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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jack and the Tale of Errant Yarn


Jack in the Cupboard
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
Mom's been knitting again. When she does that, I have to hide. Hide and make my attack from a hidden location. If she sees me, the yarn, the slinky, slippery, jumpy yarn gets hidden. So here I sit, awaiting the opportune moment. The moment that the yarn isn't aware of me, the Captain of Jack, the attack trained kitty. That is the moment I shall POUNCE! Capture the errant stringy stuff and bring it back to my kitty lair for later consumption.

Oh, Hairballs! She put it away!!!!
Prototype Sock
This yarn has been driving me crazy. It changes colors! Does it change flavor as well? She sez it is the leg of a sock and won't let me test it on my head. Every time I even touch it with my paw, she sez "No, Jack!" no jack no jack no jack... And then, Sock Needs A Nameto make matters worse! It grew into a long tube thing with a sharp turn and a dead end! What is up with that?
If that isn't enough, she has this long thing...sheJeff's Dark Mark calls it a scarf. I call it a long thing, that is hiding a scary face! She sez it is for Hijo Segundo, whoever that is. All I can say is I am a skeart of it.
I overheard her say that if I, the Captain of Jack, are not careful, she will make one for me! Think I will stay in hiding.
Jack the man.
That's all, you can go away now.

My First Piece of Stickley

Ta DAAA! Here she is...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Built With Care

Today Boyfriend and I are headed over to pick up my first piece of Stickley furniture!
Yes, I am a furniture snob. Hate cheap furniture. Would rather live without. Have searched for years to find just the right pieces to go in each room. It took almost 15 years to find the dining room furniture I have. But I love it!
My bedroom furniture? Same thing. For years my bed was a bed frame with a box spring and ma tress thrown over the top of it. Finally, after years of searching - 18 years to be exact - I found the perfect cherry sleigh bed. Now, 5 years later, I am still searching for the perfect accompaniments for the sleigh.
The furniture in the parlor is perfect as well. A huge overstuffed leather sofa and easy chair with an ottoman. An antique oak trunk for a coffee table. Simple, makes a statement, not over done.
But, I digress. Today is Stickley day! On Mother's Day, the Boyfriend and I took a ride. (I love riding through the NY state countryside.) Our wanderings took us over to Fayetteville where the Stickley showroom sits in an out of the way corner of a strip mall. We walked in and meandered about - the Boyfriend gazing and making comments about certain pieces, me drooling over everything. I had to jerk my leash back and think about what I needed in my home. Can't have it all!
To make a long story short, we purchased an entertainment cabinet to place in the front parlor. And, Stickley isn't the all assembly-lined, boxed in a warehouse, waiting to be purchased type of furniture! You see it. You say you want it. You select the wood. You select the finish. You pay...yes you pay, sorry. The sales person - for us the lovely Carmelita is our assigned salesperson. (yes, she is ours until she no longer works there) takes our order. Carmeltia explains the time it takes to construct it. The craftsman in the factory builds it. The factory sales person calls you when it is finished.
Truly handcrafted furniture. Made by hand in central New York state by someone who cares! Hand rubbed, solid wood. The kind of furniture that not only retains its value, but increases in value over time. An heirloom. The kind of thing you purchase to take care of for your children, whether they want it or not.
I believe I must have all my children over for the holidays so they can fight over who gets it when the parentals move on to greener pastures. Or maybe I will just tell them who gets this piece and get a few more pieces...I like that idea better.
I also believe I will take my knitting along for the ride to pick up my precious cargo.
Pics will be added later this afternoon - check back

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Search Of The Perfect Ice Cream


Small Moose Tracks
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
One of the things I discovered upon my arrival last summer was that going out for ice cream of an evening is one of the most popular pastimes in the area. You could even call it a sport of sorts. An Olympic event. People line up, not just a few, but hoards, to partake of this summer delicacy. When I witnessed this phenomenon, I asked myself how one decides which particular ice cream stand to patronize. Hence...
This summer, my first entire summer in central New York state, has a purpose. My friend and fellow explorer EM and I are in search of the perfect ice cream.
We live in Oneida County. As such, we are beginning our search for the Perfect Ice Cream right here. We shall venture forth, accompanied by our trusty research assistants when necessary, to explore and find this rare and much sought after prize.
As any good scientist and explorer knows, you must have criterion to allow for a good comparison during any study. So what are we looking for?

1. Cleanliness of facility.
2. Selection.
3. Serving portion to price
4. Flavor
5. Friendliness of staff
My partner in Crime
Our first foray into the jungle took us to Mr. Frostee, in Clark Mills, New York. It is one of the closest to our homes, practically the perfect, "meet you in the middle" location. Here is what we found.

