Friday, November 30, 2007

A small success

Yesterday I found a recipe that sounded good but I realized that was missing a key ingredient - corn starch. Do you see a theme here? About two weeks ago I was missing baking soda. There is something about moving that makes basic ingredients normally in one's pantry disappear.

My shopping list today including, besides corn starch, plastic for the windows, processed ham slices (don't ask), weather stripping, toothpaste, butter, glass cleaner, contact lens cleaner. It was an exciting day at Home Despot and Me(i)jers I tell you.

This vegetable pot pie was quite easy to put together but of course there was TGF's picky palate to potentially please. Visually it looked fabulous and smelled quite tasty as well.

It was one of those times when the Life commercial plays in my head, "She likes it!"
She even had seconds.

Another success, this post concludes my post a day for everyday in November.
Happy end of NaBloPoMo my compatriots!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For Whom the Academic Bell Tolls

I believe it tolls for me. Two months have passed during which I had planned to be writing papers. The books haven't even been unpacked. Due to lack of payment of administrative fees associated with taking my leave of absence, I have been administratively withdrawn. As I have scanned help wanted ads in two states it seems that as much as I love the focus of doing the marriage & family therapy route, it's not that practical. The plan had been to write papers this fall/winter (which could still happen), reenroll with a change in concentration and finish up in the spring semester with an MA in Psychology and reassess things. However that will cost a LOT of money.

Now I have been thinking of writing the papers just for me, start paying back loans in the spring and apply to a local MSW program. It as been weighing on my mind a lot. It has probably been contributing to my on and off again depression, night anxiety, and inertia. I am burdened by my "should" list, my "should have done" list, my "what if" list. There are more, but you get the idea.

So today I researched some local schools that offer MSW degree and have requested information from two of them. Unfortunately any other school requires the GREs. Ugh. The practice session I did on the spur of the moment a few years ago was god awful and I really sucked. This could be a very ugly process.

I wish I knew someone, objective and informed on the degrees and job market to talk to about this decision, path, last ditch effort to pull a master's out of this procrastinating body of mine. If any of my four readers have any ideas, let me know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A little closer towards settled

Our new to us refrigerator and stove were delivered today and they look fabulous! Once again I have a bottom freezer which I love love love! It's a little bigger than what we had but doesn't overwhelm the room at all and the seals work! The stove is no longer avocado green. (I do have pictures but I'm feeling lazy.)

The new stuff inspired a little rearranging after TGF went to work. Finally the moving blanket came off the vintage coke machine and I turned it the right way. The table is now faced the other way and makes it look more inviting.

Then I worked on the front porch, finally moving the two extra chairs, the box of garden tiles and the pitch fork away and into the basement. I dug out our wind chimes collection, cleaned each and every chime rod (do those have an actual name?) and hung them. Cleaned the glass topped table and swept. It made things look so homey and welcoming. Before TGF came home I lit the candle on the table. I like to do that every few nights as it seems like nice visual (and she likes the scent, magnolia, southern babe that she is) to greet her at night.

I also went through all the picture/mirror boxes to find the mirror and the glass tops for two of my bedroom pieces. In the process I labeled all the boxes so when we are ready to hang things we know where to find them. There is no medicine chest in the bathroom and TGF hates having to go downstairs to do her 'do, so I hung the beveled mirror above my dressing table so we can have something for such purposes. Tomorrow come hell or high water I am unpacking my jewelry and my make up! Another good task to do would be to experiment with the one rod I have to start turning the attic space into a real closet and have access to more clothes.

Slowly but surely it's getting good in here. Paint would help a LOT in every room but that will have to wait a bit longer. One needs cash for such thing dontcha know. There is a tight budget going on in this place. I do think it will be a bit longer before we have a big shindig here. Oh well. In due time, in due time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"I got nothing. Well scratch that I'm sure there's something in there but I can't find it", I whined.

"Well just start writing", TGF said with encouragement.

In truth I feel like the majority of my writing this month has been horrible mediocre however I do feel like it has been a good exercise to write everyday. It has also been a good exercise to use my camera more, of course the neighborhood has been very inspiring so that helps.

Random thoughts will follow.

Went to Therapy Cafe again this week, really like this group of women. I am happy to find people to hang out with so early in my time in Ohio but I miss my friends in California. I miss real talks, maybe not "real" but the ease of time, bond, the intangible something when you "know" someone.

There has been a thread on the Queer Ravelry board on Ravelry about coming out in groups. The knitting groups I've gone to I have been direct and just matter of factly stated my partner is female. On another board, Dayton Fibers, someone was inviting me to another knitting group and mentioned that husbands/boyfriends were welcome, that they went to another table to prevent estrogen overload while talking geek speak. I laughed at the posting and easily wrote, "Actually my beloved is a woman who is also petrified of excessive amounts of estrogen and is extremely geeky. To me such a response is a no-brainer. How could I hang out with these folks and not be out? It is rare that I am not clear about this part of my life.

As I write this I am watching Law & Order: SVU. Paramedics would NEVER have the police officer run an IV. ARGHHH. Of course Cathy's bag of fluid brakes and contractions start within minutes. God I hate pregnancy, labour and birth on television. I am trying to stay quiet during the rest of the episode but I have TGF so well trained that she is having a hard time not muttering. It's not working I am muttering, biting my tongue, clenching my fists in order not to say anything.

Time for another bowl of pasta.

Monday, November 26, 2007

One task down

Right before moving in I found out that I could rip out the rugs in the two bedrooms upstairs (and on the stairs - ugh!). Since we were getting our belongings unloaded on a Wednesday, and TGF was in Indiana at corporate training it was my task to complete.

The rug was a lovely blue as you can see. This is a bunch of it all pulled up. I forgot to take a
photo before embarking on the job. Much to my dismay in our bedroom was not the wood floor I had hoped for but tile. Ugly tile.

