Yes, I have to face the fact that when it comes to computers and internet stuff, I am a technoIdiot. I know I am not a dumb girl, since I did manage to earn a doctorate degree, especially since said degree required that I pass multiple courses in sadistics (aka "statistics" to those math geek/actuarial types). So why is it that computer-related stuff is so incomprehensible?

Like most folks with ADHD, my method of approaching most things that come with a set of instructions is to read the first line or 2, throw them aside and resort to trial-and-error learning.The more mistakes I make, the better I seem to learn, since I rarely make the same mistake twice. This approach usually serves me well - I have assembled bookcases, a desk, twirling desk chairs, and even diassembled and reassembled my vacuum cleaner, all without the bother of following the directions. Sooner or later, I stumble upon the solution.This approach is mostly working with Knitting as well, even though there is a lot of ribbiting that usually comes first.

But this doesn't work so good with computers. Believe me, it isn't as if I haven't tried. Unfortunately, the consequences of a pure trial-and-error style of learning to use the computer can be quite devastating. Take for instance the time I was putting the finishing touches on my master's thesis, using my new and updated Word program. The night before the final draft was due, of course (another trait of ADHD folks - always wait until the last possible minute to work on big projects because the rush of adrenaline helps you focus in a way that Ritalin just can't accomplish). Anyway, I still cannot explain what exactly happened, but the thing disappeared, poof, just like that. In my panic, I began randomly pushing buttons, hoping that at some point, I'd hit upon the right one. Well, you can guess the rest of this ugly scenario. Pitifully beg for an extension due to woeful computer ignorance, dig up a rough paper copy of the thesis, and spend the next 12 hours without sleep trying to recreate all of my hard work from the previous night. Nope, never made that particular mistake again, but have come close.

If you are a non-ADHD'er and a logical, directions-following type person, you will be asking, "Why didn't this idiot girl just read the instructions for the new version of Word first? Why didn't she just check her manual before randomly hitting keys, thus wiping out the thesis and crashing the computer as well? Why didn't she backup her work? And why did she wait until the last minute?" Well, I can tell you why - WHERE"S THE FUN IN THAT? If you have ADHD, you will understand.

So now I am trying to learn this blogging business and, while not crashing the computer, have had a series of mishaps along the way. I will not bore you with the details since I don't even understand this enough to articulate what I'm doing wrong. But my blog isn't out there in cyberspace yet. I can't google it. Nobody can access it while randomly searching. And I can't even figure out how to add links and sidebar thingies. And then I keep forgetting my password and have to keep coming up with a new one. (Why doesn't this simple-minded fool just write it down? you ask. Here's why...WTFIT?)

This long, 4th of July weekend will be dedicated to (1) finishing off the completed Knitting projects, and (2) figuring out this blogging thing and lauching it into cyberspace. And actually following the directions from a book that I bought on blogging :}
Because I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.



One of the things I find I am loving about Knitting is the variety of fibers available for the craft. For instance, a Knitter can choose between silky-smooth, wooly-rough, downy, velvety, buttery or crispy textures; pure colors, smoky colors, business-like colors, playful colors, technicolors; and decide whether to work with big, chunky and fast needles or tiny, precise and gratifying-delayed needles. You can Knit for yourself, your family and friends, your pets, babies, and people you don't know but who could use the gift of a warm snuggly while healing broken hearts, bodies and lives. So, for someone with ADD for whom variety is like nectar and boredom is intolerable, knitting is the perfect pasttime. No wonder I am loving it! I just realized I haven't blogged in several days. I have been using my time wisely instead. I Knitted 2 premie hats, a square for a stuffed bunny (pattern available on Heartstrings website), and bought some more yarn for my stash. I have 4 projects on the needles right now: 2 chemo caps, the basketweave scarf, and the French Market bag. I did a minimal amount of cleaning this weekend, ran some errands, watched my new favorite TV program, "Meerkat Manor", and slept in. Now I'm recharged for the work week. It's interesting watching myself develop a flow in my Knitting. I am a very sensory-oriented person and texture is something I am quite sensitive to (sorry for the bad grammer). The yarns I am using differ significantly in texture and I find it satisfying and pleasurable to Knit awhile with the buttery slip of Chinchilla, then shift to the rough crunchiness of the Swiss Chalet. When I start craving something different, I can either pick up the soft and wooly Cascade 220 or the cottony-smooth Simply Soft I am using for the baby hats. Just the texture contrasts alone are keeping me from getting bored. Speaking of boring, I apologize for the uninspired content of tonight's blog. So, I will try to make up for this by posting an amusing picture for your viewing enjoyment.


