Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tales

Last weekend was insane. You could say we went to the dogs. And we are still recovering.

First off, look who popped in for a sleep-over with Abbie and Chloe:

If you guessed Griff, you would be correct. The family who adopted him brought him back on Saturday. Seems he was herding their little Maltese around and they were worried the Maltese would get hurt. I had warned them about my concerns with this when they adopted him, but they weren't listening. They also hadn't been keeping him as active as he needs to be. This is a good example of what happens to herding dogs when they aren't mentally challenged and kept really active. They start obsessing and will try to herd small animals and children around. But, I am glad they brought him back to us instead of bringing him to the pound. So we had him for a day until his new foster mom could take him. He remembered all of us but was freaked out by the puppies. He and Abbie especially had a wonderful time together. But look how much he has grown in just 1 month -

Griff and Abbie, April 2007

Griff and Abbie, May 2007

Look how big he got in just 1 month! He is still the sweetest, most adorable dog. We have really fallen in love with this guy, but can't keep him. There is already a new family who wants to adopt him. I've grilled them - oops, I mean interviewed - and all I could say was "Adopt me too please!" They were out of town this weekend so he is with his other foster mom until they come back and take him home.

Next is the ongoing craziness with the new babies, Annie and Bonnie. They go out for walks 3 times a day, get lots of attention and are starting to potty train. But if they get bored, they will make their own fun...

Me: "What the #%@#&???"

Puppies: "Not me!"

They are getting huge - we think they might be border collie/husky mix. They are going to be spayed next Friday and go up on the MOKAN adoption website right after that. They are really affectionate and sweet girls, but they have been harder to have around than the 4 little guys were. Of course, it didn't help that we also took in a stray that showed up in our neighbors' yard. He was a wire-haired fox terrier and it was obvious he was someone's pet. So we took him in for a night and fortunately found his owner the next day. Kirby lives about one mile away. he is 15 years old, blind and deaf. And he managed to cross a couple of busy streets before landing here in the Land of Paws.

Meanwhile, Abbie had to grab some attention for herself. She likes to escape and go on little bunny-hunting expeditions whenever the stupid humans leave the door open and she's off before we can say "oh shit!" She doesn't seem to pay a fraction of attention to anything around her, but this is the first time she has run off into the woods. At one point, she had followed the bunny trail into the middle of a very dangerous and busy street. We couldn't get her to come, we couldn't catch her, so we just went home because we couldn't bear to watch her become road kill. Well, she must have been paying attention after all because she showed up right around the time we made it home. All I can figure is that when we turned for home, she figured that the hunt was over.

And just in case you weren't yet convinced how stupid Abbie's parents can be, one of them (which one is still a topic of hot debate) left the exact same door wide open the next morning and the bunny hunt was on! We followed for a bit, then turned for home and *poof* there she was as soon as we got home. So at least I think we have figured her basic mode of action and returning.
Good thing she's so darned cute.

As for Chloe, well, thank dog there's one sane pup in the bunch. She's like the nanny, herding the others around, keeping them minding their manners and always coming to get me and letting me know when trouble is brewing (or when there's a squirrel in the yard!).

This week has ended well for all of the creatures who made the Land of Paws their home this past week, 2-legged ones included. But there is another puppy, in another home who hasn't had a good week at all. Black Dog was found by Sonya, the innocent victim of a hit and run accident. She is trying to save him from being euthanized, but facing possibly huge vet bills in the process. Please visit her blog, and if possible, see if you can help, even in a small way. And thanks, from the Land of Paws.


Healing Hearts With Yarn and Sticks

Do yourself a favor and head over to Priscilla's blog and read her post about why she crochets and knits for charity. I love the idea that by knitting for others in need, I am healing hearts in the process. As someone who has struggled for much of my life with feelings of being different and the loneliness that brings, I feel a lot of empathy for people who are living with alienation and sadness without the safety net of a loving family; an intact, comfortable home; enough food to satisfy, and good health. I feel as though I am healing my own heart every time I complete a charity project.

