My main computer is acting-out it's issues regarding not having enough working memory and crashed a couple of days ago. So this means I am spending my little bit of daily free time trying to get it up and running before calling in the geeks. In fact, I did an hour of research over lunch today and have a little trouble-shooting list to go home and try tonight.

I had to frog the Cadenza project and am not in the mood to start over again, so have just focused on knitting the herringbone scarf this week. At least that's going well and is now about 22" long. I went to my knitting for charity group on Saturday and am excited about a new project we are working on. There are many, many residents at a the local nursing home we support that do not have family and thus never receive any gifts for birthdays or Christmas. So we are making small gifts that can be given to these residents, such as booties, wrist warmers, and small cases they can wear around their necks to hold kleenex, pocket change, eye glasses, etc. If anyone out there in blogland has any other ideas for quick little knitted presents, please let me know.

Mr. C just called me to alert me that a dangerous tstorm with possible tornadoes is headed our way, so I'm outta here - I don't have time to act like Dorothy and get swept off to Oz!


The Prairie Rollercoaster

Get ready to roll

This is what I call the weather craziness we experience from time to time here in the part of the midwest. It usually happens in the fall or spring and we have been riding one for the past 2 weeks. It started with sunny days that had climbed into the 80's (in March! the 80's!) followed by a rapid plunge into the teens. We languished in the high 40's in the daytime all during this dreary, rainy week and then took another plunge below freezing the last several nights. This happened to coincide with even more rain so of course we got about 2" of snow. By midnight the ground was completely covered. By mid-morning it was half gone. At 6pm, with temps in the low 50's, it looked like this:

Now I know that my friends who live in places like Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have been slammed with much worse weather this week, and I hope that they are all okay. But here on the prairie, it's the extremes that can occur literally within a few hours that makes it so crazy. However, I have great reason to hope that this last minute attack by winter is over and done with. Not only did I see large flocks of robins all around today, but one of these guys was in my yard for quite a long time, singing his little heart out for a wife:

(I didn't have my camera handy so I had to borrow this picture.) I immediately set Mr. Criquette to work making the bluebird house I was promised last year. I think we have a good site for it and hopefully we will have a bluebird family move in. The day we decided on this particular lot to build our home on, we saw a bluebird perched on the sign! It was the first time I had ever seen one and he was gorgeous! We had a small flock at our bird bath early one morning a couple of years ago right after we moved in and that is when I became determined to entice them to live in our yard. I am even willing to put nasty meal worms out for them if it will get them to stay.

Because the weather has been yucky, I have begun tackling 2 projects I have dreaded. First, cleaning out this mess (aka "my office closet")

to make room for this (aka "the stash")

Second, making room on my computer's hard drive before it crashes. Apparently photo and music files eat up lots of hard drive real estate. Since I can't afford a new media-friendly computer, I bought an external hard drive to store these greedy little files on. Since I am a certified techno-idiot, I am approaching this operation slowly and cautiously, praying to my computer's guardian angel (of course computers have guardian angels! so does luggage when it's at the mercy of the airlines) that I do not cause a bigger problem than I already have. Wish me luck!

And in between these adventures, I am knitting away on the herringbone scarf and a little moss stitch cowl. The herringbone is for our office manager but there is no reason for knitting the cowl except that I wanted to get used to knitting in the round again and practice swatching in order to prepare for the surprise project involving the Cadenza yarn. I hope to knit a swatch of it and then cast on in the next few days. Here's a hint: it will involve a little voodoo!

These projects are Criquette-approved


SP Stands For SPecial

I received my first SP10 package this week and can't wait to flash the goodies!

That wonderful secret pal of mine must be lurking around my blog because s/he chose a perfect array of fabulous treats for my first SP exchange...a scarf pattern that will make me learn to read a chart (and you all can probably guess how much I love making scarves!), a set of his/her bamboo needles of choice (Crystal Palace) in a size 7, which I didn't have, some beautiful handmade stitch markers, a solid chocolate bunny (who lost his little head immediately after posing for the picture), and the softest, squooshiest Colinette merino yarn!

