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Saturday, July 25, 2009

True Story

Me: (gesturing to the two mesh laundry hampers in my room) I seem to have acquired two laundry hampers somehow.

Mom: One of them is your brother's from college.

Me: Oh. Makes you wonder what he's using.

Mom: The white plastic one he's always had at home.

Me: Why don't I have a plastic one?

Mom: (points to what I thought was my yarn bin) You do. It's just full of yarn.

Me: Oh.

And that pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The House Sitting Chronicles

Day Two- Monday

The dogs decided to take advantage of my kindness of letting them sleep in the bedroom by waking me up at 6:20.
I was asleep when I became aware that the bed was shaking. I opened my eyes, and saw Lance with his paw on the bed. “Hi,” I said. “Go away”.
When I spoke, Lance began to wag his tail, and then placed both paws on the bed. “NO!” I said firmly, but I must have been too sleepy to sound firm, because he took this as an invitation to pull himself all the way onto the bed. Feeling left out, Olivia promptly joined him. They began to nudge me, not violently, but they probably wouldn’t have been disappointed if they’d manage to roll me out of bed.
I gave up on any hope of sleeping till 7 (when I’d planned to get up) and got up and pulled on some clothes, before taking the dogs outside for their morning walk.
Oreo met us in the garage, and suddenly decided he liked me, meowing, purring, and rubbing against my legs. I looked down and saw his food dish was empty. Oh. That explained the sudden demonstration of affection.
I fed the cat, and walked the dogs. After we got back from the walk, it was time to feed Lane and Olivia. They have separate dishes, and Olivia gets fed first (she also gets her leash on first). After she finishes eating, she waits for Lance to finish and then gets to lick his bowl.
After the dogs were finished eating, I got dressed for work, fed Nim, and left.
***
When I got back from work, I walked and fed the dogs again, then played with them a bit.
While I was making myself dinner, however, I checked on the Frog, and was concerned to see him floating at the top of the fish tank. Was he dead? I touched the top of his head, which was sitting above the water level, and he didn’t so much as blink. Oh no. He was definitely dead. And definitely too big to flush down the toilet. I decided I’d wait until later to call the owners and ask them what I should do, then went back to making dinner (yes, I washed my hand first-give me some credit!).
After dinner, when I started to clean up, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. It was the Frog! He was alive and now moving to a different spot in the tank. Apparently he had been in a coma or something earlier.
I fed the cat and the fish, and then went to bed, after closing up Lance and Olivia on the porch so I could sleep a little later tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The House Sitting Chronicles

Day One- Sunday
I’m spending the week house/pet-sitting for two dogs (Olivia and Lance, both yellow labs), a cat (Oreo), a frog (who may have a name but shall be referred to here as Frog), and a fish (Nim).
I arrived at 8:15 to walk the dogs before leaving to go to church. Oreo met me in the driveway, sniffed the tires of my car, gave my hand a cursory sniff, decided I wasn’t worthy of his attention, and stalked off.
When I went into the house, however, Lance and Olivia were thrilled to see me again. Forgetting I had been shown the location of their leashes yesterday, they pushed me over to them and then enthusiastically wagged their tails while looking back forth between me and the leashes.
When we got outside to walk, the cat joined us, following suspiciously at a distance. The message was very clear. “These two boneheads may trust you, but I’ll be keeping an eye on you”. We finished our walk, and I left for church.
When I arrived back from church, the dogs immediately declared their lifelong loyalty to me by following me into every room I went to. If I sat down, or stayed in a room for an extended period of time, they laid down to wait. If I went to the bathroom, they were waiting outside the door when I left. If I lay down on the couch to read and ignored them for too long, they climbed onto the couch and sat on me.
The dogs and I spent a nice evening together. The cat did not deign to make an appearance, even at suppertime. Nim was fed. I think Frog is alive; I’m pretty sure he moved.
Since Lance and Olivia (who is clearly the more dominate of the two) seemed to be missing their People, I let them sleep on their bed on the floor of the room I was in instead of on the porch.
And that’s pretty much it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

K2TOG

Most people who have spent a lot of time with me have heard me say, at one time or another, that I don’t believe in coincidences. Those same people (and imagine a lot of you reading my blog fall in that category) have also heard me point to knitting as an example of why I hold that belief. I’ve been thinking about knitting a lot recently, because I’m in the process of designing my own shawl pattern. And since it’s been a long time since my last post, I thought I’d write one about knitting.

Knitting is, at its heart, a very simple thing. Two sticks and some yarn are all you need. You make little loops with the yarn, and wrap them around your sticks. Do this enough times and you have…well, something at any rate. Knitting really consists of only two kinds of stitches, a knit stitch, and a purl stitch (a backwards knit stitch). But those two stitches can be combined in a seemingly infinite number of ways, and produce everything from a simple garter stitch scarf, to a complex lace shawl. (If you want to learn how to knit, click here.)

My grandma taught me to knit in second grade. I worked hard at for a few days, and then on and off for a few months. I had tiny little needles, and made my stitches way too tight to work with easily, and after a few months progress succeeded in producing…something.

This to be exact:

While I tried to pretend I had made something useful (it’s a scarf with an extra bit to cover your nose!) I was very disheartened. I lost interest in knitting and never really gave it a second thought…until I got to college that is.

It was late in the Fall semester, nearly time for Christmas Break, when I met Jessica. It had been an okay semester. I was enjoying the independence of college life (sans car, which did make things a bit difficult), and had enough challenging classes to keep me happily occupied. But the one thing I had really been hoping to find in college, I still hadn’t. And that was friendship.

But the cooler Autumn days were an invitation to spend time outside, and I went out to the courtyard of my dormitory to do work, when I saw two girls sitting outside, knitting.

Knitting! I used to knit. Not sure what I was doing, I walked over and introduced myself. Their names were Jessica and Carrie, and they were roommates. I told them about how used to know how to knit, and as I watched them, watched the calming, repetitive pattern of wrapping yarn around the needles and sliding off the stitches off the needles, my fingers began to itch. I realized that somehow my hands hadn’t forgotten how to knit, and that they wanted to try it again.

I mentioned that I would like to learn to knit again, and Jessica offered to drive me to Wal-mart to buy some needles and yarn, and I took her up on it.

Through Jessica, I also met Joanne, who was also learning to knit. I actually knew Joanne from class, but it wasn’t until we met outside the classroom that we grew to be friends. By the end of my Freshman year, the three of us met regularly once a week to knit, watch movies, and talk about books and life. It wasn’t a formal group or club, just three friends, who had been brought together, initially, through knitting.

I had given up on knitting back in second grade, but knitting never gave up on me. Instead, it was that simple offer of my grandma’s, to teach me to knit, that led to me meeting the best friends I have ever had. My favourite knitting abbreviation, and the title of this post, is k2tog. It means knit 2 stitches together. When you do that, you join the stitches so that two individual stitches become one. That’s what knitting has been for me. It has taken all the individual stitches of my life and knit them together into one piece of work-me.

As for my first piece of knitting, I still keep it as a reminder that things don’t always turn out the way you would like them to, and often you come across unexpected bumps. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep going, and you just might end up with something beautiful.