Done!

Finished the “project” and just handed it over to Tim across the street as we went out the door to go fix our youngest’s child’s bicycle tire. She evidently rode it to work flat. Turned out there was nothing wrong with the inner tube even though the hubby spent a good 45 minutes taking the whole wheel apart to check for leaks. He pumped it back up while I sat in the cafe where she works and knitted. They serve only breakfast on the weekend so we had Brunch and then he went out to fix the tire. I got quite a few rows done on the second sweater I’m making for him. This one is the same kind of wool, a coffee brown tweed, same yarn company (Knit Picks). I’ve also got all that other yarn to deal with as well. Not to mention the alpaca/silk/merino on my spinning wheel. Ugh! I’ve got too much to do and it’s getting overwhelming.

Here’s what I thought I’d do. I’ve got a book of prayer shawl patterns and thought I’d do a couple different ones in this yarn I was given, then give them away. It might take the rest of the year but that’s the plan…so far. Maybe practice a few crochet stitches since that seems to go faster than the knitting but the prayer shawls are all knit so…we’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a peach on one set of needles and started a pink on another set. If I ignore the spinning wheel for a month or two (till Sept.) I might get two of these done.

My hubby just finished reading his first Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum novel and laughed all the way through. I usually read the highlights to him so even though it’s the 21st in a series he’s pretty conversant with the characters. Anyone who can write funny is pretty good because trying to be funny, consistently, takes real talent and this last one was book 21 in the series. She’s got other books that are not a series, another series besides this one, and started a new series writing with the guy who wrote for the TV series, Monk which we’ve watched. Impressive. All of them are funny romances which I prefer to hot and heavy. I’m too old to enjoy those really explicit ones. I know how it works so you don’t have to give me details. PUL-EZE.

It’s warming up today. But cooling off the next couple of days and maybe rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. Typical June in the North-wet.  But the lawn knows it’s summer and despite the rain it’s already turning brown. It’s the rocks. the yard is full of rocks, round river rocks that push up through the soil in the winter and lay just under the roots. The sun comes out, they get hot and burns the roots so the grass dies. That and the dirt has a lot of sandy clay in it and it bakes hard like cement.  We’d dig a garden but we’d need a major league, industrial strength plow to even make a dent in it and then we’d have to be wary of the rocks. We tried this once before digging a flower bed around the edge of the yard and dug up a whole pile of river rocks including one melon size one we labeled the mother of the others. And that was just digging six feet, a foot wide, along the fence. I’d love to know the geology of this area of the city. I mean round, smooth, river rocks? How the heck did they get in our backyard? We living on ancient riverbed? I’ve tried to find out but the house was put here in 1927 and there’s nothing about the area that I can find without going to the museum. I don’t think about it often enough to remember to do the research and it’s not like I don’t already have enough to do, ya know. (eye roll)

Bugs

Flying ants on the back porch coming in under the back door. Tiny little sugar ants getting into the chocolate cake before it’s cooled, hauling off crumbs to enjoy their own dessert. A spider in the bathtub when I went to bed, the porcelain walls too slippery to climb out so I washed him down the drain. Bugs. You’d think with all the rain they were trying to keep their feet dry by entering our domain. Pesky creatures. I suppose it’s a good thing we don’t live where there are taratulas and cane spiders, and we don’t have cockroaches or silver fish. That’s what the spiders deal with eating the eggs and babies of even worse pests, so if they stay in the basement and don’t come upstairs they can keep the walls and woodwork free of those pests.

See, I’m not complaining. After spraying the linoleum on the back porch till it was really ucky to walk on barefoot (I’m invariably barefoot even in winter) the flying ants departed or those who’d tried to escape and took a wrong turn, figured it out and don’t try to enter our house. The sugar ants got the message and besides the hubby ate most of the cake (and gained a couple pounds in the process) so it’s gone. The spiders show up periodically and I’ve got the cobwebs to prove it, the sun comes out and they show up draped from jar to jar on the window sill, laced in the corners of the window [sigh]. It’s an old house (c. 1927) and they were here first I dare say. I mean it’s not like I see them all over the place, just their ‘footprints’ in the dust. And boy do I have dust!

