Monday, January 30, 2006

Bagged and Wrapped

The Bagged Part
Ever since I cleaned out the snake room a couple of months ago, rehoming all the empty snake and large lizard enclosures and getting rid of stuff I schlepped up here when I moved from Los Angeles 12+ years ago, I've been leaving the door to the room a-jar. Mikey, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, has 'discovered' this new dimension to the house that previously did not exist, and so has incorporated making it part of his morning circuit on his way from ig room to bath room.

This morning, there was rather more crinkly crunchy noises coming from that room down the hall, noises I was desperately trying to ignore as I fought to sink back into sleep after a hellish day yesterday, one of my serial sneezing days.

(That is where I sneeze explosively 10, 15, 20 or more times in a row, a couple of times an hour, for almost 24 hours. In between sneeze bouts, my eyes water, my sinuses run, and life is just generally pretty crappy. As the sneeze day progresses, my voice starts dropping into the lower registers, until I sound like I've been smoking and drinking rotgut for the last 40-50 years. The day after, my voice is unpleasantly frog-like, cracked and crumbling like old mortar, while my upper torso is wracked with painful muscles and joints. And, before the suggestions start rolling in, antihistamines don't help, and neither does alkalinizing or acidifying my system. Since these days happen at any time during the year, there is no correlation with weather, humdity, temperature, or what's growing, moldering, or blowing in the wind. Welcome to my life.)

So. The last thing I wanted to do was get up and drag myself into Mike's bathroom and run his bath and make nice (and probably scaring the hell out of him with the basso gravundo emanating from my mouth). So, I was grateful knowing his was entertaining himself lording it over the file boxes and vacuum cleaner and folding chairs and such in the snake room. And grateful to not have to worry about Sluggo being in there, since he was snug abed in my room (in his bed, not mine). But, still. Mike was in there longer than usual, and the noises were...not usual.

At last I could stand the suspense no longer, and dragged myself from my flannel and down nest, shrugged on a robe, managed to get my feet into my slippers with out crashing into any walls, and stumbled down the hall to the snake room.

Wherein I saw half of Mike's tail sticking out of the closet. Since Mike's tail is, at 29", over half his overall length, this meant that most of Mike was in the closet. As I entered into the room and closer to the closet, I saw Mike, from his head to his hips. His hips, hind legs, and that part of his tail not exposed and sticking out of the closet were encased in a large Office Depot bag. The bag that had been holding a paper grocery bag that formerly held my food processor, which is now residing in full glory on my cleaned off kitchen counter.

Well, really, it is cleaned off, it's just that it's filled now with cooking stuff instead of junk stuff.

The microwave and toaster oven and oils, appearing in back/on top of the photo, are actually across the U-shape area, where the stove-top and oven are in the crossbar of the U, and the crockpot, veggies, and weirdass convection oven (my new Sunpentown Turbo Convection Oven, which is actually pretty nifty, despite looking rather like a cake dome with a tea kettle sitting on top) on the other arm of the U.

Anyway, Mike is sitting there, half in the bag (reminding me of a friend who shall remain nameless), glaring at me as only an iguana can, especially a Cyclura with their red sclera. I croaked at him (=laughed), pulled the bag off, picked him up, and carried him into his bath. He was so intrigued by the sounds coming out of my mouth that he completely forgot to be annoyed with me, and kept staring at me and behind me, trying to figure out who was really making that godawful noise.

The Wrapped Part
These photos actually predate by a few days the Sneezing Day and Mike being bagged.

My friend Juliette who owns Elf Hand Knitwerks, knit and fell in tremendous like Oat Couture's Curlique Coverlet. Only, in true Juliette fashion, she didn't knit hers in one baby-like color. She knit hers in her usual bright, vivid greens and yellows and orange and even black (unusual for her, using 'my' color!). She really enjoyed how the sections flowed and interconnected, and just plain had a blast knitting hers. Her color choices really brang out the different sections, and her enthusiasm made me want to knit one - eventually. For fun one day, we started picking out 'Melissa' colors for the one I was going to knit one day, and that evolved into Juliette knitting it for me, and converting it into a collared shawl while she was at it.

