Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

1) What candy are you passing out on Halloween night if you are staying home?

Three Musketeers mini bars.

But we've never had a Trick or Treater in the thirteen years we've lived here, so we felt safe dipping into the candy dish. It's 7:30 pm and there is only one left.

2) What was your best Halloween costume?
My best costume was for Hoe-Down Day, not Halloween.

Hoe-Down Day was a homecoming week event at Marshall High School. My freshman year I went as an alien. I dressed in green and used green food coloring on all my exposed skin. Several of my teachers recalled this costume years after I graduated.

3) Are you doing anything on the night of Halloween if you are not staying home to pass out treats, and if so, what are you doing?
We're staying home to eat the treats we would be passing out if someone came, which they're not going to do.

We live in the woods on a back dirt road and all the kids are working the subdivisions.

4) What is your favorite Halloween d├ęcor? (ie, witch, ghost, pumpkins)
Witch smashed into a treeI know this is a corny, overdone gag decoration, but I always chuckle when I see one of these unfortunate witches.

I'm sure this is what would happen to me if I got on my flying broom and took off through the air. That's why I pretend I'm just a normal old woman.


5) Do you carve jack o’lanterns?
Nope.

What do you enjoy about Halloween?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

New Knitting Blog
If you're interested in my knitting, please visit my new knitting blog Stitches of Violet.

It is under construction but functional. Tonight I posted the first knitting pictures, a Barbie dress and poncho knit for granddaughter Kimmy complete with links to the free, online patterns I used.

I have big plans to write up some of the patterns I design for socks, Barbie, and CIC and post them on Stitches of Violet. This will not happen overnight, but slowly the list of patterns should grow.

There will also be links to free Barbie patterns and free CIC suitable patterns that other people are sharing on their websites. I won't be linking to other free sock patterns as there are many sites that already do that.

In order to manage my own expectations, my goal is to publish on Stitches of Violet a minimum of once a week.

There will be no more knitting pictures on Seasons of Violet.

Since I'm not a prolific knitter, I've hesitated to start a "knitting blog". I'm not 100% sure it was a good idea, but winter is coming and I'm going to give it a try.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Chipmunk Damage
Big hole caused by dogs digging for chipmunksThis spot used to house a hosta, a Japanese fern, and some creeping woodland phlox.

Their destruction and this hole was created by a chipmunk. Really.

A tiny little chipmunk had a tiny, harmless little hole in the back of this tier garden. Glory, our large dog, saw the chipmunk go down the little hole and decided to enlarge the hole a bit to see if she could find the evil rodent.

Glory is a very smart dog. She knew enough to do her digging when I wasn't around to stop her. She doesn't do it very often, only when tormented by little striped rodents. She is forgiven.

Party Time
Kimmy admiring her Spong Bob birthday cakeLast Saturday was Granddaughter Kimmy's ninth birthday. She had a party at Peter Piper Pizza with plenty of friends, relatives, and a Sponge Bob Cake.

Kimmy opening and loving her birthday giftsMost of her gifts were Barbie related, mine included. I got her a California Barbie, a Barbie carrying case, and this (non Barbie related) Hilary Duff CD.

Kimmy liked all her gifts, but none of the others were as exciting as the CD.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Autumn Rant

The older I get the less I enjoy the coming of fall.
It's something to do with the passing of time.
Year round, time passes at the same speed. . .
But in the fall, it sticks its arm out the window and flips you off.

- - Arlo (of Arlo and Janis comic strip by Jimmy Johnson)

Autumn scene looking down the roadSome autumns are more colorful than other autumns. This has been a moderately colorful autumn with an abundance of yellows and hardly any reds.

These two autumn pictures were taken last week.

This week there are more empty branches and brown leaves visible in the color mix. Also, more and more leaves on the ground needing to be raked up.


Autumn path in the fieldSeems like every time I turn around it's Christmas.

I used to work with a woman who said every time she turned around it was either the 4th of July or Christmas. She is ten years younger than I am. I'm sure that she will be dropping the 4th of July from her statement soon, if she hasn't already.

The 4th of July happens in the middle of the beautiful summer season and is over in a day - or two days if it falls on a long weekend. It requires little or no preparation. Parties and gifts are not required.

The "holiday" season starts before Halloween and lasts until January. In Michigan, it coincides with the shortest, darkest, coldest days of the year.

