Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gettin' Things Done

I sometimes have to trick myself into doing what needs doing. For instance, I NEVER plan on cleaning out my fridge. The times it gets cleaned (and yes, I do clean it on occasion) is when I start looking for something in there and can't find it. By the time I've spent 30 minutes digging through umpteen butter bowls with magic marker scribbled words on them, words like "carrots", "mushroom soup", or "dog chicken" (don't ask) I start hurling things out of there faster than my dog can inhale her chicken.
Two hours later, my fridge is sparkling. The shelves are washed clean, the sticky residue has been wiped from all the jam jars, the unidentified blobs with green fur have been tossed, and decomposing veggies have been relegated to the compost bucket. The drawers have been washed, dried, and put back in their places. I can stand back proudly and announce, in the voice of Zelda Rubenstein aka Tangina Barrows, "this fridge is clean".
If I KNEW I was going to do it, I'd find some excuse to get out of it, but I trick myself into doing it. I am so clever that way.
What, you might ask, does that have to do with pictures of sock yarn? Absolutely nothing. I went for a snack while the pictures were loading, and told myself "you really need to clean out the fridge".
I love this yarn. I think I already mentioned it in a previous blog, but it bears repeating. It is so soft, just like buttuh! The colors are so pretty and springy...like spring, the season, not bouncy springy. I think I may have to trick myself into finishing these socks, though. I have too many projects going at once, and nothing finished to show.
This was an error in judgement. It's my Amanda's Squatty Sidekick, or rather, not so squatty; I cast on extra stitches to make the base a little larger than the one in the pattern. I knit it with some wool yarn I picked up for a song in a thrift store in Little Rock (received a standing ovation-no, not really). It was really old. The label was yellowed and crinkly. It had probably been sitting in some little granny's knitting basket since the '60's.
I thought there was enough of the yarn to knit this bag. I was wrong. I could kick myself. I still have the strap and the flap left to knit, and no more wool. I'll have to either knit the straps and flap with a contrasting yarn, or rip back to the base and re-knit it, alternating stripes of the green wool with stripes of a contrasting color, so the original green will go farther. I'm not really of a mind to go to that much trouble, though. As you've likely determined by the fridge story, I am somewhat lazy.
I saw the furry novelty yarn at Big Lots, and noticed it was the exact same shade of green as the wool, so I bought it to add a little pizazz to the top of the bag. It was really cheap. It doesn't help with my shortage of yarn, though. What to do, what to do?

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Pepper Saga Update:

Pepper's still with us, and it's looking likely he'll stay that way. I bet you all knew that, though.

Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

~Psalm 37:4 NKJV

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pepper Saga-Part Deux

It's still raining here in northeast Texas, which means all photos must be taken inside. This is Pepper, looking a little shy. He's actually a beautiful dog when clipped. His former owner, my neighbor L, insisted on paying for a trip to the groomer and vet as parting gifts for Pepper. We went to the vet last week and got his shots updated, and new flea and heartworm preventative meds. We're waiting for warmer weather to arrive and stay before getting his curls shorn.
We took Leyna along for the ride. She was happy as a lark to be going on an outing. That dog's just like Mr. Studley, she loves to GO. She ran over to the lawn area where all the dogs do their 'bizness' before entering the vet. She marked the territory as hers, then happily trotted back over to us. As we opened the door for her to enter, she suddenly realized where she was. She knew this place. She'd been here before. This is the place where the mean people jabbed a needle in her hiney, and she was having no more of that! We literally had to drag her inside with all four feet sliding across the floor, as she refused to take a single step forward. Yeah, she just loves going to the vet. Not.
Pepper really does have the sweetest eyes I think I've ever seen on a dog. These pictures don't do him justice.
One of my blogging buddies, Joansie, at Knitting By The Ocean, unwittingly gave me an idea of how to pawn Pepper off get Pepper a really great new home and family. She sent me a link to Pioneer Woman's blog post yesterday. Now, if you've read PW's blog, you know she's a real sucker for dogs. All shapes and sizes, the woman does love dogs. I love them, too, but from all appearances, PW can better afford taking on a new dog than I. For the record, Joansie had no idea of the scheme I'd hatch when she sent me that link.
So, after reading PW's blog post yesterday, it occurred to me that PW would probably love Pepper. All I need to do is drive to northern Oklahoma, find PW's ranch, drop Pepper off at the end of the drive, and scoot him toward her house. Don't worry, I'll stay parked nearby until I know he's been discovered.

