Monday, January 27, 2014

The Facts of Life

We have a water leak under the kitchen sink. There are no water shut offs to the kitchen. I called a guy who referred me to another guy. Who is here now. Yay! But the main shut off valve won't turn off the water.

Da Da Da!

So this means that I call the town water people to see when they can shut off the water from the street so we put in another valve on the "house" side of the meter, and replace the valve on the "city" side of the meter.

Turns out they can do that tomorrow. Wahoo. Plus the leak under the sink is the hot water side We just shut off the feed from the hot water heater and now I get one shut off valve under the sink.

At least I don't have frozen busted pipes.

You take the good and you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, The Facts of Life.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Amateur Detecting

I am enthralled by the Phryne Fisher series of books by Kerry Greenwood. I am on the sixth one, Blood and Circuses. Phryne is such a good interesting character. She was raised poor so when riches came her way she knew to appreciate them. The series is set in 1920s Australia. An unexplored country for my reading tastes. The books are shorter in length but never feel too short. The stories progress at a rapid clip and leave you wanting more rather than an interminable wrap up of every little detail.

I quickly found the Audible books to be my preferred reading method for this series. My library was lacking the third and fourth books. I was forced to pick between Audible and my Kindle. After listening to a sample I decided Audible was the way to go. The narrator Stephanie Daniel gives quite a performance. It is not just reading with an animated voice, which is fine, but a performance of various character's voices. She even got the Gus stamp of narration approval.

I am finding I read so much more with my audio books. I actually managed to read a book in two days at work. I've set up my Ipod on low volume and within easy reach. When a call comes in or I am very busy I just pause. Otherwise it is like knitting on a plain stretch, part of my brain is occupied listening to the story and the rest is doing its normal work thing. I enjoyed the second book of  Charles Todd's Bess Crawford series this way.

The Bess Crawford series is set in England and France during WWI. Bess is a field nurse. We get a glimpse into war torn England and France. It is so odd to read about WWI, The Great War, knowing that WWII is fast on its heels.

I guess I am in a strong female amateur detective phase. Plus there are so many good books of genre coming out. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Windspear is set in England just after The Great War too. While Maisie was a nurse in the war, she turns her attentions to being an investigator and psychologist. Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series is set in England during WWII. Maggie is a mathematician that starts off working as a secretary for Mr. Churchill.

Which also leads us to a great British television series set after WWII, Bletchley Circle. A circle of four female former code breakers investigate the serial murders of women in London. It is odd to think of a serial killer after WWII. Seems like a serial killer is such a modern day thing. But if you're a killer, you're a killer regardless of your birth year.

So I'm apparently vicariously living the life of an post world war amateur detective. See how reading can easily take you to different places and times? Who wouldn't want to pick up a book?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Raspberry Moose Socks

After hemming and hawing around I burrowed deep into my stash and heard the call of the Raspberry Moose.

I picked up this skein of Socks That Rock at Rhinebeck (where else?) in 2011. Take that three year old stash! Ahem, dealing with three year olds can be a bit trying. Luckily for me I had let this yarn and myself marinate for just the right amount of time. 

We have agreed that we would like to finally knit the Nemesis Socks

Things are moving along quite nicely, I have 3/4 of the pattern repeat done. Oddly enough the yarn looks more tan than lilac while I am knitting with it.

I am trying to knit more patterned socks with the solid and semisolid yarns that I have. Partly because that is one of the reasons I bought them. And partly because I need some fancier socks to show off my knitting skills. I love plain knit brightly colored socks but knitting fancier socks does not take as long as I think it does. It seems like I can whip out a pair of plain socks rather quickly but the patterned socks only stay on the needles an extra month or so. I am just so much of a product knitter that I get wound up that last month.

Really I've just been distracting myself from the urge to buy sweater yarn. I am wearing the same three or four sweaters every week. The weather had been so cold I was unwilling to go without them.

I believe I have figured out what to do on my first set in sleeve sweater so I can get moving on that one too. I've been telling myself I need to finish that one before I can start the next one, but I always have more than one pair of socks on the needles. Why not more than one sweater? An Arctic blast enveloping the country is just enough to make a knitter's fingers twitch.

See you at the yarn shop tomorrow?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It is tough being the kitty Momma

D tells me this all the time. Since I am the primary caretaker I get all the guff Gus is willing to give. Sometimes I use this as a health gauge. The more guff I get the better he is feeling, maybe. Other times he is just fed up with pills, needles and mom checking on him.

This week was tough because we had our appointment with an internist and an ultrasound. We got good news that it is not visible cancer but there was no definitive answer as to what it is. The diagnosis was five possible things and ended with "& others". At least I did not hear he's an old cat an there is nothing you can do. 

