The Immortal Rabbit

June 11, 2011
Rex the Rabbit

Looks Innocent Doesn’t He


It all started when my then 8 year old wanted a pet. As animal lovers we weren’t too surprised by this so we went through the catalog of small creatures that poop and he decided upon a rat. Yep, you read that right. We piled into the car and found a cute little rat and bought him a cute little harness with a leash. David trained the rat to do a few tricks and the thing would sit on his shoulder and nibble treats. It walked around the house on the leash and climbed up his leg. But in just a few short weeks the rat took playing dead very seriously and that was the end of the rat. No sniffles, no hacking cough, just dead. David was devastated. Enter the guinea pig.

The guinea pig was having nothing to do with any of that trick nonsense. It’s favorite game was playing keep away from the pick-me-up giant. It ate and squeaked and three weeks later had a stroke. Yep, lost all use of its hind quarters and died shortly after. David was again devastated, I was suspicious. Two critters in just a few months? I suspected we had a serial pet murderer. But with no forensic evidence and a blubbering 8 year old, we piled into the car to find…….the rabbit. (I figured what the heck. The thing was lucky if it lived 3 months.)

We traversed pet stores far and wide until we finally found Rex. He was the only living Norwegian Dwarf bunny in a 100 mile radius. He was tiny and fluffy and cute and David couldn’t put him down. We left the store with the necessary bunny necessities and began counting the days until the rabbit’s demise.

To digress just a bit….Did you know that a child could be perfectly capable of snuggling and eskimo kissing a rat and a guinea pig yet be allergic to a rabbit? Yep. Puffy eyes, sniffly nose, guess who gets to take care of the rabbit. Shouldn’t be too bad right? It’s days are numbered.

Flash to 11 long years later. The good news is we have exonerated all residents of pet murder. The bad news is I’m still taking care of this freakin rabbit! I swear the thing is immortal. Rabbits are the equivalent of lettuce. They live to be the bottom of the food chain. They eat and poop.

Which brings us to this morning. I always put it off until the last minute in the hopes that I’ll wake up one morning and Rex will no longer be in residence. No such luck today. Darn thing is still breathing. I had to clean the cage.

I began by trying to catch him before he took a nose dive into his box. As I was holding onto squiggling hind legs, I drug him out and in a deft maneuver of skill, flung him up to my chest while avoiding flailing bunny nails. We both calmed down some while breathing heavily then began the next phase of excitement: depositing Rex into the travel cage. Not a moment earlier I was trying to pry this critter out of a hole yet when confronted with the opening of a travel cage this rabbit can throw all four legs out to form an X incapable of fitting through the doorway. Pinning his forelegs to his body I managed to stuff the rabbit into his temporary quarters and shut the door. In a moment of pure maturity, I then stuck my tongue out at him because Iiiiiiii wooooonnn. Then I looked down at my shirt and noticed the streaks of who knows what and turned to see the rabbit sticking his tongue out at me. It seems it was a draw.

Maneuvering my plus sized frame into the minus sized cage opening, I retrieved various bowls, toy carrots, and towels full of rabbit fur (because as we all know rabbits in the wild decorate their nests with old towels and $4 carrot toys). I then groaned as I noticed that the poop to poop catcher ratio had been exceeded and went off to find something to reduce the pile. I believe it took over an hour because I’m so darned organized that I had nothing sitting around with which to scoop poop. That or I was avoiding it.

I settled on a cardboard box flap and began the ever so elegant task of having my ass sticking out of a rabbit cage while I spread poop around the mesh trying to make it all fall through the little holes. I believe this should be a video game as it was very entertaining. I finally felt it was safe to remove the pan hanging under the cage so I gave it a tug. Didn’t budge. So I gave it a bigger tug. Nope. I then braced my feet against the legs of the cage and attempted to rip the cage apart with my bare hands. That cage must have finally realized I was serious because that pan of poop flew out from under there at warp speed and proceeded to distribute its contents all over the floor. As I turned to give the rabbit a dirty look I could swear it was laughing.

