me, Mavis

I knit. I garden. I co-manage an eclectic shop. I sometimes work in real estate. I sometimes swing a hammer. I always volunteer in my community. I live in an old house with my nice family of one husband and three beastly cats. I have great friends. These are the things that matter to me, Mavis.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Ghoulish Day

Happy Halloween!!

Appropriately, today was the day for installation of the dreaded, but very necessary, "orthodontic applicances" a/k/a metal mouth, tinsel teeth, etc. I'm showing them in a particularly ghoulish growl. (Thanks to Heather for the Kitty Witch mask!)

So as to the braces, I'm not going to say much more now for fear of a jinx. You see, they really are not bothering me very much at all. Okay, no more on that (the jinx you know), but I did set up a sidebar link to chart my progress (me, Mavis Smile Project).

Knitting Department
Over the weekend, I started the final piece of the "Pretty Pink" cardigan about a gazillion times; then frogged it back a gazillion times; then cut it off and tossed it (as the yarn was nearly worn out), before finally starting again and getting back in the proper groove.

Here are all the pieces up to the underarm.

And here are all the pieces, in proper order (I hope) back on the needle together and ready for raglan shaping. This is exciting!

Assuming I've done this right to this point, in a little more than 35 rows, I will switch back to size 3 needles for the neck ribbing, and thereafter have only the underarm/side seams to sew -- then finis!

I think this would be more easier with a circular needle.

NOTE TO SELF: Use a few of those weekly 40% off Michael's coupons to buy Size 3 and 4 circulars!

I'm anxious to start one of the surprise Christmas gift projects, but I'm committed to finishing the "Pretty Pink" first. "Why?" you might ask, since I have a proven track record of tossing stuff aside mid-project.

I really like this little sweater, and more importantly, I'm afraid I'll suffer memory erase and not be able to successfully pick it back up. So, I shall perservere!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday at Chez Schavis

What a lovely day it has been! We had a leisurely start, sippin' coffee, messin' on the net, etc., then a hearty breakfast before heading over to the new Little House and some outside trim painting. It's amazing how much difference a little dark green around the windows can make. Once we finish, I'll post another picture.

Back home here in the afternoon, and we did a tiny bit of yard cleanup, and some maintenance on the pond. DH did such a good job of cleaning the gunk out of the pump that it is running better than either of us remember. The fish are quite excited (yes, we can tell!) at the new bubbly waterfall which is a far cry from the sluggish trickle that it had become.

In the butterfly garden, nature is completing the cycle by making sure there will be caterpillar food for next spring.

The milkweed pods are popping and silky, parachuted seeds are flying all around the backyard.

Look at how many are packed inside just one pod ... and we have lots of plants, each with lots of pods. Milkweed anyone?

(Yes, Heath, I already have your order and will be potting up a nice little plant for you very soon.

Meanwhile, as we enjoyed a wonderful day outside, the Natives did what they do.

'bella went down under -- no, not to Australia, Mate, but down under our bed where she can snooze uninterrupted ALL DAY.

The Brothers take the high road up to Kitty Klubhouse.

Here Wally will demonstrate the proper technique for safely descending the ladder.

Last, to close today, I'm taking a long shot, here.

DH has this ugly old truck -- oh, I mean, a classic 1956 Dodge C-3 pick-up that is a 1/2 ton capacity with a 7-1/2 foot bed.

Certainly there's a Dodge or Mopar lover looking for this gem from the 1950's? PLEASE send them my way ... I would like to "help" clear out the driveway.

Tomorrow -- The Braces Installation Project.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A goal is good .... but what is it?

Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.
Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

I spent some time on "blogthings" this evening and after a myriad of tests involving my panties, maleness/femaleness ratio, etc., I finally came up with something profound.

In this animal personality test, it's the last line that gets me. Yes, I agree I am a hard-worker. When there's something to be done, I'll dig right in there and work till it's done. But I seem only to see or comprehend that particular goal.

Where and/or what is my bigger goal? Do most people know where they want to head?

Friday, October 28, 2005

TGIF - what does it matter?

All day I've been thinking "thank God it's Friday."

But I have to work tomorrow and maybe on Sunday. Nevertheless, all day, I'm saying "thank God it's Friday."

I met a new friend today.

Isn't this the cutest wee babe you have ever seen? Okay, okay, I know we say that about almost EVERY baby, but this one truly is a keeper.

She was born just yesterday; first child to my friends who started out as my real estate clients.

She is the recipient of my Gull Wing Cardigan (there's a picture in my Knitting Gallery) and I was worried about the size. Make that: I WAS worried about the size. She weighed in at 9 pounds, 5 ounces, and Proud Mom says she fits just fine in an outfit sized for a 6 month old.

Ma and Pa already seem so comfortable with her. Hey!, it just occurred to me that it's their training! These two are cops, so they can't show any weakness. AHA! Maybe they aren't so smooth after all?

Happy Friday All!

(Wally doesn't care what day it is ...
only that the radiators are crankin')

(P.S. -- check out the ruler ticker waaaaaay down at the bottom ... only 3 more days until braces)

(P.S.S. -- yikes...)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Little House, Big Cat, and "Cowboys"

Ah, I missed you yesterday "me, Mavis" blog!

I was out of the house by 6:15 a.m. en route to another SCHAVIS kitchen remodel -- this time with James, our new second helper. HA! That makes him sound like good dinner!

OK, so we worked hard all day and afterwards, with only time for a scrub up, off we went for grocery shopping and a City Council candidates forum. By the time we got home, I was even too tired to knit -- BUT I DID! Alas, only a few rows on "Pretty Pink", but not enough to show.

Today, I was wearing my real estate hat, and tended to some paperwork, marketing, etc. for our new little house:

Ta Da! There she is, sign prominently placed, waiting patiently for a stable, honest, clean tenant. We need to paint the new porch railings (green), but otherwise the outside is ready. Inside, we hope to stain the stair railing too. Oh, how silly of me to forget - YET AGAIN! DAMMIT! ... that because we are pre-1950 construction, the Feds (and the State of MerryLand, for that matter), require that we submit to a humiliating and intrusive test for lead-based paint. Okay, so it's not really all that bad, but it's another hurdle to jump before we can legally install a new resident.

I dutifully turned in the stack of paperwork required for listing -- sans lead-based paint test --, made up ad copy for the local papers, and prepared flyers for Saturday's open house. One of my colleagues has an interested party (her son), so maybe we won't even need the open house. Wish me luck.

