Sunday, August 31, 2008

I didn't get a vacation, but...

As you know if you've been following my blog, I'm participating in the Starbucks and Yarn swap, which is happening among Ravelry members and a few non-Ravelers. I sent my package out earlier in August -- the deadline for shipping was August 22, and I actually shipped a couple of days early. In the swap, you agreed to send your swappee the handmade item of their choice (mine chose a cup cozie), some yarn, and a Starbucks item of their choice (mine chose a gift card), along with the requisite extra goodies people usually include. My swappee posted pictures of the package she received and said she was happy with it, and I really hope she was.

My upstream partner is the lovely Trisia, who was also one of the moderators of the swap. Trisia has been a dream, sending me lots of Ravmessages such to make sure she tailored just the right package for me. Plus, she has an online yarn shop that just has a lot of yummy things in it!!! And, as it turns out, she dyed some yarn **especially for me**, and I was thrilled!!! I found this out when I went to her online shop and ordered, and she sent my money back saying "Uh, you're already getting that, you silly thing..." :) She had called it "Jazzy Jean", but so many people had liked the color that she added it to her shop. If you want to check out the color click here and page down to the "Dancing Peacocks" -- Isn't it gorgeous????

So, when Trisia told me she had shipped my package, and it should be here by Saturday a week ago... I figured no problem and eagerly started stalking the postman, or should I say postperson. Mind you, my postperson is a bit flaky... We frequently have to "deliver" mail to our neighbors because it's been left in the wrong box. I left a message in the mailbox the other day asking her to come to the door to pick up a Priority Mail package I had going out. You think she'd bring my mail with you, right?? Nope. Stuck it in the mailbox. So I had to go outside to get it. In the pouring rain. Tropical downpours courtesy of Fay. Color me unimpressed.

Saturday came and went, as did Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.... so I was left with a dilemma. Should I ask if it went out? What if something happened to it? I didn't want Trisia to think I was pushy, but I also didn't want her to think I was rude for not acknowledging what I'm sure is a wonderful package with pictures and accolades for all to see on Ravelry. I decided to bite the bullet and inquire...

Trisia was out of town, but she got the delivery confirmation info from her husband... and discovered that the package had indeed been delivered....

To Bristol, CT.

Connecticut. The other end of the freakin' East Coast from Kennesaw, GA. I didn't get to take a vacation this year, because we decided to cancel ours to stay home with His Royal Lowness Oscar, but my swap package is having a fine old time in the home of ESPN. Maybe it can get Jerry Punch to stop calling Carl Edwards' backflip a "signature somersault" and can get Rusty Wallace banned from NASCAR coverage.

Maybe it'll send me a postcard.

So now poor Trisia's on the case trying to get the post office to recover the package. Poor thing. See, this is why I don't trust the postal service. And they want to raise rates again? Pfffft.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Knit Stitch Update

First of all, I can't tell you how excited I am to look at the map and see that people from all over the US and the world are reading my little blog!! Thanks for stopping by!! If you get a chance, leave a comment and say hi.

I've been working a lot lately, but as those of you who know me well know, I'm definitely not an "all work, no play" kind of gal. I've been doing some knitting and stitching, but I just haven't gotten the camera out to do an update, so this is a catch-up post on what I've been doing.

I've got a couple of finishes. First, another pair of socks for Warm Woolies.I'm still using yarn I won in the Dancing With The Stars pool on Ravelry. I've got a lot of skeins to go, so I'm planning on cranking out quite a few more pairs, since I can get one pair out of a skein of Cascade 220.

I finally finished the Crusoe socks.I include the link to the pattern here as a warning. Do not use it. Seriously. It is fraught with errors, and the sizing is waaaaay off. If you like the way they look, take a generic sock pattern and use the 4 stitch stranded pattern on it. I'm not kidding. Knitty doesn't have any errata on it, and after I had ripped out the heel 5 times on the first sock, I searched Ravelry and discovered, buried on someone's project page, that it wasn't me and there was a problem. I plan to post prominently on my project page that there's issues with this pattern. The yarn I used was wonderful though. It was the first shipment in the Whimzy Pinzy cotton sock club; I found her on Ravelry and she's wonderful to work with... definitely a small business that goes the extra mile for her customers.

I finished some cup cozies for the Starbucks and Yarn swap:I can't remember the pattern right now, but if you're interested in it, let me know and I'll find it for you. For the same swap I also made some stitch markers:(Yeah, the picture's a little blurry, but you get the general idea. Photography's not my forte.) My swap partner posted that she was happy with her package, which also included a gift card, a skein of sock yarn, and a travel mug, so I hope she was.

In other knitting, I started new charity knitting for the Red Scarf project:Pattern is the Columns scarf, a freebie from Knit Picks. It's working up fast (although not as fast as I'd like), but I still don't know if I'll make the deadline for this year. It's a good travel project because it's only a four row pattern that's easily memorized. It calls for two different colors of yarn, but I decided to do it in only one color for convenience.