I’ve been thinking. I watched this video on Netflix about Living Tiny (I think that was the name of it) and although I really don’t think I could ever go that that small a living space (190 sq ft), I do think we’ve got way too much stuff and it’s time to clear the decks as it were and whittle what we do have, down to perhaps a more reasonable level. I think everyone should clean things out about every five years because things accumulate. Things get tossed in drawers, and in cupboards, you close them up and forget about them. I figure if you forgot you had it then you don’t need it. Obviously.  Clutter. And it’s important to figure out what’s important, necessary, even if you only use it once a year, and discard the rest. If you’re going to pass it on to your kids or grandkids, then pass it on. Let the kids keep track of their own stuff! (unless you’re still using it that is). I suppose for some that’s a bit drastic but then again, maybe not. Maybe we’re all a bit caught up in the whole greedy I-need-my-stuff thing and forget there’s only so much we can do in a day and the rest sits there unused and dormant and when we die, none of it will matter anymore and we certainly can’t take it with us. Sooooo, why not get it all down to a manageable level and feel a bit less pressured to do something with it or move to a bigger place with more cupboards.

My great grandmother lived in a sod house on the Oklahoma panhandle. With five kids no less. She had to cart her water in from a town on the border, two huge barrels of water, she had to catch the rain in a barrel when it rained and she had dirt and grass for a ceiling. I don’t know how long she lived like that. When my grandmother was nine months old they lived in a logging camp and she cooked while taking care of her five kids. Her husband drove a cart of supplies back and forth and I dare say they all lived in whatever cabin was provided by the logging company. I just think we all have too much stuff, could live a lot more simply and to be honest I can’t bug anyone else about their stuff till I do something about mine but I still think it’s a good idea. Let’s see if I manage to do something about mine. I’ll keep you posted.

As you can see in the craft room and living room I’ve got stuff everywhere. And believe me, I’ve whittle it down but since these pictures were taken three years ago it’s gotten much worse. Mom’s things and then Helen’s things, all that yarn…what a mess. I need to clean again. DEEP CLEAN!  I think I’ll take a couple BEFORE pics so when I’m done I can compare how far I got. A little encouragement. You know, looking around behind myself here in the living room I think its time to move things around again. My hubby hates it when I do this. He’s always afraid he’ll forget where I put things and trip. I’m afraid I’ll forget and even when I do remember I trip anyway. LOL

It's worse now but this is what it looked like 2 years ago

It’s worse now but this is what it looked like 2 years ago

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More yarn [sigh]

This time it was me who dealt with more bags of yarn. Tim came over, knocked, and with my ears I wasn’t sure if it was a woodpecker on the drain pipe or someone at the door. My ears, ya know, are still a bit unreliable. Anyway, he was almost off the porch when I finally got up to see. Three more bags of yarn and a project. That’s what I need, another project. But this one is…different.

Helen, Tim’s deceased wife, started what he said she was calling a lap rug. He held it up and with a smirk said she must’ve gotten carried away because the thing is nearly big enough to be called a blanket. And its unfinished. Half a skein is attached on the one end and he asked me if I’d finish it. Could I say no? He’s nice man and I still feel a bit guilty about not even noticing she was gone.

I haven’t crochet since college and believe me that was some time ago.

Ahem, friends and neighbors, I have a project, another project, to work on. At least Tim gave me a couple months to finish it. I think I can get it done sooner but I have to do a few experimental squares till I get the hang of it. Fortunately I have a few crochet hooks at my disposal in various sizes. (And you don’t crochet?) Hey, crochet hooks are great for repairing sweaters and finishing off those ends when you get done knitting. Some belonged to my mother and came with her yarn (which I have not yet sorted.) What’s funny is, all the crocheting Helen did and I found one crochet hook among all this yarn. Tim did hand me what amounted to a bucket of knitting needles but to be honest I’m not really interested in mis-matched plastic knitting needles. This is stuff she bought at garage sales and flea markets.

