Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Goodbye Pete

Pete Seeger is gone now. Not only an entertainer, he knew and used to power of folk music to advance the interests of ordinary people, unions, and the earth.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Things Worth Freezing For

Seriously, the owl is there
One of the best things about Cape Cod is that it is a frequent stop for migrating birds, and a frequent stop for birds that belong somewhere else. Storms blow birds off course, like the brown pelicans who got blown up here by Hurricane Sandy. This year we are the lucky recipients of a visit from an irruption of snowy owls. There is one hanging out at West Dennis Beach, so in spite of bitterly cold weather Shana and I headed out to get a glimpse. We were far from the only people who came out to get a glimpse of the visitor. Some of the people I spoke to while I was there had been out several times to get a look at the beautiful bird. I brought my good camera, but did not check my batteries before I left the house. Of Course. Nevertheless, I did see my first snowy owl and did not mind that it was really cold.

Actually, my Lands End squall parka is up to the task. I supplemented with my own woolen hand knits: socks, bulky hat with a deep brim, thick scarf, and convertible mittens. It was only my fingers that got cold when I folded back my mitten tops to take a picture that got (really) cold (instantly). Shana's coat is not up to this kind of weather. This will be the year we finally get her a coat with more function than style.

I've taken on two of my knitting challenges for the year already. I've got a pair of colorwork mitts on the needles, and my first sweater is under way. The cold weather we have had has inspired me to get going on warmer garments. Cute little mitts are not quite the thing when the temperatures don't get out of the teens.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Some Dogs Like Snow

It's wonderful to see all these dogs enjoying a big snowfall. My girls are not so much into it. Mitzi loves it up to about 4 inches, but past that she objects to the snow up against her little stomach. Roxy has no interest on being cold and wet anymore. We clear a space in the yard for them so they can run out for "business" and come right back in. Cold weather will be back early next week  with snow coming in midweek. I have two conflicting hopes about this weather: I want very little snow because the dogs hate it and I don't care for driving in it. AND I want gobs of snow so that we will get to play with the new slowblower.

Today I took the girls to Happy Tails to get their nails cut. I don't mind bathing the girls and I have been known to do some grooming, but I do not do nails. It was NOT fun for all, but they put up with it.  Because Mitzi is still struggling with car sickness I try to both make the trips short and to include a special treat that makes her want to go in the car again. Today we took advantage of the continuing good weather to get in a walk in the woods after their manicures. Walking soothes Mitzi's anxiety and gives them something to think about for the rest of  the day. When we have gone for an interesting walk Roxy is less inclined to get into mischief. As they say: "A tired dog is a good dog".

I met a friend for lunch and hit a thrift store on the way home. Scores: a lime green pot just the right size to round up the dog items I keep on the kitchen counter (salmon oil for their coats, Mitzi's doggie Prozac, Rescue Remedy for stormy days, ear drops). I also found a really nice pashmina style scarf in a brown & gold paisley for $3.00. Shana has taken to wearing scarves to dress up her work looks so our scarves have been getting a lot of action around here. I don't dress up for work these days but for social occasions I like having pretty accessories. The thrifts around here are pretty decent, although like thrift stores everywhere it does not do to have too specific an idea about what you would like to find. I was really looking at books today but did not see anything that caught my eye on the book shelves. I always look at kitchen equipment to see if there are any nice green or cobalt blue items and I check out any teapots on offer.

