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Act II, Scene I


What I thought was going to happen during September:

1. massive house cleaning, organizing, decluttering

2. my sister and parents would visit

3. there was a wedding to attend

4. my birthday would come and go

5. my sister was going to take my credit card, go to the best nursery in the area, and plan my landscaping. Then she was going to come back and fix my yard.



What actually happened in September:

1. my sister chose to have surgery over doing my landscaping
2. my mother decided to break not one but two wrists, at the same time.  (This morning she tried to fish the phone out of the toilet with two casts.)  (Think on that for a moment.)
3. my house did not get cleaned, organized, or decluttered
4. my landscaping did not get done
5. my birthday was over-the-top awesome
6. I retired*
And what I’ve learned so far in Act II, Scene I (oh and it is draw-jopping huge. HUGE, I tell you):
1. I do NOT have to do the food shopping and meal prep on the weekend.  (Oh the luxury!)
2. Just because I’m not going to work doesn’t mean I can ignore the calendar. (O.k. we did NOT miss any major events. But it was close.)
Expect blogging to resume, post-haste.
*That would be, oh, yesterday.  My mind reels. And often squeeeees.

Resume: Part 1, the Dog//NOT!

I totally thought about (another) re-entry post.

(And I totally tried to blog yesterday, but the notebook and the internet conspired against me.)

And I thought about coming up with a system of making posting easier. (Although, I admit, I don’t seem to be a loss for words.)

Or maybe a theme for the day of the week:

Manic Monday (which is Manic)

Ten on Tuesday

Words on Wednesday (where I discuss my latest book. I’m about a zillion behind, so it shouldn’t be too hard to read fast enough to stay ahead of the reviews.)

(This was really really hard. I wanted it to Woof on Wednesday. But would I ever limit myself to dogs one day a week?)

Tabbies on Thursday

Fabulous Friday (I’m into alliteration. Sue me.)

Stuff on Saturday (gardens and wildlife and such)

Small News Sunday (in which Dude found a site to randomly generate coordinates on the planet, and we are going to blog (or riff!) about this place. (Since much of the planet is water, Dude reserves the right to keep clicking till landfall. First up is Tshitindi (which he says is in Tonga and I say is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (I haven’t been there – it’s in the south, close to Angola.) Let’s see what rabbit hole we fall into writing about that …

and then I realized that there wasn’t any day of the week that started with a “K”.

And NOW I realize that my site editor is wonky. (Can’t create links.)

Here, here’s a dog:


10 on Tuesday: Party Tip Edition

Since I am such an introverted recluse, I had to go in search of Party Planning Tips for today’s 10 on Tuesday topic:


First I asked Ned – the extroverted, curious, fearless, high-maintenance problem-child:



From Mom:  Wash the floor after everyone leaves, not before. No one will notice while the house is full of people.


From my sister:  Create a theme.  Everything revolves around a theme – the colors, the decorations, the food … everything.


From Dude:  Hire a caterer … and if you live with my stressed-out, over-worked, perfectionist wife; rent a space.


From Aurora:



p.s. From Nickie:  

Happy New Year!

For the first time in years (literally years) I’m feeling a bit calmer about the ‘to-do’ list;  I’m feeling a bit caught up.

(I hesitate to say this out loud – the Gods will surely smite me for it.)

(And don’t think that there isn’t a  list:  it’s a lot shorter than it used to be.)

There have been dogs dieing and house moves and cats dieing and accidents and Dude and new dogs and kittens! and a legal interlude and travel and cars passing and new cars and and house remodels and more accidents and sick dogs and and and …

Toward the end of 2010, I was wondering “what happened to the person who had the time and energy to spin dog fur into yarn?”

And I’m tempted to say that 2010 was a hard year.   But really, some good stuff happened too.  Some very good stuff happened.

It’s just the whirlwind chaos needed to die down a bit.  I’m happy for it.

So .. now is not the time to remind me of everything I’ve forgotten.   (Wait a day or two, ‘kay?.)