Mr. Frostee is a newer stand and as such, very clean. Inside there is a seating area that sparkles. Outside, the tables and fountains, yes fountains, are clean. Not a spot of ice cream or other remains. Oops, EM's research assistant found a napkin tucked beneath the table. Isn't that where chewing gum is supposed to go? He removed the offending napkin and placed it in the nearest refuse container. What a great assistant!
The menu at Mr. Frostee seemed limited. Limited until you see all the little side boards with added extras. Hard, soft, chocolate, vanilla, sprinkles, dips, nuts, and the list goes on. Personally, I want my add ons in the ice cream. Less, mess, more goodies.
The ice cream served is truly marvelous! Creamy, rich, full of flavor. My favorite, "Moose Tracks" is on the menu as well! What a deal!!!! To make things even more hazardous, the small serving, pictured above, is truly huge! But, as all true researchist know, nothing is to be wasted and the cone was consumed with gusto.
As far as friendliness of staff, the server had a brusque and not too friendly attitude. You would think, that serving a sweet concoction to the masses would cause one, through osmosis, to become rather sweet as well. Not true, my friends, not true. Our lovely, young, scooper, was not chatty, not friendly, not willing to discuss the merits of her product. So sad. Such a shame. The only mark against this wonderful island of creaminess in the small town of Clark Mills.

Look At The Size of THAT!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nubby Socks

This is a post without a picture. The picture will have to wait until I decide if it is going to be submitted for publication or kept as my own. Either way - I. Love. These. Socks!

They are boot socks, so cuddly and warm. Knit with a sport weight sock yarn, quick to boot! (no pun intended) Also, they are designed to fit the smallest woman to a rather large man. Socks with sizing! Gotta love it.

Well into the second draft of the design. Wanted to have them finished in time to submit to Knitty for their fall issue. No gonna happen. Maybe, if I can hold them back long enough, they can be a contestant in the Winter issue. Maybe winter would be better anyway.

Back to knitting a boot sock. Mine are in Opal yarn. Will make the Boyfriend a pair too. Never made him a pair of socks before. Wonder if he will wear them...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

About Wordless Wednesday

This was the idea of a young woman I "met" on Ravelry. I was so taken with the idea that I asked if I could play too. The purpose is to find or take a picture that inspires you, leaves you speechless, in awe of the beauty of nature, any thing that makes you think. If you want to join in, make a link to the other players in your sidebar or a weekly post - not your wordless one. Would love to see what you don't have to say every Wednesday!

Wordless Wednesday (Sem Palavras) 1

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fickle Little Muse

I have not been able to come up with a design in so long that I had just about given up.
My muse up and left.
My muse got tired.
After a whiz bang sweater
she decided I didn't need any help for a while.
I tried on my own but couldn't even come up with a decent pair of socks!
I begged her forgiveness.
I grovelled at her feet.
I cried in the night...
but she didn't return.
No, she didn't return
until last Friday morning at about 1 a.m.
Damned muse!
Kept me up all night!
She gave me not 1
Not 2
But 3 ideas!
Albeit sock ideas.
But IDEAS nonetheless.
And along with the ideas
she gave me mental images
of the sort I haven't had since the whiz bang sweater!
I could see them.
They wouldn't let me sleep!
I had to get out of bed and begin writing them down.
I mean, after all,
what the Muse giveth
the Muse can taketh away!
One of the ideas is a boot sock using a sport weight yarn.
It is (and this is where I give Muse credit for an extra idea)
in 3 sizes!
It is unisex!
It works up quickly!
It is worth 2 points for the Muse.
Maybe 3.
The other one is a toe up confection that came from my new love of fiddle head ferns.
Haven't gotten that one beyond jotting down the idea and a very poorly drawn sketch.
(My Muse doesn't help with the drawing aspect)
I danced the dance of joy.
I wept.
I...maybe I am getting carried away.
My Muse returned for a little tête-à-tête.
Fickle little Muse.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Damage Pic


NY Spring 092
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter

Here is a shot taken by the Boyfriend from directly beneath the damage. I was too afraid to straddle the tree to get a shot like this as the other half of the tree is still whipping around in the wind!

NY Spring 090

Evidence of the Damage!


NY Spring 087
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
This is the corner of my house. A mere 1 and1/2 stories up from where I was sitting at the time of the incedent. My poor house was hit. I am sure it was friendly fire as my neighbor is not home and did not have the slightest idea that her tree was ready to topple in my direction. All INY Spring 094 can say is that I aged 20 years in 2 seconds. NY Spring 089My poor Jezzie won't come into my little room. She it too afraid of the next one falling. I don't want to be in my little room!

