Friday, February 29, 2008

Use As Directed

Made the arduous trip to almost-Indianapolis yesterday to pick up the dwarf hotoe. I have dubbed her Amy, because her eyes remind me of Amy Winehouse's eye make up. ("Wanna make me go to rehab, I say No. No. No!") Sheila hates her. Amy's a real sweetie, though. And cute! Her mom was so sad to see her go. Damn Allergies!

Nancy NeverSwept requested a visual to help explain my helix socks. I don't know, does this help? Can you see where the pink yarn is as opposed to the green yarn? Click on picture to make big.

I've been busy in the studio and having fun! I know!! Weird, huh? I have two ginormous bags of angora mats, so I am experimenting with dyeing the mats and carding them into merino. As texture. Very Cool! Make lemonade with those lemons!

Here is the necessary baby bunny photo. It's the runt of the litter. So far, the kids stay mostly stay in the kitchen, only roaming a little bit - like here - into the living room. Four weeks old today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Please Memorize Your PIN

We have more of the Bunny Cuteness! Here they are, all seven babies and Sheila in the litter pan.

Then Sheila hopped away, leaving an orderly arc of fuzziness. (Would you pronounce that like bussiness?) And no, I did not place them by color - my bunnies have their own sense of order, thank you.

I am knitting a little bit every day on the shawl and have started another pair of socks. These will be use-up-all-those-little-bits socks, held together with a hard pink. By itself, it was not usable for me. I like pink - red pink and not a blue pink that looks so harsh. It is however, the perfect glue for this project of helix-spiral sockery.

And so what the fuck is that, you ask? It's using two or more colors simultaneously in a continuous spiral. (Think cromosones.) I cast on with a not pink and knit a couple of ribbing rows. Then I added in the pink directly across from where my main color was. I use four needles, so I knit two needles with one color and then two needles with the other color. None of that stripey-joggy thing. The pink stays the same, but the other color uses up the leftover bits. It is a tiny bit fiddley, but it is not hard.

The Sock Lady Spins makes these great Monster Socks with her leftovers using fair isle and they make mine look like a poor step-cousin. She lives in East of Nowhere, British Columbia in a fairly remote area. Check her out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Keep Away From Children

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics won't take an interest in you!” ~ Pericles (430 B.C.)

Get involved and STAY involved, you all. Not just this year! Every year and every election! This is your counry! We are special in history! It freaks me out that some people know the judges on American Idol better than who is running for president. For the Greatest Nation in the World.

Okay. I am old and I will calm down now. Sigh.

New Subject.

Not only did Sweetie have a two day weekend, (noteworthy in itself,) but because of the ice thing he had two and a half days off. Sweet!

Made the trip yesterday into almost-the-city, meaning New Albany, Indiana. Just this side of the Ohio River from Louisville. To the Home Repo Depot and we bought stick-on vinyl tiles for the bathroom floor. The Bathroom Saga is too long to deal with here. I don't have the energy to recount the sad story just now.

The actual reflooring may take a few months or maybe it will be finished next week, so stay tuned. We make progress by our own calendar.

Sweetie screwed around with the new camera yesterday (which must be why the friggin' batteries are dead today,) and he got a semi-good shot of the wild barn bunnies. The young'ns belong to Barbara Bobo and the late, lamented Black Bart. (Another Internal-Combustion-Engine sacrifice.) Since the snow and ice episodes, they have begun to count on me giving them bunny pellets at assorted locations - along with unfrozen water. Bobo is about half tame and some of her kids are becoming used to my presence. As long as I don't chase after them, and just stand and observe, they quickly become used to my presence.

I am particularly enchanted by the grey one. And there are two grey ones! One older and one from a subsequent litter. Poor Bobo seems to be pregnant and nursing a lot, as there are a total of five babies from her.

I am just now beginning to wonder what sort of thing I have unleashed upon this little village as there are about fifteen of the little guys now running loose around here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Have You enclosed Your Payment?

Again with the interesting weather. Freezing rain last night, then rain today.

