The Musings of One Miss Julie

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bathrooms Under Siege

I've got no photos today, but I hope I can paint some vivid word pictures instead.

So for the last year-and-a-half, we've lived with one working bathroom and one out-of-commission bathroom because of a burst of misguided insistence that I try my hand at being a regular handy ma'am. What I realized is that watching one's dad be handy and watching plenty of home renovation shows on Saturday mornings on PBS does not necessarily a handy girl make. And watching others do it certainly doesn't improve the motivation quotient much, which is why we've lived with a rag stuck in the hole in the floor where the toilet should attach for so long.

Starting today, that all changed. I'm tired of looking at bare walls, a dangling light bulb, and a half-finished tile floor. So I finally got down on my hands and knees -- after much prodding from Scott and others -- and grouted the floor. I'm a bit stiff and sore, but the satisfaction of having moved one more step toward completion feels pretty good.

I hope the feeling lasts: I've still got to paint, get and install the trim, install the new toilet and sink, install the new light fixture, and a myriad other little tasks.

And as if one bathroom under construction wasn't enough, yesterday morning the tub shower in the other bathroom (and the only shower in the house) decided to take a vacation of its own. The spigot where the water would normally come to pour water into the bathtub simply came off in my hands when I attempted to pull the plug that would divert the water to the shower head.

Now I'm left with a naked copper pipe sticking out a bit from the wall that blasts water directly onto the opposite wall of the tub, which creates all kinds of moist havoc. And contorting to wash my hair in the morning isn't particularly fantastic either, but alas. The faucet manufacturer says we'll have the replacement part in 7-10 days. Ugh.

And I'm complaining about difficulty in bathing for a few days when I have to remember that many (if not most) people in the world don't have access to modern-day necessities such as indoor plumbing, let alone clean water for consumption or bathing. (Note to self: Let that be a reminder to you.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Love Is in the Air

Today, Scott and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. It was a grand day that started off just right and turned out to be just right. (If "just right" can be defined as having eaten two servings of ice cream in one day. What is it about special occasions, or even imagined special occasions, that just send me on a sweet raid? Note to self: Remember your hips.)

This morning, I checked my email before I left for work to discover that my Mum -- ever wise and ever knowing about her daughter -- had emailed a family photo taken a few weeks ago that showed me and Scott at our loving best. We were squabbling and it was caught on virtual film. What you see above is the detail from that photo, which out of context looks like we could be sharing a loving gaze instead of one of our usual silly spats.

This blog's all about keeping it real, folks.

In knitting news, I found out that the craft fair I'm aiming to sell my scarves at has been scheduled for November 11. Yowsa! I'd better get a move on. I've got 1 scarf completed and another nearly finished.

This is truly going to be an experiment in whether I can supercede my procrastinator's ways. I don't know whether to blame the public school system or my genes, but for as long as I can remember any time I've got to have something done by a certain date that inner rebel inside of me sabotages myself at every turn. And if I don't have a due date, well, that's even worse. Case in point: the half-bathroom I tore out over a year-and-a-half ago that's still in a state not much better than when I tore everything out.

Well, the scarves are calling...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Wooly Fun

Mum looking cute with a youngster alpaca In short, my first experience with the Michigan Fiber Festival was delightful. There were lots of beautiful items for sale from the vendors (gee, I wish I had taken some pictures!), which gave me plenty of nifty ideas for future projects, but surely my favorite part of all was seeing the creatures who produce all that fiber in question.

Recently I discovered the divine nature of alpaca yarn. Maybe because I'm still a new knitter (I'm coming up on my second anniversary), I had little concept of the charms of the llama-like animal. Who knew that a cud-chewer with a mop-top could make my heart go pitter pat? Alas, I am in love.

Mum and I also got a fantastic lesson in angora rabbit fur. One angora farmer (?) gave us a personal tour through the still-attached fur of her 6-month old rabbit to show us the different parts of the fur that are responsible for producing high-quality angora that, when worn as a sweater, won't leave the black skirt you paired it with looking like it grew cilia. Fascinating stuff, to be sure.

A regular mop-top and a sheepy Becky look-alike

And in the sheep barn, I even saw a curly-locked sheep (shown in the photo above) with hair strangely similar to my sister's. (I mean the curls, not the presence of straw, poop, and other effluvia. Ahem.)

The crowd favorite -- and mine -- was the herding dog demonstration. I left feeling both amazed at what one border collie could accomplish and dismayed at how little I've been able to train Groucho the Wonderpooch to accomplish. I don't want to think that I have a dumb dog, nor do I want to think of myself as a second-rate trainer. So maybe border collies are superbreeds; yeah, that's what it is.

The day ended all too quickly but not before I learned one of life's important lessons. While my desire to support the small-town band by purchasing a hot dog from their stand is well-intentioned, it probably won't be wise to repeat. There's nothing like a two-and-a-half-hour drive home spent wondering whether that dog just grew legs so it could run all around one's insides. Good thing Groucho got me used to saying "Stay down, boy."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Off to the Festival

Well, my mum is going to arrive any minute to pick me up for a fun-filled girly day at the Michigan Fiber Festival out in Allegan County on the west side of the state.