These are my current charity UFO's. 2 pairs of wristwarmers, 1 cowl, 2 kids' hats and 1 chemo cap. Not nearly as much as I would like to turn out, but enough to pass along a little healing love. I have put links for 2 of the projects that Priscilla mentioned in another post in my sidebar, under the title "Knitting To Heal Hearts". I went into the leftover yarn stash and came up with some comforting-soft alpaca to knit some blanket squares for victims of Katrina and Rita, and the Greensburg tornados.

So if you feel the need to spread some love and heal some hearts, please check these out. And do yourself a big favor in the process. And check back with me over the weekend - I feel the need to have a contest coming on!

Peace and love, ya'll!


Don't Let The Screen Door Slam On Your Way Out - A Rant About Jerry F.

I grew up in a home where politics were usually the mealtime topic. And bedtime. And in-between times. My father was especially passionate about sharing his political views, longly and loudly. My mom would usually join in, which just egged my dad on more and more. He loved to get angry about politics and rant and carry on. After he died, my sister called to tell me she had a dream and knew it meant our dad had made it to heaven. She knew this because it was so dead-on accurate. In the dream, my dad showed up in her kitchen. As they talked, she asked him about heaven. "It's great," he told her. "Except God won't let us talk about politics here." We had a big laugh out of this. Thank God! My kind of heaven.

I was so stressed by the political yell-fests that to this day I have given myself permission to opt out of political involvement or concern. I know many people would call me to task on my overall apathy (and they do) and while I respect their opinions and their right to hold those opinions, I feel that, for the most part, my beliefs, my politics, and my sex life belong in their own secret compartments, shared only with great discretion.

Maybe it's my line of work that makes me so tired of conflict that I wish to avoid it in my own life. Maybe it's because I have family members, friends, and co-workers that I care for and respect, who share such a diverse range of spiritual, political and sexual beliefs that it would tear at my heart to think I offended any of them if their beliefs do not coincide with mine. Maybe it's because I am becoming more mellow in my power years that I can't work up the energy to take on changing the whole world, so I content myself by helping one child, planting one tree, saving one homeless creature. Or maybe it's because I am so cynical about anyone who thinks they have The Answer to solve the city/state/country's screw-ups, and then turn out to have done their own fair share of corrupting and screwing up, that I find it hard to get excited about anyone who has made a career out of being in an elected office.

The answer is, all of the above.

That being said, there is something very important I need to comment on, something I feel very passionate about (please excuse dangling participles). While I don't rejoice in the death of any person, I definitely feel major relief when an evil one leaves us for their Eternal Consequence of Bad Behavior Choices (aka "the ultimate spanking"). Anyone who judges another human being, targets hatred towards specific groups of people, DARES to cast the blame of a horrendous event like 9-11 on said targeted groups and then abuses their position to brainwash gullible suckers who were never taught to think, weigh the evidence and draw their own conclusions - well, lets just say that if there is any sense of justice in the heavenly courts, Jerry Falwell will be having a really looooooooonnnnnnggggggg time-out. Like forever.

There is no room for hatred or judgement in my religion and politics. The last time I read my bible (last night in fact), it was pretty clear that we need to leave the job of judging others up to God. God did not delegate that job to any of us. God probably knows we would totally f&ck it up, being as how none of us have enough understanding and love of others to do it right. And this is what I believe in and live by. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree. But living in the United States gives me the absolute right to hold my beliefs. And, yes, it gives that same right to people like Jerry Falwell.

Oops, I forgot. Jerry doesn't live here anymore!

You will probably not be reading any more rants like this in my blog anytime soon (although I won't say never) because I am locking up the secret compartment once more. And calming myself down by going off to knit and listen to something that makes me feel very happy, like this. And I dedicate it to Jerry.