Collateral Damage

My neighbor's tree was a victim of a wind gust. It was a huge, beautiful old pine that shaded my yard nicely and allowed my ferns to grow without fear of the sun.

Yes, my neighbor's tree was a victim of a wind gust and my house received collateral damage. Will get pics when the wind dies down enough that I am not taking my life in my hands to snap them. Poor tree...My Poor House!

If I May

If I may, I would like to say that I know people come to this blog. I can see it in the stats.
If I may, I would like to say that I like comments. It lets me know what people are thinking.
If I may, I would like to say that when I visit a blog, I make a comment. It lets that person know what I am thinking.
If I may, I would like to say that if someone visits my blog, I pay the same courtesy. It encourages exchange and conversation.
If I may, I would like to ask if comments could be left. Please.
If I may, I would like to ask that if I visit your blog would you visit mine? Please.
If I may.

I Am Not Worthy!

I am not worthy.
Yes, that is right.
The knitting Goddess told me so.
I cast an aspersion upon her yesterday because of her mean sense of humor over a friends sweater.
Yes, I did.
Now she is angry and getting even.
The beautiful bit of work that was resurrected yesterday.
Beautiful knitting on my part.
Nothing wrong there.
It is the yarn.
Why did I not double check the yardage on the cone?
Why did Brown Sheep discontinue the color?
Not only do I not have enough yarn,
I can't get any more either!
Poor Maidenhair.
A victim of the whims of a fickle Goddess.
She must have known,
years ago,
when I started the sweater,
that this would happen.
I am not worthy!
Don't mess with the Knitting Goddess!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Let Your Life Bloom!

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"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say, you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Lewis Carroll; Alice in Wonderland

Maidenhair, Ferns and Flowers


NY Spring 070
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
Yesterday my knitting was in the category of doom and gloom. Today the apocolypse was averted and the world, my world, is safe again. Oblique is cast upon the heap of "maybe I will fix" things. She is shunned for now.
My change of knitting heart came as I looked through my hybernation pile - a Vesuvius sort of pile - and saw a sad, forlorn bit of work peeking from beneath.
NY Spring 076 No, not the fern. That is an Ostrich fern, The one I saw peeking is a Maidenhair! A knitted Starmore Maidenhair. A beautiful piece of knitted art that I have been working on for a few years now. Begging for attention. Asking nothing more than to be loved and cuddled and nurtured to fulfillment. NY Knitting 038 She has been so patient. Lying there, waiting for my attention. My fickle knitting attention. After the disaster that was Oblique, a nice, attention to detail, straightforward Starmore design was just what the doctor ordered. So, out she came in all her glory. The substantial wool a blessing after the blend used for Oblique. The cables and aran openwork a breeze after the repetitive lace of Oblique. The solid fabric a joy compared to the lightness of Oblique. I am now in a state of knitting bliss. I love this bit of knitting named for a fern. My knitting disaster has led me full circle back to the bottom of my knitting pile to a nice, attention holding work.
I love Alice's designs. I want to knit them all.

Tulip with Lilies


Monday, May 11, 2009

Call Me Cranky!

My knitting hates me.
It has for so long that I think I should just quit!
I work a cable.
It isn't even.
I do a bit of lace.
The yarn overs are different sizes.
My Fair Isle of late?
Ha!
And, to pour salt into the knitting wound,
Oblique is being rather obtuse.
I know I measured.
I know my gauge was spot on.
I know I measured from the same place on each sleeve.
Why then is one sleeve 3 inched longer than the other?
What is going on?
Did I offend the knitting Gods and Goddesses?
The scissors are sitting next to it.
Poised.
Awaiting my command.
Cut the F.....!
I Hate This Sweater!
Well,
Maybe not.
Just call me Cranky.

Harlingen Girls!


Party Girl
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
I know, I know, shameless of me. But these socks have been available for months now and no takers! They are truly cute and girlie! I wear mine with a skirt and some little skimmy flats. Get comments galore about the socks.

"Oh, where did you get those?"
"Will you make me a pair?"
"How cute are those!"

All from non-knitters. Now, here comes the shameless part - they are available on Ravelry or Payloadz.
Hangs head in shame and embarrassment.