I got back home fairly early, and headed right up here to blog with a nice glass of vino. Soon, I got a visit from DH and 'bella, the big cat. You can see that Girlfriend was none to pleased to be scooped up to pose. DH kept saying "get her cute pads, get her cute pads." Sorry, but this is the best I could do while she was "rrrroowww"-ing -- but you can see those snow-white paws with the dark black paw pads. Too Cute!

My brother sent me an e-mail with the address for his #2 son (which I asked for weeks ago, by the way, and called for again this morning at 6:45 Houston time). I mention it because he (probably inadvertently) included the incoming message from said #2 son, The Magnificient Markasaurous, and it cracked me up.

You see, Joe and his sons are cowboys, living like they do in Texas and all. They are all accomplished athletes on the field -- and in the armchair capacity. So, I was thinking of them as their hometown team was in the World Series.

#3 son, JayBird sent me a note after Game 1:

So I sadly sat at a friends house instead watching our Astros go down in game 1 of the World Series but that's why it's best of 7, so we're alright.

Yow. So, Jay -- I know that hurts, in retrospect, but I admire your loyalty. (oh yeah, like he's not calling them bums today!)

And I was thinking of this when I called Bro Joe this morning, so I said a little something sympathetic. Wrong. He let off with a tirade of comments about how they played dumb, could have won the thing many times, but they were dumb, dumb, dumb.

Okay, so with just a little more background, this is why the incoming message from Markasauraus was funny. #2 son is at UT, poised to become the next, but better, Ted Turner, or Donald Trump, or some phenomenol businessman. And, he is a man of few words:

...the astros piss me off....can never do the little things

There you have it, from 3 of the cowboys. I don't have input from #1 son, Brian, but I'm thinking it's probably a good thing ... I doubt it would be suitable for general viewing.

Other Stuff

I have lost $254.00. No, not like loosing it in my checking account somewhere, or like loosing a check itself, or even losing nice crisp bills. Shocking, I know, but I lost $254.00 in rolled coins. This is how it happened. My pal, Stazi, came out to Chez Schavis last month before we went to see Elton John in concert. She diligently saves up her loose change, then rolls it and trades it in for a nice payoff. Somehow, I never seem to have "extra" change, but that's off track.

Since there is a Chevy Chase Bank nearby (they let you trade in coins for no fee AND you don't have to be an account holder), she brought them along and we stopped in. Of course -- since NOTHING in life is free -- the machine was out of order, and she lugged them back out. Once home, DH suggested that I would be happy to write her a check and cash them in later when the machine was working. THANKS DH!!

Funny, but it was also DH that got tired of looking at the great big bag of coins on the kitchen counter and "put them away." Even "funnier", I can't find them where he put them away.

AND, lastly, for the most exciting news of my day ... my 10/25 entry includes a comment from a celebrity, and today, I was mentioned AND linked in her blog -- Crazy Aunt Purl. I don't care if I ever knit again, I am famous. WOO HOO! All join me in a toast! Cheers! (Okay, really Aunt Purl, I am just funnin' a bit, and I am delighted that you came to visit!)

Now the rest of you, get off your duffs and send me some comment!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pictures ... We've Got Pictures!

Greetings from a very wet and very cold MerryLand. We are currently at a much-too-cool-for-October 44 degrees ... so now I know why I'm shivering!

Beau, however, knows how to take the chill off:

YEAH BABY! That's what radiators topped with marble are for! Toastie kitty bellies! (off the subject ... does this boy have some wicked cool stripes, or what?)

We settled on the new rental prop today, but I forgot to take pictures yesterday in the nice sunshine. Of course, today is too dismal to even attempt. Soon, I hope, I will have full documentation here in "me, Mavis" blogland. The listing did go "active" on the multiple listing service this afternoon. I hope to have a very groovy, $finan$ciall$ly $sta$ble $te$na$nt post haste.

In SCHAVIS news ... here's a few pictures of the most recent kitchen renovation:

The "before" included wallpaper, short cabinetry, and lacked the glam factor that the lady o' the manor had in mind.

"After" includes gleaming 42" cabs, ceramic tile floor and backsplash, lovely deep Silestone (basically manufactured granite) counters and an opened up layout. The section to the right (which you can't see) was reconfigured as well, gaining more cabinet and counter space, as well as a huge pantry cabinet.

This has been a multi-phase project. The start-up involved bumping out into the garage to fit a laundry room off the powder room. Phase two was the "work" area of the kitchen (which you see above), and Phase Three involves the "eating" area, including a bump out with french doors and two windows. A newly added project will be to replace the sliding door in the family room area with double-hung windows. The entire back of this very large house is now, basically, one big greatroom ... and it is GREAT!

Tomorrow, I will be visiting the next kitchen redo project for the first time. It will be an early rise to be ready to depart at 6:15 for battling traffic to Rockville.

So now, I'm off to enjoy the first pot of chili (vegetarian, OF COURSE!) of the 2005 fall season.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fall in the Garden

No! NO! NO! ... not "fall" like "I've fallen and I can't get up," but Fall like "Autumn" which sounds so much more formal and hoity-toity for some reason.

Things are changing rapidly here. I took a little stroll around today and here are some of the highlights.

I LOVE this cute pink daisy-shaped flower. I can't for the life of me remember what it is called, but I believe it is a relative of the chrysanthemum, and it acts just like a mum. Last year, it was all tall and scraggly. Lucky, however, I remembered to pinch it back (along with the mums) several times during the spring. So, here I am rewarded with a nice bushy plant and many flowers.

Next up, the white coneflowers. Dear Ole Mom rewarded me with a pair in Fall 2003 and I was delighted. I planted the little gems nicely together in the Wisteria bed and waited for the next Spring. And buds appeared. And the squirrels nipped off the buds. And I covered the plants with little chicken wire huts. And the plants withered. And I replanted them. And they became even more scrawny. For no apparent reason. I was depressed.

So earlier this Summer, when we worked on the new driveway garden, I was drawn to white coneflowers at Patuxent Nursery, where DH gets a contractor's discount. I couldn't resist. We planted three together ... but wait, there was still room! Should I? Would it be futile? Yes, I moved the pair from the Wisteria bed to the area in front of the new threesome. And guess what? They sprang up with new vitality and have nearly eclipsed the new guys! In the picture you can see the "old" plants in the front, big and bushy as the "new" guys in the back. See the great flower heads on the left hand plant!

Next, on to the pond, where we have had a new visitor for some months. And he let me snap his mug shot today.

Handsome Prince? I'm not going to try it.