I search
ed around for an inconspicuous spot to see how far down until wood, if there was a real wood floor or just a subfloor. A short time of exploring netted a wood floor. Luckily the substrate it was laid on was not as thick and weighty as when I did this in my house in Massachusetts.
Another lucky thing was discoving the other room (which will be the office) only had carpeting over wood.

There was yet another discovery however. Underneath the tile was a linoleum "rug" laid in the center for the room. I decided to leave it to add some charm even though one section was less than pristine. A few hours later I had done about 80% of the room, it was about 7 or 8 at night. Jeriann and Cody had stopped by and helped me clean up.

Today I finally took crowbar and hammer to the rest of the floor. I love it. It makes it feel homey, more like a bedroom now. Next on my list is the rest of the rug on the landing (which is tiny) and the stairs. TGF has been making some headway in the office too which is exciting.

Oh and Wednesday we are getting newer appliances as the stove and refrigerator! The ones we have are at least 25 years old and I may be being generous. The "new" ones are used but way newer (I hope - our landlady is supplying them). It looks like I will be getting one with the freezer on the bottom - I love those.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The NaKniSweMo attempt

Inspired by this sweater I bought some inexpensive yarn made of very soft acrylick in a beautiful heather gray with the idea I would make it for TGF. This was back while we were in motel land. However when I showed this photo of the pattern, she gave it a distinct thumbs down.

So the hunt then begun for just the right pattern. Many sweaters that I would love are too femmy for her. There was a recent thread on the butch-femme forum at Ravelry about just such a dilemma of a good pattern for a soft butch (or as TGF prefers "tomboi"). Luckily I already knew to run ideas by her.

Finally I found one that passed her muster and was the right gauge for the yarn I had already purchased on the Garn Studio Drops Design site. It seemed like a design I could handle.

But between home hunting, the moving, an
d the settling in nothing appeared on my needles. Finally roused from my knitting slumber by NaKniSweMo, I decided to cast on and unofficially join in (along with NaBloPoMo, which I did official join. Can I just say that via the Randomizer I have found so many blah blogs, not to mention many people have long since bagged on the premise. But I digress.)

This is the first time I have attempted an adult sized garment, it's also my f
irst bottom up sweater with raglan sleeves. Don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Well I don't really I am just repeating details from the pattern. The bottom up to a bind off for sleeves went rather well and used almost an entire skein.

Then in a flurry of bravado I thought I would do two sleeves on two circulars. Firs
t I researched on the web, followed by learning the long tail cast-on (ridiculous easily!). I began trying to cast on but no matter what I did it just did not square up At.All.

Deep frustration. Finally I proceeded w
ith dpns. I figure when I start increasing I can switch to a pair of circulars and begin the second sleeve on dpns and catch up to try to do them sort of simultaneously. Given how far I have gotten since I finally gave into the dpns yesterday I think it is unlikely I will finish this project by Friday.

Today I found a great tutorial on y*u t*be by Cat Bordhi for doing one round object on two circulars. It helped a lot so maybe I can try that and then try two objects and it will work. Another day, not today though.

The other I also cast on for an Odessa hat, also for TGF in a beautiful wool & silk yarn by Elsbeth Lavold. Well I casted on and decided it was too small so I ripped back and cast on with one additional repeat as my gauge is different because I am using very different yarn.

I think my knitting dry spell is ending. Yeah!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First time in awhile

Since I last saw this, snow on my car. Yesterday morning was a quiet time in the house, TGF was reading the paper, the animals were calm, and there was a light flurry outside. Sipping on coffee I watched the tiny flakes falling and just had to go out in the freezing temperature, not even bothering to put shoes on and snapped a shot before it all disappeared.

Later the snow was gone from the cars and the rooftops. Wyatt and I took a great walk around the neighborhood. Speaking of the puppyman, I have to share this photo of him. He has been loving driving in the car and taking in all the smells. See for yourselves.

There are still leaves on a lot of trees but many more on th
e ground, with colours strong and faded. The crunch of leaves under my feet delight me everyday, like a cacophony of cracking, shushing, and softly folding under pressure.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gates of South Park

A recent commenter (Kate) asked if American houses don't have front fences. The comment got me thinking about the various places I have lived, in particular about where I live now. In South Park there is a great variation of the presence or absence of fences, and where their are fences the style can be very different. So I present some photos of fences for your viewing pleasure. Oh hush, a grrl can dream.

There are a lot of different example of wrought iron fences in this neighborhood which I just love. The gates can look very different as well.

There are examples of the traditional white picket fence as well.

A mix of concrete and iron hints to a gothic past for some of the homes.

This one reminds me of a professor I had who always said "the devil is in the details".

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Thanksgiving has always been a favorite "holiday" for me growing up. When I was quite young Fritzi and Teddy hosted it at their house on Long Island (I cannot for the life of me remember the town, maybe Kings Point?) and it was quite a huge, decadent affair. I am certain Fritzi did not cook a single dish as she had a live in maid and a living room large enough for two grand pianos. All the children got a present and people carried trays of hors oeuvres like shrimp through the rooms. Did I mention most of my family did not keep kosher?

There are some missing years between the hazy days of luxury and the abundant spread in Montclair NJ when Judy and David took over the hosting responsibility. The missing years are annoying but a fact of my life. Many years later I realized that the first year there was the year my siblings were born which is cool because I have carried an image from that day for decades. Sitting quietly on a chair, wearing a light blue denim shirt with a cloth gracefully draped from her shoulder Fran sat nursing one of them. I suppose as the day ran on each of them had a turn in that chair. They had been born three and a half weeks before, still tiny and from what I remember mostly silent. I loved that house; it was a huge Victorian farmhouse style with many rooms, two staircases (maybe that's where my obsession came from) and a carousel horse on the front porch. They have moved twice since that place and have the most amazing converted grange hall in Hebron CT that I would love for TGF to see. I think she would fall in love with the place. Also it would be a kick to have her and Judy meet.