I've never been to a fiber festival before, so I'm not completely sure what to expect. I've only seen sheep shearing at the Michigan State Fair. Today's schedule of events sounds like it's loaded with goodies. And if I"m lucky, in addition to my fiber fix, maybe I'll even get my greasy pastry fix (elephant ear or funnel cake, anyone?).

I'm packing the camera, so I'll try to post photos.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

What happens when you leave the scene of the blog photo shoot unattended.

What happens to the dog who found the blog photo shoot unattended.

What a Haul!

I went crazy for some yarn, which arrived last week. It's the first time I've ever placed such a large order. I think I received some 20 skeins of various yarns. Oh, I love that!

I decided I was going to try to knit for profit. I don't know how it's going to work out, but it will be fun trying. I'm going to start off simple making some neat-o scarves, ranging from the sporty and silly frou-frou to the sophisticated. The corporate headquarters where I work (for a certain bookstore chain located in Ann Arbor) has held a craft sale for employees to sell their wares in November of the past few years. I thought it would be as good a place as any to gauge potential interest in what I can do.

You can see two of the scarves I've already started. The blue variegated one is in this fantastically soft and cuddly totally synthetic polyester. The olive scarf on the right is a wool-nylon blend (the nylon comprising the charming lighter green eyelashes that wave all about).

I may decide that I prefer to knit only for myself and for the occasional gift, but right now I'm having too much fun buying yarn almost indiscriminately.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Some Sadness

I wanted to say I'd be away for a few days because of some sadness that occurred in my husband's family.

Take care, all, and take a moment to be grateful for the ones you love.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Tres Chic!

As you can see, I've got quite a bit more to go on the ChicKami. I've been a bit distracted from her for a while, but I've finally attended all the summer's weddings and major events so I can once again return my focus.

Isn't it strange how even though there are things you know about yourself, they're so easy to overlook -- and sometimes even forget? When I chose the yarn for this little strappy tank, I gravitated to the cotton yarn -- again -- even though I'd sworn off that fiber for a while. But sure enough, here I am with the cotton again. It's not that I don't enjoy working with it, but until I had knit with wool and experienced its joys, I didn't know what I'd been missing.

But then I went and purchased a giant lot of Enzo Lucci Long Island Cotton (which I think must be a Phildar brand spin-off because some of the skeins were labeled Phildar) on eBay and I had no choice but to try and dig in. I've seen so many other knitters using the Onde yarn lately. I liked its fade-away characteristics, so that's what I'm trying to mimic. When I finish this skein of blue, I'm going to switch to a lighter shade to create a similar effect. It won't be as gradual a gradient, but I think it's got potential.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Another Notch on the Finished Project List

Woo-hoo me! I finished knitting my sister's fabu surprise on Monday night. I just need to pack it up and ship it her way. (I'll post pictures after I know she has received it.) Now if only I can complete the Christmas gift I gave to her in pieces nearly 8 months ago... Alas.

I'm going to try to make some serious progress on my ChicKami, particularly since the leaves will be falling and the days will be cooling sooner than we know it. I've discovered that even though knitting in the round saves me from lots of moaning over how much I hate seaming pieces together, I really hate how slow it feels to knit that way. Yeah, yeah, it's mind over matter I know, but it just seems to take hours to accomplish even an inch of knitting because of how long each row is. Maybe that's more a statement of my general knitting pace.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Bountiful Harvest

Today's warm weather made me feel almost overcome with the satisfaction of knowing my little garden plot is bearing fruit. I've got oodles of ripening tomatoes hanging on the vine that I can't wait to enjoy. Maybe it's cliche by now, but I doubt I'll ever get over the thrill of biting into a sun-warmed tomato and feeling the juice run down my chin. Except for being a bit messy, it's close to perfection.

Tonight to accompany the pizza Scott picked up on his way home from work, I threw together a quickie salad of lettuce with my second ripe tomato from the garden. And even though the salad wasn't chock full of other stuff, it was just right.

I see some stormy-looking clouds rolling in, which means it's a perfect time to settle onto the couch with some knitting. I'm hoping to finish a surprise little gift I'm making my sis.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Hello, world!

Well la-dee-da! I'm a blogger!

I'm feeling rather shy about this whole publishing to the so-called World Wide Web and all, but it should prove to be a rather interesting method of keeping in touch with folks now that the Noricks family diaspora has officially begun. My sis just moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, leaving behind all her Michigan loved ones. Sigh.

I'll hop right into it, then.

Today Scott the hubby had to work, which left me and Groucho the Wonderpooch home alone. We did a bit of sleeping, a bit of eating, a bit more sleeping, and then I did some knitting whilst Groucho continued his nap. Ah, there's nothing like taking full advantage of perfect summer days when it's 85 degrees and sunny outside.

I wasn't completely Miss Lazy today. I took the bicycle for a spin today (the bike that's on loan from my sis) and rode over to my aunt and uncle's house, about a mile away. I felt pretty proud of myself for attempting any kind of physical activity, since exercise and I just aren't a match made in heaven. I will say, though, that I felt really good after the ride, so maybe it's a sign that I need to get off my arse more often and forget that it may, incidentally, be exercise.

Sleep well, my little sissie in Baton Rouge...