I also started a pair of RPM socks:Yarn is another Wimzy Pinzy cotton club yarn -- this time the Olympic commemorative for August. It's in one of her flat sheets, where you pull the yarn off the sheet and knit off it, which is actually kind of fun. I decided to go ahead and knit it up, considering my personal Olympic boycott (I disaprove of both the Chinese government and the IOC, which I know puts me in a serious minority, but I managed to not watch any of the coverage. I support our athletes, but I could not bring myself to watch the spectacle.) At any rate, the pattern seems to be a good one, and it's knitting up fast.

I haven't abandoned cross stitching by any means! In process are:This is Dasher, one of the reindeer by Nora Corbett. He's going to be a model for the Needled Canvas and Finest Threads, a needlework store here in Marietta. Right now I'm waiting for the beads to come in, because the holes you see in him are where beads go, and he looks like a good ol'boy got hold of him with a shotgun full of buckshot...

I'm also working on "Ye Shall Prosper" with a group of DFs. This was one of our projects at ASG last year, created by the fabulous Rae Iverson.The girls have created a stitchalong for us to try to get this finished. First up is the needlebook. I had done the chain stitch outline in class; we're supposed to get the first page of it done sometime in September. Everyone can tell you that I follow these schedules rather loosely, to say the least. :)

I think that gets us caught up, craft-wise. This weekend is Labor Day weekend, which is the unofficial end of summer. Nobody told the weatherman that, because it's hot as Hades here. Our plans are to head to Rome tonight, spend the night, bring Mom back to Atlanta tomorrow to shop, head back to Rome tomorrow night to take her home, spend the night, and head back home on Sunday for a day of rest on Monday. I hope all of you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Saturday, August 16, 2008

How much do I love my husband?

Enough that during a shopping trip to Costco today, I took a picture of him with an enormous spider with my iPhone for him to put on his Facebook page. Evidently he thought it was funny. I didn't. Had to copy the stupid thing to my computer to get it over to his Mac. When I deleted it, Vista had the nerve to ask me if I was sure. Of course I am. It was a freaking huge spider. I'm getting cold chills just typing this.

The past week has been pretty quiet. Nothing as exciting as a trip to the speedway, for sure! For the most part just working and trying to get insurance straightened out. For those of you who don't know, Richard's company was bought out by Oracle on August 1. We allegedly had insurance benefits starting on that date, but we've yet to see any cards. And we have appointments coming up this week, and I'm not sure that the doctor's office (or at least the huge clinic my doc belongs to) is going to "take my word for it." I think we've got it worked out, but we'll see. The next huge hurdle was the paycheck; payday was the 15th, and the first check had to be mailed. It didn't arrive on the 15th (it came today after the banks were closed), so there was considerable shuffling of funds to insure a few automatic payments didn't go bouncy bouncy come Monday. At least I don't have that much hair left that isn't already grey.

On a happier note, I got my package from my swap partner in the Purple Rules! summer swap:Included in the package was some Plymouth Sinsation, a kind of chenille-like yarn that is very soft and will make a very nice scarf, two skeins of Koigu for some socks, a bamboo "stitch fixer", some darning needles, a button and some sticky notes, and a box of Tazo teas. All very nice and very much appreciated. Thank you Pam!!!

I have a couple of swap packages to mail out myself next week... so tomorrow will be spent boxing them up and getting them ready to go. :)

Other than that we plan to have a relaxing Sunday... maybe do a little more cleaning out of cabinets in the kitchen with Richard mocking my unfortunate weakness for gadgets on infomercials. At least I'm providing him with some amusement!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Anniversary Weekend!!!

It's hard to believe that on Monday the 11th, Richard and I will have been married for 24 years. Considering I was 50 this year, I've been married just about half my life. Wowsa. Kind of mind-boggling when you put it in terms like that.

Usually for our anniversary we take a trip to Highlands, NC and stay at the Skyline Lodge, mine gemstones, eat too much, and generally enjoy the cooler weather for a few days. Unfortunately, the trip to West Virginia was pretty hard on Oscar, so we've made the decision not to travel further than my mom's house in Rome with His Royal Lowness anymore. We knew this day would come, and we've been pretty lucky with him in his 15 years. It's time to let him have some peace and quiet in his old age. Now, we're not ruling out the occasional shopping trip in his stroller (or Royal Carriage, as DF Jill says), but for the most part, he'll be home at night sleeping in his own king-sized bed, letting us have a little room to sleep as he sees fit.

So since we weren't going to Highlands, Richard made alternate plans for us on our Anniversary Weekend. Today we went to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a pilgrimage. This is the third track we've been to; the others are Bristol and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. While some may think it's boring to visit the tracks when races aren't going on, we think it's interesting, because you can go in and really see the speedway and go places you'd never get to go if there were a race going on .As you might expect, the speedway's a big place. Atlanta's one of the 1.5 mile tracks, but it's not really a "cookie cutter" because it's one of the older tracks on the circuit (dating from 1960) and it has significant banking in the corners, making for some fast racing. As an interesting bit of trivia, in November 1992 it was the site of both Richard Petty's last race and Jeff Gordon's first one in the season ender.This statue of Richard Petty signing an autograph for a child is right outside the ticket office of the speedway to commemorate the event.

