Friday, August 30, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Dear Mom,
A Finished Project, that turns out well and fits perfectly has to be a Favorite Thing, right?
this photo is true to color- the one above is too red
I've had Chickadee in my knitting queue for awhile. I suspect this one won't be the last. I've been investigating various fair isle patterns to replace the birds. Like BEES.
This sweater is knit from the top down. And there is subtle shaping between bust and hips. Because it is a top down sweater, it was easy to be sure that the shaping happened exactly where it needed to happen for my body. (As it turned out, I needed to make no changes to the pattern here.) I did shorten the sleeves a smudge. And I omitted a contrasting color- choosing to make those rings the same color as my birds rather than come up with a third contrasting color.
I tried and failed on 2 or 3 different button designs, decided to go purchase plain old black buttons, and then the lazy, cheapskate inside me decided to try one more shrinky dink button design rather than get in the car, drive to the fabric store and spend the money on buttons. I am glad I did, because I like the way these turned out. Once again, I sort of cheated, and traced over some fabric I purchased with this sweater in mind.
"They" say we are in for a bitterly cold, possibly early, winter. If this is the case, my Black Bird Sweater will be more than a favorite thing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Watermelon, An Incident, and Why the Melon in my fridge is a $10 Melon

Dear Mom,

I may be addicted to watermelon.
In fact, when watermelons disappear from the grocery store, I may have a problem.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I've averaged one whole melon every two days for over a month. Maybe two. Months, not melons. Our Brother, the Chef, taught me how to peel and dice a watermelon with virtually no melon wasted. I keep a big bowl of cubed melon in the fridge and snack on bowls of it all day long.
Last Sunday, when My Hero and I did our weekly shopping, we had an unfortunate watermelon incident.

There we are, casually leaving the store. My Hero is pushing the cart filled with our groceries in our re-usable sacks. The Watermelon is riding on the rack under the cart. Like most grocery store arrangements around here, the entrance/exit points at the store are clearly marked with STOP signs, speed bumps, and bright yellow hash marks on the asphalt for pedestrian safety. Despite the STOP sign, speed bump and bright yellow hash marks, My Hero was forced to stop suddenly to avoid being hit by the driver of the blue-gray van who failed to stop and probably only slowed down thanks to those speed bumps. Our Grocery Cart may have stopped abruptly, but The Watermelon did not. He kept on rolling..... right out into the street and under the blue-gray van. I clapped my hands to my face and squeaked "My Watermelon!" as I watched, in slow motion, the poor thing get crushed under those tires.
The Van never knew.  The people behind the van, and the people in the opposite lane of traffic all witnessed the Incident. I stood paralyzed on the sidewalk. My Hero proceeded to cross the parking lot and load the groceries into the car as if nothing happened.

Being the Watermelon Addict that I have clearly become, we immediately returned to the store to buy a replacement. Which means on Sunday we spent $9.98 on watermelon and only brought one home.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cone Free And Getting Back to "Normal"

Dear Mom,

In my head, I say "Cone Free" to the tune of Born Free. Every member of this family is thrilled to be rid of the Cone of Shame. With the hope of warding off future surgery (because there is a slight possibility), The Cone came home with us and will be stored away. I figure if I have it, we will never need it again. Olive is still limited to her leash in the back yard, and may not use the stairs. She is not supposed to run, jump or spin around. She may not look like it, but technically, she is still a puppy. She WANTS to run, jump, and spin around. Especially when feeling new friskiness and cone freedom. I've yelled "No Running" as she darts past me from family room, through the kitchen, looping around the dining and living rooms, back through the kitchen and into the family room. I sound like an elementary school marm. I'd consider leaving her on the house leash, but all that remains of THAT is a 3 inch nylon stump attached to the metal clip.  We  She remains on these restrictions for at least 2 more weeks, at which point we may introduce "easy 5 minute walks" to build up her strength/stamina in the joint. At this point, I just want her to be able to go outside by herself before winter arrives. We go back for a re-check in 6 weeks.
Olive is on a regimen of Cosequin and Rimadyl. The anti-inflammatory Rimadyl makes her elbow feel better, which is good, but that makes her want to do all the stuff she is not allowed to do, which is bad.
BUT! Best of all, without Cone, Olive can now fit into her crate. She has been a big, brave girl, and is spending her nights, downstairs, alone, in her crate. I've been able to sleep upstairs, in my own bed. I was afraid I would need to summon up my Tough Love self and listen to some whimpering, but no. As I said, she is a big, brave girl. 

And another giant step to getting things back to normal around here- Mr. Campus Man is back on campus. We moved him back last Tuesday. 

After the move-in, and after feeding several move-in helpers, My Hero and I investigated a new (to us) yarn shop - well, I investigated the shop. He tested out the shop's sofa- and then, keeping with the tradition we started last year, stopped at Oliver Winery on the way home for a little wine tasting/celebrating.

Chickadee is finished and awaits buttons and blocking. I will post some final photos when I have them to share. And after what feels like MONTHS of uninspired knitting, I have two original designs on my needles. One a basic cowl, the other..... defies simple description. But if it works! I may have a new favorite on my needles..... 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Delicious hot or iced.
Every Day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Things We Do For Love

Dear Mom,
Olive is well. I've decided she is the only one in this house who appreciates me. It could be that I am sleep deprived and emotional. But then again, she may be the only one in the house who deserves my efforts. Or perhaps I am not All That I Think I Am (or all that I should be) and the combination of Post- Surgical Dog, First Day of School, and getting Mr. Campus Man ready to leave all in the same week is just too much for me.

Olive on her first day home. Notice the shaved leg.
The Young Lady says the unshaved part of her leg looks like her socks are falling down.