I don't always get to see him, but I can usually hear the tell-tale "plop!" into the water as I walk up the path. He seems to like the camouflage of the Pickeral and Water Hyacinth leaves.

Soon, they will die down and we will need to put the heater back in to keep the water open over the Winter.

Back indoors, the natives are sleepy and cozy, enjoying the crisp day from the warm side of the windows.

I'm going to snuggly in too -- with some knitting.

Wally says: "Halloween is Coming! Show a Black Cat some LOVE!"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

DC Knit-Out

It is a beautiful day here! The sun is sparkling bright, the sky a rich blue, and a nice chill in the air which allowed me to wear my "Happy Day Cardigan" to today's Knit-Out on the National Mall. Accompanied by pal, Gretchen, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. I also received a number of compliments on my sweater, which was very cool.

My one complaint ... and this is a BIGGIE ... there was nothing to buy!!! I was all-out ready to score on my Calmer. Nope. I can't say why, but they did not allow sales at this event. Perhaps it is because the sponsor is a 501(c)(3) non-profit?

In any case, there were various vendors that showcased products and offered % off coupons to use at their stores; free classes (along with free supplies!) to learn to knit and/or crochet; an area where one could fashion squares and/or piece them together for various charitable groups (like "Warm Up America"), and a fashion show tent.

That was fun. Not only were there some really clever and beautifully-crafted "serious" items, but my personal favorite was a free-form collage type hooded cape worn by a delightful young woman. I don't think it was her work completely, but maybe a team effort by a crochet group. This thing had trees, a river, snowmen, a Clark bar, a Pittsburgh Steelers emblem, and an incredible amount of other objects. I could have looked at it for hours. I think this will haunt me until I begin one of my own.

There were some four-leggeds in the show too. Spencer the Bulldog (originally from South Carolina and now chilly in our Maryland weather) wore a distinguished sweater which we could hardly see as he kept lying down on the stage.

Max the Boston Terrier is a mascot for a local fiber arts group, and wore a tuxedo -- WITH TAILS -- and a bright red bow tie. He kept leaping off the stage! No hams in those two dogs.

So, I didn't buy anything at the event, but I came away with ideas. Lots of ideas. Which will require some $$ to be spent. Sometime.

Until then, I have lots of stuff in the works and am making progress. Here's the "Pretty Pink" baby cardigan thus far. I have finished both sleeves and a few inches of the back. The sleeves are on holders as this is a raglan shaped pattern. After all prices have been worked separately to the underarm area, I will pick them all back up on the same needle and knit the yoke in one pieces. So what's the big deal you might ask? Only the underarm and side seams to sew!

Here's a close-up of the pattern on the sleeves.

It also covers much of the fronts. It was easy to learn and fun to do. I think that the back stockinette stitch is going more slowly ... much ... more ... slowly ... without having a pattern to keep the interest up.

However, plain ole stockinette is great when you want to actually pay attention to some garbage on the tube.

It has been more than once that I got all involved in something Jack Bauer was doing and than spent time the next day at the frog pond. "Ribbit" is not my favorite knitting term.

Speaking of Jack, does anyone know when "24" starts up again!

... until tomorrow ... when, by the way, I will deliver myself to Dr. Benkovich for the "pre-banding" segment of Braces 101.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cable Eight Top - FINISHED!

After a false start (they published an errata to the pattern,DUH!) -- thanks again Poor Miss Finch and an equipment problem (no, I did not have a size 9 crochet hook in my vast stock), and the dreaded "I'm too damn tired to knit" malady, I have finally finished the "Cable-Eight Top." Okay, so I have NOT yet washed and blocked, but it is otherwise finished and I have till Christmas to get finished with the details.

It fits much more snugly on the photo model that it will on the slim recipient-to-be. It would also benefit from a same-tone bra or a camisole.

It was quite nerve-wracking there at the end ... "will I have enough yarn to finish?" Here's what was left:

There must be no more than 5 yards or so! (Crochet hook added for comparison)

This was generally an enjoyable project. I think the organic cotton will be very comfortable to wear in terms of breathability, etc. However, it is a bit "bulky" feeling and I really like the bounciness/stretchiness of a little added acrylic. Hmmmm, this is taking me back to "Calmer" .... drool.............

Okay, so what to finish next? In addition to the little pink sweater that I found in my knitting box, I also have a Homespun sweater that I started for my sister's birthday several years ago. (As it would happen, her birthday was yesterday). I dug it up about a month ago and sewed together the already completed front and back, then finished up the sleeves, which were being knit in tandem. So, now I need to set in the sleeves, finish the seaming, then pick up around the neckline. The pattern called for a hood, but I'm thinking I'll just work in a deep rolled neck.

I also used up some scrap yarn last Fall for a short button-front cape of my own design. It needs only some attention to the front edging.

Then, of course, I have the stuff listed in my side bar.

No to mention the loooooong list of projects that I'd like to start. I know I will probably never get to the point where I finish every project before I start a new one, but I'd like to keep it on a somewhat more balanced scale.

Though I promised not to buy any more yarn until I score on some Calmer, I meant only yarn for stuff for myself.

I'm really not crapping out on this! I do have several Christmas projects in mind, so I picked up this last week:

Purty, no? I can't say what it's for, or who (whom?) it's for, because it's a surprise, right!?

I don't know anything about this yarn, nor about the maker, so I'm anxious to see how the colors fall when worked -- will it produce neat striping? an overall melding of the colors??

It is very soft, and very squishy and from West Yorkshire, explaining that tweedy British look.

Sick Pals Update
Our gal, Heath, is back home and resting in her own bed. We chatted briefly yesterday and she was much more chipper than I expected. It seems that, contrary to the rosy reports from Transplant Julie, Heath has been to Hell and back (and I don't mean that cheesy town on Grand Cayman Island either!). She was very upbeat about getting together for a Hen party in the next few weeks.

We have good news on Q too. He has regained much energy, and so GG allowed him to go to work yesterday. His fellow workers at DC Habitat for Humanity must be cheering! She has promised an updated photo soon.

