Thursday, June 30, 2011

Drive Thru

The box by the light used to bloom tulips, daffodils, and mums. In an effort to "declutter" (there were weeds there also) Mr. Sophanne removed everything last summer including the bulbs. We won't go into how disappointed I was when I realized that he never put them back and we didn't have any spring flowers there.

Instead he planted some corn seeds. The deer will think it's a drive thru.

Here's a little weird factoid about me. When I get my gardening gloves from the shed and they are stiff with soil and kind of look inflated, it really creeps me out in a Boris Karloff kind of way. Not for any length of time- just the time it takes from the gloves to go from in the basket to on my hands.

I bought some stuffed animal birds at the toy store today. They are pretty adorable. The toucan is a puppet.

I like to have some kind of nature theme that overrides the whole year in music class. Something that we can focus our attention on, use to create rhythms etc. I was explaining that to the clerk and she said that the thing she likes about birds is that when she sees them walking and flying it reminds her what dinosaurs might have looked like.

If you have time to comment, what do you think when you think about birds?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things to come

This is Tallulah June

This is Tallulah June on Photoshop

Photoshop Elements cracks me up. I feel like I am Luke Skywalker only I haven't learned about the Force. I know it's there but I just don't know what to do with it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


about that last post. If you have any sense of real art, you'll realize it was akin to a 5 year old drawing stick figures. One new commenter, Jane, said to hang in there. I visited her blog and saw the possibilities-holy crap it's some cool cool stuff. If you've got extra time, go visit her.

In news about something I actually CAN do, Queen Anne's Lace has found a home. No longer does it hang dolefully on my work lamp.

Instead I gave it to knitnightruth- you may remember her from the early days when she wore a pre-felted hat on her head. Bonus points to the dedicated reader who can find that post since I never put keywords or tags in any of my posts. Anyway- Ruth does things like go to shows and the opera. She will have occasion to wear such a garment. She was also the generous donator of the cool electric monopoly game the summer I took those kids to NYC (again-bonus points if you can find that post but fewer because I actually know what time of year that happened) Long Live the Queen as I named the project on Ravelry couldn't have a better home.

Somebody here

is figuring out Adobe Photoshop Elements 9...

I call this first tragic composition The Many Faces of Liza

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Follow through

Behold the $3 ipad holder. Actually I paid another $8 for an exacto knife and some extra blades but as I see it I'm still ahead $89. Mr. Sophanne said something about liquid resin for the insides. I don't really know what he's talking about. I'm just impressed that I did something I said I was going to do.

One of the books I found at the library was called"Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex. Yiddish is such a mishmash of puns in multiple languages, secrets and opposite meanings. There are curses and my favorite so far has been "may your teeth all fall out- except for one that you may get a toothache. It would seem that curses were on the same level as the more recent "yo mama is..." genre. I'll read as much as interests me until it's due back at the library.

Speaking of teeth- the repaired chipped tooth is once again in disrepair. yet another trip to the dentist on Monday. I'm starting to wonder if I have some sort of chemical reaction with whatever epoxy they use to hold it in place. Maybe my chemistry breaks down what would normally stick things together. Maybe that is my superpower. Maybe the dentist should look into some liquid resin.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's try that video again...

The Library

There are many sites in the Burg of Wayne that defy even the most artistic photographer. It tries to pull off lovely and quaint but there is often an undefined layer of grimy gravely cheap cement-like quality to many areas of town.

Not so with the Eva K. Bowlby Library. In my mind it's one of the classiest places in town. And I always forget about it.

The front
Looking forward and left upon entering
Looking backward and left upon entering
Magazine reading room to the right upon entering

The stacks are in a newer addition of the building back and to the right of the entrance. Often there is a small portable rolling shelf that has culled books for sale. These shelves and a need for a strong book prompted my visit.

There is an OSX daily newsletter with all things/tricks/news apple that I receive via email. Today's contribution offered a way to make your own discrete ipad book case" The rolling bookshelf was not on display and I'm guessing I can find a suitable book at the next flea market. The idea did remind me of the library and I picked up some books to read that I may or may not share later.

