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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Keeping Busy

Last night I finished making this stuff here

Into this stuff.
And I think I did a darn good job. This week I plan on making it into a lacy little shawlette. No one in particular in mind for it, just wanting to use it. It's a 70% Merino and 30% Tussah Silk Top mixture that although was a bit frustrating working with, but finished oh so wonderfully.

And I even got this item done, and am almost done with the pattern write out for it.
 I just need to give it to it's intended recipient and get a couple pictures of her in it for the pattern. Then I will probaby post this pattern to my blog.

And speaking of things I said I'd post to my blog..
Blueberry Pear Pie

One bag cascade organic frozen blueberries

2tsp sugar
A splash of vanilla (size of splash is up to your personal tastes)
3 medium sized ripe pears of your choice
1/2C water
3tsp cornstarch
2tsp cinamon
1tsp ginger
a dash of cardamom (again, up to you on amount)
1/2C water
3tsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine blueberries with sugar and vanilla and allow to thaw (I placed in refrigerator over night). Make pie crust of your choice, or just go buy yourself one. No, I make my own, so don't even ask it. I find most have their own preferred way of making crust but for this pie I do a full crust on both bottom and top. Place bottom in greased pie plate. Peel and slice pears thinly lengthwise. In medium pot dissolve cornstarch in water, add remaining spices and berries and pears. Heat to a simmer and when liquid starts to thicken cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently. Transfer fruit mixture to crust. Place top crust on, trim of any extra, turn up sides and pinch seal the edges. Place several vent slices in top of crust. Place in oven on middle rack and bake for one hour or longer if needed until crust is golden brown. At high altitudes such as Casper I add 10-15 minutes to my baking time then turn broiler on to high to brown crust.

Warm or cool, it's a delicious pie. Garnish as you wish and serve!

Got it? Good.

Now, on a side a note, I was heading into class tonight and as I entered the building and was walking down the hall, I sneezed. A woman who looked vaguely familiar blessed me and as I said Thank you, I thought I reckognized her and asked, "Did you cut off all your hair?"
She smiled and kinda plumped her curls as she said, "Yes I did."
"It looks great." I said as I walked past her and slowly realized that I didn't quite recognize her as much as I thought I did. As I continued down the hall I turned to look over my shoulder and saw her keep brushing at her hair and smiling. A few minutes later as I sat in class the person I had thought she was walked in with tresses intact. I just kinda nodded to myself and though, "Well, I made someone feel good tonight."

Back to work with me tomorrow, so I thought I better get another post up tonight. Hope you have a great week. Oh, and since Bob is back from his busy two weeks on the road, I figured I could post this little pic of Tucker moping when he was packing. The break in has made me nervous about letting many people know when one of us is out of town.

Tucker always mopes when Bob leaves. It's ridiculous. We'll go for a walk and he'll play and romp with everyone, then we come home and he mopes next to the bed. Pitiful, absolutely pitiful.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still in Retreat From the Wind

So, after a touch of spinning I went to work in the kitchen.

This, is my afternoons work. A Blueberry Pear Pie. I kind of made it up as I went with Cinnamon, Ginger, and a touch of Cardamom. I'm hoping it tastes as good as it smells. If it does I think the next posting will have a recipe involved.

I hope you are all well on such a winter day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Breezy Wyoming Day

I enjoyed our recent break from the typical Wyoming winter. It snowed, and I got the kids out to play in it multiple times in the two whole days of it, but alas all good things must come to an end. And by an end, I mean that the wind has returned and is carrying our snow off to Nebraska or other places further afield. If it were a calmer day, it would be downright balmy at 34 degrees this morning while we were on our first walk of the day. Except, it's not calm. In fact, the windchill was somewhere below 10 and made me wish that I too, like the dogs, had a fur coat of my own.

Why am I out in that you may ask? Because regardless of the wind, my boys just don't care. They NEED to get out. In fact, I NEED for them to get out. Or they follow me around the house all day stuck to me like glue, crying, whimpering, and carrying on like damn fools to the point that I yell at them to go away, give me a 3 foot bubble and dammit, I can't put on shoes with a furry butt on my lap, a wet nose stuck through my legs or in my ear, or any of the other multiple ways they find to just be there. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but I thank the heavens I don't ever have to worry about having a clingy toddler of my own. Filicide would seem like such a minor thing I think. God Bless parents everywhere and Thank God I'm not one.

