Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I must be doing it wrong

I have been knitting a block a day almost from my recovered hexi-puffs. (I had frogged all my hexi-puffs as part of the 2016 Ravellenics Games. Why? Because it was taking way too long to get them done. Three years and only fifty puffs? I could knit them faster, but the amount needed to make a decent sized quilt, wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So they were frogged.)

So I'm now up to 27 completed blocks. The original pattern called for only 24 blocks, but seemed more shawl like. I'm going for decent blanket size here. So at least 50?

I'm continuing to put inches on my Scrappy Ten Stitch blanket. I think its about 56 inches square. I put out a call on Ravelry around my birthday and received some nice donations of yarn to continue on with the project. I did have to decide that some Lopi yarn was just a bit too scratchy for this project. Yes, its going to be on top of other blankets while camping, but still near face and maybe bare arms, so needs to be softer. I'll have to come up with another project to use those leftovers with. 

Since I had frogged or completed projects with the Ravellenics game, I thought I would start the Clapotis with some of my handspun that has been sitting in stash forever. Some pretty merino-tencel dyed by Stitchjones in a pale pink called Quince Blossom. It's a delicate lace weight yarn in the neighborhood over a 1000 yards. Yeah, I got uber fine and got a two ply out of it. 

The Quince Blossom is so very soft. So very fine. I'm thinking that I may need to ply this with another yarn or on itself. I'll have to think on that. 

Trying to get the Clapotis started, after sitting down and whipping out 18 stitchmarkers just for the project, I kept struggling. I wasn't using my highlighter tape to keep me on the correct row, so kept bouncing around. Started on a US 6 based on other lace knitters, decided that was too big and so dropped down to a US 4. That would have worked, it was making a nice fabric out of the stitches.

What was wrong then? It was going to be a slog of having to pay too close attention for all the setup, then some pretty straight boring knitting for a long while. Then I'd have a pretty scarf that I'd worry about snagging on something. I think something like this needs to be out of a slightly sturdier yarn so that it can wear well. Right now its out of my queue, AGAIN.

I have two skeins of kind of a dark colorway of Noro Silk Garden Sock that was given to me for my birthday two years ago. I tried knitting them into knee high stockings, but the pattern was so boring that even though it was fitted to my calf and I took good notes...only one got done. It sat for eighteen months, alone. I tried several times to start the second one, but it wasn't working. 

I want a pair of knee highs! Just not from this yarn. So still trying to find the right project for this yarn. I think I stuck it on a project today, but probably not enough of it for the project in reality.

Trying to find a project that isn't garter stitch to get going on. I want to knit something for me (yes, these two blankets are still for me, but blankets dude) and I want to be excited about knitting them that they want all my time. Not something I can easily put down for a few days, or a week, or never pick up again.

Going to try a pair of two at a time toe up socks in a semi-colorwork pattern using a leftover sock yarn and some sport weight yarn. 

Monday, August 29, 2016


Norbert is back home with us again. He was gone a week. Came back in a nice box and with a paw print. Leeloo and Kieran seem to be sleeping a little more and a little quieter still. I'm starting to get back to a normal sleeping pattern. Though I can tell the depression is making me want to sleep more, maybe to catch up with not sleeping? There have been noises at night or during the day when there shouldn't have been, from where Norbert used to hang out. Still looking for him during the day.

In the last few months I've finally found my reading mojo again. Granted some of the books have been slightly disappointing. Or maybe my reading tastes are changing?  Authors of series that have been going on for several years seem to have books that are not keeping my attention. Or seem to have drifted towards a style I don't enjoy.

Most disappointing is when they start a new series and you want to jump in and enjoy it, but its not the same as the other world. But you continue on trying to find something that calls to you in the new world, and you're just not finding that thing that will hold you. Not even through the whole first book, much less a new series.

So you're left trying to find a new series/author to fall in love with. I met Anne Bishop at a Patricia Briggs book signing and tried out her series "The Others." That I have been enjoying. To the point that I requested an omnibus book of another one of her previous series. See above. I have hopes that I'll enjoy it. I know others who have.

I have books coming in from the library, but not as often as in the past because of this struggle.

Here's some authors:

Faith Hunter - Jane Yellowrock and previous her Rogue Mage series
Seanan MacGuire - her Tobie Daye series, I've read the first in the Indexing and have been hit or miss on the InCryptid series (1st & 4th, but not the ones with her brother.)
Eileen Wilks
Kim Harrison - The Hollows, but not her latest
Kelley Armstrong - Otherworld Series, but not others
Iris Johansen - I've been reading her since the early 80s (Oh how that dates me!)
Kay Hooper - ditto, but some of the latest I've struggled with. I think they were too dark and I wasn't in the mood for dark, though I enjoy the psychic stuff of her series
Patricia Briggs - I think all her books, but Mercy Thompson and side series
Jim Butcher - but I've only read the Dresden Files (just to put a token guy on my list - but hey years ago I was a Sidney Sheldon reader)
Ilona Andrews (hey does this count as another guy, even if they're a team?)
Lisa Shearin - she's come out with a second series and I've enjoyed it
Gini Koch - her Alien series is a blast, I haven't tried anything else by her yet
Nalini Singh - her psy-changeling series
S.M. Stirling - hey! another guy on my list. It's hard to find male writers who write women well, I guess? I've read both Change series

I have some others but I'm open to suggestions on new authors/series. I do better when I'm reading regularly. Playing varying forms of solitaire and word games isn't the best way to help put my brain to sleep at night.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good Bye Norbert 9/26/2001 to 8/16/2016

I just posted this over on Facebook, so if you're one of those friends, you'll see this in two places.

