Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leftover Sock Yarn

Okay, so I have all this yarn leftover from making socks. I needed a cover for my Kindle Fire. So I used some leftover sock yarn and made one. It's pretty much a knitted envelope. I just happened to have three buttons with lions on them. TA DA! I never expected it to come out this nice.

Yesterday we went to Staples to look around and see if they had any Fire accessories. Nope. But I looked at cases to put my Kindle in (in case the knitted one didn't work out, it wasn't quite finished when we went). WOW! Sticker shock! I was figuring twenty bucks or so for some simple plastic case. They start at $30 and go up! And they weren't leather or fancy or anything. Just a simple plastic and cardboard book cover thingy! Not neoprene, not fancy designs on the cover, just plain in a choice of solid colors. So when I got home I finished up my knitted case and it exceeded my expectations. I figured it would do until I found something I really liked. Well, this is slimmer, provides a bit of padding, washable, and I can make another pretty easily. It fits nicely in my handbag with very little bulk. And I used it to wipe off the fingerprints on the screen.

But the next time I might use two yarns together and bigger needles. I would be able to make one faster and it would provide a bit more padding. I could make them to match my handbags. Okay, that's going a little far.

I like it. Now, if you will excuse me I have to go get my arm set in a cast. I think I just broke it patting myself on the back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Plant Identification Time

So. I see these kinda cool round bushes shrubs here in the spring and summer. They intrigued me for several years. They are so round. I wondered why they weren't use for natural landscaping. No pruning required, low water, etc.

And they have these tiny blooms all over them and they bloom all summer. It was the stickers all over the plant that gave them away. And that round thing. So I asked D what he thought. He looked at me like I was crazy because I didn't know what they were and I know everything.

They are tumbleweeds. Seriously. They will dry up, break off at the ground, and roll in the wind probably spreading their seeds everywhere. I'm here to tell you they can (but might not) scratch the heck out of your car if you hit one. I've had the misfortune to hit two. If you are on Interstate 5, rolling down the freeway at a good clip, you don't swerve for a light weight plant like this. If they are dry, like the first one I hit, they sort of explode and you just keep going. If they are wet, like when it's raining or foggy, they are flexible and usually stick to your car. Then you have to pull over and hope you have some gloves to disengage the thing from your front bumper and undercarriage. It'll pull right off but it's covered with thorns. They don't come off and stick to you. They are tough and will scratch you pretty darn good while disengage it from your car.

They are a pain on the roads so I guess planting them would be out of the question. But they aren't harmful enough to your car to swerve and cause an accident. You might get a few minor scratches but with some of the clear coat they use now you probably won't even get that.

But they are pretty before they dry up. It's a shame they don't stay put.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farewell to an Old Friend (not anything that breathes)

My post has nothing to do with this horse running at me. I just ran across the photo and thought it was cool. It's Darryl's horse, Sarah, and she won't run over me. I promise. Not only will I not let her she just has more sense than that.

Nope. We said farewell to our 2002 Prius yesterday. Yes, it happened. After all these years she finally became more expensive to repair than her worth. The story goes like this:

D was headed to work early one morning last week. Not long after he left the phone rang. (I really, really hate those phone rings in the dark. They seldom bode well). It seems the Prius quit twice on him and would I go warm up the Fiesta while he limped home to switch cars. So he drove the Fiesta until yesterday. Yesterday was his day off and the Toyota dealer was open.

So he wakes me up at 5:30 on his day off (hey, that's sleeping in for an hour for him) and off we went to be one of the first in line for service at Modesto Toyota. I drove the Fiesta so we could leave the Prius and come home until they called to tell us what the problem was. I didn't see why we had to get up so early but did what my husband asked me to do.