So, now with a walk under our belts the market run done and dogs sacked out in their favorite spots, I get to focus on other things.

Such as finishing the reworking of Bob's sweaters sleeves.

Do you see the difference between the two sleeves? Yeah, I didn't know any better when I made Bob this sweater. It was my second sweater (the first being for me) and I followed that pattern to the T since it was nothing like the raglan I had made mine from. Even though it was made for a 6 foot + giant of a man and Bob and I are both 5 foot 8. The designer even stated that this was her first sweater design ever which should have made me do some thinking, but I held to the belief that if you just keep knitting, it will all be okay. And it was, okay. Just okay.

Really, the only big issue were the sleeves. They're monstrous! Both in length (they grew in blocking) and worse, in width. They're like bell bottom jeans. And poor Bob so proudly wore my work, and just tried rolling those bad boys up. They don't stay put when rolled, they get caught on things like car gear shifts and door knobs and seem to find their way into almost anything your good wool sweater shouldn't like ketchup, oil, and all other manner of things. So as I wrapped up Christmas knitting I decided to pull this bad boy out, rip back the sleeves and re-knit them.

The only problem was, I had absolutely no desire to work on them. There's a reason it took me three years to get this far. This sweater in the end may cause a break up if he thinks I don't care about us as much as I don't care about this sweater. Actually, that's not true. This is a lovely sweater and about as warm as a sweater can get. The cabled rib piles up on itself and holds in so much heat than on cold days you can wear just the sweater and a fleece vest to walk the dogs in and be perfectly comfortable. Honestly, I think a large part of it has to do with the dark gray. My own sweater was a close color match, and then there were the gray socks. I think my eyes are tired of gray at this moment. But as I have over the last week, I'm going to sit down crank on the DVR and hide from the wind with this sweater and finish the damn sleeves. I only have about half a sleeve to go for pity's sake. As you can see in the above picture, one is done, and I over the last two evenings have put a good dent in the second. So fingers crossed, here I go.

And if I'm a good kid and get several repeats done today, I'll reward myself with some spinning. I have a lovely merino silk blend to work on.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Isn't That Nice...

Yes, that is dog poop. I'm starting out a blog post with a picture of dog poop. Nuth'n like a Sunday blog post that starts out with some $&!# is there? And I didn't even go to church this morning. This may be a new low for me.

See, I started out today like I start out many a day with a good dog walk. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up in the parking lot, unloaded the dogs and found this. Yep, as you can see that's a trash can as well as a nifty little stand of poop bags that the city puts up for dog owners to clean up their dogs waste less than ten feet from the said disposal tools. Before I went ahead and cleaned up this mess, I just wanted to snap a picture of it. I'm tempted to make posters to place on the cities trails, I just doubt that whatever lazy SOB that left this would pay any heed.

To be honest though, this was the second walk of the day for me with the monsters. The first walk was at another park that someone had pulled into the end of the lot, threw all their food garbage into the parking lot (yes, they're are garbage cans, 5 even, in the same parking lot) before leaving. My dogs got several pringles down apiece before I realized what was in the snow and cleaned up that mess. It's all about as intelligent as the people who feed the squirrels at the dog park.

Now, to clarify, I have no hard feelings regarding squirrels. I think they're as cute as the next person. But I see it as cruel to bait them to the ground with food or even the habituation of these guys to food from humans with a bunch of canine psycho squirrel murderers running around legally off leash.

And for those of you who wonder why I cleaned up the top pictures mess, it's because I don't want someone else upon our return to the parking lot to think that this was possibly my dogs mess. More importantly, I don't want them to think I'm such a lazy SOB to have left it. Granted, I would hope that they would have noticed the 3 bags of poop I was bringing to the trash with 6 total poops, 2 of which were not my dogs but they were nearby when I picked my dogs up, so I might as well get them too.

