Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


First off, Cole wants to know where I got the pattern for the cable baby hat. Um, in my head. I just kind of made it up as I went along. But if you stick with me, I'll figure out what I did and jot it down at the end of this post, mmm kay?

***If you came to this post looking for Cole's Favorite Cable Hat pattern, it's there. Go down, down, down to the end of this post and you'll stumble across it. Enjoy!***

But first, I have got to show you my score!

See, my neighbor across the street, Erly, was a prolific Knitter. Born and bred in Norway, she was a fiber artist of the first caliber. She did it all--a "kung-fu" crafter if ever there was one. Though her crafts were definitely less craft and more art. She knit, and did she ever knit. She spun. She quilted beautifully. Heck, she probably had a loom over there, I don't know.

Erly passed away a little over a year ago after her second bout of cancer. I've told the story about how I learned to knit when she got sick the second time out of a sense of urgency. And how to this day I feel like she comes to me and fills my head with designs and patterns and ideas to the point that I have to tell her to go "bug another knitter" for awhile, I've got enough projects for now!

Her husband, Jack, has lived on High Street more or less forever, like my dad. His parents (Mary and Harold) bought the house he grew up in and lives with now, and like my dad, when they passed he inherited it. His house is a duplex and his folks lived in one side and he and Erly raised their three boys in the other side. I've know the boys (now quite grown men) my whole life. My mom and Erly were pregnant with Sister and Shake at the same time and had them a month apart. So when I say that they're like brothers, it's really true.

Anyway, after Erly passed, Jack got kind of mean. Not with me at all, but with his family. People grieve in different ways and to see him show one face to me and another to those he claims to love has been really hard. But I do know that when I learned to knit, I'd see Erly from time to time and she would always ask how the lessons were going and did I love it and was so pleased that I was loving it like she did. I think that it tickled Erly pink that I became a knitter, and I know it made Jack happy to see Erly happy.

Yesterday, I stopped and chatted with Jack on the way home from the bus stop and he mentioned his new car. (He bought a Mustang.) He joked that he didn't have time to drive it because he had to go to work to pay for it, and I said that I was getting into spinning and if he had any spinning wheels just gathering dust that he wanted to unload I'd be happy to help him out.

So today I'm on my home with Bobo and Jack is out loading his truck for work and I stopped by to admire the new wheels. He says he has something for me to borrow and comes out with this.

I have no idea how to use it, but you can bet I'm going to figure it out, and soon.

But first, that hat. I really should write these down and I make them so I know what to do if I want to make them again. It would save me having to figure it out, wouldn't it?
Cole's Favorite Cable Hat (Because Cole was the first to ask for the pattern! If you suck up to me, I might name a pattern after you too.)

For starters, I used a size 5 circ, 16", and with the Madrid yarn I got 4.5 sts to the inch.

Cast on 18 sts.

Row 1, 3, and 5: K3, p3, k6, p3, k3.
Row 2, 4, 6, and 8: K6, p6, k6.

Row 7: K3, p3, put 3 sts on cable needle and hold to back of work, k3, k3 from cable needle, p3, k3.

Repeat rows one through eight 14 times. Bind off and join cable band into a circle with a grafting stitch. (If you have the know how, you could use a provisional cast-on and kitchener the ends for a seamless band. Just an option.)

To make the top of the hat, pick up 56 stitches around one edge of the cable band. I used a solid for the braid and a variegated for the crown. Knit even for 8 rows, or until the hat measures 4 inches from the brim, whichever comes first.

Top decreases:

Row 1: K6, k2tog around.

Row 2: Knit around.

Row 3: K5, k2tog around.

Row 4: Knit around.

Continue decreasing in this manner until you have done a round of k2tog's and you have 7 stitches left on the needles. K2tog around with one left over so that you have 4 sts left on the needles. Slide the stitches onto one dpn and work i-cord for about 3 or 4 inches. Fasten off the end and tie the i-cord into a loose knot and tack it down with waste yarn. Secure your ends and all that.

Fits a newborn to 6 months. For larger sizes, I'd add more cable repeats as necessary, pick up added stitches for the crown, and make it deeper by adding more rows before starting the decreases.

I know, it's a bit of a slipshod pattern as it is, but it's how I operate. Seat of the pants, that's me.

I am going to go learn how to spin now. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The American Not-So-Idle

I've been busy knitting, never fear. I don't let little things like parades and cookouts still my needles for long.

I am two mittens away from finishing my 12 mitten order. I have the body and sleeves of the Chinese-style sweater ready to block before seaming.

And in between, I bash out a baby hat for charity. I've got four done this time. The first three are made from that Madrid yarn I got at Webs. It's an acrylic/viscose blend and it's very bouncy and sproingy to knit with. The last one is from Encore acrylic/wool blend. I got the variegated yarn at Webs too. I told you I had a lime green in the stash that would match it!

That's all for today.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Some Gave All

Today, we remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

We just returned from the parade and the service at our town's memorial monument.

Buggy marched with her Brownie troop, and because she was in full Brownie Regalia, she got to carry the American flag.

Our High School marching band is awesome.

Father Roger is one of our two local retired priests. He was a Navy chaplain and he gave the invocation and convocation. He concelebrates mass with us on a regular basis.

My friend from church, Nan, and her husband Art (US Navy, ret.) did a bell ceremony to honor the sailors lost at sea. A wreath was placed at the monument, and the Girl Scouts threw flowers into the river.

I didn't get a picture of the Legionnaire that passed out during the keynote speech, nor of the Boy Scout that went down during the convocation. I thought it would be tacky. No worries. There was a full complement on hand from the fire department, complete with ambulance. Some water and some A/C and they're right as the mail.

It is about 80 F today with a lovely breeze, but it was pretty hot down in Monument Square. Which is really just the middle of the road by the church parking lot. And pavement gets hot. And that Legionnaire wasn't exactly young. It certainly does back up my theory that Boy Scouts are prone to fainting spells. They try so hard to stand up straight like little soldiers and they lock their knees and next thing you know, down they go. They should learn to fidget like Girl Scouts and band members. All that standing up straight is a recipe for disaster. Ask a Brownie. They'll tell you.

All the kids who marched got free ice cream cones.

And now, as per the annual tradition, I will go prepare the fixin's for this afternoon's cookout and ice down the beer. But know that even as I sit outside and enjoy a burger and a cold one, I will not be unmindful of those families whose loved ones aren't with them today because they died defending the freedoms that I enjoy.

