Thursday, November 25, 2010

Borrow a Dog for an Exercise Buddy!

I would love to have a dog, but you all know - with my travel schedule it just is not possible.  But I am from a family of dog lovers, most everyone in my family has one - and believe me, I can borrow a dog!  Why didn't I think of this before?  So, meet my new jogging buddy Sadie.  She is a member of one of my sister's households and seeing that she is a lab - she is always up for a nice little trot.  
OK, so she could use some help with her leash manners.  She actually tripped me today and I fell, skinning my knuckles.  No major injury thankfully, but now I have added a few knots to her leash so I can easily guide her back over to my right side.  But it really isn't her fault - I think she just doesn't know any better.  She is a trotter - my sister says she pulls wicked on that leash, and I guess she does if you want to just go for a walk.  Like a horse who doesn't want to walk going back to the stable!  But a trot seems like a good pace for her and she is happy enough to trot along side of me.
Of course, as soon as I try to take her photo, she pulls out into the lead.  I have to gently remind her that we are "partners".  And she seems to be understanding the concept a little bit more.  Don't ask me why, but a long time ago when I had a Rotty - she totally understood Partners but Heel just didn't sink into her thick head.  So, partners it is!
I am so happy to have her with me.  I don't like jogging on the trail all by my lonesome - because I am afraid of coyotees.  Seriously!  Even though I know that running into a pack of coyotees in the middle of the afternoon is a long shot - I hear them yipping all night sometimes.  They make me nervous.  Not sure she would be much of a protector, but I feel better having her along.  So, it is good for the 2 of us.  Trust me - you won't find a more willing and happy jogging partner than an active breed of dog.  A lab fits the bill perfectly!
I have doctors orders to exercise 3-4 times a week if I can because I have asthma.  Exercise is important for lung capacity so that when I am having a bad day - I still have some breathing room in my lungs.  The doctor told me that the best Rx she could write was exercise (but I do have medicine back-ups!).  I take that seriously and usually I will try to do a 5K at my fast walk/trot pace a few times a week.  I built up to 5K over a period of time.  I do a "mellow" Pilates or yoga video a few times a week too.  I have a few tapes - they all cost about $5 each (a bargain!) and I rotate them around.  Bad air quality means indoor exercise (you can check your area on weatherbug.  And cold air is the worse thing ever for my breathing so that means indoors too if it is very cold.  But if I get lazy or my schedule gets jammed up and I skip exercise altogether, after a few days I really do feel my lungs shutting down a little bit and I start to get short of breath just from something simple like going up the stairs.  
So, if your Dr. suggests exercise, I highly recommend that you try your best to make it part of your daily schedule!  Sometimes I have a monthly gym membership and then I will do alot of walking on the treadmill.  But I've got to say - it is much more fun with a dog!  If you don't have one, try borrowing one!  I like watching our shadows as we make our way along the trail - no cars allowed!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Gift of Food

A few weeks ago I was at my sister-in-laws house - she is a great decorator and this is a photo of what she had on display just coming in the door.  Just thought I would share!
Today's post is about the gift of food.  One of my sister's is recovering from a major surgery - right now I am staying with her and helping out.  When you are sick, you need a full time secretary to keep track of everything, let me tell you.  Nurse visits, doctors appointments, medication schedules, etc.  And I am happy enough cleaning and cooking, keeping her company and knitting on my socks when things are quiet.  Her husband is back at work full time and if I wasn't here she would be alone all day.  And she needs help.  There are just no two ways around it.  It has been good for both of us to hang out together - it has been a long time since we could do that!
If you know someone who is sick, please consider the gift of food to bring over to the household.  Really.  My sister has been home now for about 3 weeks and we have been really lucky to have a steady supply of food gifts.  Beef stew (yum!), coffee cake, carrot bread, banana bread, turnip soup, winter stew, chicken soup, lentil soup, cookies, muffins, homemade jelly - it has all been eaten.  One weekend my nephew and his wife came and she brought an entire hot cooked meal with her - ribs, potatoes, soup, salad.  Another day she sent over chicken and baked beans, macaroni and cheese.  This week company came for dinner - and they brought the entree of pasta casserole and we fixed the salad.  Don't get me wrong, I am cooking plenty, but sometimes it is nice to just open the fridge and have a selection of things all prepared, just waiting to be heated up.  
And my nephew's wife - she has the best recipe for baked beans - I have to get that recipe so I can add it to my list of food to gift to other when needed.  Or potlucks!  I don't know though - she makes a great macaroni and cheese too.  I would say it is almost a toss up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An October Project