He seems to be doing better this week but that can turn on a dime. He was eating very well before this last bout. There is a lot of worrying when you're the kitty momma.

As I was waiting I was knitting on a sock for my Mom. I heard one of the technicians tell another that is what she wanted to learn. I chatted her up a bit and recommended youtube as a supplement to learning from a book. I had suggested a yarn shop class but her hours are long and she actually lives hours away.

I did see her again before we left and finally remembered to recommend Ravelry too. I think it is a great way to connect with the knitting community especially if you live in a more remote location. I'm thinking of making up some business cards with Ravelry info on them. That way when I run across a wishful knitter I could give them something to refer to later. If they're anything like me they forget websites 2 seconds after you mention them.

Now tell me if this is a weird idea. She specifically mentioned socks as one of the things she would like to make. I just went through my knitting book collection and wanted to give away a couple I don't use any more. Would it be weird to make up a little package and drop it off to the vet's office for her? You know some items that I don't use anymore but a new knitter could experiment with?

I mean I am already a crazy cat lady why not be a crazy sock knitting enabling lady too?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Continuing on

I find myself a bit lost in my knitting at the start of this new year. I have no desire to get everything off the needles and something new on the needles based on January 1. But last year I ended up focusing on a couple of projects for Christmas, neither of them making an appearance on the actual day. And now I seem to be at loose ends with knitting. I don't yet have a case of startitis where I am fighting against starting all the projects I intend to knit in the upcoming year.

No this time I have peruse-itis, I keep wandering over to my yarn basket and digging through. My knitting books have been taken off the shelves and strewn in various rooms. I feel like I want to start something but I don't know what. OK wait I know I want to knit some socks because that urge is always with me. But what else to knit? I am trying to pair yarn with patterns and they don't seem to be matching. I can not envision what I want.

Plus that sweater bug is not going to stay sedated from finishing D's sweater for much longer. I can feel sweater bug stirring. I want some nice warm sweaters to wear to work. Simple sweaters are on the list of possibilities because hey simple sweaters are great too. But part of me wants to make some warm statement sweaters. You know the kind, people say "Wow you knit that?" with utter disbelief in their voices.

Don't worry that I am not knitting though I have a plain pair of socks in some lovely hand dyed yarn riding around as my purse knitting. They got tucked in my purse on a snowy forecast day, I had just finished D's late Christmas socks the night before. I almost walked out of the house with no knitting, then I thought what if you get stuck somewhere without any knitting? The horror of that thought had me packing up a partially knit sock quite quickly. I may have tossed in a couple of chocolates too. You can never be too careful when it comes to winter driving.

So now I am just trying to relax into this phase of my knitting, the possibilities are endless. And that is what is making it so darn hard. Maybe I'll just go pull out a few sweater books now. Oh and a hat would come in handy right now too. I'll just go check my basket of yarn, again...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Next challenge accepted

The new year always makes me take stock of previous years. I'm not one for new year's resolutions but I do find myself assessing my life a bit more when the calendar changes, maybe it is because I get a new calender. I wonder if I would feel the same if I had one of those perpetual ones? I bet I would get bored with the same pictures though.

Life has been tough again for our dear boy Gus. He had another bout of going off his food and vomiting. In spite of that I had a relatively restful Christmas. I like to think there is only so much worrying I can do.

Then he started in with litter box issues, mimicking behavior I associate with urinary tract infection or obstruction. I spent a less than restful time in the animal ER, which has to be one of the most hopeful/depressing places on Earth. I was just sure he had and obstruction, just sure of it. You know my mommy intuition is never wrong, except in this case.

After three vet visits and an ER visit in four days, who would have thought that a referral to see an internal medicine vet with potential abdominal ultrasound would have sent me over the edge into tears. Yep another two people at my vet's office got to see me cry.

Now I am not one of those people that think crying is only for the weak, but I am not a fan of doing it in public. I'm too much of a private person to think that blubbering all over the place is an ideal situation. However, I do condone crying as an emotional release in dealing with stress. It was way past time for me to de-stress in that fashion. Poor Hubby, he sees the real me quite a bit. But then again that is what marriage is all about right? If you can not fall to pieces in front of your spouse, who can you trust?

So we see a new vet on Tuesday, and Gus may have another set of shaved belly pictures coming up. But he is still kicking and so am I. D is still picking up all my tissues from the other night. (I jest)

Hey my belly fur grew back once I can do it again!
Why did you take pictures of this mom?

I think we will be signing up for Comeback Team this year.