I'm back. Wow - sorry, I didn't mean to be gone for so long! Actually I didn't intend to be gone at all. Things have been busy and kind of stressful around here. We're dealing with a sick doggie (Riso, the English Setter) who's aging quickly and has developed a tumor that results in him producing way too much calcium. Which leads to organ failure. He's been in the hospital and lately to a vet who practices holistic medicine (in conjunction with his regular vet), and we're working to keep him comfortable for as long as we can. As long as we can convince him to eat, he seems to feel ok. We know when he's acting annoying that he's doing well.
This is Riso, last year, helping me catalog my stash on Ravelry:
Then Trouble (the Beagle) started acting sick - I took her in today and it turns out she may have thyroid issues but we're waiting to see if some antibiotics work before we have to give that a serious look. All of our animals are older; Trouble is the youngest and she's 9. It's not fun watching them slow down.
On a happier note, another reason for my silence was the arrival of my son J. and his girlfriend H. for a week. They arrived late Wednesday and left just last night. We did a ton of stuff and had a great time!
We took a quick trip up north. First stop was Leggett so we could check out some giant trees. Then we spent the night in Ukiah, so it would be just a quick hop over to Boonville for the Mendocino County Fair/CA Wool and Fiber Festival. There were some great vendors at the festival but I was surprised at the size of the show - I really expected more booths. What was there was super nice, but until I hear word that it has grown, 3+ hours to drive each way is a bit much for what was there. We stayed about 2 1/2 hours (and saw everything), and then headed back home.
Other things we did:
Took H. out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant for her birthday. Here's a shrimp head starting a confrontation with J. J. won - he ate the head. Though H. ate one of the eyes and pronounced it good ('tastes like popcorn!). Ewww...
J. said the head was fishy.
We went to the beach - and discovered that seaweed in Santa Cruz likes to sport dreadlocks.
We went to the San Francisco Zoo:
I've been trying for years to convince my husband that we need a pet giraffe. So cute!
A very contemplative gorilla...
Yesterday we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I got to pat a Bat Ray as he (she?) swam by.
I think I irked this fish - he was hiding around a corner, and poked his face out to find me looking right at him. He promptly turned around and hid again.
We didn't spend much time at home but when we were there, H. crocheted me a dishcloth (she knits too and learned how to use a spindle while she was here - I love her!):
And the two of them picked tomatoes for me.
Here they are. I asked them to pretend to like each other the picture, and they cooperated. Proof that kids might actually do something you ask them to do. Granted it took until they were in their 20's but hey, cooperation is cooperation. For those of you with small, challenging children - there is hope!
I haven't been totally slacking in the knitting/spinning department:
At the fiber festival I treated myself to a new, lightweight spindle from Carolina Homespun. Prior to trying this one out, I'd always pretty much sucked at spinning with a spindle. Turns out I didn't have the right spindle - and my old one was just too heavy for the fine yarn I wanted to spin. I improved right away - this is some tussah silk I picked up along with the spindle. I'll dye it after it's spun.
I also started work on this:
It's a merino/tussah blend that H. brought from Vermont - and asked me to spin up for her. I agreed to make the sacrifice. Someone's got to do the grunt work, right?
And here's some knitting:
My first toe up socks - and knit on 2 circs instead of DPNs. Damn I'm adventurous. So far so good. This is the Marigold pattern I found on Ravelry, knit in Glorious from The Yarn Place.
And the February Lady Sweater is progressing as well. It's not really this bright - but the picture without a flash made it come out gray. It's actually kind of a dark denim. The yarn is Noro Cash Iroha that has been hanging out in my stash for just over 18 months. At first glance (or feel) it doesn't seem like anything super special but once it's washed - wow. Super soft and absolutely fab.
Today is my last day of vacation. While I'm sorry to see it end, I've got no reason to complain - it was really fun, and I only have a 2-day work week! Life is pretty good.