Saturday, October 13, 2018

Boy, I'm Glad

This was one of those absolutely glorious, beautiful Fall days.  Not too hot.  Nice breeze blowing.  I was able to keep the French doors and my windows open all day and let the fresh air into the house.

Shortly after sunrise, I was standing at the French doors looking out and I said to myself, "Self, that there grass looks dry."  I stepped out and felt it, and sure enough, there was no dew on it.  Again, I said to myself, "Self, you ought to get out and get the mowing done and get that chore out of the way."

And that's exactly what I did.

I was about halfway through mowing my front yard, when two pickup trucks pulled into my driveway.  It was the painter and his employee.  As I waved at them, cut the mower off, and walked over to talk to them, my first thought was, "Boy, I'm glad I put a bra on."

Because if I'm at home, you never know.  I may or may not be wearing one.

Anyway, the painter introduced himself to me -- because we'd spoken and texted on the phone, but hadn't yet met in person  -- and apologized profusely for the delays and the hassle and the headaches.  We walked around the house and talked a bit about the job.  He said before any checks get written, they're going to make sure I'm satisfied with the job.  I showed him this,

and he said, "Oh yeah, we'll touch that up."  He got to looking, and that wire up there isn't even attached to anything, so they're going to just pull the whole thing off, and neaten that edge.  They are going to have to put a second coat up, since we're going from such a light color to such a dark color.

We also discussed how the previous owners were not quite the handymen they thought they were.  I'm in the position where sometimes I have to compromise between what I really want, and what I can actually afford to pay for.  If it had been up to me, we'd have sanded all the way down to the bare wood and started over completely.  But that would be more labor than I could pay him for.  I told him, "If it looks good from the street, it's good enough for me."  For now, at least.

Long story slightly less long, they're going to try to get it finished Monday.  Based on what I've seen so far, I'm loving the colors I chose.  I especially love the contrast between the mahogany and this blue.

If I'd known it would look so good together, I'd have just had them paint the house in stripes.

After they left, I finished mowing, deadheading the last of the spider lilies as I did so.  I brought the last few fresh flowers inside, and mowed the rest down.

In other news, I finished another charity hat.

I put it into the gift drawer, then went stash diving for the next cast on.  I found this ball of mystery yarn in the bottom of a project bag.

I have no idea what it is.  There wasn't a ball band.  I'm thinking it's yarn that was given to me when a friend or relative de-stashed.  Some people have suggested it's Caron Simply Soft, but it's not smooth enough, nor soft enough to be that.  Whatever it is, it's becoming a hat.

I think this time, I'm just going to do plain stockinette with a few random ridges of garter stitch.  Keeping in mind that most homeless people are men, I want hats that aren't so fancy a man wouldn't wear them.  I am making some that would appeal more to women, but most of them will be either unisex or masculine.

Yesterday, my friend loaded up all the blessing bags and delivered them to the Sisters who will be handing them out.  She said they were literally jumping up and down when they saw what was in the bags.  My friend also got to witness the very first bag given out.  Here's what she wrote in our Facebook group:

There was one guy that Sister told me had been living on the streets but was working to get himself cleaned up and had just found a place to live. He had shelter, but nothing else, and he was in the Samaritan House today. She asked me, "should we give HIM one?" I said, "YES! Definitely!" So she asked him what his favorite color was, he said blue, and we found him a bag with a blue hat. He was THRILLED. He had a super-thick Pittsburgh accent, and as he was rummaging through the bag, he said, "Oh, man, 'ere's everything in here!" I was pretty happy to see the first one go into the hands of its recipient.

You know,  when I was a kid, I thought Jesus didn't know what he was talking about when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  Now that I've been on the receiving end of the blessings that come with giving, I understand just how right he was. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

I Was Walking Down The Road

No doubt you've seen the video of the Scottish granny reading The Wonky Donkey to her grandbaby.  For those of you who somehow may have missed it, take 4 minutes to watch it.

Click here:  Scottish Granny

The video became so popular that they had to do another reprint of the book.  Guess what arrived in the mail today?