Enter the dog. You’ve previously met Prancer as the pooch afraid of mice. Well she’s also none too pleased when any other creature gets too much of her share of attention. She was also concerned that the rabbit might have dropped anything edible into the litter and began to snuffle through it like a pig searching for truffles. I then had a floor full of poop, a shirt streaked with who knows what, a rabbit laughing its ass off, and a dog nose deep in litter. I was beginning to regret that one of my children wasn’t a serial pet murderer.

I swept up the litter, dropped the pan in the bathtub (don’t you dare judge me), and filled a bucket with hot water and pinesol. With the dog sucked to my leg for some unexplained reason, I began washing the bars of the cage wondering how much pinesol it would take to asphyxiate a rabbit when the bucket I so wisely had placed on top of the cage gracefully slid off the side in slow motion to empty itself onto me and the floor. I believe the rabbit filmed the whole episode and the footage will be appearing on UTube any day now.

Now did I happen to mention the flies? The rabbit has sublet and is sharing residence with a family of flies. I wouldn’t mind so much if they just shared his little dwelling but they seem to venture out routinely to drive me nuts. Given that my humor was fading fast, I decided if I couldn’t kill the rabbit I was going to exterminate his little friends and located one of those tubes of sticky fly paper. Feeling very empowered, I pulled that sticky swirl of death out and proceeded to the corner above the cage to set my trap of revenge. With the dog still under my feet and the floor wet and smelling pine fresh, I leaned over the cage to hang the fly strip on a little hook and slipped. Yes folks, I can now honestly say I have experienced the feeling of having fly paper stuck in my hair, across my face, and down my shirt. There are just no words. I will leave you with that image.

With wet socks, sticky hair, a streaked shirt, and a bathtub full of soaking poop pan, I washed my hands and ate a piece of cold pizza. No one deserved a bit of stress eating more than I did at that very moment.

Needless to say the adventure did finally end. I scrubbed the poop pan, unclogged the bathtub drain, cleaned the floor, reassembled the cage, washed my hair, changed my clothes, and refrained from killing the rabbit. After all, he has a clean cage and that rabbit is damn well going to live to enjoy it.

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Presenting Teachers in: BUTTS ON ICE

January 4, 2010

Over the last few days, my small patch of the world has accumulated over 15 inches of fluffy snow with another foot predicted to arrive shortly.

I find this is so much more effective than a car-cover.

While some may find this a perfect opportunity to sled, and others are warming up the snowmobiles, teachers at our school hold their annual “musical on ice”.  (Anything to get a pass out of class to the nurse’s office.)  It’s like one of those old B-movies where the people walk across the lot and are sucked to the ground by some wormlike alien creature one at a time.  (The custodian says it’s just ice but I’m still convinced there’s a wormlike alien creature involved somewhere.)

This morning’s show was made all the more entertaining as it was the first day back after holiday break.  Everyone was carrying their laptops, papers they graded during New Year’s Eve parties, small animals and plants, and, in my case, a mini-Keurig coffee maker that I received as a gift so that I can have coffee at work without rotting my intestines.  (The office coffee would make a cowboy gag.  Spoons stand in it.  Creamer turns it a light black.  But I digress.)  It’s rather like Oksana Baiul carrying groceries on the rink but much more entertaining.

As I shuffled in a truly graceful fashion through the snow in my cute yet ever-not-so-made-for-snow teacher shoes, I smugly thought, “Only 20 more feet to go.  This isn’t so bad.”  That was right before I landed flat on my backside.  The only thing that saved me from a nasty tailbone re-injury (well other than the 30 extra pounds of fat on it) was my left ankle.

