Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Hate Days Like This

I got off to a questionable start this morning, driving to work on autopilot! After stopping for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, my DS asked me why I was turning into the driveway at the Wawa minimart. I did it just out of habit. My mind was racing with other thoughts today and I hate it when I realize that I’m driving like a robot. I thank God that I dropped my son off at the station and got to work safely.

My thoughts are on Brutus this morning. When he’s gone, I will miss his barking, his bad breath and his “ear-cleaning service”. If you want to make this dog happy, you just let him lick your ears! He’s a sweet thing and I hope he’s not in pain right now. He has been disinterested in his dry dog food for the last couple of days, so I bought a few of those little Beneful meals and gave him some of that. I had to divvy it up with the other two rapscallions to prevent hard feelings though. Brutus is still getting his antibiotic, but I don’t notice any difference in the swelling in his foot. He certainly doesn’t even attempt to use that paw. I want to cry when I see him out back trying to relieve himself. He tries to lift his leg, but can’t balance on two legs, so he gives up and squats to pee. It’s so sad. We have another week’s worth of medication to give him. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that there will be some improvement in his foot.

To turn the monologue to crochet matters, I received a request this morning from my sister. Her church holds a craft bazaar to raise funds, and the last bazaar netted the church about $5000. She wants to try to beat that figure at the next fund-raiser and asked all of the brothers and sisters in the family to help out with donations of handmade craft items. Two of my sisters can sew, and she asked me to make some dishcloths or other crocheted kitchen items. Of course, I said yes! I love to crochet and especially love to crochet for such a purpose! She asked for a dozen dishcloths. I will start tonight and see if I can make even more than that. My sister, God bless her heart, takes part in a Wednesday night craft night with several other ladies in the congregation. They work all year long on craft items for the bazaar. I’m so proud of my sister and her friends, and feel honored that she asked me to participate. I'll be searching my stash for some cotton yarn this evening.

I am finished with the green baby blanket – you know, the one that started out as a vest, and then might have been a sweater – my “angry-crocheting” project. I called it that because it was born from a frustrating phone call with an even-more frustrating colleague. I picked up the hook and yarn and just started mindless crocheting in hdc to calm myself. I had about 5 rows finished when I decided that it didn’t look so bad and might make a pretty vest. Then I said “Well, maybe some sleeves and it could be a sweater”. I changed the stitch pattern, crocheting one while frogging the other. In the long run, the NICU won out, and it’s become a blanket for a wee one. With a soft yellow border all the way around it, the blanket reminds me of corn on the cob and warm summer afternoons. I really like the way it turned out. It hasn't been washed yet, which is the reason the roly poly min pin is in the picture. Once it's washed, it goes right into storage until it's time to ship to the NICU.

Well, Thursday is done, and we've got one more work day to survive. Cheers!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer-like Sunday and Some WIPs Crossed Off The List

Another nice day - I got a lot of crocheting done today. I made two 10" squares for someone on Crochetville. She's making two comfortghans.

It's my first time sending squares, so I hope they are okay. The blue and white one was easy to make, but I had to add extra rows, as the pattern was designed to make an 8 inch square. The yellow and black square is based on another pattern, which I can't locate right now, but I improvised and worked it differently throughout. I'm thinking there shouldn't be any copyright issues. I'm not posting my version of the square, and it's for charity, not for sale.

Both squares need to be blocked - the black and yellow one especially. It's made with front post double crochets, so it seems to be wavy. I've never blocked a square before, so I need to rustle up some straight pins to pin it to shape.
I also finished (well, almost) the doll blanket my neice's daughter asked for. It is black, just like she requested, and I crocheted a red heart to attach to it. I still have to weave in the ends and sew on the heart, so I'll work on that tomorrow at lunch time.

I made shepherd's pie for dinner tonight. It was hot in the house with the oven going. I turned the AC on for a while. I've been making sure that the temperature is set for 78. I've found that to be comfortable and hope that I can keep the setting that high this summer. Anything to keep the electric bill down! Between that and the grocery store lately, the money doesn't seem to go as far as it used to.