Over the years the attendance waxed and waned, finally waning a lot. There were always "non-family" present at this celebration (and for our family sedars), a practice that imprinted deeply and passionately on my consciousness. Family, friends, and celebrations are things to be intertwined.
There are no such boundaries if it means someone is alone. Someone who has no home base for christmas, chanukah, july 4th, whatever - you open your home to them.

My "family" thanksgiving passed away, doesn't exist, it ended about two years ago. People have died, moved, drifted, reformulated with the addition of new generations. Moving to the west coast meant I hardly returned east. I think I managed it once in the six years I lived there. It was small and though I noticed it I think I avoided acknowledging what this really meant for the future. Judy kept a notebook, jotting down who attended and what was served for all of the 28 or so years she hosted our gatherings. This document is probably very bare bones but I treasure the thought of it because there is so little written anywhere about my family. Many people who knew the stories have died, the rest of us have not taken pen to paper. We do not see each other often enough to have an oral tradition of retelling tales of journeys made, alliances built and feuds born.

The last two years in the Bay Area we had started a rough tradition of getting together with some of our "family of choice" out there. As today came closer it was hard to think about the people I wouldn't be spending the day with, like Sue & Sarah, Liz & Andrea and all the kids in their families. The amazing thing I realized was that I had begun to formulate my own "family" traditions with TGF and though I had moved away from another "family", I take great strength in realizing my ability to create celebrations and rituals.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Making up for the other day

So remember Monday, when I couldn't drag myself out for baking soda? Today, totally different. Cleaned up the kitchen, took a shower, and dealt with laundry first thing out.

Gemma had a recheck appointment at the vet today and from there I went in search of some needles I need to work on the arms for TGF's sweater. After that I popped in on my nephew Cody for a bit. He asked me to play a computer game with
him. It was called Tanks, or something like that. Ah found it. Of course I totally sucked and he whooped me in like 3 moves the first time. The second we actually battled a bit. When I told TGF that I played essentially a war game her response was, "how the mighty have fallen". What can I say.

Thanks to something the Code-Man said I remembered to run to Dorothy Lane Market to pick up stuffing that TGF wants for tomorrow. This place is incredible, very much like a Whole Paycheck place but this one, which is quite close to us, is open 24 hours a day. 24! Wow.

Upon arriving home I finally ate something because I hadn't yet. Then I got cooking. Seriously cooking. First I present the much delayed banana bread.

Next began the apple
crisp. Now I wasn't asked to make a dessert for tomorrow but how can I possibly attend my first thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws and not make something. TGF is making her version of 7-Layer Salad which is Midwest Heart Attack Salad with it's bacon and Miracle Wh*p. My apple crisp was one of the first things I ever made TGF and she loved it proclaiming it almost as good as sex. If you know TGF there is little that can come close to having the same ranking as sex. Yes it's that good.

Finally I tackled the roast chicken leftovers from the other night. I had some random ideas when quite by chance I clicked on a site that got posted to a li
st I'm on for a macaroni and cheese recipe. From there I wondered onto the rest of the blog and found this really simple homestyle chicken and biscuit recipe where I could use the chicken, some frozen veggies, a condensed soup (something that before TGF never lived in my pantry), and a package of those biscuits in a can (again never bought those before her). All things I already had, not thought needed. It was easily breezy and TGF had two helpings.

A very successful evening in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Better Now, Thanks for Asking

It is not unusual for one of my black moods to just disappear. Sometimes I am just grateful, sometimes it confuses me. Other times it scares the bejesus out of me because I feel so powerless, like there is this amazing lack of control. like my mind is outside of my range. Maybe it wouldn't scare me so much if mental illness didn't run rampant through my family. The ghost of bipolar illness sometimes haunts me after a day like yesterday.

My mother was diagnosed with bipolar illness several years ago, following decades of struggle, years of the wrong medication. It has made me more vigilant, more worried when I have a crash. Of course I can give you a litany of very real things that "caused" yesterday's black cloud and some of them are very much about circumstance and not a sign of my mind leaping and falling at whim of the chemicals that race around there with no ability to balance.

As yesterday evening ran on I was able to knit on TGF's sweater (my NaKniSweMo) and my mood lightened a bit. Today I was able to go shopping, attempt to take Wyatt to the Bark Park (don't ask, he was Mr CrankyPants so it was short visit). Later I went to Therapy Cafe for the knit group meet up that happens there. Dainty Kitty was there and it was really good to see her. Greeneye was super friendly and had some great felted bags she had made. And, and, and I met someone from the neighborhood. She lives practically around the corner from me and I love her avatar. Squeezleknits inspired me to consider yet another popular pattern.

As of tonight I am just about 1.5 rows from binding off some stitches for armholes and needing to purchase needles to cast on for sleeves. Finishing by the 30th isn't a guaranteed thing at all but I am happy to be making progress. I am officially thanking NaKniSweMo for kicking my butt into gear to make an adult sized sweater for the first time.

So, yes, I'm better today Jer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Black Monday

You know those days when everything seems like too much. When lifting yourself off the couch to go pee is about all you can manage? When you keep eating cookies even though you are so full you're feeling sick? When nothing in particular is running through your head and you're not watching a sappy Lifetime movie but you are crying anyway? Yeah, that's the day I had today.

I was going to bake banana bread but going four blocks away for baking soda was too much to contemplate. Leftover roast chicken is still sitting in the fridge rather than turned into some fantabulous dinner. Knitting should have happened but didn't. The surprise project didn't get worked on. Nothing got done. I mean absolutely nothing.

Shortly before TGF was to leave work I texted her to say it was a bad day and I could not be here when she got home. She called, was terribly sweet and said she wanted to see me, that it was okay that I didn't do anything, that I didn't have to cheer up.

Reason #897 why I love her.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tears of Joi(a)

Some of my more attentive readers, or those with great memories (which means like one person will remember this) will recall that the night before we took off from California one of our cats ran away.