I looked at my comments yesterday and discovered that I had been tagged by my fellow canine foster mom, Nichole. She does beautiful knitting and has 3 gorgeous resident dogs and one adorable foster pup. Check out the alpaca scarves she currently has on the needles.

Here are the tag rules:
Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blog the 7 facts as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you are tagging a note in their comments so they know they have been tagged and to read your blog.

Seven Random Facts:

1. I am the only person in 3 generations on both my mother's and father's side of the family to have been born north of the Mason-Dixon line (Harve de Grace, MD). Everyone one else was born in the New Orleans area or in the bayous of Southern Louisiana. My mother always blamed all of my problems on this.

2. I have ADHD and OCD. Probably because I was born in Yankee land.

3. Through my entire school career, I hated math, especially algebra. I almost always made C's and D's (sometimes F's) in any form of arithmetic. But when I went to graduate school, I developed a perverted passion for statistics and ended up with straight A's and a statistics minor. Since I graduated, I've never had anything to do with statistics again.

4. I put myself through college as a bartender. My second career was a horticulturalist/landscaper, with occasional forays back into bartending. It was bartending that helped me figure out that I really wanted to be a psychologist.

5. I have a passion for freshly made cotton candy. Pink, not blue.

6. I taught myself to read when I was 4 and have loved it ever since.

7. I have a pretty sick sense of humor and really appreciate irony.

And now I am passing along the tagging love to:

Sonya , I love the blog-tours of her pretty hometown - her kids and doggie are also adorable

Dianne , mother of some gorgeous redheads and maker of a fabulous mitred-square blankie

Li , leave her a comment and be sure to ask for a copy of her amazing herringbone scarf

Cole , a charming bride-to-be, charity knitter and knitting crazy cat lady

KC , the farm girl will transform into an international knitter in the fall

Priscilla , who knits like a maniac for charity and has info about knitting squares for afghans for the people of Greensburg, KS. Thanks, Priscilla!

Terri , a fellow prairie girl who runs the Wednesday night knitting group that I swear I will make it to one night soon

And in knitting news, I have been working on the dishcloth I am making for the summer dishcloth swap. I haven't gotten much knitting done this week so far between late nights at work and socializing the puppies, but did manage to crank out a few more rows of the herringbone scarf. I am making a run to my favorite lys this weekend to pick up something really nice for the 3rd (and last) SP10 package. Since my spoilee lives in the subtropics, just posted her stash of about 100+balls of sock yarn (can a person really knit that many socks???) and said she'd like to try some non-sheepish fibers, I may choose some Euroflax to send her or a soy-silk. Does anyone have any experience with either of these that they can tell me about?

Finally, something has happened to the comments enabler - it's gone! I checked my template and it should be there. Sorry for the inconvenience. I will contact the geeks at Blogger and hope they can help me get this fixed.


Funny, I Don't Feel 100

Today is a blogging milestone for me - this is my 100th post! I think I will have to have some chocolate to celebrate. And maybe some wine. And then maybe a little more chocolate. Especially the fantastic chocolate I received last week.

I got so caught up in the busy-ness of the weekend that I neglected something of great importance - my second SP10 package arrived on Thursday evening. What a way to start off a perfect, long weekend!

Everything nicely wrapped

I love opening presents

Oh yeah!

How great is this?

I couldn't believe what a great package this was. First I read a little note saying that last time she shared her favorite bamboo needles and this time was sharing her favorite candy. OMG! This is truly the most decadent, buttery and intense chocolate I think I have ever tasted! It has the creaminess of a dark chocolate fudge, with the slightest hint of peanut butter. I've been popping these one at a time and just letting them melt in my mouth. I hope my pal will send me one of their cards or info with their phone number and website. I will either have to order more of these or make a road trip to buy a lifetime supply! There was a skein of Classic Elite pima cotton yarn - sooooo soft and pretty. I am going to get some more of this because I think it would make a very nice summer wrap - the weight and color are just right. There was a very cute notepad with lapel pin for breast cancer awareness, an excellent cause and since I wear jackets a lot, the pin will get a lot of use. And finally, a book I have been craving since last fall, "Knit Fix". It is so well explained, even I can understand it. And I love that her solutions are practical, not perfectionistic. The thing I have trouble understanding are fixing mistakes with purl stitches. Sometimes I can't even tink them right and somehow I drop a stitch. Well, now I know what to do next time that happens. I've almost finished the book and feel much more confident about any mistakes that I will be making as I branch out to new techniques!