Even a minimal Christmas requires ongoing organization, shopping, exposure to very fattening (but delicious) food, and social get-togethers.

I'm a non-shopping, introverted, dieter and "the holidays" are not my idea of two months of good spirit and fun. So when the leaves fall down and the holiday songs begin, I kick off the holiday season by getting a little cranky.

The crankiness will pass. I will do what needs to be done, enjoy it as much as possible, and, when it's over, I will have a January birthday and get another year older. Then I can hibernate in peace for the rest of the winter.

Are there any introverts who enjoy the holidays? How about some tips?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Parents
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

"Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur of the trees is lost when raking leaves." -Marcelene Cox

1) What do your parents do for a living?
My father died way to young, at 45, of a massive heart attack in 1964. At the time of his death, he was working as a bookkeeper.

My mother was left with four children ages 19(me), 14, 10, and 8. She used the life insurance money to go college and get a teaching degree. She taught art, humanities, and English at the middle school and high school level until her retirement in the mid 1980s.

Now she happily does whatever she feels like doing: reads, paints, follows politics and world events, attends dance class, and reads Seasons of Violet.

2) How old were your parents when you were born?
Mom and Dad wedding picture from 1944Father was 26 and Mom was 22.

The wedding picture is from 1944, about a year before I was born.

I'm sure Mom/Monette will post corrections in the comments if I don't get my dates and ages correct.


3) What is the most important lesson that you learned from your parents?
Life isn't always fair. Sometimes it seriously sucks. Work your way through those times and things will eventually get better again.

4) What is the harshest discipline that you ever received from your parents?
I think I was a pretty good kid because I don't remember getting much discipline.

Once when I was about 5-6 my mother received a cosmetic delivery from a door to door saleslady (Avon?) containing an eyebrow pencil.

While Mom was chatting with the lady, I took the pencil and started drawing with it. It was soft and made wonderful thick lines, but after a few pictures there wasn't much left of it. When my mother got done chatting and turned her attention to me, she was furious and I got a spanking.

I remember this incident because at the time I though it was very unfair. I didn't know it wasn't a pencil to draw with. Of course, I had no business taking something that wasn't mine, but that logic escaped me at that age.

Sorry Mom.

5) What is the thing that you are the most grateful to your parents for?
One thing? If it's going to be one thing, it will need to be a very general thing.

I'm thankful to my parents for loving me and accepting me for who I am. Mom and I have some very different preferences and opinions, but that doesn't stop us from loving each other and enjoying each other's company.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Opal Purple Sidewinders
Purple Sidewinder SocksI love these socks so much I haven't wanted to wear them. They are hanging on the back of my closet door and every morning I enjoy looking at them.

It's the combination of the two yarns that makes them so special. The lighter parts are knit from Opal Mosaic and the darker parts are deep purple and black Opal Crocodile.

The pattern is from Soxie's Cell Mates, "Fun n' funky socks with matching Cell Phone bags".

I made a few modifications to the pattern.

In anticipation of the coming Michigan winter, I knit my cuff twice as long as the pattern calls for. There is 20 rows of k1p1 ribbing under the vertical stripe cuff so the sock will fit snuggly to my leg.

Then, I made the stripes on the ankle and toe a little thicker than the pattern said because I love the color contrast of the two yarns. Since I was knitting the small, 56 stitch version, there was plenty of Crocodile to do that.

My two color knitting skills are pretty lacking. I couldn't get the pattern's vertical stripes to look nice on the heel. After I frogged the first heel a few times and the yarn was beginning to look a little frizzy, I decided I was going to have horizontal stripes on my heel.

These socks were completed over a month ago. I was waiting for Soxie to get them on her website before I showed them on Seasons of Violet.

Thanks for a great pattern Soxie!! They were fun to knit and they're going to be fun to wear - someday.

Fluted Banisters
Fluted banister socks for the Six Sox KnitalongLast week I finished the Fluted Banisters, the October/November pattern in the Six Sock Knitalong.

The yarn is Opal Handpainted #11.

Since I have small feet, I used sixty stitches around to get a snug fit.

This pattern went very quick and was fun to knit. I'll use it again when I have randomly variegated yarn like this.

Pumpkin Torte
There is the most delicious recipe for Pumpkin Torte in the recipe section of my sidebar. I look forward to making it every autumn, usually for Thanksgiving.

The torte is 9 x 13 and has too many calories to count, so I don't dare make it more than once or twice a year.