Tomboy


Tomboy
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
This is a sock I designed several years ago and for some reason, never made public. It is a really quick and easy sock to knit. Don't know why it has sit, languishing away in my "to be tested" file. Have tweeked it and tried new things with it and come back to the original pattern time and time again. The yarn used is Briggs and Little Tuffy. Not a soft yarn, but one that holds up well to abuse. I have worn and washed the pair pictured numerous times and they still look great. Made a pair with Cascade 220 as well. Although much softer, they didn't last the way these have. I know, Cascade 220 isn't a sock yarn, has no nylon in it and felts easily. Webbs carries a yarn called Yarn for Sox that has the same qualities as the Tuffy. Same manufacturer? Anyway, I would like to get these tested if anyone out there has access to the required yarn and doesn't mind a heavy...I mean really heavy, scratchy wool sock. I certainly love mine and the name is so appropriate. Heavy, rugged, wear 'em with boots, yet femine sock. Leave me a comment if you want to give them a try!Tomboy

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sounds of Silence


Lilac
Originally uploaded by emmasdaughter
My morning routine has settled in along with spring.
Coffee, in the form of an iced mocha or hot, depending on the weather,
Jammies still on,
Boy-o off to school or in bed of a Saturday morning,
Me time.

The back porch beckons.
It beckons daily.
This morning was no exception...

As I sit on my back porch enjoying my morning coffee and relative silence, I realize that the silence is not quiet.
Aside from the cars traveling past, an annoyance at best, are the birds.

They are raucous in their joy of the morning.
The songs they sing a harmonious tune to the rising sun.

A lone red-winged black bird sits in the middle of the expanse of lawn, looking for his sheltering grasses. "They are down the hill at the pond," I say more to myself than to him.

A brave chickadee sits quietly on my porch rail as if to give me company.
So brave.

A robin joins the blackbird as a raven sends his boisterous call into the beyond.

A pair of doves, cooing at their approach, land beneath the feeding station to clean up after the rest of the diners above them.

A pair of bright, yet diminutive gold finches exchange seeds in a lover's ritual. He must have dropped his as she is now scolding him severely.

Ernie and Earl, the resident chipmunks get into an argument over the pumpkin seeds in the ground feeder.
Earl wins the disagreement as Ernie runs off, squeaking his departing threats.

A nuthatch, living in his upside down world, watches the encounter before resuming his downward path on the old maple tree, disgruntled chipping sounds aimed at Earl.

A fat squirrel, larger than Earl by at least 100 chipmunk lbs, joins Earl and dares him to pick a fight. Earl slinks off to bully the more easily frightened doves as another squirrel attempts to approach the ground feeder.
No luck.
Mondo, mega squirrel, the titanic, the gargantuan, looked at the interloper.
That is all.
So long.

So much noise.
So much activity.
I think I am tired now.



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Bit of Whine

Today I met my new health care partner. She is very pleasant and easy to be with. A very important thing for me. My new Doc is easy to talk to, very attentive to what you say and even what you don't and isn't judgemental or patronizing. Again, very important to me.

We had a great chat. I brought my list of "testing the water" complaints and the water was fine. But there was one really sharp stone just beneath the surface that couldn't be budge. My weight.

Ever since my surgery - an oopherectomy (some call it a total hysterectomy) my metabolism has been slowly shutting down. My weight zoomed from 139 to 178 in 5 years. Not because I eat too much or badly, but because my system had gone from "hunt" to "tend the fire". And, the bad news is, that, as my new Doc tried to explain, once your metabolism is allowed to shut down, as in surgically taking away the hormones it needs and not replacing them quickly, it is nearly impossible to get it back. It has been 5 years. A bit of a stretch.

I forgot my food diary, with the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But after our discussion of dietary habits was told I eat a reasonably healthy diet rich in vegetables, legumes and nuts; low in red meat and fruit. I have become extremely sensitive to carbohydrates and fall asleep in my oatmeal - insulin resistance she says. So breads and pastas are now a treat to be had only on occasion. More meats and fresh veggies. More brans and seeds along with my almonds and walnuts. Fruit later in the day will cause me to sleep better at night if I time it right.

All in all, it wasn't a bad visit. But I am very disturbed over the weight thing. I have been exercising and have a varied and fun routine. I have been trying to eat right. One would think that doing those things that are time tested ways to get rid of unwanted pounds would work. I my case, and I am sure many other cases out there, that just isn't so. I hate being overweight! I have never been overweight! This is the largest I have ever been and I don't like it. Not one bit! And to learn that it will be a struggle to get rid of even 5 lbs isn't something I wanted to hear. The fact that I have stopped gaining "is to be commended". Small joy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Funny Story (Rated R for explicit anatomical wording)

As you know, I have an older dog, Roz (fuzzy creature on right). Roz is the sweetest dog ever. Roz is not a normal dog. Roz has "issues".

