Hurricane preparations

We’ve begun the dance to the tune of “Here I go again”. Katrina left us out of power about 6-8 hours, as did Rita, but we were extremely lucky. The television stations advise to be ready for at least several days without power. DH will ride out the storm in the hospital, his surgeon assures us.

Our next door neighbor and his son came over last night and moved our cast aluminum patio table and chairs to the garage. (I had already managed the umbrella and the wind chimes. Don’t laugh: the wind chimes are about 4 feet long!) I haven’t boarded up the windows as they do on the coast, nor have I taped. On the other hand, there are no mature trees in the subdivision, and only the lake behind me, so much less to fly at the house. Oh, and knitting has been selected. In other words, I’m ready.

I will post again as soon as I have power.

On a cheerful note, you haven’t been ignored until you have been ignored by a cat.

Word from the hospital

Just a quick note this morning to let you all know surgery was very successful.  The doctor was very pleased.  DH, himself, is less amused!  The doctor is very pro-pain control, and set up a pain pump.  These machines are designed to give you a baseline dose of pain medicine.  You can press a button to deliver a booster dose, and  the nurses advise you not to miss a booster dose during the first day.

All well and good.  Here is where the problem began:  DH is a retired systems analyst.  His doctorate is in high temperature inorganic chemistry.  He is a very precise man.  When they told him he should press the button for the booster of pain med every 12 minutes, that’s exactly what he tried to do.  But the pain was getting worse and worse.  The nurse came to the room promptly (what a hospital!)  and checked the record of the pump:  5 missed doses!  It seems if you press the button at 11 minutes and 59 seconds, you get nothing.  It still beeps the same, gives no indication.  Sigh.

The good doctor was consulted, and upped the dosage.  DH went on to a plan of pushing the button every 15 minutes so there would be no doubt of 12 minutes having gone by.  After about an hour (pain medicine can’t play “catch up” very well) he was sleeping.  Ah!

Oh, one more thing:  Happy Birthday to me!  I’ll be spending the day knitting feather and fan and dispensing ice chips.

Here’s a picture of Minky sitting on the coffee table (discouraged, but unenforceable) promoting the Susan Wittig Albert paperback.  I’ll take that to the hospital, too.

A flower for my dear one

DH loves orange.  He once happily owned an orange AMC Matador.  Really!  So, as he faces surgery, this cana lily is for him.

Me?  I frogged a shawl I had attempted with Knit Picks Rocky Mountain purple.  It pooled, no matter what.  Not a Kiri, not an Eye of Partridge triangular shawl.  I have stayed away from Feather and Fan because, frankly, I’m tired of it.  But you know, I suspect that is what will tame this yarn.  So I’m casting on for a F & F scarf, and will make that my surgery waiting knitting.

Torrie, our Warrior Princess

This is Torrie, our warrior princess. I’ve previously shown you her supervising my knitting in the evening. In the daytime, she is in charge of much more, including defending the homestead. Torrie is a gymnast, able to hang from the cat tree and sharpen her claws at the same time. She is both fit and fearless.

As part of the adoption agreement with Siamese Rescue, our cats are to be indoor cats only. (That would be our personal preference, too.) Sometimes we can see a hawk circling over the lake, and I say “See, Torrie? That’s why you’re an indoors cat.” DH adds “That poor hawk wouldn’t know what he was getting a hold of!”

Well, with that background knowledge, look at what caught Torrie’s eye at the living room window. That’s a gecko, and they are fairly common in Louisiana. When he moves just a slight bit, he catches Torrie’s eye, and she dashes to the window, chattering and muttering and pawing the glass. Mr. gecko should be glad she’s an indoor warrior princess!

On a personal note, I’m spending much of my time at the hospital with DH. He was admitted with diverticulitis two days ago. There is talk of surgery after the antibiotics do their work, but no decision has been finalized. Keep us in your prayers, please.

Update:  he will have surgery Thursday (the surgeon’s preference) or Friday.

A Picture, a puzzle, and a crafty husband

Do you know what this is? (Hint: Southerners may not play. They all know.)

It used to look like this:

Then, as it matured, it opened up and fell to the ground. The red bits in the first picture are really the seeds.