If you've never made it before, you have the perfect excuse to make it twice. You have to try out the recipe before serving it to your Thanksgiving guests, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I'm Scared
Tired of the same old, boring, wimpy pumpkin carvings? Check out Extreme Pumpkins.

Today. We will buy a big, ugly, pumpkin so large one man cannot lift or move it. Today. We will carve that sumbitch into something ugly and plop it on the front porch. Pumpkin carving is reborn.

Drive Faster
Here is a reason not to go driving in the beautiful, solitary countryside.

Note to dialup readers: This website is a long load. I waited it out, but it took many minutes. If you play the video and you don't jump at the end, you don't have the entire clip downloaded yet.

Planning a project?

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Murphy's Law

Here is a Murphy's Law Calculator to help you understand and predict the frustrations of life.

The calculator mathematically considers five project factors - urgency, complexity, importance, skill, frequency, and tells you the probability of Murphy's Law kicking in before the project is complete.

It's much easier to use than it sounds. Can be used on any project, small (getting dressed in the morning) to large (building a house). Give it a try.

Be sure to read the accompanying press release from the British Gas News to learn why your e-mail will most likely crash as you try to send something important, chances are highest that you will spill a drink down your clothes before an important event, and why showers go cold on women more often than on men.

So happy to be of service to my readers. You are welcome.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Furniture
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."
-Henry Ward Beecher

1) What size is your bed?

Regular double bed.

It used to be big enough until the little dogs came to live and sleep with us.

Pappy is nice enough to move over when asked, but Sunny goes limp and refuses to move or roll anywhere once she is settled in. She weighs fourteen pounds but when we are trying to claim the bed we jokingly refer to her as the "two thousand pound dog".

2) Do you prefer fabric sofas or leather sofas? What do you have?
Fabric and fabric.

We have throws on most of the furniture so the dogs can sit with us and we don't have to worry about them jumping up on the furniture when they're wet and/or muddy. I think the throws would slide around too much on leather furniture.

3) What wood stain color is your favorite? (Pine, walnut, cherry, etc.)
Oak. It's been my favorite for decades.

4) What piece of furniture is at the top of your wish list right now?
Bookshelves. We have way too many books and we're out of shelf space.

5) Do you have a piece of furniture in your home that doesn't seem to fit but that you can't bear to part with?
I have a wonderful comfy La-Z-Boy chair in the very small dinette area of the kitchen. I love to sit there and knit while Bob reads to me.

The chair makes it difficult to completely open the refrigerator door, but we've adapted to it and it's going to stay.

Do you let your pets on the furniture?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Jamming at Meijer's
Last week everything was out of sync because of Pappy's unexpected surgery. I ended up at Meijer's on Saturday morning. (Meijer's is a chain of large, discount grocery stores in direct competition with Walmart.)

The wide aisles weren't wide enough. They were full of carts and people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and patience levels. The best strategy was to park the cart at the end of the aisle and walk down the row to pick up what I needed. In some aisles it was difficult to get through even without a cart.

I felt sorry for the mothers there with their children. Did they work all week and get a fun Saturday morning at Meijer's with the kids to kick off the weekend? Hard to imagine they would be there on Saturday morning if they had other times available for shopping.

Thursday morning the grocery store is quiet, the shelves are stocked, there are parking places close to the door. It's the perfect time to go and grocery shop.

My shopping is done. I won't be in anyone's way at Meijer's this Saturday.

W, Do Not Call!
While waiting for Pappy's lab results my heart rate tripled every time the phone rang. It was common and super annoying to hear a recorded message with some unwanted, unnecessary political message.

Why does the administration that saved us from telemarketers with the Do Not Call Registry think we want to get political calls?

VolcanoCam
Click here to see a videocam image of Mount St. Helens taken from the Johnston Ridge Observatory about five miles from the volcano. The image updates approximately every five minutes.

During dark night hours in Washington State, you won't see anything except splotches of color. During the daylight hours the picture is awesome.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Benign is Beautiful
We got the call this afternoon. Pappy's tumor was not a tumor. It was a wad of old dead tissue that surfaced from an old wound. He must have had it inside him for years.

We are so relieved and ready to have life get back to normal.

Pappy is frolicking around like he knows something good has happened. He was feeling much better today.

He's going to doggy school on Thursday evening. Teacher Gail says he can take it easy and let people fawn over him and give him treats. He'll love it.

