Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Headless Horseman's Horse

Moments after I took this, she had the hood over her eyes and one of the straps in her mouth. I got my picture, though. Mr W's with his dad, so no pics of him at the moment.

Found it

All's well. I found my camera. I had grabbed it in a hurry and put it in the van in order to take pictures of Sally at the dog park. Duh!!

I'm really glad I didn't accuse, and really glad I don't have to fork over money for a new camera.

Happy trick or treats!

Where's my camera?

My camera seems to have gone missing. I took a picture of Mr W with his Halloween costume on Friday morning, and now I can't find the thing. It stays in my purse, in its case, and when I went to get it this morning, it's not there. Hmm.

I went to a party last night, put my stuff down and didn't really think about it for the two hours I was there. It seems unlikely that someone would have the balls to open up my purse and take the camera, and my wallet was still there.

It's funny how, in my illogical emotional mind, I can't help but think someone at the party STOLE my camera. It reminds me of a video I recently saw on the internet (I'm not even going to link to it, because it's so goofy), where a guy is trying to make the case that an old (1920's old) Charlie Chaplin film shows a woman walking with a cell phone held up to her ear. Yes, a cell phone, so she MUST be a time traveler. His assertion: there's no other explanation; there's nothing else it can be.

I'm trying not to do that, but it's so easy to jump to conclusions. I've sent an email to the host of the party and was very careful not to sound accusatory. I hope I did just misplace it, instead of worrying that one of those nice people at the party took my stuff. But now I'll be more careful. It's a good thing it will cost "only" $150 to replace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Say what you want about cell phones these days, but Verizon makes it very easy to get a new one into your hands. My two years with my regular phone were up earlier this month, and I assumed that, since I'd have the next one for two years, I'd get a smart phone. So, I'll pony up the extra money each month for the data service, and console myself with the fact that I don't subscribe to cable TV. Cable internet, yes, but not TV, much to the chagrin of Mr W.

Who has time to watch TV? I've gotten so used to sitting down in the evenings and pulling out my knitting, or the computer, or something to read that TV isn't even on my radar. When Mr W asks if we can PLEASE get cable like there is at his dad's house, it's easy for me to say that, sorry, I don't want to make the effort to watch more TV. So he'll just have to suffer when he's here, poor guy.

The phone is nice, though. Something that helped sell me on it is its GPS function. I like the idea that I can have directions at my fingertips; it helps me feel a little more safe and independent. And I can't get to my home email accounts from the computers at work, but I'll be able to with this. Not that it's been hard to survive during the day without them, of course. I guess I (like a lot of people) like the option of being connected on the go, if I want. The thing was in the kitchen, and I was in the living room on the computer, when I saw that I got a new email. The phone made a little noise to indicate the email, and I promptly got up and turned that feature off. I don't need to know when each one arrives.

In other news, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered, about how things ended with B, and find myself gearing up to look again a little sooner than I thought I would. It helps when both parties are gracious about it. I find myself, well, OK with myself. I'm doing my thing, raising my kid, walking my dog, going to work, etc. It all feels like things are as they should be except for the long-sought-after partner I would like to have. I don't feel like there are deficits in me that have to be fixed by a man (unless you count stuff like my disdain for yard work other than gardening).

This feeling of things being OK has translated for me into an idea. Or, should I say, an IDEA. I want to go to Europe next summer, for 10 days or so. By myself. A modest trip, mostly to places where I'll be able to get by with a phrasebook, and it would serve as sort of a starter to whet my appetite for further travel. After dating CB, who travels literally all over the world for his work, and then B, who is also well-traveled, I found myself tired of waiting for someone to take me to Europe. I have always intended to go, and now I shall. I'm a big fan of Rick Steves, and have been reading his books.