Joia Maria, often called Mama Joi, was one of first fosters. She was the firs
t to just sort of stay on and never leave. She came with two nursing kittens (one was Gemma our manx kitty) but we could not be sure either were her offspring as Joia was being used as a milking station at the shelter she was rescued from by Milo. She let Gemma nurse on her for a very long time. Whenever I mentioned anything about this, TGF would say, "But I thought you were in favor of extended breastfeeding", while she smirked. What.ever.

Joia was eventually spotted and later caught by the new tenant at casa de Cedar. She was picked up by a friend who hosted until we could figure out what to do next. Both TGF and I were extremely hesitant about flying her in cargo (not to mentioned all the rigmarole involved and costs). I emailed a number of people and organizations, contacted airlines to price things out. Also the balance in our house has really changed. Grace has continued to sleep on our bed, even if others on there, which is amazing. Sure she still strikes out at the others but this is a huge improvement.

Then out of the blue Alex, our patron saint of moving, said she wanted to give it a shot to take Miss Joia into her home. I have been getting emails about Joia's adjustment to her new home and the updates have been so positive. Seriously I start to cry when I think of Joia being so happy. It sounds like part of Joia's wel, joy, is being the only cat and lots of attention. I swear my heart swells with happiness every time I read a message about her.

I miss her but it sounds like such a good home that I feel I can let go a bit a more, relax and know she is safe.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dang I missed autumn - a photo essay

I wish I had taken photos since I've been here because the colours are mostly fading, or hard to capture. Or maybe the delight I feel when I see all the hues of greens, yellows, and red is hard to convey.

Today while out and about with Jeriann I wished f
or my camera a few times but wondered if I could have framed the feeling.

I have always like to watch the transformation of garden spots as the chill starts to permeate the air and shift the colours and textures.

When I can I like to think about how a plant changes through the seasons. These hostas are probably a variation of standard blue hostas but I think that practically glow in mid-autumn in a way that is more beautiful than in summer.

I love how this neighborhood has what they call pocket parks. Here is a shot of the one at the corner of James and Adams. The mounds on the right are lavender, the blooms are mum.

The sky is different out here and further east in the autumn, there is something crisp, sometimes painfully brilliant about the colour. Trees that offer shade in summer become a produce store for the critters.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A tour of the neighborhood , part I (more photos!)

Since I have found my camera cable (finally!), and I finally remembered to take my camera while I walked Wyatt y'all will get a glimpse of where we are. Wyatt and I walked for at least an half hour today wondering this way and that. Found some houses I hadn't seen before - this neighborhood is so interesting architecturally speaking.

Here is an example of the signs we saw everywhere as we drove towards the Oak Street house that first Saturday on the 29th of September.

These signs intrigued us and led us to believe (rightfully so) that this was good community that was working hard.

This is a shot of the house that brought us to the neighborhood. It is also the place we put a bid on to no avail. Located on Oak Street, there are a lot of houses that are being saved by Team South Park.

Here is the beautiful home that had TGF, Jer and I oogling, which lead to meeting Maureen, which led us to Holly, who led our to our landlady KM. When I went by it today the "for sale" sign was gone so perhaps it's been sold to some lucky person. It is known as the Balcony House.

Here is a shot of part of the Greenway that I love for it's curvy paths, it's beautiful crunch of leaves, and the space of nature half a block away.

The other thing that enchants me are the alleys that allow one to cut through and sneak all sorts of ways around the neighborhood. Yes cars can drive through them, garages are usually located on the alley behind the house. This is the one next to our place and where I take amusing short evening walks with Wyatt and Atticus cautioning Wyatt not to hunt "easter eggs" and beckoning Atty to catch up. Our place is just to the right of this shot.

Finally here is a shot of our place. We live on the left hand side. The old house was easy to find a nickname for (casa de Cedar) but I have been stuck so far with this one so if something strikes you let me know.

More shots later, maybe tomorrow, or not. {grin}

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Teal Secret (photo heavy)

Waaaay back when I posted this shot of jumbled of yarn.
It was a surprise project for someone who sometimes reads this blog, hence the secrecy.

I had decided forever ago to
make a shawl/wrap for R. Scanning dozens, maybe even a hundred, patterns I knew immediately when I found the Storm Water Shawl motif I knew it was the one.

Next started the hunt for the right yarn. I knew exactly the sort of colour I wanted - something that looked like the water, where we walked our dogs. Finally I thought I had found the yarn, then I had the funds so I purchased it last December. When it arrived it was nothing like the photo, which happens what looking at hand dyed yarn. I was beside myself but through the lovely synchronicity of the planet someone on my knit list mentioned this independent dyer, Deb of Fearless Fibers. Hitting the right keys I found her etsy shop and laid my eyes on the perfect yarn. I was able to return the other yarn in the meanwhile which was a great bonus as I couldn't think of anything to do with it - totally the wrong colours.

This project was a lovely piece to work on, it was the first thing I have made that I love so much I wanted to keep - a sure bet that it was perfect. Unfortunately the news of impending move to Ohio froze me in many ways and one was that I barely knit. However I was determined to finish so that I could gift this piece before leaving the area. It wasn't a race to the finish exactly but it certainly lit a fire under me to have a deadline.

It was with this piece that I also got a serious taste of the magic of blocking. The piece was lovely unblocked but afterwards it had this fabulous drape (which I did not photograph dammit!). My guessimate is that I used about 875 yards of fingering weight yarn. It is probably the largest project, yardage wise, thus far. After blocking it bloomed into about 19" wide by 63" long, which is just about on the money for those who suggest that a shawl be a long as the person is tall.

In many ways this is my favorite project so far because the pattern, the yarn and the person all matched my vision perfectly. The yarn was a continual visual and tactile delight. The pattern easy to memorize but still formed an interesting treat to watch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Knitting, because I haven't mentioned it in awhile

As my button on the right side my page says, because I'm insane I joined up for NaBloPoMo again this year. I am finding some support over at the forum on Raverly

Because I am not completely certifiable I have not officially, signed up for NaKniSweMo, however I am attempting this as well. What is it you might ask. Go ahead ask. Oh, you don't know? Well it's knit a sweater that has 50,000 (or there abouts) stitches or thereabouts in a month. Also in November. What is it about that month? Why in November, a month before most people are gearing up for the holiday hell season when they are trying to get a zillion and one other things done in preparation for the descending of relatives, hours in the kitchen and the mall, and screaming children? I am working on a sweater from Drops Design website for TGF. The yarn is cheap but incredibly soft acrylic in a beautiful light heather gray. It's the first time I am making an adult sized sweater and the first time I am doing a bottom up pattern.