Standing in the triage line at the nurse’s office (there were more than five of us that had fallen badly enough to report it), I bravely accepted an icepack and limped on back to my classroom.  I figured it would feel better before long and since substitute teachers aren’t standing on the street corners waiting for work (well, I’ve had my doubts but they SWEAR these people are screened) I might as well tuff out the day and see what happens.  That lasted for about two hours.  Limping back to the nurse’s office, I informed her I needed drugs.  Large drugs with a high drug content.  I was then referred to our friendly neighborhood workman’s comp Dr.

After much waiting, and poking, and x-raying, I was informed that I injured my ankle.  (What people don’t have to go through for a few pain pills!)  More precisely, I seem to have injured the cartilage between bones in my ankle causing me to want to naw off my leg below the knee.  If things don’t improve by tomorrow, I might get to take a field trip to the MRI machine.

Until then, I get to take these really cool Ibuprofen pills.  So far, they’ve made my mouth numb but have done absolutely nothing for my ankle.  I also get to wear this gorgeous new accessory:

If you watch closely, you can see my ankle throb.

And I have crutches.  Now is it really wise to dope up a teacher then give her crutches around adolescents?

Love, Auras, and Our Paranormal Christmas

December 31, 2009

I’ve always believed that love unlocks a place in your soul that separation or death can’t close.  Even if we eventually forget why we loved someone, that moment when we first realized we did is etched permanently on our soul and forms a connection that time can’t erase.  It’s how we find each other; recognize each other.  It’s how we meet, remember, and love again.  For some of us, it’s how we remember the details of a former loved one so that we can incorporate them into a voodoo doll but I like to keep things positive.  

It’s possible that, because of this belief, I’ve always felt that love and protection surrounded me if I would just be open to them.  Then again, it’s possible that, because I’ve always been surrounded by love and protection in some measure, that I’ve formed this belief.  Either way, it’s worked for me.   I’ve been told I give off positive energy (and someone once told me I “oozed” which I’m hoping was a good thing!).  When I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and student teaching, I had to get my driver’s license renewed.  I was speaking with the girl at the counter and a woman in the office behind her kept staring at me.  When our transaction was almost complete the woman came out of her office and with the utmost sincerity, said, “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, but you have the most beautiful aura I’ve ever seen.”  Thinking back, this should have seemed strange but it wasn’t.  Knowing how truly happy I was at that time in my life I guess I believed her.  I replied, “Thank you.  I’m teaching kindergarten students right now and I’d hate to scare them!”  The woman laughed, shook her head yes with a most satisfied look, and went back to her office.  My big regret is that I didn’t ask her to share a cup of coffee. 

Since this idea of love etching our souls for all eternity appeals to me, it’s not a far reach to believe that those who have left this life before me stop in to visit and use their love to polish my aura to beautiful perfection. 

While I was ruining the turkey stuffing this year, I had our tiny kitchen television tuned to a ghosthunting program.  One of my nephews couldn’t contain his enthusiasm and began to make fun of all the ghost hunters.  “What’s that?!”  “Did you hear that?!”  My mom started talking about hearing footsteps and my husband chimed in and said, “Don’t laugh, there’s a ghost in this house.”  While I can’t argue that a few unexplained things do happen here, I’ve never felt his ghost so am reserving judgement.  Then later in the day we opened gifts and my son and husband used my gorgeous new camera (I love you my favorite middle son!) to take some pictures.  Here’s one of the 47 they took: 

Hey, I didn't say they were GOOD pictures. That's me making fun of my son.

 As I’m looking through the pictures, I notice there’s a shadow of a bubble near my nephew’s hip then I notice there’s another tiny one near the end of my thumb.  Odd.  Almost looks like those orbs of ghosts on the ghosthunter shows.  Pictured nephew shouldn’t be so quick to tease the ghosties!  So I scroll to the next picture taken less than one minute later.  

Can you find the orbs?

Let me help you out.