Even Bad Cake is Better than No Cake At All

So my sister's recipe for peach cake didn't turn out so good. Well, ok, so her recipe actually called for pineapple instead of peaches, but they're both fruit, right? And maybe I added vanilla when the recipe didn't call for it. And maybe I did make a couple of other MINOR ADJUSTMENTS to the recipe, but that's no reason for it to turn out not-so-good, right?

Okay, so now you know something else about me...I rarely follow a recipe the way it is written. And you know what? That's the kind of Knitter I'm turning out to be, one who has to tweak the instructions a bit, create and put my own little spin on it. My sig-o has conniption fits about this because he's a person who meticulously follows recipes and instructions. His results are typically just the way you would expect if you followed the directions, but where, I ask you, is the fun in that? I'd much rather take my chances and be surprised. Because, even when the peach angel cake tastes more like diluted lemonade and the frosting is oozing off the sides, it's still sweet and it's still cake and I made it. It's sorta like life, if you decide to do it your way, you'll have some disappointments along the way, but so many more satisfactory successes that you cooked (or Knitted) up yourself.

By the way, here's the way the recipe is supposed to go:
1 box angel food cake mix
10oz crushed pineapple, with juice
Mix the cake batter, substituting the pineapple instead of water. Mix and bake according to the directions on the box. When cool, serve with whipped cream.

I might actually try this one day, exactly the way it is written. Or, better yet, I'll sweet-talk that measuring man of mine into baking it for me!


A Satisfied Customer

The kitty pi is completed and I'd say is a success!

I will most certainly be making more of these pups. Not only does Bitsy BonTon want one of her own, but I think I could crank out a couple of these to donate to one of my favorite charities, Animal Haven. AH is a low-kill shelter, which means that the wonderful cats and dogs that make their way there are not euthanized except in cases of serious health problems and dangerous aggression. Every effort is made to find these precious creatures forever homes. In addition to other fund-raising efforts, there is an auction every February. They are always looking for donations for the silent auction part, so...why not some kitty pi? (Please check out the web site at www.animalhavenkc.com)

For this kitty pi (the pattern is generously shared on the website www. wendyknits.com), I used the following yarns: Nashua Creative Focus Chunky (the aqua and cream colors), Manos del Uraguay, knit with a double strand (apricot and dark grey colors) and Swiss Chalet Froelich Wolle (the variegated grey yarn). They were all a joy to work with and felted very nicely. The Swiss Chalet definitely felted the best. The apricot kept a lot of stitch definition, but I like the texture so it's okay. I did add about 10 extra rows so I could get a little more height.

Criquette spent much of the evening in the pi. At one point, she got rowdy and started wrestling with it. Hilarious! It reminded me of those credit card commercials:
Yarn $50
Rescue Cat $95
Hours to complete (includes frogging) 10
Entertainment value for cats and humans...priceless

Yes, I will definitely be making more. Hope you do too.


Knitting And Frogging And Cake, Oh My

Today I joined a real Knitting group. I'm sooo excited!!! I feel like I'm becoming an official Knitter. The group meets 2x/month as part of a program at our church which gives people a chance to show up on Saturday mornings and volunteer for a variety of charitable projects. The knitting group make baby hats and blankets, scarves and hats for the homeless, lap robes for the elderly, and chemo caps. It's a fun mix of women, some of whom are excellent knitters, others (like me) who are newbies. But my favorite member is Remus, a golden retriever puppy who is in training to become a service dog. He is incredibly well-behaved and learning to lay quietly until he is needed. He only slipped up once when he decided he needed to "help" one of the knitters by nibbling on their yarn.