Happy New Year

p.s.  Who’s up till Midnight???


10 on Tuesday: The Intended Version

10 Intentions for the New Year

It’s not like I haven’t been thinking about this, but somehow the question caught me by surprise.

I don’t like personal questions.

(Why, then, did I sign up for 10 on Tuesday?

It seemed like a way to have fun.  Be part of something without actually saying revealing anything.

ReallyAll those answers about dogs and Dude as #11 don’t say anything?

Ok then.)

So, I start to analyze.  Starting with some  Standardized Feedback Questions:  What’s working?  What isn’t?  What would I like to do differently?

That’s a good place to start for just about anything.

Except I’ve been reading “happiness books” (and this one too)  and there is a body of thought that says to focus on the part that is working, study what is going right and all that (i.e. positive psychology.)

At this point my head is spinning as to what approach to use to fulfill the request.

Intention #1: Quit over-thinking I have no idea how this will occur.  (Suggestions welcome.)

But since I have 3 days before that kicks in, let’s procrastinate talk about intention vs resolution:

I see “resolution” as simply more formal and strident than “intention“.  We all have good intentions.

But resolutions are Firm.  Desired.  Goals.

And putting them out for all to see (succeeding or failing) makes them stressful.  I do not want any more stress.

And really, although I may try to steer the boat, I have no control over the river.   I aim for the shore, but I may get stuck in the rapids.

Intention #2:  Go with the flow

Intention #3:  Over-thinking and steering is a form of procrastination.  Less procrastinating, more focus.

Intention #4:  Focus on health

Eating and exercise were on the list last year.  Life changes.  Time passes.  It is a luxury to be able to focus on these simple necessities – to be able to grow and preserve my own food, to have an organic farmer’s market within walking distance, to be able to walk the dog(s).  And I think it is important to pay attention.

Intention #5:  Focus on Clutter

This was also on the list last year.  Some progress was made  (Not as much as I’d like.)

I did have some insight (yesterday actually)  (after years of thinking about it and watching the habits and trying different techniques…)  I want to knit sweaters.  I have this (possibly unrealistic) idea that I can make garments that I would be comfortable wearing out of the house and around others (non-canine others).

Then I’ll run into a moment when I am unprepared for portable knitting.  So I grab something new.  And before I know it, I’ve got 98 UFO’s  instead of working on some larger project.

Then I resort to the snowball technique (not a site endorsement, just the first explanation I found) of finishing up the smaller, easier stuff first.

I have the same problem with books, by the way.  (This was particularly obvious after signing on to 12 in 12 and then being on the road for 12 weeks.  And now there are 19 books on the night stand.)

What I should learn from this?   Step up to the batting cage:  always have the next thing available to read.  Always be one planned project ahead. (There is a wee part of my brain suggesting that I should learn to sit quietly and calmly.  Relax.   Rest.  There is a much larger part of my brain beating it into submission and telling the wee voice to stuff it in a sock.)

Caveat:  There is a risk associated with this:  startitis I’m not suggesting it’s not o.k. to try to be prepared, I’m just noticing the huge gaping sink hole and trying to navigate around it.

Intention #6: bloggy stuff:  Learn photoshop (or gimp), embed  a damn youtube video, properly,

add some counters, more fixing of tags and categories.

(Bwahahahaha.  I think I got that video bit right this time!  Go me!)

#7. Write more

#8. Take more pictures

#9. Create a bucket list (time is running out … what would I like to do in my life?)

#10. *

p.s. All pix are of the new cat fountain (mentioned as #3 in  10 Ways to Simplify  Your Life)

*(Finish.  I’m bad at finishing up, closing out, putting things away.)


Ten on Tuesday: The Freaking Out* Edition

*a.k.a. The To-Do List edition

Although at least two people subscribe to the theory that secret is to cross things off faster than you add them; this theory is suspect as neither person has mastered the technique.