The thing I've always find interesting about libraries is that you can borrow books about stuff that you would never normally read. The biography of Winston Churchill, a book about raccoons, how to draw Chinese characters, etc.

The activities of the last few weeks have left my back strongly protesting anything that requires moving. I thought maybe I was just building some muscles but after the spasm yesterday I realized that maybe I should pause for a little while. (it also means that there are shelves of books that I didn't look at because they were too low on the stacks) This afternoon's trip to the library will make pausing myself a little more interesting for the next day or two.

The two dogs in my house are experiencing no such aches and pains of summer vacation as can be evidenced by the short video clip below.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothing funny

About a social commentary on domestic violence so if you’re looking for a crack me up post, come back later.

I recently finished this book found on this site

In it the author tells her story of being swept off her feet by “Prince Charming” only to discover that he was physically abusive. She is so enamored by him that she ignores the early warning signs (subconsciously) and finds herself trapped with seemingly no way out.

Once an editor for Seventeen magazine, she quits her job and moves with him to an isolated Vermont town away from friends and family. Through a series of events and after four years she is able to escape but not without severe mental and financial damage.

If I were looking for a reason to be angry and indignant, the abuse is certainly enough. People shouldn’t assault or scare the people they love. The end. That’s been said and is obvious enough.

What surprised and enraged me more was the reaction of some of her “friends” and family as she was finally making efforts to put her life back together.

Her husband (as is typical according to psychiatrists) never fully acknowledged or took responsibility for the abuse or the severity of his actions. He made a point of telling anyone who asked how much he loved and cared for her and how he wanted the marriage to work- that he was willing to do anything to make it so.

Her father (a prominent judge) believing that the husband could do no wrong, paid for the abusers attorney. Her aunt gave him a home to call his own when the protection order prevented him from using their shared address. Her therapist and attorney informed her that the quickest and easiest action that she could take to be rid of this nightmare was to give the abuser (the man who had choked and punched her into unconsciousness) everything he asked for (in the divorce) to be done with him as quickly as possible. This included assuming the debt of massive student loans that he had convinced her to put in her name because his credit wasn’t as good.

Fortunately there were no children involved but I can’t imagine going through that nightmare only to have the people who were supposed to love and support you believe that you somehow had provoked, encouraged, deserved or worse yet imagined the severity of the abuse you faced.

We think we are so wise and advanced as a culture. We let women drive- we are opposed to countries that don’t. But, we also say to the women of our culture “Your husband physically assaults you? You must have done something wrong. Go back and work it out. Do it for the children. I don’t believe you.” and then when we hear of a woman being killed by her abuser we sit back and wonder why she didn't leave him.

End of commentary- crack me up will continue tomorrow assuming I find something to laugh at.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

hoe hoe hoe

Grow Grow Grow

LizaJane added for scale- I think the way to measure is by comparing the brown to green ratio in the pictures. I see progress.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In a related post...

What did the washer say to the dryer?

You go your way and I'll go mine.

You'll eat your words!

I don't know which is worse- a blog post with no pictures or a blog post with artless bad pictures. I'm going for the latter today.

Once upon a time I had a friend who was such a house cleaner that I teased her about dusting her vacuum cleaner. Today I washed my washing machine.

It's all in an effort to give myself at least one week of guilt free summer vacation relaxation. If I've taken care of the house, I have permission to relax a little.

As part of this laundering of the laundry room I did a little furniture rearranging. The table you see blocking a door and a toilet we don't use once filled the room vertically. It made everything about doing laundry and emptying the dehumidifier quite cumbersome. I'm hoping that Mr. Sophanne will see it as reduced clutter and ignore the door blocking part.

Probably the shine from the washer and dryer will keep him from even noticing?

In other news- here's what happens when the Scottish Terrier is outside and the furry cat who must be very dangerous is inside.

Yes, a little duct tape fixes everything. Mac may be the younger brother Liza never wanted but she seems to be adjusting well. The cat, on the other hand, is certain that Armageddon has arrived and informs us of the danger every night once Armageddon is in the crate and she can sidle her way into the bedroom. We're just glad she came back after three days.