So I decided to try my hand at making a baby hat. The pattern seems easy, but I've already frogged it 4 times. I'm halfway through, so hopefully will post the completed picture tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will also be experimenting with a cake recipe my sister told me about - if it turns out, I will share it. The recipe, that is, NOT THE CAKE! And, the kitty pi will be taken off the form and tried out for the first time tomorrow! Don't miss the excitement!!!


Porch Paradise

My back porch is one of my most favoritest places in the world. It is raised and faces the back of our yard which backs up to a wooded stream. We are shielded from our neighbors so it feels like we are secluded. Lots of birds, trees and breezes. The pets spend most of their time out there. Criquette and Abbie especially like to "hunt" the many birds, squirrels, bunnies, deer, and assorted other critters who pass through. I love to sit in one of the rockers, sip on some Pinot Grigio and knit....sigh....how perfect is that for relaxation? Criquette thinks so too (minus the wine and yarn in her case, though).

So I did start the French Market tote, got to the round where you increase to 72, decided that the ladders where the stitches from the 2 needles were joined were too big, so frogged the whole thing. Cast on again, this time I'll be knitting the base using the flat variation and then use this to learn how to pick up stitches:( This technique looks quite intimidating in my knitting bible instructions. I guess I can always frog that too if neccessary.

I've also been working on the basket weave scarf and have added a few more rows. Finally found something appropriate to use for shaping the kitty pi and will felt tomorrow. I don't have patients scheduled after noon, so will have a lovely, long, lazy afternoon in porch paradise - wish you could be here!


What Cleaning? I Need To Organize The Yarn

I had some extra time today so decided to do some organizing of my home office. And the first thing I started on was organizing the yarn I have acquired for future projects. And of course, while I was at it, I figured I would take some pictures. Anything to procrastinate doing real cleaning.

First, there is yarn I will use to make Christmas gifts (scarves, but don't tell my family). And here it is:

Then there is the stuff I am planning on making for charity donations, mostly scarves:

And finally, there are 2 balls in reserve for a felted cell phone case pour moi:

I still haven't cast on the French Market bag and I know I am procrastinating because of the increasing (meaning I have to do math and concentrate and pay attention OR ELSE...rrrrrrribbit!) and also because I know I "should" knit a test swatch and, well, I just don't wanna. (whining) So, let me wrap this up and go get in an hour or so of Knitting Therapy, because we all know that "Knitting each day keeps the crazies away!".


Next Up On the Needles

Tomorrow I plan to begin my next big project, the French Market bag from www.knitty.com. It looks similar to the kitty pi but with handles. Am I being overly optimistic? Stayed tuned. So here is a picture of the yarn I will be using for the bag. All are Cascade 220, which the patient owner of the lys assured me would felt easily. And I will even resist my ADHD inclinations to just jump right in and do it - I am actually going to knit a TEST SWATCH to felt along with the kitty pi. I am hoping the colors don't change too much in the felting process as I am very fond of this particular combination. For a change - and to prove I don't play favorites - I enlisted the help of Bitsy BonTon* for modelling purposes. She is actually in a passably tolerant mood today because...well, who can ever figure out Bitsy's moods? But she rubbed against me once earlier, and was rolling around on the floor upstairs a while ago and hasn't hissed at us since last night, so something good must've happened to her.

*Yes, I am aware that this is not the correct spelling - it is actually "bon temps" as any proper Cajun girl knows - but BonTon is the Yankee Way and since I live in Yankee-land (stop rolling in your graves, mom and dad) this is the way it is. Get over it, cher.


Criquette Cooks!

Criquette wanted me to post her favorite recipe so you can share this with your own kittens. It all started when I noticed she would drop some pieces of her food into the water bowl and then fish them out to eat them. Since she shares the bowl with Bitsy, who started loudly complaining about the mess, we came up with this new "cooking" technique so Criquette can still enjoy her favorite snack. So, without further ado, I present:

Criquette's Marinated Cat "Fish"

First, telecatically communicate your wishes to your assistant.

Next, fill a clean sink with fresh water.

Throw 1 1/2 tsp of Feline TD chunks into the water. Have you assistant swirl them around so it looks like little fish in the water.

Now drain most of the water, being careful to keep the tender chunks from going down the drain. This provides a bit of flavorful broth to sip in between bites.