I have such a great SP10! She is so creative and generous that I think I want her to adopt me. Thank you and I hope you are being spoiled as well as you are spoiling me!


We had doggie spa day at our home yesterday. Our 2 were ready to get the springtime grime off, so Mr. C, being the super-Type A guy that he is, convinced me to include the pups as well. Since he does most of the bathing work, of course I agreed. The puppies smelled bad, felt very dirty and their skin and fur is very dry. Annie, the shy one, was a trooper. We used some doggie shampoo with conditioner that has to sit on them for 10 minutes. So we brushed her while she was soaped down and got a bunch of dead ticks off of her. She stood still and just whimpered a bit toward the end. She loved being dried off and brushed out. Afterwards, she was much perkier, just like I feel after a new haircut and massage!

Bonnie, however is clearly the drama queen of the little twosome. She is quite confident and extroverted and we thought she'd handle the bath well. HA! She wiggled and squirmed and howled and cried and carried on worse than Paris Hilton getting ready to go off to jail. The minute the rinsing was through, she was wagging and kissing us, all happy like nothing had happened. We took them for a little walk around the yard, where they pranced and rolled around in the grass. They liked being clean so much, they even posed for these cute photos:



Fortunately, the rescue group is very protective of their adoptees, with comprehensive paperwork, vet references and home visits required. So we won't have to worry about their new homes. As cute and sweet as these girls are, I don't expect we'll have them for long.

I did get about 50 perennials planted over the weekend and have the stiff joints and aching muscles to prove it. Not much knitting that got done, but I made enough progress that I expect to finish at least one of the office staff scarves and the nursing home mitts by the weekend. I need to figure out how to squeeze in more knitting as I feel like a knitting tortoise instead of a knitting hare. I've already given up housecleaning, I knit while watching TV and while talking on the phone, I knit at the red light, I knit while waiting at appointments, restaurants, etc. - but there's just never enough time to play with the sticks and yarn. I guess that's why they invented retirement.


I'm A Mom Again!

I have two new babies - just in time for Mother's Day!

These sweet little girls were rescued today from a shelter in Columbia, along with their mother. I was volunteering at a pet expo today for the MOKAN border collie rescue organization - they had helped us try to find a home for Griff - when I was asked if we could foster 2 pups who were being brought into town. I called Mr. C and by the time I got home, he had the Puppy Palace set back up.

They are 4 months old, and were living with their mother in a backyard. They were not in good condition and I am guessing that's why they ended up in the shelter. They are scared, dirty, covered in (hopefully) dead ticks and not very well socialized. They don't even have names. But they are also very sweet and like being held and petted so we'll have them in shape for adoption in no time. We brought them home, gave them a little food and water, and got them settled in for the night. They started carrying on when we first turned off the lights but settled down as soon as we put a radio on for them. My first job is to get them named, followed by a good night's sleep so I am up and ready to start another session of puppy school in the morning.

They are thought to be border collie/shepherd mix - you can see the shepherd in the one on the right and the one on the left looks like a border collie. so things will be hopping once again at the House of Wayward Puppies and I'm loving it!


Only One????