And finally- just so Aunt of Sophanne knows all is well, here is a picture of her little monkey as he comes to join me while I prepare this blog post.

And here's the little prince sleeping at my feet-dreaming of his mama.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm not really famous but

A cakewreck that I spotted, photographed and sent in to Cakewrecks MADE IT TO TODAY'S POST!

Mine is the last one that says vroom vroom!

One reason

I love where I live is that when senior boys get their senior pictures taken, sometimes they have it done with their favorite chicken.

This is the grandson of secretarySandy. I also taught him when he was in elementary school.

In other news the silky wool Queen Anne's Lace is ready for blocking. This knit was like reading Crime and Punishment a second time. When I finished I thought to myself "I remember this being much longer the first time."

In yet other news the Brudders Three are coming over for a visit this evening and the rest of the day will be spent in preparation.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We're adjusting- especially at lap time.

It's a little game I've made up called "Spot the Scottie."

Dear Aunt, this picture is for you so that you know all is well- I didn't even have to ask them to pose.

As ye sow...

so shall ye reap.


Q: what's dumber than a box of rocks?
A: a basket of rocks.

See, I know there's something innately funny about going into the garden (I did some hoeing yesterday- that also makes me laugh) and picking rocks. If I would just wait until later in the day after it's had some time to marinate in my mind I'm pretty sure I'd come up with something better. I'm just too impatient.

Note that the handle of the basket is in disrepair. I put it down (empty) for a brief moment yesterday and Lizajane went running willy nilly with it. It was completely adorable- that dog running with a basket in her mouth- and I may stage it again just for a photo op. Or else maybe I'll try it whilst full of rocks and see what she makes of that.

And in the interest of not complaining about the weather, I'd like to say that the weather we've had for the last 3 days is the best weather I can remember in the last 5 years. It's been perfect. I didn't think we'd ever have days like this again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's bunny season

I've got a nose for bunnies....

I've got a taste for bunnies...

Mr. Sophanne: I've got the bunny

Lil Liza Jane delivered (so far) a total of 5 baby bunnies. She held them gently and dropped them on command (mostly.) We delivered them safely away from her reach (although I fear in direct line of some turkey vultures but what's a bunny saver to do?)

I am back in the Burg of Wayne.

garden pictures added at link on left

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Proof positive

that Mr. Sophanne is awesome. The dishwasher opens fully while the oven is closed. Also the overhead light fixture in Aunt of Sophanne's bedroom is replaced. And I got to see my precious puppy who was too frazzled by Mac the Scottish Terrier (does that make it any better Cindy? I'm guessing not) to really notice me. They don't snap but Mac is like the younger brother Liza never wanted.

Friday, June 10, 2011

an update from lefty-ville

Hi friends. Did I mention how grateful I am for blog friends? This seems like a good time. I'm grateful always but that extra support when you need it the most can't be beat.

Aunt of Sophanne had surgery yesterday. This link will take you to an illustrated picture of what she's got going on in the world of biomedics. If you want a ghoulish real flesh photo, google "wrist jack" and search images and you can see it "in the flesh" so to speak. Thankfully hers is wrapped and we can't see the exact places where "the rubber meets the road."

I know it's nice to have pictures when you read a blog but this particular post is going to have to live by anecdote alone. This is the first time the household wireless has been working and I've got no good pictures anyway.

Normally those same day surgery waiting rooms are the worst. I was loaded with my laptop to do some school work, my iPad to watch some Columbo and some knitting- I brought sock yarn- forcing myself to have a moblie useful knit on hand- oh how I trick myself into knitting socks by making them the only thing available to knit.

At about 6:30 a.m. a woman asked about what I was knitting. Did I mention that I'm anti-social? Rarely in those situations do I carry on decent conversations. They are generally more depressing than the lonely worried wait. And yet. I had found another doppleganger. By 3:00 p.m. I knew she was a foster child, I had laughed at pictures of her grandchildren and I had played the bacon fart game app on her phone. Serious people with serious concerns were scowling at us and also wishing they had someone to make them laugh.