First, Roz has seizures. They are now controlled with heavy drugs. She is drugged morning and night and rather enjoys her state of drugged bliss. No more seizures. Improved living through pharmaceuticals. Living in happy land.

Second, Roz is a hermaphrodite. Yes. You read that correctly. H. E. R. M. APHRODITE. Why does it not rhyme with Aphrodite? That would be funny. But, I digress as usual...

Roz had a cyst on her side that was growing and getting really bad. Made an appointment with the vet to have it surgically removed. Brought her in, dropped her off, went home, awaited the call to pick her up.

At about 11 I got a call from the vet. The vet was concerned because Roz had what she thought was a cystic growth in her vagina. We talked a bit. The vet said it was so close to the vulva that it would soon protrude and block the urethra.

Protrude? Protrude, I thought. HA!!! This was my vet saying that my hermaphrodite dog had a cyst! I interrupted the woman's cautionary cancer tale with "You do remember that Roz is a he/she? A hermaphrodite. Before you go removing this "cyst", make sure you are not palpating a penis."

Vet, very condescending, "Hermaphrodites don't present as female."

"Mine does. Please just make sure it is not a penis."

Vet, still condescending, "Alright, but..."

"My dog has a penis, it protrudes on occasion. She is not a she. She is not a he. She is the poster dog for Transgender beings everywhere. Scientific proof that it does happen!"

Vet saw no humor in this. Said she would call me back after a visual inspection of my poor Rozie's privates.

A few minutes later, humbled vet, "You were right, it is a penis. I have never seen such a thing."

Poor Rozie, the humiliation of it all. I need to take her to therapy now because she didn't know she was built wrong...

Moral? Is there one? Are you a veterinarian? If so, sometimes the owner is right!

Knitting With Violet(s), The African Kind

I have been knitting.
Really.
I have.
But I have also been playing with my green thumb.
In the garden.
In the house.
At friend's homes.
Anywhere and everywhere.
Invited or not.
It is like a social disease.
"Oh, look! Here comes that crazy plant lady again!"
"Run! Run! Quick!"
"Hide the Daffodils!"
Just don't understand it.
Anyway, the knitting first.

The knitting has been a shawl.
The Madli.
If you are on Ravelry, I have a picture of some cobweb weight lace yarn that had been languishing in my stash for some years now.
It has come into the light and onto the needles.
Making a very nice, squint your eyes when you knit, shawl.
What do you think?


And, when I am not knitting, the garden and my little plants begin to talk to me.
Lately I have been reviving my African Violet collection.
When we moved I gave my friend all of my violets. Didn't want to stress them out with a long move.
Now,
I am back to collecting and thought I would share them in my little room.
Have you ever seen a semi-mini African Violet?
What about a micro-mini?
They are just about the cutest little plants around.
Perfect little doll house sized plants.
In the pictures I have put my cell phone for perspective.
They are really that small!
First,
is a little one called "Lil Periscope".The flowers rise above the plant as if peering around, searching for something.
Then we have A little number called "Teeny Bopper".
This little plant has the smallest leaves imaginable in an African Violet. It is also a trailing AV. Rather than grow into the common circular plant, it sends out little runners. If you put a small pot next to it and pin a little plantlet to the soil, you will get another little Teeny Bopper.

This one is called "PeeWee Purple".
PeeWee isn't in bloom right now. But, when he is, he has the cutest little purple (of course) flowers. So tiny...

This little cutie is "Rob's Twinkle Pink".

Rob has a nursery in Naples, NY, where he developes new micro and semi-micro plants. I want to take a trip up there and grab a few more of his little hybrids. He has developed one that looks like a small opal plant! But for now, Twinkle graces my collection beautifully.

Here is "Lil Ballerina".
She likes to dance so much that her flowers went away. But they will be back. And when they do, they are tiny white, with a hint of lavender flowers sporting bright yellow centers.
And here

Is "Pip Squeak". Need I say more?

And "Irish Flirt" with her green flowers.

The next one is a semi-mini trailing type violet. It is much larger than the micro minis, but still small compared to the standard sized violets. It is called "Ramblin' Lace". She is ramblin' so much that you can barely see my cell phone beneath her trailers!

And lastly, my one and only standard. The cell phone is there somewhere beneath all those leaves. I have no idea what this one is called, but I call it Happy. Happy is a very happy violet and keeps sending out blossoms. She can't help herself when surrounded by little cuties.

Thanks for taking the time to look through my little obsession.

And, plantlets are going to be available soon! Don't make me turn into the "Crazy Cat Lady" with my violets. Don't be shy. If you want one, let me know!