And this theory runs counter to the (profitable) teaching of  David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame), who maintains (among other things) that the secret is to write the next smalltinymanageable step on your list.  (If you don’t know what that is; the next step is to ask for help.)

With that in mind (ha!)

1.  Finish New Year’s Resolutions (accounting:  7 items — 2 completed, 1 disappeared (done!) and 1 in (continual) progress.  Does this count as a win?.)

2.  send holiday cards  (first step:  acquire holiday cards:

3.  Send Legal Interlude Thank you notes  (Accounting:  I’m not late.  I hear I’ve got a year.  Rationalization:  I was waiting for those cool new red dishes to arrive get photographed to include a picture with the note.   Step 1:  done!)

(People:  is it confusing for thank you’s and holiday greetings to arrive at the same time?  Should I write but not post till after New Year’s?)

4. finish holiday baking  (Accounting:   I’ve made 2 batches of toffee and 2 batches of fudge and the mutant melted snowman cookies.  That leaves gingerbread cookies, macaroons, poppy seed bars and 2 versions of chocolate cookies to go.  And two pecan pies and two three two pot lucks.)

And Dude says to me this morning (at 6 a.m.)  “Can I bring something to my holiday party?”

Note to non-bakers in any family:  the time to ask is NOT 6 a.m.   (My biggest hurdle was traveling containers – but he drives into work (shortest commute evah) and this wasn’t a big deal for him.)

5. Find the winter gear (and who gave Mother Nature permission for this much cold, this early in the season?)

In the David Allen world, the next step might be:  look on the spare bed (and I am only brave enough to post that, because kmkat did):

5a.  research dog booties (poor pooch stepped in the road salt this a.m.)

6.  finish red gloves (the only hold up is wanting to document.  Either the pix work after this post, or they don’t.  Gloves will be done tomorrow  (I’ve got a dentist appt/extra long train ride.)

7.  Post another 12 in 12 review

8.  start holiday wrapping (finishing wrapping would be o.k. … desirable, even.)

9.  go for a run  (done!)

10.  Take pix for this post (done!)

p.s.  #11:  Dude


Red Letter Days

First: It is a special day because there is actual knitting content  (woot!)   AND Finished Objects  (Woot! Woot!)

Exhibit A:

Yarn is Studio Donegal.

Pattern:  Basketweave Scarf (which I only identified from the earlier blog post.)

Recipient:  Red Scarf Project

Scarf is currently soaking and I’ll get a better pic in daylight.

Exhibit B:

Here it is on Dude:

Blame Inspiration:  kmkat

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb.

One skein of scrumptious soft 50% silk, 50% merino in a colorway that appears to be discontinued.  (Yarn is from the stash table from the Knitter’s Review Retreat.)   I’ve never knit with this before; it is delightful.  It is also minimally spun and I wonder about pilling.  But the silk strands are very long and very strong.  hmmmmm

One skein made a size that fits my (big) head, but not one that is slouchy.  I have plans to repeat the pattern (something I rarely do) in another yarn, for me.

Pattern:  16 Sixteen Cable hat

Recipient:  to be determined

Exhibit C:

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while.   (Gloves with icord fingers.)

Second: It’s a special day for what’s been going on:  Tuesday, I got to see some friends I haven’t seen since before Ireland.  (Woot!)

Then, Wednesday, I got to see some new friends that I’ve only met once (not counting the train stalking!)  (Metro MD Knitters Guild.  (woot!  A Knitting Group!!!))

And then Last Night, a friend came over in a perfectly normal, usual way for dinner (which hasn’t happened, since, uh … before Ireland)  and we unpacked these:

New dishes!  These are from Louis Mulcahy and are a wedding present.   They’ve been stowed in the big fragile box that Ned was sleeping on for a (few) weeks – till it was quiet enough to deal with.

And that makes it a Red Letter Day.

p.s. This red thing obsession started in the Galapagos, 1.5 years ago.  Interesting.


More than you want to know about drying laundry

I’m a little obsessive weird when it comes to the laundry.