So I bagged up what I would not use to take to Goodwill, and set aside what I would use and put the huge afghan on the sofa where I could begin working on it AFTER I do a few practice stitches. Youtube is great for demos and I depend on them quite often when I run into a snag or can’t figure out what the directions are describing. I like Youtube.

Tim bent my ear for quite half an hour or more talking about his various aliments and plans for his future. He said he’d pay me for finishing off Helen’s afghan and I’m thinking one of his paintings might be a good exchange. According to the hubby he’s pretty good. Nothing large. I don’t have a lot of wall space.

My Happy Dance

I’m done! I did it. Here’s the finished product. Nice, huh? I am so pleased it came out well and fits! He’s so tall and thin with long arms and finding a pattern he likes (picky, picky, picky) is a challenge. The color is a challenge too because he likes colors like brown, tan and gray and he’s a pale blonde and needs color. The gray had to be dark and plain because of the pattern but it came out perfect and it’s cool enough this morning he gets to wear it. The yarn was from Knitpicks.com, Andean wool, and very soft. Soft enough to wear against the skin without itch. They’ve got nice stuff and reasonable prices. Look them up if you enjoy this kind of thing. But it did come out well and took nearly a year to complete but at last…it’s done. Yay!!!  One more to go.

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Nearly done! I’m so thrilled!

I just have to sew up the sides and down the arms and the sweater will be done!!! Yay! I’m feeling so accomplished these days. I’ll have to post a picture of the finished product. Just got an email from my eldest grandchild. She graduates from grade school into what Bolivians term High school which for us would be middle school. She’s got a graduation dress her mom made and new sparkly silver shoes and I gather a new hair do. I told her to get a picture of her all dressed up and send it. She said it all looked fantastic. My oldest daughter has become quite the seamstress and dress designer. I will be interested to see how far she takes it. She’s having fun and it stimulates the creative juices and that’s what’s most important to all of us. She was making a steampunk read plaid skirt when we left Bolivia and I’ll have to get her to put it on and model it for me when she gets a chance.

Finally! I’m going walking today. Going to get back to doing that and maybe, with all this time on our hands, I can get a bit more aggressive and do some hiking. Maybe. We’ll see. My walking shoes are not hiking shoes and Oh, darn, I might have to go shoe shopping again [sigh]. Ah, well, we do what we must do. I don’t specifically like the shopping part but a new pair of shoes is always a plus. Not that I don’t have several pair already but my feet are so hard to please. They’re too flexible, too skinny, and I’ve very little padding on the bottom. I’ve had surgery on them, bolts in the joint of the big toe and with arthritis in the joints I’m hard to please. Getting old and falling apart in increments.

Next step when I get the sweater completed is the challenge of loom bead weaving. I’m so looking forward to that. Use up some of my supplies. And then on the third week in June is Black Sheep fiber show in Eugene which, despite the fact I do NOT need anything else to start, I might go just to see…if there’s anything…I really shouldn’t…but you never know…ah, who’m I kidding! If I see something that I can’t resist I’ll get it. Last time it was the hubby who drug me aside to buy something and if you don’t thing that didn’t shock me…spending money is not his forte. Course these days we’re not eating out as much, he’s not using up as much gas driving back and forth to Sherwood, and I dare say the car insurance went down too. So it might not be that much of a big deal if I find, say a nice bit of roving in Blue-face Leistershire or some more Cormo, or even some Alpaca. Not that I don’t have a lot of stuff already in all of those fibers but ya never know. Hey, my stash is small compared to my friend who got me started in this. Even my beading stuff is 1/3rd what hers is, not that that’s an excuse of something but I don’t feel that guilty about getting more. I do have to get back to spinning again and with this knitting mostly caught up I can. Olive wood spindle and Merino Top with lace shawl in acrylic

Trouble with a capitol T

I am in so much trouble. I’ve started a new craft. A brand new craft. That is so bad of me let me tell you!  Like I needed something else to get tangled up in, right? No, now listen, I needed this, I did. For one, it’s to use up craft stuff from another craft I started but didn’t go very far with it. I’ve got supplies for this new craft, up the yin yang. Beads, beading, loom beading. I was knitting with beads and tatting yarn, or thread, and I’ve got lots of left-over beads so when I saw this loom thing and how easy it was to do and how cheap the loom was ($8) I decided what could be easier.