If you are one of those families, may God bless you and yours always, and thank you so much.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Actually Finished Something!

So usually I'm the kind of knitter who likes to make little things that finish quickly so that I can take my ADD self on to the next exciting project. But from time to time, I do bigger things that spend some time on the needles, as it were.

Case in point: Trellis Trudy. This bag has been all but done for awhile now. It sat in my WIP basket for months because I didn't feel like knitting the i-cord strap or knitting the flowers for the vines on the side. But then I remembered that I know how to crochet and in a matter of minutes, I had six flowers all done. The strap was the last hurdle. I bit the bullet and did it, and then washed and blocked the lot yesterday and set it to dry in the hot sun.

And here she is! I call her Trellis Trudy. She's for sale in the shop.

I did another mitten yesterday which brings my mitten tally to 9 of 12. Three to go. And I made one sleeve for the baby sweater, so all that's left there is sleeve #2, seaming, the front band and ties, and it's all over except the blocking. I think I'll have enough for the hat too.

So while my FO pile is small, it's inching towards filling up.

I did make a couple more baby hats, and awhile back I made some dishcloths and a bunch of coffee cozees, which I will photograph when I get more time. Promise!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How Do You Make a Girl Scout?

First you get a Brownie real hot...

Okay, that's offsides, considering the content of this post. Bug had her Brownie Bridging Ceremony last night, even though she technically didn't "bridge" to anything. She's still a Brownie, albeit a 2nd year Brownie. She's marching in the Memorial Day Parade with her troop on Monday. I shall try to get pictures.

I always wanted to be a Brownie. I loved the outfits. I was Junior GS in the fifth grade but it was the lamest thing ever, so I quit after one year. And the outfit was heinous. Truly heinous.

That's Bug and her buddy Rachael having a little something after the ceremony. She got a bunch more try-it patches and her membership pin which I will affix appropriately before the big parade.

Am I the only one that hates that GS uniforms went to iron-on patches? I hate iron-on patches with a passion because they don't stay stuck. After DH washed her vest and ran it through a hot dryer, I had to re-stick all the patches that were half falling off. That never happened with my Jr. sash and it's sewn patches. Not to mention that being able to sew on your own patches was a badge-earning skill. And a handy one, I might add.

I'm making great progress on the Chinese baby sweater. Let me say that this puppy is considered by the Vogue editors to be "experienced--for knitters able to work patterns with complicated shaping and finishing". They're not whistling Dixie either, folks. The first pic is of the jacket body all stretched out flat. As you can see I've worked the two fronts and I'm finishing up the back. Next comes making the sleeves and blocking the whole thing to size before seaming.

The second pic gives a better idea of what it will look like done. The fronts wrap and will tie on the side. The eyelets you see at the bottom are going to become a picot edge (so cute!) and it will have a black and gold fretted band along the neckline and the bottom of the sleeves.

That colorwork at the bottom? Worked flat. Ugh. And the top is a pain with the neck shaping and lattice pattern going on at the same time.

Still...I like it! And it looks like I might have enough yarn to make the little hat too. I'll have to see if I feel like making it when I'm done with the sweater.

Also I'm six mittens into an order of 12 for an etsy customer. I'm thinking of making a few more mittens before starting on the sweater sleeves. Just to take a break from all this knitting that requires thought. And I still have a charity sweater that needs some finishing too. I'm dreading the sleeves and I don't know why.

That's all for today.

Oh, except I got a yarn prize in the mail yesterday! Knottyknitterkris had a blog contest and I won! She sent two lovely skeins of lavender Panda Wool. I don't know what I'm going to use it for, and I don't care. For now, I shall pet it and make it love me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tag. I'm it.

I've been tagged by the lovely Erica with the "Seven Random Things About Me" Meme.

The hardest part is finding seven people to tag who haven't already been tagged.

Okay, seven random things about Poops.

1. My house generally looks like someone picked it up, shook it, and set it down again. I hate housekeeping with a passion. However, there are aspects of my life that have to be "just so" or I will implode. For instance, there's a bookshelf next to me here that has dusty crap piled on top of it. (Apparently I missed it the last time I dusted in 2003.) But the cookbooks that reside there are arranged by height, and if someone were to take a book off and replace it upside down or out of line, I'd have to fix it or I wouldn't be able to sleep.

2. I have a thing about odd numbers and my dislike of them. I can't knit odd numbers of rows. If I'm making a mitten, say, and it says to knit in rib for so many inches long, I have to make it an even number of rows. My cuffs will never be 13 rows or 15. Fourteen, yes. Twelve is damn near perfect in every way. I'm a fan of 16 but not 14 as much, though it's way better than 13. I find prime numbers disturbing. The more divisors an number has, the more I like it.

3. I love to be barefoot. I can't wait until it is warm enough to go outside with no shoes on. Even as I type this, my feet are cold and naked. I will probably put my slippers on just until it warms up in here a bit. But know that I don't want to. I can't sleep in socks at all. Sometimes I have to put a pair on because it is so cold in the bedroom that I can't fall asleep because my feet are too cold, but once they warm up, I wind up shucking them under the covers. Sometimes I'll change the sheets and find random socks in there.

4. I hate making phone calls. I don't mind answering the phone at all. I kind of get excited wondering who's on the line. But I don't like calling people, and I don't know why. Even close friends and family. For instance, I need to make Dr. appts for me and the girls for June, and I'm dragging my feet. I think about it and think about it but can't pick up the phone to call. I need my hair cut, but can't seem to make the call to schedule that either. If you are reading this and you're a friend of mine, know that I would love to talk to you on the phone, but I have trouble dialing. But if you were to call me, I'd talk your ear off for hours. It'd be great.

5. I know every line of dialogue of the movies The Quiet Man and Yankee Doodle Dandy. If you were to turn the sound off, I could lip sync both of them for you. (My oldest daughter is named after Maureen O'Hara's character in The Quiet Man.) I can recite large passages of other movies as well, including but not limited to Bull Durham, Moonstruck, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Gone With the Wind, and Big Jake. (If I'd had a boy, he'd have been named after John Wayne's character in Big Jake and Montgomery Clift's character in Red River.)