Indeed, this is what happens when I'm apparently getting enough rest, and have time to think about things...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No harm, no foul

By mutual agreement, B and I decided to end our relationship today. I saw it coming, but I'm still a little melancholy tonight. We dated for about five months. In the end neither of us felt like it was a good fit. I tell you, that chemistry thing, that spark, the feeling that you and another person "fit", are still a bit of a mystery to me. It's hard when both parties are nice and good people, because you think it SHOULD work, but I guess it makes it easier, too, because you can part on good terms, which we did. No harm, no foul.

As I said, I saw this coming, and I was at the library yesterday, and happened upon a book called, "Meeting Your Half-Orange" by Amy Spencer. The subtitle is, "An utterly upbeat guide to using dating optimism to find your perfect match." The book is about getting into the mindset that: A) a person who is a really good fit for you is out there, and B) you can, by remembering this, and acknowledging what you're looking for, and what you have to offer, attract that person to you. The book stays largely away from making the process seem too mystical; she gives a psychological basis for her ideas instead, which I like. I also like how she stresses that we shouldn't settle. That we should do some soul searching as to what it is that we really want in a relationship, and ask for it.

And I find myself, strangely, optimistic. Something the book mentions is to tell the universe that you are looking for your half-orange (a translated Spanish expression that refers to the idea that if you find your half-orange, you and he make up something together that is complete, although she stresses that we are really looking for someone complementary, not someone who would "complete" us).

So I'm telling you and the universe, now, at this time. I'm in a good place in my life, and I'm looking for a committed relationship with a guy who is a really good fit for me and in it for the long haul.

I'm not soured on internet dating, either, btw. I still think it's a good way to see a bunch of people that meet your basic criteria. However, I'm not in a hurry to jump back into that pond. I'm going to just be for a while. I'm certain I'll find him. It might take a while, but he's out there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This and that

Here's a photo from the CSA farm potluck last weekend. I thought I took more pictures, but this one shows the spirit of the event. Folks talking, kids running around with sticks (I was a little bummed out the Mr W was with his dad - he would have happily wielded a stick along with the other boys), and a beautiful sunny day. OK, I don't actually see any sticks in the picture either, but you get my point. Those kids had a blast.

That's Claire in the white, who owns the farm with her husband Matt. And there in the hoop house are the chickens (those very chickens) I get my eggs from. I love that.

And this, well, this is a nice fall shot from the hike a couple of weeks ago, but was too nice not to share. It's been a warm fall, and we might have had our first hard frost last night, but maybe not. It's been late coming this year.

I might try to get out camping with Mr W one last time. I think my favorite campgrounds has electric sites on until the end of the month. I know, I know, that's pretty wimpy, but it would be nice to have the little heater going while we were tucked into the van enjoying the evening.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog? What blog

I like to post 2-3 times a week, and haven't managed to do that lately. There's plenty going on, and it's fall, so the weather's been nice. Here's a couple of thoughts, with promises for pictures tomorrow.

Saturday I went to a potluck at the CSA farm that I bought eggs from this summer. The Boyles were very welcoming, and it was nice to meet other people who think the CSA thing is important. We took a tour of the place, and I'm so impressed at what they do there. At the same time, it put to rest any romantic notion that I want to be a farmer someday. I just don't have the chops, and that's OK, I'll invest in people that do.

One generous gesture the Boyles made was to let us pick flowers from their beds, as they were finished with most of them. I was making a visit to my former MIL later that afternoon, so picked 5 nice sized sunflowers to give to her. She's got macular degeneration, so her vision is poor. She was able to see the sunflowers, though, and really liked them.

It was sort of sad to visit with her. She's moved to the nursing home part of the facility because her arms just aren't strong enough to allow her to make reliable transfers in and out of her wheelchair. Her mind is OK, and she's pondering her fate. The room is small, and she shares it with a woman who has Alzheimer's. I need to get over there more to spring her and take her off site.

B and I hiked yesterday with Sally, and I am quite pleased to say that the 8 mile hike was about what I expected. I'm not sore, and feel like I've gotten in better shape with this hiking thing this summer, and would like to continue.