My lovely dishcloth hostess, Anne, has challenged each of us to answer this questionnaire. I hate to choose just one of any of these because I think in terms of 10's when it comes to my favorite things! Like my 10 favorite movies of all time, etc. But, in the spirit of the thing, here goes (although I must make a disclaimer that just because I listed it today doesn't mean it's my all-time favorite ever):

If you were to be taken from your home and whisked to a desert island to live out 1 year of your life.....

What 1 CD of music would you bring?
I would bring an mp3 CD that I custom-burned with about 150 of my eclectic collection of all-time favorite songs, including songs by Elvis Costello, the Neville Brothers, Holly Golightly, David Crowder Band, Mozart, Collective Soul, BB King, and the list goes on.

What 1 book would you bring?
As much as I love my nature and gardening books, knitting books, psychology books, Jane Austen and other classics, legal thrillers, books about travel and animals and interesting people, I would have to choose something practical:

What 1 hobby-related item would you bring?
One giant water-proof Rubbermaid tote crammed with as much of my favorite yarns, needles and patterns as I could fit in there. You didn't expect me to choose just one project did you?

What 1 person would you bring with you?
I really thought about this question and I kept coming back to Mr. Criquette. He is a very good companion (when he's not being bossy and crabby), is excellent at creative practical problem-solving and would come up with Swiss-Family Robinson-type inventions for us, likes to catch and cook fish, lets me have alone-time when I need it, and is good to snuggle with at night. What more could you ask for?

Well okay, but can this guy catch fish?

What 1 food would you bring with you?
I figure that we will catch fish (protein), gather coconuts and bananas (fruit), pick some banana leaves to steam (vegetable),taro root(starch), cacao (chocolate)and agave or yucca plants(tequila) and thus cover almost all of the major food groups. So that leaves dessert, in which case I would have to choose the largest possible cherry cheesecake, which I would dole out in the teeniest little pieces to make it last as long as possible.

Hopefully by the time it runs out, Mr. C will have invented some sort of boat to get us off the island and into the nearest port to pick up some more dessert and more yarn for the stash!

I Am The Boss Of Me

I hear this at least twice a week, from some of the spirited children I work with. And while I totally empathize with their desire for being the masters of their own destinies, the reality is, they're just not ready. They still have dues to pay before they get this particular privilege. But one of the best things about getting *ahem* more mature is that I've paid my dues. And I am totally the boss of me. And the boss of me gave me a day off today because of how hard I've been working lately.

And what a perfect day to be free! The sun was out, the skies were a clear prairie blue and a nice little breeze was keeping the heat on the pleasant side. Such a perfect day just had to be spent gardening and so I did.

First, I went to the spring plant sale at the arboretum - a natural preserve featuring walking and hiking trails through prairie meadows, formal gardens, and old-growth forest. The sale raises money for the arboretum and I try to go whenever I can. Besides the usual annuals and perennials, there is a huge selection of native plants, many of which are not available through the garden centers. Unfortunately I missed out on the plant I was most coveting, as there were only 3 available and someone had just bought all 3 and declined my offer to arm-wrestle for them:

Magnolia x soulangeana 'Orchid'

But I wasn't sad for long, because I picked up some other little beauties, including a Nyssa (black gum) which is a small tree with the most amazing fall color, numerous perennials for my naturalized garden along the edge of the woods, and 2 varieties of french lavender that are supposed to overwinter well here. And 2 of these little trees that I have been trying to find for the past 2 years:

Halesia carolina (Carolina Silverbell Tree)

After that I spent the rest of the afternoon clearing the edge of the woods of the non-native weeds that have taken over the native weeds. Because its mating season, there were scads of birds around today, all of them singing like they're auditioning for American Idol. I put out some raffia, spanish moss and dryer lint so the birds can have nesting material. It was disappearing rapidly by the end of the day.

I got in quite a bit of knitting while going to the arboretum (no, I wasn't driving) and then whenever I came inside to take a break from gardening. The 2 office staff scarves are each about 2/3's done! And to make a perfect day even more perfect, the mailperson brought me a wonderful package from my SP10. I haven't had a chance to take pictures yet, but will post them up in the next day or 2. And now, I'm off for a long, hot shower and a good long sleep.