Fish out one of the marinated morsels and devour immediately.

Let your assistant clean up any soggy crumbs that may be left while you stretch out on the porch for a little snooze.

Bon Appetit!


Friggin' Froggin'?

As I was reading through some Knitting blogs earlier today, I came upon the delightful word "frogging" which I think means having to rip a large portion of stitiches in order to correct a mistake. Well, I was doing some frogging this morning! After writing my blog last night, I crawled into bed, cast on and then Knitted 3 reps (15 rows) of the pattern. Then I fell promptly asleep since I was exhausted. When I awoke this morning, I immediately grabbed my Knitting but, much to my uncaffinated dismay, I noticed that I had made a mistake at the beginning of the third rep. So...rrrribbit, rrrrribbit, rrrribbit (that's the painful croaking of stitches being yanked out). And then I noticed these unsightly loose stitiches where the knits switch over to purls - I think I was not holding the yarn tightly enough so had too much slack. So...ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit...all the way down to the cast-on row. And when I took a good look in the daylight, well, it just wasn't even enough so...ribbit.

Can someone tell me how the word frogging came to be used in this context in the first place? It's perfect. I even like it better than friggin', my usual sub for the f-word. I can hear myself now, "Who left the froggin' toilet seat up?" or "Frog it! I'm going to be late!" or "AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! Now I have to froggin' frog the whole thing!" Gotta love it.

Today's picture shows the other scarves I knitted (in my old favorite stockinette stitch) and actually finished in April and May. Before I started reading blogs and learning better, I foolishly threw away the identifying info for my yarns, although I can promise you they were all synthetic novelties. I have 2 more scarves that are off the needles but not finished. I do have some of the info on those and will post that when I post the finished pics. I am very proud of these 2 WIP's (I'm quickly picking up Knitter's lingo)as they were both learning projects for me.
The always-affable Miss Criquette agreed to help me show these off. She has also agreed to let me share with you her recipe for "Marinated Cat Fish" complete with a photo demo. Here. This weekend. Yum.


Shrinking the Kids

Today was one of those days. Not bad, but just very...exhausting. My day job - the thing that keeps me away from my pets, Knitting, gardening and the man I love (because he had dinner waiting when I got home). Most days I LOVE my work - I am a child psychologist, i.e., I shrink kids. Not that they're not already small enough. I wake up excited to face the day. Contrary to what many may think, my job is not depressing. In fact, where else can you be paid to spend quality time with a great kid, playing with fun toys, and knowing that maybe you are one of the positive factors that will make a small but significant difference in their lives? And, despite the oftentimes serious nature of the problems we are solving, there are many laughs and much silliness. I stay connected with my own childhood thanks to these wonderful kids.

Yet, there are sometimes days like today, where there isn't anything in particular that brought me down or made me doubt my ability to help. Some days, the particular patient schedule is just not a good mix of problems, people, or whatever. Those days just steal my energy and I feel empty. Nothing to give tomorrow. Today was one of those days.

So on nights like tonight, after straining to get through a 12 hour day, Knitting becomes my refuge, my sanctuary where I can go to recharge. It won't take much: casting on a new scarf which will become a gift for my sig-o, learning a new stitich (purling - don't laugh at me, after all I am a Knitting Novice), completing a few rows (must stop on 3, 5, or a multiple of 10, it's an OCD thing), and then falling gently asleep, still in the rhythym of the needles. Thank you God, for Knitting, Amen.

The new project (in case you were wondering): Froehlich Wolle "Swiss-Chalet" #8641, using my new Addi turbo's.


Another of Abbie's Escaping Escapades

The Pi is done!

This morning started off with an obscenely early rude awakening. Mr. "Refuses To Listen To Me" woke me up 30 minutes before the alarm to tell me he dropped Abbie's leash while on their morning walk. Of course Abbie Bad Beagle, who is suffering a bad case of Bunny Fever grabbed her chance and was off and hunting. Her speed makes Gone in 60 Seconds look like a turtle race. So Mr."Why Won't He Use A Second Leash On Her Like I Suggested" ran home to wake me up to help him find her.
Ha, this is the challenge. Abbie never runs away in a straight path. She zigzags, zogs and zooms on her quest for bunnies. She seems to vanish into thin air and so the first part of the hunt for Abbie is to locate her - she could be anywhere, in any direction. Fortunately God sent the little miracle I was praying for and gave us a break. She had doubled back to a large field near our house and had her full attention on the bunny she had located.