Yep, within one minute I was surrounded by orbs.  I really like the two that are marked with a star on top of the arrow.  One overlaps the other.  I imagine they are spirit orbs that are so strongly connected they can’t be without each other in eternal roundness.  There are large ones and small ones.  Some are closer and some are further.  They’re so cool!  And these are the only two pictures that have them.  It can’t be something on the lens because the following pictures do not have them and others taken from the same position towards the same subjects don’t have them.  I choose to believe that our loved ones were with us and noticed my aura had some ruined turkey stuffing on it so they were polishing me right on up.  Can’t have turkey stuffing negativity on my beautiful aura!

And for those of you looking at the non-orb contents of the photograph, the camera adds 30 lbs and lots of debris.  I’m really ravishing and my house is really spotless.

In Search of Crazy Aunt Purl

December 31, 2009

This past year has been a tragic and stressful one for my California-based family.  My stepmom of 35 years was given the all-clear after a mammogram only to find a lump two months later.  She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and after a painful battle, left us for greener pastures this December.  Supporting my dad over the phone these past few months has been difficult so I’ve arranged to fly out to LA for a week to provide some comfort and a diversion.

During a recent phone conversation, my dad asked if there were any touristy things I might want to do while I’m there.  Hmmm.  Maybe a tour of the movie studio?  What about cruising out to see the whales?  Then it hit me with an excitement only compared to a sale on knitpick’s needles……….Crazy Aunt Purl lives in Los Angeles!  I could hunt down visit Crazy Aunt Purl!

Purl’s name is actually Laurie.  And she’s not really my aunt but I’d claim her over many of my relations.  And she’s not really crazy………..she’s my imaginary bestest friend.  I drink wine vicariously through her.  When my husband fixes things, I silently thank Dimitri.  When I fly to California, I’m packing five days worth of clothes in a carry-on bag in her honor.  I hope to read her latest book on the plane.  I LOVE Crazy Aunt Purl. 

So how will I find her?  Clues my curious friend.  I believe in my heart that she knows I’m her soul-best-friend  and she has left clues so that we can find each other.  After extensively reading her blog ( I have put together a list of bread crumbs she has left just for me.

  1. She shops at the Burbank IKEA store.  All I need to do is sit in the doorway of the IKEA store and look for someone who is drunk, devoid of a wedding ring, and covered in cat hair.
  2. She works at a bank.  How many bank employees can there be that wear DKNY Cozy Wraps?
  3. She lives in the valley in a building full of Russian men named Dimitri.  I will stand outside of all the apartment buildings yelling for Dimitri until I find it.  I wonder if my bull-horn will get through airport security?
  4. She drives a jeep that has the roof held on by duct tape.  How hard can THAT be to spot in LA?
  5. She talks about Spring and Flower street a lot.  If I dangle alpaca and a bottle of wine I just know she’ll come running to my corner.  (That, or I’ll get arrested for being a kinky prostitute.)

So there you have it.  But what will I do when I find her?  I will hug her, and squeeze her, and pet her, and call her George.  Well, maybe we’ll just find a glass of wine somewhere, she’ll autograph my book, we’ll talk about me (since I know all about her), she’ll introduce me to all of her friends that I’ll be replacing, and we’ll get those little photos taken in one of those booths.

Disclaimer:  Dear Laurie, you have nothing to fear.  I will have passed through airport security three times by the time I reach LA.  I am a licensed teacher and professor and have regular police background checks as a condition of my employment.  I knit therefore I’m harmless…..really!

Come knit mittens, pa-thrum-thrum-thrum-thrum

December 24, 2009

I’ve learned a few things about my knitting self:

  1. I’m a yarn snob.  An extremely soft and washable acrylic can tempt me to stray but, for the most part, I’m a natural fiber girl.  My favorite so far is alpaca but if anyone would like to send me samples of other horrendously expensive yarns I’d be happy to reconsider.
  2. I can find an excuse to own every piece of knitting paraphernalia on the globe.  I need a multitude of bags, totes, and baskets to meet every portable project need.  I need a plethora of needles in a variety of sizes.  I need straight and circular, wood, plastic, and metal.  I need more than one set in each size just in case I decide to knit two of the same thing at the same time.  I NEED them.  (And for my non-knitting loved ones . . . YES, little wooden sticks make GREAT gifts!)
  3. I am highly susceptible to knitting project spores.  You know, those things that are carried on the fly-away strands of knitting projects being knit too close to you.  If someone is near me knitting something I haven’t yet tried or something in a pretty color or something using a needle I do not yet own, I will become obsessed.   I have no immunity.  This effect will only be made worse if the wool is expensive and the needles are hard to find.  (My doctor tells me that knitting is not contagious.  The man wears store-bought socks.  Need I say more.)

