We're having some nice weather, with temperatures in the 50-60ºF range (in January!), so on Saturday, we took the pups to the dog park.
Dusty has learned that if he gives the ball to someone, they will throw it. Rocky did his share of running, although he can't compete with Dusty, but then because he runs more slowly, he noticed some nice people with treats.
There were at least 30 people there, and perhaps as many dogs.
Now that I'm recovering well from pneumonia, I have begun walking around the neighborhood with the dogs. The first few days, the dogs and I (and sometimes DH) just walked around the block. We use the Walk for a Dog app, so our distance walked helps Best Friends Animal Society. (They let you pick from a list of dog-related charities.) How much they donate and how often depends on how many people who are using the app have chosen a given charity. I get an email every once in a while to let me know that a donation has been made. The app and the donations are supported by advertising. Here was what I was doing for the first part of the week (just around the block, with a side trip to the poopie-bag dispenser at the trail).
By Friday, I felt well enough to take a longer walk.
We went out onto the Larkspur trail for a bit, now that it isn't so muddy anymore, and we added a detour down a dead-end street as well.
We have added a couple of new items to the house. We bought the extra grate ($50) for the center of the stovetop to replace the griddle, which is heavy and has to be seasoned before it's used for cooking. I was afraid it was going to get stained before I could season it, so I took it off and put it in the drawer under the stove. The replacement grate came and is now in place. I'm very happy with this stove, and I haven't even used many of the features yet.
We also ordered a curio cabinet to hold all the little chotskies we have collected over the years. (We need to use the space in the china cabinet for actual dishes, as we have less storage space in our new kitchen.) DH had to assemble it, and then he found we needed extra glass shelves, so he ordered those locally.
I managed to get some more knitting done. I finished the Janet Cardigan for Mariah for the Pick of Seasons KAL in the Götz Doll Lovers group on Ravelry. (The deadline for finishing is the end of January.)
I went down a needle size to make it slimmer and worked the sleeves in the round instead of flat, making them 5 rounds longer in the stockinette section and adding an extra cable to the lower sleeve, so adding almost an inch to the length of the sleeves. I didn't add any length to the body, as I could see the cable section was going to fall about where her waist is, and that was what I wanted.
I already had the first clue for The Rose City Yarn Crawl's Mystery Knit Along (MKAL), so I CO and set to work as soon as Mariah's cardigan was finished. They also have a Mystery Crochet Along (MCAL) for people who prefer to crochet. Here is the yarn I'm using.
I "shopped" my personal yarn story (aka "stash").
Although I have finished the first clue, which uses the lighter solid color, I can't post a photo of it except in the "spoilers" thread for the Yarn Crawl on Ravelry. If you aren't participating, or if you are and you don't mind finding out how it's supposed to look, you can look here. My photo is in comment #237.
I CO another Everyday Play dress on Saturday, as soon as I had finished my first clue for the MKAL. I want to see if going down a needle size would make it possible to knit the dress for Happy Kidz and Hannah dolls without changing the directions, other than to make the skirt longer. Here's what I had as of Saturday night.
I still need to finish getting my fiber studio fixed up, including finishing putting the loom together, and we still have boxes sitting around, but I'm working on things a little at a time, trying not to overdo it. Laundry and cooking are about all I can handle right now, and I've started going to choir again, although my low notes sound rather froggy. I'm very grateful for my health, especially now that problems seem to be clearing up.
Wednesday I went to choir, the first time since Christmas. I left home in a rush, because I thought I didn't have enough time to get there and would be late. Then, a few blocks from the church, I turned down the wrong street by accident. Instead of taking me to the parking lot, this street led me to a parking space right in front of the door to the church, so I decided to park there. When I got to the door, no one was there yet. I looked at my phone, and I was 15 minutes early! I must have misread the time. There was no choice but to wait. While I was standing there, under the light over the door, a man saw me and called out to me. He said he didn't have anything to eat and was hungry. Then he started apologizing and walking away. "Wait," I said, remembering the packet of food I had in the car in case of coming across a homeless person. "I have some food in my car," I called out to him. I went to my car, which was just a few steps away, unlocked the car and got out the food packet, which was similar to this one:
I held it out to him. "Would this help?" I asked. He took it, held it to his chest and began to cry. Then he looked up and the night sky and prayed for blessings on me and my family. After he left, I started to wonder if I was really to early and had parked right by the door by chance. Perhaps even stranger, I had just written next Friday's story, where Veronika invites the other dolls to help her put together a packet of food for a homeless person instead of having a regular birthday party for her. (She had a nice party last year.) The story was all done except for the photos, which I had planned to take the next day. Not every person we give one of these packets to is as grateful--there are a lot of mentally ill people and drug addicts out on the streets, and they need help, too--but most people are very appreciative, like the man in Wisconsin who saw my Utah license plate and said, "Thank you, Utah!" or the young man in Bend who held up the packet and exclaimed, "Vegetables! I'm going to eat those first!" Here's what I put in the packets:
canned food, such as tuna, beans, vegetables, fruit (and a small, cheap can opener)
packaged food, like crackers with cheese or peanut butter
boxes of raisins
plastic utensils and napkins
wipes in individual packets
a small bottle of water
If I have them to spare, I'll add a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, and
a space blanket (they come in a small packages and can be found in places that sell camping supplies). A list of soup kitchens and homeless shelters is good to include, if available, and a note of encouragement is nice.
People tell me that some of these people don't deserve my help. The way I look at it is, I would rather offer help to someone who doesn't really need it than pass by someone who is truly in need. And then there was that time when we had just moved out of our house and had no way to get into the locked storage unit where our food was until they opened in the morning. We raided our own homeless packet. After all, we were homeless at the time.
What's on my needles: Finished the Janet Cardigan for Mariah, then the first clue in the Mystery Knit Along for The Rose City Yarn Crawl, which takes place in March. While waiting for the next clue (due today), I CO another Everyday Play dress, this time for Jolena. I want to see if I can get a good fit for Happy Kidz dolls by going down a needle size and then making the skirt longer.
What's on my Sparrow 15: Still waiting, but a shirt for Billy is planned.
What's in my hoop: Still the Spring Flowers quilt, no progress again this week.
What's in The Doll's Storybook: Trouble at School, about dealing with bullies.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Fear by Bob Woodward. Then listened to The Original Miss Honeyford by M.C. Beaton. Now listening to The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen.
What's my tip of the week: Have a lot of stitches to cast on? You can use the long-tail cast-on without wasting yarn or getting to within 10 sts of what you need and running out of the tail of yarn. If I'm using a center-pull ball, I often take the strand from the inside of the ball and the strand from the outside, tie them together and start casting on using the strand from the outside of the ball as the long tail. When I get all the stitches on the needle, I cut the yarn from the outside of the ball and continue on with the strand from the inside. When you finish, you will have two extra tails to weave in, but that can be done quickly, and you can be sure you have enough tail without having to start over.
Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals or dolls were harmed during the production of this blog post.