February 26, 2008

There CAN be instant gratification in knitting!

Get a load of these little numbers....SO FUN!!!
I've discovered a little project that I love for so many reasons. First of all, these things will probably only take a half an hour or so by the time I get the pattern down really well. That's as close to instant gratification that I've found in knitting thus far! Plus, they don't take a lot of yarn and are a great way to use up scraps. I also read that the cheaper acrylics scrub even better...so I don't necessarily have to use cotton. Win, win, win, right?
I'm not really sure if waking up earlier is making me more productive or not. I've been waking up 1-1 1/2 hours earlier than normal. I help David get his lunch and stuff together to be out the door by 6:30 so he can hit the gym before work. As of right now, I've been awake for almost 4 hours and I've gotten so much more done before 10:00 than I usually have done before 11YO gets home from school. But, I feel like I run out of 'oomph' that much sooner, too. I'm almost ready to turn my coffee pot off and start drinking my green tea...and that doesn't usually happen until noon. I also feel like taking a nap. That won't actually happen, but my productivity will be going downhill from here on out!
I've really been hooked on oatmeal lately. You know, the good old-fashoined Quaker Oats...not even the quick ones! I've been eating a bowl every morning and it's so yummy. I just hope that's not what's causing all this terrible GAS I've been having. TMI? You're welcome!
Does anyone know if oatmeal actually causes gas?
I'm ready to start the heel of my first sock. I'm skeeeeered. Why is this part so intimidating to me? I found a site that actually seems to have a decent explanation of how to turn the heel of a toe-up sock. I read it over and think I can go along with it. So, why am I still so intimidated? Here's what I have so far:

I love being able to try the sock on as I make it. I cannot imagine making a sock from the top-down. Toe-up is definitely the way to go for me!
Wildtomato has given me an awesome gift. They are the Knit Picks Options Harmony Wood set of knitting needles. They rock!!! They are so smooth and soft and pretty...fondling them regularly makes me very happy, indeed! I am working on a felted hat with them and I almost don't want to finish it. Then I would have to find something else to do with them. Of course, I could get a few more projects going with them, as this set comes with four cables and all sizes ranging from 4-11. I'm afriad of having too many balls in the air at once, though. I'm sure I will have more and more projects going as I become more skilled. For now, it's hats, scarves, and dish cloths.
Here are the needles in the hat I'm making:

Aren't they just freaking GORGEOUS??? And they FEEL even better than they LOOK!
Then there's that sock....I will work on the heel today. I need to take the time and follow the instructions I found. I need to hurry up and finish at least one sock. Wildtomato also brought me more sock yarn...

...and I cannot WAIT to see what these socks turn out like!
Must go now. My needles and I need to be alone for awhile....

February 18, 2008

And now, on this episode of 'As the Dog Runs'....

....Mingus comes face-to-face with his mortal enemy,


First of all, let me start by explaining Mingus a little better. If you've read Wildtomato's blog, Spindles and Spices, or any of my last couple of posts, you would know that Mingus smiles a lot, poses well for pictures, and he likes to run. But, I'm not sure if you know that Mingus does not make it a habit of barking. Or growling. Or doing much of anything besides smiling, running, and occasionally howling. As a matter of fact, I believe I remember hearing Wildtomato say that she had never actually heard Mingus growl. They had only heard him bark a couple of times, and it was more of a 'yelp' because he had gotten hurt or startled.

Then, on Saturday, we got to hear Mingus 'yelp.' David's brother was over with his daughter and it was a beautiful afternoon. David and his brother decided to toss a football across the yard. Apparently, Vespa likes football. Being task-oriented like she is, Vespa made it her 'job' to try to get the ball. As the ball flew back and forth between the brothers, Vespa would chase after it. She was never able to actually catch the ball, but that did not deter her from running back and forth, just happy to play along. Mingus also wanted to join in on the fun. Evidently, Vespa was not in the mood to share this particular activity with her doggy-brother. She bullied him over to the corner of the yard. She must have hurt him (or at least scared him) in the process. He let out a few yelps and cowered in the corner of the yard. He spent the duration of the 'game' standing under a tree watching longingly as Vespa chased the ball she would never catch. Vespa runs the show once again.

Yesterday was another beautiful day. Our niece was still here and the little boy from across the street came over to play. While 11YO was distracted in the house, 5YO and the neighbor boy thought they heard the ice cream man. They rushed out the gate without closing it. In the blink of an eye, Mingus had gotten out. Again. I rushed around to find some shoes and my sunglasses before heading outside to try to catch the dog. Before I can get out, my niece runs in to tell me that Mingus is attacking a horse. A horse?

Apparently, the timing was perfect so that a man on a horse happened to be walking past the house at the time of Mingus' escape. And we then discovered that Mingus does not like horses. Mingus was barking and circling that poor horse, the rider doing all he can to keep the horse from freaking out. And it seemed to be a young horse, too. I don't know much about horses, but the coat was a little fluffy-looking. And Mingus would not let the horse pass. Barking, circling, nipping at its legs...he was like a different dog. Just like when he's running, he did not recgonize his own name or any of his usual commands that he abides by. And I could not catch him.

