Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Travels in Alabama

At the moment I am sitting in a lovely, clean house, everything in order and tastefully decorated. Mine? Heck no! I must be visiting!

Hubby and I have been staying with one of his Alabama cousins and her husband and cat. The husband is very gracious. The cat, not so much. I have mixed feelings about cats whose front paws have been declawed, but it's been a positive situation for me. I don't think Shelby the cat likes me all that well. She's beautiful, a rescue kitty that was dumped on the other cousin's property as a baby, possibly by someone sensing the animal-friendly vibe of the acreage.

"Acreage"--there's a word we don't hear much in the San Francisco Bay Area. In our spot called home our houses are on small dots of property surrounded by privacy fences. Seems the closer people live to each other, the more closely guarded any bit of personal space is. We can see into a neighbor's open bathroom window 15 feet away, but we have fences so we can sit on our little chairs in our little back yards and listen to every word of every conversation taking place in the 3 back yards surrounding ours. Here in the area of Alabama the cousins live in, one yard just rolls into the next and into the next, broken only by houses and landscaping.

Of course, here in Alabama, I don't honestly know if they sit outside in the summer like we do in California. Each time I've stepped out of a store or car I've been surprised again by my immediate immersion into a moist heat sauna.

The downside to this friendly family picture we're enjoying is that the cousins' father is being treated for pancreatic cancer. As you can imagine, the whole family is having a tough time.

The upside is watching the interactions of this family. Every person pitches in. They're a unified group, helping out in whatever thing needs helping. It's a good thing to see. :-)

Skimmer's Recap: Alabama. Heat bad, family good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Monday fibromyalgic thoughts after a busy but fun weekend.

(cartoon here showing a big thought bubble choked with 
random phrases overrunning the edges of the bubble-- 
couldn't find one, so you'll have to use your imagination.)

i get tired of living up here in my head
today it's quite noisy and my focus is bad
i hear my brain chattering:
 "should i go work outside? 
no, i should clean the kitchen--
no wait, shop for groceries--
why's that so dusty?
no, i should be. . ."

forget it.
think i'll go take a nap.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Knitting: New "Cool Tool"

I've mentioned in the past (interruptions: Come out and play!) my love of Cool Tools. Yes, I LOVE gadgets.

My newest LARGE Cool Tool is the Silver Reed LK 150 knitting machine.

Men and (other) women may love talking about 0 to 60 in however many seconds, or horse power under the hood, but me? I'm thrilled by words like "tension" and "150 needles" and "row counter."

To many others these may be words of a foreign nature, and tension merely states the feeling after work each day, or needles just remind you of your last trip to the doctor's. But to me? Ahhhhh....sweet drippings of nectar into my mouth.

I understand it may look like nothing much to you, but let me tell you about it! If you have ever used a sewing machine or done any hand knitting or crocheting, you will understand "tension." Without correct tension being held the stitches will be all wonky and uneven, but with tension? A whole new world of precise, beautifully matched stitches one after the other after the other.

I have been using The Ultimate Sweater Machine by Bond for the past few years with a decent amount of success (pictures of projects at the link above. And any of you who know me can totally accept that I had just that look of happy pride the lady at the top right of the box has. HAHAAHAHA! There were some great moments of frustration.
See those cute antennas on the first photo, the Silver Reed? Those are part of the aforementioned Good Tension. Notice the antennas on the Sweater Machine? No? That's because there are none! And yet I managed to make some decent projects on it. So I am pretty much guaranteed success on the new one, right?

I purchased the Silver Reed LK150 at That Yarn Store in nearby Dublin, CA. Lessons are included in the purchase price, so yesterday when I picked it up I had my first lesson. The owner teaches a lot of classes on a variety of levels of machines and in a variety of needle arts. She has taught classes on my first love, the Sweater Machine, and told me I should be very proud if I was able to turn out projects. My first lesson on my new love (no, I am not fickle, I just love them all) was to get me used to the machine set-up and get me over any fear of the machine and the usage of it and the yarn.

I just get all warm inside when I think about it! I even bought a very cool metal case that looks like I'm carrying a rifle--so very American of me to appear to be "carrying." :-)

Skimmer's Recap: Julie got a cool new toy. See Julie smile.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Skimmin' the recap.

Seriously? Two weeks since I last posted anything? Good grief. So much for my thoughts of consistency. Oh well, that's usually how consistency works out for me.

SO--Skimmer's Recap of the past two weeks:

The back garden hummingbird nest has gone from this--
^ to this ! ^

My good friend went from bearer of a large red ball
to the bearer of this beautiful baby boy (how's that for alliteration?) And i got to love on this little lovely! (i just can't stop!)

i had a mini vacation all by myself in the beautiful breezy back garden in Sunday's warm weather--i lounged on the new cushion of my lounge chair, soaked up the sun, and listened to the birds, the windchimes, and the "shoosh"ing sound of the poplar leaves.

Some of the new plants are growing beautifully,

while some of them? Not so much.

But that's just life, right? Some of it is full of joy and amazement,
while parts of life carry only the best of intentions
that didn't work out after all.

Pretty sure my care of this plant is in that last category.
But then the next day comes along and i get to start
fresh again. Plus i can always go buy a new plant. ;-)