Yeah, right.

[sigh]

I am in so much trouble!

I say that with tongue in cheek because I can’t wait to get started but I’m disciplining myself and trying to at least get this last sleeve knitted before I start. In the meantime I’ve been Youtubing instructions and how-tos so when I do start I won’t make a lot of boneheaded mistakes. I’ve got lots of beads of all sizes and shapes, lots of seed beads so I’m not short of supplies but I tell you, getting started on any new thing is sort of panicky time for me. Why I don’t know but when painting, putting that first dab of paint on the canvas, that first stroke of the pencil on art paper, that first row of cast-on when knitting, that first twist of the fiber when making yarn…the beginning is always the hardest part. And every beader uses a different technique which, when you’re getting started is not helpful. Pick a way of doing it and stick with it. Especially when teaching a beginner. This whole business of “Well, I like to do it this way,” is not helping me start out the RIGHT way. Course in any craft there is no RIGHT way. If it comes out looking like the picture and you figured out an easier way to get the job done than I guess, for you, that’s the right way. Myself, personally I prefer following directions the first time, then coming up with variations. But when you’ve got each teacher doing it different then there is no RIGHT way to do it and that’s confusing. And then if they’re each using a different kind of loom?  You get my drift. So I keep watching the videos and keep assessing the techniques and when I’m ready I’ll do it MY WAY. LOL

See? Trouble!

My hubby is being so helpful. He took me shopping and there’s this bead place I like going into but it’s right next to a tattoo parlor and in a more run down area of town so he’s sure, positive, these bead people are into something besides beading. I just think they’re spending more on supplies than they are on appearance and they’ve got a LOT of supply. If you can’t find it there then it doesn’t exist.

Craft Warehouse has also expanded but to be honest their prices are off the charts. A bead tray for laying out beads for a necklace is only $5 at the bead place and twice that at CW. Not the best selling point. I only went there because they had the loom. The hubby plans on making me another larger one later, after I get started.  He likes making that stuff which is a bonus for me. I’ve got a huge Navajo loom upstairs I need to bet back to doing that..ugh…me and my projects! I have got to pick one and become an expert at it. Become an expert at something besides learning new things. If I could just incorporate all I know into one huge project I’d feel like it was all worth it. Fiber and beads and drawing and…knitting. Let’s see…..? Um? Anyone got any ideas?

Boil the Water!

Portland’s under a boil-the-water-e Coli emergency warning this weekend. So we filled the tea kettle and I dug out the old canning kettle, the big one, and now I’m waiting for it to cool. My iced coffee is safe because I made it in the perk pot so it’s been boiled. Just have to remember to make new ice cubes. The last ones were made earlier this week…before the ban.

I know this, ecoli doesn’t seem to bother people who were raised around barn animals or had lots of pets growing up. They spent enough time around animal feces to build up an immunity. I think, in this day and age, we are so germ conscious we’re killing ourselves, our bodies becoming so sanitized the least bug can take us down. A few germs and few illnesses, can make it easier for us to resist worse ones that attack, people do realize this, don’t they?

I know that when we were in Europe both my hubby and I got a flu that caused him to have pretty severe reaction (fever and convulsions) while I got it very mildly. All the guys got it on the team with the same severe reactions. The women suffered mild versions. Afterward things changed. The hubby, who never got sick with anything but brought home all kinds of things to me, began to suffer every flu and cold he came in contact with. Me, I went a good five years before I got anything again. It seemed to break down his immune system and build mine up. Course after working and after kids I don’t get sick all that often anymore. Funny how being around people, especially children, can make you sick.