So, I'm much more at ease now. We have a rainy weekend in the plans and I'd like nothing more than to hunker down and veg. The DC Knit Out is on Sunday, however. Gretch and I agreed to go, and I had been looking forward to it, but perhaps the rain will change our minds.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

me, Mavis Needs

Several days ago, one of my bog reads included a little exercise that's being making its way around. Just Google "[your first name] needs" and post the ten best results:

Here what "me, Mavis" needs:

10. Ruth needs to go on her home oxygen supply

9. Ruth records a working copy of the storytelling portion on our own system

8. Ruth needs to photograph things or use her own "clip art" collection

7. Ruth needs direction

6. Ruth needs friends the most

5. Ruth needs to be cleaned desperately

4. Ruth needs to provide the names of those of you attending to the security guard at the entrance of Shepard Hall

3. Ruth needs to get from sunup to sundown

2. Ruth needs only 160 one thousandths of a second

and my favorite:

1. Ruth needs more of a part than what she was given

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tired Tuesday

Does anyone else get this when they try to read e-mail? I have contacted Dell support and Microsoft support, but neither have a patch for this situation. "Beau Knows e-Mail"

I am one tired gal today. Started the morning doing my real estate thing and getting papers prepared to list the new property for rental. Also worked up a cute flyer and researched what the City Fathers have to say about licensing, inspections, etc. for rental properties.

After lunch, I joined Dear Husband at the new prop to spend a few hours -- like WOW Man! -- sniffing the toxic fumes of some crazy stuff that waterproofs concrete. I slapped it on the lower parts of the basement walls. We're hoping that, combined with the new gutters (installed last week), the area should stay dry. PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!

DH put up new railings on front and back porches that look wonderful. We hope to have time for a coat of paint soon.

We travelled off together and picked out new shrubs (Red-Tipped Photina) and Mums (red) for the front beds, then hurried back to plant. The little place is coming along nicely.

So now, I'm freshly showered and ready for dinner. But first ...

Heather - Spoke with Transplant Julie at lunch time and learned that Heather was sleeping at that time, but was doing well and still scheduled to go home tomorrow. She was alert enough to ask that her office be called with her update. Geza is also doing well. Transplant Julie is very tight-lipped and won't give me any more details.

Quincy - GG reports that the boy was much better last night -- tail-wagging, etc., but still very quiet. He is eating better too. She says that when he gets excited at all, it starts the coughing and then he is miserable again.

Knitting - Yes, I am knitting, thank you!

I found a forgotten cute little baby sweater sleeve in the bottom of my basket yesterday. I finished it off and started on the second.

I have finished the 2 halves of Cable-Eight and they sit forlornly waiting to be joined -- more on that later.

I have completed another 2 inches or so on the back of the E Cardigan.

OK, so I'm no Wendy but I have been DOG TIRED (no offense, Q).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Two Ailing Friends

My mind was taken up with two friends today.


Although I stayed diligently glued to my cell phone all morning, of course the service went bad and the 12:32 p.m. call about Heather went to voice mail. The Transplant Coordinator at Washington Hospital Center, Julie, said that the surgery had gone well and she was in recovery. When I did get to speak with Julie just before 5 p.m., she said Heath was out of recovery and sleeping, while Geza was still in recovery. She said they were both doing well, the surgery had gone well, and that the transplanted kidney was functioning. She suggested that we might be able to telephone Heather tomorrow and that she would probably "go home in a few days."

I did a little research and found these startling facts from the National Kidney Foundation

  1. Over 89,000 U.S. patients are currently waiting for an organ transplant; nearly 4,000 new patients are added to the waiting list each month.
  2. Every day, 17 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone marrow.
  3. Because of the lack of available donors in this country, 3,886 kidney patients, 1,811 liver patients, 457 heart patients and 483 lung patients died in 2004 while waiting for life-saving organ transplants.
  4. An estimated 12,000 people who die each year meet the criteria for organ donation, but less than half of that number become actual organ donors.
  5. By signing a Uniform Donor Card, an individual indicates his or her wish to be a donor. However, at the time of death, the person's next-of-kin will still be asked to sign a consent form for donation. It is important for people who wish to be organ and tissue donors to tell their family about this decision so that their wishes will be honored at the time of death. It is estimated that about 35 percent of potential donors never become donors because family members refuse to give consent.
  6. About 94.2 percent of the kidneys transplanted from cadavers (persons who died recently) are still functioning well at one year after surgery.
  7. The results are even better for kidneys transplanted from living donors. One year after surgery, 97.6 percent of these kidneys were still functioning well.

I still have so many questions about how far we should go with "playing God" but nevertheless, I have proudly displayed the DONOR mark on my driver's license for years. Fact No. 5 above brought me to a quick halt and made me decide I should revisit the DONOR thing again.

HEY DEAR HUSBAND! Please Pay Close Attention for a Minute! Kindly remember as my next of kin that anyone who wants anything once I'm done is welcome to it! THANKS!

Even if you think ahead and make these decisions, someone else can take it away when you are no longer able to speak for yourself. Sheesh!

Ailing Amigo Numero Dos, "The Q"

Despite the great comment left by GG on Friday, and continuing good signs on Saturday, Quincy saw a relapse yesterday. GG left him at home today with his Main Man. She said he was sleeping almost constantly, all snuggled up under his Buckaroo Blankie from Auntie Jenny. A late day report said he had asked to go for a walk, and did eat lunch. We hope he continues to mend.

Here's some scary factoids about his malady from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Canine influenza is a new, contagious respiratory disease that may mirror signs of kennel cough, including sneezing, coughing, and fever. It requires veterinary medical attention.

Nearly 100 percent of dogs that come in contact with the virus become infected, regardless of age or vaccination history.

Of those infected, 20 percent show no signs of disease.

Of the 80 percent that exhibit signs, two forms have been observed:

Mild infection. Symptoms include a low-grade fever, nasal discharge, and a persistent cough that could last up to three weeks.

Severe infection. Symptoms include a high fever, increased respiratory rates with difficulty breathing, and other indications of pneumonia.

Researchers have observed canine influenza to be fatal in fewer than 8 percent of infected patients.

Because this virus is new to dogs, most dogs will not have a natural immunity to the influenza.

An October 15 story in the Washington Times said:

A new canine influenza, or dog flu, is spreading steadily through the nation's dogs, and experts say there is no vaccine available to curb the virus that has killed young and otherwise healthy animals. "One-hundred percent of dogs will be susceptible," said Edward Dubovi, director of the animal virology lab at Cornell University. "I would expect to see this infection moving thorough groups of dogs until a large percentage gets infected and there are a lot of immune dogs."

That's enough heavy stuff for today.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Marching Band Refused to Yield

Ravens Style! In honor of their 16-3 win over the Cleveland Browns today at home, we will be joining in the purple passion here at me,Mavis. Stazi scored tics from a season ticket holder at her Stuffy Law Firm and invited me to ante up $60 and join in the frenzy with 70,194 other fans. Well, I guess there were a few weasly looking folks dressed in orange and brown included in that number.