Not only that, if you click through to the video above, there is a link in the description to buy the book.  If you buy through that link, the Granny gets a commission.

As far as I'm concerned, she totally deserves one.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Another Sleepless Night

It would seem that yesterday, I ate something that did not agree with me, and I ended up with what is known colloquially as the squirts.  Let's just say, if I were having a colonoscopy, I'd be all ready for it.

I spent most of last night dashing to the bathroom.  And in your Yes-Becky-Is-Human TMI moment, I have to confess that there was one time I didn't quite make it. 

There I was, at 2:30 AM washing diarrhea off my backside...and changing my night clothes. 

It was at this point I said to myself, "This is not a good time to have toilets that don't flush."  It was shortly after this point I found myself afraid to go to sleep for fear of an encore, so I have been up quite a while. 

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I was able to flush my toilets.  They just drained very, very slowly, so I was afraid to flush too much.  The good news is, by the time I got to work, what ever had caused my brief digestive distress had passed.

The better news is, the plumber made it out to the house this evening.  Turns out it was just a clog -- too much toilet paper -- and he was able to snake the line and clear it pretty quickly.  Whew!  Then I said, "Since you're here, can you look at my sink?"

See, the sink in my hall bathroom has nothing over the drain hole.  Nothing.  No stopper, no strainer -- nothing.

Kindly ignore how dirty my sink is at the moment.  I haven't cleaned it since the plumber has been here. 

I bought a screen thing, but not after dropping several items down the drain. 

Eventually, the sink stopped draining altogether.  I tried the Draino.  I tried plunging.  I even bought a sink snake.  Nothing worked.  So, a few weeks ago, I took the trap off, thinking I could clear the clog manually. 

Only the trap was clear.  I figured then that the clog was back inside the walls.  That was a bit more than I felt comfortable digging in to.  It wasn't that big a deal, because I'm here by myself, and I have another sink.  But today, the plumber was already at the house and I said, "Might as well get him to snake that, too." 

He started snaking, and you would not believe the stuff he pulled out of that sink.  It took three snakings, but he finally got the clog cleared, so yay!  After seeing how much junk had been dropped down that drain, he said, "Make sure you keep that screen in there." 

The best part is, it only cost $325! 

OK, that's still a lot, but not nearly as much as I was fearing.  I might have enough left over to buy a bowl of my co-worker's skgetti.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Good Thing

It's a good thing I had today off.  I got so stressed over how I was going to pay the house painter and the plumber -- not to mention all the dental work I just had done that I still need to pay for -- I hardly slept at all last night.  The last time this happened -- the plumbing, not the house painting -- it cost me $1200 to fix.  I'm hoping and praying it doesn't cost that much this time around.

Now, if I hadn't already contracted with the house painter, it wouldn't be a problem.  Indeed, I tried to contact him and cancel the job, but he said he'd already bought all the paint and stuff.  I told him to go ahead and get the house painted, since he'd already bought supplies.  I'd been saving up in a separate account to pay him, so I guess I'll have to take out of my regular savings to pay the plumber -- which means things will get mighty tight around here until the overtime starts up again.

Be that as it may, as of this posting, the plumber has yet to show up, but the house painter -- or rather, his employee --finally has, nearly a month behind schedule.  He apologized for the delay, and said his schedule has been crazy.  I guess me trying to cancel the job lit a fire under his behind, and he decided to make me a priority.

I have it on good authority that his Auntie Edna read him the riot act as well.  "I recommended you.  You'd better not make me look bad!" she admonished.  But she also told me some of the things that had happened to put him behind -- his grandmother's house had gotten damaged, plus he'd had to move -- things like that.  I understand that things happen.  I'm just glad he's finally getting it done.

The bad news is, I'm such an introvert, that with him here -- even though he stayed outside the whole time, I didn't feel like I could really relax.  What was really bad was my blinds were open.  I wanted to get up and close them, but didn't want to make him feel like I was hiding from him.  Even though I was.  He packed up and left about 3, so I at least got to enjoy part of my day off.  Hopefully, he'll finish the job tomorrow while I'm at work, so this awkwardness won't be an issue.