David had to come out and grab ahold of the crazy dog. David grabbed him by the collar and Mingus immediately let out another 'yelp.' David grumbled as he led the dog out of the street and back home again.

Needless to say, I don't think that man and his horse will be walking past our house again anytime soon...

I'm still not sure what it was about the horse that had Mingus so freaked out. I can only assume he's never really seen a horse before, being a 'city dog' and all. Did he think the horse was a really large dog and just think it's wrong for a dog to be that big? Did he just smell too different and could that alone have freaked him out? I'm not sure we'll ever know the answer to that. What I do know now is that I think we can safely say that we've heard Mingus bark more than his owners ever have.

And they may never hear him bark that much again, so long as they avoid horses....

February 15, 2008

Mingus, sorry to break it to ya...

...but you can lie in the sun all day, everyday for weeks and you will never get anymore color than you have right now. Sure, Vespa will mock you. She may even chew on your throat a little...

But, in the end, you will still be the 'white dog.' You will always glare in the sun, just like my legs.

And that goes for your belly, too!

As a matter of fact....cover that thing, will ya? The glare is starting to give me a headache!

February 13, 2008

Long Live the One-Eyed Monster and Frumpy Hat!

One-Eyed Monster has seen the dark side and knows no fear...

If you are visiting here from Wildtomato's page, welcome! I apologize for the delay in posting, but life has a way of making my schedule for me sometimes! (So do these three kids!) As some of you may know, I have been entrusted with caring for the world famous canine models, Mingus and Vespa.

Even though my Hogan hasn't been gone very long, I had actually forgotten what it's like to have them around. First thing in the morning, as 11YO is hopping into the shower, I am awakened by a 'thump thump-thumping' of Vespa's tail wagging and hitting my bedroom wall. My room is small, so when she stands next to my bed there isn't really any other place for her tail to go. And she must wag it, because it's morning and everyone should be getting up now! I am no longer used to being greeted when coming from running errands, or even just coming back from the restroom, by critters that hop about with excitement that I am back. It doesn't matter how long I was gone, they are just excited that I am back.

I was able to complete my second knitted hat, which I have decided to call 'Frumpy Hat.' When I was barely able to knit a stitch, I bought this chenille yarn. I loved the colors and did not know much about natural fibers vs. acrylic or anything like that. Wildtomato helped me get started making socks when she was here to drop the dogs off. I'm really excited about it, but I keep losing and adding stiches where I'm not meaning to. So, I have torn the sock apart many, many times and started over again. I just needed to work on something simple to boost my confidence again. Since knitting in the round is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it, I figured I could whip a hat out in no time.

I present to you: FRUMPY HAT

As you can see, Mingus isn't smiling like he does for wildtomato. Hmmm....what could it be? Is he just trying to look more serious and sophisticated to properly model said hat? Or...could it just be the fact that it's not even 7:00 a.m. and poor Mingus hadn't even had his morning latte yet? I'm guessing it's the latter, because I'm remembering a post that Wildtomato did where she proved her dogs were not 'morning people.'
Yeah, that must be the reason. Then again, 5YO didn't exactly help matters much. She believed he needed 'ears'.....

Ears before coffee? NEVER! But isn't this great color for him? See how well this hat brings out his eyes?
But don't fret, 5YO wasn't above getting in on the furmiliation herself!

Lucky for her, this child is naturally caffeinated!!!
And don't think Vespa got off so easy...

She's actually watching Soccer, which explains her intense look here.
11YO was getting ready for school, but wasn't about to be left out of the spotlight.

I modeled Frumpy Hat the best way I knew how...

...by leaving my FACE out of it! Can you blame me? I hadn't exactly had my fill of coffee (or concealer!) by this point!

Frumpy Hat turned out to be a bit bigger than I had planned, so Soccer could nap inside it if he wanted to.
Then, Soccer realized that he could use Frumpy Hat as a disguise.

Cat? I see no kitty cat here! Just us turtles...

DOH! My cover's been blown! She's spotted me!!!
Tune in again to see more furmiliation and stories of our canine houseguests....

February 5, 2008

Strippers, General Anesthesia, and Knitting in the Round

5YO waiting to be wheeled out and holding onto THE MOST EXPENSIVE LITTLE PLASTIC BEAD IN THE WORLD

