Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Thor

Well, it might appear impulsive, and althought it sort of is impulsive, it isn't exactly a spur of the moment purchase. Jackie and Tim had been talking "birds" for a while now. Sticker shock at pet stores didn't keep them from looking at more pet stores but it finally sent them to Craig's list where they found this guy. "Thor" is his name. He has a multiple personality. Very sweet, very threatening, very insane. There are a series of CDs we are going to get for handling him and I'm pretty sure we are all going to be best friends, making the "forever" in the phrase BFF more meaningful than ever.

As an aside, the diet went well until this weekend, I'll be getting back on track today.

Back to the news of the day. Thor is eight so we have the rest of our lives to enjoy him. He talks. When Tim asked why they were getting rid of him the guy said Thor had a potty mouth and the wife wanted him gone. Well Thor says more than just swear words and I only heard him swear once, at least only once that was loud and clear and unmistakeningly foul. He also has periods of sqwauking - awful to listen to but we are getting some materials to teach us how to break that habit.

The kids were also here this weekend and Jackie's friend, Shelia, from Wisconsin is here, making for a very lively two days. The pool got a workout and so did all of us. I came into the house at one point to see Thor watching the fun through the window. He has a "bird's eye view" of the pool. Pets are fun but the grandkids trump all of them. Mackenzie swam for a while without floaties and is doing a pretty good doggie paddle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life in the Fat Lane

Anyone who knows me knows I've never been thin (at least post-child #1 and that was 1972). But at the time of this writing, I'm fat. Not my fattest, but fat nonetheless and I need to change. So call me Sparky - I've joined sparkpeople on line. It's a free diet support site with some pretty nifty apps. Turns out that this lady (ahem, me) with MS and type 2 diabetes apparently also has heart disease. I'm waiting for the final tests and results but the EKG and newly developed heart murmur speak pretty loudly. Ironically, after reading up on things, it seems heart disease is in place long before the a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and, people with both MS and type 2 diabetes aren't uncommon and, one step further, both MS and type 2 diabetes are associated with heart disease. Oh my. So I'm freaking out here. I'm remiss in checking my blood sugar. My goal is to keep myself between 95 and 105. Since 150 is pretty routine, I have my eating habits cut out for me. Life without cinnamon rolls with icing, life without fried foods, life without fast foods. And salt! No added salt! Frankly, I can skip the salt, it's the meat tenderizer (ala accent) that I (and all the delis) put in dips and brocolli salads, etc. That is one of those deadly yummies I can't imagine living without. But I have to. The pool is excellent for my MS, I can exercise in it, and now, it might just be my life saver.

Yesterday I had one of those fabulous donuts I love for breakfast and it hit me like a 2x4 that I was commiting suicide. My "ah ha" moment. A long slow death at my own hand. Ironically, I quit smoking in February 2010 and I'm sure that didn't do my heart any good but food? OMG. I will freak until the tests and done and the results are in and it isn't doing me any good in the meanwhile. I sleep alot. I am depressed in spite of taking anti-depressants. I seem paralyzed with fear. But life goes on and June 3rd will be hear before I know it. For now, I'll get used to testing my blood sugar regularly, eating only the most sensible foods and visiting twice a day.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Retirement, Don't Rely on the News Reports!

This is a tiny little rant I have. The news and their lists on the best of retirement, the best places, the best low tax states, the best social life. C'mon! They are all blowing hot air! Security changes at a drop of the hat. It changes depending on who is paying for the survey. Then we should consider where the best health care and the lowest state deficit. All these things can change with a storm, an earthquake, an audit of the books. Seriously, retirement is like happiness; it starts inside. Actually, retirement IS happiness. Yes, you must take certain realities into consideration. An island in the Pacific, although pretty, unique and nice, isn't realistic if you are nowhere near friends, family and in line with the lifestyle you lived prior to retirement. And money? C'mon again! Is there anyone you know who isn't relying on "entitlements?" Nobody defines entitlements when they refer to them but I am thinking retirement plans from companies (including retirement plans from state, county and local governments) and especially, social security. It's the key to eating, drinking and a roof over our heads (or wheels beneath our feet). Granted, anyone under 30 should be taking in all the retirement financial advice out there but beware . . . my retirement "fund" lost 1/3rd of its value and that 1/3rd is now funding someone elses retirement. What? you say. Yes, that cash didn't vanish into thin air. It was stolen and it went somewhere. Basic accounting folks. If it leaves one column it has to appear on another. Now lets all count our losses, add them up and find out where it went. Follow the paper trail people. Based only on the losses counted by you, your closest friends and relatives, somebody is living very grand off their ill-gotten gains and that is just a small amount of you and your closest friends. The government has turned a blind eye to it. Actually, who is in charge of it? The SEC isn't, or doesn't care. The SEC isn't looking out for any body's investments. So pray for the youngest among us and their futures because they can't rely on any plans offered today. Maybe gold is the answer and some cold hard cash. But when it comes to storing said retirement funds, do not, I repeat, do not put it where it can be stolen, taken, controlled by any entity, devalued, etc. Good luck to those under 30. A big fat good luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The last installment on insanity.