This brings me to thrummed mittens.  At the December meeting of my knitting group (the fact that they meet at the chocolate cafe has nothing at all to do with my attendance) one of the ladies was knitting an adorable pair of pink thrummed mittens.  I watched in fascination as she pulled little wisps of roving (carded wool fibers) out a bag and knitted them into the stitches.   From the outside, the roving looked like little hearts but, like an iceberg, most of the roving was dangling inside the mitten like a cloud of warm snuggliness (yes, that’s a word).  With my mint chocolate drink in hand, I left the meeting and realized…..I had been infected with a massive dose of spores (must have been the roving fibers).  First, her project took size 6 double points.  She was using bamboo.  I didn’t have size 6 double point bamboo needles.  To make thrummed mittens you needed roving.  I didn’t have roving.  I’d never tried making mittens before.  No heels to turn, can’t be too hard.  I NEEDED to knit thrummed mittens.

 So the hunt for a cure began.  I needed new needles, and a pattern and, darn, I’d have to buy more wool and some roving.   And since I’ve never knitted a pair of thrummed mittens I might make the little heart-shaped thrums too big and run out so I’d better get extra roving. 

I finally found a supplier I really liked for the roving and the wool (  They started buying wool from Russia in the hopes that establishing trade would help lessen the threat of a nuclear war.  Interesting idea but then they are knitters.  Knitters are endless optimists.  Just ask anyone who has cast on a sweater Christmas eve for a gift exchange the following day.  Since my mitten obsession was also going to facilitate world peace, I decided I had to have three kits.  After all, I bet my mom would love a pair of thrummed mittens and then there’s my niece-to-be, she’d probably like a set of thrummed mittens because she’s hoping to live in New York soon and her favorite color is orange and I’ve never knit with orange wool before and of course I need a pair for myself because my fingers love warm snuggliness. . . hyperventilating here – it’s the spores.  (Four double point needles, three thrummed kits, two hands that need mittens, and one more reason to knit.  Sorry, I tend to break out in song on Christmas Eve.)

With my mitten kits on the way (all the way from Canada even), I went in search of needles.   Of course, I do believe I forgot to mention to my husband that I was driving around in a slick snowstorm in between my day job and my night job looking for these needles but…….don’t ask don’t tell!  After striking out at two hobby stores, I finally found what I needed at the quilting store.  Since they seem to be scarce, I bought two sets.  After all, I might decide to knit mittens two at a time.  Now I will declare publicly that I did NOT buy a new knitting bag or basket.  (Couldn’t find one.)

With kits finally in hand and my little wood needles jumping up and down with excitement, I cast on my first pair of mittens.  I decided to knit the orange ones first because I found adorable orange clips that my quirky niece-to-be would love to dangle from her mittens.  Without further ado, (thrum roll please) meet my mittens:

Thrummed Mittens  Good thing I bought that extra bag of roving 🙂

My thrummed mitten knitting basketHere’s a picture with the thumb hole showing.   I’ll let you know if a hand actually fits in there when I’m finished!

Merry Christmas Eve All!

My Excuse Note

December 12, 2009

Dear stalkers and my four fans,

I know you have been frantically refreshing your computer screens in the hopes that a post from me would magically appear.  Don’t despair, I have several good ones waiting in the wings on such topics as:

  • Good genies come to those who wait
  • How many pairs of mittens can a human knit in two weeks?
  • Replacing your husband can double your loot!

