General · Pets

The Great Wool Migration

nb:  It’s difficult sometimes to know what to talk about here and what to talk about on the Chronicles of Bebbanburg, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the chronicles should talk about the house renovations and other stuff, except for weaving, goes here.   That way folks who have no interest in fiber arts won’t be bored to tears.

IMG_0995

It’s raining cats and dogs today,  after gloriously dramatic thunderstorms during the night.  We slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning.

Brian, ever the responsible homeowner, went out in the pouring rain to check and clean gutters, taking Beowulf with him.  Beo had a great time, but got a bit wet.  Here he is after he was toweled off!

IMG_0986

But last night he was tired from all the excitement of exploring his new home, and Katie let him use her as his pillow.

IMG_0980

Meanwhile, Stonewall has settled in and seems very happy with the new digs. Before we left Seattle, we had taken all the pets to the vet. She was concerned that Stonewall was too thin. But here in NC, he is eating more, drinking more and being nicer to everyone. So even though I was in the middle of winding a skein of yarn on a nostepinne (my ball winders have not yet made their ways here), I was happy to let him settle in my lap and take a nap.

IMG_0981

Loki, who needs to lose weight, settled in to a cat bed with the end of a curtain and sleeps to the lullaby of the falling rain.

IMG_0991

Meanwhile, I put on my tennis shoes and had an aerobic workout. I’m glad we sold the Stairmaster– who needs it when you have two long staircases to go up and down?

When we were here in March, we took delivery of the first pod that we had packed. We had used lots of bags of fiber as filler around items. We had friends visiting us, who helped to unload the pod, and so rather than figuring out where it all went, we put it all into the master bedroom walk-in closet. I then put in a couple of moth repellant capsules, shut the door and wedged towels underneath it to block the odor and prevent moths from having a party. But now I need to put them in their proper places.

These photos were taken after I had already removed quite a few bags.

IMG_0988

IMG_0992

My workout consisted of taking these bags and boxes (not all of them– I probably have another 3 workouts in that closet!) up or down stairs. Upstairs in one guest bedroom I’m putting spinning fibers, and in the other guest room, knitting and needlepoint yarns. Downstairs goes sewing, quilting and weaving yarns and fabrics.

I kept track of my heart rate on my new Apple Watch (got it for Mothers Day) and kept my heart rate up for about an hour, with a couple of rest breaks. Beo insisted on running up and down with me, so I had to stop, right? I didn’t want to give him a heart attack!

There is still much to reposition, but as we unload our second pod, it becomes necessary to have the master closet back for such fripperies as “clothes” and “shoes”.

General

The rest of the story…

I’m having such a great day today that I hesitate to write this post, but it would be unfair to you, dear readers, to leave you hanging after you were so generous in your responses to the polls in the last post.

The bottom line is, you and I are in total agreement.  While I certainly understand that life often tosses us wild pitches and business can’t be conducted “as usual”, there are different approaches to recovering from those out-of-control missiles.  Just recently, for example, I placed an order with an on-line site.  After a few days I received a very sweet email explaining that the proprietor had critical family health concerns, apologizing profusely and giving me a time frame within which they could answer my questions and send my order.  I was and am fine with that.  I’ve also, in the past, received emails from businesses admitting that they just plain messed up, apologizing, and making things right. 

But at other times I have to wonder what a business is thinking.  And such is the case when I ordered Addi Turbo straight knitting needles from the Pioneer Heritage Shoppe in Devil’s Lake, ND.   I placed an order on Sunday,  February 27, requesting 3-day shipping because I wanted the order by Saturday, March 5 and felt that a buffer of two days would be sufficient (allowing that the items would not be shipped until Monday, the next business day).  I received a pro forma acknowledgement of the order via email and thought nothing of it.

By Wednesday I had received nothing, nor had my debit card been charged for the purchase, so I emailed the shop. The owner (who signs herself the “CEO”, which I thought odd) blamed it partially on her own shopping cart’s confusing behavior, and then said “Since your order shipped out 3 days after it was received, the same week, this is only a slight delay”. Maybe I’m missing something, but 3 days later than a request for 3 day shipping is more than a “slight delay”.  The shop’s  website  states on its home page this little bit:

WHY SHOP WITH US?

  • Original & High Quality Handmade Gifts * Original, Quality Products *
  • Attention To Detail * Customized Orders * Personal, Quick, Dependable Service *
  • Excellent Product Guarantee * Commitment To Our Customer’s Satisfaction *

Not only did the CEO appear defensive and uncommitted to customer’s satisfaction, but when she did ship the Addi Turbo straight needles she shipped them Ground, not even 3-day!!  Her explanation was:  “shipping from our store to your location is only a 4 day journey ground service and because of your location the rate for express service was well over what you originally received your rate quote for”.   Indeed, she shipped it 3/3 and it will arrive 3/9, which I count as 5 business days.   I would have preferred that she had contacted me and asked if I wanted to pay the higher rate, rather than making that decision for me.   (She has said that she did include a “free pattern booklet”.  I acknowledge this as a small token of apology, but patterns are highly subject to individual taste and who knows if it is even something I want or don’t already have?) When I suggested that, in her shoes,  I would have overnighted it at my own expense, she said “we do not upgrade shipping at our expense.” I pointed out that her approach differed greatly from mine when I ran a former online business, that even if making amends for oversights or website behavior dipped into her profit it would pay dividends in future orders and referrals, acknowledged that we obviously had different approaches,  thanked her for her correspondence, and left it at that.