The trick with catching Abbie (assuming you can even locate her) is to be patient and try your best to keep up with her until she has the bunny cornered. Then you stroll up in back of her and scoop her up. Of course she always chooses the day after a storm to escape so she (and you) are covered in mud. So you haul her home, wipe her down, and put her sternly into her kennel for a timeout. And she totally knows she is being punished. She starts howling and singing the blues pathetically. And then when she comes out, she falls on the floor with her head down in the most contrite manner you will ever see in either human or beast.

So of course you have to pet her and reassure her she is still loved and won't be shipped off to the Big House and say a prayer of thanks that she didn't run into the woods where there are wolf-sized coyotes and bobcats looking for a little beagle bagel to snack on, or get hit by one the cars speeding way too fast down the busy street at the front of the subdivision.
And tonite, she insisted on lots of snuggling and playing so no knitting today. I had to content myself with taking some pictures of the unfelted Kitty Pi with your choice of either Criquette or Bad Beagle filling.

"Why would you run off when there are such lovely wooly things at home?"

Still looking Very Sorry


Fat-Free Pi

Yay! I finally finished knitting the kitty pi for Criquette and Bitsy BT. The pattern came from www.wendyknits.net. Check out her site, especially the gallery of happy kitties baking in their own little pi shells. I hope to felt it this weekend and will post pics. Fingers crossed it won't be a cat-tastrophe.

We had a severe Tstorm tonite - fortunately no tornadoes but lots of very loud thunder. All of the girls are hiding, so I can't persuade any of them to pose on the unfelted kitty pi. Maybe tomorrow...

Meanwhile, here's a picture of my kitty nephew, Gumbo Ya-Ya. He's a real party dude, if you know what I mean. He lives in Mardi Gras territory and wasn't about to let some old hurricane stop his fun this year. Don't ask what he had to flash to get these beads or he'll have to give you some Cajun-style catitude.


A House Full of Bitches, A Monkey, and One Crab

Let me introduce the brilliantly talented cast of "Prairie Gumbo".

First, there is Chloe Ann, a border collie mix whom we rescued days before she was to be euthanized. One day, when I am on the subject of phobias, I will tell more of her story. For now, it is enough for you to know that she is very sweet and sensitive. She is also Responsible and Conscientious about her duties which include herding the cats (yes, it can be done), guarding the house, and worrying about her people. Oh yes, did I mention that she is quite Intelligent and Talented? And I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom, either. (She is modelling the second scarf I knitted)

Next up is Abbie, aka "Bad Beagle". She is a beagle/Jack Russell/bird dog mix. ADHD poster dog. Abbie, like her mom, has her own little obsessions. These include tracking, hunting, and digging for killer bunnies; tracking, hunting and lunging for killer birdies; and escaping from a multitude of situations in order to hunt bunnies and birdies. She is the only dog I know who must be dressed in a Hannibal Lector-style getup in order to prevent her from escaping on our walks. Do not let the innocent face fool you.

Below you will see Bitsy BonTon (on the left), who is determined to live down her two names as she is rather plump and rarely has a good time doing anything. We actually drove 7 hours round trip to rescue her from a shelter in southwestern Missouri. She was grateful for about 11 seconds and has spent the last 3 1/2 years grumbling and complaining about everything. Although she is not a female dog, she comes by the title of bitch honestly.

Meet the monkey of the house, Miss Criquette. Jumper extrodinaire, avid hunter of all things furry and feathered, Criquette is yet another rescued bundle of love (see a pattern here?). She is soon to become the recipient of my first non-scarf knitting project, a Kitty Pi. Only 3 rows, a bind off, and a long, hot bath away from being hers. She has already claimed possesion by trying to crawl into it while I am knitting! More pics in the days to follow!

