24 April 2009

Birthday Cards

I got a birthday card and note from my favorite niece in the whole world (she's actually my only niece, but I still recognize her superiority at being a niece). She told me that she bought herself a Kindle 2 after reading my posting on mine. She has always been a great reader, like me, which I think has made us closer over the years. I have to admit to having aided and abetted her reading habit; I would buy her books when we visited Iowa and even now we give her Amazon gift certificates.

Still, to convince her, with just a few words, to buy a Kindle 2.... Fortunately for my auntly reputation, she loves it with a passion. I am so pleased to hear that from her, since I love mine, and her, so very much.

She is a wonderful person. She's really good at dealing with people, which is a large part of her job (she's a fairly high-level manager at the hospital system of a big Midwestern university), and she's very intelligent. She got her MBA at that same university while working full time, with excellent grades. We are so proud of her and her success. She's also a wonderful aunt to her four nieces and one nephew. She graciously gives me a much-needed outlet for knitted goods, by accepting and wearing warm woolly scarves.

Maybe she'll start leaving the occasional comment here. I didn't even know she was reading.

22 April 2009

Sad Anniversaries

It will be my mother's birthday on the 24th, the second since she died. Somehow this anniversary makes me sadder than the anniversary of her death. In reaction to this, I find myself swamped in creativity or, maybe, in shopping to support creativity. I've been buying lace weight yarn like crazy. I bought three partial cones of Jaggerspun Zephyr and another three colors of cashmere-silk blend on eBay, four different colorways from Black Bunny Yarn, and two colorways of kettle-dyed yarn from Knit Picks. Then today I got a skein of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace for the 2009 Year of Lace Spring offering.

The funny thing is, I don't know why I'm suddenly accumulating lace weight yarn. It's not in honor of my mother. I never knit a lace shawl for my mother and she wouldn't have worn it if I had. She rarely wore sweaters or jackets or coats and a lace shawl just wasn't her style at all. An afghan would have suited her, but I'm just now starting to think about knitting afghans, mostly for the new house.

There's some miscellaneous news. We're having a heat wave here. It's been in the '90s, which is unusual in April. Today we're having a lot of convective activity and there's an actual thunderstorm just north of us that has really dropped the temperature. I doubt if we'll see any precipitation, though.

Gordo went to the vet last week and he weighs 75 lbs now. He'll be one year old on May Day. He's doing very well, although he has trouble sleeping in the warm evenings. We've started leaving the slider in the bedroom open and he's doing better. His crate is right by the door and the cool air washes over him, making him more comfortable. He also seems to be eating a little better. I think he's not wild about the lamb and rice kibble, so I'm going to look for a different brand next time. Maybe I'll pick up a small bag of Canidae. My previous pair of collies liked it very much, so I can hope Gordo will, too, and that it won't make him itch.

Some time ago I got a new vacuum cleaner, a Eureka, that claims to pick up dog hair. It does and I'm really pleased. I hadn't realized how much hair Gordo had shed in the bedroom (or how much we'd tracked in) until I saw it whirling around in the vacuum cup. His hair is pretty much invisible on the silver plush, which helped conceal the quantity. The vacuum can also be used on hard floors, having a switch to turn the beater brushes off, which is really nice. My halls and bathrooms are tiled and regular vacuums just spread stuff around on them, rather than sucking it up. This vacuum came from Overstock.com and was quite reasonably priced. I looked at Dysans but couldn't find one with the hard-floor option and thought they were kind of expensive. I've had Eurekas before and liked them, so that's what I got.

At the same time I also picked up a Bissell carpet cleaner from Overstock.com. It's refurbished and has a minimal complement of accessories, but I'ver never found that I use the accessories. I probably should, now that I actually think about it, since the chair I regularly sit in is a bit grubby and could stand to have the arms cleaned, at the very least. We have the carpet cleaners come in about once a year and do everything, but with a dog it's nice to be able to tackle spots when they appear, without doing the entire house. All of my dogs have been very good about not making organic messes, being well-trained, but I swear that they would sometimes clench an entire pawful of mud to track onto the carpet on rainy days. Add in my propensity to spill Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and spot-cleaning gets important.

The third thing in my order was a pressure cooker. I've never had one, but my mom loved hers. She was a working woman for as long as I can remember and the pressure cooker let her put dinner on the table in no time. I'm more interested in keeping the kitchen cool during the summer. I'm trying to add some balance and variety to my diet and I know I'm more likely to eat food I've prepared. For example, I despise cooked bell peppers, yet a lot of companies sneak them into frozen meals, where they taint the entire dish. This is particularly true of baked pasta dishes and Mexican foods, like enchiladas. I also think the pressure cooker will let me cook smaller quantities. There's really no reason to make two big pans of cheese enchiladas or lasagna just because you're going to all that work anyway. The cooker is also touted as making excellent rice and, with special pans, steamed desserts. I'll let you know how this works out.

14 April 2009

Birthday Just Passed

My birthday was on the 9th of April and it was really good. My sweet husband had given me a Kindle 2 as an early birthday gift and I've been lost in reading. This is truly a wonderful device and I just love it. My dear cousin sent me a pound of See's chocolates. The dark chocolate Bordeaux, to be exact. I like them so much

I gave myself M'Lou Baber's new book, Double Knitting, and Iris Schreier's new Reversible Knitting. I also bought some yarn from Knit Picks for double-knitted scarves. Amazon recommended Lucy Neatby's DVD on Double Knitting and I had to have it. Actually, I had to have a couple other of her DVDs, too. So I've started on the Exchequered scarf from Knitty. I'm knitting it in Coal (black) and Asparagus (soft gray-green) Merino Style. So far, so good, although I've only just started.

Actually, there was yet another birthday gift. Somewhere along the line last year I had decided I was 62. It must have been bad arithmetic; a couple of days before I actually turned 62 I figured out that I was only 61. It didn't last long, but somehow I feel better.