So, I get my 3-day expedited order in 10 days (assuming it arrives on UPS’s schedule).  Buyers be warned.

If you are looking for Addi Turbo Straight needles, 14″,  my advice is to look somewhere other than the Pioneer Heritage Shoppe.  You can find locations through the Skacel site, or if you order from stores in Washington State they are likely to be able to get you some quickly because Skacel is fairly local.  I should have done this myself.  Hindsight, 20/20, etc.  I could literally have called my LYS, asked them to place an order with Skacel, and then driven down to Kent to pick them up from the distributor, all in less than a day.  So much for online convenience!

General · Knitting · Nihon Vogue

Raglan and Rant

Here you see a photo of my nigh-onto-finished Nihon Vogue Raglan. 

 The 5 sleeves are done (two of them remain).  The bindoffs on bottom, cuffs and neck are done (I love the bindoff, it’s beautiful and stretchy; well worth the time it takes). 

The only thing left is to learn the secret of how to finish the very last bindoff stitch on each of the bindoffs (that is why markers remain), and then to weave in all ends.  This very secret shall be revealed on Saturday, March 12, 2011– a historic day in the life of a new Nihonette.  Am I happy?  I am giddy.  I am so glad I took the time to make things right.

The raglan we designed in class is a very simple one, with a minimum of calculations and maximum of assumptions.  This is just a beginning place.  I can see how decreasing at a slower rate along the sleeve side of the raglan line would lead to a better-fitting sleeve.  And I can see how using short rows to shape the bust might help the overall fit.  But what I have here is a reference point.  I can now modify the pattern, and with each modification accept or reject the effect.  Eventually I’ll get the perfect raglan pattern for me, which will be different than the perfect raglan pattern for any other person.

And now for my rant.  I haven’t ranted for a while; I thought I had sworn it off.  But every once in a while I need to vent just a bit.  I thought about ranting about the ubiquitous misspelling of the word “definitely”, but decided it wouldn’t help much.  (It is definitely not spelled “definately”).  But yesterday provided a frustrating experience that I thought was possibly rantworthy.

First, let me take a couple of polls, may I?  Think of it as the pre-rant ramp-up.  I will return with more details after the polls are closed, or next post, whichever comes first. (edited to add:  choose as many answers as you like as long as they don’t disagree with each other)

General · Uncategorized

A Divorce of a Different Color

 I have finally had enough.  He demands so much of my time, lures me into spending money for things I don’t need, stirs up discontent with my friends, and when I ask a simple question, gives me so many differing answers (that often include pornography) that I am more confused than when I started.

Before you get the wrong idea, my darling Brian and I are fine, wedded and happy.  No, I speak of another long-term relationship, one that began more than 15 years ago.

I’m talking about divorcing that great seducer,  The Internet. 

I knew he was seeing other people, I knew he was cheating on me and telling other people things about me he had no business sharing.  But I was so in love with him!  Our passion knew no bounds; we would leap into each other’s arms at every opportunity and spend hours together exploring new sites.  I thought he had so much to offer, but everything came with a price.

Finally, the showdown happened.  I tried to opt out of several email lists, and he kept hurling their pesky messages back at me.  I shouted at him, but he pretended not to hear.  He made me look at things that told me details of friends’, relatives’ and acquaintances’ personal lives that I didn’t even want to know.  I had had enough, and slowly, quietly and deliberately turned. him. off.

Now, there are slight custody issues that have to be dealt with.  We’ve worked out an agreement that I will have visitation rights weekly for two hours.  During visitation, I can write a blog post,  find recipes and check on Ravelry and place online orders for things I actually need.  During the week I can check email via my Droid, but apart from that, I will finally be free to concentrate on interests that do not depend on this bully.

The freedom is intoxicating.  I turn off my computer at home for days at a time.  I no longer wander into the office every half hour to see what’s new with Him.  I work logic puzzles by hand on real paper with a real pencil.  I cook real meals.  I might even be able to concentrate on finishing real projects.

How is He taking it?  He’s furious.  I open my email and find all the insults he slings my way, all the taunts about holiday sales and free shipping and how I need to upgrade this or that software.  I’m ignoring him.  I don’t think he’ll go away, but I’m through lavishing attention on him.  If he dies tomorrow, I won’t mourn him.

General

What is this thing?

 I got home from work, fed the zoo, caught up on email and snail mail.  All the usual things.  Then I played “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” at least 213 times on the guitar, because I don’t want to let my guitar teacher down next week, and Loki chased the ticker on the metronome because it drives him crazy.