I'll pick up where I left off with the green blanket. I'd sure like to finish that so I can get back to the sweetheart ripple afghan. I've been juggling too many WIPs lately.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Glorious Saturday

The weather is beautiful today! It's bright, sunny and warm - very warm. It's supposed to hit the high 80s today and tomorrow. I have all of my doors and windows open, not wanting to turn the air conditioner on yet. It's only April! It's not too warm in here yet so I think we'll stick it out.

I want to make a trip to the grocery store this weekend, and maybe pick up some vegetable plants to put in the garden this spring. DH Wayne has already prepared a little garden plot on top of the hill. I'm thinking I should invest in some low fencing to keep the rabbits out of it. We have more rabbits here in our neighborhood than you would expect. They're cute as a button but they can decimate a garden in no time.

I've been occupying my mind with plans for a garden this summer. I want to put in tomatoes, cabbage, swiss chard, onions, cauliflower or broccoli, and potatoes. I don't know where to buy seed potatoes, though. They say you can start them from grocery store potatoes that have sprouted eyes, but the best results will come from seed potatoes. I'll have to check the internet. My brother gave me one of those upside-down planters for tomatoes. I need to buy a shepherd's hook to hang it on. It will hold two tomato plants, and there are 3 openings on the upper side of it that will hold other plants - flowers or herbs. I have already purchased parsley and chives to plant in it. When the ads come out in the paper tomorrow, I'll check to see who might be running sales on vegetable plants. Home Depot or Lowes might have some on sale, as well as K-Mart.

I contacted Billie, the IMPS representative from whom we adopted Brutus for my father. She was his foster mother for a while. I told her about Brutus' illness and gave her the new vet's info, in case they want to check to make sure he is receiving proper treatment. I love this dog, not just for myself but for the love he gave my dad while my dad had him. The dog never left my dad's side, much as the younger min pin follows me everywhere I go. My dad loved this dog in return, and asked me, while he was hospitalized, to give the dog a good home. He knew he wouldn't be coming out. I really think that Brutus misses my dad terribly. He hasn't attached himself to me in the same way he did to my dad, although Brutus does seem close to my husband. Brutus will climb up on the couch beside me and rest his head on my leg, and stay that way for the longest time. I do hope and pray that this is an infection and that his medication will make him better.

I'm working on the doll blanket that my grand-niece requested. She wants a black blanket with a red heart on it - don't ask me why, but she was specific - black and red. I had some nice soft black yarn in my stash - no label on it though, so I don't know what kind it was. One skein should be sufficient for a doll blanket. I'm pretty sure I have red yarn on hand too. I hope to finish the blanket this evening, and will post a photo when it's done.

I'm making progress on the celery green blanket too. I did find a nice light yellow yarn, also in my stash, for a border.

New photo of my little grandson Justin:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Second Opinion is a Sad One

We took Brutus to another vet today. Our previous vet recommended amputating his toe. An x-ray revealed bone loss in one of the toes on his sore foot. The vet was unsure whether or not it was a bone infection or cancer, but said that amputation was the easiest way to deal with it. My "old man" Brutus will be 12 in July, and I was not eager to put him through surgery at his age.

The new vet took a look at him today. Brutus' toe has really gotten much bigger and during the intial exam today, the new vet discovered an enlarged lymph node higher up on his leg. He is going to treat with a two-week course of a very strong antibiotic in the off-chance that this is an infection in the bone. However, this vet feels very sure that this is cancer, and that it's not confined to the toe and has already spread. This is very sad news, but at least I know now that amputation is not an option and we'll choose to treat him with painkillers once his antibiotic course is finished. Who knows, he may respond to the antibiotic, proving this to be just an infection.

If it isn't, I will be sad to lose Brutus. He is a sweet and gentle soul. But we want to make his remaining time as comfortable as possible for him. For now, he seems to be in pretty good shape and enjoying life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crocheting One Project While Frogging Another

Below is a photo of my current project - I'm undoing the "angry crochet" piece and changing the stitch. As I work on one, I'm unraveling the old and crocheting the new. I do like the new pattern much better, and I've decided on a baby blanket as the final form. I plan to put a yellow border on it - a nice soft yellow might be pretty.

I found a pretty shrug pattern on Crochetville - I definitely have to get back to Joann's or AC Moore for some of that Vanna yarn. I think this would look really nice in some of the great colors I saw in the store.

