August 30, 2004

Pass the Bon Bons, Please

I think there is no more loathsome, oily, fat, slimy, slobby creature than Jabba the Hutt—except, after this weekend, me. In fact, you might as well just call me Ryan the Hutt and be done with it. The combination of the Olympics broadcasts, having access to cable channels, and having the recliner and the remote control all to myself was lethal. I don’t think I moved for 48 hours. Okay, that's not entirely true. I ate. I slept. I knit. I visited the powder room. And I did scare the crap out of the dog once in every 24-hour period by leaping out of the recliner, slapping the leash on her, racing her around the block, and jumping back into the recliner.

The Mysterious K reports no major trauma as a result of the family reunion, despite the dire predictions from our Dear Readers. She mingled with family as needed, and spent the rest of her weekend at a local stables watching a friend ride, and breathing in deep lungfuls of hay, horse sweat and leather—the ultimate in perfume if you love horses as we do. The Mysterious K and I were both avid riders in our younger, less Jabba-like days (her: quarter horses, Western, and trail riding; me: Arabians, English, and dressage. No surprise there.) and still dream of owning our own horses some day—although at this point we could barely get on them. No, not even if we stood on a box. Even now, though, her friend is tempting us with a $95,000 race horse that's free to a good home. Me, on a racehorse. Har, har, har.

For everyone—but especially for Dear Reader Jenny in Pittsburgh—here are a couple of photos TMK took of the results of the Fischer fire. The darker areas show you how close the fire came to this house (which did not belong to any of her relatives, thank goodness). Isn’t that sumpin’? Those firefighters—awesome human beings all around. TMK reports that the air still smelled like charcoal and that, when it rained, it smelled like a wet campfire—damp, burnt and sulphurous.

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Most importantly, however, The Mysterious K arrived home with this bounty, white peaches picked just a few hours before. I don’t think she had been in the house five minutes before we were both standing at the counter face down in bowls of sliced peachy goodness. My new life as Ryan the Hutt continues!

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Knitting Knews
Here, for comparison, a repeat of the photo of the undyed Freddie, followed by the as-promised-although-belated photo of the “new” Freddie. On the left, the unwashed, unmordanted, no-heat-applied skein which came out a beautiful silvery peach; on the right, the more formally processed stuff which is a medium terra cotta. Now, what to do with 700 yards of heavy-laceweight alpaca since I have sworn off laceweight knitting?

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Thanks to my 48 hours of inertia, all pieces of the striped sweater are finished and all the ends are woven in. I need to knit the neck, seam all the pieces together, and voila! And the answer to the burning question is, I will use purple to do the seaming. Thank you to everyone for their input! And good attempt, Kit, at trying to convince me to change colors from stripe to stripe to stripe but...nuh-uh.

Ferals tonight!

Posted by Ryan at 10:23 AM

August 27, 2004

Car Pool

A couple of days ago I was on one of the bridges over Lake Washington, driving behind a very hoity-toity convertible, much snootier than mine—something along the lines of a Beemer or a Mercedes or an Audi. Behind us, on the East side of the bridge, where both Mr. Snooty and I had come from, was beautiful blue sky and endless sunshine. On the West end of the bridge, where we were both headed, were black, roiling clouds and torrential rain. Knowing that the weather this week was going to be unpredictable, I had opted to keep the top of my convertible up, but Mr. Snooty, apparently not as up on the vagaries of our local weather as I—and determined to be The Coolest Guy on the Bridge, iffy weather be damned—had his top down. Now, knowing that I would stay safe and dry in my car, and knowing there was nowhere on the bridge where Mr. Snooty could stop and put his top up, how evil was it of me to pray fervently and vehemently, and even out loud as I recall, “Pleeeeze, pleeeeze, pleeeeze make Mr. Snooty drive right into the worst part of the rain. And pleeeeze, pleeeeze, pleeeeze let me watch. Pleeeeze?”

Epilogue: As is the wont of snooty drivers, he careened and wove his way through traffic ahead of me and I lost sight of him. The good news is this means I don’t have to keep any of the promises I made to God in my moment of desperation.