6. I have never tried a craft that I can't do and do well. I am proficient in needlework of all sorts (crewel, cross stitch, candlewicking, needlepoint, et al), knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, rubber stamping, scrapbooking, pysanky, jewelry making, candle making, calligraphy, ceramics, sketching (pencil and charcoal), watercolor painting, and quilling, just to name a few. I didn't like them all, but I can do them all with some skill. Definitely way beyond beginner level anyway. I have no doubt that if I were to attempt rug hooking, tatting, weaving, origami, pottery, or macrame that I'd be good at those too. Crafting is my "thing". I usually do one at a time and then move on to the next thing, but not always. I am in need of a craft studio for all my many pursuits. I should have my own TV show. And I think I'd be a fantastic finish carpenter. I plan to learn that as my next career. Good money in it, too.

7. Almost as soon as I finish reading a book, I forget it. Now, I can watch a movie once or twice and quote dialogue from it accurately. I can memorize lines in a play or lyrics to a song faster than you would think possible. But if I read a novel and you ask me to summarize it a week later or quiz me on plot details, I'd be stumped. And if I were to pick that book up a year later, it would be like a new novel to me. I have read James Michener's Hawaii at least 10 times and it's new every time. Same with Busman's Honeymoon (Dorothy Sayers), QBVII by Leon Uris, anything by Robertson Davies, and most John Irving novels. I have no power of recollection when it comes to novels. I've taken books out of the library and been three-quarters through it before it starts to feel familiar and I realize I've read it already. And I keep reading because I still don't know how it turns out in the end. The nice thing about that quirk is that I really get my money's worth at the bookstore.

So now I have to tag seven other bloggers...

Penny Karma.
Dances in Garden.

Share all things freaky with us, won't you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bobo Bringin' Da Fierce

I've knit my first pattern from Knitty! I know, I've been on the boards forever, and it's not as if I don't like the patterns there, it's just that none of them have jumped out and grabbed me by the throat.

This is called "Monica". Now, if I had stumbled across this pattern a year ago, I might not have made this one either. Why? Because it is designed to be knit flat and then seamed up the side. Which is kind of cuckoo. I mean, it's a tube. Literally. No increases, no decreases, nothing. A tube. Which, to my knitting mind, means in the round. No seams. It would be like knitting a sock or a mitten flat and then seaming it. I mean, you can, and some do. But it's an awful lot more work, in my opinion.

But now I'm a seasoned knitter and I know that I can convert patterns to my liking.

So here are my modifications. First, the body is done in Tahki "Tweedy Cotton Classic" in a colorway called "Fruity". It's 100% mercerized cotton, and if you look at it close up, it has one thread each of turquoise, lime, hot pink, red, and orange wrapped in a five-ply. I chose the hot pink for the ruffle to match it, and to make it stand out a bit. The hot pink is also Tahki Cotton Classic.

Like I said, to avoid the seams I cast on the total stitches from the front and back and joined them into a round. The ruffle is done the same way, only with double the stitches. You could really use any stitch count you like, as long as the ruffle has double the stitches of the body to start with. An even number would be helpful too.

I also redid the hem three times before I found something that wouldn't roll. The garter stitching rolled, so I undid it and tried grafting on a seed stitch border but that rolled where the graft was and looked quite wrong, so I cast on with smaller needles and did a basic 1 x 1 rib for an inch or so, and that was the ticket. Then I went to the regular size needles for the stockinette body. I did the same thing on the ruffle.

For the straps, the pattern calls for you to knit the front and back straps and then graft them at the shoulder, but I just knit the straps on the front and stitched them down in the back. I also made them a bit longer than necessary so that should she get taller--and she will--I can unstitch them and lengthen them as necessary.

I have the yarn to make one for Bug too, but with a turquoise ruffle instead. Only that ruffle up there took a whole skein and I made it a bit short. I want to make it a bit longer for Bug, and there's more stitches all around so I'm going to require a second skein. It's in the basket for now. I'll get to it later.

I'm tired today. We had our last choir rehearsal for the year last night. (We take the summer off from practicing and pick up again in the fall.) By rehearsal I mean "party" with drinks and food and such. There was no singing involved, really.

It was fun and I stayed after the party to clean up and Jeanne and I wound up playing some Skip-Bo. She beat me best of three this time. I cleaned her clock last time. Now we're even. I didn't get home until nearly midnight, and today I'm dragging. I should go work on that little silk sweater, but it's color work knit flat (what a PIA!) and it does require concentration on my part. I'll give it a shot, but if I have to tink, I'm switching to something mindless. Like a mitten or two.
Or perhaps I'll just take a nap.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The One Where Poops Meets Vicky

So, you wanna hear what I did this weekend? Of course you do.

Friday morning, we left on a road trip. Me, Sister, Dad and Bonnie squeezed into the RAV 4 and headed for Springfield, Massachusetts, a three-hour tour of sorts.

What's in Springfield? I'm glad you asked! The Springfield Armory is in Springfield Mass. The Springfield Armory is one of the two original armories in the US, the other being in Harper's Ferry VA. I believe they were both founded around the time of the Revolution, but I forget exactly. An armory is a place where they make weapons, and an arsenal is where said weapons are stored. Springfield is both. Springfield Armory was destined to protect and arm the northern states, while Harper's Ferry did the same for the southern states.

The reason my dad was so keen to go here--you didn't think I wanted to go to the armory did you?--is that he is an afficionado of antique guns, especially the M1 Garand rifle which was the weapon US soldiers carried into battle during WWII and Korea. He wants one in the worst way, but they're freakishly expensive to get. Of course the armory has scads of them, but do you think they'd sell one to us? Heck no.

Anyway, we got there about noon and our tour was scheduled for one. We got to see a short film about the history of the armory and the M1 Garand, and we had plenty of time to see all the exhibits and browse the gift shop.

Then at one, our tour started. There were about 10 or 12 of us on the tour. And aside from Sister and I, they were all quite fascinated with the collection. For sister and I, it was a selfless act. Dad enjoyed himself immensely. Sister and I amused ourselves with Park Ranger references.

Here's a picture of Vicky, our Park Ranger tour guide.

If there should come a day that I can't get to sleep, I'll just replay this tour in my head. That should do it. He was a nice guy, and knew his weaponry, but it was just so boring! Well, to the two of us anyway. ("There are over 10 thousand guns in this room and I'm going to tell you about each one of them right now.") Dad thought it was great and the other guys were all asking intelligent questions and oohing and aaahing at what I assume are the appropriate times.

Sister and I were thinking "This way to the cafeteria!" and laughing quietly to ourselves.