I got more knitting done and now I’m enjoying my iced coffee, eyeing the sky for rain, and reading through old stories as I began looking for inspiration. What I should be doing is knitting and getting that sleeve done so I can block and assemble the pieces and add the collar. Oh, to get done with that would be so accomplished and I could use the inspiration. I need it with all that yarn I’ve got to deal with now! LOL

Neighbors

The lady across the street died last month. I didn’t even know. I mean I really had no idea because I’d see her out walking, see her driving her car, coming home, or leaving. She was getting around but I’m so busy and I didn’t really know her except to wave if our eyes met across the street but that was all. However, yesterday afternoon my hubby was out working in the yard and because he’d (Tim) seen me knitting or spinning on the front porch he asked my hubby if I’d like her yarn. Gads! I’ve still got all of my mother’s things to go through and I’m trying to get through the knitting I’d already started I really don’t need more yarn and it’s that ‘plastic’ stuff I never buy. Okay, some of the newer stuff is nice and knits up okay but I don’t go out and buy the stuff. You give it to me for free, okay. I guess (her name was Helen) she did a lot of crochet and friends of hers gave her yarn so there’s lots of bits and pieces, leftovers, to go through. I picked out what I might use but the hubby took two large leaf bags full of yarn to Goodwill. Plus one of the bags was chock full of paperback novels. I think I picked out six I might read…eventually. Maybe.

What makes it all so weird is no one knew she’d died. There was no ambulance, no firetrucks, no sign of her passing whatever. And I guess her sister was giving her drugs that were not prescribed and he (Tim) feels that might have contributed to her demise. He said as much and I guess he now feels he’s persona non grata with the family. Whatever the cause she’s gone and his house is full of her projects. Crochet, jewelry making and whatever else she was involved in making. The drugs she was taking made it hard to sleep so she stayed up and worked on things through the night. I think maybe I’ll make a couple of lap rugs (as they used to call them) from what I did keep and give them away.

There was one skein of Rowan wool, in a rich rusty brown that will make a lovely winter scarf, and a small skein of green wool, Mission Falls brand (superwash merino) and a gray blue ball of wool that has no label.

You know how to tell if you’ve got wool (natural fiber) or acrylic? You cut a piece off and put a lit match near the end. If it’s acrylic it’ll melt and the tip will feel hard. Burnt plastic. If it’s natural it’ll be soft, flaky and ash. That’s how you tell the real stuff from the manmade fiber when you get something with no label.

From what was said there will soon be a garage sale across the street but we’ll be forewarned. Tim seems to think I’ll be interested in some of Helen’s jewelry. I might. By the way, Tim is an artist. He paints on saw blades and glass. I’ve seen some of his work and he’s pretty good. I guess I feel like I should have noticed but unless someone says something, or there’s some kind of evidence, how does one go about finding out without being nosy? I had no idea she was gone! Makes me feel really bad I’m so disconnected.

Shoes

I’ve got to get back to walking again. Like I was doing to prepare for the trip to Bolivia and the many many miles expected to traverse airports. I did that, got some black leather shoes at the Walking Company that were not only expensive but comfortable and well worth the moolla. But now it’s coming on Summer and I’d like to keep up the walking but if I intend varying the venue to say, the Gorge and hiking a bit, then I need something besides just walking shoes. Something a bit more casual, sturdier perhaps. So this morning, before the temps got too high, we headed out to Cascade Mall and the DSW shoe store. I like that place. Got a pair of sandals out there, a pair of wedged dress shoes, and like both pair so I went looking for something light weight and comfortable.

As far as shoes go, most of them, from the Nike’s to the Keens were comfortable on the bottom of my foot. But one pair, the tongue of the shoe, dug into my ankle. One pair the arch supports were too high and pressed on a nerve. One pair was okay but they were a smidge too short. (sigh). It took 45 minutes and six pair to find one pair that was not only comfortable but fit properly and were light weight enough they wouldn’t push my foot around when I walked and make me kick my ankles. I have that problem with some shoes. I had a pair of sling-heeled sandals once that put some bloody nicks on my ankle bone because of a heavy leather heel and I am not going that route again.