Next up is another project for TGF (isn't she lucky!) out of some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. The colour is a beautiful deep orange. She picked the hat pattern, Odessa (no beads) and I will make a pair of Dashing to match. I believe the two skeins I have will be enough. I am thinking of making myself an Odessa out of the deep red Berroco Softwist I have lying around. Maybe even with beads.

Also in the line up is Kiri for someone I can't name (surprise and all that) out of some fun coloured yarn. In theory I have a fair amount of yarn for socks and should think about trying that two socks on two circs method. Or not.

I have started, just barely to catalogue my stash on Ravelry which really is fun, but would be more fun if I could find the cable for the camera so I could add photos. Also because of Ravelry I decided to clean up my bookmarks of knitting patterns. Since web things can be ephemeral some of them were dead links, the ones that were pdfs I have saved on my computer in a folder. In a fit of bravery I got rid of ones that were clearly not my taste and too dull to think about knitting because I am no longer a rank beginner at this and I need challenges at least some of the time.

I have had a headache for most of the day so I think that's the extent of this post. I mean really people, I went to the laundry mat (blankets), the dry cleaners, opened a new bank account, and purchased a new coffee maker because ours leaks 1/4 or more of the coffee out the back or something. I think I did plenty today, don't you?

Oh the couch arrived today! It is so wonderful to have things to seat on in the living room. What a treat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Third time's the charm

A few weeks ago we went furniture shopping with Jer and Cody because we frankly have no living room furniture. Our seating consists of two heirloom rocking chairs, one with a foot stool (TGF's grammy and mamaw {sp?} [great-grandmother] family pieces) and this really funky 50's chair thing that is in desperate need of new springs and fabric that doesn't scratch your skin.

Between cost, too deep seats since I'm so short, not cushy enough for TGF's taste, it was not a promising event. In add
ition she has a huge fondness for Lazyb*y sofas. You know the kind, where the two seats on the end recline? For my taste they are too stuffed looking, the profiles look like airplane seats - offends my aesthetic taste.

About a week later we went just the two of us and found only one thing that we agreed on at all but it was pricey and I wondered if it would fit well in the space. It was one of those L-shaped pieces with a chaise extension which meant TGF's need to prop her feet up would be met.

A week we tried again, this time going to a different showroom of a local chain. After wondering around a lot, I kept trying to like this one lazyboy-type couches. I tried so hard. Finally I e
xplained that to me such couches were on the same level as appliqué sweatshirts (told you there was nothing to worry about jbeeky) and minivans. These things are NOT me. No way, no how. She laughed but understood.

We took another spin around and found a couch we both liked. We stared at the couch, sat in the couch, stared at each other. The matching chair was not comfortable for TGF. (The photo is the same couch, different colour)

She suggested we look at reclining chairs, clearly hoping to win on that score. Scanning the three or four rows of reclining chairs I found one that had similar lines to the chair (very classic, late 40's-early 50's kind of look). She liked it, said it hit just the right spot in her back. Wow. This image is not the exact chair, but close.

Next step was to check on colours. No go on the any changes, a bit of a disappointment because they were not our first choice, very light yellow-beige sort of colour but really not bad. Well except for the fact that our dog has long black hair and three of our four cats are gray. Luckily the two colours match quite well, they are practically identical. Also with pillow and throws colour can easily be added I figure. The final step was financing. There was the clang of boom in the distance. No go, hadn't lived here long enough, hadn't been at job long enough. Bummer. But the delight that we found furniture we agreed on could not erase the glow we both had. I suggested that this was so miraculous that perhaps we should buy a lottery ticket.

Fast forward another week and TGF got a co-applicant so tomorrow the couch arrives!
The chair is back ordered but who cares. No more fighting over the one relatively comfortable seat in the house! I get to rearrange furniture tomorrow, one of my favorite things to do. No, seriously it is. My mother has said since I was a teenager that I should never live with a blind person because of my predilection for changing room layouts on a whim and without warning.

I have great hopes of this increasing my motivation to whip through this place getting it in shape.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's not a suggestion

Today I finally was able to prime the bathroom. Before we were here a week the kitchen ceiling leaked and while the guys were here they also checked out the bathroom. I wish I had taken a photo of the tile that surrounded the bath. It's not that they were so hideous but they were old, ugly, blah colours. Oh yeah, there was also the strip of tiles being held in place with duct tape. No I am not exaggerating, I am speaking literally.

We have a lovely surround now with built in shelf space on both sides of the window, rendering the shower caddy, I had just bought days before, obsolete. A small price to pay for a much improved looking bathroom. The guys left me to do the sanding and so forth. What with one thing or another (lack of motivation, needing supplies, waiting on AT&T for frigging ever when I needed to get said supplies) the only thing I had accomplished with sanding and cleaning the bathroom, which mostly included scrubbing the tub within an inch of it's life. Seriously I did three separate "let the cleanser soak and then scrub the bejesus out of it" sessions.

Today after getting the furnace inspected and taking Wyatt for a bathroom break I was finally able to break out the primer and brush. I was using Kilz because for some reason I was convinced it needed a superduper primer or perhaps because I forgot there was basic primer crap that would have done just fine. Yeah it was one of those.

As I toiled through the cutting in, the fumes where less than delightful and while opening the window was a great idea it was rather ineffective in that I couldn't budge the storm window. Close to finishing with the brush TGF called and I realized the fumes were strong. By the time I was close to finished with the rollering of the ceiling and walls I was breaking out in a sweat, felt lightheaded, and just frankly rather odd. Even for me. Thankfully, or perhaps not, I finished the painting before I passed out, throw up, or something else.