You see, I play the exchange-a-poop game. I have four critters, and when we're roaming off leash, I try to keep an eye on all the 4-legged ones, but with a Great Dane Pup who runs and entices the other boys to chase, and the 16 year old lady who lags behind, I'm sure I miss a poop here and there while we're off trail. Or even worse, you see them squat, trudge over but they are done by the time you get there and no amount of looking for rising steam or trying to follow your nose can help you locate the pile. So, when I can't find my own dogs, I try to pick up at least two other piles that are somewhere on the walk, and if I'm cleaning up my own and see someone else's mess, I'll get it too. It's my version of pay it forward if you will. I wish more dog owners would do the same. What's a little canine poop karma between trail sharers?

So, if by chance, the owner of the offending canine party reads this... pick it up. And yes, I'll say something to you if I see your dog pooping and you not cleaning it up. And if anyone sees me out and about and are out of bags, I'm sure to have some. All my jackets have one or five stashed away in a pocket somewhere.

On a different less odorous note, you can notice todays snow. Isn't it pretty?!? This was taken on yesterdays walk. No snow... I love snow.

Notice, the antelope are not running because my dogs are not allowed to chase them. And yes, my dogs saw them. I was slightly concerned that the antelope showed so little fear since one of my dogs is about their size, until I noticed the golden eagle following them. I think they were trying to deter it since goldies are known to take young antelope and I've heard stores of them wearing our lone adults until they can take it down. Sorry, I wasn't able to get a good picture of the bird. It kept doing this flying/soaring thing that my phone didn't work with very well. I also had to make this one extra big because my phone can only do so much, and damn if I can make it zoom in and take a picture at the same time. Teach me to go out with a good camera on me.

Have a great rest of your weekend, and you dog owners, don't forget your poop baggies. Thanks!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nip, Tuck, and Snip Snip

Busy days here in Casper Wyoming as we headed into another low cost spay and neuter clinic. We have a vet out of Jackson who arranges with several other vets around the state for a traveling clinic that comes into several communities a couple times a year to run this event. They coordinate with several rescue groups to gather volunteers and arrange for a location to pull off the event.

In short, it's complete chaos. The dogs come in excited, scared, out of their heads to be out of their own house and just sheer bouncy

And Sometimes they just need held down.

Just a warning, if those SPCA commercials make you cry, this posting may tug at the tears. However, we make this event happen to try to limit the need for those commercials. This year with the help of the local animal control shelter we were able to offer many of the procedures for the dogs normal licensing fee of $5.00. Many of these dogs come from families that it's fairly obvious that the normal cost of a spay/neuter is out of their reach.

No matter the economic background of the owners of these dogs, we gather for one main reason. To provide much needed population control measures under the care and observation of vets. This year we had 5 vets and 7 techs who spent the day operating on and overseeing the recovery of these animals. We also had close to 2 dozen volunteers who did everything from cleaning out kennels, sit and assist with dogs, and checking in and out animals through out the day. In two days we were able to provide over 60 procedures to both dogs and cats... forgive me, I worked with dogs all day so that's what you get pictures of. We just didn't have any wonderfully adorable boxes of kittens this time around.

So, just a few of our critters...
Miss Lola was just sheer sweetness
Before and after her spay
Oscar was as laid back and easy going as Great Danes come. A pure lover boy.
And he enjoyed his drugs too...
I just love me some cute heeler pups and Mr Pudge was no exception
And him and his household brother Blue were as cute as they come. I promise, they're still breathing here, just waiting for them to wake up a bit more.
Speaking of cute and cuddly pups, Mr Kane and Miss Bella were sweeties. I don't think Kane ever got placed back in a crate since he figured out if he just lay here quietly, people would pet him.
Ricco here was as quiet as he got for the day awaiting surgery after his pre-meds. He cried from arrival to departure singing those neuter blues. We always have one big male that is the biggest wimp of all.
Speaking of whiners, can't forget the sisters Heidi and Chloe. Bigger just means louder sometimes.
And who expects someone named Scraps to be such a love?
What is it about a sweet faced goldie? Krista was no exception, as was her sister sweets.