Knitting Knews
I licked the lemon bar goo off the baby sweater cuff and continued on, blood sugar level ever-so-slightly elevated. Should have the pieces finished tonight, and the sweater finished this weekend, especially since I am house- and Frankie-sitting while The Mysterious K goes to a family reunion. It’s going to be me, my knitting, the pooch, the remote control, and the Olympics. If I can find a way to procure myself some chocolate, we’ll be talking pure heaven. Now, if I can just figure out her PlayStation2...

For the record, TMK did invite me to the reunion, but only halfheartedly since she knows I hate being the Weird Aunt whose role at the reunion no one can quite figure out and whom the children sniff around as if I smell like a five-day-old tuna sandwich. And she knows I would rather be at home with my knitting, the pooch, the remote control, and the Olympics. And the chocolate. And the PlayStation2.

And here, so I can't be accused of posting twice without including any photos, a TMK picture of raindrops on a post-flowering lily plant.

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Posted by Ryan at 10:56 AM | Comments (17)

August 25, 2004

Geek Attack!

Empirical evidence of just how much knitting has invaded my subconscious: I was explaining a Microsoft Excel function to one of my employees—and called the document a “spreadsheep.” No lie. Then, of course, I was doomed to call it “spreadsheep” for the rest of our session, looking progressively more like a twit as the minutes passed. And, now, sad to say, I’ve probably passed Spreadsheep Disease on to you. Let’s start a support group.

(I don't know why I'm so surprised by this. After all, I started out the morning by closing the car door on the strap to my lunch bag and dragging the strap along the highway all the way from home to work, so why should I assume I would go from being a complete and utter geek to being all suave and refined once I got to work?)

Knitting Knews
I’m so close to finishing the striped sweater I can taste it—which, in this case, is not just hyperbole. Some generous soul at Ferals offered me a bite of her lemon bar, which I accepted—and proceeded to get sticky, sugary, buttery, oily lemon bar goo all over the cuff of the last sleeve. Well, it’ll give the baby something to snack on when he wears the sweater. Or maybe I’ll have a go at it first.

For an overview of Monday's Ferals' meeting that does not include smearing fiber with food products, be sure to see FiberRavenSoiree's Tuesday posting. Please marvel at how, with a few deft flicks of the wrist and the borrowing of a little bowl, she managed to make my striped sweater look like a lifeform, complete with torso, arms, feet, and a head. Note that the left "arm" is not a sleeve at all but, in fact, the front of the sweater rolled up. Such a clever girl you are, Sheila!

Oh, and I always like to acknowledge when lurkers are brave enough to come out of the shadows and post comments so a big "Hidey-ho" to Olyweaver!

Posted by Ryan at 09:47 AM | Comments (15)

August 23, 2004

The Cuzzin Tom Hour: Part II

Cuzzin Tom reports that, despite his 14 years of monkhood, since he was brought up in a family of goils and since, as he likes to say, “you can take the boy out of New Jersey but...,” he has greatly enjoyed being the center of attention of a bunch of fawning ladies, as is further evidenced by this picture where yet another female, although of the avian variety, is trying to undress him.

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Cuzzin Tom reports that da boid's name is Howie, even though she be a girl. He also reports that the other bird in the picture is Hakan, Howie’s boyfriend. Personally, I don’t think Cuzzin Tom should be so surprised that Howie is trying to undress him. Look at the color of Hakan’s feathers. Look at the color of Cuzzin Tom’s robe/top/shirt. Coincidence? I think not. In fact, I believe Cuzzin Tom is deliberately toying with Howie's affections.

Howie and Hakan are residents of a place run by Cuzzin’s temple called the Garuda Aviary which is, in its own words, “dedicated to providing lifelong sanctuary for abused and neglected companion birds.” The picture of the forever featherless—but now happy and well-cared for—poster-bird on their home page will tell you everything you need to know. Excuse me, I need to go get a Kleenex. That bird kills me every time. Every frickin’ time.

