Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Man

We had a smaller, toned-down version of the annual Great Aunt Teeter inspired Easter egg hunt. As my sister explained, do you know how hard it is to hide Easter Eggs when there is snow on the ground? You have to stand and just sort of roll them, otherwise your footprints just give all the locations away.

After the hunt (all eggs accounted for), we built a snow man. My camera battery died before he was finished. He also got a nice smile made from black walnuts. I like his Easter egg eyes.

Hope you all had a good one!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


With days to spare. Except I need a button for that point right there. I might just felt one with the fiber, so it blends in.

I really like the texture the energized singles made out of the garter stitch. It is barely recognizeable as garter stitch, it looks like some complicated swirly loop d' loop stitch.

It only used 6.8 oz of fiber. So I think I have at least 8 oz more of this roving left over.

The best part is it actually fits! That is sort of a crapshoot with me and handspun.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I am stealing Rick's Hat of the Day deal. I couldn't resist showing this photo though.

This is Mom's baby that she carries around, talks to, and has named Judy.

I walked into the living room and saw this. She didn't quite know what to do with the bib. I was going to take a photo right away, but then got distracted with other things.

This was when we were on coin watch, and had to go get her (Mom's, not Judy's) abdomen x-rayed. When we got back, Mom walked into the living room, laughed, and asked Judy why she had that on her head? Then she took it off. Dang, I had missed my opportunity to photograph it!

About ten minutes later I walked back in the living room, and here Judy was wearing her bib on her head again.

That Judy is a wild and crazy baby!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Such drama! Maybe the term cheating was harsh. My suspicions were raised, and that made me feel yucky, so I just went with the random draw. The entries made me laugh, and I hope they made you laugh too. Laughter is good. Really good.

Anyway, the random number generator proffered up 10, which on my list falls to pit bunnies. Turtle was the first to come up with pit bunnies, so she wins the prize. Turtle please e-mail me at Annie at maplecorners dot cahm and we'll figure out what that prize might be. I'll show everybody what she chooses!

At first, I was worried that I was the only one that developed these, but then a few others confessed so I didn't feel so bad!

In vest news, I finished the back and am almost done with the right front. I spent an hour or more last night frantically searching for the pattern, which Mom had gotten her hands on. She had folded it all up and stuck it behind some books. Argggh! I'm just glad I found it.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Here are the polls. I was only allowed 10 answers, so had to create two separate polls. Please only vote in one poll. One vote per person, please.

ETA: Ok, here's the deal. My stat counter showed several votes from one computer. I can't abide cheating, or the appearance of cheating, even if it is just a silly little contest. So I've removed the polls, (sorry!) and I'll use a random number generator to determine a winner, which will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).

Thanks to all who entered, it would have been an impossible choice for me to make on my own. I have to say that I am partial to pittypats, which wasn't entered as an option on the polls. Pittypats is one of Mom's made up words, and is just so fitting that I can't believe I didn't think to apply it to this use. Thanks for the reminder.

Progress Report

I've split for the front and back, and am working on the back. The front stitches are on the stitch holders, if you can tell from the crappy overcast snowy day photo. I'm hoping that ruffling you see will disappear with a good blocking.

I'm in that place of knitting where you're supposed to knit even until you reach XX inches. Then you knit, knit, knit, measure, knit, knit, knit, measure again, and you're at the same measurement as the last time. Why does that happen?

That's all I've got today.

Wait, I have a quick Mom story.

Last night we were standing by the stove as I was making supper. All of a sudden she sort of inhaled in horror and pointed past my head at the cupboard sort of behind me. I turned my head to look, sure that there was going to be some huge spider or something equally horrific, and there was an Asian Ladybeetle going up the cupboard. I turned my head back to Mom, puzzled that she was reacting that way, and she was doing that silent, hand over her mouth, shoulders hunched laughing. The little bugger!

Then I looked at the food on the stove to make sure she hadn't put something (crayon?) in there when I had turned my head. I didn't find anything.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Level 4 Haircut and Genevieve

I haven't had a haircut for a very long time. I decided to splurge and actually get a cut at a salon where appointments are required. Oooh, fancy. I was meeting my sister in the city about half way for both of us, so that she could watch Mom while I got my haircut. Neither one of us knew the salons in that city, but I found one at the mall, and called them for an appointment.

I must just be a country bumpkin. Or don't get out much. Or just don't know how fancy salons work.

