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Showing posts from July, 2012

July 31 - Toothbrush

A quickie

Hmmm, looks like no one is interested in winning four big chunks of 100% cotton yarn in really pretty colors. That's okay. I'm not offended.

Becca has contacted me and her kit will be leaving West Virginia today. Thanks again for playing, Becca!

In a continual quest to reduce my computer's girth (in case you haven't noticed, I've pretty much put my personal girth-reduction quest on hold. Eating is a little easier but the constant headache remains and I've not been very active. I will get back to regular walking. The question is when.), I ditched Google Chrome today and am going to learn to use Safari. I just upgraded the operating system to Mountain Lion and there are supposedly some cool new features which I will stumble upon one of these days.

I'm hoping that a browser is a browser is a browser. Chrome is a pretty large application, but I still have a long way to go to recover more hard drive space. I've gotten rid of all the duplicate photos, now it&…

July 30 - Calm

And the winner is …

Becca, who wrote: "I'd love to snag this yarn!" Well, Becca, snag it you did. E-mail me at shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com (you know the drill) with your snail-mail address and it will soon be on its way to you.

Thanks to all of you for playing.

You need only know six basic maneuvers to knit anything you want, from the simplest dishcloth to the most amazing and intricate lace shawls you've ever seen. Those six techniques are:

casting onknittingpurlingincreasingdecreasingcasting off
That's it. Once you learn those, you're off and running on what could be a lifetime love affair with sticks and string. All of these moves are available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube, or you can borrow knitting books from the library. Most books include instructions for beginners, and many are written specifically for those who want to learn.

I learned from my grandfather's stepmother when I was nine, and I only met her that one time. We didn't plan for me to learn …

July 29 - Last thing you bought

Nine hours to go …

According to the rules, the first week of the Summer of Yarn Giveaway ends in nine short hours. How do you get in on the action? Leave a comment. (Or, as my friend Shauna, in her sweet Aussie accent, used to say – pop a comment. Shauna, I miss your podcast!)

You can say anything in your comment – how you never win anything, how you love to knit, how you think a pink felted bag kit would be perfect for boys as well as girls (I felt kinda old-fashioned promoting the kit for little girls after I did it, so I'm making amends for that now).

You can comment on the weather, the Olympics, the unrest in Syria, politics (I'm a Democrat, so be nice) or Chick-Fil-A.

In short, you can pop a comment on any topic at all and if you live in the U.S. and it shows up before 5 p.m., you might win some yarn! Skweeeee!

Tomorrow morning I will reveal the winner, and then there will be more yarn. From the state of the closet where I store my stash, there could be yarn for a year. But there won't be. …

July 28 - Cup

Fuh-REAKY weather

Am feeling even worse this morning for you who are drought-stricken and tomato-less. The rain gauge had three-quarters of an inch in it, after a freaky storm that lasted less than half an hour.

The sky got bluer and then greyer and then darker the closer I got to home when I left work yesterday around 2 p.m. By the time I unloaded the car and ran into the house, the rain had started and the wind was whipping up. Within five minutes we were seeing hailstones (tiny, but still ...)! I kept waiting for another pine tree or two to fall.

I also kept waiting for the electricity to go out. It blinked a few times, but came right back on. However approximately 9% of my county's residents are currently in the dark. Or they would be if it were nighttime.

More rain predicted for today. I wish I could send some to you, if you need it.

My husband and I watched most of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night. Since my normal hit-the-sack time is about 8:30, staying up until 10 p.m. was …

July 27 - On the road

July 26 - Sunshine

All of our diet dilemmas … SOLVED!

It's not what we eat, nor how much we move. It's not low-fat, no-carb, sugar-free. It's not going to a gym, a yoga studio or a track. It's simply this:
WARNING TO US ALL!!!Shampoo Warning!
I don't know WHY I haven't figured this out before now.
I use shampoo in the shower!
When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning:
No wonder I've been gaining weight!Well, I've gotten rid of that shampoo and will now start showering with Dawn dish soap instead. Its label reads:
Problem solved! I saw this on Pinterest the other day and had one of those Oprah aha moments. Or maybe it was a haha moment. At any rate, Dawn dish soap is a staple of all the make-your-own-cleaning products blogs, and it's frequently recommended for felting wooly things. And now: A weight-loss aid! (Would love to know how…

July 25 - Heart

When it rains …

the tomatoes grow!

Most of my crop is the Amish Paste variety, an indeterminate that produces over several weeks. I started picking a couple weeks ago and expect to be stuffing green ones in paper bags to ripen indoors in October.

Yes, there are that many. The photo shows only a few of the staked plants. There are four dozen altogether. We've eaten tomatoes in something almost every day since I started plucking the fruit. Not bragging OR complaining, just reporting.