PW will take one look at that face and invite him right in to nap on her couch. I'm just sure of it! She might even feed him some of Charlie's food with bacon grease stirred in it.

Now, all I need are the directions to Pioneer Woman's ranch. Anyone?

PW, I wuv you!

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We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
~Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Queen Wilhelmina State Park, AR. Fall '08 camping trip
It has rained all day long. I didn't mind it, though. We've had a relatively dry winter, no snow, and not a lot of rain. Today was one of those days it was pleasant to be inside. Life seemed to take a slower pace. It felt like a Sunday afternoon. Isn't it funny how different days have a different feel to them? I finished up my Hobo purse. I'm determined to take a pre-felted picture of it, but clearly the weather didn't permit. I can be patient, though.
It seems we have a new dog. I'm not terribly thrilled about it. We had many dogs for many years, and determined when we got Leyna that we'd never have more than one dog at a time again. Ever. Never ever. Sigh...never say never, and definitely not, never ever.
About a year ago, I volunteered to walk a neighbor's dog. Though I'd waved at her on the street in passing, I didn't know her. I began noticing a strange person walking her dog. Out of curiosity, I approached the stranger. It turned out she was a good friend of my neighbor, and informed me that my neighbor had become very ill, spending nearly two months in the hospital. She was back home, but destined to be an invalid due to a chronic lung condition which had worsened. Though she was able to live alone, she was no longer able to walk her dog. She was on oxygen 24/7, and only able to be up and about for a short bit before she'd lose her breath and begin coughing uncontrollably.
My neighbor, L, and I became friends over the past year. She's a very intelligent woman. She had a great job as a college library director, prior to being forced (by her health) to retire. A few months ago, her health became even worse. She began needing a lot more help. Mr. Studley and I pretty much took over the care of Pepper. We knew she was in no condition to have a dog any longer, and yet we knew that dog was her sole companion.
I encouraged her to see her doctor again, and I imagine her two good friends were doing the same. I think she put it off so long as she likely suspected the outcome-confinement in a care facility. She did finally break down and go two weeks ago. The doctor sent her straight to the hospital, as her oxygen level was dangerously low. It was determined rather quickly that she cannot live alone and manage her condition. I feel so sorry for her. She has a beautiful home filled with lovely things., which she may never even see again. Mr. Studley and I couldn't bear the idea of Pepper going to the pound, and L's friends were unable to take him, so we brought him home.
Pepper's a sweet dog, and he and Leyna play well together. I just didn't want another dog. Plus, he's long haired, which means he'll require regular grooming (an expenditure we really can't afford). He has skin allergies in the summer, requiring vet and allergy medicine bills (another expense we can't afford). He's just the sweetest thing, though. He wants nothing more than to sit in my lap. He looks up at me with those huge, sad eyes and melts my heart. Still, I don't want another dog. I have prayed about it. I asked the Lord to send us a good family who would love and spoil him, 'cause I don't want another dog!
I'd say, that's the long and short of how we got another dog, though there was nothing short in my telling of it. There never is. I've said it before, brevity is not my strong point.

If you're hungry in the market for some great soaps, click on the above link. Seriously, her soaps look good enough to eat....but don't; you wouldn't want to end up blind like Ralphie. ralphie
In celebration of opening her new web store, along with reaching her 100th blog post, this very generous lady is having a contest in which she'll award a lucky winner with $30 worth of products from her store (shipped free!). If you'd like a chance to win, go to her blog and read about it here.

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A [consistently] righteous man regards the life of his beast, but even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
~Proverbs 12:10 Amplified Bible

Monday, March 9, 2009

This 'n' That

I've been doing some knitting, but I'll have to wait until my son gets back from a business trip before I can take pictures. He had the audacity to take his camera with him to New Orleans. Harumph!
I don't think a post is complete without pictures, so I'm resurrecting some old ones. Since we didn't get our annual ONE snowfall per year this winter, the above picture is obviously an old one. I either took it last year or the year before. I love the way Redbirds (Cardinals) stand out so brightly against the white of snow. I don't know if more of them come around when it snows, or if they're just more obvious then.

I haven't bored you with a pic of my four legged baby in awhile. This is Leyna, sleeping with her head rested on the crook of Mr. Studley's arm. Daddy, to her. This was last fall when we were camping in Arkansas. He was actually eating his dinner. She was so worn out from our hiking excursion that day that she didn't even bother begging for people food.