Not much else new tonight. There are heavy winds and some rain heading this way tonight.

Only two more work days this week - I'm off from work Friday, to get new "spectacles" made. I think my eyes have changed in the last two years. After crocheting a while, everything else looks blurry for a bit afterwards.

Back to NCIS...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Very Nice Weekend

It's been a great weekend so far. Yesterday morning, I woke early and took some of my accumulated "treasures" outside and set up a yard sale. My brother Mike joined me with a few of his things. Sales were slow, but I did make a little money by selling 2 bikes we had here. Several years ago, after my weight loss surgery, I decided to try bike-riding to help keep in shape. I remember telling my husband that I was buying a cheap bike, just in case "it ends up at a yard sale". Bike riding was never my thing. Well, my bike and my son's bike went to a gentleman who was fixing up bikes for a youth group. I'm glad it went to a good cause. The remainder of my unsold goods will be donated to a thrift store.

Yesterday was the Harry Kalas memorial service at the ball park in Philadelphia. I arrived home from running errands in time to view the service on TV, and it was so touching that I was moved to tears. Okay - I cried like a baby when past and present team members, team management, and special friends of Harry all lined up at the end of the service, and from man to man, they passed Harry's casket along the line to escort him from the stadium. As they played "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", every man he touched was there to see him off, and then the last 8 men in line carried his casket to the waiting hearse.

Even my husband said how much he was affected by the death of Harry Kalas. The man was a class act, and a genuinely nice person. Everyone who eulogized him was really missing him - you could see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. My own personal experience was hearing his voice at each and every Phillies game I watched. He used to work several TV innings and then do radio broadcasts. Most of my Phillies experience was TV-related, so I looked forward to the innings when Harry and his partner Richie Ashburn did the TV commentary. What a team they were! Very down-to-earth and easy to listen to. My sons, when they were infants, didn't sleep at night. The boys and I would sit up at 2-3 am and watch Phillies game replays on TV. I will always remember those nights with my boys. I felt so close to them as I rocked my babies and watched the ball game.

My husband is diving at Dutch Springs this morning. He had a friend pick him up early, and off they went for the day. I hope he has a fun and safe day today.

My "angry crocheting" sweater (see earlier post "Brutus and the Rainy Day") is undergoing changes. I decided to do a different stitch than the half-double crochet I had started. I'm now doing an alternate sc/dc for a more attractive look, so I'm frogging the old as I crochet the new. It's going to take more yarn to finish now than I had originally planned, so it may become a vest or it may even become a baby blanket. It depends on how I feel about it as it gets larger. I'm just worried about making myself a vest and then not liking the way it looks. I don't want to waste the time and effort to make something I won't like. A baby blanket would never be wasted, since it would go to the NICU unit.

I think I'll visit Crochetville this morning. As I was doing some digging for yard sale items, I came across a couple of things that I may be able to RAOK (Random Act of Kindness) to someone. I won't use these items, and I might as well pass them on to someone else who can use them. I love the idea of the RAOK, and the concept of "Pay It Forward". Sometimes I just like to buy an extra cup of coffee at Wawa or Dunkin Donuts in the morning, and offer it to someone when I arrive at work. It's just a fun thing to do.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things I'm Thankful For Today

Big things I'm thankful for:

That it's a beautiful day and I'm here to enjoy it!
That my son's dear GF is out of the hospital today
That I have a wonderful little grandson in my life
That my younger son will be graduating from college in May
That I have a dear husband whom I love
That I have friends and family to support me

Little things I'm thankful for:

That I don't have to work on weekends
Crochet hooks and yarn!
That there are giraffes in the world
Deviled eggs
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Black Cherry soda
Wawa coffee
the internet
my dogs and cats
music and art

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arrivals at the Station - in Abstract

Another rainy day - with sleet! I couldn't believe my eyes! I think that at this point, cold weather should be gone, and I definitely should not be sitting in my car, waiting for Tom's train to arrive, watching sleet bounce off the windshield and hood. Ugh! Give me a nice gentle rain on a warm spring day, or even thunderstorms that darken the skies and then flash with lightning. Anything but sleet! The photo above was taken from inside my car when the train arrived at the station. I liked the way the rain ran down the windshield and distorted everything.