The fatal call came. The Prius needs a $1695 catalytic converter AND a $3724 inverter. So before we picked up the car we discussed what we needed to do. The car has just under 317,000 miles on it. Trade in value in that shape is around $1800 if you can clear the fault logger so the dealer doesn't know there's stuff wrong. Can you sell a car with that many miles that needs that much work? Do you pour almost three times the value in the car into it and hope it will run another 100,000 miles?

Trading it in on a new car is out of the question. I hate car payments and have one already. I refuse to take on another. D wants to dump the money in the car. I want to dump the car asap because if it would be hard to sell now, how hard will it be to sell with even more miles on it? It would be junk and what if we can get a couple bucks out of it now.

So I went on line to Carmax to see if they buy cars if you don't buy one of theirs. They do. I did research and hoped we could get $$1500 for the car. D thought more. I laughed. They figure to sell it again so, of course, they would give us less than trade in for it. I figured anything was a plus. So I called and made an appointment.

We went back to Modesto and picked up the Prius from Modesto Toyota. They cleared the fault logger so there was no big ! on the screen in the car indicating a problem. We drove it directly from the Toyota dealer down the block to Carmax. They looked it over, drove it, and their experts appraised it. They offered us $1200 for the car. We took it. They were delighted to have it. They love to get used Prius in there. They marveled at the mileage and the good shape of the body and interior. Normal dings nothing extreme. It is the highest mileage Prius they have ever seen.

So we did the paperwork, with me jabbing D every time he started on one of his long winded stories. I wanted out of there before they drove the car very far, like to the parking lot behind the building, and the fault logger blazed an error on the screen in the dashboard. We finished up the paperwork and got out of there as quickly as possible without running. They give you a bank draft. We headed straight to the bank and deposited the money. Whew!

D is a little emotional about the loss of his beloved Prius and is complaining about the seats in the Fiesta and how it hesitates if you punch it. He's a little calmer today. But he was a pain in the _ _ _ last night. He said how we bought the Fiesta for me (he seems to forget we bought the Prius for me too) and he shouldn't take over my car for commuting. Today he's feeling better about the whole thing. It helped that we discussed all the cool stuff the Fiesta's Sync system does that I have never figured out. Besides making and answering phone calls by talking to it. So now he has a research project figuring out how the car will read his text messages to him and send them. How it will play his favorite tunes or play lists by artist, song, album, genre, or whatever he chooses. I think it does some other stuff too but never figured it all out. I'll leave it to the tech dude to figure out.

The fact of the matter is Darryl doesn't do change very well. He is finally used to my need to rearrange furniture and update my environment. But if he had his way he'd never change anything.
He's much better than he used to be but sometimes it takes a few days for him to digest a new situation.

So now I'm back to driving the truck for now. We are going to buy a very, very inexpensive used car for me to drive around here that will be better on gas and save mileage on the truck. I found a nice used Mustang but it was sold. I also found a nice Miata that gets fabulous gas mileage. D had nothing nice to say about anything I found. But today he sent me a text about the Miata. I think the Mustang is sold since I can't get in touch with the owner. Only 58,000 miles on it too. But we have plenty of time to find something. I have no idea what it will be. I know the right vehicle for the right price is out there or will be soon. I have patience and time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Things

I snapped this photo (can you still say snapped if you are using a digital camera?) early one morning. Yes, it's a sunrise. Storm clouds brewing but the sun will make it's spectacular entrance despite the coming storm. Well, coming sprinkles. It turned out not to be much of a storm. The rain gods have serious PR around here. The weather people act like we have never seen it before. Interrupting your television program to tell you it's raining. Like you can't see it. And if you are already on the road there is nothing you can do about it and you aren't watching television anyway. And if you have to go to work or home you have to go anyway you don't just wait for rain to stop. So I figure that the rain gods have an excellent public relations firm getting the word out there for them. Because, after all, it rains every winter. Even in drought years, although not much.

Maybe they change weather people often enough that the ones on the screen this year have never seen rain before. I'm certain it will rain this year. I'm certain I will drive in it. I will check my tires and wipers and make comments to my husband until I make him change his wiper blades. For some reason the price of wiper blades seems very high to him but an iPhone is a affordable. Go figure.