The tour, which lasted about an hour and a half--that's right folks, one and a half hours of gun after gun--was all on foot. Here's a picture of the room of death, as I decided to call it after I asked the younger ranger, hereafter known as "Ranger Rick", "How many people do you suppose have been killed over the years by the guns in this room? I mean, what do you suppose the death tally is for this room alone?" Ranger Rick didn't know the answer. I don't suppose they get many anti-gun liberals on the tour. Not that I'm an anti-gun liberal. I often fantasize about shooting people. On that tour, I fantasized about shooting everyone in the room and then myself, just out of boredom.

Now I suppose that wasn't all that funny, what with the latest violence in the news. But still. I think Ranger Rick and Vicky should at least come up with an estimate on the death tally. Just in case a liberal slips through the metal detectors at the door.

So, I guess part of the Armory was fascinating. I found the historical aspect of it interesting, and I do appreciate the workmanship that goes into making a rifle like those that I saw. I saw muskets that dated back to before the Revolution. Guns that were made at a time when each one was made by hand. Some of the handcrafted aspects were truly amazing--hand carved stocks and precision tooled metal with personalized engravings. There were WWII and Civil War rifles that soldiers had carved with their names and units and things like flags and V for Victory symbols and their girlfriend's names. It was kind of like looking back in time through a very small window.

We got done at the Armory at 3. We headed down the road and found our hotel, which wasn't hard because it shares a parking lot with the Basketball Hall of Fame and all signs in Springfield point to the BHoF.

We had a bit to eat--just a morsel, really--at the Uno's attached to our hotel, and went up and rested our feet before deciding on a place for supper.

We had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant that was part of the BHoF. I had gnocci that couldn't be beat. And some wine. And after dinner, we turned in so that we could be fresh for the big day of Yarn Shopping that was to follow. Or as Sister and I thought of it, our revenge for the three-hour Tour O' Guns.

We had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. I love the Cracker Barrel and I'm so glad they've wandered north. If y'all down south would send up some Waffle Houses, I would be eternally grateful, thanks so much.

After brekkers, WEBS!

Seriously. Those of you who thought that hitting the tent sale as my first visit might be overwhelming, you were so right.

We started in the tent. Everything outside seemed to be sold by the bag. And since I'm not one to make grand projects, whole bags of yarn weren't really up my alley. And I felt a bit disapponted that bags of yarn were all I was going to find.

I was so wrong. Silly ass.

I entered the store proper. I blew off the other yarn vendors out in the rain in their tents. I saw sheep last weekend. I was looking for bargains.

If I have one criticism of WEBS, it's the layout of the store. I couldn't quite figure out how the yarns are arranged. The best I could figure out was that they were in by manufacturer, because they seemed to be grouped that way. Only sometimes there were one of a kind yarns that didn't go with anything else that seemed to be put wherever there was a spot, and other new yarns that were by themselves or with other new yarns, but not with the other yarns of their family.

But really, that's splitting hairs.

I started in a counter-clockwise direction and worked my way up the right wall. I found the bargain corner with lots of closeouts, and headed along the back wall, snaking up and down the aisles. I got to the wheels in the back left corner and paused briefly, but decided that since a wheel isn't in the budget and I've got plenty of fiber to spin with my spindle, I crossed over to the Plymouth Encore, a fantastic acrylic wool blend if ever there was one.

I glanced to my right through an open door.

You know how BJ's and Sam's Club are warehouses with floor to ceiling metal racks full of cases of stuff? Well picture that, but with yarn. Nothing but floor to ceiling racks of cases of yarn. And do you have to buy it by the bag? Hell no! You can get a skein or two at your whim! ("We have over 10,000 kinds of yarn, which I'm going to tell you about right now.")

I think I blacked out for a few minutes. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. At first I felt like I'd never see it all and that I'd miss something or pass on a great deal, or just be too tired to shop properly.

Then the thought of all that yarn made me giddy and I giggled to myself and headed in. It defies description. Anyone that's ever been there knows exactly what I'm saying.

I worked my way through the back warehouse part and filled my basket right up. I did make it back out to the regular part of the store, but by that time the store had really filled up and it was getting hot and kind of hard to move. I still hadn't found a yellow wool that tripped my trigger, and I did want to search for some yarn for the Chinese-inspired baby sweater.

Sister had picked out her meager purchases and Bonnie was toddling off with a garbage bag full of acrylic yarn (Leader yarn, 100% acrylic, buy 3 bags for 15 bucks each and get a fourth one free.) So I sent Sister out looking for a yellow yarn that will felt and that is sunny and makes you feel happy inside. I'm so glad she speaks my language, because she found some right off. I have to swatch it to see if it will indeed felt. It is half wool and half alpaca. Alpaca will felt, right? I figure if it doesn't pan out for felting, it's such a nice yellow it will make something nice anyway, and I'll order up some Brown Sheep or something for the bag. Anyway, it's the first yarn featured here, and it is Valley Yarns "Stockbridge". It's going to be a felted bag for Bug's teacher aide. With pretty flowers on the side.

I was about to give up on finding the red yarn for the baby sweater because I couldn't move all that well, and I was getting really hot in there, and I ducked down a not too crowded aisle to make my way out. And what did I spy? SWTC Soysilk. In all the colors I needed. Not on sale, but discounted on account of the anniversary sale and all that. I was concerned that the label said that it would be too thick for my needs, but it claimed to knit up at 5 sts/inch on size 6 needles. But it seemed thin to me. So I got it. I swatched it up last night and with a bit smaller needle I'm getting the 6 sts/inch called for in the pattern dead on. So yay for me! And it's soysilk from China. How appropriate is that for a new Chinese baby coming to join the family? Very! (You can see I've got the first two rows under my belt so to speak. It's going to be cute!)

And check out all this Ella Rae wool! I love this yarn. It felts like a dream and the colors are so nice and rich. I got eight skeins in all and they're likely to become felted bags or mittens. Or both. Probably both. The best part is that they were originally 5.99 a ball. I usually get them for 5.50 each at Little Knits, but since WEBS isn't carrying it anymore, they were marked down to 3.59 each. Sweet!

As you might recall, I'm on a charity knitting kick. It's really contagious. I thought it would be a good time to stock up on my washable acrylic and blends for baby things. I found two balls of Plymouth Dreambaby DK. There's a multi-color that has white, aqua, blue and pink in it that will blend perfectly with the scads of pink and blue I already have. And I got a ball of the aqua for good measure. That's going to make a lot of baby hats and sweaters!