Summer Dishcloth Questionnaire (With Bonus Eye Candy)

1. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
I taught myself to knit last February (2006). First I tried using a cheap little booklet I bought at Michael's but quickly gave that up for the book "The Knitting Answer Book". I love that book.

2. What was your very first completed object? Your most recent?
My first FO was an acrylic scarf, knit in straight garter stitch, of course. My most recent project was another scarf but at least I used alpaca yarn and the Yarn Harlot's One-Row scarf pattern. (I am not what you'd call a knitting prodigy).

3. What was the very first thing you sent to the frogpond? Your most recent?
The very first scarf I started to make out of a ribbon yarn I had knitted 2 skeins worth and ran out of yarn. Of course I had to go and get a 3rd ball to finish and of course it was not the same dye lot. At least I learned a lesson about buying more than you think you'l need.

The most recent froggee? The beautiful green Cadenza that I had received from my SP10 pal was about a good 3" into becoming a wrist warmer. I was using the 2-circ method but I couldn't prevent a big ladder on each side edge. If any of my experienced blog pals out there can give me a suggestion for preventing this, I'll cast on again immediately!

4. What is currently on the needles for you?
Scarves, of course! Another alpaca lovely knit in the One-Row pattern, a squooshy merino in Li's Herringbone pattern, a longitutinal stripe scarf for Mr. C (my oldest UFO), a baby hat, the wrist warmers and a dainty little scarf for the charity knitting group I belong to. Oh, and a cotton string market bag. And soon, a dishcloth.

5. What types of needles do you enjoy working with? What have you tried and hated?

It depends on what the yarn wants, doesn't it? But when I get to choose, I prefer bamboo - it is so warm and I love the soft little clicking noises they make while I knit. I really love the new Crystal Palace bamboo needles my SP10 pal sent to me - they have sharper little points than the Clovers I have used before. When the yarn isn't slipping easily on the bamboos, I like to use Addi turbos. I like straight shorties for my scarves and circ's for everything else.

I can't stand to knit with cheap metal needles (like Lion's brand). every time they rub together I get the heebie-jeebies, like nails on a chalkboard! EEEEWWWW

6. Have you knit dishcloths before? What was your favorite one? Least favorite?
No and I am looking forward to practicing some fancy new stitchwork.

7. Do you use homemade dishcloths or face cloths yourself or do you give them as gifts or both?
No, I have never tried them or given them and can't wait to try it out!

8. What are your favorite and least favorite scents (for your body, such as soap or lotion?)
I love vanilla, lavender and mint scents. I don't care for most florals or so-called "fresh" scents - they make me sneeze!

9. What are your favorite colors?
Blues, violets, and turquoise (to wear); buttery yellows, coral and creamy neutrals for decor.

10. What colors are your bathroom and kitchen decorated in?
Master bath colors are muted shades of cream, coral and aqua; guest bath is lime green, butter yellow and orange; kitchen is butter yellow, coral, black and cream.

11. What other hobbies and crafts do you enjoy?
Gardening and needle-felting.

12. Chocolate: dark? white? milk? ew?
Bring it on!

13. Do you like salty treats? What kinds?
Of course! I love salty after I've eaten something sweet...then I need to eat something sweet, then salty, and this can go on all night. Thank goodness there's knitting to break the cycle! I like all kinds of chips for salty snacks, and even saltines will do in a pinch!

14. If you could go anywhere in the world for a day and spend the day any way you wanted, where would you go and what would you do?
I hate questions like this because I will have a different answer every day. But lately I've been flirting with the idea of going to Thailand with Mr. C and a friend of ours who is a trade ambassador to Thailand and who goes
about 6 times a year. We would go to some of the places he has talked about.