Dan's girlfriend Nicole is still in the hospital and may be there until this weekend. I hope she can hold out until she's released - I think she is going stir-crazy and misses her baby terribly!

God, please grant her good health and return her to her loving family - Amen.

DH Wayne won't be doing his swim with the sharks at the aquarium this weekend. Apparently they can't locate the paperwork I faxed over to them. I may have to fax it all again. And since Wayne's already made arrangements to go scuba diving at Dutch Springs on Sunday, he won't be available for a dive, even if they do find his papers. The earliest he'll be able to do it now is mid-May.

I received an e-mail from someone on Ravelry who asked me to share the pattern for the Tigger stuffed animal I made about 7 years ago. She spotted his photo on Ravelry. She received donations of yarn for her project to knit and crochet scarves for veterans, and in the box was a headless Tigger. She wanted the pattern so that she could finish Tigger. I wish I could have helped her, but I respect copyright laws and felt I could not in good conscience photocopy the pattern and send it to her. I did point her in the right direction to locate the pattern book for sale on eBay. I hope that she finds it, and isn't offended that I did not send her the photocopy. Poor Tigger! I might keep her contact info and make some scarves for her project in the future.

In the meantime, I think that, as soon as I finish up my current project, I'll start another round ripple or hexagon afghan for badrhinogillett on Crochetville. She will be collecting afghans for the NICU unit again at her local hospital. One of my favorite charities! My oldest was a NICU baby and look at him today - with a baby of his own! God is great! I still remember the feelings of fear and helplessness we had when he was a patient at St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. Our son was just one of the many tiny patients in the NICU. If a little afghan or hat, signifying that someone is thinking of them, would bring ease to a couple in need of comforting, it's worth it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Evening Updates

DS's GF is still in the hospital, and will probably be in at least another week. She is still on medication to help dissolve the blood clots in her lungs, and needs to stay in the hospital longer than she had thought. She is feeling a little better than when she was admitted so I hope that she is on the road to recovery.

Yesterday was a sad day. The voice of the Phillies, Harry Kalas, passed away yesterday. I was sorry to hear about it - the games won't be the same without his commentary. Rest in peace, Harry. You and Richie Ashburn will again be calling play-by-play from heaven! We'll miss you.

Just an ordinary day at work today. Tomorrow is Wednesday - Hump Day! We'll be over the hump and on the downhill slide in just a few hours!

I finished a dishcloth, from a pattern found on crochetville. I used a cotton yarn in a variegated color and I love the way it turned out!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayers for Nicole

DS Dan's girlfriend Nicole is in the hospital. She is the mother of my dear grandson Justin. She has some blood clots in her lungs. Currently, she is in the CCU in the hospital. I pray that she recovers completely. She is awake and can have visitors, she is on oxygen and some blood thinners.

They think her condition may be related to the C-section she had 3 months ago.

Dear Lord, please grant Nicole peace of mind and a speedy recovery, and return her to good health, Amen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April Showers Are Here

It's a rainy weekend, but I don't mind. Nothing better than watching the rain come down on a spring day, knowing that it will bring buds to the trees and color to the parched grass. It's not a downpour - just a nice gentle rainfall.

The 3 dogs are so funny in the morning! I fed them their breakfast. They have a little ritual. All three are so competitive. The little min pin gets fed first, as he is a greedy little thing. The senior citizen gets fed next, then the beagle. After eating a few bites, the old man must go bark at the beagle, who is engrossed in his own breakfast. This leaves the old man's dish unguarded, and the young min pin heads over to have a couple of bites of the old man's breakfast - I have to raise my voice at him - "GO EAT!". His little feet skidded to a stop on the kitchen floor and he made a quick u-turn back to his own dish. Once I had everyone at their own station, they made quick work of their breakfast. This happens every morning! It's like a circus. I love all my furbabies, but don't think I'd ever have more than 1 male dog again. Too much testosterone - everyone wants to be the alpha dog!

I have a project in mind for the Goldfish yarn from Vanna's baby collection. I'll post a photo if it turns out okay.