Normally right about now is when I would pick up the knitting needles.  But my inner Self has just said a strange thing to me:  “I don’t want to knit.”  Say what? 

But the truth is, I’ve knit all summer– long, furiously, fast, on several projects.  I’ve knit miles of swatches.  I’m tired of knitting.  And the irony is?  My Nihon Vogue class starts tomorrow. 

Truthfully, I am sure that by tomorrow I will be re-psyched to knit.  I’m not really worried about that.  But I looked around me and thought– huh.  If I’m not going to knit, what in the world am I going to do?    I poked around on Ravelry, read some other people’s blogs.  And decided maybe I should actually write a blog entry, even if I didn’t want to show knitting pictures.

It’s not that the only thing I ever do is knit.  As a matter of fact, I read an entire book in the last three days, on the Kindle app on my newish Droid X.   I read The Help, and I enjoyed every single word of it.

But now, the book is finished.  I’m too fidgety to watch anything on tv or dvd; I don’t feel like cooking; it’s too early to have a glass of wine.  It’s too rainy to go for a walk, and I don’t want to go shopping.

Sigh. 

Is this called relaxing?

General

Pavlov

On a summer Saturday a couple of years ago I had left the house to run an errand.  When I returned, I opened the front door and a golden labrador retriever shot out past me and into the street.  As we did not and do not own a golden labrador, I was momentarily stunned.  Then I remembered that Brian had planned to meet up with his/our friend Greg, and Greg did indeed own a golden labrador named Pavlov.

I quickly called to Pavlov, urging her to come in and off the street.  To my intense relief, she obediently came back into the house, and I strode to the back door to let her and the other dogs out for a break.  Almost immediately I heard a loud splash as she, with no pause in her stride, plunged straight into the koi pond with a total disregard for the net over it.  Eventually I got her out, toweled her off, and led her back into the house, thanking my lucky stars that neither she nor the koi had suffered any ill effect from the experience.  Right about then, Greg and Brian returned, and we had a lovely visit.

Brian and Greg had worked together for some time in previous years, and I did not know Greg that well.  But after the episode with Pavlov in the Koi Pond, visits with Greg held a hint of history and humor; I felt a little more connected with him, not the incidental wife that now came attached to his friend.

Our friend Greg passed away on Memorial Day, a victim, finally, of the leukemia he had been fighting since his second year in medical school.  We will miss him.  He was truly a good man, and deserved a sweet (if precocious) dog like Pavlov, who will surely miss her master, as will his many, many friends.

General · Knitting

I’m Not The Woman You Think I Am

On Christmas Eve, I was quite surprised and intrigued to receive an email, addressed to an old email account that I forwarded years ago to my current one. It took me a minute to realize it was sent to the wrong person. Here is an excerpt, with names changed to protect the incident:

Good Evening My Sweetheart —
 
A very Merry Christmas to you, your family, your pets…
[Chatty stuff about family gatherings etc)…
 
Christmas and New Year’s is a time to look back on the year and  be thankful for small mercies. I am most thankful you and I have met, fallen in love, and grown as a couple. Wow! What a great year in spite of the ugly divorce drama with Hortense. You don’t know how happy you make me and how happy I am we are together.
 
Sleep well with visions of sugarplums dancing …
 
Love you madly — but you already knew that!
 
Will call tomorrow …
 
XXOO,
 
Woodrow

 

Well!  What should I do?  I decided I needed to write Woodrow back and let him know that he sent this email to the wrong person.  After all, who knows what the intended recipient might think if she did not, after all, receive the email?  And who knows how poor Woodrow might feel if he went unanswered by his beloved?

I finally settled on this reply,  reminding myself not to be too mischievous:

Ah, what a most romantic and endearing note you have sent on Christmas Eve, full of chatty good cheer and words a woman loves to hear.
 
Only, I am not the woman you think I am.
 
Seriously, you have the wrong email address.  My husband and I pondered at how I might have engaged in such a poetically perfect romance while he and I were extremely happy together.
 
I wanted to let you know right away, because you should probably find the right email address and send the note to your beloved so that she does not get upset thinking you did not communicate.  It is the stuff of novels, how these misunderstandings can occur and life suddenly begins to swirl downward as you, clueless as to the cause, gaze helplessly from afar and curse fate.  Only to find, years later, it was a simple misspelling of an email address that cracked perfection.
 
Best of luck to you and Merry Christmas to you both!

The next day I got a very nice reply from Woodrow.  He expressed profuse gratitude for letting him know and said how glad he was that he and Ethel could share some of their happiness with us.  He ended by wishing happy holidays upon us both.  A perfect ending. 

I realized later that Woodrow is a very successful business owner.  Very Successful.  I was impressed that he would take the time to write to a nothing like me.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons he is Very Successful.

Amidst all the holiday distraction, I’ve been unable to start Icy River’s second sleeve.  I must wait until the swirls of activity settle into more predictable, calm and quiet evenings.  Until then I’ve been knitting off and on, on the Kathmandu sweater.  I’ve finished the back, the front, and one sleeve.