It was a perfect day for a football game -- breezy and chilly in the high 60s -- but our seats were in the sunshine. Unlike my last trip to Ravenstown, today we were in the lower seats, which probably saved us from most of the wind gusts. Everyone around us was full of spirit and the win made us even happier.

A funny situation at the start of the game. The Ravens had finished their warm-up and left the field, but the Browns stayed in place to run plays at the goal line. Here comes the Ravens Band! They marched in place there at the corner for a few seconds, beating the drums, etc., but the Browns kept right on. After another few seconds, the Band started marching on at about mid-field. Still, the Browns maintained. Finally, the Band stuck up big time and the members starting streaming on, row after row, weaving inbetween the Browns players still in place. The Browns did yield!

Wacky occurrence. I could here "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" in my head ...
Oh, the players tried to take the field,
the marching band refused to yield

Our Miss Heather

On the way home from the bus lot, I caught Heath on her cell phone. She was out shopping, probably trying to maintain some sense of normalcy as she has tomorrow's surgery looming large. She is to arrive at 5 a.m. for "prep" (whatever the heck that is), and expects her surgery to start at 7 a.m. She thinks I should hear from the hospital by around 11.

She is being so brave and is so generous. I told her that she would have Hens reaching out to her in thought, and that made her cry. After all that she has gone through to reach this point, I was shocked to hear that she has not cried before. She does not regret her decision, but is scared, and rightfully so.

I am just going to remain positive and supportive, and keep my sights on her Welcome Back Hen. We love you, Heath.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Don't we Love our Furry Friends?

GG left a fabulous note in the comments that warmed my heart after a chilly afternoon at the wet saw:

What a difference a day makes--Q is feeling much much better today. He's back to his sock stealing, flip flop eating ways.
Ah, that's great to hear! Even though GG wears the 'spensive kind of flip flops, I'll bet she doesn't give a rat's hiney just now. "Oh, that J Crew pair appeals to you Quincy? Sure, go for it! Want something from Anne Taylor next? Rock on!

Hearing about Q made me look at my guys a little more closely. I always check in on them when I come home, just like I always must see each one before I leave (... and tell where I'm going ... and to be good ... and to have fun ... and to look out for the others, etc. That's right, a whole dialogue. You got a problem with that?)

Anyway, I came home from a rewarding afternoon of tile setting helper to DH (that is some slick kitchen!) and here's how I found the natives.

'Bella is a girl from the streets and she doesn't need anything fancy. This pile of stuff recently dug from my Palace closet was the perfect place for a little snooze. Don't get too comfy, 'Bella, cuz SURELY Auntie Gretchen will be over soon to go through all that fabric and take what she wants, so I can get the rest on the list for freecycle. Right, Gretchen? Are you there?

Wally is the most "loyal" of the kitties and usually greets me at the door. After I tortured him with hugs, he went upstairs with me to see what the other two were doing.
What's THAT in the pink house, Wally?

It's your Bro, Beau!

Big ole Beau doesn't even think twice about squeezing his long self into this girly pink house for a quiet nap.

This house has some age. I can't say exactly how old, because I bought this at a yard sale, but I did take it to pick up Luci (in 1985), and when Ethel joined us a month later, she proclaimed it hers. She would get up on top and sharpen her claws, reminding me of Snoopy on his dog house!

At some point, it went out of favor for her, but I kept it around anyway. I can't remember when Beau first discovered that it suited him, but he uses it pretty frequently.

From all of us here at Chez Schavis, GET WELL SOON QUINCY!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tail Wags for Q

I just learned yesterday that my pal, Quincy, has been sick for nearly two weeks, and has been hospitalized since Monday night. The poor guy is suffering from canine influenza and pnemonia. I didn't know there was such a thing! I'm told that this influenza strain began in horses and moved across to dogs, making it extremely dangerous because there is concern that it could also spread to humans. And so, THAT makes it a big deal. Hmm, for me it's a big deal when it harms ANY creature -- particularly sweet Q.

It is so sad to see this guy in such a state. This pic was snapped by his main gal, GG, at the hospital. This is such a different dog than the carefree, happy lad who has been given honorary Hen status (even though he does have that forbidden "equipment.")

It's hard to take, remembering that the poor waif shown above is the same pup who danced around and barked crazily trying to get this "cat" to play with him. That was his first visit to The Hen House and I sure hope he is back up on all four paws and ready to party with us again very soon.

Everyone send happy tail wags and good thoughts to Quincy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mmmmmmm, Calmer .....

TOO tired to post last night. We went to a community forum and heard the City Manager's presentation on the question of whether we should institute our own police force (with a hefty price tag ... which is almost certainly going to grow with time.) The question will be put to the voters on November 8, but it's looking to me so far that it will be a "yes." After the forum, Ifind myself still in the "No" column.

New House Project - I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon painting trim at the new house. We won't settle for two more weeks, but the owner has allowed us access to get it ready for a new tenant post haste. We sure don't want an empty investment property.

While there, I took a pic of the adorable retro style bathroom, coincidentally, installed by Darling Husband on behalf of the current owner two years ago. It still looks great, but will need a few little grout touchups here and there.

Although the paint throughout the house is in very good shape, we are re-painting all the trim because it is same color/same sheen as the walls. Yuck. The new bright white, gloss trim makes the little rooms "pop." For such a small house, it has loads of trim, so I'll be going over again soon.

DH also installed mini-blinds throughout. In addition to general cleaning, we intend to add porch railings front and back. Not sure what else.

The Knits -- I knitted for only for a few minutes while watching the news. The "Elegant Cardigan" (gosh I HATE that name ...) moves on very quickly when I get going. I'm working through the armhole section. This picture shows the waist shaping very well.

The Cable-Eight is still in the lead! I finished the back and am nearly half through the front. There will be a fair amount of finishing work -- via the crochet hook -- but I am not afraid! This is one place where I am not intimidated by the Knitting Goddess, who says she "sucks" at crocheting. Which brings me to "Mmmmmmm, Calmer ...."

Okay, here's the deal. The Knitting Goddess RULES ... that is for everything except her yarn choices. She almost single-handedly subsidizes the sheep industry ... not to mention llamas, alpacas, silk worms, etc. So, for an ethical knitter, like me, Mavis, her work is ... ummm, hard to love unconditionally (?)

BUT, recently, a breakthrough ...
Knitting Goddess has a thing for Rowan Calmer!! Oh, this is fab news indeed.

At the Yarn Garden of Annapolis Spring Sale, I made my first contact.