I love working with these guys. I may be sore and stiff after a day of getting up and down off the floor and toting unconscious dogs of all sizes, but it is rewarding at the end of the day when you realize that each of those procedures could have stopped at least one unwanted litter that may have never found good homes, or worse, we put down due to other circumstances.

I know many people don't care to "fix" their animals and I've heard all the arguments. I'm not going to get into it, but I am going to state that if you have an animal you need to get as I call it, broke, we have another clinic coming up in September. We'd be happy to help you.

And if I were just able to have another dog, I think this little huggable and loving sweety named Oakley would have come home with me right then and there.
I only got one days worth of pictures. I was just too busy the second day to get the camera out. We had our hands full of pit bulls that just refused to come out of anesthesia correctly, and one lab that had complications. We got everyone home that night but it made for a busy night.

As for Friday, while Bob and I were at the clinic, the cops called and told us that they thought someone had broken into our house. He ran home to deal with that and as an hour slipped by and no word came I realized that I had left my cell at home so I ran home myself.

As I was walking up to speak to one of the many cops present (3 cop cars, 1 k9 unit, a fire truck and an ambulance), they were bringing someone I didn't recognize out on a stretcher. I was praying there were both dog bites and that they weren't too badly hurt when I was informed that my dogs were okay and that the intruder had not been bit that they knew of and that instead my dogs had kept the cops away from the idiot as he climbed into our ceiling downstairs and took all his drugs and OD'd. It seems that he was on drug fueled breaking and entering spree and had come through our dog doors (Who in the hell goes through a Great Dane sized dog door?) where he was then cornered by the cops. Teaches us to volunteer... kidding. I'm just glad that the kids were unharmed and that no one else got hurt in all the drug induced drama. I just thought I'd share the story of my darwin award guard dogs.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have a fantastic week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Soap Box, a Strike, a Bit of Guilt Ridden Apology, and a Sincere Thank You

As you may remember from my prior posting, I have certain somewhat hard feelings towards professional sports as a general whole. I know previously it may have come across as a NFL specific issue but truly, I feel that way towards any “over paid” professional sport. I enjoy watching a good hockey or soccer match, but once again, it’s a bunch of adult men chasing a ball/puck around a field and getting paid absorbent amounts of money to do so.

So, with that said, I do have a bit of guilt even tuning in once a year to the Super Bowl as an excuse to have people over and cook. It just smacks of turning my back on my own rather strong objections. But, I excuse the lapse, pour myself some more wine and give them one more viewer to add to their totals to excuse more excess next year.

Well… Not again. Sorry guys, I won’t be hosting the get together next year, but we’ll find another day I’m sure to potluck it and gather.

Why you may ask? Well, let me start out by saying that I feel as though I owe the American people an apology. More accurately, I owe Iraq War veterans an apology. I owe you an apology for the way we as a country have failed to greet our returning war veterans.

All other wars have closed with the return of our troops to America’s soil and a celebration of the lives lost and lives and freedoms protected by their service to our nation. They have returned to our harbors and airfields among pomp and circumstance and have had ticker tape parades as they’ve marched through New York’s Canyon of Heroe’s.

The Canyon of Hero's walk as we came home from WWI
September 8th, 1919 we celebrated the return of General Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces returning from Europe and WWI.

June 10th, 1945 we honored General Dwight Eisenhower and his command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces returning from WWII in the European theater. Following later that year were the return of both Fleet Admirals William F Halsey (December 14th) and Chester Nimitz (October 9th) who had both played leadership roles in the Pacific Fleet. In addition we celebrated the release and return of General Jonathan Wainwright, hero of Corregidor who was the highest ranking Japanese held POW during the Pacific Theater conflicts.

Following in 1946 on January 12th the All American Division Army representative James M. Gavin was honored with another parade to mark the end of WWII

In 1953 we held a ticker tape parade for the returning 4th Infantry division as they came home from Korea.

Better late than never, we honored Vietnam Veterans on May 7th 1985. There were probably many reasons for such a delay including public opinion of the Vietnam war, as well as a dramatic fall in such events after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; although on January 30th 1981 we celebrated with a parade the release and return of the American hostages in Iran, a rather diminutive skirmish in relation to the conflict of the Vietnam war

June 10th 1991 we celebrated the return of our veterans from the Gulf War.