I heard from my sister that her granddaughter is already dressing her Barbie doll in her new clothes. I hope she has hours and hours of fun with them!

I think DH is going stir-crazy today. He would love to be out scuba diving at Dutch Springs. I feel bad that he doesn't have a scuba buddy close by. I wish I could share that with him, but scuba diving is not my thing. I like water up to a point. In a large glass with ice - LOL! No, I'm not a strong swimmer so I don't think I'd ever be a diving candidate. But then again, if I ever do take flying lessons and get a license, I know DH won't be with me in the air! That's not his cup of tea, either. I guess, to each his own.

I will be making my Easter dinner today. Wayne is off today, and has to work tomorrow. What's up with that? Anyway, we'll be having ham glazed with brown sugar/mustard sauce, scalloped potatoes, and a salad. We have cheesecake for dessert. I have a little Easter basket to put together for the baby, too. Of course he can't eat candy, but I did buy him some books, some pacifiers, teething rings and a onesie. I'll add some candy to it for Mom and Dad.

I keep checking up on the eaglets via the Eagle Cam (link on sidebar). It is fascinating to watch the babies getting bigger each day. I worry about them, too! If they are asleep, I wonder if they are okay - LOL! The parents take such good care of them. It will really be interesting to watch the babies progress, and I know that someday they will leave the nest - I'll be sad.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Barbie's Wardrobe Delivered

My niece's daughter received her Barbie clothes this evening. She seemed very happy with them. I gave her the items pictured previously in my blog (with the exception of the lilac evening gown), a pink fluffy wrap made with fun fur, a two-piece bathing suit, a beach bag, and a poncho. I hope she has many hours of fun as she recovers from her illness. She's been home with pneumonia. What a sweet little girl she is! She said she was feeling better tonight when I stopped in. She also requested a black blanket with a red heart on it, for her Barbie. I think I can do that. Not sure why she chose black and red, but if that's what the girl wants, that's what she'll get!

Not much else to say tonight. I'm tired and think I'll turn in early.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No Beer at Citizens Bank Park...

The Phillies lost the opener! LOL! My dad used to say that all the time. They lost again tonight too. Sure hope things get better soon or there won't be a prayer of repeating the World Series! Gotta love those Phils!

Poor Brutus is limping again. I will have to call the vet and ask for pain medication for him. Poor guy!

Barbie has another new outfit! I can't wait until I see my grand-niece! I'll have 5 different outfits for her. This one is a two-tone dress, paired up with the sweater/jacket I made earlier. And she has a handbag to go with it. This one was worked from the bottom up, and I think that will be the next pattern I write out. It was easier than the evening gown. I made it using Elann Esprit yarn. What a great yarn to work with - perfect for Barbie clothes, as it stretches. You can make the outfits with enough give to go on and off easily. It's a sport-weight yarn and I use an F hook with it.

I've put a couple of other projects on hold to make doll clothes. My experimental sweater and my sweetheart ripple afghan are languishing in the UFO pile. I will get back to them, I promise!

My dear sister and her husband are in Myrtle Beach this week. I hope they are having a wonderful time! I hope it's warmer there than it is here! Brrr! Enough cold weather already - where is the springtime?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday and a New Crocheted Dress for Barbie

I've been having some fun making Barbie outfits. I put together an evening gown, in the same glittery yarn as the previous one - light lavender this time. It's not perfect - the dress is a little big in the bust. I'm going to see if there is anything I can do to fix it. But it turned out just fine, I think. This pattern will take some time to write out, as I'll probably be making a few little adjustments to it.

It's been a rainy Monday and I'm actually glad it was. The drive to work was a downpour one minute and a light drizzle the next. Lots of lightning flashes too. This winter has been very dry and I'm hoping that April really will bring showers - enough to bring us to normal rainfall levels. The grass is getting nice and green.

I got to babysit for Justin on Saturday, while his mom and dad went to a movie! What a darling baby! He's getting so big and strong. With his beautiful blue eyes and sweet smile, he just melts your heart! Can you tell I'm crazy about my grandson?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barbie's Easter Outfit Pattern

Well, I got some yarn together and wrote down this pattern, as I promised myself I would. It's the Easter version of the black and white number I made a few weeks ago. I had some Beadies yarn in a color called Chick, and used some light lavender worsted weight yarn for the top. For hat, skirt and top, I used an "F" hook.