This is an earflap hat, fingerless mitts, and scarf set I knit for my niece a couple of years ago. Now I prefer to use the Maine Morning Mitts pattern for fingerless mitts.
Right now I'm working on a felted Hobo bag, by Pipp's Purses. I love this pattern! I've shared before how much I struggle with interpreting patterns. I am such a visual learner. Jennifer, the pattern writer, writes her patterns in such a way that even I can easily understand them. I'm on the very last step of the pattern. All I have left is a few inches of the i-cord handle, then kitchener stitching the two sides of the handle together, and that baby is ready to felt! I decided to wait to felt it until after my son returns with his camera, as I want to photograph it in it's prefelted stage. It's huge!
I'm also knitting a pair of sport socks for myself. I am loving the yarn. I bought it at JoAnn's Fabrics when I was in Ft. Worth a few weeks ago. It's the sock weight yarn from the Deborah Norville Serenity line, by Premier Yarns. It's a combination of superwash Merino wool, nylon and soft bamboo. Who knew Deborah Norville had a yarn line? The colors are so very pretty, and it's incredibly soft. I'm really enjoying knitting with it. The next test will be to see how it holds up to wear.
I'm torn between finishing my socks and starting another Hobo bag. I picked up several skeins of Lion Wool at our NEW HOBBY LOBBY recently. I live in a small town. We don't have an LYS (non-knitter readers, that's knitterese for Local Yarn Shop), so getting a Hobby Lobby was a really big deal for us. Anyway, the Lion Wool was marked on clearance for $1.99 per skein. That's $3 off their regular price per skein. I grabbed several skeins, as I'm planning on making felted handbags for Christmas gifts next year. I've now got enough yarn to do me for awhile, so I have no excuse for going back to Hobby Lobby anytime soon. Right? Rooooiiiiggghht. ;-)

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But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.

~I Peter 3:15 Amplified Bible

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Isn't it funny how your perception of birthdays changes when you become a parent? As children, we are offten rather narcissistic about our birthdays. We are made to feel as if the world revolves around us. It can be a little dismaying when we enter the real world and find out it doesn't.
I made over both my children on their birthdays, just as my folks did with me. For me, my children's birthdays are a time of poignant reflection. Today, my baby turned twenty-five. She is one quarter of a century old. Though twenty-five years have gone by, I can remember her birth, and the events leading up to it, as if it happened yesterday. I can barely remember the names of people I knew or worked with back then, but the memory of the day I was blessed with my beautiful baby girl is of utmost clarity.
One part of her birth day, I don't remember, as I was off sleeping off the trauma of childbirth. I've heard it told many times by my mom, though. The entire family was in the waiting room. My late husband was Italian. If you know Italians (or are one), you'll know they tend to be very close knit as a family. John was one of five siblings. His folks and siblings (and some of their spouses) were all in the waiting room, along with my mom and dad, my then 8 year old son, and my 11 year old nephew. I'm sure the waiting room was packed.
John was in the delivery room with me. After Nikki was born and had been cleaned up, and all the necessary data taken, John was pointed to a rocker in a nearby room to sit and bond with his new baby. According to my mom, it was two hours after the birth before he let the rest of the family know she'd been born. He sat in that room rocking her, holding her close. Yes, my mom has been known to exaggerate a tad, and I figure she was then, though to this day, she claims it to be true. The rest of them don't remember. ;-Þ
The bottom line is, he did stay in there with her for a long period of time. I often thought after his death that it was as if he had some uncanny sense that he needed to make the most of every minute with her.
Another memory of that day is shared by my son every year on his sister's birthday. He still remembers his Pappa telling him and his cousin to turn off the tv so they could go to the hospital, as he was about to get a baby sister. He resented not getting to watch the rest of that Three Stooges episode!
One last memory was about my son. I've shared it with my husband now, and he still cracks up everytime it's brought up, since he knows my son's personality so well. It was the day we came home from the hospital. It had been a long and grueling day, as people came out of the woodwork to come see our new baby. We were tired and ready for bed, but Nikki commenced to crying. I'd nursed her, changed her, and rocked her to no avail. I was about to the point of joining her and having a good crying jag myself. My son, also John, walked up to the crying baby, patted her little face, and said in the softest, sweetest little singsong voice, "now, shut up". It was priceless! He still tells her that today, when she's chattering a mile a minute, though not quite so sweetly as he did that day.
Happy 25th birthday, my sweet little Nikki!
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Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.
~Psalm 127:3 The Message