The daytime temp was 35-ish, Fahrenheit, so the rain was no longer freezing, but there was ice caked on everything outside and it only Very. Slowly. Melted. I mean, every little blade of grass, every twig and every branch was encased this morning in 1/4 inch of ice. Tree branches dropped from the weight and the roof icicles were looking long, pointy, and murderous.

Inside the house, I am (alert the media!) working in the studio. I know. I know. How many times have you heard that before? But this time, really - I do have a show to get ready for and absolutely no product left to sell. Dammit. The show is in like seven weeks. Or a little less. Lots o' time. Hell, yeah.

I'm feeling well these days. My body feels good and my mood is ever so slightly elevated. I've been getting a few things done around the house.

Sweetie asked what I wanted for my birthday. A Maid! A cleaning Person! That's what I want and that's what I'm going to get, by the Great Barking Cheese! Dammit!

I don't know if it is the new medz for high blood pressure, or the seven baby bunnies running around underfoot, (be careful where you step,) or the greater amounts of sunlight, but for now, I am feeling better. Just as antisocial, don'tcha know, but better. I feel happy!

Here are a couple of the kids, three weeks old today. Cute, cute, cute! And Fuzzy!

Here is Milly, the other cat. You must forgive her; she was raised by rabbits.

We have been feeling a little spendy and therefore bought a new digital camera. Still fooling around with it and figuring out what all of those fucking icons mean. The viewing screen is three times the size of the old camera, (which is over 5 years old,) and that's a very good thing for our aging eyes.

Here's the
See how you fare.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stand Behind Line

Nature is so profligate. There is a great New Yorker magazine cover that shows an avatar of Spring; she is plump, rosy, happy, and white robed - with several children clambering over her - sitting on a park bench alongside a brittle, clad in black, and nervous woman clutching her briefcase.


Nature is so profligate. There is this need for excess. Millions of seeds mature with the hope that one or two will survive and grow. Some of them may survive to adulthood and in turn, have the opportunity to reproduce.

All of this to remind me of the uncertainty of bunny life. And life in general.

Wednesday is thriving, as is Floppy, his mom. Most afternoons, I can see three or four white baby bunnies in the front and/or back yard. There are two white ones that exhibit Lionhead features. Stubby and Dickie live on!

But I found the cute, plain brown baby dead this afternoon. I had seen him earlier today, lounging in the sun, apparently okay. When I got home from town errands, I found him dead, but not stiff, in the back yard enclosure. His little belly was squishy and watery, so I must assume that there was some intestinal problem.


But I have been "raising" bunnies for just long enough to accept that this sort of shit happens. All the time.

Lots of babies are made, so that a few can survive to reproduce. It is nothing new. Even the "cute" and "pretty" ones don't always make it. Bunnies are prey animals and are inherently vulnerable. I am slow to understand this, but I am getting it.

I had an email today from Helena Handbasket. A friend of hers had adopted a bunny, a dwarf hotot, and guess what? She is allergic! As I am the Mother Theresa of disenfranchised bunnies, I have been asked if maybe I would take in the orphan.

Ya win some, ya lose some.

For Private Use Only

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.
- Nora Ephron

Then there's the quote, from Lisa Simpson, that goes something like, Intelligence is inversely proportional to happiness.

And lastly, there's the scientific study which showed that the least competent people are the least aware of their incompetence.

I guess this means that I am sane, smart and cloaked in self-doubt.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Use only as directed

Nothin' up my sleeve.

Except one of Sheila's baby's.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Out of Town Mail

How many mice does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Two, if they are small enough.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Do Not Enter

Sick as the proverbial dog. I'm a real snot bucket. It's a cold, merely, but I am on my back and dying.

However. The weather has been interesting. Again. Maybe five inches of snow, total, and despite today's forty+ temps, there is still a lot of it on the ground. there was ice, too.

The nights are blue bright, from all the reflection. I like it. I can almost do the evening barn bunny chores with no flashlight.