This is day three of my ongoing nonsense to get an old loom to perform a miracle. I found alot of sites on line with outrageous plans and very simple plans. It is interesting to see I'm not alone in my quest. I knew my heddle was all wrong. So I started over with suggestions I found online with some tweaking. This is what I came up with. Manila folder cut in lengths with a hole punched in center. I figured I would warp it with one strand through the hole, two strands through the slot and so on. This would work better but I had to start over so . . . get out the scissors.

My plan is working better. It isn't straight. It isn't taught. It isn't pretty yet, I'll continue on my nerve wracking path for a few more days and see what I come up with. Every now and then however, I'll sit and spin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I think it is possible to drive myself crazy!

Tension! I need Tension! As you can see on the right, all looks well. I have the "back beam" on the outside of the loom and since I couldn't find any large rubberbands (need to buy veggies with rubberbands) I used yarn to tie it to the loom. However . . . . as seen on the left, everything is sagging on me. I need to find a way to roll the front off with tension. I made a heddle with cardboard, using a hold puncher to creat holes. The other heddle is paperclips fed through a long thing knitting needle. After hours of messing around with this I am tempted to buy a small rigid heddle loom. If I monetize this to hit on Ashford, Kromski, Schacht, Le Clerc, Louet & Dundas maybe I can nickle and dime myself into a loom. Explain my obsession ... please! In the meanwhile, I might just spin up some of this hand carded montedale.

Actually, the scarf experiment might work. The glob in the center of the scarf is a broken warp so I tied it and that knot and stringers make the glob. Basically, I like it and might add more globs to the scarf as I got along. Primative? Definitely.

I keep forgetting to post about our fabulous day with Paige and Dave, Gypsy and Ginger, the later two being weener dogs. We had the most delightful day and in the fall they may stop over for another day of spinning, chatting, catching up and dog play. The dogs got along so well it was unbelievable, especially since Gypsy has never trusted me enough to get near me and Rocky can match her feisty nature and temper. During dinner, she all but sat in Tim's lap for some scraps of food. Granted, it was chicken off the rotissouri but still, a huge suprise. While we were spinning Paige noticed book 5 of the Outlander series and it turns out that she read it too, and loooooved it. Another shared interest. She says, Jane is reading it now, which is amazing because I really didn't think Jane would go for this sort of book but it is an amazing series and a memerable read. Jane is a book hound, having had enough books to start a book store back in Indie where her victorian summer home is. Jane is my other dear friend from our time in Apache Junction. If I could visit them more often I would. I think I will this winter. So the dogs got along well, the hubbies had a good time and Paige and I had an amazing day. Oh, and I have a special thanks to Dave who changed my flat tire!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Still Say "For Sure"

Loom together - warping yarn ready!

Seems to be moving along well.

I have to redo the ends. I need to have the "rollers" on the outside and perhaps connected with thick rubber bands.

The weft.

Once upon a time my mother gave me a primitive loom, more basic than primitive I guess. I used it years ago for several small projects and caught the weaving bug so I got a real loom. But then along came retirement and the loom is among several things we regret selling; like the Harley. I did not, however, let my stash go and recently I gathered the storage boxes together and reunited myself with my favorite stuff, fiber! It's a whole lot of wool. My task might seem overwhelming but as any other fiber freak will tell you it might be challenging but it is not overwhelming. You can never have too much fiber. So whilst hand-carding a large amount of montedale, a wool which tends to want to "pill," I began thinking about that little loom. A while later I decided to get out that little loom and put it together. I wanted to weave a scarf and began to examine the loom and see if I could apply some of the big loom concepts to this small loom. The ideas flowed and snowballed. Since this retirement blog has taken a huge turn off the snowbird map I decided to record my efforts here because it is still about me having a whole lot of time on my hands, "for sure"!

With the warping board long gone I strung my hand spun warp on the back of chairs and began to warp the tiny loom. I don't have a heddle so I'll have to weave each row by hand and I still have to decide what to roll the scarf on as it is made but I'm sure I'll manage. I've been searching the web for a pattern or design but I still have a few hours left before I decide because there is still some beautiful blue/green hand spun drying on the monkey bars. This'll be fun . . . for sure!