Friday, February 29, 2008


We're on our annual trip to the southwest ending up in Phoenix to help my friend Suzy celebrate her birthday. (We get to see her husband Randy too and this is very special. One of the truly nice guys on Planet Earth.) This year because of the snow we had to head south on 5 instead of our preferred 395 past Lee Vining and Mono Lake past many other beautiful spots. I can't complain though, 5 can be a bit flat and dreary but it was snow free AND the acres and acres of fruit trees are just coming into bloom. After years of seeing "For Sale" signs on orchards and trees uprooted for housing it was a very pleasant surprise to see that many, many acres have been planted with new trees.

We spend two days in Death Valley where the weather was perfect. The valley floor has huge swaths of wildflowers which one doesn't get every year so this was very special. We rode our motorcycles over to the trail head to Darwin Falls with Omar tucking into a carrier. Yes, we ignored the "No Dogs on Trail" and had a lovely walk up to a waterfall right in a major desert. Then after lunch we did a 77 mile round trip (reaching 5,000 feet at one point -it was chilly!) and along a road called "Wild Rose". All was going well until we passed a car whose driver threw out his arm and shouted "Please Stop!!!!", which I did not taking into account that I was on an angled downhill and yes, over I went. The guy was clueless as to where he was in the park (and the park is HUGE). After giving him directions (how can you go out without a map, water, food, some idea where you're going and how you're going to get back?) I roared off with scraped shins, muddy clothes (a water filled pothole -I fell neatly into it) and a seriously annoyed look. As the hubby likes to say, "No good deed goes unpunished".

My interaction with the hard, unyielding world has continued to be well, interesting. I came down with the first cold I've had in years; I managed to tangle with an agave plant outside of Las Vegas while walking Omar resulting in a cactus thorn driven deep into my little toe and not a sewing needle to be found. Then I managed to spray myself in the face with hot coffee grounds yesterday giving myself a rather intriguing white and red mottled appearance which thankfully, after icing, improved greatly. Today I've done little more than smash my kneecap and being unable to speak in more than a croak so things are looking up.

The birthday celebration (and some late Christmas present exchanging) has been delightful. The two pairs of Cow Girl slipper socks were much appreciated and Whoo Hoo! they fit! Hubby was the recipient of a gorgeous, handmade quilted lap throw. We've already done a little tug of war over it. (Mine! No! Mine! She made it for ME!) Harrumph. We were so full from the New Wave French dinner out that we couldn't eat any of the key lime pie/blood orange gelato birthday cake. Now that is full.

Not being able to show you any of our trip photos (stay tuned for later blog posts) I bring you various Fashion Week items that have caught my eye.

A great sweater pattern for those of you with less than two hours for knitting. I'd be a little cautious about high winds with that collar though.

Some really beautiful, highly impractical hats. But really, they are to Die For.

And some rather hostile hats and...???? The ultimate bad hair/bad life day outfits.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed today. Too much to do before we leave on Sunday for our annual trip to Phoenix to visit The Enabler and her husband. Managing my mother's affairs is an amorphous situation with my tucking in here and rearranging there. Concepts such as On Demand Movies actually costing money is the latest fun task. Thankfully, by this afternoon, I had managed to get a great deal done and feel much better. (Did you know you can put in a code that keeps people from accidently ordering movies? I now do.) Not much knitting to show though. My dream of actually sewing up Claude and wearing it in front of Suzy The Enabler are fading but I have not quite given up hope.

One thing I have been doing is cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Above are two photos of our last outing on snowshoes and below are photos from last weekend. We took two dear visiting friends from the Bay area over past Truckee and hauled them far out into the forest. Omar to his total disgust and dismay was left at home. Poor doggie. How he suffers. He had actually been to the Wheeler Sheep Camp when he was a puppy the first springtime of his little life.

The conditions at Kyburz Flat in the Tahoe National Forest were most excellent. The snow was soft enough for beginners to practice their downhill technique without flying off into space and requiring rescue and multiple cups of hot chocolate.

One day I would love to use the restored oven at the camp. There are Indian ruins too and the remains of the Henness Pass Stagecoach station. In the spring many wild birds use the shallow lakes to breed. It's a wonderful place all year round.
We've had some very spring-like weather lately but now we are back to rain with snow up in the mountains. Here are the cats enjoying themselves and hoping for small furry critters to play with.

Otis remains very cautious but does come over for snuggles at night.

Opie hasn't been feeling well and we're not sure what to do. He has always had a delicate stomach but he's outdone himself and our rugs will never be quite the same. If he keeps upchucking we will take him to the vet asap. He seems much better this afternoon.

Omar would like you to know that he is very photogenic too. Blogger's spellcheck hasn't seemed to work for sometime so I do the best I can.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


We've continued to have fun in the snow. Omar now has a set of four little rubber booties and I am considering kniting teeny tiny socks for him. He's actually a bit smaller than the smallest size bootie available and could use some filler. Besides, some wool socks will help keep those paws warm.

After literally weeks of miserable weather (though we were grateful for the rain) we have flipped into Spring or at least Spring-like weather. It's 69F. Sunny with melting snow in the deepest shade up in Grass Valley. It makes for some very muddy hiking. My garden isn't sure what is happening: there are buds about to open on my fruit trees. Go figure. It makes you fearful of what the temperature will be come July.

Ollie is not sure what the attraction snow has. He much prefers his blanket next to a window.

I've worn my new Dahlia colorway socks twice. My only complaint is that they seem to stretch out and get rather baggy. I knit them on size 0's and the gauge was right on the money so who knows. Overall though, I am feeling like I've got a good handle on knitting your basic sock. I'm not one for cables and other folderols - just give me a nice plain sock please.
Note the puppy whiskers to the far right bottom. Omar hates to be left out.

See? I do however like a little color and have been having a heck of a lot of fun adapting the Cowgirl slipper socks pattern from Spring 06 Interweave Press. That's buffalo yarn for the cuff. It's rather nice stuff to knit with though it seems just a tiny bit fragile. It's also rather costly so I won't be using it much. I might sew on a few beads or perhaps add some embroidery. It still needs something to take it over the top. I doubled the two ply buffalo yarn and also doubled the Koigu that I used. I think the touch of green was some RY Cashsoft I had bits of. I never could figure out how to get rid of the four extra stitches I ended up with for the wave cuff that the original pattern called for. The heel turn had an errata on their website which solved the problem I was having with the heel. For this pair I did a few rows of seed stitch then a few rows of stockingette times three repeats. It has a sort of "fake fur" feel which is just perfect for the ankle. The pattern whips up fast so I should have the second one done in no time. (Do.Not.Cast.On.Another.Project.)

Oh, and there are a few ends to weave in.
In the meantime...

I've bottled up the plum wine I started last July. Wine making requires patience. No labels yet but Sharon is busy designing them and trying to deal with my crappy jpeg images. Thank you Sharon.

I also started up two new batches of plum wine. One with honey and golden raisins and one without. Ten gallons in all. My floor freezer no longer looks like we're planning on either company for 350 or Armageddon.

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