Saturday, September 27, 2008

Into Fall

I took a week of vacation in August, and the cool, damp weather meant that although I had planned to paint the trim of our house, it did not get done. Instead, I gardened and spent time laying flagstones around our pond. Flagstones are HEAVY! And they're even heavier when using the thicker stones preferred when one is not cementing them in place. It's very hard work, even without having to puzzle them together, and I'm getting great satisfaction from each finished section. This photo from one area near the pond that shows Maverick checking my work - I still have the adjacent path to complete.

All summer I looked forward to our wonderful knitting retreat weekend at Naomi's Bangrila. George had a motocross race that weekend, so we took the dogs to PetsHotel in Woodinville and were all able to completely relax. Naomi is famous among her friends for being a wonderful hostess, and the weekend was no exception. The guests (Melinda, Joni, Ellen, Amy and Sarah), were also inspiring to be with, it was beautiful weather, the setting was idyllic, everyone pitched in on everything, and I relaxed to a whole new level. I can only add that I loved meeting Plucky Knitter Sarah - she is so positive and sweet! Being around her - well around any and all of these fiber women - was uplifting. I can't say enough about Naomi's generosity in sharing the time and place with us. I am so lucky to have been a part!
While there, I finished my first Monkey sock, complete with my first ever picot cuff! I completed the second one in short order since they were to be a birthday gift for my longtime friend, Pam. I gave them to her without getting a photo, but here's the yarn; Jitterbug in the Tapis color. I was panicked about running out of yarn, but had 3/8 of an ounce left over. Phew. Pam has knit many socks, including a pair for me, but she doesn't like to follow patterns, so she was impressed, and that's all it takes for gift knitting to be worthwhile.

September 2nd brought George's younger son, Jon, to Bremerton on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Jon is an Engineman in the Navy, and his ship arrived to be decommissioned so he was in Bremerton for just over two weeks, although he was not on leave. We saw him three times, and he managed to see most of his friends. The Navy has been good for him, and he's doing well. His hard work is recognized and he has been promoted quickly so far. He is stationed in Japan and is now back in Tokyo before joining his new ship, the George Washington Carver.
If you remember my Cotton Jeans Lynton cardigan, I was prepared to settle for the large mother-of-pearl button shown in a previous post. Then I found a button at Pacific Fabrics... then two more from As Cute As a Button. They are each perfect in their own way - see what you think! The button loop is round elastic covered with splits of the Cotton Jeans yarn using the tailor tack technique from my sewing background. It works great and I love wearing the sweater.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Summer's End

A lot of living has happened since my last post. Including knitting, of course, yet I feel like summer activities (whether or not summer weather is actually occurring) sort of crowd out my year 'round passions. So today is the first day of fall and one of my goals is to update more frequently rather than long, infrequent posts.

In July my 23 year old niece, Meagan, visited from Georgia and spent a week in the Seattle area. She brought Mariah, the six year old girl she has been raising (long, complicated story) and we picked them up at the ferry at the end of their week to take them to their final tourist choices: the Space Needle and the Fremont Troll. Then we returned to our house and the rest of my family arrived to visit with her. We barbequed, devilled eggs, ate fresh corn on the cob, and got to know her a little bit again. After dinner, the girls gathered to watch Ever After on DVD, a little like a slumber party. The visit was all too short before she was gone again. Her family moved to Georgia when she was in her early teens, and we've been missing them all ever since.

On August 16 and 17th, we hired a painter to spray the exterior of our house and we followed behind him with brushes. It was one of the few hot weekends, so we actually couldn't paint after noon or so. And on that Saturday, Kathy from Paws & Claws brought a 3 year old boxer mix to meet Maverick and us. George and I had been talking about a companion dog for Maverick, and I saw this girl dog on Petfinders, e-mailed them, and George arranged the meet. The dog is a sort of pushy girl, with no known history prior to turning up stray in Puyallup in June. She came in the gate ready to dominate Maverick. If I had known what I now know (that the dominant behavior is so prevalent for her), I don't think we would have even decided to try her out. She is the pup on the right - this was her first day here. We have now had her for five weeks, through running away (which turns out to be running after cats and squirrels), through getting on our bed, sofa, and recliner, through eating butter off the dining room table, through shrill barking when we give Maverick attention, through chewing through multiple Tupperware containers to eat ALL of the chocolate chips and nuts, and of course, the $500 emergency vet visit for the chocolate toxicity.

We have been hopeful of training her out of the behaviors we don't like. She does well at Obedience I training at Positive Dog in Woodinville. She still wants to dominate Maverick, although we are working hard to be alphas who correct some of the behaviors. We just don't know if Maverick is miserable or if this is a good thing for him, and although Paws & Claws has offered a consult with an animal behaviorist from the beginning, we didn't accept until last week when George reached his limit. Our first appointment with the behaviorist from Bark Busters is on Saturday, so I'll update the situation as it changes!