Towards the end of the wait I found myself hiding out for a few minutes just so my mouth would quit hurting from laughing. We were both tired, worried, giddy and ridiculous and apparently had the same coping mechanism. I know for a fact that when someone at her husband's place of employment farts, the whole gang says "speak to me sweet lips." Also when she was heading out for food and couldn't find her keys, I, without hesitation, grabbed her purse and found them for her.

It was a little rough when I actually had to mean business and talk to the dr. but I'm telling you a fact. If you find yourself in such a situation. You'll want Cindy there. And guess what her job is? She's an independent contractor home health aide! Hey Universe! YOU CRACK ME UP!! If we need her she passed the 8 hour interview. In fact I wish I could convince Aunt of Sophanne that in addition to a home health aide she needs a home laughing aide and pay this woman for her great spirits. I'm pretty sure Medicaid isn't going to cover that.

Growing up, dinners at the house of Aunt of Sophanne were always something. Prime rib, brisket, homemade pies, turkeys, hams, accompanying cheese covered vegetables, rice, potatoes, almost always 2 kinds of dessert. In that kitchen she has produced mountains of gastronomical delights.

Last night in that very same kitchen I made tuna noodle casserole using tuna salad "one serving" packages, a can of mushroom soup, some wide egg noodles and some french fried onion rings for dinner. Aunt swears she liked it because it's something Uncle never enjoyed so she never made. I have my doubts. I think the saving grace was that the tuna "salad" packets actually added some flavor to it.

Today I went to the grocery store and we had tacos for dinner. I realize this is starting to feel like a facebook post about the food I'm digesting. There's just a whole lot of irony involved in the fact that I am making crappy food for her in the same kitchen that she used to make awesome food for me.

The dog and I have been going head to head.

o.k. I lied. There's one blurry picture. He prefers the comfort of carpet to the annoying stickinyourbuttness effect of grass. So far the score is Mac (the dog) - 1 and Sophanne-2. This stubborn little donkey will be coming home with me when I do go home. Just until she can walk him again. He WILL be a better dog when he returns.

Mr. Sophanne has been- awesome letting me know just enough that he misses me without making me feel guilty for being here instead of home. We haven't talked much about the garden or the dog because he knows it will make me homesick. He's coming to visit tomorrow. What a guy. We've had visits from all of the home health people, I've made friends with all of the neighbors, and I'm hoping that by Tuesday I'll get to go home for a little while. However I've learned that the best way to crack the universe up is to make some plans so I'm not really doing that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Here's what I need you to know.

1. Yesterday Aunt of Sophanne (whose 80th birthday is this Sunday) slipped on wet grass while walking the dog and shattered her wrist. Surgery (including two pins and some sort of external rod) is Thursday.

2. Last month a washer hose broke and flooded her laundry room, kitchen and basement.

3. Two weeks ago her asshat neighbor registered a complaint to the city saying that house needs painted and she never cuts her grass.

Commentary- the only reason asshat neighbor noticed the house (which was scheduled to be painted anyway) was because of the landscaping she was having done by the guys who cut her grass every Thursday.

I arrived today to be told by the painters that when they arrived today she was calling out having lost her balance and fallen again. Just a balance thing and no further injuries. The painters remained until the hell storm lightning storm began. The carpet guys arrived with instructions to remove a gas stove to which they couldn't find the valve and asked me to look for it. After finding it, they moved the stove as requested but did nothing about the fact that now the dishwasher won't open. And pre-admission for Thursday's surgery was at 2:00 pm. Also the carpet layers were kind enough to point out a leaky hose in the garage likely caused by the painters tightening the valve too tight. We'll be sure to call the plumber as soon as we can figure out a way for aunt to get her pants all the way up so she doesn't have plumbers crack when they arrive.