Knitting this week has been a mixed exercise. At the moment I have a laceweight shawl, a pair of socks, a pair of colorwork mitts and a sweater on the needles. Startitis has set in. The sweater is moving along, with reservations. My problems have nothing to do with the fact that it is my first sweater; they have more to do with my wandering mind, a chart that I can't quite make friends with, and a selvage stitch that is not mentioned on the chart or in the written instructions. The last time I got off course and instead of stopping right away I knit three more rows of over 200 stitches each. Finally I came to my senses and tinked it all back. One stitch at a time because there are a bunch of twisted stitches in there that I did not want to mess up. The moral of the story is if it doesn't look right STOP. This is a hard lesson for me to learn.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Someone Else's Dogs for a Change

Everyone is probably sick of looking at my dogs, especially since their reaction to a camera of any kind pointed in Roxy's direction elicits a prey response. No one wants to see her look miserable and put upon. These dogs, however, are a horse of a different color, to mix metaphors recklessly.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Up From the Depths

Those of us who grew up with Walt Disney's interpretation of  Jules Verne's classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea cannot help but be fascinated or even obsessed with giant squid. Every year we get closer and closer to seeing the behemoth of our fantasies. Now Japan has taken a 360 specimen. This video is in Japanese, but the creature can be understood in any language!

Monday, January 13, 2014

January Thaw

My own tea cozy
After our bout with the polar vortex we are enjoying our January thaw. The dogs are going in and out as often as I will open the door for them and I am going out with only a medium weight coat on. For the moment I have set hats and scarves aside, but still near to hand as the cold will be back before the weekend. I have not forsaken my wooly socks, as my feet do not understand the concept of thaw until it is flip flop weather.

The Cape Cod Joint Base has been chosen as a  test site for commercial drones. Although it has been claimed that this activity will bring some much needed jobs to our area not all of us are happy about this development. The participants in the experimental programs include the usual suspects: Saab Sensis, SRC, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin of defense contractor fame, plus some university entities. I must admit I am not very pleased to have people practicing their surveillance skills on me.

 I've started my sweater, so far so good. Except for tinking back a row out of every six because I miss my count or forget the selvedge stitches it is moving along.  In a moment of madness today I purchased yarn for some fancy colorwork mittens just in case I can't find something complex to knit. I would try to blame Wanda for my purchases except that I encouraged her to buy some beautiful buttons. We enable each other something awful. Some drama has cropped up in our Stitch & Bitch, but we will stick it out until it passes while joining up with an alternate group for variety and just in case.
Snuggle Dog

Monday, January 06, 2014

And More Winter

Considering that I live in one of the more northern states, it makes perfect sense that our current temperature in among the warmer ones in the country. Once again in this odd winter the Southern Plains freeze in their coats while we stroll about in sweatshirts. Right this minute Oklahoma City is rejoicing in 19° while we enjoy a foggy 54°. After the last storm (14 inches of snow) we decided that the combination of Shana's wonky back and my body's refusal to turn back the clock meant we were going to have to try another approach. We purchased a snowblower. Now my shed is completely full, but I will not have to dig two cars out of more than a foot of snow again. In addition to the big dig for the cars we also have to dig out areas for our dogs, who live rather close to the ground. The girls are not among the many dogs who enjoy a good romp in deep snow.

I am fascinated and terrified by what passes for entertainment these days. I just heard a teaser on the TV offering a segment on poisonous toenails! Is that through the skin absorption or by way of eating them? Inquiring minds will soon know (The Doctors is running in the living room for the edification of the dogs).

I started knitting my first sweater and got a (very) few inches up the body when I discovered I seem to have cast on with the wrong sized needles. I swatched and swatched and finally decided on 5's, but when I went to cast on for "Clapotis" at Stitch & Bitch last night I found out that I had the 8's I wanted with my sweater. Sadly I must now rip it all out and start again. BOO. I ripped out my first attempt at Clapotis too. I really wanted it on 8's with my sport weight Christmas yarn. I started it on 7's and do not like it. By the way, every other row of this pattern ends in pfb, which might possibly be the most wretched increase ever. In spite of having spent hours knitting I have nothing whatever to show for it. The good news is that once I rip it out and start over it becomes much like every other project I have ever done and may take the anxiety out of knitting my first sweater.

Pictures today are courtesy of the Boston Museum of Fine Art, taken on my most recent visit. You can click on them for a closer look.