It took over two hours to feel not shaky, nauseous, and lose the feeling of but not actual ringing in my ears. I know it's weird but it had the visual feeling of ringing but they weren't.

As TGF said, "It's a warning, not a suggestion", regarding the label about using this crap in a ventilated space. I have not been back in that room since I finished. I figure six or better hours away from the second floor will help along with opening the bedroom window which I did before descending to curl up on the odd little chair in the living room when all I wanted was to sleep.

Tomorrow plain old paint. Or a different project all together.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It was a total blast!

As I mentioned sometime in the last week or so, we had been invited to a party in the neighborhood. Between the information of "the ladies" get together for dinner about once a month and the instantaneous way we seemed to be taken under the wing of the neighborhood, I confess to having a flash of fear that we had actually landed in a version of "The Stepford Wives" and we should steer clear of imbibing or ingesting anything being served at this shindig.

Pondering what to wear I realized that I still had not been able to unpack any of my clothes that hang since I hadn't drilled started holes to hang a few thick dowels in the attic closet. Very limited fashion choices faced me. Not only that but it's not like I could "put my face on" as I haven't unearthed my make up or jewelry. We also won't talk about how long it's been since I had my brows done (about three months) or a real haircut (a year). {Okay so I did just talk about it. Sue me!} So I had to shoot for pulled together casual but fashionable look. I'm not sure I pulled it off but I tried and that has to count for something.

Wandering around the house as we each hunted down things we needed to go before leaving, or find, I realized I had no idea of whether this was an on-time sort of group or what. TGF did NOT want to be the first, or even terribly close to first to arrive. We compromised by arriving about 6:15 for a 6pm start time. Things were in full swing! Lisa acted as mistress of ceremonies and herded us about insisting that one of the rules of such gatherings was that one had to have a drink in hand within five minutes of arriving. She also introduced us around, more than once, singly, as a couple, to a single person and groups.

Brett and Josh have an absolutely gorgeous home that has the distinct feel of gay male owned home - fashionable, interesting details, and meticulously staged for the party (though I suspect it looks a lot like that all the time. Damn them!). They also were lovely hosts, telling funny stories, mingling appropriately, making sure glasses were filled with various intoxicating substances.

It was great great fun. We were pointedly introduced to the other lesbian couple (we suspect a few women there were also dykes but who knows for sure), Julie and Chris who we great. We found ourselves drifting into conversation with them a few times. They are both research psychologists and though I have steered clear of such things I am grateful that I was able to name drop, as it were, SPSS. If I ever need to work with SPSS they apparently are the Queens of Statistics. Julie shared that she was so grateful not to be the only lesbian couple at these things anymore. I completely understand what she means as I have been in that role more times than I can count. Through them we found out that in our neighborhood live Kim Deal, and her sister Kelley lives in Oakwood. I mean really is that lesbian rocker street creed or what? Dayyum!

(Okay total aside, as I was looking up sources to link with Kim's name I found this:
Tweak: So, Dayton — the Midwest's answer to Seattle? Did I not just say basically the same thing the other day??? Is that a riot or what?)

Anyway, we exchanged contact information with them and hope to get together with them soon. It also turns out that Brett and Josh used to own Therapy Cafe until just a couple of months ago - I was just there on Wednesday with DaintyKitty. Just amazing. Brett owns a hair salon which TGF swears she is calling on Monday to book us for a whole bunch of pampering. Suits me just fine because seriously, it's getting embarrassing to go out in public. Also Brett and Josh are involved with the Rubi Girls which led TGF to mutter how she must know them from her last incarnation as a Dayton resident.

It was absolutely a great time and there were a bunch of other gatherings mentioned that we were invited to attend. Clearly we have the makings of a social life here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Miracle Cure

Today has been a day of water. I have drank more water today than I have in days upon days. Plain water doesn't always work for me anymore, no idea why just is harder to get down regularly. I made up a pitcher of filtered water using True Lime and some artificial sweetener (it dissolves easier). It's like a fine nectar.

Today between waiting on AT&T, again (do not get me started on them!) and not having the handle thingy for the roller, I didn't get the primer on the walls in the bathroom. However, I really needed to bathe, especially since tonight is our little neighborhood soirée. I simply cannot go there with greasy hair and smelling like I have been scrubbing the bathroom and the stove (which is how I spent a lot of my day).

I didn't want to hang the shower curtains back up knowing I would be pulling them down again tomorrow so clearly a bath was the answer. It has been over two years since I had a good bath and today didn't quite quality as a luxury soak (no candles, no music) but Oh.My.God! I forgot how much I love taking bathes, something I didn't even know about myself until six years ago. It has put in me in a delightful mood. This is something I need to remember when I feel lousy. It is not easy for me to take time for myself in this way but it is exactly what I would suggest to someone else to do. Again, a lesson I have to practice more often - self care.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Animal Antics

Back in California Wyatt ran free often at the various dog parks. In the one closest to our house we encouraged him to play by chasing the ground squirrels. Clearly the squirrels in California have an advanced communication system in which they told the squirrels here to heckle my dog.

The greenway by our house is positively riddled with squirrels which Wyatt is dying to chase but off leash is not an option. Even if he were to go free these beasts can climb the trees which he cannot. It is a very amusing image when he stands up against the tree, front paws stretched as high as possible as the squirrel swoops from branch to branch to wires stretched between posts. They chatter to each other, and perhaps are even chanting taunts to my dog. Who knows. Aside from the arm wrenching that ensues it is great fun.

Atticus, our special needs cat (if he were a human child he would be in PT and OT), has decided to join in the short walks up and the down the alley at night, sometimes during day light hours as well. So in the dark and chilled air I am frequently walking Wyatt, scolding him with the command "No easter eggs" (aka cat shit) and calling Atty to catch up. Whether it's invisible enemies, the cold, or who knows what, his tail is often bushed out to several times it's normal diameter when he comes in the house. Tonight after the walk he went to the litter (Hello you were just outside!). Well I have a bit of a curtain in front and he was making it waggle like the Wizard pulling the levers.