Pre-admission questions included "when was your last menstrual cycle?" and "are you pregnant?" and "does your injury prevent you from doing daily life activities?". And while our nurse doing the pre-ad had to hunt and peck as she was typing in the list of medications (13 maybe-with really long names) and spelled "wrist" as "wrists" consistently, she was able to tap Aunt's rolling veins on the first try. I'd much rather have a vein-savvy nurse rather than a typing genius.

Did I mention that the dog is really only partially trained and poops on the floor on occasion?

I just need my blog friends to know where I am and what's going on

On the up side- a 16 year old neighbor showed up at the house and asked to walk the dog. I was frazzled and wanted to thank/meet her so I went searching later in the day. Turns out her mom works at the hospital and was having a guest over and that guest happened to be the person who could get me in touch with and dance through all of the necessary steps for home health care after the surgery. Better still I overheard aunt on the telephone acknowledging that she would need such care. I'm going to pretend that she listened to me when I said that sometimes aging gracefully means accepting help when you need it. (I hope I can remember that when it's time and I hope that I have someone to help me.) My husband would call that chance meeting a "god thing.". I would call it karma. The universe was smiling upon me.

I'm blogging from the iPad so enjoy the auto-corrects.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

All Call for Ideas

The Claw really enjoyed and appreciated the many compliments for his work. He doesn't get out much so he has no idea how awesome he is. The reason I'm reposting this is because...

He has three empty piano music boxes "waiting for a room" as it were. He's had good ideas of his own. I've suggested a 1940's soda shopand/or candy store and and 1970's redneck trailer. I'm also pretty sure I've suggested a yarn shop but if I haven't, that's a given. This post is an all call for suggestions you may have. While you won't be the recipient, if he takes your idea or an idea from your idea, you'll get to see it come to life. He reads the blog and the comments so have at it! and thanks in advance... somehow I think this will have some funny parts.

Nature Cracks me up

Seriously? How does this happen? Pink and purple and upside-down?

Saturday Saturday Saturday

I love Saturday.

Below is a picture at the start of a successful picnic. The principal got everyone fed, the kids ran around freely with little adult intervention. Seems like the increased boundaries decreased the conflicts. There was plenty of open space.

The kids are unloading in the distance and the woman on the left in this golf cart is the recipient of the malabrigo prairie shawl. She really worked hard to get everything together.

Our face-painting station was the most popular. Can someone please explain to me the attraction of face painting? Do kids assume a different identity via a simple flame mustache? At one point we had 40 kids waiting for face paint (this is when a schedule would have -and will next year- come in handy.)

The only "camp song" they knew and could sing together was "If you're happy and you know it." Clearly their music teacher is lacking in basic silly song skills- something that will be remedied in the coming year.

Today is another lovely day and much work has been done already outdoors. What previously was a washed out faded bench thingy is now a washed out faded bench thingy adorned by fuschia and geraniums. It's what greets me as I walk up the steps to the back of the house. GoodneighborEllen suggested a powerwash and a paint job. Why didn't I think of that?

Turning the corner to the back door I am greeted by another basket (peonies I think) and our rhododendron bush which will get a good trimming one day next week. I need to figure out what I can put along that shady wall that will be low maintenance and not so ugly as just mulch. That might wait another year- there's a big ole pile of black plastic underneath that mulch.

and walking across the back deck, looking to the right between two more rhododendrons are the many things I planted and mulched today.

Some were already there, I added some. I did a rough sketch just so I could keep track of what is there. The herb garden has expanded.

Making return appearances are oregano, sage, chives, perilla, lemon grass flax and scabiosa.

Planted and added today are dill, garlic chives, orange mint, sweet basil, lady lavender, fennel, rosemary, sweet lavender, parsley, and rosemary.

Later tonight when the cooler part of the day returns I will tend to digging dirt in the garden, picking those little suckers from tomato plants, building mounds around corn, cucumbers and potatoes, and removing the maple trees that are determined to grow there.

And.... drumroll please.... I am about 8 rows (giant rows) from finishing MMarios Queen Anne's Lace in a burgundyish lavold silky wool. I can't wait until blocking time to see how giant it gets.