And this, my fellow spinners, is heavenly, lovely, the absolutely softest alpaca I have ever touched. It is a fleece I bought a year ago and I sent it out to have it processed and it's silvery and lovely and there are almost three pounds of it. I haven't started spinning it yet. I'm just in the touching stages now.

And this month the other fleece I sent out will be back. It's brown. A very reddish brown. It has the same micron rating as the gray one so should be just as soft.

The seller of these fleeces rated them gold, silver, bronze, etc. according to the quality. These were rated silver. Much cheaper than the gold fleeces but I could barely tell the difference so we splurged and got two silver ones. I got them at Stitches West.

I'm sure if someone wanted to come down in February and visit and go to Stitches West with Shannon and I they would find something as lovely as this. Stitches just gets bigger every year. Last year I missed the yarn bowls. I will be on the lookout for them this year.

By the way, the Lantern Moon yarn box I bought works well as two yarn bowls. That thing is seriously cool. I have plenty of yarn. It's all about the gadgets right now for me. Unless someone has a fabulous sale, maybe a full bag sale, on worsted weight yarn in a silk blend.

I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Scared Night for Me and a Treat

So D gets up on Halloween morning and suggests we go for a bike ride. It's just about the end of the riding season for us and the weather was spectacular! So, naturally, we wind up at By Hand Yarn in Sonora. It's our favorite yarn shop. And just happens to be a beautiful bike ride away with a good place to stop for lunch/dinner on our way home. I stuck to my guns and didn't buy any yarn.

But I did buy a little Treat. This is a thingy you put your ball of yarn in so it doesn't roll around on the floor or couch or wherever your yarn is wont to roll around. It's made by a company named Lantern Moon and they help people in villages in Vietnam support themselves by making really fabulous products. I recommend you look them up on line and read about them. Their products are top notch and often clever.

Do you see how nice the two parts of this box are? The fabric is beautiful and I love the way it buttons together. There's also a strap handle, like the one on the top of the box, on the bottom. It will hold a good sized ball of yarn easily. And with class. I love it.

And now for the Scared Night part of my story. Vinnie, one our little doxies, has been escaping from the yard lately so I go outside with them and keep an eye on him. Anytime he has escaped he comes right back when I call him or chases me down and hangs out with me. He just wants to be next to me.

A couple nights ago the two little dogs were outside, I was with them, when the phone rang. I ran inside to get it, found it was just a computer call, and ran right back outside. I couldn't have been gone more that 90 seconds tops. When I got back outside Vinnie was gone. I called and called him. I walked every inch of the property four or five times. No dog. D got home and drove up and down streets and along every field. We looked for him for hours. We didn't have any luck. I went to bed in tears. I left the doors slightly open and screens on the storm doors open. We left every outside light we have on. Hoping he would find his way back. When D got up to go to work at 4 a.m. he heard a small cry outside. It was Vinnie. He was very glad to be home. We don't have any idea where he was but are darn glad he didn't get hit by a car or snatched by a coyote.

The next day he was fitted for the smaller electric fence collar and now wears it until he's sure that if he gets close to that fence it will bite him. So now neither he or Charlotte will go near the fence. The only way to get Charlotte out of the yard is to touch her collar. Then she knows the fence won't bite her. I'm hoping that will work for Vinnie too. So far so good. Ringo is in heaven. When he wants to keep away from the other dogs he just walks or sits next to the fence. They won't go near him.

As an added bonus Vinnie can't tell if he's wearing the fence collar or the no bark collar so when he has the fence collar on he doesn't bark. Some people think these training collars are cruel. But I think they help to keep your dog safe. I use a different one for Charlotte when she's out of the yard and now she won't go more than four feet away unless I give her permission.

Doggone dogs are as bad as kids for making us worry>