On December 18th, 2011 we officially had pulled US troops from Iraq. We still have not held a State sponsored celebration for our returning soldiers from an 8 and a half year theater of war for our “War on Terror”.

Instead, we have managed to hold a ticker tape parade yesterday for the New York Giants winning of the 2012 Super Bowl. In fact, since 1999, we have only held five such parades, all of them in honor of New York State sports team wins.

These are our heroes that deserve a parade for winning a game?
October 29th 1999 the New York Yankees won the World Series
October 30th 2000 the New York Yankees won the World Series
February 5th 2008 the New York Giants won the 2008 Super Bowl
November 6th 2009 the New York Yankees once again won the world series.
And lets not forget February 7th, the New Yor Giants won the 2012 Super Bowl

These are our heroes that deserve a parade for winning a game?

Am I the only one who feels a sense of outrage and questions the morals and greater concerns of our country as they are reflected by these events? For the better part of the last decade we have had families separated by military services or torn apart by the death of their serving family members. We have had a large percentage of our young adult generation overseas doing what they thought they could to protect our way of life and personal freedoms as outlined by our constitution. And even if I may not have supported the war, I feel as though I owe my thanks and gratitude for them risking their lives and support their choice to serve our country in the armed forces. Now I feel even more guilt for taking the time to watch a bunch of silly tights wearing men chasing an odd shaped ball across a fake grass field instead of posting a thanks to our service men and women to my blog earlier. And for that, I truly Thank You.

It seems as of late that every time I talk to co-workers about their families and friends or go out in public I am depressed by what I see and hear as our priorities as a society. Kids, and even adults with no sense of responsibility or accountability for their own actions. Spoiled brats that feel entitled to anything and everything with no respect to others. Schools lacking quality teachers, and parents that leave the education and general rearing of their children to said schools. Our elders or incapable left to the mercy of an overtaxed social security and welfare system that is quickly running towards bankruptcy. And for a country where we are supposed to all be equals under the law, we still see hate crimes against one another because we are not of the same sex, creed, color, religion or sexual orientation that take thousands of lives annually because we can’t see past our own hatred to give each other the respect that another human is due. We live in a country that is so heavily separated by our political views that our government is more and more bogged down with political infighting than doing it’s job of passing legislation that has the good of the people – all the people – in mind. Not those of a specific group in order to pad their assurance of votes for the next election.

It all reminds me of a quote from Renee Zellweger in the movie Cold Mountain.

“Every piece of this, is mens bullshit
They call this war a cloud over the land.
But they made the weather, and then
Stand in the rain and say, ‘Shit, it’s rainin!’ “

I can’t help but feel that all of the problems I observe are of our own making. We’ve lost site of ourselves and our own responsibilities. We The People have no accountability for our actions and are too busy pointing our fingers at others and trying to sue to get what we feel is owed to us though we haven’t worked for it, and this is what we get with that mind set. We get gangs killing our cops and pulling our kids into their drug fueled and violence torn lifestyle. We have people living off a failing system instead of finding a way to better the system as a whole. We stand here wondering why we no longer feel safe in our own homes and secure in our futures while squandering what we earn and blaming our expenditures on the economy, the president, or China instead of holding ourselves accountable for our own choices. We’re standing in the rain we made and instead of finding ourselves an umbrella we’re fiendishly prancing around in a rain dance while the waters rise.

I know, these are some broad generalizations, but I hope you see my point. And if not I apologize. Even more so, I apologize for this postings feeling of negativity. I wanted to start out the New Year by holding others up, pointing out the funny, the uplifting, or just the joyous when I saw it, and that is not what this posting does. Especially since I have no fix for what I see crumbling around me, this posting smacks of whining to my own ear. However I do want to say I see, and more importantly feel hope. I see that I play a role, even if it’s just by changing my own perspective. By taking the responsibility to step up my own role in the community, I hope to take accountability for the role I play.  So, the next time there’s a homecoming here in Casper, I’m going to make an effort to attend, and show my respect for their service in person. Starting today, and using this public forum, I’m going to say Thank You to those that deserve it.