To begin:
Skirt -

Row 1 - Chain 17, sc in the second chain from hook and next 15 chains (16 sc), ch 1 and working in opposite side of starting chain, sc in next 3 st, inc in next st, sc in 3 st, inc in next, sc in 3 st, inc in next st, sc in 3 st - leave remaining ch unworked. Ch 1 and turn

Row 2 - (Sc in 3 st, inc in next st)across, sl to join in first sc (24 st). Do not turn. You will begin working in rounds.

Round 3 - ch 1, (sc in same st and next 4 st, inc in next st) around, join in first sc. (28 st)

Round 4 - Round 8 - Ch 1, sc in each st, join with first sc (28 st)

Round 9 - ch 1, sc in same st, skip next st, 5 dc in next st, skip next st,*(sc in next st, skip next st, 5 dc in next st, skip next st) around, join in first sc.

Finish off and weave in ends. Sew hook and eye or a snap on the waistband.

Top -

Row 1 - ch 12, sc in back loop only in second ch from hook and each remaining ch across (11 st). ch 1, turn

Row 2 - Row 11 - Sc in back loop only in each st, ch 1 and turn

Row 12 - working in both loops, sc in each st across, ch 1 and turn

Row 13 - 20 - working in both loops, sc in each st across, ch 1 and turn

Row 21 - Row 23 - working in back loop only, sc in each st across, ch 1 and turn. At end of Row 23, do not ch 1 and turn.

Row 24 - Ch 1, sc in end of each row across. Finish off, leaving a long end for sewing.

Sew row 1 and row 23 together to close and form a tube top.

On opposite side (bottom edge of tube top), attach yarn with sc, ch 1, (sc in next st, ch 1) across, sl st to join in first sc and finish off.

Weave in ends. You can leave the top as a simple tube top, or add straps. To make straps, ch 9, and sc in back bump of second ch from hook and each remaining ch. Finish off. Make two straps. Sew straps to inside of the tube top in the desired location. Weave in all ends.

Hat -

Round 1 - ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook - do not join or turn

Round 2 - 2 sc in each st around (12 st)

Round 3 - sc in first st, 2 sc in next st around (18 st)

Round 4 - sc in first 2 sc, inc in next sc around (24 st)

Round 5 - Round 6 - sc in each st around

Round 7 - sc in next 17 st, (sk next st, sc in next st 3 times), skip last sc and join in first sc.

Round 8 - in front loop only on this round - ch 3, dc in next st, inc in next st, (sc in next 2 sc, inc in next) around

Round 9 - in both loops on this round - 2 sc in 3 ch of the beginning ch, and 2 sc in each dc around. Finish off. Weave in ends.

To make the ribbon for the hat, with contrasting yarn, chain 55 and finish off. Weave in ends. Weave one end of ribbon through 2 of the ch one spaces on round 7, run ribbon around crown of hat to the other side, and weave the other end of the ribbon through the other two ch one spaces. Tie in a bow.

You can make a belt from worsted weight yarn in a contrasting or complementary color by chaining 55 and finishing off, weaving in ends.

These instructions haven't been tested. If you have any problems, please leave a comment.

The pattern is for your personal use. Please do not sell this pattern. You may make as many finished items for your own personal use as you wish, but please do not sell any finished items made from this pattern using any online venue, such as ebay, etsy or any similar website. Thanks!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Searching For a Project

Okay - I've got some Vanna's Choice Baby Yarn (feels like worsted weight, nothing at all like a baby yarn). It's that Goldfish color I mentioned the other day. I'm very anxious to use the yarn, but haven't been able to find just the right project for it.

I've been waiting for my daffodils out front to bloom, but they aren't doing anything at all. I used to have tulips too, but the squirrels developed a taste for those. I would walk along the sidewalk to see freshly dug holes - little ones that I know I didn't make! And I'd catch a glimpse of a fat little squirrely butt high-tailing it behind the house! I only have a few daffodils now, and the leaves are poking above ground about 6 inches or so, but no flowers. Maybe my daffodils need to be removed and replanted? My neighbor's daffodils are fully bloomed and look beautiful. It finally dawned on me today why I have no flowers. Last fall, my DH and DS "cleaned up" my flower bed by digging it up! The only survivors of the carnage are 3 or 4 bulbs that don't want to bloom. The rest must have been cut to pieces. I guess I'll be replanting, alright. Buying new and replanting! Men! It's that pesky "Y" chromosome, I'm telling you. So named because you wonder "Y" they do the things they do!