We took a tour of the speedway; it wasn't a busy day, so Richard and I were the only ones on it, and it consisted of getting in a van and driving around the inside of the speedway and the grounds, with the driver giving some history as we drove. A lot of it I already knew, but there were some interesting tidbits, like the fact that there are some condos around the track for sale, ranging in price from $300K to a cool million. No real estate crisis there.The condos overlook the track and are evidently quite posh. Unfortunately we don't have a down payment right now.

The tour normally includes a ride in the van on the track, but we couldn't do that since there was a driving school going on. But... it ended up working in our favor, because after the tour, we drove over to the infield tunnel......signed a release, and were able to drive the Hummer right into the infield of the track where the driving school was taking place -- which was right on pit road and right next to the Cup garages and Victory Lane!Here I am inside the Cup garage!!! (In the back, you can see a restroom that no doubt many a driver has used over the years. I restrained myself from going into it. Really.) What always amazes me about the conditions around the race teams and the garage like this is how clean it is. No oil stains; no dirt; I'm not saying you want to eat off the floor, but it's certainly not like other car shops I've seen.

Richard hamming it up in Victory Lane:I thought briefly about trying to drive the Hummer up there, but I decided I wouldn't push my luck.

We were down on pit road, right where the Cup cars would be pitting during the race. Here I am on the pit road wall:I found it amazing to see that there are power outlets and water spigots on the other side of the wall. I haven't visited pit road at the other tracks to compare, so I don't know if other tracks have similar accommodations for the teams.

Also on pit road were the cars for the driving school. They weren't Cup cars; they were more like modified Nationwide series cars:We were able to get up close and get a good look at the inside of them as well:Maybe one day I'll save up my pennies and at least go for a ride-along in one of these cars. Since I don't know how to drive a stick, it would be kind of hard for me to actually drive one of them (even though that would be waaaaaay kewl). Maybe I'll just get a firesuit and a helmet. :)

From there we drove around to see the Legends cars (which are smaller cars that kidlets drive to learn to race). The track hosts races for these cars every Thursday night:If you look carefully, there's one for sale there in the back of the picture, so you can have your very own Legends car you can park outside your condo at the track if you've got the money...

After a stop at the gift shop (more Dale Jr. swag!), we headed north and shopped at Ikea for a bit. (Whoever said that "Ikea" translated to "Cheap Swedish Furniture" evidently never shopped there with me. Dang, I can drop some money at that place.)

So... that's the beginning of our weekend. The rest will be pretty tame. Some errands and a run to Micro Center tomorrow (and maybe the Apple Store), dinner at The Melting Pot tomorrow night, and church on Sunday.

It's been a very short and a very fantastic 24 years. I'm married to my best friend in the world, and I'm the most blessed person ever. I love my husband more now than I did the day I married him, and I realize how very special that is. If you haven't found that yet, I pray that one day you will.

Friday, August 1, 2008

In which I am outsmarted by a 14 lb dachshund

Oscar, being a 15 year old gentleman, has developed a touch of arthritis, and the vet has given him some medicine for it. Tramadol, to be specific. Turns out this is a pretty good medicine for dogs because it's supposed to relieve his discomfort but it doesn't have all the side effects that Rimadyl and some of the other drugs have. Plus, it's cheap, which my pocketbook loves.

The major drawback of Tramadol, however, is that it is incredibly bitter. As such, Oscar doesn't like to take it. Can't blame him really, but there's no reasoning with him as you would a child, and no promising him a toy (as my parents used to do when I got dragged to the allergist in Atlanta every few months... and I always knew that was going to involve needles and lots of them).

So the trick has been to hide the quarter pills in something yummy and hope he gets it down before he tastes the pill. Unfortunately this has been easier said than done.

Our usual weapon of choice in this has been Velveeta cheese. Nope. We went to peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream, even the terribly expensive Greenies Pill Pockets, which Vicky's shih tzus gobble up like Doggie Crack. Nope.

While Judy was here, she held him and I tried to force the pills into his mouth for him to swallow. This only resulted in me getting bitten several times and Oscar literally frothing at the mouth.

Later that weekend we hit on Omaha Steaks hamburgers. If we cooked one, then carefully sliced it so that we could put the quarter pills into an end piece; he would snarf them down before he realized it.

Until this morning. The jig is up.

I went to Chick-Fil-A to get his favorite chicken nuggets, concealed the pill quarters in two pieces of nugget, then nonchalantly put them down for him to eat. This was the result:Note the carnage of chicken nugget pieces above the plate, where he has deftly de-pilled the nuggets.
See the close-up of the small white quarter of a pill that's causing this problem??? Seriously, I'm only trying to get two of those down the dog in the morning and in the evening. You'd think this wouldn't be that hard.

I have a B.A, a B.S, an M.B.A. and a CPA license, and evidently I'm being outsmarted by a 14 lb dachshund. Anybody else got any ideas?? I'm open to suggestions.