Taking Gemma to the vet has caused a huge dent in my bank account and the charming need to give her both oral antibiotics and ear drops. The payoff has been huge and so worth pinching pennies and washing the scratches. She is my playful kitty once again, with her infections healing. Poor baby must have pain in so much pain, no wonder she was nicknamed "bitch" on occasion. Now she is "Glamour Girl" around the clock.

Marcelle has discovered a new way to get filthy now that the outdoors are off limits to her. She likes to get into attic space (which will became my closet and storage) off our bedroom where she can crawl behind the sheet rock and under the floor. Today her paws and belly were positively gray and she couldn't be happier.

The grand dame, Grace, started sleeping with us again the last two nights at Casa de Cedar when we were on the air mattress in the living room. She has kept that up through the transition; it has been over two years (when we brought Wyatt and the first of the foster home) since she has done that. It's really nice, especially for TGF as Grace is her cat (she moved from Ohio to California, and now back again).

Though they often drive me crazy every day, they also make me smile every day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

While it's been great

And it really has been in so many ways, I'm still me; which means that I have to battle my tendency to isolate, to not reach out, to not engage with others. Last week between roughly Monday to Saturday I spoke to no one on the phone. I went to the North Dayton Knit Night and did talk some but it was very surface because I had just met these folks so it wasn't like I was going to spill my guts about things.

That was the extent of it for conversation with two-legged people besides TGF. This past Saturday Jeriann called me because she knew I had some shitty things happen (no you didn't miss something, I haven't posted about them) so she wanted to check in.

Poor Jer. I just let loose a torrent of stuff. It was clear that I need to talk to other people besides TGF and the animals. So this week I went to the ND Knit Night, got together with DaintyKitty. Yesterday my good friend Supee called. By chance Jer and Cody stopped by early today. Today I spoke with both my mother and my father. So this week is a definite improvement but clearly it's something I need to work on in the future. Again. Still. Always.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why I love Ravelry

1. That Tuesday night I couldn't sleep at all it kept me entertained in a quiet way while TGF slept in the motel room.

2. It is a great way to find about yarns I may never be able to afford.

3. I love love love seeing how different a pattern looks with different yarns, on different bodies.

4. It is a true 24/7 source of all things knitterly

5. I found out the scoop on local yarn shops.

6. Though the forums I found out just how many stitch n bitches are in my area. Seriously I could be at one Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday every week. It's crazy.

7. I have already made it to the Dayton Knitting Guild meeting once.

8. I have made the North Dayton snb twice already

9. Had a great unofficial drink and knit tonight with DaintyKitty, whom I met via Ravelry and then at one of the knit nights. It is a cool thing when you meet up with someone you don't know well and happily pass three hours hanging out with them.

10. It is another place for me to connect with my beloved Jennie of the Left Coast.

I'm sure there are other reasons but that's a pretty damn good start for something I thought I didn't need or see a reason to join.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Steps towards home

Sunday the 14th TGF left to go to Marion Indiana for her corporate training and she wasn't to return until sometime Wednesday - which was moving day. In the meantime there was a lot take care of in the meantime. Monday I began packing up the motel room and loading up the car.

Late morning Wyatt and I got in the car to go to the new place so I could rip up the carpeting. I first needed to get some tools, like a utility knife which would make things go so much faster. The weather was warm and I took frequent breaks to cool down, to walk Wyatt, or watch a little television. In the bedroom I was disappointed not to find a wood floor but tiles. Peeking in the second bedroom (our office) there was only carpeting. I found a little corner and began digging around at the tile and did indeed find wood under that. Gleeful I cleaned up a bit and dashed up the block to the tent on the Greenway for Rehabarama fairly confident I would find our landlady. I was hopeful that she would let me dig away but I wanted to just make sure, be the responsible tenant and all that. As predicted she was staffing the table so I was able to chat with her. She said she would send her husband over to check on it but it would probably be fine. I practically skipped back to the house. Wood floors! An accessible neighborhood!

For evening plans I had several choices before me which was so surprising I could barely believe I had just moved here.
1. Continue working on the house
2. Go down to Centerville to hand with Jeriann and Cody
3. Go to a North Dayton Stitch n Bitch and see potentially see other locals knitters (this was back near the motel)
4. Go to the Dayton Knitting Guild meeting that happens practically around the corner from the house.
I opted to go to the Guild meeting dusty and sweaty, without a knitting project to be had. It was fun and I chatted with a young woman I had "met" on Ravelry. Too much fun all in all.

Tuesday I was a woman on a mission - rip as much of the tile and substrate off the bedroom floor as possible. Basically I worked my butt off. Luckily Jer and Cody picked me up some dinner and helped me haul all the debris out of the bedroom so that furniture could be put in there the next day. I did not get all of the crappage off, in fact I still need to finish it. I found another surprise underneath the tile and hardboard - a linoleum room of sorts in a rose pattern. I do have photos of this, I really do but I still cannot find the cable that connects the camera to the computer. Sigh.

Wednesday was moving day and it started earlier than I had expected which was great. Bonus TGF got to leave her training a bit earlier so she was able to help direct traffic with the movers while I shifted things behind and ahead of them.

Finally after a month of numerous motel beds of greatly varied quality we slept on our mattress, surrounded by our beasts. We had found a home and it was trashed but I was blissfully happy to have landed somewhere, somewhere that was shaping (and has only been continuously so) to be fabulous.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mayberry meets Seattle

I love my neighborhood. I really do. It's amazing. Okay the first day we discovered this neighborhood there was a jazz concert on the Greenway. There were families and couples, while kids played on the grass. Then we met the area cheerleader who immediately connected us Holly, who led to Karin - our gracious landlady. Holly told stories of "porch parties" that various people in the neighborhood host in the warmer months.