I found it
Loved it
Wanted it
So Bad
$$$$ Big Dollars $$$
Fought Past the Urge
It continues to Haunt Me

But now, if Knitting Goddess gives it Two Persnickity Thumbs Up, I'm REALLY sold. I make my oath now ... I shall buy no more attainable because less expensive yarn until I have savored the Calmer ... Mmmmmmmmm, Calmer.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Prince Harry Looked Cute in Braces

Happy Columbus Day! I really don't care a whit about it being Columbus Day, except for the fact that it was a SCHAVIS Holiday. I did some knitting, some cleaning out of the mountains of junk in my Palace, and also spent a good deal of time searching the net for stuff related to braces. Yes, this is my complete obsession as the date draws nearer.

I found this cute pic of HRH Harry, and he is so adorable! I think he's become a bit of a rowdy skirt-chaser since this pic was snapped.

I also found lots of "middle aged" people, like yours truly, who also looked great. However, nobody knows who the heck they are so I didn't add their pictures ... except for this guy:

"Mess with me, matey, and I'll gnaw off your nose!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose!

Today's headline is brought to you by Elton John.

DH and I went in to Charm City today to lunch with lil Stazi who is celebrating her 37th birthday, and, in her words, now in her "late thirties."

Mughal Garden was very tasty, as always; and also, as always, I ate waaaay tooooo muuuuch. So, if the Indian buffet wasn't enough, we then waddled a few blocks for coffee and dessert. I brought half of mine home, but may not even be hungry again tonight. (P.S. I don't think it really looks this good in person ... sorry Mughal Garden people ... ! but the food is wonderful ! )

Stazi also brought stinky yummy bagels from the Jewish Bakery in her 'hood and we could smell them the second she opened her trunk lid. DH always asks for a dozen when Stazi is coming out to our 'hood. She brought them this time without him even thinking about it.

Once back home, I jumped back into .... Cable Eight! Last night I didn't knit at all, but did wind two skeins in prep for today. That doesn't seem like much, I know, but I don't have a yarn winder and wind by hand, and that Pakucho is always wrapping around itself and anything else in the way. It's very snarly for me ... I wonder if anyone else has that problem?

So, Hurray!, I finished the first half of Cable-Eight, and then cast on for side two ... but I'm thinking it's getting a bit old, so I might pick up the cardigan for TV time tonight.

I dress in rags, smell alot, and I have a real good time ...

Yes, another heading brought to you by Sir Elton. Whilst knitting, I got reacquainted with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Although Heath, Stazi and I did see The Man in concert in September -- and he was fabulous, thank you -- no single concert could even touch on the wide variety of stuff that he has produced. I haven't heard some of these songs in so long that it was like hearing them again for the first time. And the lyrics are crazy! (I'll give you the whole of "Social Disease" at the end of this post ... BUT DON'T SCROLL DOWN TIL I'M DONE!

Anyhoo, back to Elton. I was singing along, having fun, remembering all my high school friends who shared my love of EJ, and then remembered another more recent friend. In fact, I was also thinking of this friend during the concert and was shocked to "learn" how much he reminds me of Elton John .. but I had never realized it before! So, sweet London Ed, there you are. You have the same quality of making me feel very at ease, warm and comfortable, and kind of giddy, that I always associate with Elton. Of course, I know you are truly a gem, and I can only HOPE that Sir Elton is half the guy he promotes on stage.

Funny, Ed also gave me a quote that I have retold many times. Ed was looking for a house and called from my "for sale" sign. We met to tour the house, and I, being very much the perfectly careful newbie agent, went on a long lecture about how I was representing the seller and that he was welcome to buyer's representation, blah, blah, blah.

Ed cut me short and said "well aren't you trustworthy?" Turns out he was savvy with the process, understood that I had an obligation to be fair and honest, and didn't want to involve another blood-sucking realtor, so I tended to the deal for both parties and all went well. During the process, we became friends and have remained so even though he lives in London now. We speak only rarely (and usually by e-mail) and I almost never see him but I always feel glad when an IM pops up from him.

I'm a genuine example of a social disease

No rain today, but it is chilly. I can see a big Dogwood tree from my Palace window and the berries are BRILLIANT RED. Fall, she is a'comin'.

Thinking of Heath: Only one week more til she goes in for surgery to donate a kidney to her husband.

Thinking of Valerie: She has been with the Red Cross on the Gulf Coast for several weeks now

And, now, all of the lyrics
... thanks Elton, for everything.

Social Disease (from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road")

My bulldog is barking in the backyard
Enough to raise a dead man from his grave
And I can't concentrate on what I'm doing
Disturbance going to crucify my days

And the days they get longer and longer
And the nighttime is a time of little use
For I just get ugly and older
I get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose

And I get bombed for breakfast in the morning
I get bombed for dinner time and tea
I dress in rags, smell a lot,
and have a real good time
I'm a genuine example of a social disease

My landlady lives in a caravan
Well that is when she isn't in my arms
And it seems I pay the rent in human kindness
But my liquor also helps to grease her palms

And the ladies are all getting wrinkles
And they're falling apart at the seams
Well I just get high on tequila
And see visions of vineyards in my dreams

{repeat chorus}

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Poor, Pitiful Me, Mavis

Care to join me in a little Pity Party? Let's just get it all out there. I'm sitting all alone and serene in my Palace, having tossed two guests a few hours ago: Beau, for refusing to keep his damn long legs out of my already unruly, snarly yarn; and DH (which does NOT stand for "Darling Husband" today -- use your imagination) for making an uncalled for nasty comment that completely ticked me off.

Remember? Today was going to be about me ... knitting ... a lot? It hasn't quite worked out that way. I've been pulled a bunch of different ways today -- all away from "me ... knitting." In no particular order:
  1. Drop-by visit from local politician
  2. Just today hearing about problem and arranging medical appointment for Mom
  3. Getting completely beat over the head (via telephone) from lousy area merchant who somehow thinks I had evil, dastardly intentions when our committee unknowingly ticked her off.
  4. Beau tangling in yarn (annoying enough to mention again)
  5. Damn yarn tangling which I had to keep untangling
  6. D... H... finding #4 very funny, but making no move to help out
  7. D... H... making nasty comment (WAY annoying enough to mention again)

Really, not all of these things do I feel "wronged" over, even if they switched my track. Surely #2 was something I needed and wanted to do. And #1 was really a nice visit.

#3, however, sent me over the edge. I'm not just talking for me, but for all of the volunteers around here who have spent so much time on this revitalization project which is geared chiefly to the merchants. Care to guess how many of the faithful volunteers run businesses in the area? Um, ZERO, would be a safe bet.