And just what did I do while I was huddled inside my house hiding from the painter?  I knit a charity hat.

Well, part of one, at least.  I'm not particularly enjoying knitting this hat.  The yarn is Red Heart, which is a bit of a crap shoot these days.  Some colors are an absolute joy to work with.  Others aren't.  This is one of the ones that isn't.  It is very coarse and stiff.  It will soften up with washing, but it's still not very pleasant to knit.  Next time around, I'm going to go up a needle size and see if that helps.

A couple of weeks ago, I got the bright idea that I would take all my fall scented wax melts out of the packages and put them into this container.

When I wanted to use one, I would just reach in, grab one at random, and be surprised.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  However, the one I popped into the melter today smells so good, I want to go buy some more.  Only I don't know which scent it is.  So, I can't.

Yeah, I guess I really didn't think that one through.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

I Could Just Cry

Do you see this?  Do you know what it is?

It is what I came home to this evening.  It is what is about to make me cry.

No, I'm not talking about the Creeping Charlie that could survive a nuclear blast and the subsequent fall out.  I'm talking about my clean-out.   The clean-out that I came home from work and found just like that -- with the cap off and a big wad of soggy toilet paper next to it.

I knew one of my toilets had been flushing kind of slowly, but a bit of plunging had set it right.  At least I thought it had.  Apparently, all I'd been doing was working the cap off my clean-out, and the soggy paper had overflowed out of the top. 

What's a bummer is that I just had all that sewer line replaced three short years ago, shortly after I moved into this house.  I'm kind of paranoid that the entire pipe has collapsed, like it did the first time.  However, the water is draining, just very slowly, so maybe it's just a clog.

I put a call in to the plumber I normally use.  I'm hoping he can get out here tomorrow to look at it.  In a fortuitous turn of events, I just happened to have a vacation day already scheduled. 

I just hope it doesn't cost too much for him to fix it.  And I'm starting to understand why my dad said home ownership is for the birds. 

Sunday, October 07, 2018

I'm Done

I'm done.

I am done stripping these bricks. 

I've decided that I've gotten all the paint off that I'm going to get off. 

The only thing left is to wash them to make sure I've gotten all the stripper off.  I'll probably start with mineral spirits, then give them another going over with just plain soap and water. 

Follow it up with a good rinsing, and we will be ready to roll. 

Moving right along, a few week ago I bought some super bulky weight yarn on clearance to make charity hats.  I got this far on the first one, and realized I wouldn't have nearly enough yarn to finish.

Undaunted, I ripped back a few rounds, added another band of ribbing and voila', a headband.  Even that was pushing it.  I had this much yarn left once I'd bound off.

Here is the finished product.

When I started on the second one, I decided to stick with ribbing for the whole headband. 

Irony is, since I didn't switch to the larger needles like I normally do for the body of a hat, it looks like I might have enough yarn to do a whole hat.  I'm going to go as far as I can, and see what comes of it.  I may end up doing a ponytail hat, but that's OK. 

For you knitting muggles out there, a ponytail hat is one with a hole in the top for a ponytail or bun to stick out. 

Finally, look at next weekend, Y'all! 

Look at next weekend! 

Could it be that fall has at long last, finally arrived?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018


Congratulations, Grenada!

You just voted to raise taxes on yourself to build a new sports complex.  Because I guess the one...

Sports Complex on Jackson Ave. Extension


Sports Complex on Jasper Neely Dr.


Sports Complex at Grenada Lake (This one has tennis and basketball courts as well)

sports complexes in this town with a population of only 13,000 just aren't enough for you.  So, go ahead!  Play ball!

After the game, you can drive home

dodging the potholes in our crumbling infrastructure,

skirting the garbage piled at the end of your driveway, which may or may not get picked up on time -- or at all,

and bathe your kid in the brown water that comes out of your tap,

so you can put him to bed, because he needs a good night's sleep before you get him up in the morning to send him to a below average school,

from which he will eventually graduate and spend the rest of his life working at a low paying factory job, whereupon he will have a heart attack at age 50,

and die in the waiting room of our underfunded and understaffed hospital, which was recently given the only failing grade of all the hospitals in the state.