I also found a skein of a blue and green patterned Encore worsted. Encore is just great stuff. It is soft, the colors are nice, and it's washable which makes it great for babies and kids. And the price is right, usually. I have a ball of a lime green that just doesn't go with much else I have in stock, and it's just a wee bit too green to stand alone, so I didn't know what to do with it. And this ball caught my eye and the colors match perfectly, so now the multi can pair with the green and break it up a bit.

I found two skeins of this elsebeth lavold AL Chunky that I just love. I made messie (my Spring Fling Secret Pal!) a pair of fingerless mitts out of this because it was the closest color to Pittsburgh Penguins gold that I could find. I still have a ball of green that matches in my stash, so I picked up these two just because I like it so much. It's very, very soft!

These five skeins are called "Madrid" and were closeout priced at 2.10 per ball. It's an acrylic/viscose blend, again good for baby stuff. I got two skeins of the multi colored and one yellow, one green, and there used to be a whole skein of the purple but I made a washcloth out of it Saturday night and gave it as a present on Sunday with that bar of handmade rosemary lavender soap I got at NH Sheep and Wool. It was a big hit, by the way. It knits up soft and very bouncy. I like it.

Now, one of the yarns I spied under the tent that I picked up and put down about a hundred or so times was called "Willow" by Tahki. It was a linen and cotton blend and it was only 10 bucks for a bag of 10! Wow! But they had purple and orange outside. Hmmm. Not my favorite colors. If only there was a nice pink. And then, what did I find out in the warehouse? A bag of pink! Hooray! I don't have a project in mind, though I'm thinking of making a tank dress for the Bug out of it. I'm formulating the idea of a fluted hem. I'll have to get back to you on that.

So that's the entire haul from the big sale. I spent just over a hundred bucks for the lot. Oh, and I got a circular needle too, so that I would have it. And now I do, so all is well.
As if we weren't already shopped and toured out, we also hit the Yankee Candle store in Deerfield on the way home. I bought three tarts for my tart warmer, and that was about it. We got home fairly early in the afternoon and like I said, I started a washcloth for my friend's birthday.
It was good to be home, and I stayed up too late as usual. Then I got up too early because I had to pee, and went to church at 8.
And we spent the day on Sunday with friends celebrating two birthdays and talking and playing and having a good time.
This morning was all about updating the blog, taking pics of yarn, and catching up with my Knitters. Now, I'm going to post this and go off to do my dishes and clean up the kitchen. The livingroom will have to wait for later this afternoon.
It's good to be back.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Can You Stand Two More?

Make that four more.

I made two more baby hats yesterday for Baby Threads. I brought all four of them to choir practice last night, but my contact with the org. wasn't there. Rats rizzo. I bet I can whip out a few more before the weekend, though.

In my own defense, these are a really fast knit. Really. It's bulky weight Encore, 75% acrylic, 25% wool. On size 9 needles. And these little ones are only 50 stitches around. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

I was sure for a bit there that I was burned out on knitting. None of my projects were calling to me when last I posted, so I decided to spin for a bit and see what became of it.

Then I sat down in my chair and the Encore Chunky called to me again. Who am I to ignore the siren song of charity knitting?

So I whipped out two more of them.
But really, now I'm going to go do some spinning. I'll start with the rougher wool in the funky green color to get warmed up before attempting the more delightful merino and merino/silk lovelies.
Or I might make some more hats. Who knows?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Baby Hats!

I might just be hooked on making baby hats for charity. You can't eat one potato chip, and you can't knit just one hat, either.

I'm sending four hats off to Trillan42 today for her "Hats for Alex" campaign. If you pop over to the sidebar you'll see a new button that will take you to the blogs that will fill you in on the whole story. It is heartbreaking, so be forewarned. But it makes me all the more grateful that I can be home to raise my kids myself, and I am sending hats in thanksgiving for that. Well, and because I hate seeing babies without hats. Cover those heads, people! And because I like making the little hats. Instant gratification!

I designed my own pattern for one little cotton number that I call the "Butterfly Hat for Alex." I put the pattern in its own post and I'll put a link in my sidebar under "Free Patterns" so you can have it if you like. They're made from Knitpicks Shine Sport and the pattern for the butterfly stitch is from my luscious new Barbara Walker book.

I also made a couple of small preemie sized hats out of easy care acrylic. One is lace, one is ribbed. Nothing fancy. Those two are from Bernat Softee Baby. I could really use a model for such things. I've considered buying one of those "real baby" type dolls just to use as a model for baby things. It's cheaper than having a real baby, and they never grow.

The last pair of hats I made last night while watching TV, that's how easy they were. They're out of Encore Chunky and knit up really fast. I'm going to donate these last two to a local charity that makes up new baby bundles to give to at-risk babies and their mothers. They love getting handknits, so I'll give them the two more wintery hats, and I'm working on a wee baby sweater as well from that Bernat Softee Baby. They aren't kidding: it is really soft. Hence, the name I suppose.

I finished Monica for Bobo and I just have to get her to consent to model it for me and I'll let you see it. I keep saying that, I know. One of these days, I promise.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Not very exciting today, I'm afraid. Still coming down off my Sheep and Wool high!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fiber Yummies from NH Sheep & Wool

Okay, this first one is a tease. It's not's soap! I don't even use soap, but this smelled so good I had to have it.

The "flavor" is Rosemary Lavender and it's made by Luscious Lathers.

I initially wandered into that booth looking at the roving. Today was all about the roving, but I think you'll find that abundantly clear soon enough.

The Fiber Fetish is where I located and later purchased a 4 oz. merino roving in the cranberry colorway. It is ever so soft and lovely. I expect great things from it.

It was funny. Sister and I went with my mother who is most decidedly not a knitter. Or a spinner, crocheter, or weaver. But she comes with us most cheerfully anyway. And by the time I picked out this skein of merino, she was making suggestions and understood why this was a deal at the price as compared to the stuff in the giant trash bags for half the price. "I would wear this next to my skin," she declared. Well done, grasshopper.

Speaking of trashbags full of roving, this was another of my purchases. It is an odd color mix of green and purple, but they had some spun up beside the roving and it is really very lovely. In this picture it looks like a muddy mess, but I have hopes for it to be sure.

I didn't get the name of the folks selling it, but they were so funny and cheerful. I really wanted to buy more from them just because I liked them so much.

And finally from The Fiber Studio I got this big old 4 oz. wad of a merino and silk blend. It is soft and shiny too and I am in love with it.

I got all this roving with not one clue what I'm going to make from the resulting yarn. It may just be that the project will come to me when the yarn is spun.