Now, I have to say, while Juliette and I share a fondness for some colors (purples and some greens), she veers off into oranges and chartreuses and places I simply will not, cannot go. I go off in the same direction, as far as she is concerned, into some of the deep pinks and blues that she cannot abide. So, you will understand how much it meant to me that she willingly took on making this for me, since not only were there pink sections, she trimmed the collar she designed for it in pink points, to matchs the points around the edge of the rest of the shawl (which also appear in the original coverlet pattern, as part of the ends of the outer rows).

Here's Mike wearing my new shawl! The middle starfish-shaped section is dark purple, with lighter purple on the outer back section, and the hot pink in front. The deep collar, designed so I can pull it up to keep my neck snug while at the computer or knitting, is in the same dark purple as the center section, and you can see the pink points Juliette knit along the edges.

Want to see another view of the shawl? Of course you do! Here's Sidney wearing it. Unlike Mike, who is always ready to pose for the camera, Sidney had to be bribed. The best bribe for him I've found is Salmon Yummy Chummies. Sid will do anything, hold still for any length of time, for one of these crispy crunchy salmon-redolent treats.

Isn't he a handsome boy? Doesn't he look like he'd rather be someplace else? That is because I dragged him out of the bathroom where he spent most of the last two days at my house whining and yipping and staring intently waiting for the emergence of The Thing That Lives Under My Tub, about whom you will read in an upcoming blog entry.

Sid, as some of you may remember, comes and stays overnight with me sometimes when his mom's working a killer week or two, and Sid and his dad drive each other crazy. So Auntie Melissa picks Sidney up in the morning, and we have a couple of playdays together before his dad picks him up the following afternoon.

Our playdays this past week were Tuesday and Wednesday. But a half hour or so after picking him up, Sid's dad called me and asked me to take him to the hospital. I threw on clothes, scrammed out of the house (forgetting even to take my little back of sock-in-progress), picked Sid's dad up, and got him to the hospital ER. The good news is, he's okay, it was just a gallbladder stone (and I say that knowing how the word 'just' does not do justice to the horrendously painful prolonged event passing such a stone is). But with Karen being out of town in a very intense course (which she would have to repeat if she left), and Dad being okay but tired and a little groggy from all the pain meds, I took Sidney back home with me after returning his dad home from the hospital.

This change in routine was very definitely noticed by Sidney, who got very needy that night and the next two nights until I took him back home Saturday, shortly after his mom arrived back home.

For such a large dog, Sidney can curl himself up into a remarkably small bundle when he sleeps. His mother noted that she saw three blankets in this photo I sent her. I asked her what her point was. Like, I'm going to make Sidney sleep on a cold leather couch in a cold room??? So, yes, there were three blankets: the black-purple-fuschia entrelac throw I knitted several years ago that lives on the couch; the tapestry cloth/fake sheepskin doggy blanket I got at Costco last week for Sid; and a giraffe throw Juliette crocheted several years ago.

When I have Sid when his mom or both mom and dad are out of town, I always take photos to send them. Since Karen was working on some odd computers this time, I threw the photos into a photo album/slide show she could view when she had a chance. If you'd like to see them, there here in one of my Kodak/Ofoto albums.

There are no photos of him in the dog park there at Roberts Lake, so no shots of the very nice fellow who brought a ball thrower to throw balls for his two dogs who nicely included Sid into their pack. I was grateful for his ball thrower as it somewhat reduced the number of times I had to pick up slimey muddy crawling with microbiota tennis balls out of the muck and ooze of the park. Apparently, the engineers didn't give a lot of thought to drainage at the site when they recently created the dog park out of a scrap of the parkland around Roberts Lake in Rohnert Park, or after the amount of rain we had, nothing would have helped.