October was supposed to be a restful month for me and coming off a long, busy summer I was looking forward to it.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans!  First off, the end of Sept. some house guests clogged the toilet and then left it running (and left the house - city people?).  By the time it was discovered - the upstairs and downstairs flooring had to be replaced, the bathroom vanity and the ceiling.  This involved 3 trips to the hardware store, which is 3 hours away (6 hours round trip).  I had to unload 40 boxes of hardwood flooring by myself - now that was an accomplishment!  My house was a construction zone for the month.  Besides the fact that you never totally make out with insurance companies, so I was upset about the additional unbudgeted expense, sigh.  
The living room is long and skinny and after many different furniture arrangements, we have it divided up into a reading/knitting/visiting corner with the TV & TV couch on the other side.  This photo was taken shortly after the flooring was replaced and I haven't been able to clutter up my corner yet!  On the other side of the long couch is the dining room table and that leads into the kitchen.  I have had these futon couches for about 15 years now - love them, especially the little sofa one - it has a matching foot rest that you can use to make a bed if needed, but we use the foot rest with the bigger couch.  The little one is much more comfortable than the big one for sitting on and my son loves the big one for sprawling all over - the perfect pair.  Easy to take the covers off and wash too!
Well, at least my house will look neat and tidy when I return in the Spring.  Because... once again I am on the road - actually I left Canada before the end of October so it was a big rush to get my house put back together so I could be out the door by my deadline.  And the whole time that construction was going on, I was trying to finalize my financial figures for the quarter, pack my office, pack my stuff and close down the business.  
It was the first time I have ever made this road trip without my son.  It went really fast - I didn't have to stop at every rest area, I could play the radio on whatever station I wanted and I could even blast the A/C when I got tired.  But I still missed him alot.  In a few days we will have been apart for 3 months and I still don't know when I will be going to Austria.  Thank goodness for Skype to help keep us all connected!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Lonely Sock

Ta-Da!  One sock!  The 2nd one should go much faster because for this one I had to make lots of changes along the way compared to my friends written instructions (which she wrote out by looking at another sock - she just knits with no pattern).  I've written down all my notes.  And then after I knit the 2nd sock for this one, I am going to knit another pair using these directions, with more changes!  I guess that is how one goes about getting a perfect sock pattern for themselves.
This sock is a bit wide for me, but seeing that it is done - I won't be changing it.  But the next pair - well, I think it will have to be a good 10 stitches narrower through the foot.  See the 2 side-by-side?  You can see that mine is a bit wide but not overly so.
I have to learn how my friend makes such a perfect rounded toe - even though I grafted my stitches I still have the slightly squared look.  I did some internet searching and came up with the suggestion to slip the outside stitches over each other with a crochet hook before grafting and that will help get roundness.  Any other tips?  But really, look at her perfect toes.  And the decrease stitches fall centered where mine seem to be at the top of the foot.  Hummm.
And look how that sock looks on my feet!  Oh so comfy!  I think part of why I love the red sock so much is the Kroy yarn, but I have to say - I am wearing my blue sock right now and the Regia yarn I used, although thin is very warm!  Warmer than the Kroy (red sock) which is on my other foot.  Any other favorite sock yarns out there?
And how are the rest of you doing with Judy's knit-along? 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sock Knit Along Progress