I plan to tippy type my little fingers off for all of you just as soon as I finish decorating the house, bake cookies, knit 3 more pairs of mittens, get my crashed computer fixed, grade college finals, design a whole college course and syllabus, grade my day job papers, spend a few days out of town with friends, and re-edit my mom’s novel (sorry, lost what I had when computer crashed but I’ll meet my January deadline!).

Does anybody really know what year it is?

December 1, 2009

Today my students embarked on a journey through negative numbers.  We discussed how number lines are infinite and how they can be represented horizontally or vertically.  At one point, a student mentioned that a vertical number line looks like a thermometer and a horizontal number line looks like a time line.  There are just moments as a teacher when you get all verklempt (sorry, I don’t have a Yiddish dictionary). 

His timeline comment led us off the beaten path (which is actually more beaten than the beaten path in my classroom but then I digress from my digression).  I taught social studies for two years before moving solely to math and science so I have a little bit of timeline trivia stored in my noggen that I squish out on special occasions.  Seeing a few eyes glassing over in the back of the room, I decided it would be a good time to enlighten the little darlings on the arbitrary nature of time.

I began by asking what determines a day and was delighted with, “the rotation of the Earth”.  Verklempt moment #2.  Then I asked what determines a year and was dazzled with, “the revolution of the Earth around the Sun”.  Verklempt moment #3.  (It was a good day.)  Then I asked how many times, since the Earth was formed, has it revolved around the Sun.  Hmmmm.  Little trickier.  Some said we don’t know since there weren’t people counting back then.  OK.  So I asked how we know what the year really is if no one was there to start counting from the beginning.  (If you ever want to mess with gifted kid’s heads, pose deep questions!) It took awhile, but someone finally hit on the fact that our timeline doesn’t start at one; it has a zero and we count backwards because we don’t know how many years there are before the zero.  So I asked if we really had a year zero: what does zero mean?  More puzzled looks but every student in that room was hooked at that point.  We decided there couldn’t have been a year zero so the timeline is not exactly the same as our number line. 

Then I asked who decided when year 1 should start.  A few students were certain that Jesus decided.  (I’m sure my Jewish students were thrilled at this revelation.)  To move things along a little I told them that a monk actually made decisions about our timeline when he was trying to determine an accurate date for Easter.  (Seems my Christian students weren’t that far off!)  The monk used historical references and counted backwards a few hundred years and settled on the timeline we now use.  The only problem is, he didn’t take into account the biblical story of King Herod. 

According to authentic documents, texts, artifacts, and carvings, King Herod died around 5 or 6 B.C.E.  which poses a teensy problem since he was the King that ordered the execution of male babies in an attempt to off the baby Jesus.  The two of them had to be alive at the same time which means Christ was actually born 5 -6 years before the birth of Christ.  Cool huh!  That led to a few side discussions about how their moms take a few years off of their ages too.  I’m sure the moms will be thrilled to know their kids are discussing their ages in school.

Then one kiddo shouts, “WAIT!  What does that do to the Mayan calendar?”  At that point I was completely forgotten as groups of kids frantically tried to decide if we’ve already passed up the year 2012 and what year it really is.  The general consensus was that it’s really the year 2014.  Sorry all of you alarmists!  You missed it.  I hope you kept the receipts for those gas masks!

To close things up a bit, I mentioned that the same kind of panic happened at the turn of the century: the Y2K terror.  I couldn’t even buy a stinking can of sterno to fondue on New Year’s Eve because the loonies bought it all to heat their homes when the power grid crashed.  (Since these kids were 3 years old at the time, I had a little explaining to do.)  I asked what numbers represented the first 100 years and they agreed that, since there was no zero, it had to be 1 to 100.  We labeled that on the board as the first century.  We agreed that the next century would be 101 to 200.  So the turn of the century is actually when the year changes from the *000 to the *001.  Hmmmm.  All the sudden it occurred to them that celebrating the turn of the century in 1999 was a year premature! 