To the two men who organized the St Louis parade to honor our returning soldiers, I want to extend my personal thanks. Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum, two men who also saw the lacking of a welcome for our Iraq War soldiers and took it upon themselves to arrange such an event, we owe you a thank you. It may not have been a ticker tape parade, but it was good to see someone else noticed.

Thank you, to the soldiers for your effort, sweat, and blood in Iraq, and thank you to two men who made this even happen
And as for the next Super Bowl? I’m sure there’s something more worthy to take up my time than helping make sure some professional sportsman gets another multimillion dollar contract to chase his toys 

PS: I normally try to use my own photos for my blog. As you've seen I have in the past used other online sources for images, but I feel that I should start notating when I use such a source. All three of these photos came from internet news sources/archives.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Swear, It's Like Crack...

Spinning that is, and I'm hooked like a decade's old addict. That's right; I'm not dead, just holed up with my spinning wheel and fiber. And yes, I'm even sniffing much of it. Especially the Cheetos yarn that still smells of the orange Kool Aid that I used to dye it with, but more on that later.

Mainly, I've been exhausted. I don't know if it's age or what but night shifts seem to be wearing on me greatly as of late. I have been having trouble flipping back and forth and seem to just feel run down in general at all times. Of course, it may not be nights at all, just the aftermath of a three week long cold then a flu like sickness three days after getting over the cold. I may have just drained my reserves. But it's been bad enough that I've toyed with the idea of going back to days... Eeek! If only Publisher's Clearing House would come ring my bell. I could really use that million a year for life. But hey, most of us could, no?

I've found in my dreary exhaustion, I've been craving comfort food. maybe I've just been craving cooking this cuisine. I seem to be finding great joy in the cooking of dishes such as the chicken and dumplings I made us the other evening.

In fact, I even had a second annual Superbowl party which was mainly just an excuse to cook such things as Teriyaki Beef Sandwiches, Lil'Smokies in BBQ sauce, and a batch of brownies. Truly, such a gathering in our house is just to have a small gathering of people that I can cook for because I don't give a hoot about football. In fact I don't follow any sport. I have basic moral issues regarding paying a bunch of adults to chase balls across a field millions of dollars and dumping tax payer money into assuring that these said millionaires have all the highest tech stadiums and play stuff while these same cities are plagued with ugly crime rates and too few police officers and over taxed public school and social service systems. Personally, I think they should disband the NBA, NFL, NHL and put all those dollars where they belong... Raising our next generation in a safe as possible environment with the best possible education. But enough of that soapbox. So sorry, I got side tracked.

So instead of discussing society at large's misappropriation of financial and time resources, let's discuss my own.

This was my first attempt at spinning from a Batt.
 I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite spinning experience. There were wads of wierd kinky fibers that just didn't want to play nicely and the color. Oh my, the color.

Let's just say I'm not a teal fan and that was not the color that the picture of this particular batch made me think of. But now I know. I won't be buying any more Hanks in the Hood Trillium Lakes. Though I may try some of their other products. Does it make anyone else think of the yarn that they use for some of the Navajo rugs? Maybe it's just me. I imagine I will return to batts at some point when I have more practice, but it's probably going to be a bit.

Then, there's the Cheetos yarn. Yes, Cheetos.

This didn't quite come out the color I wanted. I should have added some red to it to darken it up. But my nephew will love it I think. You see, he's color blind in both the green/blue and red/yellow spectrum and orange is the only color he sees. Everything else, is a shade of grey. So anytime I find something in orange I think he'll like, I buy it.

I call this Cheeto's yarn because the yarn absorbed the yellow dye I added to the pot as a background to the basic fiber hue, and then absorbed the orange on top of it and looks like bleeping fake cheddar powder covered Cheetos. Better yet, it still smells of the orange Kool Aid that I used to dye it. Mmmmm... *blurgh*

So, I'm not dead. Just playing with the wheel. I'm going to have to take a break here soon to stain and seal the wheel with the teak wax finish I bought for it. And I love the new Niddy Noddy! It makes measuring skein lengths so much easier.

And the poor dogs are feeling neglected, but worry not, they are still getting their full quota of walks, no matter the feigned  distress.