They have 8 different levels of hairstylist. Prices started at $24.00 for a Level 1 and went up from there. I have never paid more than $20.00 for a haircut, but again, I was splurging, so I took a stab in the dark and asked what a level 3 would be. $30.00. Ok, sign me up. They didn't have any level 3's available, so I made an appointment with a level 2.

I then called my sister to tell her the appointment time, and she had never heard of this level thing either. Are we just small town idiots? Is this common practice out there? Anyway, she said that if I was going to splurge, I needed to get a higher level. She said I couldn't go on vacation with a level 2 haircut, and she would even chip in $10.00 just so she could see what a $40.00 haircut would look like. She made me call back. That would have landed me a level 6 stylist. Oooh, level 6. Unfortunately, the highest level available all day was a 4, so I had to settle.

Well, a level 4 haircut (the whole level thing was to account for the experience level of the stylist, apparently) started out with a 2-3 minute scalp massage with an oil (lavender?). As I told her, that right there was worth the price of the haircut. It was amazing. Another massage during the wash, and I was putty. I didn't even care what the haircut was like!

So then we went for a late lunch, and as my sister was driving us back to my truck, we had to go up an onramp to the highway. There, on the off ramp with a steep embankment, we saw somebody climbing over the guard rails onto the road, and then lifting a metal 2 wheeled cart over the guard rails. The person stood up, and we realized it was an old lady. By that time, we were already on the highway. So we took the next exit, turned around, etc etc, and by that time she was standing at the side of the lower highway, waiting for traffic to clear so she could cross. We weren't sure what to do, and my sister drove a little bit, then we turned around again, and by that time she had crossed the lower highway, and was now clambering up the embankment on the other side, again headed for the upper freeway. Crap! I dialed 911 while my sister parked, then I tossed the phone to her and headed up the embankment, calling Ma'am, ma'am. By the time I caught up, she was at the top, so we stood there on the side of the freeway, (inside the guard rails) chatting. She didn't look terribly surprised to see me.

She is Genevieve XXXX, 88 years old, and lives alone in XXXX Towers in downtown. She has a sister in XXX, a small town in SE MN, one that had been hit by flooding in August. She grew up there, her grandfather came from Norway and was one of the first to settle the area. She does this all the time, she said, she is used to it. I could understand that, SE MN is hilly blufflands, lots of dairy farms, so clambering around embankments was probably very familiar to her. She was only wearing one glove, so I asked her about that, and we found it in her cart and put it on her. She was very nattily dressed, nice coat, white tam and matching gloves, gold hoops in her ears.

She said she was going to go shopping in the shops over there, pointing. Well, the area that she was pointing to was up and down two or three more embankments, crossing at least one off-ramp from the freeway, scaling concrete guard rails, and I think a chain link fence! I told her that we would give her a ride, and pursuaded her to come with me back down to the car. I took her cart, and back down the embankment we went. We settled her cart in the trunk, and her in the back seat next to Mom. I spoke to my sister about what 911 had said. They reported it to the State Patrol, and would send a car. Apparently they were familiar with her. We were up there 15-20 minutes, and no one showed, so we just turned around and headed up to the freeway to get her to the shops she said she wanted. Except when we got to the correct exit, she said she didn't know where she was, she wasn't familiar with that area. So we turned around and took the frontage road back to where we started, and she said oh yeah, this is the route she takes to get back. We took her to the grocery store in the shopping area, and she said she would do her shopping here, that it was close to home, and wanted to pay us for our time. She went off into the grocery store, and we called 911 again to tell them what we had done. They said they would inform the State Patrol, thank you, and hung up. Ok, so in the meantime, do we just leave her? So then we got the non-emergency number for the local police, and explained to them the whole thing. She is apparently known to them too, and they were going to send a car to check on her. Since she is appropriately dressed for the weather, wasn't a harm to herself or others, there wasn't a whole lot they could do, but they would check on her.

When I first saw Genevieve, all I could think was what if she is "going home". What if there is a caregiver out there absolutely frantic? We couldn't not stop.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Signs of Spring

I went out this morning in search of signs of spring. It was a beautifully sunny 36 degrees, with a windchill of 28. It felt wonderful!

The chives were still under a few inches of snow. Usually by now I am snipping a few into an omelette. The tulips were still buried too. Dang.

However, I do have a little lake in my hayfield!

As I was walking (rather dejectedly) back to the house, I found this!

You're wondering what the heck it is, and why am I so excited about it, right? Well, once I found that, I knew to go searching for this.