It started out life as a marvelous, fragrant flower on one of our trees. Here, take a better look: It is one of the pair of magnolias that stand sentinel on our driveway.

But what has this to do with a crafty husband, you ask? Why, you are looking at one of his FO’s (finished objects). He built the stone planters that protect the trees and the day lilies planted at their feet. When we bought the house, the magnolias and lilies were there, planted on a sort of “pitchers’ mound” rise on each side of the driveway. However, every time the yard man mowed with his riding mower, more and more of the mounds was scalped away. We began to fear we would have magnolia cupcakes, not mounds. So DH dug up and saved all the lilies, built the stone planters ( two of them, remember), divided the lilies, replanted them with good, fresh potting soil, and there you have it! Most of our neighbors have been very complimentary; a few refer to us as “the house with the wishing wells”. I call it a job well done!

Yummy yarn

And now, the yarn report. The sun came out long enough for me to snap some pictures of my new semi-solid sock yarn. This is the Araucana Ranco Solid in Stunning Teal Medley, and Lilacs and Wisteria. (Yes, I know it looks kind of grey. It does in person, too. Hopefully as I knit its lilac personality will develop.)

I was busy trying to get another picture, by moving my lace curtain away from the window to capture the northern light. Another photography lesson was learned: never turn your back on the fiber!

How about a “beauty shot”, Meowmy? Once Casper decides to get involved, you may as well take his picture and call it a day.

The second yarn from the left is called Midnight and Sterling. Next to it is Cinnamon Bark and Spicy Amber.

Interestingly, I had already placed my order for these 4 colors (on sale!) when the Solid Sock Ravelry group announced an orange September KAL. This yarn makes me think of the Bittersweet berries that grew on the farm in Iowa. My grandmother would pick a nice bunch each fall, and tie it and hang it to dry. It, along with Bachelor’s Buttons dried the same way, would be her winter arrangements. (No “silk” flowers for her. I doubt she ever heard of them.)

The Afrika socks are finished! Happy dance all around, gathering cat fur on the new socks! Just in time; the second clue of SOTS-III comes out this morning. Bring it on!

Strangely plain

Today’s post is strangely plain. The rose garden looks like something planted for Disney’s Haunted Mansion…all dead blooms. The ducks are well out of photo range, their location only betrayed by their escort, the white goose. New semi-solid sock yarn (Araucania Ranco Solid) in 4 colors arrived, but it’s a grey, rainy day. So no photos for you today.

Knitting has happened, but nothing flashy. Let’s see: I put a dental floss lifeline in my Secret of the Stole-III to finish off Clue 1. The cuff and heel of the second Afrika sock was knit today, and I’m half-way done racing for the toe. That’s only slightly more exciting than plain stockinette (3 x 1 rib).

Mid-day the knitting was put aside for a music rehearsal.  DD and another lady are to sing for a function in September.  My role is accompanist, artistic arranger, and sometimes-back-up singer.  It went well for a first run-through.

Once again, the most excitement in the house was a toss-up between Victoria chasing Casper up and over the sofa where I was knitting, and the Olympics.  Life is good!

Enjoying my life

Yesterday I went to the kitchen to get a cold drink, and glanced out the window toward the lake. It was mid-afternoon, a warm, lazy Louisiana day. There, under the birch tree, was part of the Mallard flock, observing nap time. I couldn’t resist: must get closer picture! I quietly stepped out the back door, moving just a few feet, then stopping. Good, ducks still in place. A few more feet advanced, a few ducks awake, but nobody left. I was feeling bolder; this was good. Maybe just a few more feet for a good picture. Human alert!

Everybody in the lake! I hated to disturb their nap, but at least I did get some decent ducky pics for you.

Knitting has been happening here at the lake, mostly accompanied by Olympic watching. As you will recall, I was certain that my Online Supersock Afrika would have to be fraternal twins, due to the extremely long repeat on the colors. It turns out that I was being unduly pessimistic. (New picture was taken inside on a rainy afternoon, so color isn’t true.) As you can see, I was able to start again with the plain white that goes into the plain gray (what I think of as the “elephant” in the Afrika sock). I’ll be taking this one along tonight to a Homeowner’s Association Meeting, so more knitterly progress should happen.