I have been beating myself up because we came home Tuesday night to find that Norbert had died while we were out. He had coughed a few times earlier in the day and some panting but then would go back to breathing normally. I made an appointment for him to be seen early Wednesday morning. I knew things were possibly nearing the end. But at the time we left, his breathing was back to normal. He didn't want to take a treat I tried giving him, that concerned me, but I really didn't think this was it. Gave him scritches and left with Brandon to see his aunt who was in town and his mom's birthday.
Dawn-Marie had stopped by with potato salad supplies shortly after we had left. She said that Norbert got up to say hi, tail wagging and was up on the couch and got pets from her and didn't seem to be having any problems breathing. Just seemed happy to see her along with the other dogs.
We found him on the couch a couple hours later. The dogs were quiet when we got home. They usually start barking once they here the car door closing and I had a few things to get out, so slow to get to the front door. Looks like he had been on a pillow and just left.
Greta had told me that he may have just been waiting to be alone. I was feeling awful that he was alone. But the other dogs were with him. He had been laying where I sit, so he had my scent close to him. We had almost 15 years with the silly boo bear. He's with his Nessa girl who left us six years ago, all too early. Kieran and Leeloo seem to be sleeping more. Kieran cried with William Tuesday night. Leeloo also tried to console William. The humans, we're struggling too.
William went back and forth on what to do, bury or cremate. We went with cremate, and now need to find a special tree to plant in the yard with his ashes, when they come back. We'll also go do a memorial thing at one of the Dove Lewis events for Norbert and Nessa the Scocker Crew gone now.
For those who didn't know Norbert. He was half Scottie and have Cocker Spaniel. The lady from Eugene we got him from called him a Scocker. He was William's dog. He got me into clicker training and SPT - Start Puppy Training, that I would eventually help co-moderate for a few years. He taught me about dog nutrition and holistic medicine. I thought I had a second Scocker with Nessa as a puppy, until she clearly showed her Schnauzer dna at the APDT Conference and everyone was complimenting me on the cute Schnauzer puppy. Norbert got to take puppy agility classes and if his structure had been more sound would have had fun doing that. Dwarfism and a sports doc said that it would put too much strain on his knees and back. I like to credit getting Heather Christensen started in teaching training as I asked her to take on Norbert and William as students when they were both acting in their teen ways. He got to meet famous people like Melissa Alexander the author, who also had a puppy the same time he was in SPT. Linda Tellington-Jones used him in a T-Touch class. She also cleared a raging ear infection with that. Norbert did enjoy Tracking. He was protective of Nessa and a Rule Keeper. It was hard explaining to lab owners that yes, your big black baby might be friendly, but its rude and not listening to Nessa freaking out and Norbert is going to take its face off because its in her face. So more training experiences for all of us, but not nearly enough tracking I think. The Scocker Crew went to a couple of Barn Hunt trainings. Norbert didn't have problems going into the tunnels, but wouldn't bark when he found the rats. This did not stop him from killing a rat that tried coming into the house. He was quick and quiet and in short order it was dead.
Norbert mourned for six months the loss of his Nessa girl. I still miss my girl. He was already a middle aged man, set in his ways when I got Leeloo. His hearing was starting to go. It took us a few years to figure out that he had a chicken-turkey-duck (I gave up and didn't try pheasant) allergy. With his cocker ears, he was prone to ear infections showing his allergy reactions. He did not like have his Cone of Doom for each of his ear surgeries. He enjoyed going for walks and treated Leeloo like Nessa who needed to be protected from other dogs. The last few years, going the full loop around the neighborhood was much harder for him, so a shorter route was his. He still longed to go when I took Kieran and Leeloo for their walks, just not up to their pace. We would find him sitting and waiting near the front door on our return.
*New from FB**In grabbing a pic to add to this post, I realized I forgot to say how much he loved balls. Taking him out to a field to chase after a ball. Getting the mini tennis balls in the house. We could keep him busy running after those. We knew he had slowed down in the last couple years when he would only go once or twice and then go lay down. Leeloo and Kieran aren't as interested in balls.
He loved his backyard, and would amble around with the other two. There was less sunbathing this summer. He would lay on the vent and let the cool air blow on him. He loved the cold days and would always perk up for those and loved playing in the snow. He was always a picky eater, but with Kieran he learned that if I sit at the kitchen door, I too may get a special treat when mom is cooking in the kitchen, so not so old to learn new tricks. Nessa knew this one. Kieran had kind of moved Norbert off the bed. The "hey old man, you can't warn about danger, cause you can't hear it, I should sleep at mom's feet." So Norbert moved off the bed that was harder for him to get up on and got good sleep without being kicked by mom. He had a pillow pile in the closet that he picked to sleep on. It was his man cave because it was dark during the day, if he wanted to stay in there, instead of out with us in the living room. Kieran would alert us if Norbert went to the back door to be let out if we hadn't noticed Norbert up and out of the kitchen (he started doing loops in there trying to find any dropped goodies). With Leeloo, Norbert had relaxed and would come and check out people who came to the house. He had his preference of people who he liked seeing and who he would wanted pets from. He loved his boy and missed not seeing him every day. I know that William probably has guilt about that now, but wasn't able to have Norbert live with him. Norbert would have been lonely even though living with his boy.
Norbert, you'll be missed, you were loved by all of us.
Norbert and Nessa on a walk at Dawson Creek Park. They loved this park and chasing the birds. Together again.