I'm not weighing the harvest this year, nor am I even too concerned about putting by enough tomatoes to last until next summer. That was my goal when I planted the seedlings, and if it happens that would be great. But if not? Well, it's been kind of nice to not be slaving away in the garden every day this summer. Between the storm and my dental issues, it's been good to be less tied to food production.

Keep those comments coming … there's plenty of time for you and your knitting friends to get in on the…

July 24 - A stranger

So what am I knitting lately?

A combination of things have happened lately which have contributed to my being a little more sedentary than usual.

Garden fatigue set in really early this year, mostly due to the storm.Our road was off-limits for a week while it was being blacktopped.My head hurts. All. The. Time. (Because of my, um, dental procedure.)We upgraded to the top-of-the-line satellite package, with all the movie channels.
So my physical activity has been curtailed (temporarily, I promise) and I'm parking my ass in front of the tube, watching movie after movie after movie. (Most recently Crazy. Stupid. Love. and now I want to see every movie Steve Carrell has ever made. And I want to marry him, too.)

Both of you know how hard it is for me to just sit without knitting something. So I started a Clean Slate Tote. I'm not going to link to the pattern because it's on a website (mine) that needs to be completely revamped. Suffice it to say it's an original design by moi, it's almost mindless an…

July 23 - Mirror

Rules of the road …

It appears I should have been a little more, um, explicit in setting parameters for the Summer of Yarn Giveaway. I'm actually (technically, legally) throwing a sweepstakes (who knew?), and sweepstakes have RULES. So here goes:

The prize has been described in today's previous post. Click here for details.

The first giveaway begins July 23 and ends July 29. Entries received after 5 p.m. EDT July 29, 2012, will not be considered.

Participation is limited to U.S. residents only. Apologies to the rest of the world.

All comments received at my blog, Knit. Run. Reap. Eat., between July 23 and July 29 will be pooled and a winner chosen using's random number generator. You may leave as many comments as you like (because you might want to comment on something every day!), but only one comment per reader will be considered for the drawing.

Okay, does that clear things up for both of you? Heh. I hope so. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please contact the manager.


The Summer of Yarn Giveaway Begins!

I was serious yesterday when I said I needed to purge my yarn closet. When we built our two-story garage, we designed it with two cedar-lined 5-foot by 10-foot closets for storage, one of which was to be dedicated to yarn. Well, you knitters know how it goes. Little by little the yarn has "growed like Topsy," migrating to the other closet and taking over one shelf of a closet in the house.

I started working on the mess Friday. Each wall is lined with wire cube shelving, about six feet tall. Every cube is stuffed. There are were four three-drawer plastic drawer organizers, also stuffed, and two huge plastic tubs on the floor, one stuffed with sock yarn the other with various and sundry odds and ends of cotton yarn. (I'll never make that many dishcloths. I'll never need that many dishcloths!)

I pulled the tubs out so I could walk into the area and started looking for the acrylic first. I stockpiled washable yarns when I was knitting for the grandchildren who lived in W…

July 22 - Upside down

July 21 - 9:00

July 20 - Eyes

Mission accomplished!

I may not have read every single word, but I scrolled and swiped through all 243 unread blog posts in two marathon sessions yesterday, using the Google Reader app on my phone. Yay, me! Didn't mark any as 'read' without at least skimming them, either.

I'm astonished at how very easy it is to read anything on such a small screen, but there you go. It really isn't hard at all. Which makes me wonder why I still read e-mail on the computer. I have the phone set up to download my e-mails throughout the day, but I usually wait to deal with them until I'm at the laptop. Probably because it's easier to type replies on a keyboard.

(Even typing on a keyboard is difficult right now, however, because I just accidentally touched the heating element of the coffeemaker with the tips of three of my left-hand fingers. OUCH! I'm icing them while typing with my right hand. awkward!)

One of the Android features I like a lot is Swype, an input method that lets you 'type&…

July 19 - Animal/insect/pet

Still playing electronic catch-up

I have finally gotten through all the e-mails which backed up following the electrical outage, and I've managed to keep up with them (and even unsubscribe from some 'meh' newsletters) since the grand purge.

What I haven't caught up on are blogs. There are 270 273 unread blog posts in my Google Reader. The alcoholic in me doesn't want to miss anything (and if you, too, are similarly afflicted, you might be able to relate), but the practical me thinks 'marking all as read' is the thing to do. I'm just not sure I can.

Work yesterday was great: It was hot and I worked hard for four hours, deeply watering every plant at the garden center. I then cleaned up the area where we toss unused pots and trays. There is some potting to do, but I didn't have time to start on the list. I'm working again tomorrow, and hope to get my hands dirty then. Good thing I found the nail brush. Even wearing gardening gloves, your nails are a mess when you repot plants.


