Monday, July 29, 2013


We had some guests over the weekend.  Several were invited by my daughter for what is commonly known as a "sleepover," although this term, as we all know, is wildly inaccurate at best.  In this case, it was more of a prowl-the-mall-eat-lots-of-pizza-watch-horrible-movies-collapse-in-the-wee-hours-over.  They also ate waffles.

Several hours after the sun came up, but well before the sleeping beauties made their first appearance, I found this little guy camping in the chicken coop. I don't know how he survived the night in there, as my hens are as cranky at night as my daughter is the day after a "sleepover."

All the same, there he was, trying to make himself small and unnoticeable.  Not an easy job for a fist-sized amphibian.


I figured it wouldn't be long before the birds found him and started beating on him, so I scooped him up  and brought him outside.

I used the shovel because toads are notorious for pishing on people who dare to grab them, and  I was so not in the mood for that.


I'm pretty sure he was grateful for the rescue, but it's a little hard to tell for sure.

He looks kind of suspicious here,


and positively curmudgeonly in this photo.


Here he is, safely back on the ground


and ready to begin his day.


I hope the dog doesn't find him.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Well Traveled

You might be wondering after my last post whether I conquered the monster to-do list or whether I collapsed in despair and wept for my fleeing sanity.

The answer is yes, of course.

It was a bit of both, but in the end I got enough stuff done to leave home with a mostly clear conscience and a reasonable expectation that I wouldn't have to spend the entire vacation in a panic over the stuff that didn't get done.  More importantly, nobody had to be locked out of the house, no one had to seek professional help to deal with the lingering trauma, and the panic was kept to a minimum.

We packed up our stuff and got on a plane for Costa Rica, which looks like this at sunset.


And like this, if you want to take a break from the beach and head for the pool.


Insanely beautiful, no?  There were also random bands of monkeys that liked to play in the trees near the pool, but they were not terribly cooperative about having their pictures taken.  There will be more, and more beautiful pictures, along with some stories, another time.

This, obviously, is not a picture from Costa Rica:


It is, in fact, a picture of Isabel mailing the thank you notes she wrote after her Bat Mitzvah.

I forgot to mention it in The List, but #22 should have read: Number of reminders/nags/harassments to be issued to Isabel to make her finish her thank you notes before we leave: infinite.

It turns out that only 30 or 40 reminders were necessary.  She finished the notes and we figured we would mail them on Sunday, and when we forgot to do that, I figured we would mail them Monday when we returned the overdue library books and got cash from the ATM.

Monday--i.e., the day we were leaving THE COUNTRY--turned out be be busier than anticipated, which is the kind of development that would surprise no one except us.  No  biggie.  Airports have ATMs and there was a library book drop and a mailbox at our second favorite library, which was conveniently located directly on the way to the airport.

Or so I thought.  The library and the book drop were right where we expected them to be, but the mailbox has moved on.  Not a problem.  Airports probably have ATMs and mailboxes, right?  So there.

Not that we saw one at our local airport.  But, again, no big deal.  There was always the Chicago airport, or Miami International, or the hotel in Miami (seriously, it was a loooong travel day).

Or we could just forget the mailboxes and the poor thank you notes entirely and drag them all the way to Costa Rica and back in the bottom of Isabel's carryon bag.

Which, of course, is what we did. And we meant, of course, to mail them from Miami International as soon as we landed.  Or from the hotel in Miami, even though we spent a total of only 7 hours there, including the 5 during which we slept. Or, from O'Hare, where we would surely find a mailbox during our several hours of layover.

Or--and we should have known this all along-- we could do what we always do and mail them at our grocery store, which really does have everything.

Just so you don't think I've been a total fiber slacker while I was away, below are pictures of my most recent spinning project.

I bought the spindle and fiber last summer. I had already spun the first chunk of the fiber and started on the second when I decided that a Turkish spindle would make the best international travel spindle ever.  It is sturdy, has no hooks or sharp parts that would upset the nice people in charge of airport security, and it disassembles for safe transport so I don't have to worry about it breaking in my bag. Also, the yarn comes off the spindle already wound into a nice center pull ball, meaning that I wouldn't need to take along any paraphernalia for winding off either the singles or the plied yarn.  Yay me.

Plus, if you are in that kind of mood, you can wind your yarn on in pattern.



I have never before been in such a mood.  I have, of course, seen eye-popping pictures of gradient yarn wound in pattern and long ago concluded that I was not the sort of person who would wind on in a way that takes longer than the actual spinning.  I even tried winding on some of my singles in pattern just to confirm that I was certainly not that kind of person.

And then I started plying my colorful yarn and I thought that I would, just this once, give the fancy-pants winding on thing one more try.



You can guess the rest of the story, and while you giggling over how easy it is to convert me into that kind of spinner, you should pause just long enough to be thankful that I did not post every stinking picture I took of every stinking change in the color pattern.  It is like watching a kaleidoscope and I am hooked.  But not hooked enough to wind my singles that way.  I really do have some standards, you know.