I have quite a few maple trees around here, as you might deduce from the name of the place. As the buds swell, they drop this little papery covering, which the ever-present wind blows into little piles on the snow.

As I was taking the little pile photo, I heard the call of a robin. I was never able to spot him, but I heard him! Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is it just me?

Please tell me this happens to you too. After spinning or carding fiber, I end up with little balls of fiber in my armpits.

How the heck does this happen? It's not like I sit there and think, "Ooh, my armpits are cold, here I'll stick a little fiber up there to keep them warm. " They just appear.

What do you call them? I think they need a special name. I'm not creative enough to come up with one though. Any suggestions?

Hey, does this need to be a contest? Enter your suggestions in the comments, and then winner to be determined by a poll?

I'm sure I have fiber around here I could offer as a prize. 4 oz of something?

ETA: Enter your suggestion by Monday, the 17th, 5 pm CDT. Then I'll do a poll with all the suggestions, and the highest vote getter by Wednesday will win. 4 oz of alpaca or alpaca sock blend, winner's choice. I'll spin it up for the non-spinner.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It's hard to tell from the photo since it is all scrunched up on the needles, but that there is the waistband and about 1 1/2 inches of upward progress on the vest. My only consolation is that the decreases have started, so the rows will get smaller from here on out. I don't know that I'm going to make it by the deadline. The deadline is sort of arbitrary anyway. I am going on vacation, and thought it would be nice to have the vest for it, but no big ting if not.

Mom and I toured a memory care facility yesterday, which would be Mom's vacation spot while I'm on vacation. Their minimum short term respite stay was supposed to be 14 days, but I really only need a week. They agreed to it anyway. They are only 20 miles away from me, as opposed to 80 miles to the other nursing home AD unit that Mom has stayed at on my one weekend a month respite. I haven't had a weekend since December because I was saving up for this trip.

I really liked it. More importantly, Mom did too. The place is arranged in a sort of oval, with resident rooms on the outside of the long part of the oval, a living room type spot on each end of the oval, and offices, kitchen and dining rooms/activity rooms on the inside part of the oval. With those long hallways ending up in a living room on each end, and all arranged in a loop, Mom was having a ball walking around and checking everything out. She found a baby doll to carry with her. I think it is more soothing to walk the large oval loop, instead of just up and down a hallway like in the nursing home AD unit. She spent a lot of time in the offices, I think they might hire her! When she was going to day care in the Cities, she liked to sit in the office too.

It was odd for me. I sat there going through the nurse assessment, and could just let Mom wander and know that she was safe. I'm not used to having her out of my sight for long, especially anywhere outside of my home. The staff kept their eye on her, and would give me updates when they saw I was sort of looking around for her.

When we got there, they were doing manicures, and then they were baking and decorating cookies, and then coloring Shamrocks.

I wish they did just weekends, I would love to be able to bring Mom there instead. They cost less than the nursing home too!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Energy wasters

Ursa likes to sit in the dog door and watch whatever is going on outside. Her butt is on the door, and her front feet are on the cement block that sits outside the door functioning as a step. Sometimes Simba comes along and has to have a look-see too. She rests her head on Ursa's back.

No wonder I have trouble keeping that room warm!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Have you ever wondered exactly how you have survived this long? I mean, you do something monumentally stupid and just have to tell yourself, you are too stupid to live.

Me too.

I thought I'd share a few. Just so you can laugh, point at me, and say, hey, at least I'm smarter than she is!

When I was still doing the commute to the Cities, I had to leave in the wee hours of the morning. In winter, this meant it was dark. I always fed the chickens before I left. One below zero January morning, I also stopped to check the llama water tank, to make sure that it hadn't frozen over in the night. The llama water tank is right outside the door to the chicken coop, so it was convenient.

I mentioned it was dark, right? Since I couldn't see, I just dipped my hand in the water. Good, not frozen. With the same hand, I grabbed onto the handle to go into the chicken coop. The metal handle.

I had forgotten the lesson that every Minnesota (or other cold climate) kid learns by the age of oh, six. Must include the kids that didn't have older brothers to teach them any younger, and they had to learn it in school. In the playground, by the flagpole. You know, don't put your tongue on the flagpole. Or, in my case, don't put your wet hand on the metal handle to the chicken coop.

