition to let them do whatever they want with their hair when they're out of school on Summer break. When they were littler, they wanted mohawks and spikes and things, as they've gotten older they have wanted different colors.

First I had to bleach their hair out. I used a generic bleach kit that they picked out from WalMart. After I got it into their hair I made them go outside onto the porch to wait because PHEW it's ammonia-ey! They each also got one of the application gloves I'd used when putting it in, because it makes your head itchy. It allowed them to fiddle & scratch while they waited.

After we washed the bleach out, we went back outside for pictures. It's kinda orangey, isn't it? But it still opens up the hair strands to allow the crazy dyes to soak in & show up better. So out we came to take pics & let their hair dry a hot minute before the colors go on.

I had both boys bend over to get better pictures of their "blonde" hair, and THAT is when I noticed little Petey's flower! Look at him! Right down there under Keegan's head. Soon as I saw Petey, I rushed to the door & yelled for Jeremy: "PJ, COME QUICK, IT'S PETEY!!!!!" Of course, he doesn't remember that the stupid cactus' name is Petey, he comes flying upstairs in a panic from my tone of voice, thinking some neighborhood child has been injured. I wish I had a picture of the expression (glare) I got when he realized that he'd run upstairs at warp speed for a flower. Ha ha ha ha!

Soon as the excitement of the flower ran down a little, I put the dyes in their hair. Blue for Keegan, Violet for Kieffer. Then back onto the porch. Not because the dyes stink, they really didn't have a scent, but because they immediately and permanently stain every surface they come in contact with and I didn't want to be angry at the boys for any "accidents".

This is the final result! Within a few days they will need to re-apply because they'll be faded pastel. Then it'll be my Mom's problem, since I'm dropping both boys (and their respective dyes) off at her house tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully they'll be there for the majority of the Summer. I'm sure the first few days will be nice... but after that I'll be missing them too much to really enjoy myself. I guess I'll make a lot of time for knitting & see what I can accomplish.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bill, Dancing with the Devil

This is one corner of my lovely desk, you can see I have a compelling view of the back of a warehouse and a street. Yep, it's a winner! I actually do like it, it's one of the best views in the entire office.

This is my co-worker, Bill DiLuigi. He's a musician, a songwriter to be more precise, and will be hitting the bigtime any day now and taking us away to be his roadies. That's Trisha behind him, my other teammate. Bill, Trisha, & I make up the accounting department along with our boss Cyndi.

Bill came back from lunch today with a birthday treat for me. A delicious bag of pork rinds! I'm somewhat of a pork addict and the entire department (Nay, the entire OFFICE!) teases me about it all the time. Bill, however, is a vegetarian so it's all the more special when he brings me a pork treat.

Since it was my birthday, he agreed to eat a pork rind in celebration with me.

And because he's all three shades of awesome, he also willingly let me take photographic evidence of it!

Bill is the guy who wrote "Psycho Knitter" for us, and who also leaves me the clever anti-knitting post-it notes.

You know what he looks like, you know what to do!

Garden Visitors & Tomato Blossoms

I found a lot of new friends in my garden this afternoon. I don't know what half of them are, or whether some of them are pest or friend, but they're all beautiful and I wish I had more time to watch them & see what they're all up to.

The little guy below had vivid, electric colors. I've had fish that looked like him!

Startled this wolf spider out while I was weeding. I love wolf spiders, they're so beautiful. When I find them inside the house I always gently take them outside again. Probably to their consternation, since they just seem to turn around & come back in right away!

This also was a NEAT looking spider. Loads of green & yellow on it's belly but he moved fast & I couldn't get a good pic of the exciting parts.

I have a special fondness for the Praying Mantis, I'm always excited to find one in my garden. This little girl was in my Chinese Red Noodle beans, which I have moved as of this afternoon to a more suitable place in my garden. I hope they will appreciate the move with loads of growth and beans!

And finally, these are my tomato blossoms I told you about yesterday. Any day now, they're going to open up and I'll take pictures and then we'll have baby tomatoes!

Kieffer "CrazySkillet" Hall, Saves the Day!

Kieffer, or as he prefers to be called now "CrazySkillet", cooked dinner for my birthday tonight. I showed him a quick fried chicken recipe & teased him through his brief episode of unmanly terror at the hissing of frying things in oil and then he made a fabulous dinner!

He cooks most nights, actually. His leftovers are always getting me compliments at work because they smell so good when I warm them up. No one believes my 13 year old son is making them all by himself.

But really, I sat at the kitchen counter & knitted two rows of my Icarus and took pictures of him while he did everything. Usually I don't sit with him, but boiling oil... well... he IS just 13! So he hacked apart the first few thighs to make sure they were done inside.

This is him hacking.

And him when he thought I wasn't taking pictures.

He says he wouldn't mind if he married a woman who didn't know how to cook. He genuinely likes it! Which is a good thing because since he got in trouble at school, his job has been housewife stuff. We don't tolerate freeloaders in our family... even he agrees. Since he likes it, it's not really a punishment. So I try to teach him how to make different things all the time. Fried chicken is my birthday treat, since it's so unhealthy we can't cook it regularly.

What makes me the most proud? He's already the type of cook who uses a pinch of this and a dash of that according to what he likes in the spice cabinet. He's only got to use something a couple of times before he's got a good idea of how he likes to use it. And he's CREATIVE!

I'm proud of my son, even though he totally botched school last year.