I also have been knitting along on the Secret of the Stole-III (SOTS-III). Today I finished clue 1, and posted my picture as required to play along. This picture, too, suffered from afternoon rain. It shows the right half of the shawl. The directions for putting the individual beads on a stitch recommended a size 14 crochet hook. I have one, but it was splitting the yarn. These 6/0 beads have generous holes, so I experimented with #13, then #12, and finally settled on a #11 crochet hook. It easily slips through the bead, and grabs the yarn without fiddling or splitting. I’m happy!

The yarn is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Horizon, a discontinued color.

What I go through for you!

There I was, in Louisiana, in the August sun, smiling for the camera. No problem, you say? Take a look: there I was, in long sleeves and my Striped Modular Vest, trying to look as pleased as I will be when it will be winter and I will be grateful for a Merino vest! Meanwhile, I am back in the house, back in my shorts, but still doing a FO happy dance.

It was difficult to keep the Meezers off the vest while it dried. They seem to think that something as cozy as a good wool knit garment was meant for their comfort. I love them, but not that much.

I have posted pictures of the two girls, but not much of Casper, DH’s cat. He fancies himself to be a computer supervisor and a paperweight. In fact, Casper will sit on anything that is spread out ceremoniously. You can see him officiating over pictures on several of my Ravelry projects.

Here is the Casper view I have from my keyboard: Casper acting as paperweight for a sewing notions catalog. He doesn’t realize it was left there as a decoy for his attention. As long as he has something to sit on, he pretty much ignores other pieces of paper. And yes, he does know he is that handsome!

I had to go to town anyway…

I had to go to town anyway, so I dropped in at Knits by Nana. I was hoping to buy Berroco’s Norah Gaughan Vol. 3, Woodland Gothic/Art House. Also on my list was the fall issue of Rowan, which I have read is a super-duper anniversary issue. (I’m a Rowan virgin, having only read about them on line.) Neither book has come in yet. Sigh.

Not to despair, I had my mostly-knit modular vest in my bag, and was on the hunt for a big square button. Would you believe they had square buttons that were way too big? I had been concerned that I wouldn’t find one large enough. Many were considered, but this shell rectangle was chosen. The only knitting that remains are the front lower bands.

Actually, I finished during the Olympics this weekend. Vest has had its soak, and is drying.

It just didn’t feel right to purchase only a button. After all, we are trying to drive less, and here I was, in a yarn store, with lovely things available, within reach! So I trolled through the sock yarn room. I did have a chuckle with the proprietor, recalling when she opened she hadn’t stocked any sock yarn, and now she has a sock yarn room.

This yarn caught my eye. It is Online Supersock Afrika, color 89. I had good luck knitting with Online before, nice stripes and generous yardage. More importantly, my olive socks had worn out. (They were the only pair to wear through since I began knitting socks in 2001.) These should fit the bill. As you can see, knitting has begun. I had a meeting to attend Thursday night, and this simple K3, P1 rib was mindless knitting. I used the sock for car knitting Saturday, and found this yarn has a very long repeat. See that plain white bit, followed by a solid gray (the elephant part of my Afrka socks, as I think of it) that began the cuff? I didn’t come across this combination again until just before the heel flap. These will definitely be fraternal twins.

Yes, those are new needles, too. After Wendy Johnson’s strong recommendation of Hiya Hiya needles, I decided to try a 40″ #1 for magic loop knitting. It came with lagniappe, too (Louisiana French for a little something extra): there was a tapestry needle inserted in the package. The 40″ length features 4.5″ bamboo needle shafts. Were they any longer I wouldn’t be able to trade the first two cast-on stitches to unite my beginning circle. Otherwise, they are delightful. If I hadn’t been so greedy for cable length and had purchased the 32″ needles, it wouldn’t have been such a squeak.

Then, as I was checking out, my friend, Dez Crawford, came in to Nana’s for a circular needle. It was great to see her for a moment, but we couldn’t linger, as she had to pick up her DH, and I had groceries trying not to melt in the trunk. Go see her delightful blog at http://www.mambocats.blogspot.com. She is currently knitting a series of baby blankets. Three of her nieces had babies at the same time – a whole new batch of “mambokitties”.

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