Get the students engaged and you can get them to explore anything.  I doubt many other math teachers had to tell the students it was time to stop talking about number lines and get back to work.  So I spent 1/2 hour of math class pondering the nature of time.  Even if I’m not remembering my history perfectly, I’ll bet my students will remember features of a horizontal number line!

How I Spent My Sunday after Thanksgiving

November 29, 2009

I embarked on my Sunday by rolling out of bed at around 10am: the official time that sane people wake up.  After all, there are very few things worth doing that can’t be done in bed.  Unfortunately, unless you’re under 3, using the restroom isn’t one of them which is why 11am isn’t the official time that sane people wake up.  Bladders can only wait so long.

I made myself a cup of coffee in the Keurig.  It’s really our camping trailer coffee maker but we brought it in for the winter.  Good thing too because my husband just killed our fourth coffee maker trying to de-lime it.  Yes, that was a 4.  Did I mention he de-limes coffee makers for a living?  It seems commercial grade acid and CLR eat the insides of residential coffee makers.  He’s no longer allowed to de-lime my appliances.  I can’t afford his hourly rate anyway.

Sitting in my glider rocker (Yes, our life has been reduced to that of my grandparents.  My husband has a Lazy Boy and I have a glider rocker.  He watches tv while I knit.  We have no social life.) I sipped my coffee until I looked down and realized I was sitting on my boobs.  Why is it pajama manufacturers haven’t realized that women who have long since given up on sexy lingerie and wear flannel pajamas are also at the stage in life where they have gravity issues?  They could put a support panel in there.  At the very least they could put some kind of waistband elastic guard so you don’t snap your tatas when you pull your pants up.   Begrudgingly admitting that I wasn’t going back to bed I pried myself out of my chair, gathered up my boobs, and headed off to get dressed.

For my third accomplishment of the day (I count getting out of bed and getting dressed as 1 and 2), I attempted to make Memorial Day Weekend camping reservations.  Because I was one day out of the six month reservation window, I was forced to add a day on to our camping weekend.  Such a hardship.  I got through all the little screens and they couldn’t process my card so I entered it again.  Nope, not happening.  I opened another screen and checked my bank account online…yep, I have money.  I try processing it again.  Nope.  Then I see the little disclaimer written in teeny print below the button where no one will look:  “If you experience trouble, don’t keep clicking the button stupid.”  Ooops!  I went back to the online bank expecting to see three charges.  Nothing.  Then I checked the email.  No confirmation email.  Then I began to get nervous.  What if the online bank is wrong and my identity has been stolen and all my money is gone?  What other explanation could there possibly be?  So I get my jacket and head out in the gloomy drizzle to the ATM machine.  I can’t take the suspense.  I need proof that I have money.  I also need proof that my ATM card works because I accidently set it on a magnetic straight pin holder last night.  I’m assuming that’s not good.  I pulled up to the ATM in our shiney new Ford F150 (thank you Obama), put my magic card in the little slot, and the nice money box gave me cash.  Whew!  Darn DNR reservation site.  Must be down.

Getting back to the house I worked on getting a few more gifts wrapped (I have all but my gift card shopping done!), put some dishes in the dishwasher, and helped my husband move a fish tank.    Now that we have only one son left at home, he’s turned the basement room into a fish room.  He’s a member of the local aquarium society and raises goodeids.  Yep, we lead a wild life here.

After all that work it was time for a break so I cast on to make a chapstick cozy.  And the answer to your question would be: “Because I can.”  Seeing me carry my yarn through the house, my coffee maker murdering husband asks if I’m ready to teach him to knit.  Interesting turn of events and probably worthy of a blog post all its own but what the heck.