Anyway, on our way back home (after a swim in the lake to wash off the mud Sid was wearing, looking like he'd been dipped in dark chocolate), I stopped at a (small, independently owned) pet store and bought my own ball thrower (breaking I can do all on my own, thank you very much!). Sid did catch on to the fact that the ball thrower throws balls, but he still remained unclear on the concept, apparently believing that if he carried around the ball thrower, balls would magically appear in the air around him.

Here Sid stands next to his toy box (the one at my house), awaiting the flying of tennis balls to chase down. Hmmmmm..... Not quite as much fun as at the park, is it?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Busy busy fingers

Well, I've been doing a little less knitting (other than for Eggs) over the last month, but that's mainly because I was creating a couple of knitting-related websites (revamped my original site for the Sonoma County Knitting Guild, and created a new one for the local Project Linus chapter), and doing a lot of ripping.

Ripping is different, to me at least, than unknitting. Unknitting (tinking, tink being knit spelled backwards) is unknitting each of the stitches along part or all of a row or so. My scarves get tinked a lot when I suddenly realized I messed up a YO or K2tog several stitches back or in the last row.

When ripping, however, you pull the needle out of the row of stitches, then pull the yarn, undoing all those stitches and the stitches for several (or more) rows below that. This is done when you have so totally screwed something up that the whole thing needs to be reworked. Like, this scarf I'm knitting.

This is the first mosaic (slip-stitch) scarf I've done, and I ripped several times before now because (1) I didn't like the feel of the fabric on size 8 needles; (2) I didn't like the feel of the fabric on size 11 needles; (3) I did like the feel of the fabric on size 13 needles, but (4) I didn't like the width of the fabric, so I ripped back to the beginning and cast on again, with more stitches.

I have done some slip-stitch knitting before, and striped knitting. For some reason, in this scarf, I forgot what I figured out in the slip-stitch blanket I made 8 years ago, and tried to carry the unused color up every other row in this scarf. Why I didn't notice what a mess this was making of the edge until 12:30 AM this morning, after knitting almost a foot of scarf last night, I don't know.

Dufus.. I even managed to not slip, but actually drop, the last stitch on a couple of those rows. So, tonight, I rip. Which brings up another knitting turn-of-word. If you swear and say "Rip it!" several times, it sounds rather like "ribbit", the sound associated with the utterances of some frogs, and so rip and ripping is called frog and frogging by many knitters.

One of my other projects is a warm hat for my nephew, Wyatt. Currently residing in the wild cold reaches of Missouri, he needs to keep his little head covered. Anticipating that he will still be living there next year or so, I added some room for growth. I hope. I pretty much suck at visualizing kid sizes.

This is going to be an inside-outside hat: two hats both emerging from their bottom edge (that would be the row of black and white seen on the right in the above photograph. The first hat was knit from the crown to the 'bottom' edge, (using a worsted weight white yarn and a red and white sock yarn, Then, I switched to the black and white sock yarn and another ball of the white worsted yarn and knit the second hat, knitting up to its crown, and finishing with a little I-cord loop:

The resulting fabric, when you stuff the black inside the red, or red inside the black, is thick but cushy, and warm, as the worsted yarn is wool. The black/white yarn is a mix of wool/cotton/nylon, while the red is cotton/nylon. All machine washable (gently, please).

The other thing I did was finally finish a pair of socks I'd been carrying around with me for what seems like ages.

I used to knit a pair of socks a week, then every two weeks, then a month, and then several months went by with no socks. Weirdly enough, I don't even have a pair of socks in progress at the moment, something I've had for the past couple of years.

I also got all the ends woven in on four blankets, three of which are going to Project Linus. The blankets have been sitting around here for a couple of years, I'm embarrassed to say, so for a number of reasons, I want them out of here and around the kids who will be getting them.

With these projects done (except the scarf about to be frogged to its roots), I had a bit of time over the past couple of weeks to do some knitting for Eggs In Hats. Keep in mind the sock above as you check out Eggs.