Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Snake Handling

After a busy, busy Monday at work, I came home and found Mrs. Frisby (our cat) playing with something interesting in the driveway. My young boys were quick to check things out and discovered that it was, in fact, a teensy little garter snake.

A garter snake that my littlest promptly named Erik.

I did what any mother in her wrong mind would do. I put him in a bin.

After much oohing and aahing by the boys, we went in the house. And the cat promptly took Erik out of the bin.

After dinner, little one headed out to check on the snake, and he was gone (of course). So he came to me, begging me with his little blue eyes -- endearing me -- "Mommy, you HAVE to find Erik. Frisby may have killed him." (He aspires to be Dr. Doolittle and sincerely cares about nearly every animal he meets -- except the springtime ants. He squashes them like the bugs they are.)

So, I went out to look. I took one step out the door, nearly stepped on the damn snake, squealed like the girl I am and then calmly said, "Found him."

I put said snake back in the bin. More oohing and aahing commenced, with little one begging to keep the snake and hubby coming out to see our reptilian friend for the first time. Rather than keep the snake (this is where I draw the line. We have two fishtanks, a beagle AND a snake-catching cat), we opted to let him loose in the woods behind our house. This was after a very long debate on the snake habitat ... and Christopher's insistence that he could put one leaf under him and one leaf on top of him to keep him warm at night (LOL). I even enlisted my father's help in convincing my son that Erik needed to go back to his tree stump (after reminding him that my cat is SO much cooler than his cat).

Then, being the truly cool mother I am, I picked Erik up behind the head (he was too beaten up to even curl himself up around my hand), and Christopher -- clad in pajamas, penny loafers and a baseball cap (you just have to picture it) -- joined me in taking Erik as far away from the house as possible and placing him on a tree stump. Christopher agreed that my picking up the snake catapulted me into "Coolest Mother in the World" status (I don't want him to ever forget that his mom wasn't afraid to pick up a snake).

I'm pretty sure he'll pass tonight -- Mrs. Frisby had a really good time with him before I got to him -- but in a way, I hope he doesn't. I certainly don't want him in my house or on my porch, but there's something just a teensy bit intriguing to know that there's a chance my boys may cross paths with a little garter snake again one day. Very Dennis the Menace, don't you think? As long as Erik doesn't end up in a jeans pocket, it's OK by me.

Reading, Knitting and Waiting for Spring

Hey Harlot,

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful daytrip planned for Saturday, April 8. I was planning on hopping in the car and driving to Doylestown, PA to see you in person and get you to sign my copy of your new book, Knitting Rules! But yesterday in Baltimore was dreary and rainy, and I just couldn't bring myself to lose nearly three hours of knitting time (I couldn't get DH and the Boys enthused about a drive in nasty weather. Curse the gods. If it had been sunny, he would have driven in a heartbeat).

Around 5 p.m., I found myself very sad about my decision. So I loaded up the band and we headed to Barnes and Noble and I picked up an unsigned (sigh) copy.

Less than 12 hours later (and a portion of that was devoted to sleep), I was done. In fact, I just finished.

I've read your other two books cover to cover, and keep them in my knitting basket in case I need a pick-me-up, and this book was every bit as entertaining as the others. This book, however, has an instructional quality that the others don't -- with Harlot patterns that make even a pi shawl sound easy. It has commentary on every knitting staple out there -- scarves, socks, shawls, sweaters [I left out hats because the alliteration would have lost something] ... and its done so plainly and with such humor that its a fabulous read. It's like Harot Touched By Zimmerman. And I absolutely love it.

Can you please come to Baltimore some day so us Marylanders can meet the woman who makes OCD a regular part of life? There are so many of us who thank you from the bottom of our stashes for making our obsessions with yarn and needles and tape measures OK.

And on another note...
Earlier this week, I was stricken with a major case of Spring Fever. The weather was warm, it was great to be outside, and I had serious hopes that I could put the winter coats away for good. I even cast on to make FadClassic. But then the weather shifted and I'm working on this nifty little vest that makes me lament even more that it's cold outside. But I'm moving along on it.

A few notes about the piece. Firstly, I got the pattern from KnitandTonic Wendy, who perhaps should get a platinum yarn medal for "Flash Your Stash" photo from April 1. What makes that shot even cooler is that her husband did the set up and that the picture doesn't include ALL of her yarn. You can read about that in her blog.

Anyway, I cast on on Wednesday and ended frogging the sleeves and starting over on Thursday (I didn't do a provisional cast-on for the sleeves like I should have because I DIDN'T READ THE INSTRUCTIONS), but I'm making good progress. It's a nifty little vest in Tahki cotton (she did green, I opted for coral because green makes me look sickly), and I think it's going to be cute either by itself or over a little t-shirt or even a blouse. Cute, cute cute.

BUT ... even though it's knitted in the round, there is purling involved. I would have known this going in if I had read the pattern from beginning to end, but instead, I made an assumption that will slow up my knitting. But that's OK. Especially since the weather has gone and gotten nasty again ... there's no real rush (at least until the weather warms again. Then I'll be driving myself mad trying to finish it in time).

In it's current state, it looks rather bra-like. My youngest son asked me if I was making "one of those funny-looking knitted swimsuits" yesterday. I assured him I was not. The honestly of children (and their knowledge about such things as knitted bikinis) sometimes boggles the mind.

AWOL Blogger and the Poncho Worn

Indeed I have been AWOL. I apologize to any loyal readers out there. But between my ENTIRE family coming down with an insidious germ that sent everyone to the prone position for a week and rendered me unable to find the will even to knit -- along with the fact that life and work had to proceed uninhibited throughout, well, it's been a rough couple of weeks.

Now we're gearing up for end-of-the-year scout activities and baseball for both children. I hope to keep this up!

Knitting on an airplane

I don't have much time to post because I'm traveling for work -- here in sunny Puerto Rico where things are way too expensive.

I have multiple funny stories to share, but no real time. So I'll leave you with a few pictures from Rio Grande, which is a tremendously expensive cab drive away from San Juan, but very very beautiful. I stopped by the beach on my way back to my room. Near sunset ... here are two views: one looking east, and one looking west. Those with good directionals should know which is which.