Yet, the vast majority of the merchants continue to moan and groan about how bad business is and how little the local government does for them. These same folks continue to operate at about 16 hours PER WEEK (for most of them anyway), close whenever they feel the urge, proudly display an "OPEN" sign at ALL TIMES, and never lift a finger to help with any of the revitalization projects geared to help their business, and thereafter, the general community.

Okay, so I went a little too far on #3.

NEVERTHELESS, with all of this stuff crashing in around me, I was able to nearly finish the first-side of the Cable-Eight top. I'd add in a picture here, but DH took my camera down to his lair and I'm not yet ready to leave the Palace to retrieve it.

I'm taking a little break from knitting and may pick back up on the cardigan later. Sometimes it helps to step away from a project for a bit -- particularly one in 100% cotton. I find that I work hard to keep even tension with cotton as it has no "bounce" -- even more of a problem with these big ole 11 needles.

Okay, the Party is officially over.

Friday, October 07, 2005

TGI Rainy Friday Pizza Night in MerryLand

Ahhhhhh, it was like music to my ears ... the sound of substantial rain rat-a-tat-tatting on the metal roof here at Chez Schavis. It was a lovely lullaby that would have kept me cozy the rest of the day ... but, alas, there was a job waiting on us, so out we went.

The Natives, however, had other plans. Beau retired to "his" loft for a long morning nap, Bella decided to settle down with a good book, and Wally made for the bed, wishing only that he could have taken up residence before it got made ... Yes, a messy unmade bed is so much better.

The humans weren't gone all day, however. We popped back in for lunch just in time to see the soaked-to-the-bone chimney liner guys just packing up to leave. They installed the liner without issue, but had no desire to try a little traipse across that steep ridge to install the caps on the 2 other abandoned chimneys. They will return for that part next week, and will also inform Nice Bricklayer Greg that he can come on back to finish the flashing and take down the scaffolding. Hopefully all will be completed soon so that we will have no impediment to firing up the boiler when the chillies hit.

We did go back to work, but little could be done today as our project and/or our supplies on hand called for the exterior component of the job. I was pleased to see the rain, but it did mess up the schedule ...


I stayed up a bit last night, so pumped about the Cable Eight errata, and I got a good bit accomplished even though I am DEAD TIRED these days.

After a serious dose of ripping, and rewinding of yarn, I gave it another go. Much better! With the change of the order of the stitches at the cable cross, it lays out so much nicer. It's a very easy pattern and really moves along quickly due to the doubled yarn and gigantic size 11 needles.

On my earlier try, I used 10 1/2 needles, as I have a tendency to knit rather loosely. But, the cables were wicked tight, and this organic cotton is supposed to shrink a good bit, so I went back to the pattern suggestion.

Gauge swatch, you ask? OF COURSE, I did a gauge swatch ... but it was for another project and on size 7 needles, so I just gave it a guess. I'm sure it will turn out to fit somebody!

If I have my way, tomorrow will be spent knitting on this project, and maybe some on the Casual Cot'n cardigan too. I hope it continues to rain gently, but steadily for several days and that that I will have no cause to do any chore, but instead just KNIT!

Pizza Night

As usual, tonight is $5 Milena's pizza from Safeway. We picked up two as Gretch and Jamie are going to join us. We are eager to hear the story of Jamie's resignation from boring, rude commercial real estate marketing company, and what his plans are for the next step. It will be fun to have another maverick in the neighborhood!

P.S. --

Check out my new sidebar button .... I got sorted! Thank goodness it's Gryffindor.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I am NOT a Lousy Knitter!

I've just spent a good bit of -- make that TOO MUCH time, searching other knitting blogs for some clue as to why my Cable-Eight Top looks like shit-on-a-twisted-stick. HOORAY! It turns out there is an errata Grasshopper. Hot damm I am pleased. Now I just have to riiiiiiip out everything I've done so far and start again. But this time, I'll be happy, happy, happy! Thanks go to for hosting a Cable-Eight Knit Along. I sure wish I had started with them.

Freaky Fetish

I'm still singing the dental woes. I spent 2 1/2 hours in the torture chair this morning, coming out of it with 4 new white fillings (to replace 4 old silvers), a head rush, and a wallet lighter by $1200. So how much is that total now? Anyone keeping count? It must be at least a GAZILLION DOLLARS! Did I mention that I completed said 2 1/2 hours of torture sans novocaine? Yes, that's right, I hate the needle soooooo much that I went in commando, so to speak. It was touch-and-go there a few times -- "you touch me again, and I'm going to GO" --- but I made it through. As I sit here now, I think I need more adjusting on the left bottom molar, but truly, anything close to workable was fine by me. I needed to get OUT of that chair.

By redoing these last four cracked fillings, I now have the go-ahead from the General Dentistry component of my Torture Team. In early September, I received the go-ahead from the Periodontist component of my Torture Team. So now it is up to the third component -- The Ortho Man -- which makes me think of lawn care for some reason.

Last night, in preparation for this morning's festivities, I was mulling over this whole path toward straightened teeth. I decided to do a little googling to see what other's might think about the march toward braces. I did find a nice Yahoo group dedicated to adults with braces. Most members had cute little time ruler thingys attached to their posts that track the time in braces. So, I decided that it would be very cute to have one here on my blog to track my progress:

The problem is that I am apparently too dim-witted to figure out how to add it to the sidebar area, so I'll just plunk it in this post for now ... Of course, I'm sure it won't update automatically, AND unless you go back to this post, you won't see the little ladybug move. OK, but at least it's cute for this one day! Maybe I'll find out how to put it in the sidebar to count DOWN until the braces come off.

So, that's the last "cute," or even remotely pleasant thing that I have to say about my google search for "braces." First off, I found that there are apparently wacko, creepy, lunatics out there that get their jollies from braces !??! The group I joined included a warning to use care when joining a chat room because:

First of all, did you know that some adults have a sexual fetish for photos of young girls in braces? They are out there on the web, and they are probably lurking on this site, too.

Another group was for COLLECTORS of orthodontic devices!?!? OK, these people just need to be rounded up and shipped off to somewhere far, far away. Maybe they should all be fitted with a huge double set of braces!!! ... hmmmmm, maybe that would make them even happier ....

Anyway, the Metal Mouth Message Board did contain some useful information, but it also left me in a cold sweat. There are two sections in particular that I couldn't keep from reading, but probably should have found a way. In "My First Day(s) in Braces", Jannie from San Francisco, CA, said:

The fitting of the braces was probably the most painful part mainly because my teeth were very sore from the spacers already. When the assistant asked me to bite down, I felt like my teeth could fall out any minute.