HANDMADE(!) stitch markers, so pretty I may try and convert 2 of them to earrings

The picture does not come close to describing just how soft and yummiful this yarn truly is (Colinette Cadenza 'Moss')

So I hope my SP is reading this so I can say a heartfelt "thank you" for your thoughtfulness. The greyish-green with russet patches reminds me of cypress trees draped in Spanish moss and fills me with a sense of home. It will be such a pleasure to knit with. I've already tried out the needles and am now converted to CP - they have a smoother finish and somewhat narrower tips. Hope I can get gauge with these and the yarn. I love the pattern and will make a lovely scarf at some point, but the Cadenza has already told me what she wants to be, and -surprise!- she doesn't want to become a scarf. I think I have the perfect pattern for this project and hope to cast on this weekend. Stay tuned. Finally, I have such an appreciation for anything that is handmade, especially when the gifter says it was made especially for me! I appreciate the time and talent that SP put into these markers and also like the way the colors compliment the yarn!

This was a lonnnnnng week at work - last quarter of school usually means there are more kids with meltdowns, anxiety, acting-out behaviors - I feel like joining them sometimes. The weather really has everyone out of sorts - it's been dreary and cold now for over a week with more cold and a rain/snow mix predicted for the weekend. The luscious alpaca scarves are being worn daily. So nice to have a quiet weekend + new knitting projects + adult beverages to look forward to. (Must.hold.on.until.tomorrow.)


Goodbye Griff and Why The Easter Bunny Wears A Fur Coat

The puppy playroom is being closed down. The last resident vacated the premises yesterday.

Yes, Griff has found a forever family! And just the kind of family I was praying for. He will live in a charming small town about 30 minutes from here. His new family are dog people. The sweet and beautiful 16-year old daughter, a member of the local 4H club, has been involved in obedience and agility and has been looking for a puppy to train. How perfect is that? I've said all along that I wished Griff would go to someone who would put his smarts to good use. They were quite impressed with his budding talents and training (yes, I will take credit for that, thank you. He responded much better to the behavior modification than many of the children I treat). He left here knowing how to sit on command, lay down, combat crawl, wave his paw, walk nicely on a leash, come when called, fetch, and "leave it". He is almost completely potty-trained - the accidents he was having were more due to human errors than his own.

We are missing him a lot, but happy to know he has a good home. And they want to stay in touch and have invited us to come visit - do you think tomorrow would be too soon?

Well, it does no good to sit around and mope. It is Easter, after all. A time of new beginnings, a day of hope. And usually a day that you can be outside, enjoying the spring breezes and flowers. BUT...this is Kansas - Land of Rollercoaster Weather and Nasty Tricks Played By Mother Nature. Five days ago, the temps were in the 80's. Yesterday and today, highs in the low 40's. lows in the teens, and wind chills below zero!!! So the daffodils and dogwood blossoms have been zapped and are now un-Easter-like colors of crispy browns and tans. All of the new leaves on the hydrangeas, perennials and summer-flowering shrubs are looking like lettuce that has lurked in the veggie drawer for way too long. But the sun is out, I have chocolate to eat and new green goodies to enjoy!

Natalie sent me all of these goodies for the March Color Swap! And just when I really needed a little pick-me-up!
She sent some soft and pretty light green alpaca blend Bernat Haven yarn that I can't stop squeezing (that will make a cozy baby hat for some lucky little newborn), a ball of a fun green and blue ribbon yarn, lots of really neat scrapbooking supplies, some Irish Cream coffee, chocolates (most of which have been eaten!), a cute tiny green basket, some gum....

...and a little flipflop keychain, mini photo album (perfect to keep puppy photos in), a knitting notebook (always nice to receive) and, my favorite, 3 hand-knitted little purses which will come in very handy for holding stitch markers and miscellaneous knitting accessories. I love to be the recipient of handmade gifts and really appreciate the time and effort Natalie spent making this for me! Thank you for a wonderful swap package, Natalie! I hope your March partner spoils you as good as you have spoiled me.

So now I am off to bundle up for church but I am not complaining. Why? you ask. Because I finally get to wear my turquoise alpaca scarf, that's why. Not only is it warm, but it brightens the dark winter clothes I am wearing today. The Easter Bunny is jealous.

Whatever your faith, I wish you a happy and joyous day celebrating the new life that is the promise of spring!