On Sunday the 14th we did the Rehabarama with TGF's 'Rents. Earlier, before we were there, there was live broadcast of a radio program, "Breakfast with the Bealtes" at the gazebo on the Greenway.Totally fun, all the "hosts" at the houses were friendly - most our future neighbors. At one house we ran into Lisa, whom we had met the previous week when Holly was showing us the project houses. She remembered us, asked how our search was going, and hugged TGF when she found out she volunteered to help get a house ready.

Last week I received a phone message from Lisa inviting us to some gathering on November 10th. We have only lived in the neighborhood for about two weeks and we have an invitation already! Finally Lisa and i connect on the phone a day or two later. Apparently "the ladies" have a monthly gathering (maybe dinner? the details are fuzzy right now) and this is a special one in that "we" are being hosted by Brett and Josh. There is nothing for us to bring - there will be martinis and hors d'oeuvres served. She also wanted to let me know that "the ladies" meet over at the Tavern on Fridays, after about 7 or 8pm every week.

Early this evening about 5:45pm I take Wyatt out for a walk on the Greenway before I leave for my stitch and bitch meet up at Panera's on Miller Lane. The wind is blowing, swirling leaves, making that autumn noise of crunchy leaves banging against each other, the trees and asphalt. Off in the distance I hear music and think it's coming from a car. As the sound comes across less polished I think there is a band practicing in a nearby house. The music gets louder still and I realize there is a band playing in the gazebo in this dusky light. There is a small group of folks who form the audience. I want to walk up close but Wyatt is freaked by the drums, the droning voice and the mini tornadoes of leaves every time the wind stirs up hard, so we turn around. Listening the music which really does kind of suck, I figure that all bands start out sounding pretty bad.

I have the biggest smile on my face, watching the leaves twirl in the fading light, listening to the emoting singer behind me, my dog almost running, smiling up at me. This place feels like a home in way that I don't think I've ever really had before.

Life felt so good in that moment.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I found my hidey hole

While researching the area when the topic of this move first came up I had lobbied for potentially moving to Yellow Springs. In my searches I found that the town had a street fair in October, so the idea of going there had been in my mind for months. As it turned out we were not moving that day and as a bonus Jeriann was up for adult time as Cody was doing a visit with another aunt.

Jer came by the new place so she could give us her verdict - she approved by the way. She came by while TGF was out running an errand. As we were chatting there was a knock at the door and I looked at her, shrugging. It was our next door neighbor who had just left this unit. According to Karin she moved because she needed more space due to being a pack rate. The neighbor/former tenant said she moved because there was no central air. Somewhere between those two lies reality methinks. A short time later the three of us hopped in our car and were off to Yellow Springs.

It was one of those perfect autumn day with a bright sky that seems to only happen in the month of October. The air was warm, the sun was shining and the trees were a kaleidoscope of colours. The trip was short and it delighted me that this area was so close. Skylines were open and there was rural feel that was invigorating and compelling.

The streets of the fair were crowded and the bustling didn’t bother me the way it usually does but Jeriann had a hard time with it. The stores we went into were like those one would find in Northampton or Berkeley but the setting brought New Paltz to mind more than any other town. Jeriann and I made plans to come back another time so we could browse the stores in greater comfort. We decided to head back to our neck of the woods. Hunger was getting to all of us so we decided to head “The Tavern,” a popular spot amongst South Parkers, which I guess we were on our way to being. Who should we see there but Teresa, the bartender/waiter greeted us like old timers, and it was feeling a bit like Cheers only real. Actually the waiter was hoot and a half; and the pizza was fantastic! Towards the end of our meal I noticed our new landlady, Karin, eating there as well. As we were readying to leave she noticed me and called me over to chat for a moment. This place truly has a small town feel. In a good way.

After dinner we pick up the dog and walk around the greenway. Rehabarama has begun and we are by one the houses. TGF say, go head go in; so Jer and I walk into this amazing house, immediately critiquing the choices of furniture and colour to our hearts’ content. The greeter at the house asks for our tickets and when we say “Huh”. He laughs and mentions his wife is on a dinner break. Aha! He must be Karin’s husband so I prompting introduce myself and we chat about the house. “Have you ripped out the carpeting yet?” Oh I am so happy to hear that I can do this. There is so awful blue carpeting in both bedrooms upstairs and on the stairs themselves. Of course I am hoping there will be lovely wood floor underneath but even if they are terrible it won’t be carpeting which I abhor.

It was a lovely day.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Being in the South

Taking a break from chronicling our move because this is getting silly, my need to catch up before posting what comes to mind. Besides I am now only two weeks behind life, so what.ever.

In an earlier post I believe I made reference to that fact while Ohio is technically counted as a midwest state, Dayton is the South, in my not so humble opinion. Most people have some sort of southern accent, slight to heavy, the food choices in restaurants flip between a midwest "meat and potatoes" menu and a fried chicken, hush puppies and bbq selection.

Dorothy, aka me, is no longer in her version of Kansas in this more conservative and republican state. I have never lived anywhere with so many religious radio stations. While driving across the country I certainly found many religious stations, along with country music, neither is my listening preference. I expected that, what I did not expect was the area I was moving to would also feature this so much.

Another sign of the southernly nature of the area is Cody, Jeriann's son. Quite awhile ago I became "Miss Dharma", spouse of Aunt TGF. Shortly after moving here, on his own Cody upgraded me to Aunt Dharma which warms my heart no end. Today while walking Wyatt I saw one of neighbors who I knew from our tour of Johnson Street (see previous post). She introduced me to her husband and son. Her son was prompted to stop playing with Wyatt and "Say hello to Miss Dharma". I received the statement with grace but I was laughing quite a bit inside. In point of fact I have always felt comfortable in the South and with folks from the South. TGF was constantly surprising while we were courting how much I know about Southern customs, sayings and traditions. Laughing I would tell her I was Southern in a previous life. I guess it makes sense then that I'm here, huh?

I suppose I should make a pitcher of sweet tea before my beloved comes home from work.