So that’s what I did this morning in preparation for getting back to walking again. I think we’ll do the mall for a week or so then gravitate to the Gorge and some of the more level trails to a waterfall or two. Maybe take my camera. My hubby is a hiker but not me. I like to meander. I like to stop and breathe deep and take in the smell of the forest and the water and lean on the bridge rails and let the mist from the waterfalls brush over my face. I like listening to the birds and just stare at all the green. I’m not out to hike my legs off or build up lots of muscle in my thighs. Pul-eze!

My ears are still muffled but I yawned earlier and the one on the left popped. It didn’t clear up completely but hey, maybe they’ll begin to settle down and clear up. I hope. I shake my head and get a crackle then a pop but they stay muffled. Tried to watch the movie Sneakers last night on Netflix but could hardly hear it. I told the hubby today I might have to get out the Signing book upstairs and start practicing with my hands making letters and words. Either that or learn to read lips. I’m waiting for my ears to clear up. And for now and possibly the next five years, I am not going anywhere I have to fly. I hope. A train, a car, a bus…I’m getting so flying is a real trial and not worth the expense or bother. Unless it’s Alaska Airlines. Now they have service and leg room. I could go with Alaska anytime.

First Sunday in May

Ah, well, I suppose I should put something here. I’m in recovery. A cough now and then, but getting well. The trees outside are flailing about, the sky heavy with dark clouds and threats of rain but it’s nearly 60 degrees and there’s no sign of rain yet even though it’s a 98% chance. Tomorrow Thunder storms threaten. We’ll see what really happens.

It’s one of those kind of days where you know good and well you should be doing something but don’t feel like doing much of anything and since I’m in recovery I feel justified in doing nothing. I’m in the middle of reading one book (Dave Baldacci’s “Target”) and have another waiting to be read, and one that just came in at the library called The Butler (the one they made the movie about?). I have knitting to finish (actually several projects going at once, a serious no-no) and like I don’t have enough to do on such a day.

I did get ‘dinner’ out of the freezer, did the dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher, folks. Haven’t had one in years) and my laundry is done so I’m not completely idle. Not completely.

Funny thing happened, and we’ve yet to figure out how, but the hubby saw batteries in bulk on sale at Staples and ordered a couple boxes. They were supposed to come Friday. We waited and waited…and although I can’t hear worth beans (my ears are still full and muffled from those ascents and descents on planes), I didn’t hear the UPS guy come. He usually bangs on the door when he delivers. The order says they were delivered but we were afraid someone stole them off the front porch although it’s not that kind of neighborhood and nothing’s happened before. So he filled out their claims form and notified Staples not sure what that would produce and I’m thinking, since I can’t hear, and since it’s not the least bit sunny (Saturday), I’d open the curtains so I could see traffic while I’m at my desk. Low and behold the box is in the bush outside the window. How the H did it get there? I mean it’s been windy but that box had heavy heavy boxes of batteries (double AAs) and it would have taken a hefty gust to pick that box up and sail it the 12 feet into the top of the japonica. I mean that was a total mystery. And if I’d not opened the curtains we’d have never found till summer. LOL

We do, even at our advanced age have our little adventures.  Sometimes very little.

Oh, by the way, if you want to see more of our pictures (from landing in La Paz to Copacabana, back to La Paz) here’s the site. I would suggest downloading the PDF files because they’re easy, you can advance them at your own speed, and although they’re not specifically labeled, the snowy mountains are the Andes, the landing site for the plan and take off is El Alto (the largest, fastest growing and poorest city in Bolivia), which is located next to and above La Paz. One view shows the city out the plane window and you can see it spread out over the flat and then dropping down into a canyon. La Paz is located in the canyon. Our first site of the Lake was barely two hours out of La Paz but it took another hour to reach the isthmus to cross on the barge, and a further hour to get to Copacabana. It was quite a trip. The really wet shot out the front window of the bus, if you look closely, was of hail that had fallen and slowed us down a bit. Enjoy the pictures.  https://www.dropbox.com/s/hfv9om4lavmexzl/sldeshow2pdf.pdf?n=185634700 (copy and paste to site information window at the top)

That’s all for today. I might have another story (Aw, what happened to Tucker?) soon. Or I might finish Tucker. Or I might finish my knitting. Like I need something else to do like blogging. Sheesh!

 

 

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