Hmmm....let's see. Where to begin? This past weekend has been particularly adventurous for us. We woke up at 4:30 and had 5YO at the hospital by 6:00 a.m. yesterday morning. We had to be there then so she could go 'under the tweezers' by 7:30. She was excellent. She complied with everything that was asked of her and didn't whine or do anything I might have expected her to do. She is, after all, five years old! She was the perfect patient.
They took her back a few minutes before 7:30 to get her back to the O.R. By 7:32, the doctor was walking into the waiting room with the bead in a little plastic bottle. She was awake five or ten minutes later. They did the usual monitoring of her vital signs for and hour or so before I was able to get her back into her clothes. They put her in the wheelchair and wheeled her down to the parking lot. My once painfully shy child was courteous and compliant in every way.
I'm still not quite sure how we ended up with this child and where the other one went, but I'm not giving her back!
Since she was only under for a few minutes, she felt great pretty quickly and acted pretty normal for most of the day. We tried to keep her calm but it was evident that the little anesthesia she received had worn off by yesterday afternoon.
AND IT WAS A BEAD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!! Even with decent health insurance, the little bills that will sneak in over the next year or so will add up to a pretty penny. I'm just thankful they are sporadic and not too intimidating on their own. I'm mostly grateful that she's fine and the UFO is no longer 'Unidentified!' And we will keep the bead FOREVER.
And now, about the strippers I mentioned: I saw some, I'll tell you that much! Yes, they were boys. No, I didn't let them 'grope' me. (Not that I would judge anyone who DOES like to be groped by strippers, just that I like to maintain my bubble of 'personal body space' between me and COMPLETE STRANGERS. Call me crazy....)
To be honest, I was a little put-off by this one stripper that had the microphone for awhile. Every other word was "F#&*" and he concluded every sentence with " ...and SH&#." I seriously get the feeling that this isn't just a job he's doing to put himself through medical school. I just don't get it. When a woman strips, it's considered degrading to women. (Not by all, I know...I'm just speaking for what I perceive to be the general opinion.) Then, when men strip...it seems that women get degraded then too! The men take every opportunity to touch and grope the women who are waving their 'ones' in the air, as if the women should be grateful that someone will touch them at all. I think the men were getting more out of this than we were...
"I think I'm gay" was the statement from another person I was sitting with. I guess they just weren't 'doing it' for her, either. I mean, it's fun to see them dance. It's nice to be able to appreciate the amount of time and discipline it takes to make a body like theirs. When the one guy came out in military garb and started doing one-armed push-ups......
(Is it just me, or is it getting warm in here?)
Anywhoooooo...I guess it's safe to say that I can totally appreciate the male form. I am not so entertained, however, by watching lady after lady getting lap dances on the stage. I don't really get my kicks watching women get groped by men that I can only assume are complete strangers to them. It's sort of a turn-off, I guess. Yeah, yeah...call me a prude! Go ahead. You know you want to..
In order to ensure that those men would stay as far away from me as possible, I developed a certain 'stance,' if you will. My legs were crossed, my arms were resting in my lap, and I was either laughing, glaring, or rolling my eyes the entire show. I can only assume those guys watched me leave the room and were all thinking (or saying) "WHAT A BITCH!!!"
Believe it or not, I still had a great time! It was nice to get out of the house, some of the stuff the men did was very impressive (even for a prude like me!) and the food was AWESOME!!! The buffet was part of the show and it included salmon, shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, and all sorts of different fancy cheeses and fruits and things. And the desserts.....HOLY COW!!! The creme puffs were as big as my head (not really, but they were BIG!) and every item was created in the most beautiful and perfect way that the whole dessert looked like it was a picture in a magazine or something. Real, edible food is not normally that pretty! I'll admit, 'Little Miss I-Don't-Eat-Sugar-or-Flour' broke her own rules that night. But, just a little. I had a few bites of the sweet stuff....but who wouldn't? My body didn't go into shock or anything and I think I behaved VERY WELL consdering all that was before me. I even had a Midori Sour and I would do it again!
Anyhow, I had very little sleep the night before last. I passed out cold at 10:00 last night and slept for eight solid hours, I might add. Aside from our early morning and stopping by the store to pick up a prescription and a couple of movies and snacks for the 'patient,' I didn't get much done yesterday. My house looks like a tornado blew through it and I'm a bit behind on the laundry. My mom stayed here for quite awhile after we got back and we got a chance to sit down, drink some tea, and KNIT. I learned how to make a really cute dishcloth with a heart in the middle of it. See???

Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth w/heart
This is the first thing I've purled and I'm very proud. Then, I learned how to knit in the round!!! I'm currently working on a hat. I found a pattern that looked really easy and I'm just knitting my little heart out every chance I get. Which reminds me...I need to hurry up and finish all my online stuff so I can get this house straightened up and knit some more. I'd LOVE to finish this hat tonight....but we'll see!

February 2, 2008

UFO Sightings

...or, at least, trying to spot them! This is their doctor trying to get that thing out of her ear.
She couldn't get it out.
She sent us to an ear, nose and throat doctor.
He couldn't get it out, either!
So, we spent a total of four hours in two different doctor's offices and my daughter still has a UFO (Unidentified Foreign Object) in her ear. We now have to take her to the hospital at 6:00 on Monday morning so they can put her under GENERAL ANESTHESIA to pull the thing out of her ear.
So, she goes under the tweezers bright and early Monday morning. I can only hope that if she did do this on purpose that she'll have learned her lesson the first time!
I have a more descriptive version of this story on my other blog....