This is my little knitting helper - one of my sister's dogs!  She loves to sit on my lap and watch me knit - and I let her do that after we had a serious discussion about NOT stealing my ball of yarn, LOL.  If you look closely at the photo you can see I am wearing my friends red sock - just as a pattern reference, you know? The yarn I am using is Regia - I am not sure I really like it all that much because it is not as soft as Kroy.  I need to find some Kroy for the next pair!  Or is it Croy?  I think it is Kroy and let me tell you - it is a favorite sock yarn with my friends in Canada.
These are winter socks so have a longer leg.  I am down to the heel split, but have lost my 4th needle - I think I left it another sister's house!  So - hopefully in the next few days I will be able to get my lost needle and get back to knitting.
How about the rest of you?  Socks on the needle?  Oh - and yes, I was going to try the 2 pairs at once method, but first I have to get that 1 ball of yarn divided into 2 and sometimes it is the simpliest of things that seem so difficult at times, so I am happy to stick with my dpn's for this pair!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Meet my Tractors, Part I of a Long Story

I have a sort-ov long story about the history of my tractors.  So, this is 1 segment of the story and then another day I will add another segment because otherwise I think you will be sitting here forever reading about my tractor saga.  
Exhibit A:  The big Kabota tractor.  It has everything - post hole digger, front end loader, mower deck, york rake, brush hog and rotatiller.  I was originally talked into the purchase of this thing by my husband over 10 years ago because he needed a riding lawn mower.  Take it from me - never fall for the line - "oh, you don't need to go look at it, Honey - they deliver!"    Because this one was too big for the lawn that needed to be mowed.  None-the-less we are well prepared should we ever buy some huge spread somewhere, maybe have a few hundred head of cattle or something? - obviously it would have to be something bigger than our current property.  Well, my Dad likes "yard ornaments", I guess my husband does too.  Except Dad's tractors are really old fashioned and have character.  Got to remember to do a post just in honor of Dad's tractors.  This one is just ugly, but I suppose functional.

Enter Exhibit B:  The "small" Kabota, minus the jumbo grass collector bags that attach to the back.  This one is bigger than your average riding lawn mower.  Actually, it would come in very handy if we ever happen to own - say - a 19 hole golf course some day.  Again - I fell for the line of having the mower delivered.  It does do a hum-dinger of a job mowing - but it needs some sort of service.  Which means I have to either buy a new flatbed trailer (I sold mine because I got tired of driving around all sorts of BIG things for many miles through 2 different countries), or borrow one to get it to the service center.  But I do know some mechanically inclined people who may be able to fix it for me in the spring.  In the meantime, since I am not there and it will be snowing, I am not too worried about it.
Not tractors, but part of my whole mowing the lawn story:
Not pictured:  Exhibit C:  The self-propelled Sears lawn mower - the kind you push around.  Because even though we have 2 tractors, we needed something much smaller to get into the smaller spots.  First time someone else mowed the lawn for us they ran over a bunch of rocks and ruined the blade thing underneath.  We have tried to mail order the replacement part, but Sears doesn't mail order parts.  We have been to Sears, but they didn't have that part the day we were there.  You have to understand, it takes us 6 hours round trip to get to Sears so we don't go so often.
Not pictured:  Exhibit D:  My very own, very old electric lawn mower.  I won't give this thing up for anything because is always works like a charm, will practically mow through a forest, is light weight, you can push it either way... it is an oldie so is very tiny - I can pick it up with one hand and bang it up and down if the mower part gets stuck and it is instantly unclogged.  It has a beautiful, long, GREEN electric cord (green for grass - get it?).  Except my husband stole my cord this summer to plug in a very important freezer and I just never got around to buying a different cord for the freezer and who is stupid enough to unplug a freezer in the summer to mow a lawn?  Not me, because that would be the 1 day that the sky falls down on me and I would forget to go plug it back in.
So, there you have it - 4 different "lawn mowers" to pick from at any given time, except the big tractor is too big to be called a mower, right?  You would think that it would be an easy enough task to get the lawn mowed every so often, but not so!  You will have to stay tuned for the next segment of this story.
Oh - and by the way - that small Kabota tractor photo - yours truly had just mowed that small patch of back yard - I also have a very huge meadow but that is so grown up I have to figure out how to use all those handy-dandy attachments on the bigger tractor in the spring.  I am sure that will be a story all of it's own.