Wanting to jump right in, he tells me he wants to knit a hanging hand towel like the ones I’ve been working on and he wants to start from the beginning with casting on.  OkeyDokey.  Hoping he’s a natural-born knitter, I hand him some straight needles and assure him he’s smarter than a stick.  I think all beginning knitters need to know they are smarter than sticks.  It provides you with something to chant as you stomp on them.  I began by showing him how to start a long-tail cast on.  With his tongue hanging out in concentration, he made several good-humored attempts to get a few stitches on the needle.  It was like watching a baby trying to grab cheerios off the high chair tray.  Every time it looked like he cast on a stitch he’d tighten up the yarn and the loop would disappear.  Deciding he should probably just start with knitting, I cast on some stitches for him and showed him how to enter the stitch, wrap the working yarn around, then pull it back through the hole.  Um, right.  Then I taught him the knitting rhyme my male students enjoy, “Stab it, Choke it, Rip its guts out, Throw it off the cliff.”  This seems to inspire knitterly tendencies in males so I figured it couldn’t hurt.  Worked like a champ.  It seems anything can be made understandable if there is blood and mayhem involved.  A few stitches fell off his needle while he was working but he managed to knit 12 really nice stitches before deciding his fish needed tending.  Way to go honey!  (Don’t think this means I am driving on our long road trips while you knit.  I have seniority!)

The rest of the day was filled with making a turkey noodle casserole for dinner, a chapstick cozy (because I can), and checking my email several dozen times just in case someone urgently needed to forward a top ten list of annoying chain letters people should email during the apocalypse.

On to Monday!

Girlfriend Gifts and Chapstick Cozies

November 27, 2009

  Today we ventured out in search of a girlfriend gift: the ultimate gift giving challenge and an inevitable consequence of having four sons.  These are the kinds of gifts that are not too personal because you don’t know the girl very well.  They are also not too expensive because you aren’t sure how long she’s going to be around.  And they aren’t too generic because you don’t want a potential daughter in law to think you don’t like her.  After much debate, the tried and true pampering gift basket was decided upon.

The first decision was to choose a basket to fill.  Then came a scent or color choice (we picked lavender) and the search was on.  It needs a little bit of arranging and garnishing but I think we’ve managed pretty well!

As a finishing touch, we plan to add a small bottle of Asti and I was thinking about knitting some spa items (because I have SO much time that I can knit one more Christmas gift).  This led to a search for a nice, yet quickly knitted, pattern for a soap sock. 


This is my favorite so far.  You can find the pattern at  But in my search for a quick soap sock, I stumbled upon a pattern for this:

Yes folks, it’s a chapstick cozy.  Perfect for those times when you want to use up that last yard of sock yarn while straining your eyesight to the point of blindness.  You can find the pattern at  I wonder if I could knit it in the round by using toothpicks as double pointed needles.

Fans and Stalkers

November 24, 2009

Day one is in the history books and here is the score:  Fans – 2 (Hi Jaimie and Mom), Stalkers, 23.  Apparently one of my stalkers found me while searching for “cortex rain hats”.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it!

Day two is gone and no new fans.  Fans- 2, Stalkers – 29.  But it seems that three of the stalkers are dog people because they all found me when searching for doggy hats.  Anyone who wants to keep their doggies ears warm can’t be all that creepy.

Thirty-five visitors on Wednesday and only my husband posted a comment.  Thoughtful, but I can hear him comment from the chair next to me!  Total so far:  Fans-3, Stalkers 64. 

On Thanksgiving, three whole people (well, they might have been half people, I would have no way of knowing because they didn’t leave a comment) visited my blog.  Quite a change from the mad rush of the day before.  Total: Fans 3, Stalkers 67.

As the last few minutes of Friday dwindle away, the final score is Fans – 3, Stalkers 70. 

It’s possible I have only one stalker who visited the blog 70 times.  That would make more sense than 70 different stalkers.  After all, can you really be a stalker if you only cruise by once a week?  

Well as fun as my little social experiment has been, I believe it’s time to move on to something more meaningful.  I will now perform an interpretive dance of my stats graph.  Now where did I put that leotard?