Monday Madness
The Sunday Brunch topic this week was "Disney", and my answers went something like, "don't know", "can't think of one", "hummm", "don't care", and "no".

So instead of a Sunday Brunch post this week, I'm going to do a completely mindless and trivial but fun Monday Madness meme.

Name 3 things....

1....your ideal salad has on it.
  • Onion
  • Raisins
  • French dressing

2....you do religiously in the morning.
  • Drink a cup of coffee
  • Dress to the shoes
  • Take the dogs for a walk

3....you look forward to doing in your spare time.
  • Reading
  • Knitting
  • Messing around online

4....you've never done before, but think you will at some point in your life.
  • Travel to Idaho
  • Start a Bible study blog
  • Bird Banding

5....you love to do while on vacation.
  • Get some sun
  • See the ocean
  • See mountains

6....you took pictures of in the last month.
  • Autumn colors
  • Frost
  • My dogs

7....you have to do before the end of the day.
  • Pay bills
  • Return library books
  • Take Sunny to doggy school

8....you like about your best friend.
  • She knows when to talk and when to be quiet.
  • She doesn't like to shop.
  • We're sisters in Christ.
There are many, many things I like about my best friend. I just picked the first three that popped into my head.

What's something you like about your best friend?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Pappy Report - Day 5
Pappy on top of the loveseatThis afternoon Pappy had a major breakthrough in his recovery from surgery.

After coming inside from a pee, he stood in the hallway and looked bewildered for a while. Then his little doggy brain made an important decision to claim his rightful spot on top of the loveseat. He ran into the living room, jumped up on the loveseat seat, and hopped onto the loveseat top.

This was an exhausting feat, and he spent most of the afternoon sleeping there and looking pleased with himself.

Late this evening, he went outside and ran around wagging his tail. He wanted to go out to the field, but it was dark and I wouldn't let him. Tomorrow we'll give it a try in the daylight.

It's so good to see him interesting in living again. Now all we need to make life sweet is a good lab report.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments and/or sent email expressing their concern and wishing Pappy well. We appreciate your good wishes, prayers, and support.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Pappy Report - Day 4
His big brown eyes look at me and ask what in the world happened to me? Why can't I walk very well anymore? Why am I sewn together?

I got him out for a little walk today without the other dogs. Thought we would go slow and easy and he would enjoy the beautiful autumn day. We barely got across the creek when he decided he couldn't walk anymore, and I had to carry him back to the house.

He spent most of the day sleeping and laying around on his special bed watching the family do things. We are giving him tons of love, attention, and babying.

After the surgery, the vet showed me the tumor sliced in two. The center was black with dead tissue because the tumor grew so fast the center didn't have a blood supply.

It was pure evil. It is indeed a fallen world when such an ugly thing can grow on a sweet, loving, innocent animal.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Opal Magic Cloverleaf Lace Socks
Mom's green Opal Magic cloverleaf socksLast Sunday I finished these socks for Mom. The yarn is Opal Magic.

Magic is fun to knit. It has all the pretty self-patterning Opal colors and stripes as well as a wide 19 - 20 rows of solid color, the perfect place to include a pretty stitch pattern.

This stitch pattern is based on the Cloverleaf Lace pattern from the Six Sock Knitalong.

The cloverleafs are staggered instead of in a straight line, and the ribbing is knit 7 purl 1, two stitches wider than the original Cloverleaf Lace ribbing.

Fluted Banisters progress pictureFluted Banister Progress
This is my required progress picture of the Fluted Banister, the third sock in the Six Sock Knitalong. The yarn is Opal Handpainted (#11).

Fluted Banister is an elastic, pretty stitch pattern for socks that will fit and stay up. Once I got the feel for it, the pattern became pretty brainless to knit. Good thing, because with everything going on with Pappy I don't have much brain left to think about anything else.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, Through all crisis.
- Elizabeth Zimmerman

Pappy Report - Day 3
Pappy went back to the vet this morning.

He's doing OK but he has been in a lot of pain. She checked him over and gave him a pain shot and some pain pills for when the shot wears off.

Late this afternoon he went outside and was able to lift his leg for some doggy style peeing, so it appears the pain med is working.

The whole house is not OK with Pappy down and out. We're not doing our fun walks and tricks and games and everyone is worried about him, including the other two dogs.

Normal life has pretty much come to a halt while we nurse him back to health.

