Monday, January 21, 2008

Mini Road Trip

Sunday was a rough day for me - lots of pain, things flying out of my hands, pretty much at the end of my ability to endure things as they are. I was rather grateful that the usual Sunday knit-together with Karen, her MIL Jean, and friends, had been canceled because Jean was sick and I was just not up to it.

Karen and I decided to just go find a park where we could sit and knit and catch up with each other, but it was cold and windy, mostly overcast. Karen arrived with Sidney, leaving Ginger at home, which was good (for me, probably not so much for Karen's husband!), as I felt unable to deal with her puppy craziness.

Karen proposed just driving for a while, which was fine with me.
The road unwound beneath us in the direction of Calistoga Road. I mentioned the local Petrified Forest. Karen had never heard of it, so we stopped and moseyed through the gift shop located in the former owner's house:

The gift shop has lots of fossilized things besides wood, including what looked like a, well, freeze dried or taxidermied cat, laying on the bottom shelf of large pieces of petrified wood.

Turns out that the cat is very much alive. One of the many pet cats dumped in the forested roads near the Petrified Forest, this pretty fella spends the days inside the gift shop, but since he's not housebroken, has to stay out side at night. He apparently drives the shop workers crazy in the early morning hours as he yeowls and berates them because they don't open the door to let him in--and out--and in again--and out again--until he's finally done and settles in for a prolonged snooze. As you can see by the pieces of wood on the floor, the cat has trained the humans to move them off the shelf so he can plaster himself against the heater vent. Good kitty!

Not being my usual together self, I forget where I took the following photo, but I believe it is looking across the road from the Petrified Forest gift shop & parking lot.

As we left the parking lot, I asked her if she'd ever been to the Old Faithful Geyser, down the road a piece from Calistoga. She didn't realize we had one of those, too, so there we went to read the posted history there and see the seismograph readings recorded for events close by - and far away, including the recent volcanic eruption in Colombia. As we left, I took a photo of the sky south of the parking lot.

Off we went again, heading northeast through Napa towards Lake county. We pulled off at a turnout to let Sid stretch his legs a bit. There was a creek running by,

but the bank was too steep for Sidney to get down and back with a sore leg (hurt when playing hard with Ginger the other day), so he read the news, watered a couple of plants,

and accepted some nonpetrified wood to chew on as we headed back to the car and the Sonoma County line.

We pulled over one more time, so I could get some photos of the moon hanging over a craggy bluff.

While making a pit stop in Calistoga, Sid and I stayed in the car. Here you can see that Sidney still harbors some separation anxiety when Karen leaves him behind. (He had been dumped at the pound TWICE before he was a year old because he was "incorrigible" - what is it with people who get animals for pets and expect them to be naturally tamed and obedience trained?!)

Got back home after dark to find the moon framed between the mimosa and plum trees bracketing my driveway:

Not a bad way to end what had promised to be a really bad day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cozy Crazy

Well, okay, some friends would make the argument that that the title of this entry should more appropriately be "Crazy, Period" (or, in deference to our Brit friends, "Crazy, Full Stop"), but even I will admit that my penchant for knitting bags for my electronic gear is, well, let's say, borderline.

Some of you may remember my
iPod schmiPod post wherein I revealed my new ham radio and ham accessory cases. Well, there is now a coordinating cozy for my new(remanufacturered) Nokia cell phone, the headset for the Nokia, and for the DC power cords for my 10,000,000 spotlight, which lives in the back of my truck along with my other emergency stuff. Here's a photo of all but one piece in the technocozy collection:

The missing piece is this bag, made to hold my wireless mouse and its base station, and my spare hub, so I can take my ergo mouse with me when I need to work on someone else's computer for more than a few minutes.

You can see closer photos of the ham radio case and accessory bag in the iPod schmiPod blogentry, so here is a closeup of my cell phone and headset cozies:

And my googoogoogly-eyed spot and its cords cozy:

So, there I was, kicked back working on a scarf, watching Stargate Atlantis, sipping on hot tea poured from my thermos, when it hits me: hot tea will stay hotter longer if the thermos were better insulated!

Since the thermos isn't that high tech, and I don't have to dig around for it in the dark interior of a purse or car, I decided to save the rest of my favorite technocozy yarn (Red Heart Grande, color: Wow) to knit the mag mount antenna bag (still on my to-do list). Instead, I pulled out another, less jarring bulky yarn that has been lurking in my stash. Alas, the label was gone, so I have no idea what it is.

Voila! The unveiling of the Thermos Cozy, or, as some prefer, Thermos Sweater (though I think Thermos Tube Top is probably more accurate, since there are no sleeves or armholes):

Note how nicely the colors of the thermos cozy and it's matching coaster blend with the Wraith's complexion. So, there I was, using my clad thermos when I realized that there was quite a bit of heat escaping through the top of the, uhm, top. Fortunately, I still had some yarn left over, so I knit a cozy cap for the thermos:

I never said I wasn't wacked, now, did I?

Off to do some therapeutic knitting: a sock that's been OTN for too many months... But before I go, here's the Mikey pic for the day:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In with the new, and still with the old...