Finally, there is the hubber. He is a man of many nicknames, depending on the day (or my hormones). Sometimes he is "HoneyBunny" (stop gagging), "Number Boy" (when he is in work mode), "Caulk Man" (when he is in fix-it mode", or "Mr. Right-Brained Guy" (when he is in creative mode). Today, however, we shall call him "Mr. Crabby Pants" because SOMEBODY went weekend fishing and didn't get enough sleep. See Exhibit A.

You may have noticed there is one member of this household who has not been mentioned - the Mother of the Bitches, so to speak. Here is a picture of me in full ceremonial regalia (one must look one's best when the hormones are raging).

Her Majesty invites you to join her tomorrow for another exciting tale of the prairie - with lots of knitting action!


From the Swamp to the Prairie

Ten years ago, I moved here to the edge of the prairie from New Orleans and am still in culture-shock. Nice people, mind you, but very, very stressed and uptight about how they are perceived by others. Their lives seem filled with beige. They are desperately in need of some hot crawfish, cold Dixie beer, and a week of non-stop Mardi Gras.

I have a love-hate relationship with this place. I love the change of seasons and the huge sky. And the fact that hurricanes don't like visiting the midwest. But my roots are resisting the transplant to the hard clay and limestone. They haven't forgotten how comfortable the soft, black swampland can be. I have had to abandon the "Big Easy" attitude that celebrates sponteneity and force the "pioneer-farmer" attitude to take it's place. Dinner at 5:30 instead of 8:oo? Going to bed when the sun goes down and waking up before it rises? Working 50-60 hour weeks to keep up with the growing demands of a stressed-out community? AAAAAAAAAGHGGGHGHGHGHG!!! It's enough to make a cajun girl feel like she has developed multiple personalities! I need therapy! Me too! Make that three of us! No, wait, I AM a therapist! Oh no, we're in big trouble now!

So, I did what every disoriented and wigged-out person should do, I developed some obsessions - um, I mean, hobbies. You know, things that will help me unwind and relax. Stress management. I was already a passionate gardener before moving here but now I have gone the extra mile to becoming OBSESSED with growing lush, green southern gardens that remind me of home. Magnolias, azaleas, sweet olives, gardenias. So I burn up all that stress with the back-breaking task of mining the rock hard boulder-sized chunks of clay they call dirt around here, and replace it with truckloads of compost and cow poop to make cushy little beds for my little blooming buddies. Then I install a series of landmines, barbed wire and armed guards to protect the tender sprouts from the evil Bambies, tree rats (aka, squirrels) and vampire bunnies who all have their own little obsessions with gardens. And the weeds, which seem to grow faster, greener, and larger than any of their domesticated cousins. And the hot, burning winds and drought that DO NOT replicate moist, fertile alluvial soil and regular monsoons, no sir. That which doesn't kill me (and my plants) makes me and my obsession stronger.

Unfortunately, living in the Land of Weather Extremes, gardening is unavailable for several months at a stretch. Looking for a hobby that was more suitable for ice storm conditions this past winter, I naively bought a pair of plastic needles (US13) and some yarn (Lion's Brand'Bright & Lofty') and voila! before the scarf was even finished, a new obsession was born! It wasn't long before I accumulated many pairs of needles, many skeins of yarn, a bunch of scarf patterns (I am a Knitting Novice after all) and assorted accessory items no Knitter can possibly live without.

Which leads to the purpose of this blog. Once I began googling for yarn and knitting, I discovered that blogs are an ESSENTIAL item for the obsessed Knitter. I mean, where else will you find an audience for the loving descriptions and pictures of the many unfinished projects in the works? Details of a row gone bad? Confessions of yet another yarn binge to feed the ever-growing stash? An audience that won't think you're crazy, not for a second, because THEY ARE OBSESSED TOO!

So thank you for reading my first blog. Here is a picture of my first scarf. (Abbie aka "bad Beagle" has kindly agreed to model it for me as her way of making up for an earlier indiscretion involving the contents of the litterbox.)

I hope you come back and visit me again. I have sooo much more ranting to do. And pictures of scarves to show off. So, please link to my site (I'm making puppy-dog eyes right now). And remember...obsessed is not the same as crazy!

btw, I'm sorry I don't have any info on who took the gorgeous photos that introduce my blog, but want to say "thanks!"