Finished the Sweetie Socks. Finally. I mean, really. This pair contains enough stitches and yarn for two pair of my socks.

I am quite proud of them, though. In spite of my troubles with the pattern, I think they look great. Have now taken up the purple cashmere shawl again. Under advisement, as the cold makes it difficult to count.

Sheila's babies are two weeks old and are adventuring. Tomorrow, I will have to find some sort of confinement for them. Maybe. Well, yes.

We'll see.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stir Briskly

About four years ago, I was planning the opening of my bricks and mortar store called Arts & Artisans. What a great time that was! I had paid a half months rent on the space and I was busy making signs and bringing in equipment, getting a credit card machine and insurance, contacting artists, - etc.

And my friend Jeff was dying.

Here in Lovely Laconia, there are not many people with whom one can talk about Philosophy, the Buddha, and Great Ideas.

Jeff was one of those souls that happen now and again, that are not firmly planted in the world as we know it. He was a free spirit in the very best meaning of the phrase.

He loved Indie movies and his cat, Lucky. Also good coffee. He wanted to have a little expresso machine in my store. I wanted him to be a part of my enterprise, since he seemed to have such an interest.

Jeff lived a few houses down from me; I could see his house from the kitchen window. Everybody in the world seemed to know him and he was universally beloved. He had a brain tumor at age 30. There was surgery, chemo and stuff. I guess it recurred several years later, and there was more surgery and chemo. And then again. He kept his secrets well. Lots o' pain meds and herbal medicine were what kept him alive and in this cosmic plane.

He had pirate satellite TV, with all of the movie channels. I loved to visit him to watch movies and talk about religion and philosophy. And things in general.

It was the third week of February, 2004, that I saw him for the last time. His mom had picked him up for a trip to the hospital in Louisville. I was checking the mail box as they drove by and he weakly waved at me.

The next day he was dead, at forty years of age.

I miss him.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Skim Off Fat

Interesting weather here in Lovely LAconia. Are you familiar with the eastern curse - May you live in interesting times? It could just as well be - May you have interesting weather.

Yesterday, storms swept across the left middle states (Arkansas, Missouri) and kept going over the midwest. Almost fifty people dead. Thunderstorms, twisters, rain, hail, and wind wrecked havoc.

We be fine and shit. The sirens went off twice, and at the second wail I took shelter in the understairs closet for ten minutes. A piece of metal was torn off our barn and the burn barrel was knocked around. I've seen worse. But this morning, I looked out my kitchen window to the south, and saw what was left of my neighbor's equipment shed - less that a quarter of a mile away. The building had no doors, so it became an airfoil sometime around midnight. The high winds completely lifted it up off its foundation and then flung back down. Hard. Looks like kindling.

No one around here was hurt. Nor in Brandenburg, Kentucky, which is just over the Ohio River. Drove over there today to recycle (and to rubberneck, yes, I admit it.) Several signs, fences, and trees were down and power was spotty. Power poles were snapped in two or tilting at scary degree angles. Windows were shattered and roofs (rooves?) were missing or damaged. Brandenburg was pretty much leveled by a huge tornado outbreak back in 1974, so I bet the older folks were a little freaked.

Knitting News

I've been toiling away on Sweetie's socks. I'm using the Eesti Trail Hiking Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks book. (Yes, I am using a pattern!) (What can I say? Sweetie bought me the book.) After a frustrated evening of trying to figure out how to reconcile the chart for the fair isle pattern with the written instructions, I put down the socks and slowly walked away. The chart was a multiple of 22, but the written instructions said I should have 64 stitches on the needles. Not divisible by 22. I'm ashamed to say that it took me a while to figure that out.

The next day, I visited the errata page on Interweave's web site. Oh, yippee, there was a correction! I ripped back and began again. However. Yes. There is a however. The new and improved chart was a multiple of 6 and you know whut? 64 ain't divisible by 6, either. I'm ashamed to say that it took me a while to figure that out.

I emailed Interweave, and I was pleased with the quick response - but not by the response itself. "Check the errata page," was their reply.