I only wash in cold water.  (I make some rare exceptions if someone is seriously ill – but most things are better in cold water — I never have shrinkage issues; never have colors run.)

I prefer to hang my clothes dry.  (I love how it smells!  It’s better for the environment and my wallet.)

Being (mostly) single, this has evolved into having a rack that gets moved around (inside/outside) for drying purposes.  (Think about that:  passive humidifying in winter.)

The rack is small-ish and this limits the amount of laundry I can do at any time.

And Mother Nature either helps or doesn’t – on her whim.

In this new place, there is no place to put a clothes line.   (And, o.k., it took me a while to come to terms with that.)

And there is Dude.

And king sized sheets just don’t fit on a wee little rack.

And the rack is old and being held together with bungee cords (3 of them).

I finally bought a Breeze Catcher.

It arrived in July.  When it was 243 degrees outside.  In the shade.

And I continued to do laundry whenever a rack-full was in the hamper.  (Which is often when it is 243 degrees outside – what with the running and dog swimming and general sweating.)

We Dude got a hole dug before we left for Ireland (but he also left the cement in the back of the truck and it rained on it.  (oopsie))

So, we just got it finished up last weekend.  (After the Knitter’s Review Retreat.  When I was away and he wasn’t.  And he thought he’d make me happy and do all 10 loads of laundry from the last few months.   (Dude isn’t as convinced as I about the drying rack thing — he believes in the dryer.))

So … when the Breeze Catcher was setup,  I only had 3 loads of laundry to run and load up.

And it wasn’t full.  Excellent.

Except every night this week I’ve had to stop myself from throwing in a load of laundry, to dry on the old rack – because, well a) we’re all caught up and b)  I don’t need to anymore.


Small progress

After the internet returned, I figured out the second row (of two) in the braid.

Then, today, I knit exactly 7 more rows.

And unknit 4 of them.  /sigh

(But, really, it wasn’t my fault — some strange person stranger insisted on interrupting me (19 times) on the train on the way to work this morning.)

(Today was a really weird day … like it was a full moon, but its not.)

Deep in the Forest Mitts

Also this:


Foiled again. (At least for a little bit.)

Every year, at the Knitter’s Review Retreat, Clara gives us the opportunity to write ourselves a letter – a note to our future selves of what we’re doing, or hope to do, in the next year.

I write about what’s going on in my life (these last few years have been … dramatic.)  I write about the outcome of previous year goals.  (Not much there.)

It sounds a bit …  hokey but every year, I write my note, fold it up with all the notes from the previous years and stuff them back into an envelope for Clara to keep for another year.

I tend to verbosity.  (My envelope is rather fat.)

The past few years, I’ve found these notes to be wonderful time capsules of life.  (I consider the Retreat the start of my Knit Year.  Which gets me in gear for the holidays and then the Muggle Year.)

I was tempted to keep the notes this year, but just took some notes on the New Beginnings Projects.

Every year, after we write our notes, we , as a group, cast on for a New Beginning Project – something for ourselves.

I haven’t finished one of them.  (One is out of yarn, one needs shaping, one needs something, one -  what was I thinking?, one I’m too afraid to work on it (yarn is too special), one, I can’t get consistent gauge, …  you get the idea.  My project is often inspired by knits seen at the Retreat and the encouragement of other knitters.)

I have fantasies of finishing them all one year (maybe this year?) and bringing them for show-and-tell — my own private trunk show.

(I also have fantasies of not-finishing any of them, and bringing them all for show-and-tell and stripping off one unfinished garment after another before the crowd.)

This year, I thought I’d pick something small.  Doable.  An interesting stretch of skills but not a huge project:

I am stymied on the second (and last) row of the braided edge.  Clearly the pattern is wrong (and the internet went out just as I learned this.)

(The internet is back now (obviously) and I’m sure this is just a speed bump, really.)

p.s. Ten on Tuesday has to do with movies.  I went blank.  I’m over it.  I just want you to know that I did not forget.