Check with Archie

Last night I actually got cleaned up into a proper dress and jewelry to attend a funeral visitation.  When we got home I changed out of my dress to comfy clothes, but kept my turquoise cross and earring set on.  At bedtime I reached up to remove my right earring before changing to jammies….and there was none!

Now, I love that turquoise set.  It is a squash blossom cross on a turquoise necklace, and the earrings are simple dangles that match the necklace beads.  DH gave it to me to commemorate my installation as Grand Organist of Louisiana Order of the Eastern Star last year.

As you can imagine, a frantic search began.    Perhaps the earring pulled out of my ear when I took the dress off over my head.  I searched my closet thoroughly – no earring.  DH thought the shoulder belt of my seat belt might have pulled it off, and checked the car and garage – no earring.  I went to bed sad that I had apparently lost the earring, but with the outside chance that someone would have turned it in at the funeral home.  Plans were made to arrive early for the funeral the next morning to be able to ask after the missing earring.

All was routine this morning:  coffee and computer, a bite of breakfast, then Minky’s morning medications at 8:30.  The cats have their own ritual surrounding the dose.  It began when Minky was put on prednisone, as it is very unpleasant on an empty stomach.  Minky had to have treats, and if there was to be peace, so did the rest of the cats.

After the last cat had gotten the treats, I looked down and there was Archie, spread out on the floor and looking up at me. Between his paws he had the turquoise earring!  I’ll always know which one he found for me, as it now has tooth pock-marks.  I’ll treasure those, too, because they will always remind me of the time Archie brought me a present – my earring.

On a quest

It’s the season of Advent, a time of preparation and waiting.  Advent is an eminently appropriate season for knitters.  We know that it takes an investment of time and love to prepare for Christmas, and that the most important gift is a gift of self.

Even though I try to keep my focus on Advent and not jump ahead to Christmas, some preparations must be on a fast track.  The Jesse tree (well, this year, a table) went up at church today.  It held slips of paper with a needy child’s first name, age, sizes, and gift request.  We got a nine-year old girl, and her packages must be back, wrapped and ready to deliver to the clearing house by December 13.

I must confess I have grandchildren that are young adults,  early grade schoolers,  a preschooler, and a toddler, but no nine-year olds.  Coffee hour after church found me skulking around, hoping to waylay a nine-year old and ask about toy preferences.  No luck there, either…teenagers and first graders again.

What to do?  Google is your friend!  I googled “gift for nine year old girl” and found this article.    It was very helpful, giving general categories, suggestions, and even typical prices.

I’ll be shopping for a bead jewelry-making kit, along with the required toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, and all those other Aw, Mom! gifts on the list.  It becomes a quest to give this child the nicest Christmas I can on the budget I have.

Minty Fresh Socks on a budget

I’m not much of a gambler, but at $8.60, how wrong could I be about this yarn?  It’s from the Deborah Norville collection, Serenity Sock Weight, and is 50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon.  Hobby Lobby had it for $4.29 a 50 gram/230 yard skein.

Now that I’ve finished a pair of simple socks, I can report that it was a very satisfactory knit. Neither skein had any knots.  The color printing was predictable and accurate across the skeins.  I was able to start each cuff at the same place in the color repeat, and then have identical heels and gussets. There was no pooling at all.  The only variation occurred as I tapered the second toe, but by then, who cares?  The socks are soft and comfy, and knitting them as my “purse knitting” was a mindless pleasure.

What, you didn’t think I could manage a finished object photo shoot without Meezer assistance, did you?  Minky managed to come supervise this picture. As I look at her picture, I’m struck by how much the prolonged use of high-dose steroids to manage her asthma has lightened her back legs and tail.  However, her medicines have kept her out of distress and happy.  Minky is my companion cat, and she will always be my beauty!


Memories of Christmas past, and an honor

Last Christmas I knit the pattern DH chose, a Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan, using the yarn he chose, Elan Superwash Chunky in maroon.  The silver buttons were my surprise to him.

Yesterday, I got a message notice on Ravelry, and discovered a request to use this picture on the pattern page for the cardigan. DH agreed that he would be honored, too, and so when you look up the Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan you see DH.  He’s the handsome guy just above the model picture that was published in Interweave Knits.

This year I knit a scarf for him, using the yarn he chose,  Knit Picks Swish DK in garnet heather. Do you see a trend here?  I think I needn’t ask him about color again…he seems happy with maroon.

I blamed the socks!

I wore my red socks today, and when I took them off the tops of both feet were red.  Shoot, I’d worn that pair several times, I certainly didn’t expect dye on my feet.

I decided to go after the dye with alcohol wipes, not wanting to get red dye on wash cloths.  Surprise – no red on the wipes!  Then I changed the rest of my clothes, and caught a glimpse in the mirror of my back – red.  I looked at my arms that had been hidden under a long-sleeved t-shirt – red at the elbows and wrists.

I began a “new and improved” stomach medicine today.  Good news – my stomach feels better.  Bad news – the rash, and the fact that it is a 24-hour time-release medicine.  In terms of allergic response, that’s the “gift that keeps on giving”.

I take antihistamine every day, so can’t add anything for the rash.  Tomorrow it will be back to my doctor, and back to square one.  I believe I’ll be wearing my muumuu, and as little else as possible.  le sigh!

A Happy Surprise Ending

Sunday DH and I were scheduled to serve as Eucharistic Ministers at our church.  (That means we assist with the service, especially in serving the communion.)  When we arrived we found the baptismal font set up for a baptism, a happy surprise for us.  DH greeted Fr. Chad, and inquired what assistance he would want for the baptism (hold the book, Fr. would hold the baby, no problem).