July 18 - Plate

Back to work

I ventured out of my comfort zone (not wanting to be seen in public) last night and went to the AA meeting at the prison. I feel very self-conscious around people, because I can't speak clearly with my upper teeth gone. But practicing in front of the inmates was a good thing to do. They are completely non-judgmental, and several also had denture stories to share. One woman, while in a blackout several years ago, carefully wrapped her dentures in tissue and threw them away. She can't afford to replace them and remains toothless to this day.

So today I'm working at the garden center. We haven't been busy – most people are gardened out by mid-summer – but the anniversary sale ends today, so we might get a few customers. (The anniversary sale was extended and changed to a "Gale Sale" following the storm.) I think I'll just deal with the public in a matter-of-fact manner and not worry about how I look or sound.

The denture diet has been an interesting experien…

July 17 - Your addiction

Cut off

When our electricity went out late in June, my husband was forced to stop watching the news. I haven't regularly watched cable or network news for several months now, and am much happier for it, but he missed it.

At first.

And then he didn't. As the hours stretched into days and then into more than a week, we found ways to keep busy and entertain ourselves that didn't include television. We got up at sunrise, worked on clearing trees most of the day, took naps, read books and magazines, ate simple meals and fell into bed as darkness fell.

A comment yesterday from Kathy kind of slapped me upside the head: While we suffered from the storm, we have absolutely not suffered from drought this summer. The big weather story prior to the derecho was the Colorado wildfires. Had I not been cut off from the outside world, I would have learned that rain hasn't fallen in many other parts of the United States in far too long. This map shows the location and severity of dry conditions…

July 16 - Sign

Pulling and dumping and sweating, oh my!

Well, I took the before-and-after pictures, but when I started weeding I did a different bed entirely. It is of equal size to the first set of pictures, but didn't have nearly as many weeds. I didn't take an "after" picture. Oh, and I couldn't figure out how to have the date/time show up on the photos, so you'll have to just trust me that the "before" ones were taken around 9 a.m. and the "afters" were taken sometime between 2 and 2:30 p.m. (Clicking on each picture will make them larger.)

This bed is about 20 by 35 feet. It's a section I covered with horse manure, but I didn't have enough cardboard or straw to kill mulch it. The weeds will pull out easily, but the same area to the immediate right also needed weeding and wasn't quite as, um, thick. So I started with it and am happy to say the sweet potatoes and basil now have plenty of room, and the sugar snaps have been pulled out. Along with half a dozen barrels full of weeds.

Getting soft

The teensy bit of weight I've lost recently is due entirely to limited consumption of food. I'm hungry a lot of the time, but it's just too much trouble and too uncomfortable to eat. It's a good thing my husband likes me because I'm sure it's not pretty watching me eat. He says I'm too self-conscious and it's not as bad as I think, but of course I'm right about this!

I've done next to nothing as far as intentional activity. Unless you count knitting! I watched two movies and The Newsroom yesterday, and both of you know I can't sit in front of the television without my knitting. (I'm still slogging away on the blue sweater. I hope it will be finished by election night.)

So to ease back into getting physical, I'm making a commitment right here and right now to weed at least part of the garden (I'm going to try to do half of it) this morning. It's a mess and overwhelming and I really don't want to do it, but I will. And I…

July 15 - Finger

July 14 - Building

Are the Amish healthier?

Jen commented that the Amish seem to be pretty healthy. But are they? Apparently so, depending on what health factors you're looking at. According to a study done a couple years ago in Ohio, the Amish have lower incidences of cancer. They don't smoke or drink, and are generally not promiscuous, all factors associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. They grow most of their own food (although I've seen them drinking soda and eating Subway sandwiches, and when I go there for milk I often see cereal boxes on the kitchen table).

I tried to find specific research about dental health, but most of what I read was anecdotal. Some communities, like my neighbors, believe in pulling teeth and replacing them with dentures at a young age to avoid the expense of lifelong dental care. (And part of the cost of care is finding and paying someone to drive them to a practitioner.)

Sometimes a member of a community will act as a dentist, pulling diseased teeth for a small donation. (Being unlicen…

July 13 - Open

I think this is kind of sad

I spent part of yesterday morning driving an Amish neighbor to a nearby town so she could run some errands. She had wanted to go Tuesday, but I told her I was having dental surgery, and why, and so we made the trip on Thursday instead.

When she got in the car, she asked how I was feeling and volunteered that the Amish don't think a thing about having dentures. It's pretty routine, actually.

She said, "We don't have insurance, and dental care is pretty expensive. It's just more practical to have them pulled and replaced with dentures."

She was 33 when she got hers three years ago. The woman helping out in her bakery was – get ready – 20, and had had hers for a couple of years.

I tried to hide my dismay, but I'm sure it was evident. They're fine with it, no regrets whatsoever. They have a completely different attitude about preserving natural teeth than we "English" do.