Still muddling through one of the worst years I've had in a while, I've not been doing much in the way of writing, or photo taking, and when I do take photos, I don't seem to get around to editing them. Ah, well, c'est la guerre, as we used to say at home.

Mike is doing fine, despite feeling severely deprived because he is not allowed to sleep in my room or under my desk or the living room couch because the nights are too cold and I can't afford to heat the whole place to tropical temperatures just so he can sleep wherever he wants. In his book, that makes me the baaaaaad mommy.

Every afternoon, somewhere between 4:30 PM and 6 PM, Mike heads out on his afternoon ramble, cruising through the living room, checking the front yard if the front inner door is open, then through the den and into the hallway, his chosen destination being either the bathroom and bathtub for another bath, or my bedroom to hunker down for the night.

On too-cold days when I know I will be gone into or past that time, I now close those doors so he can't get into the bathroom or bedroom. When I don't, and am not home to pick him up and carry him back to his tropical-temperatured room, I will come home to find an igcicle in the bathtub or under my bed. The former is not a problem in terms of picking him up and taking him back to his room, but moving the bed is not easy for me - and of course he positions himself dead center underneath it, and tries to move in the same direction the bed is moving in an attempt to stay under there (and piss me off) as long as possible. So, I close the doors:

(sorry for the blurred image)

If I am not home when he does this, he has taken to letting me know quite clearly how he so does not appreciated being foiled in his attempts to go where he wants to go, his becoming an igcicle apparently bothering me a lot more than it bothers him. This is what he does: he plants himself flush up against the inside of the door leading from the house to garage:

This night, he managed to knock some things down to increase the hazard to me. Keep in mind that the hallway is completely dark when I come home, so unless I remember to look, which thankfully, thus far, I have, I could easily go sprawling face down in the hall. That would garner no sympathy from the boy, of course, who probably would not bestir himself to give me anything more than a sleepy Stink Eye.

. . .
I have been doing some knitting, finishing up or completely ripping out several projects. Tracfone had to send me a newer cell phone due to network changes. Unfortunately, the case I had for the older phone is too big for this one, and the headset doesn't fit the new phone. So, I knit a phone cozy and a little bag for the headset.

I got enough of this yarn (those of you with good memories will remember that I knit a cozy for my ham radio and a bag for its extra battery and car charger) to knit a bag for the ham radio's mag mount antenna, and I'll knit a bag for the various charger cords for the phone, PDA, and my 20 million candle power spotlight (MCPS).

(That sound you hear is my mother yet again rolling around in her crypt, moaning "Where did I go wroooong?!" because we, uhm, diverged on the path of what's important to us individually, and not just because she's dead and I'm not. I am much happier in a hardware store than a department store, among other things, but, I digress.)

Lest you think my 20 MCPS is an affectation, I've actually used it, once to charge my cell phone, and one to find a pill that managed to bounce the length of a teeny slot between two file cabinets, ending up against the black back panel of my desk return. My 21 LED flashlight didn't pick it out, but 10 of my 20 MCP did! ::happy dance::

No, seriously, it hadn't already occurred to you that I am weird? Lizards in Scarves? Eggs in Hats? Lizards period??? Okay, you had me worried there for a minute...

After finding a wonderful website that calculates crown decreases and other increase/decrease knitting things, I finally finished the hat I started for me niece almost 3 years ago:

I knit a couple of Checking On The Colonel hats designed by Kim of Woven~N~Spun, and with the leftover yarn, I did my first neat (as in not puckered and icky) stranded hat. Here, Karen very nicely put it on so I could take a photo of it when I visited her the other day:

The wavy green and white thing behind her is the feather-and-fan cotton throw I knit her a couple of years ago. Now that I have taught her to knit, she has to knit her own from here on out.

Last winter, I knit me some mock cable fingerless mitts. This winter, I knit a scarf to go with it. Here Mike models the scarf:

There is a very sweet, crafty young lady named Jessica who gave me a gift at a holiday potluck in December. I knit her a short spiral scarf, one that naturally spirals around, due to the way it is knit. Doesn't Mike look smart in it? ::snort::

I did finish a pair of socks for Socks for Soldiers, and started another pair out of the same yarn, Regia Stretch. Now, while I've always enjoyed knitting with Regia yarns, I really hated working with the Stretch. Last night, having knit past 8 inches on the feet of the second pair - that is, 22.5 inches on TWO socks, I gave up, something I rarely do.

I was so not happy with the uneven tension and how that made them lumpy and uneven, I frogged both socks and wound the yarn into balls. I will be rehoming them with someone who has knit with that yarn before, so they can make a pair of soldier socks with it. I hate giving up on them, after all that work (it takes 2 hours to knit one inch, longer to do the 2.75" heels), but if I wouldn't be happy wearing them for a few hours in my relatively comfy life, I sure as heck wouldn't inflict them on a soldier who may end up wearing them for weeks on end between changes.

The inflammation in my right hand is getting worse, and is exacerbated working with the size 0-2 needles I use to make socks, so I'm going to take a sock break, and finish some projects that are worked on larger needles. Like the tote bag made out of strung-together loops cut out of plastic grocery bags.

May this year be a better one for everyone...

Mike, May 2007

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