Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No sleep....

Mr. H is out of town again, which I have become accustomed to, even in this new house. I have a security system and two of the most paranoid dogs ever.

We have a large glassed-in sunroom in which about half of what would normally be a roof is also windows. In the last few weeks, Cyrus has become more and more disturbed by the black dog in the those upper windows that appear to taunt him. If we can't kill the lights, he will bark at that mysterious dog for an hour. Usually we can pet him, and he will come to the realization that it is not an intruder.

When Mr. H is away, the boys become particularly protective. I swear they can sense his absense. So I have also become accustomed to the increase in barking due to their viligence. Between the phantom dog, the deer that roam the backyard and who knows what other wildlife back there, we have many things to be protected from.

Around 1 am last night, Cyrus starts going nuts. I let him express his displeasure for about 15 minutes before I started to get annoyed. I walk out into the sunroom where he has his head tilted up to the sunroof again and scold him for barking at his reflection. Back to bed. Cyrus starts up with the barking again. I tried to ignore him again, but then Cisco joins in the fray. Cisco has this high pitched annoying bark that could shatter glass. Strange, coming from a 60+ pound dog. Again, I walk out to the living room, try to calm them, and go back to bed.

About five minutes later, guess what happens? Now, I'm getting pissed. It's after 2 am, I'm tired, I'm starting to get a little freaked out by the insistent barking. It's really dark, it's raining, Miss Thing is still asleep (I don't know how). I don't want to let them out.

So I stomp out into the sunroom again and almost poop myself when I see the large furry thing moving around my sunroom roof. It's a racoon. A small one, too. Only about two feet from nose to tail. Clearly, the dogs are quite upset by this intrusion. I have never heard the caliber of this bark.

This racoon is not bothered that I am standing about a foot away from it. I turn the light off and on. I wave my hands and jump. The noise thing hasn't bothered it so far. I throw a book at it (at the window, really). This thing does not move. Well, I take it back, it wanders around the roof so it can get a better view.

Because it was not afraid of me or the dogs, I couldn't decide if it was just young and naive or had distemper. Because of the latter, I didn't want to let the dogs out to chase it.

It eventually crawled beyond my sight up the roof. I hope it left. I have fears that there is a racoon den close by.

I went to bed close to 3 am last night. Miss Thing did not awaken during this mess. Mr. H called me bright and early at 7:30 this morning so I will be looking for a nap today at some point...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What is in the water here?

I have been known to mock our new town in the eight months we have lived here. Not that C-Bus was all that metropolitan, but in comparison to our new town, it was like New York City. The traffic was terrible. The restaurants were plentiful and good. Sprawl had taken over and we had to drive everywhere.

T-town seems to be a dying city right now. Heavily based in industry, many jobs have been lost over the past few years. The local government seems to have some issues. I think a lot of people are just burned on the turn the economy has taken. It's a bad situation. For example, Mr. H and I were at a local bar, and a couple asked us if it would be okay if we scooched down a bit so that they could pull up a second chair. Of course we would. But, the couple actually bought us a round of beers because, as he put it, "most people in this town just would have said no." Fistfights are a lot more plentiful here as well.

That is, until you step into our neighborhood. Here in the bubble, life is completely different. A primary example is our garbage service. You are not allowed to put your garbage cans out for pickup. Oh no, they come up to your driveway to pick them up. And you can even leave a key for them to enter into your garage for you if you do want to bother to put it out.

This morning, after waking up and remembering that today is trash day, Mr. H scrambled to get it out as our sanitation engineer was coming up the driveway. They stopped and chatted for a while. The guy kind of laughed and said that if we hadn't gotten it out in time, he probably would have swung by later just to check to see if we had forgotten (huh? seriously?). Oh, and what a great day he was having. He got to ride his bike to work today and it was a beautiful day. He and Mr. H probably talked for a good 5 to 10 minutes out there.

I'm not sure how much prozac is being peed out in this village, but it is seriously affecting some people...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In a pickle...