I did!!

"Okay, I'll send this to the technical editor."

A few hours later, my face turned a little red. The technical editor explained everything and it was my bad. I had read the correction wrong. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had improvised and soldiered on using the 6 stitch chart repeat over 60 stitches (instead of the 16 stitch chart repeat I should have used over the 64 stitches.) Dammit.

On the plus side, my adaption looks great - it fits Sweetie's leg perfectly. And we all lived happily ever after. La dee doo dah day.

Bunny News

Sheila's babies have turned into fat little fuckers, except for the one that didn't. There are four brown ones and three black ones. I had to remake her nest, though, as the kits were getting lost amongst the sheer volume of material that Sheila has been collecting for 6 months. She used the usual hay and her own wool. Also, wads of Fuzzarelly Fibers that she found in my studio, along with bits of polyester batting and fiberfill, pieces of fabric and a couple balls of yarn. I stuffed a plastic shopping bag full of the overflow and still had plenty of soft stuff left to cushion the babies.

Backstory. Both Sheila and Heizen live freely in the house. House bunnies are not supposed to have free rein. They are supposed to be caged when I am gone, according to the "experts." Blah. Blah. Blah. Heizen the Hut stays entirely in the kitchen and living room. Sheila, on the other hand, has always roamed all over the downstairs. She is very good about using the litter box and not tearing up stuff. She hasn't learnt to climb stairs. Yet. What's not to love?

They are not overly DestructoBunnies™. Yes, they have chewed through their share of electrical cords. (Not so much anymore. They made me become a pro at splicing wires.) And Heizen in particular loves to swipe magazines from the coffee table to nibble on. And there is the occasional doily that gets et. All in all, though, they are good kids.

So. Sheila found a lower, unoccupied shelf in the pantry last year and began keeping house. Sweetie and I, being Sweetie and I, let her do her thang. What we will do once the babies begin exploring their surroundings is a good question. No answer available.

Floppy and Wednesday are now living in the backyard enclosure. (At least Floppy is. Wednesday is small enough to slip through the fence.) Sweetie was aghast that I turned them out when the weather was so bad. I can't keep every critter that we feed in the house. And they are doing just fine outside, thankyouverymuch.

A Bit Late. As Usual.

May peace break into your house.

May thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your pants become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline.

May laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face.

May your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had forget your home address!

In simple words -- may 2008 be the best year of your life, so far.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Store and Serve Cool

Okay. So, here I am listening to the Super Bowl play by play on the Sirius Satellite radio. I have only now, two or three minutes into the first quarter, realized that what I am hearing is Flemish! (No, not phlegmish!) Ack. Apparently, the Big Game is being satellite-cast in 12 languages.

So very cool! I'm catching "Play action Manning" and "First down." Otherwise, it is not quite understandable.

I am hoping for a Giants win, because, well, we all hate Tom Brady (the horn dog) and the Patriots here in the Cult of the Colts. I had hoped for a Manning and Brady match up, but who thought it would have been little bro Eli and not Peyton (the Pure)???

Added later: I think it is so cool that BROTHERS have won back to back Super Bowls!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Open Along Edge

Not much shakin'. Sort of cold here with a smattering of snow. Oldest Brother wrote from the Great White North that is Upper Indiana to say that schools were closed and snow was deep. HA-ha.

Actually, there is something shakin' because, a few days early, Sheila delivered eight bouncing babies! Healthy and with no parts chewed off. Four are black and four are not black. I'm not going to post pictures yet because you have all seen pink and black squirming, hairless, sightless kits. (However, I never, ever get tired of the babies.)

Little Wednesday, on the other hand, is growing apace. Huge, actually! Eleven ounces at just over three weeks. I think he is an angora, even.

So. Right now, there are twelve bunnies in the house. Oh, hell, we don't mind.

Oh, yeah! Sweetie's socks are progressing. More on them later.

Go here for a cheap shot at Paul McCartney. Did you know he is sixty-five fuckin' years old?