As the breath leaves his body, and the light fades from his eyes, I'm sure his last thoughts will be, "Boy, I'm glad my parents voted for that fourth sports complex, instead of caring about the things that really mattered."

Because, you know, I'd hate to live in a town that only has three.

*Images courtesy of Google Earth.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


Short post tonight, because I'm really tired, but I did want to share this with you. . 

I finally got a halfway decent picture of my little Spike buck.

I know it's not the best, but you can kind of see his little spikes, and how they are not even the same length. 

By the way, he's not all bloody.  That's a cardinal sitting on the fence. 

Also, I think my hummingbirds have moved on.  I haven't had to refill the feeders since Sunday.  I'll keep one out for a few more weeks, but I'll wash the other and put it away for the winter. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Lazy Sunday

That's exactly what I did today.  I spent Sunday being lazy. 

I recently discovered that my Hulu live TV subscription has a channel called Cozi.  All it shows is the old 70s and 80s TV shows.  I've watched The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, and the original Magnum P.I..  I'll have to remember that channel, and see what other shows I can catch. 

Speaking of, what's with all the reboots lately?  Can no one come up with an original idea any more?  (That question is rhetorical.  I already know the answer.) 

And of course, as soon as I typed that, I switched to Food Network to watch Halloween Baking Championship and Halloween Wars.  I like watching baking shows when it starts getting close to the holidays.  This is a difficult time for me.  I want to do all this holiday cooking, but there is no one to help me eat it.  Cody says he's going to be here this year, since he's so much closer -- and his stores will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, unlike the hospital...buuuut, he's gotten on a health kick lately.  I'm not complaining.  He's lost about 40 lbs and he looks really, really good.

But, dang it!  I like to bake!  And I sure as heck don't need to be eating it all myself. 

Back to my lazy soon as the sun came up, I took my crate out and put my porch decorations out. 

I think it looks nice, and that --I call it an apple crate, I don't really know why, but that's the word that comes to my mind, will store a whole lot better than the fake hay anyway. 

I spent the rest of the day watching TV and knitting.  I finished my sister in law's hat.

Now that it's done, I'm not sure I like it.  I love the colors, but the fabric seems so stiff -- even knitting it on size 11 needles.  It may loosen up after I wash it, but I'm thinking I may do another one, using just one strand this time.  I've also thought about doing one in helix knitting.  Hats knit up pretty quickly, so I ought to have time to do at least one more. 

In the meantime, I started another charity hat.  Or what might be a charity hat.

It is superwash wool, but it's also single ply.  If it said that on the website description, I sure didn't see it, or I might not have bought it.  It's making a nice, soft hat, but I worry about how well it'll hold up.  On the other hand, hats don't really get washed that much anyway.  Since this is going to be a yearly thing anyway, if it only lasts a year, whoever gets it can come back for another one.

On a bit of a sad note, my spike buck came back to the feeding spot this evening.  He is a very poor deer.  His spikes are short, thin, and different lengths.  One of them is so short, you can barely see it.  I'm not sure if it broke (though I don't know why it would), or grew that way.  Either way, if it were up to me, I would make the call that he needs to be culled from my little herd. 

And if someone were to cull him, I would have no problem eating him.  It's been probably 5 years since I've had a deer in my freezer. 

Hint, hint. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tired Brain

My brain is tired today.

I'm not sure why, but I feel brain dead.  It may be all the fumes I've breathed today.  See, I've been working on my bricks some more.  I got this far,

and this far,

before calling it quits.   As I suspected, the base is going much faster than the back and side did.  It won't be long now.  I'm so close I can taste it, and yet, I feel like I'm never going to get done.  All discouragement aside, just those few bricks left in the front, and the bulk of the stripping will be finished.  I'll have to get the last little bits of paint off, then wash things down really well.  Finally, it'll be done and it'll be time to rock and roll.