Guess that's it for now - pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dog park injury

I've been taking Sally to the same dog park since she was about 4 months old, so that's about 3 1/2 years. We know a lot of the dogs and owners there, and she usually stays close to me, unless she's chasing the ball. She's never been one to start any skirmishes, but she doesn't roll over and be submissive either. If the going gets tough, she goes to a human, and will thread herself between the person's legs and stay there.

Today, we had just gotten to the dog park when another dog, a smaller dog, came up to her and started "playing" kind of aggressively. "She's just playing" her owner called, yet she kept going at Sally's face, and Sal would turn away, and try to move away from this dog. It was clear to me she did not want to play with this dog. The dog didn't back down so I started tapping it with the chuck-it (the thing that launches the tennis ball), and yelling at it to knock it off. Finally the owner came over, and said, "She's just playing. I don't want you to hurt my dog". OK, fine.

A minute or two later, I look at Sally, and see this:

The other dog has somehow chewed/abraded/scraped off the skin of my dog's snout, and left this raw, oozing bumpy skin behind.

Wait, it gets better. I start to get a little bent out of shape at this, and walk toward the owner of the dog that did this, saying, "my dog is bleeding now". He says something to the effect of if my dog can't handle herself at the dog park, I shouldn't bring her there. What?! I sputter something ineffectual, and turn to see another dog owner coming up to me. I've seen this guy before, know the names of his dogs, and he lays into me about how he "saw everything" and that he agreed that if my dog can't defend herself, I've got no business bringing her there. Instead of telling him to f*** off (like I really wanted to), I didn't say much of anything useful, and walked away.

I'm still incensed over this. Is this really how people think? That she deserved it because she wouldn't defend herself? That thought is so ridiculous, but there it is.

If my dog was a jerk and got into little fights or challenged other dogs occasionally, I could see this happening every now and then. However, my dog doesn't really interact that much with other dogs. She wants to run after the ball, visit with people, sniff a few dog butts, and she's good. I hate thinking that this is human nature. Instead of shifting the blame, I really wish the person would have just said, I'm sorry my dog hurt your dog. That's it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Holiday Dosey-doe

No one comes to see me. And that's OK, my house is small, and I only have one bathroom. It puts the impetus on me, then, to be the one who travels if I want to see family over the holidays. Things have changed a lot since the holiday traditions we had when I was growing up. I think it's great that some families manage to do the same thing year after year, although some in those families might not agree with me.

This year, my brother invited my dad to come to MN to join them (well, us, since I'll be there, too) for Thanksgiving. It took a long time for him to decide, and in the end he's not going to go. I don't know what to think of that. My dad travels to Vegas a couple of times a year, but he's never been to my or my brother's house. Sorry, a little bit of sour grapes and this post isn't really about that.

After some "well, what should we do" moments, we are going to meet up at my younger brother's place in SC after Christmas. Thankfully, Mr W's dad and I aren't hung up on having to do things on Christmas proper, so it will be sort of a week long celebration for Mr W. He'll have Christmas with his dad, then with me, then we'll fly to SC and there might be a thing or two for him there as well.

So, yea! I will swallow hard and pony up the (last time I checked) $466 per person airfares. Since the airport is an hour and 15 minutes away, I think spending an extra $30 a ticket to take off at 7:30 is worth it. Mr W is an awesome traveler, although he lately doesn't like to fly. Such a different world it is. I took my first plane ride at 17 or 18, and my kid's been flying once or twice a year since he was an infant. We'll get to go to the beach! It'll be about 65 degrees, but still!

It's only money, you know? My family means a lot to me, and visits with them are special indeed. Although Graycie the campervan has developed a leak and I am taking her into the shop today, so there will be some expense there. Hopefully nothing drastic. "Oh, we just forgot to tighten a bolt, you're good". Ha ha. Yesterday, I saw my neighbor, who lives on the other end of the alley, and she said, "Is your van for sale?" I laughed, and said, "No, not yet." And she asked that we keep them in mind if I want to sell it.