So I stood there like the idiot I was, hand firmly frozen to the handle of the chicken coop door. I could see the headlines, "Minnesota woman freezes to death in tragic chicken coop accident". I tried reaching my other hand into the water tank, (in the hopes that I could unfreeze my hand by putting more warm water on it), but I couldn't reach. I tried breathing on it, hoping that the warm breath would thaw it out. Nope. I mentioned it was below zero, right?

I think I was there a good ten to fifteen minutes, until eventually my breath and body warmth finally unstuck my hand. I may have left some skin there.

Then I had to explain why I was late to work.

I just took this. (Well, when I first tried to post this. Blogger was having problems today. )

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Custom Dye Job

Remember yesterday when I said I was going to go knit feverishly? Didn't so much happen. I got an e-mail from a customer, basically doubling her order, which she wanted to pick up today. I knew about the pink she wanted, but now she also wanted the same amount in blue, denim blue. I put the knitting away, and pulled out the dye pot.

That pellet stove also does a great job of drying roving! In no time, the roving was dry and I could commence the blending.

She wanted pink and blue. OK.

Boy, is that pink. I mean pink. That's a whole lotta pink!

It was just what she wanted though, and she left here happy. Oh, and she brought cookies! I was happy too.

I took the survey for the Pioneer Woman, to enter to win $300 from Restoration Hardware. (Link is in the sidebar, I think you can still enter tonight if you hurry!)

One of the questions was what best describes your employment situation. The choices were:

  • Employed full time outside the home
  • Full time, some or all telecommuting (includes freelance)
  • Employed part time outside the home
  • Small business owner
  • Full time student
  • Stay at home parent
  • Not employed
  • Retired

I was flummoxed as to how to answer that. I work part time from home for my firm, I guess the fiber business counts as a small business owner, and the caregiving is full time in the home, no telecommuting necessary. I needed a none of the above category.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


The plan is to turn this

into this

by the end of the month. Well, by the 26th, really. 21 days. Can I do it? Here is what I have so far:

and this much knit:

This is an interesting pattern. I don't know if you can see from the photo, it is sort of dark. There is a waistband around the bottom, which is knit first, then stitches are picked up from the top and the rest of the vest is knit up from there. It is all garter stitch, so it should be easy enough for my brain to handle. I will have to do some fudging, since this is handspun and my gauge is not spot on. I am doing this in one color, not with the contrasting collar as shown in the photo.

I am using energized singles (ala the "Twisted Sisters Sock Book") to do this. You can see from the above knit photo that it lends an interesting texture to the garter stitch. In theory, since I am using garter stitch it won't bias.

Wait, I should explain this for the non-knitters/non-spinners, if they are bothering to read this far! Usually two singles are spun in one direction, then they are plied together in the other direction. The yarn is then washed to set the twist. If all goes correctly, I end up with a balanced yarn, not overtwisted, not undertwisted.

Energized singles are just a single ply of yarn, and the yarn is not washed to set the twist. If the yarn sits for a period of time, the twist will sort of set itself, the "energy" goes out of it. So I should only spin enough yarn that I can knit before the yarn loses the energy.

I am off to do some feverish knitting. In other words, I've spun more than I should have!

Oh, and in giant cat toy blue egg bit the dust. I noticed it was missing, and found it under the couch. It just needs the hanger glued back on.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Mom and I decorated some brown paper eggs using paint, glitter glue and sequins. We hung them up to decorate the Easter tree. I thought it looked a little bare so I drafted out some roving bits and draped that around too. We didn't really have enough eggs so I also felted some vaguely egg shaped balls to hang.

I wonder how long it will last. I have it sitting on the air conditioner which I never managed to carry to the garage last fall because the thing is heavy and awkward to handle. The cats like to sit on it and bask in the sun, when it is actually out. The lower eggs and roving will probably be goners early on.

Mom had another seizure Friday and we spent the day in the ER on the advice of her doctor. The little clinic here in town isn't able to do the blood work necessary to check electrolytes. Of course it was terribly windy, major drifting and slippery roads. Cars in the ditch left and right. Joy.

Everything was normal, so now there are decisions to be made about anti-seizure medication. Do any caregivers out there have experience with this? I would love to hear from you.

I almost forgot to share what Mom did in the ER. One of the nurses was trying to get Mom to sit down on the bed, and was talking almost baby talk, in a really high voice, like Mom was a two year old. Mom just looked at her, and then mimicked her voice exactly, same inflection, same high voice. I don't think Mom was even saying actual words, but she definitely let the nurse know who she was dealing with. Yep, she is her feisty self once again.