First, we would go to ChiangMai to visit the elephants who live at the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center. For this special trip, I would go to see the talented elephants who have been trained as artists. I am fortunate enough to own 2 of these incredible paintings and would love to actually see one of these beautiful creatures at work:

I will post more about this incredible place in a future blog.

Then we would spend the afternoon touring some of our friend's favorite places in Bangkok, including this temple:

and the floating market:

Finally, we would finish a perfect day with a leisurely Thai dinner at this rooftop restaurant where you sit and look out over the city at twilight as the lights come on:

I would eat delicious Thai food and drink wine until I was drunk enough to handle the 108 hour flight back home where I would then crawl into my bed and sleep for about the next 2 weeks.

15. Do you have any allergies?
Cigarette smoke. And I break out in hives every time I see pictures of Britney Spears, so please refrain from sending any of those.


The Weather's Just Ducky Here

We were fortunate to escape the freak tornado that devastated the small Kansas town of Greensberg Friday night and we are keeping all of the people affected in our prayers. The pictures I've seen remind me so much of areas of New Orleans and Mississippi after Katrina - I can only hope that these people receive better care and treatment from FEMA than the residents of New Orleans have received.

We had some very strange-looking cloudy skies on Saturday. At one point, I thought it looked like a tornado might be brewing because I could see some rotation in the clouds and the sky got a really eerie greenish color:

It started storming during the night, and continued storming all day yesterday:

Our yard stayed pretty well-drained, but I could see the creek rising in the woods in back of our house, so during a little break in the heavy rain, I wandered down to where the storm drain empties into the creek. In the 2 years we have lived here, I haven't seen it even close to being this high. This is not too far from the back of my neighbor's house.

It continued raining and storming all night and into late morning today - we picked up 6-7" in a little over 24 hours. If only we had temps in the 90's and some jazz and a few boiled crawfish, I would have sworn I was back in New Orleans, there was so much rain. It was supposed to start raining again during the night and continue all week, but the weather guys are all saying we're gonna get lucky and dry out for the next few days. The woods are entirely flooded and the coyotes came through the backyards this morning to skirt around the water and then this evening, some deer ran through the yard too. It's crazy and I am thankful we didn't flood.

I didn't get much knitting done this weekend (or last week either) and what I did manage to squeeze in were the 2 scarves. I did start a new project for my charity knitting group. As I stated in an earlier blog, we are making small gifts that can be given to nursing home residents for their birthdays and Christmas/Hannukah because so often they have no family and so receive no gifts. So I suggested wrist warmer-fingerless glove thingies and was given the task of knitting up a prototype. And it has to be simple enough for the many novice knitters who are in our group. At first I was going to knit them in the round, but when some of the ladies asked for an alternate method, I decided to try knitting simple rectangles which I will then seam up the side, leaving a suitable opening for the thumb.

We have been asked to use acrylic yarn due to ease of care. While I think I found a pretty yarn, it is very scratchy, non-springy and hard on my hands. But since it's not for me, I will use whatever is asked for. But part of me really wishes I could make all of their little giftees in the softness of alpaca and merino. But I guess the staff would complain about about handwashing and blocking!


Honeybees, Armadilloes And Gators - Oh My!

Back at last! And with more memory than ever! (Unfortunately, the extra memory is in my computer, not in my brain.) My computer had gotten so low on hard drive space that it started having little tantrum crashes, even after I bought an external hard drive and sent a bunch of memory-hog programs to reside there. And I still just could never get enough memory back. I finally faced the fact that I needed to upgrade in order to keep up with my growing collection of music and photo files. So I had my very own geek come over to my house on Sunday and give the old girl a little surgical enhancement in the form of an 80GB hard drive. And now that most everything is loaded back on where it belongs, I am back in the blogging bidnezz.