I don't want to sell it, but it's good to know that I could recoup most of what I've put into it relatively easily.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Signs of Progress

I finally (as in wanting to do it for about three years kind of finally) got around yesterday to painting my front door and the trim in the front of the house. My house is plain to begin with, and when I bought it, it had sort of a light green trim that you really couldn't see as trim.

I've felt like kind of a slacker in terms of how "nice" my house is. My gardens look good, but I don't water my lawn enough, that kind of thing. I live in the older part of town where people put a lot of time and money into making their houses look good. Next door, they are finishing a fix and flip that will likely have a $400-$450K asking price. The house across the street was bought, gutted and fixed up by an older gentleman who is living there, and the other folks across the street painted their house last summer and it always looks nice.

I think I've increased the "pop" factor of the trim. My only complaint is that there are so many layers of paint on the window frames that they are very bumpy, and it was hard to get paint everywhere it needed to go. But it's done, and it looks pretty good and I like my purple door. I also used the same purple to stamp around the house numbers (which I blotted out in the above photo), and the border makes the numbers pop, and I like the effect.

In other news, this is the doorjamb between my kitchen and the back hallway of my house. It's probably hard to read, but those marks are how tall Mr W has been, starting a few months after I bought the house, up through last week. He's grown about a foot in 4 and half years, which isn't unusual, but still pretty amazing to see it laid out like that. He's been settling into fourth grade, and I think he's got the homework routine down (finally).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lookout Mountain

B and I went hiking on Saturday, on a trail that led to a place called Lookout Mountain. It was a glorious day - perfect weather. It was also somewhere around hunting season, hence B's red shirt and Sally's kerchief. I had a red shirt on as well. The trail was up up up, but had some interesting geology, and I brought home a couple of interesting rocks, one with lots of mica, and one that looks like it could be garnet, or dark reddish quartz or something similarly pretty.

We happened upon this huge pile of what looked like maybe the pole peelings pile from an old saw mill, or a collapsed mine, or something. I got the order wrong, the photo below is what I saw first coming up the trail, and the one above was taken a little after that.
No sign saying what it was, no "Keep Off", nothing.

We stopped for lunch and Sally looked like one of those lions on the Serengeti, although they don't wear kerchiefs for visibility.

And this was the view. I think we were at about 10,600'. Not as high as a lot of stuff in the area, but it was a pretty steep trail for me. Even so, I did pretty well, and was thinking I'm in better shape than I have been for a while. Need to keep it that way! It was good to get out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Night and day

Knitters often have several projects going at once. I've been working on this vest for a few months. I realized the other day I went 3" (whatthehellwasIthinking!!!) past the point where I should have started the two lace panels on the front and the back. I have woven a piece of yarn in most of the way around that I can rip back to, but haven't actually done it. Come to think of it, maybe I could just start the lace where I am and it would be just be shallower. We'll see.

The deal with the purple Passiflora vest is that the yarn is DK weight, which means it's certainly beefier than sock yarn, but thinner than worsted. Thus, it takes 200+ stitches to go once around the piece. I like the look of the fabric, to be sure. There's something smooth and neat about those small stitches. But I put it down a few weeks ago and haven't picked it back up yet. And the socks I am working on? 4/5 done with one, and it's waiting patiently.

Enter Liesl. I had bought about 500 yards of this yarn (Fiesta Watermark) on sale last spring and wanted to do something with all of it. It's something like Aran or Chunky weight and the difference between knitting with this on size 11 needles and knitting with DK weight is night and day. Talk about instant gratification. It's hard to get in knitting projects, you kind of have to be a process person for it to hold your interest, but I love this project!

I started it about a week ago, and am about 2/3 through the second ball. The plan is to use up three balls on the length, then divide the last ball in half and use that for the sleeves. I forgot to put in button holes, so I'll get a nice ribbon and tie it closed at the top.

I love this heavy yarn stuff so much, here are my next two ideas: Sunkist (the link is to a pdf of the pattern) and Owls. My level of satisfaction with this project is quite high.