Since I started canning last summer, I have become very interested in pickles. We are big pickle eaters around here. I'm a dill pickle girl myself, with no real taste for sweet or sweet and sour pickles.

I decided that the smell of fermenting cucumbers or cabbage might not be the most appealing when one is trying to sell one's house, so I've been toying around with the idea of brining some pickles and/or cabbage since we moved into this new house. Last autumn, I bought some cabbage from the farmers market with the full intention of making saurcraut, but didn't get to it fast enough.

I saw some pickling cucumbers at the market these past two weeks. Last week I pickled some cucumbers in a vinegar solution. "TOO SOUR" exclaimed Miss Thing making that scrunched up face that animated characters do when they eat lye or a lemon. I knew a brining was in order.

Last Sunday I followed Alton's recipe for cured pickles. I can tell you that those cucumbers just looked beautiful.

I checked on those pickles this morning, with the full intention of seeing those little bubbles that indicate successful fermentation is taking place. Nothing.
The water that was once clear is now a little murky, but not cloudy as I expected it to be. Now, it's only been three days. And maybe I'm not sure what I'm looking for. It's also been rather cold in my house (damn this never ending winter), so we'll give a few more days before I decide this is a failed experiment.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I think I'm in love with coffee cozies...

I do have several larger knitting projects going on. A wrap for myself on chilly nights on the lake. A scarf as a promised gift for a friend. A blanket for Miss Thing.

And yet I can't drag myself away from coffee cozies. I love having them. I hate using the paper wrappers on coffee shop paper cups - it's such a waste. I love knitting them too. They are a quick knit, and I can practice doing new techniques (like this more complex cable design). Plus, unlike some of the other stuff I am working on, I can see the progress of my work, and complete something.

I'm probably going to have to change to beer cozies with the summer months coming soon.
Special Instructions: C7B - Cable 7 Back. Slip next 4 sts onto cable needle and hold at back of work, knit next 3 sts on left-hand needle, slip from cable needle onto left-hand needle and purl it, then k3 from cable needle.

1 row (RS) K6 [p1, k3] 5 times, K3
2 row (and all even rows): K3, P3 [K1, p3] 5 times, K3
(Rows 3-6: Repeat rows 1 & 2)
7 row: K3, [k3, p1] twice, C7B, [p1, k3] twice, K3
9th row: (row 1)
11th row: K6, p1, [C7F, p1] twice, K6
13th row: (row 1)
15th row: K3, ([C7B, p1] twice, C7B, K3
17th row: (row 1)
19th row: as 11th row
21st row: (row 1)
23rd row: 7th row
25th - 28th row: Repeat rows 1 & 2

Mattress stitch the two sides together.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring days.

The Marvelous Miss Thing and I rode our tandem bike to and from school today. It was a beautiful day. It's only a mile to school.

I have been pondering the reality of my situation, the tenure track process (and prospects of such), and my previous experiences over the past twelve years or so.

I realized that a year ago, I would not have ridden my bike with my daughter to school because it would have taken an extra 20 minutes total. I couldn't waste that kind of precious time when I could use it for prepping for a class, working on my dissertation or reading some article. Even twenty minutes was a precious commodity.

I was writing up a post about my pursuit of a tenure track position, but I think I'm going to let it simmer for a while. It's not that I don't want one. Or, that I didn't want one. But these past three months "off work" have made our family so much more balanced and happy. Mr. H and I don't fight about work and whose career is more important. We're not trying to schedule personal and couple time in conjunction with work time. No one is worrying about Miss Thing getting her homework done.

I still enjoy working. I've got my little gig on the side, and Mr. H and I are seriously discussing starting a small business in conjunction with my candies. We think it has legs. I've gotten some really positive feedback recently.

However, in reflection, I would hate to be too busy to ride my bike with my daughter to school on a beautiful day again.

The First Day of Flip-Flops

Yesterday, April 6th, was the First Day of Flip-Flops, 2008.

A sure sign of spring.

Goodbye socks!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I dreamt of sheep in my backyard last night.

I can't decide if this speaks to knitting or the desire to live more sustainably.

Maybe I'm looking too deeply into it.