Dinner was homemade macaroni and cheese, with stewed tomatoes in the mix. Very good!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Interesting Evening

Almost halfway through the week. Hump day! Yesterday was a good day.

I made a good dinner on Monday. I made shepherd’s pie – with the hamburger, green beans and tomato soup mixed together, a layer of cheese on top of that, and then a layer of mashed potatoes and baked in the oven. It was very good, and we had the leftovers yesterday.

Wayne and I went to the dive shop at 6:30 on Tuesday. There was a presentation by two guys from Australia about their scuba diving expeditions on the Great Barrier Reef. The dive shop owner was considering putting together a trip with his group, so she invited these gentlemen to show a slide presentation to pique interest. Lyn had refreshments there (beer, soda, water, pretzels, crackers, popcorn and cookies), and there was a picture slide show going on when we arrived. One of the instructors at the dive shop recently traveled to Thailand on business and took some time out to go scuba diving there. What fantastic photos he took!

The presentation started about 7:15. What a great trip it would be, if the economy were not so bad right now! The owner, Mike Ball, and his friend Ron Stevens gave a great presentation. Ron used to be in business with Mike, but now has branched off on his own as a marine artist. He has a website (link above). The two men were giving out prizes. Ron had 4 beautiful prints of his artwork and Mike offered a diving expedition as a prize. To win the artwork, you had to be able to answer questions about the presentation.

Mike has a great set up – he owns a boat, and it's a live-aboard boat. Meaning it’s your hotel for the 3, 4 or 7 days of your trip. They take you to 3 dive sights, and you can make a total of at least 15 dives. The water clarity there is unbelievable and they had some wonderful photos. They offer divers the chance to see sharks feeding (no thanks!) – they put the divers on the bottom and they stay out of the way while the sharks are fed above them. They have a permit to do this – normally shark-feeding is frowned upon. I think it encourages sharks to encroach on areas where they find people. This is done out at sea. They also have a permit to allow divers to interact with Minke whales. The divers are forbidden to approach the animals, but the whales are very curious and tend to swim toward the divers to check them out. There were also diver-sized cod so close to the divers that they could reach out and touch them.

After seeing the presentation, it almost made me wish that I could dive. ALMOST! Afterwards, they asked questions about the presentation and awarded the art prints (they were really nice and I would have liked one of those). Then they offered the chance to win the expedition. But to make it fair for everyone (some people must have known they would be asking questions, so they were making notes throughout the presentation), they had Ron walk up and down in front of everyone, then they had us guess his weight! I was 12 pounds off, so I didn’t win. They did have two people who were two pounds away, on either side of his correct weight. Then they had them guess what day of the month his birthday was. The winner was the one who chose the number closest to 24. They did award him a certificate for a free expedition. I guess he only has to pay his way there and back. It was a good prize, as their cheapest expedition was $1500! All in all, it was a nice evening.

The artist who was there last night is moving into producing a line of clothing with his artwork on it. He showed samples to Lyn yesterday, and I think she is considering placing an order for a few pieces to sell in her store. I’ve already told Wayne that I want one. They are expensive, but I don't care. Ron showed us a real nice zip-front sweatshirt, stone washed with the artwork on it and it was gorgeous! It had a nice weight to it too – not a cheaply made thing.

I'll be using a vacation day tomorrow. I'm not to happy about it! We had Verizon come in and install Fios TV and internet, along with the phone line. The phones worked about 30 minutes and we haven't been able to place or receive calls since then. Someone will have to come out and search for a short in the wiring on Thursday. The best estimated time of arrival was sometime before 8 PM! What the heck? Oh, well! I'll take advantage of the day to get some crocheting done. On the up side, the internet is definitely speedier than it was before. The better to browse Crochetville with, my dear!