One place I wish I could have bought yarn from was Maple Creek Farm. She doesn't have her website up yet, but she's the woman I got the handdyed alpaca from last year that I made my big stole out of. I was looking forward to getting something this year, but by the time we got back to her booth, I didn't have enough money left to get so much as a single skein. But having felt all the yarns in her booth over and over again and knowing that each colorway is as pretty as the next, I'd feel quite confident ordering from her online. Her merino/silk blends were to die for. As were her merino/tencel sock yarns. Also quite nice. Makes me almost want to knit socks! But not quiiiiite.

We had a beautiful day for it. It's about 70 in the sun and there's a constant cool breeze a-blowin'. Not a cloud in the sky! Everyone seemed happy and was having a good time.

It was a nice day!

A Butterfly Hat for Alex

Butterfly Hat for Alex

Now available as a Ravelry download!


Friday, May 11, 2007

And With the Dawn Comes a New Day

I am so glad yesterday is over, really and truly glad. And relieved.

The funeral was a lovely affair. Fr. Albert always does a nice job with a funeral, be it a full-blown mass or just a few words at the cemetery. I wish I could say that we knocked the songs out of the park, but that'd be a big old lie. Still, people are kind and lots of folks came up after and told us we sounded beautiful. Thank God for kind people.

I called my sister after I got home and asked how it really was. She said that considering how nervous I was, it was quite good. She said yes, I wasn't pitch perfect all the time, but it certainly wasn't as wretched as I thought. (I think she was expecting it to be worse than it was.)

I'm just happy it's over.

Now I can look forward to NH Sheep and Wool! I need to call Sister and find out what time we're leaving on Sunday. I have no idea what I want to buy yet. See, we're going to be at the big tent sale at WEBS next Saturday too, so I know there'll be every imaginable commercial yarn available at great prices, so it's likely my attention this weekend will be on handspun, handdyed, and roving galore! I'm in the market for a top-whorl spindle as well.

Next weekend I'm going to be on the lookout for yarn for the little Chinese sweater I'm planning on making. And perhaps yarns suitable for charity knitting. You know, easy care fibers.

I have made a commitment to knitting more for charitable causes. I'm partway through a sweater for Guideposts Knit for Kids, and I've done three Hats for Alex and I'm working on the fourth. As soon as I finish the fourth one, I'll send them off to Pam and I'll post the pattern I designed just for the project. Here's a preview picture of one of them, just to tide you over.

Remember how I said I believe that you get back what you send out?

"Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." (That's 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.)

Or, call it karma, if you like. It's all the same to the clam.

Well, I hadn't knit anything for charity, and my sales on etsy have been slow. I sensed a correlation, or call it a sign if you will that I'm doing too much taking and not enough giving. I start knitting some hats and a sweater and the next thing I know I sell a bowl and get a special order request all in the same day. Spooky.

I'm a bit gunshy about doing a special order, but it does sound kind of fun and right up my alley. He wants 10 different mittens--not pairs, single mittens--for an art installation at a library. It's going to be a wall where kids can measure themselves using different everyday objects, and he thought my mittens were fun and would be a great thing to use in the project. So he wants ten different, brightly colored mittens.

Good grief. Mittens for art's sake.

I did tell him that I'm wary of doing a special order like this because unlike pairs of mittens, if he changes his mind, I can't really expect to resell these in the shop. And while I could always go back and make a second mitten for each one, I really don't want to have 10 more pair of mittens in stock at this time.

I told him that, so the ball's in his court. If he's still interested, the mitten queen is going to be back in business.

See, it's all about the karma.

I wonder what one reaps when one sows a knitted penis?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pushing Up Daisies

Today is Bonnie's mother's funeral. I'm singing. I'm so nervous that I haven't been able to eat all day. I rehearsed with Jeanne last night. I recorded it, and have been singing all morning. I'm probably going to do just fine, but I'm still nervous. Fear of failure.

I'm more nervous than usual because it's just me and Jeanne and the guitar. Lillian is not going to be there to bang out the melody on the organ like she does when the service is at church. Which means I have to rely on my own ability to stay on pitch. To quote Monica from Friends: "IT'S HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE!"

Pray for me, would you? I could use the help.

And yesterday I had to bury my little mouse cat. Min was 12, and had always been very skinny. It's suspected that she's part Siamese, so skinnyness is not unusual. But in the past few weeks she'd lost weight and was really becoming skin and bone. It was time to decide if she needed a vet visit, but before I could, she went downhill really quickly. It got to the point where I knew that if I brought her in, they'd run hundreds of dollars worth of tests to find out what was wrong, prescribe hundreds of dollars worth of medication which likely wouldn't work, only to have to have her put to sleep to the tune of even more money.

Or I could let nature take its course.

Mercifully, nature stepped in quickly and she died quite peacefully yesterday curled up on a corner of the kitchen rug where she always liked to sleep. She didn't appear to be in any pain, just very weak and tired. So I patted her and talked to her and checked on her from time to time, and one time she just wasn't breathing anymore. So I wrapped her in a towel and put her in a box and buried her under the weeping willow beside the day lilies.

Lilith does not seem at all upset, but then I suspected she always wanted to be an only child-cat.

It's been a stressful week. I'll be glad when today is over.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Meet my Daemon

It seems I am humble, modest, spontaneous, flexible, and clever. I guess there's a good reason I haven't set any traps in the house to kill my field mouse inhabitants. Bad juju, that.

I first read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Phillip Pullman because I read an article that Christian groups were calling for a boycott of it. Nothing makes me want to read a book faster than someone telling me that I shouldn't read it because of its alleged anti-God message.

I believe in God. I wasn't offended. I don't think He was either.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sock Knitters, Beware!

A public service announcement brought to you courtesy of Ask Poops, Please.

If you ever thought of locking up your handknit socks before, well, now is a good time! Especially if you live in Belleville, Illinois.

I can see it now. Sock safes. Hosiery vaults. Stocking strongboxes. Instead of Socks that Rock you'll have to make Socks that Lock.

Somebody stop me, please.

Anyway, read all about it here courtesy of today's front page news. A news article guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of sock knitters everywhere. *shudder*

Sock snatcher aside, (she said "snatch". Heh heh hehhhh.) we had some good news this morning! The Sears repairman was here bright and early at quarter past eight to fix the big TV! Yep, a piece of tuner, a spot of solder, and $201 later, my big 37-incher is up and running. He said it was worth fixing too, that we have a peach of a TV there. Woot!