I don't have dental insurance either, but it never occurred to me to n…

July 12 - Texture

July 11 - Letter

After the storm

Before I get started, D left a comment about her dentophobia. I, too, suffered from that particular fear and it kept me from going to the dentist for years. Of course those also were my drinking years. Coincidence? I. Don't. Think. So. At any rate, if any of you are afraid of going to the dentist, please consider what I'm going through now and make an appointment. Believe me, you don't want to cross "getting dentures" off your bucket list. Heh. (And to address D's concerns, local anesthetic, nothing to relax me prior to the extractions. It was over in half an hour. And did I mention it was TRAUMATIC? I think I did.)

Okay, back to the present. You've heard about the pine trees, right? The four pine trees that snapped off in front of our very eyes almost two weeks ago? Those pine trees? Here they are:

And here they are today, after endless hours of sawing and lopping and raking and moving and dumping, oh my:

My husband did most of the work. I was trying to sa…


Don't you think 7-Eleven stores should be giving away free Big Gulps today?
My big gulp was yesterday. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I needed upper dentures, and yesterday was extraction day. Quite possibly THE most traumatic experience I've ever gone through.
Nobody ever talks about having their teeth pulled. IT IS NOT PLEASANT. I'm not sure I even can talk about it. What I can talk about is the feelings I've had since the decision was made.
I feel guilty for not taking better care of my natural teeth. I thought I was taking good care of them, but really? I was trying to make them look good. I got braces on my upper teeth when I was 29, which involved two extractions I don't even remember and then a couple years of smashing my teeth together and moving them back to correct an overbite. Upon removal of the wires, I could no more slip a piece of dental floss between them than I could walk on water.
Over the years I've visited periodontists regularly, and …

July 10 - Your favorite color


Update on the water: the circuit breaker tripped, either due to a power surge when the electricity came back on last night OR when lightning struck in the area. My neighbor's electric fence control box got hit in the same area. He was able to reset the circuit breaker for us and we have WATER! I think I'll go do a load of laundry. Heh.

You can't always get what you want …

but you get what you need.

I'm not exactly sure why the Universe thought I needed nine days without electricity. During a heat wave. With four huge broken pine trees littering my front yard. And in the midst of all of that fun I broke my glasses.

Yeah, if it ain't one thing it's another.

And I'm not exactly sure why the Universe thinks I don't need water. Our water pump may be on a different trunk line that the linemen haven't gotten to yet, or lightning might have struck the pump or maybe I just need to trot down the hill to reset the circuit breaker.

But I'm grateful for electricity and air conditioning and even television, something I rarely watch but enjoyed for an hour last night.

We're very fortunate that my elderly mother-in-law was only without electricity for a couple days and that her water was on during the entire outage. We've been able to shower and do laundry at her house, and we're carrying water in to drink and flush toilets. She…

July 9 - Big

July 8 - Lunch

July 7 - Garden

July 6 - Chair

July 5 - On the floor

Still powerless

My experience in AA for the past 21 years has probably saved my sanity this week. I take no credit, that's for sure.

As I write this, we've been without water or electricity for 108 hours - 4.5 days. At first, fueling up the car was an issue, but the town nearest to ours (Hinton, 12 miles away) got power back Monday afternoon, and the gas stations are back in business. Big business!

Hinton has city water and my MIL's home is there (she was safe with friends in another, unaffected town), so we've been showering at her house and hauling water in buckets so we can flush our toilets. Once a day. TMI? Sorry. Heh.

My freezer and refrigerator are completely empty - and spotless - and I've given up trying to keep food cold in coolers. I salvaged a few things that are in my husband's mother's fridge - cheese and butter - and we have stocked up on peanut butter, crackers, bread and canned food you can eat without heating. Beanie Weenies, anyone?

I'll let you know if …

July 4 - Fun

July 3 - Best part of your day

July 2 - Busy

July 1 - Self-portrait

Shelter from the storm

I wish.

The storm that hit northwest Ohio Friday afternoon arrived in southern West Virginia that evening. We had already lost power at around dinnertime due to power surge; the 70 mph winds sealed the deal. The electric company is estimating we will be restored on Friday, July 6.

Out here in the Middle of Nowhere, no power means no water, and that's the big challenge, soon to be followed by no food, and no gas in the car (and no place to get it).

My MIL, who is 91, is safe with friends nearby who weren't hit by the storm. My husband and I will begin cleaning up the yard today. We watched four huge pine trees fall onto our lawn. You've heard people talk about trees snapping like matchsticks? Tru dat.

I'm grateful for our former delegate, who has been posting frequent updates on Facebook. And for a smartphone and a car charger.

We could use your prayers, if you're so inclined. And some cooler temperatures. 98 degrees with no air conditioning is no fun.

Sent from my U.S. C…