I had to run into the store this morning to get some more stripper, and while I was there, I broke down and decided to buy another one of those fake hay bales like I had last year.  Alas, when I went to the fall decoration section to get one, they didn't have any more.  Or, I couldn't find them at least.  Plan B:  I went to the wood craft section and picked up one of those wooden crates.

Before buying it, I tugged really well on the slats, and none of them came loose.  This crate seemed much sturdier than the one I'd almost bought Friday in Batesville.  I brought it home and stained it with the rest of my golden pecan stain I'd bought for my inkle loom.

It turned out really pretty.  Once it's dried really well -- like overnight --I'll put it out on the porch with a fake pumpkin and some fake leaves on it.  I think it'll be really cute. 

While meandering through the aisles, I spotted a roll of orange burlap.  I said to myself, "Self, I bet you could glue that there burlap to that ugly old flower pot and make it look nice and fall-ish."  And that's exactly what I did.

In retrospect, I probably should have glued the burlap before putting the plant into the pot, but things just didn't work out that way.

I think it turned out kind of nice, even if you can see the price tag through the burlap.

Yeah, I probably should have peeled that off, too, but things just didn't....well, you know.  Still, you can't even see it from a few steps away, so it doesn't really matter.

So, between stripper fumes, wood stain fumes, and glue fumes, I'm about high as a kite.  It's probably best if I just went to bed now. 

Good night.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Not So Much Fun

I woke up this morning, feeling pretty good about myself.  I was skipping work, and with it came that wonderful feeling of not having to be somewhere I normally have to be.  But then, later this afternoon, I was texting a coworker.  She messaged me to thank me for turning her on to Netflix.  She'd been sitting in front of the TV all day.  I replied that she may never move from in front of the TV again.  Then I asked if the plant had worked today.  She said no.  Some component areas worked, but most of the plant was off.  That just took the air right out of my sails.

Playing hooky is not so much fun when the school is closed anyway.

What is fun, however, is being almost done stripping these bricks.

I've only got some bits behind the stove to clean up,

and the base to strip, then it'll be all done.   I'm thinking one more good going over with a wire brush, and a good washing, and they'll be ready to prime.

Speaking of washing, after wearing out two, yes two, count 'em two spray bottles,

not to mention my hand, while I was up in Batesville yesterday, I said to myself, "Self, why don't you get one of those bottles you can pump up and spray stuff."  That's exactly what I did.

The routine has been to apply stripper, let it loosen the paint, scrub it with a wire brush, then rinse with plain water.   This pump up bottle has made it so much faster, and easier on my hand, as well.

By the way, I've also worn out two wire brushes. 

I do have a wire brush attachment for my drill, but I can't get as much torque with that one.  I mean, when I really put pressure on the bricks, it seems to strain the motor too much, so if I want to get the paint out of those deep grooves, I have to do it by hand.

In the midst of all that brick scrubbing, I made good progress on my sister in law's hat.

Being as I'm working with two strands, it's knitting up pretty quickly.  I had a little problem when one of my balls of yarn decided to be ornery. 

I've been knitting from both the outside and the inside of each ball, but this one...well, it was being a butt.   I tried and tried to find the center pull end, but the whole thing was just knotting up tighter and tighter.  I decided to wind it into a cake on my ball winder, and it decided it didn't want to unroll from the outside either.  We had a few words, which I will not repeat here, but the yarn eventually saw things my way.

This morning, it was cool enough again that I could open the windows, but by mid afternoon, I had to shut them and turn the air conditioner back on.  Still, it put me in the mood to start putting out my fall decorations.

That's as far as I've gotten, other than getting my new mums into pots.  I haven't decided what I'm going to put on my front porch.  Last year, I had some fake hay, but I didn't keep it.  I don't really have a place to store such things without mice and/or spiders getting into them, so I got rid of it.  This year, I was thinking of getting something like an apple crate to set my fake pumpkin on.  I almost bought one at Wal-Mart, but as soon as I picked it up, it started falling apart.  I put it back, because I'm not going to pay all that money for something crappy. 

I don't know.  I'll figure out something. 

And lastly, I finally got a halfway decent picture of one of the twins before Rylea scared it off.