I also took some pictures of my bush. Wanna see?

It's more of a tree than a bush, but it does a good job of holding up my new scarf! I spun the yarn myself from roving purchased from an etsy seller. The colorway was called "Maud", so I like to call this the "For the Love of Maud" scarf. The pattern is called "vine lace" from my new Barbara Walker book. I didn't block it so well, but it's going to be in the 80's all this week, so it's likely it'll be going in a drawer for several months anyway. At least I hope so. It better not be cold enough for a scarf in May. If it is, I'll get ugly.

Though from the looks of things, I might need it at NH Sheep and Wool this weekend. *sigh*

So, in the continuing saga of the upcoming funeral, things have taken an interesting twist. I no sooner get back from the bus stop and the phone rings. It's my mother. She's seen Bonnie's mom's obituary in the free paper and apparently Bonnie has "assumed" my father's last name and she's listed Dad as her husband. Um...they're not married. Really. They're not. Ma got a chuckle out of it and was going to get off the phone to give Dad some shit about it.

And there you go. Yet another example of "don't believe anything you read." Especially if it's in the free paper.

The funeral is set for Thursday afternoon at the funeral home. Fr. Albert is going to do the service, and Jeanne called me last night after choir practice and volunteered her services and her guitar if Bonnie would like something sung. Oh, she also volunteered me to sing the song. So if Bonnie wants a song, we'll sing it, provided it's cool with the Padre. I don't know why it wouldn't be, but you never know.

And speaking of church things, I posted some pics of the girls' baptism gown that I made. It's 100% polyester fabric, so it should last forever. It's slippery as a mofo, though. You gotta keep a good grip on the baby when she's wearing that bad boy! The first picture is of the gown as a whole. This is mostly so you can see the length of it.

The second shot here is of the bodice. It's embroidered with white on white and it has a center cross motif entwined with lilies, and the floral vines on the side are sort of a Jacobean design. Bug was the queen of spitting up as a baby, and before her baptism I dressed her and put her bib on her. I swear I didn't take it off until just before the baptism itself, and what does she do? Promptly spits up on the gown. You knew she would, didn't you?

We dodged that bullet with Bobo by having her baptized by immersion. She wore a cute sundress to church, and right before the baptism I stripped her down to nakee baby and father put her in all over. (It is really terrifically cute. You have to see it to believe it.) Then once she was dipped, I dressed her in her gown for the rest of the ceremony. Because there's more to it than just dipping. As a matter of fact, I think the next part is where Father says something like "Receive this white garment as a symbol of your baptism. May you bring it unstained into God's kingdom..." etc and so forth. (If you let him know that the gown was made by someone special or is a family heirloom of some sort, he'll mention that too.)

I never realized--getting back to funerals again--that at a Catholic funeral, at the back of the church before the mass, the family drapes the casket with a white cloth, called a pall. And Father says something to the effect of "At your baptism, your family brought you to church clothed in white...." and then goes on to connect the rebirth of baptism with rebirth into heaven through the resurrection promise. It's very cool, and I couldn't believe I'd never noticed it before. Well, you live, you learn.

Aaaaaanyway, the next two shots are of the hem. There's an organza overdress, and an underslip. On the bottom of the underslip, embroidered in white on white again, is their full name and under that the date of their baptism. There's an Easter lily embroidered in between to separate the two names.

I think I'd like their First Eucharist dress to be similar in design and concept. I'd like an organza overdress and an underslip that can be embroidered with their names and First Eucharist dates as well. I haven't planned out a design for the bodice yet, but I do think it will feature a cross of some sort again, but instead of Easter lilies I'll go with a wheat and grapvine motif. You know, bread and wine and all that. I've only got some vague ideas floating about in my head at the moment, so I'll have to get back to you as things progress. I've got a year. Don't rush me!

I dug my own First Communion pictures out of the vault this morning. As you can see, I did not get screwed out of the white regalia. That's me, the Bride of Christ in the middle there.
White dress, white tights, white veil, white shoes, and yes, even white gloves.

In front of me receiving communion is Rachel Clark. I was confirmed with her (and most of my FC class when you get right down to it), and her parents still go to our church. They're lovely people, the Clarks. Note that she got screwed out of the white dress and is wearing a long, purple gown. Long dresses were the thing back then.

You can't see her in this picture (Who am I kidding? You can barely see me in the picture. No scanner--sorry.) but my cousin Wanda is two behind me in line, right after Mark Bolstridge. She's wearing something equally long and equally heinous made from pink polyester with very poofy sleeves. My communion dress no longer exists, sadly. Ma loaned it out at one time or another and we never got it back. Same with our baptism dress. Though as she pointed out, they were the cheapest polyester money could buy from JC Penneys in the early seventies, and we're well rid of them. They are far from heirloom quality.

It kept me out of a quandry, really. I mean, if the dresses still existed, I know I'd feel compelled to put them on my girls out of tradition's sake. But I really did want to make their dresses, so that would have posed an internal struggle for me.

No dress, no struggle. No problem.

I think I'm going to go watch my GIANT TV now. Why? Because I can, baby!

Monday, May 07, 2007

And That Was the Weekend That Was

Let's see. How was my weekend?


First of all, I got my SECRET PAL package on Friday! Oh, how exciting! Here's the photo essay:
For the kidlings, she sent a plethora of Spongbob goodies and other assorted funsies. There's stickers, magic washcloths, playing cards, foamies to make door hangers and visors, necklace kits, and plastic cups. They were thrilled! Mary's made several cards already with the foamies and did both door hangers.

For me, there was two packages and one big box of Russell Stover Net Carb candies. They're quite yummy, and being sugar free, they don't cause those nasty blood sugar spikes and crashes that regular candy can bring. They're also crazy to find around here. Not many places carry this line, and when they do have it, they have one or two varieties at best.

Of course there are knitterly goodies as well! In my very own Spongebob cup, there's a Yankee Candle in lilac that made the whole package smell like spring. There's a funny little sheep keyring with googly eyes that I have to keep taking back from the kids. There's a package of wool wash and some Knit Klips, which are plastic clips that you use when seaming a garment instead of pins. I've been wanting to try these!