I brought Olive home last Tuesday afternoon, with a bag full of drugs and a long list of restrictions. No running, no jumping, no stairs. On leash at all times. She left the hospital wearing The Cone of Shame.
After I loaded her into the car and got myself in and the door shut, my poor, dear, sweet Olive started crying. As if she knew she didn't have to be brave any more. And knew it was safe. And to tell me how awful the whole thing was. I cried with her.

We are those people who allow the dog to sleep with them. To be accurate and honest, I am that person. My Hero....notsomuch. I take great pains to keep Olive on my side of the bed. Anyway, with stairs being restricted and those same stairs between Olive and our bedroom, my plan was to use Tough Love and crate her each night until stairs were back on the menu.


Olive, wearing her XXXL cone, will not fit in the crate. Well, she FITS, she just can't turn around, move, or lie down. And we've invested too much money in The Elbow to risk removing that cone and giving her access to the sutures. Sooo, for the past week, and for one more week, I have been sleeping on an air mattress in the dining room with an 80lb lab wearing a cone. Yes, perhaps I am a little sleep deprived.

The things we do for love.

Twice now, I've emerged from my morning shower to find Olive on our bed! Somehow, she found her way through what I thought was a pretty secure blockade, CLIMBED the stairs and JUMPED on the bed.  I now have a baby gate positioned at the foot of the stairs.
The sutures come out on Monday the 26th.
At 9 am.
Hopefully some of her restrictions will be lifted, but even if they are not, the Cone will go when the stitches come out. And that means no more Dining Room, Hello Crate!

On Wednesday morning being slightly distracted, and tired, I nearly forgot the obligatory First Day of School photo. Plus, after 14 years, the bus stop changed. So, much to her mortification, I took a photo of the Young Lady at the bus stop in front of her friends. And then, just because, I took another one as I drove past on my way back home.

I think she will think twice before asking me to drive her to the bus stop.

And, finally, to keep a grip on what threads of sanity remain.... a little knitting.
Chickadee is almost finished. I love this sweater. LOVE. Can't wait to wear it.

Proper photos and details when she is finished.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Update: The Limp

Dear Mom,
Olive's surgery went well, with no surprises. I will get another call in the morning after the doctor checks on her and I'll know then when she can come home.
How horrible is it that I miss my dog and cannot wait to move Mr. Campus Man (formerly known as the Young Man) back to school?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Limp

Dear Mom,

My dear, sweet Olive will be having surgery tomorrow (Monday) to correct what started out as a quirky little strut and is now a full blown, impossible to ignore, limp. Our vet checked it out at her annual visit 2 weeks ago, and last week we consulted with a veterinary orthopedic specialist. Examination and radiographs suggest an Ununited Anconeal Process. From what I have learned, failure for this bony process to fuse can occur in large, rapidly growing dogs, and Olive is definitely one of those.

Arthroscopy on Monday will confirm and correct the problem. To do nothing would guarantee a lame dog.  As things are, there is already evidence of arthritis in the joint. Fortunately, Olive is still a young dog and her prospects for a full recovery are excellent. Let's just hope there are no surprises when they get in there to take a look and remove that piece of bone.

I cannot bear the thought of anything happening to her. Say a prayer for Olive and her doctors.
I'll let you know how she does.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Bread and Water could so easily be
Toast and Tea. 
Alexandra Stoddard


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Observations After a Day at the Amusement Park

Dear Mom,

1. I am too old for "Intense Amusement Rides". Despite the entertainment value my screams and eyes-squeezed-shut grimaces provided the rest of my family, Monday's visit to Kings Island was probably my last. All those twists, turns, heights and inversions left me wobbly and dizzy for several minutes after the ride ended. I spent much of the day on benches with other old ladies waiting for their families.
I should have packed knitting.

2. America is seriously, disturbingly, grotesquely overweight.

3. I hope the ink from tattoos is not a carcinogen, because if it is there are going to be alot of very sick people one of these days. Too bad my children are not medically inclined. The plastic surgeon or Whoever it is that invents a tattoo erasing procedure will become a bazillionaire.


Thursday, August 1, 2013


Dear Mom,
Last week, the Men in this house had their annual multi-generation, Boys Only, Family golf reunion, where they play golf, probably tell the same jokes, play cards and probably watch the same movies. In the past, the Young Lady and I have stayed home to enjoy the peace and quiet, but this year we had an invitation to a cottage in Michigan. Olive was invited and Grace could take a friend.
Mr. Anderson, my Toyota Matrix, was stuffed full of dog, girls, groceries, bed linens and  beach towels, knitting, my spinning wheel and the bare necessities of clean clothes, swim suits and pjs. I am pleased to report that Olive is an excellent traveller. And for the first time, I was able to lock up and drive away without making arrangements for a caged critter to be fed.
While at the lake, Olive discovered that getting her feet wet was not so bad after all. She jumped around in the water and fetched sticks. I was struck by her beauty as she stood wet and sparkling in the sunshine.

The girls paddle boated and tubed and giggled and sketched, and I talked and did a bit of knitting and a bit of spinning. The weather was cool- perfect for a sweatshirt and shorts in the evening and for knitting on the deck until it was too dark to see. The trip was short and sweet- we had to be back Saturday evening in order to have the Young Lady packed and off to camp at 6:30 Sunday morning. ( And while she is away, I am giving her room a serious cleaning. Seems a more clear definition of what "Clean Your Room" is in order.....  okay. yes. I hear you chuckling. I deserve a teen with a messy room. I get that. Payback for the music and albums and whoknowswhat MY bedroom was cluttered with....