Linda, from Maryland said:

The first morning I woke up and my teeth were so tender, I didn't even want to brush them. I was alternating between Tylenol 3 and regular Tylenol for a good 5 days. By day 8 the pain had improved to discomfort and pressure.

Hmmmm, can you see why I'm not so damn excited about this process any longer? Then I went on to the "Brace Removal Stories." Most of them talked about an equally horrible removal experience, but ended with a cheery "I'd do it all over again, it was SO worth the effort."

But by that time, I wasn't hearing the positive. Look what I found in the Photo section:

HEADGEAR!?!?!! Okay, no way did I even consider this!! I keep telling myself that the Ortho Man would have at least mentioned the possibility if it was a possibility...........right?

Isn't that the way it works?


somebody please throw me a rope.....

Monday, October 03, 2005

Trying' to Make a Buck

The nice bricklayer, Greg, arrived just at sunrise this morning to repair our old chimney in preparation for the liner. Now I come from a family of bricklayers, and know all the stereotypes about bricklayers being alcoholic, lazy s-o-b's that you can only count on to come to work on pay day and then you don't see them again 'til the booze runs out. As a matter of fact, I can add my personal concurrence to that stereotype with several family examples. Nevertheless, this fellow is bright, well-mannered, well-organized, and seemingly hard working. He performed the whole job -- setting scaffolding, tear down, and re-building -- all by his lonesome without a helper. My Darling Husband (who is a great talker, by the way) learned that the regular helper was only a summer guy and has gone back to school. Another helper was working out okay until he kept coming to Greg's house in the evening and asking to borrow money. So, in order to protect his family, Greg agreed to pay him in cash daily. That didn't work either (maybe this guy had a little crack habit ??), so he was told to hit the bricks -- so to speak. The pay wasn't chicken-feed, kids -- at $100 per day, I think it would get someone's attention. And it did.

You see, pal Jamie has been barkin' for a while that he doesn't want to sit at a damn desk and cater to a bunch of disrespectful jerks all day. He has the entrepreneurial spirit, and is hell-bent on finding a way to be his own boss and -- surprising to me -- has the solid consent of his new bride to ditch the job and do whatever he wants to do so long as they continue to pay the bills. As a matter of fact, he has recently been spending his little free time splitting wood from a tree that came down on his parents' property. The idea is to sell cords for firewood. And, as an aside, all that Paul Bunyan chopping has made Boyfriend quite buff. But anyway, we immediately thought of our nice Jamie to work as a $100 per day helper with nice bricklayer Greg. Will the connection work?

So, while nice bricklayer Greg worked our chimney, and nice pal Jamie toiled at his stinkin' desk job, I joined Darling Husband on the Schavis kitchen job in Smart Northridge. This was our first day for both to wear the new official, "SCHAVIS Construction" t-shirts. We looked quite cool I am sure, but I don't think it helped the work to any degree. We are preparing for the breakfast area bump-out, which will mean breaking through an exterior wall, sistering-in floor joists, and reconfiguring the exterior wall to accept a swinging door. The first part of the project -- reworked kitchen, half bath, and bump-out laundry room (into the garage), turned out extremely nice, although there were a number of unanticipated issues along the way.

Part of the afternoon was spent at the Hellish Home Depot where we had to dig through piles of lumber of every dimension EXCEPT the one that was supposed to be in that bin. We never did find any 12 foot, 2x10's, so we headed over to the equally Hellish Lowe's where they had loads of 12 foot, 2x10's, but 95% of them were fit for nothing better than the fireplace. We perservered and came out with the quota figured by Estimator Extraordinaire, Darling Husband. Tomorrow, we shall break out the walls, Baby.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An Artsy Day

This morning, Dear Husband started applying stain/sealer to our back porch and came across another new chrysalis visitor: This is far different from Monarch chrysalisis (? what is the plural?). You can see how tiny it is with Dear Husband's stainy fingernail for comparison, and it has that neat kind of calico coloring with those wonderful golden beads attached. He called me out to see it, feeling very confident that it is due to emerge shortly.

This was the second Nature Call of the morning. Earlier, around 6:30 or so, I settled down in my Old Lady Lazy Boy to watch infomercials and knit on Cable Eight. Almost immediately, I was taken over by sweet Beau who found my lap irresistible, and he does all too seldom. After just a few minutes, his head popped up to stare across the room ... then he hopped down and ran over for a closer look. I assumed he was after a cricket (although we have been less cricket-ridden these days), and simply went back to my knitting. Several minutes later, I noticed he had moved over towards me and was again watching intently. So, I decided to have a look and this is what I saw:
Now it wasn't EXACTLY this guy -- he came from a Google image -- but this could be his twin brother. Now I ask, "How the heck did he get in?" The crickets I can understand ... they squeeze through any tiny hole in these old floorboards ... but a BIG OLE TOAD??? The only thing we can figure is that he was on the front porch last night when we enjoyed cocktails and munchies with Gretch, James, Mandy and Arbor. We did not turn lights on and so, maybe when one of us went in for something, he hopped in too without our seeing. Very strange indeed. I'm just wondering what would have happened if Isabella had found him first ... I would truly lose it if she brought a toad to me in bed.

Okay, so I spent the rest of the morning knitting -- or should I say TRYING to knit -- as Beau continued to find me irresistible and since that rarely happens, I accommodate him to any length necessary. Along about 12:30, I headed out to ...
Face Painting Seminar!! I really enjoyed myself, particularly as I have had no real creative outlet for quite some time. My fellow students were all friendly and funny. We first practiced on each other. My partner, Melanie (ADORABLE young gal) models my very first butterfly .

She painted me as Spiderman (sorry no picture), then we took to painting ourselves.

Here's Melanie and Kathy working on the scarecrow. (Pretty artsy photo composition too, huh?) And next, one of Old Town's most respected merchants becomes two-faced: skeleton on the left, and scarecrow on the right.

Finally, we chose random pictures of real animals and had to try to recreate the image. I drew a growling Puma, but my classmates guessed I was a baboon!!

I got high marks for the open mouth, but I think I blew it on the ears placed so close on top of the eyes. In fact, looking at it now, I wouldn't have the slightest clue what the heck it was! In any event, it was loads of fun, I'm glad I went, and I might even buy some facepaints so I can try it again.

  • Yankee Knitter Designs "Aran Sweater" in Sirdar Supersoft Toddler Aran "Hyacinth"
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  • The Things I Get Into
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