There is so much to catch up on. I have only been knitting on the scarves for my office staff. I am probably halfway finished on the Herringbone scarf and 7 inches into another one-row scarf (in a decdently soft alpaca). I haven't had nearly as much time as I would like to knit since (1)I am working an average of 55 hours a week lately due to the end of school and increased stressors, and (2)the worker bees are once again back at the house, finishing up the new-home repairs that should have been done a year ago, including moving all the furniture into piles (AGAIN!) so the floor guys can clean all the paint drips and spills that occured when they were repainting. But enough of the complaints. There has been a little fun going on too.
Last weekend, we went to a benefit at the zoo. There was Cajun food and music and dancing, the IMAX film "Hurricane on the Bayou", and even an alligator who did some PR:

Tiny little toes

Tiny little teeth

Isn't he cute? (although the eye candy on the left isn't too shabby either)

The gator was very well-behaved (he had no choice since the eye-candy had him in a death-grip the entire time) and surprisingly warm and smooth - it was like petting a leather sofa. Unfortunately, I can see how folks were tempted to make shoes out of these beautiful creatures, who were hunted to the point of extinction less than 50 years ago. Fortunately, being placed on the endangered list allowed them to repopulate instead of becoming extinct.

I am going to digress here a minute on a topic of which I have been obsessing recently - I am appalled that there are actually people who scoff at the idea of global warming and I won't get into the details of my opinion of otherwise intelligent people who will form opinions based on superstition and conspiracy theories instead of scientific facts because maybe I have one or two of them in the family. I will not waste my breath or my time to argue with such people because it does absolutely no good to argue against illogical fantasies. BUT. Global warming is occuring in front of our faces and to ignore the evidence is beyond stupid. My husband has a good friend who lives in the Yukon and has watched the glacier in their bay shrink away from shore by miles every year. There are polar bears showing up further south than have ever been documented, even wandering into their towns. And they have actually had honeybees in the Yukon for the first time ever within the past couple of years. They are not being killed out by the winter.

My part of the Midwest has been rezoned from planting zone 5 to 6 for gardening due to the warming trend. There are many formerly Southern plants that have begun growing further and further north, for instance mimosa trees, Southern magnolias, and the dreaded kudzu which I have seen starting to blanket parts of southern Missouri. When Mr. C and I have driven down to New Orleans these past 12 years, we'd see lots of dead armadilloes along the Louisiana and Missisppi interstates, until hitting northern Mississippi where there were none. Presumably because they did not survive that far north at that time. In the past few years, I have been seeing armadillo roadkill creeping farther north, until this past Christmas holiday when I saw 2 dead armadilloes along the highway in central and northern east Missouri. A week later, an article in the big newspaper here reported how armadilloes have been seen in the areas north of Kansas City. A week after that, I spotted a dead one on a suburban street about 5 miles from my house.

So why the digression? Because in the last 2 years, there have been many news reports of 4-6 foot alligators being pulled out of lakes and ponds on the south side of Kansas City! Alligators, people, tropical swamp reptiles! So I asked the gator guy at the zoo about this and he told us that the alligators are actually living in these ponds and lakes and surving the winters here!

So if I did relent and agree to debate the misguided fundamentalists who deny global warming, I would have to ask them how else they could explain the fact that these alligators, armadilloes and honeybees keep migrating further and further north. If it's not due to global warming, IS IT BECAUSE OF ADAPTATION OF THE SPECIES? BWAHAHAHAHA - Gore or Darwin? Or both?

When we first moved into our house 2 years ago, the yard had been so poorly graded that we had a virtual swamp out in the backyard. I'd make jokes about smuggling alligators out of Louisiana and bringing them to our swamp so I could feel at home. Thanks to global warming, this now seems to be a strong possibility. So next trip down to see the family, I'll be bringing back some chicory coffee, fresh Gulf shrimp, Doberge cake, a palmetto bush, a small gator and maybe an armadillo or 2. We'll create a new type of ecosystem: prairie bayou.

"I'm goin to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come..."

"It's a conspiracy - first Kansas City, then we take over the world!"