She sent me some terrific needles! I got Addi Turbos (my faves) in sizes 3 and 5, both 24" for doing little sweaters and things. And I got my set of size 3 Crystal Palace DPN's to replace the Clover ones that Lilith the cat chewed the ends of. Funny thing is, I had these in my hand at my last trip to Patternworks and I put them back, figuring that they could wait. Good thing I did! The yarn there is two skeins of Cascade Pastaza in a lovely mauvy purple heather. It is WAY soft. And that other one? Mmmmmmmalabrigo, baby! I've been dying to touch a skein of this and ooooooooh, my! SO SOFT! Really. I'm not sure if I should knit with it or just cuddle it like a teddy bear. It's amazing. And it's an olive green and rose colorway. Very soft, earthy and pretty.

And for me, the piece de resistance. Barbara Walker's first collection of stitch patterns. As excited as I was about the Malabrigo, I squeed aloud over the book. There are 500 stitch patterns in this book, some of which I'd never seen before. The best part of the book for me is that she explains a bit of the origins of the stitches and makes suggestions for what it might be best used for, be it a sweater, or gloves, or stockings, or whatever. She explains if some have a tendency to curl, whether it makes a tight or loose fabric, if the effect is tweedy or delicate. It's truly comprehensive.

Of course, like a crack addict, now I've had my first hit for free and I want more! I want piles of Malabrigo to roll around in, and I want the other two Barbara Walker books! Gimme gimme gimme!

Now, me being me, I couldn't figure out who my secret pal is. I thought, I sleuthed, I had no luck. I had to admit that she was cleverer than I, and she finally gave it up: Zonda! Here's the weird thing: Zonda sent me a RAK package a while back that had a card in it. I got an idea for a pattern and quickly jotted some notes on the back of it as it was the first available piece of paper I had handy at the time. This card has been sitting by my knitting chair for months. Had I but opened that card and compared it to the notes in my SP package, I could have figured it out. But no. The thought didn't even cross my mind.

So again and again, thank you so much, Zonda! I love EVERYTHING! And you too! MWAH!

I also got to break out my new knitting book in style this weekend. We had a birthday party for the Hub on Sunday, which meant cleaning the house most of the day on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. It needed it, and it is Spring, after all. Time for cleaning, really.

I went through all the knitting stuff around my chair. I put needles back in their case, sorted my circs and put them back in their bags. I gave the WIP's their own basket and amazed myself at how much I have on the needles at the moment. It's unlike me! I went through and wound partial skeins into easy to handle balls, and in that mass of yarn, I found a ball of my homespun that had gotten tangled and set aside like a bay leaf until I felt like tackling it. Tackle it I did, and got it wound back up neatly. I also ran across the last bit of the hunk of roving it was spun from that had yet to be pre-drafted. So I pre-drafted it and put it in the big Tupperware container with all the rest of the predrafted roving. Well, having come that far, and long story short, I settled down with my drop spindle and spun the rest of it into yarn, set the twist and hung it outside on the line to dry. By evening it was in three neat balls ready to knit! So, I picked a stitch pattern from BW and cast on for a scarf. And I love it! The lace pattern is easy, the homespun is beautifully colored and quite nicely spun, if I do say so myself. I'm thinking I'm going to keep this FO just for me!

I'm thinking that with all the stuff I have in progress that I might need some progress bars on the sidebar. Maybe later.

Continuing with my weekend, in addition to all the cleaning, Saturday night I cantored at the 4:30 mass. It was First Eucharist (or First Communion as it was known back in the day.) I made my First Communion in a decade where they were trying to embrace those Vatican II reforms and were moving away from white dresses and little white suits on the kids. So my cousins and I were the only ones in full regalia for the event. The rest of the girls wore party dresses.

I bemoaned the seventies and the lack of traditional First Communion garb.

But let me just say that now, in my parish, First Eucharist regalia is all the rage! Every girl to a one was in a white dress, white shoes, all but one wore a veil, and that one girl wore a wreath of fresh roses in her hair and had obviously come directly from the hairdressers. It was AWESOME. Only one boy was without a suit, and he still had a tie and dress pants on. The rest wore jackets, and two of them had full on suits. Again--AWESOME. I know they're just clothes, but it really does help make the day more special for the kids. After all, this is--and should be!--a big day in their lives!

Sister and I have been planning my girls' Communion dress since we hung up the baptism gown. I made that gown and embroidered the bodice with a cross and lilies all in white on white. The dress has a long slip with an organza overskirt, and on the underslip I embroidered their full names and the dates of their baptisms. I hope their kids wear the gown too, and I'll put their names on it as long as I'm alive to do it and provided the arthritis hasn't crippled me. I hope all this knitting will keep my joints limber. My hands anyway.

But anyway, First Eucharist is just the cutest thing ever. After church we hooked up with Jeanne and went to Friendly's for supper and ice cream and got home quite late for us. After eight! Oooh!

Sunday...more cleaning. I took Bug off for her last CCD class and hung around in the church kitchen and visited with the grownups like I usually do. While I was out, Larry cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the kitchen, and boiled the potatoes and eggs for egg salad. And on his birthday too!

Bug even started cleaning up her room yesterday. Miracles never cease. It's still a pit, but at least you can move around in it. We donated three garbage bags of outgrown clothes yesterday too.

So that was all good. But we found out on Sunday that Dad's girlfriend Bonnie's brother lost everything in a trailer fire the night before. He got out alive, and he got the two elderly people living with him out, but everything else he owned is gone. Bonnie was very stressed out about it and didn't come down for the cookout. So we're sitting in the yard and we see a souped-up Mustang roar into Dad's driveway next door, then a few minutes later roar back out.

Baboo came down a minute later and said that the guy in the car was Bonnie's other brother who came to tell her that their mother had fallen down a flight of stairs and was being rushed to the hospital. Dad was on his way back up to the house when Bonnie came down in the car and she and Dad left.

Long story short, Bonnie's mom was basically DOA at the hospital. She was well into her 80's and apparently had a heart attack, which is why she fell down the stairs. They got back from the hospital about 9 and Bonnie was calmer than I thought she'd be. The weird thing is, her mom been saving up to go into a retirement community and had some money put aside for that. Well, when her son lost everything, she told Bonnie to give the money to him, the home could wait. And then the next day, well...let's just say she doesn't need the home now.

It's weird how things work out. Both women were stressed about the money, and about her mom going into the retirement home, and if she'd eventually need a nursing home, and what they were going to do. And now, while Bonnie has to worry about funeral arrangements and settling the estate and all, she doesn't have to worry if Mom's alright, if she has enough money, if she's feeling okay. Like she said last night, she's in good hands now.

So, in the way that universe loved balance, we had wonderful parts of the weekend, and sad and tragic parts too. Sometimes it's just the way it goes.

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