Monthly Archives: April 2009

Just stuff….

A. The Reluctant Gardener

I’m not a big fan of gardening. I grew up in a climate where gardening is WORK and frankly, I’d rather read a book or knit (or Tunisian crochet, see B) or watch a movie. I’m really what you’d call “indoorsy.” BUT….last summer I started a rock garden and in the last few weeks, things have been a-sprouting. The chives came back almost overnight, the walking onions and lilies of the valley are peeking out of the dirt, the hen and chicks are greening or reddening, according to their type, the hosta are coming up, and at least one spiderwort made it through the winter. I do have to say, when it’s the stuff I’ve planted, as opposed to the stuff that was already in the ground when I moved here, it is pretty exciting. Not OMG-I’m-going-to-go-nuts exciting — I’m not going to plow up the acreage and put in ye olde English garden or anything — but yeah, I’ll do a bit more this summer.

B) Tunisian Crochet

This is a whole different type of crochet that some may be a little familiar with (the afghan stitch is Tunisian simple stitch), and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty neat. I can approach the variety and drapiness of knitting and keep the speed of crochet — what’s not to love? It’s also easier on my right wrist than regular crochet because there aren’t all the swooping and twisting motions. What I’ve done so far is in the simple stitch, but there are many more I intend to explore when the current project-of-size, a baby blanket, is finished. Here’s some pics of what I’ve been working on:

First, a dishcloth, and boy-o-boy, is this fun to make!* If you do crochet, I recommend giving the pattern a try.

6 wedges, one seam (last to first), sc edging

6 wedges, one seam (last to first), sc edging

the back looks more like knitting than crochet

the back looks more like knitting than crochet

The baby blanket is also in Tunisian simple stitch, and in a technique that can be done in knitting or regular crochet, called entrelac. Entrelac is neat because it is a bunch of little squares, but they are worked onto each other rather than made separately. I’ve tried knitted entrelac and, while pretty, it takes me forever — a circle of Hell kind of forever — and with the Tunisian crochet, I can do a couple of rows of squares during a Buffy episode.

6th row in progress. Blanket is dense yet soft and flexible.

6th row in progress. Blanket is dense yet soft and flexible.

closer detail. The finished blanket will have a few rows of edging, too.

closer detail. The finished blanket will have a few rows of edging, too.

the back.

the back.

So that’s what’s up with me, when I’m not grading, which is less and less of the time as we enter the end of the semester.

As for right now, I have to go devil the dozen eggs I boiled last night and get ready for Quaker meeting & pot luck.

*WAY more fun than crouching over the dirt, poking holes and dropping in seeds. See? Indoorsy.

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Retraction

In the post below about Violet’s cringe-worthy new look, I wrote

“The real problem is that, unlike a grooming business, I didn’t get to talk to the groomer, and the preferences I left with the vet receptionist did not get passed on.”

I had a reply from one of the women that works full time at the clinic and I want to share it because 1) it exonerates the desk staff in the matter of Violet’s furry humiliation, 2) it’s funny, and 3) hey, blog post. So here you go:

“. . . be assured, we have worked with “the groomer” enough to know what she does, and we write any directions in the groomer book and then again on slips we hang on the cages of the dogs she’s going to groom, we have written in black and highlighted the instructions, we have written twice on the same sheet in red and high-lighted in bright yellow… we go over all the grooming instructions right when she shows up….. you know, we feel we do everything short of buying flashing neon instructioin signs to hang by each dog!! . . . About 3 weeks ago, we had a guy that had been growing his dog out to get its springer-cut, now mind you the groomer RAISES and shows springers and actually does them very well. I wrote it down AND told her what he wanted (like usual,) what does she do, she shaves it… this guy wasn’t pleased at all and . . . she told him she wasn’t instructed what he wanted!!!!! That really ticks me off and I dug in the garbage until I found my instruction slip and showed her and Doc. She always just says ‘oh well” Just know, it’s not us office girls not doing our job, even though that is what she will tell anyone if they call her and also we feel just as bad for the owners paying to get their dogs “groomed” and end up with a sheared dog!! [Violet] looks just humiliated. Are you sure Zeke isn’t taunting and teasing her behind your back?? =O) Give her a hug from Lori and tell her I’M sorry she was a casualty of the number 10 blade.

Violet thanks you for the hug, Lori. And I don’t think Zeke taunts her because he barely acknowledges the existence of the dogs and cats, but I wouldn’t put anything beyond Astrid cat!


My mother did it to me….

Your mother did it to you, and now I’ve done it to poor little Violet.

I’m talking about the Dorky Haircut.

I think most most of us had to suffer through at least one of these or, if you were really unfortunate, years’ worth.  And if money was tight (as at our house), the original Dorky Haircut was compounded by Mom’s trimming of your bangs and let’s face it — severely angled cuts were only popular for about 10 minutes in the late ’80s (by which time I was pushing 30 and buying my own [occasionally dorky] haircuts, thank you).

Anyway, on to poor Violet. Violet is a mixed breed, combining a long haired dog (Havanese) with some kind of short-haired terrier. Her normal coat looks like this:

A pretty little girl, yes?

A pretty little girl, yes?

Unfortunately, Violet’s coat is prone to matting and I’ll admit I don’t give her regular brushings. It’s much easier just to have her trimmed every spring.

Now I’ll admit, her normal spring trimming is dorky enough — shaved down to about 1/2″ with longer hair on her head, ears, tail, and moustache. Here’s a couple of samples:

violet-short-1violet-short-2

Short but cute-enough and certainly easy, like pixie cuts for very little girls.

So here’s what happened — the local grooming shop is pricey, not terribly clean, and sells puppy-mill puppies, so this time I decided to have the groomer at my vet’s office do Violet’s cut.* I’d been told the groomer was a bit, um, utilitarian, but it was less expensive and I have seen other dogs that have visited her. The real problem is that, unlike a grooming business, I didn’t get to talk to the groomer, and the preferences I left with the vet receptionist did not get passed on. And now this is what poor  little Violet looks like:

I look dorky AND I'm cold!

I look dorky AND I'm cold!

Shaved to a scant 1/4″, no longer hair on ears or head, no moustaches, and from the back, she looks like she’s had a Brazilian wax! (I’m not going to post an posterior shot of Violet because even little gray dogs deserve a bit of respect).

There it is. I saved $10 on Violet’s trim and avoided supporting puppy mills and our reward is the fact that Violet looks like the demon spawn of an Italian greyhound and a deranged goat.  With an expensive wax job. When we got home, Ricky followed Violet around, just staring at her, for about an hour.

And did I mention she’s always cold? Because right now in NW Iowa, we also got us a blizzard!

*Thus making Violet suffer doggie dorkiness for my principles…..