Then came the bombshell…oh yes, and after church there would be a wedding, too.  Wedding!  We had to be at a 2 pm function in another town!  Fr. Chad said not to worry, it would be a small wedding, family only, and very short.  No more information was given in the press of congregation arriving and putting on our robes.

The service went well, with the baptism being a great success.  There were about 30  “Smith” family members present to witness the baptism, and the baby was a happy fellow.  I must confess my mind wandered during the sermon, trying to figure out who the bride and groom might be.

At the close of the service, Fr. Chad asked the “Smith” family (name changed for the internet) to remain for just a minute or two after the service.  I am certain that they all expected to witness a signing of a baptismal certificate, pose for pictures with the baby and Fr. Chad, and so forth.  Then Fr. Chad stepped to the front of the church, and began “Dearly Beloved…”  There was such a collective gasp from the family that I thought they would suck the candles out!  The young parents were the bride and groom, and their wedding was a surprise to their family!

It was a lovely, simple service with no bouquets or fancy dresses.  They each had one attendant as their witnesses, and she had tipped off  one girlfriend who took pictures for them.  I have to tell you, like the family, I’m still smiling!

Finished Object Friday

I’m pleased to report I’ve finished a scarf for DH (aka my Patron of the Arts).  He chose the yarn color some time ago.  No surprise, it is Knit Picks Swish DK in Garnet Heather.  It looks very similar to the yarn he chose for his sweater last year. 

The pattern is called Toyboy Scarf, but I choose to call it Bob’s Cabled Scarf.  We’re both more than a few years past the Toyboy designation.

I was very pleased that even though we are both retired, and he is around my knitting all the time I was able to keep this one low-key enough to surprise him at the end.  I finally brought it to his attention when I had almost finished the fourth skein to get his approval on the length. ” One more cable twist, please” was the verdict. I had less than a yard left of the last skein when I finished the scarf.  Oh, there was more in the closet, but it certainly seemed a shame to have to add on more yarn in the closing rounds.  Didn’t have to go there – heh!

Yes, he is modeling his new scarf with a short-sleeved shirt.  It was about 70 degrees at 10 am when I took the picture.  Louisiana will be cold enough to enjoy wearing a scarf in another month or two…but I’m ready!

It’s time for an Archie update.  At his first vet assessment at the end of August he weighed 5 lb. 4 oz.  This week he weighs 11 lb., and has most of a year to grow!  He has calmed down just a bit, at least enough to enjoy his first kitty nap time in a lap. Here then, is photo evidence of “two white-footed gentlemen” enjoying a good read.

Small town civility

I was so proud of this little town today.  You see, when I was a child I knew that if a funeral procession came into view, my Grandpa Carl would pull the car to the right, stop, take his fedora off (what, you think he left home without one?), place it over his heart until the last car had passed, and pray for the deceased.  It was the right thing to do.

This morning I was headed out to do some errands when I saw the approach of a funeral cortege.  We were on a 4-lane street, so there was no question of it being able to pass unobstructed.  Much to my surprise, 14 cars pulled to the right and stopped until the entire procession had passed.   I had thought the custom had been forgotten in today’s society.  Grandpa Carl would have been proud today,  too!

From tiny to giant

Earlier this autumn someone posted pictures of  giant acorns  — perhaps two inches long.  Those would produce the standard northern oak tree.

Here, in Louisiana, we go for giant Live Oaks. They grow from tiny acorns, smaller than a popped popcorn kernel.  This is evidently a banner year for acorns, as the edge of the sidewalk was completely filled with them. DH and I were even being pelted by falling acorns as I took these pictures.

Hope you’re having a lovely fall.  The color is finally showing up in our trees.  Yippee!

The glue that holds Natchez together

Do y’all know about kudzu?  It has made itself such a southern presence that to speak of it I had to use the “y’all”.  Nothing else sounded correct. Kudzu has been called “the vine that ate the South”, and that is not far from the truth in Natchez.

I find it interesting that kudzu is another “pest” that was not native to the United States but was imported to solve a problem.  In the case of kudzu, it is very good at holding a hill together, thus preventing erosion.  That’s all good, but if it isn’t constantly, severely disciplined it will swallow up buildings, too.

Natchez is built on a bluff beside the Mississippi River.  St. Catherine’s creek winds through town in deep gullies, headed for the river.  Steep surfaces, water, and a rainy climate are set-ups for erosion damage.  Enter the kudzu:  here it is up close, in a nearly hip-high hedge at the top of a steep hill.Those leaves are as big as grape leaves!  I wonder if you could use them in Greek cooking?  I know, from Iron Chef, that the Japanese have made a thickening powder (like corn starch or tapioca) from Kudzu.

This lawn is at the welcome center, and they trim the kudzu this way as often as they mow the yard.  Beyond the hedge the entire hill is kudzu!  That’s the Mississippi river and Vidalia, LA on the far bank.  The pictures of the river in the last post were taken near that red-roofed building.

Let me show you some more pictures of “Natchez holding it together”.The building in the upper right is a motel overlooking the river.  (A yield sign for the kudzu?  Is that like “Prepare to meet your doom!” ? )

At the river side of the bluff the kudzu is holding up the retaining wall!Most of the green you see beyond the bridge is that retaining wall with its net of kudzu.

I just had to share these pictures with you because every time I hear about Kudzu Natchez comes to mind.  It really is the poster-child for recovery from erosion threat, as they have managed to (mostly) keep the vine in check.  Emerald City, you say?




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