My little spike buck showed up, too.  I'm glad of that.  I don't see him very often. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018


If you were to drive by my house, and look at my front lawn, you'd think it was a nice, lush, grassy plot.  Alas, it is not.  It is mostly weeds.  Every spring and fall since I've moved in, I've attempted to combat the weed growth, usually with Scott's Turf Builder: Weed & Feed.  For some reason, our local Wal-mart has not carried it this year.  I've been watching, hoping they'd get some in, but no.

I thought about ordering some online, but decided to check Lowe's first.  Off to Batesville I went.

Now, let me step out of my story a moment to tell you, according to the forecast, the highs today were supposed to get up into the upper 70s.  I dressed accordingly.  It never made it out of the 60s.  I was able to keep the French doors open all day -- well, after I got home, that is --to let the dogs come and go as they pleased, and to exchange the air, as my friend Marcy would say, but ended up having to put on flannel lounge pants because it got so chilly in the house.

OK, back to my story.  Off to Batesville I went, sure that Lowe's would have the desired fertilizer/weed killer combination.   When I got there, I said to myself, "Self, why don't you just whiz into this Wal-mart up here and see what they have?"  And that's exactly what I did.

I whizzed into the Wal-mart and made a beeline to the garden center, where wonder of wonders, they had a bag of the desired Weed & Feed  -- and it was on clearance! 

They actually had two, but one had gotten wet, so I put it back.  I bought a bag once that had gotten wet, and it just clogged up my spreader.  It never did try out, and I ended up having to hand cast it.  That did not work out too well. 

The other bag is just plain old weed killer, but it was on clearance, too, so I bought it.  And I bought a plastic box to store them in, since my shop is not weather tight. 

Whilst whizzing through the store, I spotted this cute little soap dispenser, and just couldn't resist. 

They also had cats, skulls, and one single ghost.  But I liked the pumpkin the best.

After a quick trip to Lowe's, which I will tell you about later, I came on home and finished the strap I'm weaving on my Inkle loom. 

I wanted to get it finished so I could stain my loom, which I also did. 

I'd thought about using some leftover stain that I had around the house, but chose to go with a lighter color instead.  This is golden pecan, and I think we have a winner.  I was going to say the bad news is, I can't warp it again until tomorrow, but the really bad news is, I'm having trouble finding size 5/2 cotton thread.  I've found it in cones, but not balls. 

The good news is, I think I've found a use for all my leftover cross stitch floss. 

And finally, I leave you with this loverly shot of my spider lilies blooming.

And yes, replacing that fence is on the list.  Along with a whole bunch of other stuff I can't yet afford. 

But will get to eventually.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Last Day

It's my last day of work today.

No, I'm not quitting. I wish I were, but no. Not yet. I am working on my resume, though, so soon.

What I mean is, through the judicious scheduling of my vacation days, I don't have to go back to work until October.  Of course, if I wanted to go in and work Friday and Saturday, I can, but right now, that's looking like a no from me.

 I know I need the money, but right now, I need the sanity more.

Actually, today wasn't even a full day. I had half a day of vacation so I left at lunch.

First thing I did was to go by the dentist, where I got my impressions done. Remember the tooth I broke a few weeks ago? Yeah, we need to get that one added to my partial.  That only took about 10 minutes, and I had the rest of the day to myself.

I went by the store, where I bought Fall flowers and candy I can already tell won't make it until Halloween.

 I may drag out the rest of my Fall decorations and get started putting them up, too, since it's officially Fall, now.

The rest of the day was spent watching TV and knitting.  I frogged the scarf I'd started at FFITS, and cast on a K2P2 rib scarf -- all done in continental knitting.

Oh, and I should probably show you the hat I finished Sunday.  I'd gotten this much knit while hanging with  the gang last weekend.

I finished it after I got home, but my after action reports got so long, there just wasn't a place to include it, so here it is.

The color in the top photo is true. I don't know what happened to the bottom picture.

Lastly, I've got spider lilies coming up everywhere.

Times like this, I really miss my DSLR.


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