He wants to be with either Bob or me all the time, preferably right next to our body and snuggled in.

This works well so we can keep him from licking his stitches. This does not work well if we want to get anything done. So I'm not getting anything done and that's OK.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Mattress is Down
The mattress is off the box spring and on the floor.

In our house that means one of our much loved dogs has had surgery and isn't allowed to jump on and off the bed. We put the mattress on the floor so the dog can walk on and off of it.

Always before the lowered mattress has been because of a spaying or neutering. Today it was a horrible surgery.

Pappy sprouted a tumor on his left hip that grew almost overnight. I took him to the vet this morning and she surgically removed it. There's a chance it's benign, but she didn't sound very convincing.

It's been sent off for a biopsy and we won't have the results for 7 to 10 days. Then we'll know what we need to do next, if anything.

We're mentally preparing for the worst kind of news thinking it can't possible be that bad. He's a healthy, active dog and we love him too much.

Pappy recovering on the living room floorMeanwhile, he's still groggy and is on restricted motion for 7 days. She took a lot of surrounding tissue and it's a big incision, about four inches long on a very small dog.

Pappy is a people dog. He likes to be where we are. This evening he is on a special bed on the living room floor made from an old comforter and a spare pillow. We're taking good care of him.

I am so grateful that I can be home to comfort him and nurse him through his hard time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Frosty MorningField covered with white frost
This morning was the first hard frost of autumn. It was so heavy on the grass and plants, it almost looked like snow.

Last week we had our first frost. It was a light frost and quickly melted without taking out the annuals.

Sunday morning we had our second frost. Still not a killing frost, but very pretty. I wanted to take pictures then, but didn't have time before church.


Close up of the frost on some leavesToday when I took the dogs out for their early morning walk, I knew I was going to have to get back out with my camera and take a few pictures.

There is a green plant under all the ice.

Bluebird house covered with frostLast week and the week before I noticed a flock of bluebirds by the bird houses early in the morning.

I'd like to think it was some of the nine bluebirds hatched and tended in this nest box this summer.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Horse Play
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!"
-William Shakespeare

1) Have you ever ridden a horse?

Prom picture from 19601959. I was 14 years old, and an introverted, unathletic high school freshman. My extroverted, athletic friend (the one in the yellow prom dress) talked me into joining the Girl's Athletic Association (GAA).

Why? Because if we acquired 15 athletic points we earned a ticket to the GAA formal dance and we - the girls - got to ask the boy of our choice to escort us.

Unfortunately, earning GAA points required doing athletic things.

Horseback riding was on the GAA list. My friend lived on a dairy farm and had horses. She assured me that three hours on a horse for three GAA points was "no sweat".

I had never ridden a horse before. She'd been riding horses since she was old enough to sit up, so it didn't occur to her teenage brain that I might need a few pointers. I got on that horse and before I could ask what to do next, the horse took off and jumped the fence.

I didn't fall off. She was a little more helpful after I threatened to go home, and we managed to ride for three hours. The next day I was so sore I could hardly walk. Not a good thing, because I had marching band practice.

I was too stiff to raise my knees when marching 8 to 5 (eight steps to 5 yards), so the band instructor pulled me out of formation and yelled at me for having a "tight skirt". He never did let me explain. The skirt was not tight. Stupid man.

It was all worth it, though. That's me in the purple formal. I picked a good looking date, didn't I?

2) What is your favorite horse story or movie?
"A horse is a horse of course, of course.
And no-one can talk to a horse of course
That is of course unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you endorse.
He's always on a standing course
Talk to Mister Ed!"
While Googling for the words to Mr. Ed's theme song, I found Mr. Ed Online, an entire web site dedicated to information on Mr. Ed, the talking horse from 1960's television.
The diverse interests of the human population never cease to amaze me.

3) If you had the means, would you own a horse?
Yes, for Granddaughter Kimmy. She loves horses. She has gone to riding camp for the past two summers. This past summer she earned her "trotting" certificate.

4) Do you think it would be neat if we went back to everyone traveling by horse and buggy or just an inconvenience?
Is this a serious question?

It wouldn't be "just an inconvenience". It would be a major inconvenience and a complete change in lifestyle.

My body is too old to be thrown around in a horse and buggy. I would never leave home.

5) Have you ever ridden in a hansom cab?
No, but it sounds very romantic.
Do you ride?