Knitting Knews
Thanks to all of the helpful information I got from my Dear Readers, especially the one sentence from CarolineF that made the clouds part and heavenly music play, I was able to finish the front of the striped sweater, neck decreases and all. It didn’t work out perfectly, 50% of which was the pattern’s fault, and 50% of which was mine (you would think that by age 44 I would know how to count to 2) but it’s good enough for government work, as they say. And, thanks to The Mysterious K and her bionic camera, we finally have a photo that shows the actual colors of the sweater. (I wonder how much longer I'm going to get away with conveniently "forgetting" my camera when I visit her on the weekends...)

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After this photo was taken, I finished one sleeve and am well into the cuff of the other, so, for this project at least, I can fer sher see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s my next question: Since the sweater is striped, when I seam the sweater together, what color should I use? I do a pretty mean mattress stitch so not much of the seaming will show but I’m still interested in opinions. I’m thinking the purple, since the yellow and the red would be brighter and would stand out more. You?

(By the way, a big "hello" and "welcome back" to Dear Reader Debra! We were just talking about you this weekend and saying how much we missed ya'!)

Posted by Ryan at 09:48 AM | Comments (19)

August 20, 2004

Did She, or Didn't She?

I will save you from the suspense: I did not present in the nude, settling, instead, on a cotton shirt and shorts. I did get a couple of winks and knowing nods from the Dear Readers who were privy to the fact that it had come thisclose to being a clothing-optional Guild meeting.

I started the presentation with a wavery, nervous voice and a complete inability to catch my breath, but finally my public-speaking engine kicked in and I was on a roll. I should certainly hope so since I had spent the two previous days practicing the presentation out loud, wherever I was, in the car, in the shower and, yes, on the toilet. A co-worker even caught me mouthing something and waving my hands around in my office when she knew I was quite, quite alone. How hoomiliatin’.

Thank you a million times over to the Dear Readers who cheered me on on Wednesday, and especially to whoever it was who shouted “Frankie!” when I got to the section about blogging. To top it all off, at the Guild meeting I met Dear Reader Melinda for the first time. We have plans to meet sometime post-Olympics so I can relieve her of some of her undyed yarn and brazilwood chips. Woo-hoo!

On to a completely different subject, a word or two about Cuzzin Tom. As those of you who wrote and/or read the comments on my Wednesday entry, you know the dude is a word-wielding maniac. If you and your morning cuppa joe are in the mood for a good wallow in a funny, quality read that has nothing to do with knitting, I recommend a visit to his birdwatching blog. Don’t miss this entry about burrowing owls, an airport, and some overly-testosteroned security guards. Oh, and Cuzzin Tom wants me to emphasize that he did not request the Viagra spam on his blog.

And here, provided by The Man himself, some pictures of my cuzz, complete with his Buddhist monk togs, his genetically predetermined Buddhist tonsure, and his bird Scooter. Cuzzin Tom reports that Scooter doesn’t use the litter box; ever the mimic, he just likes to sit there, pretending to be a cat (have I got that right, Cuzzin?).

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Lastly, for inquiring minds, yes, my neighbors had sex again this morning. Ringringring. Gruntgruntgrunt. Kawabunga!

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the Harley.

Neighbor Man also has a Harley which he warms up in a small courtyard which greatly amplifies the sound, so my mornings go more like this: Ringringring. Gruntgruntgrunt. Kawabunga! –Five minute oasis of peace— ROAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!

Sheesh.

Dye Garden Dyegest
Freddie the Alpaca has been washed, mordanted, simmered, dyed and dried—and I'm happier with the results than I thought I would be. True, Freddie lost some of his delicious alpaca "halo" and a bit of his heavenly softness, but I still ended up with two passably soft, colored skeins of yarn.

I dyed both using coreopsis but using two methods, the legit method and the I'm So Frustrated I Could Give a Crap method.

For FreddieOne, I followed all the usual rules for creating the dyebath, simmered Freddie in it, added some ammonia as an afterthought, and then left him in there until the whole shebang cooled down. I ended up with a nice, medium, mildly variegated terra cotta. Then I took FreddieTwo, which I didn’t bother washing or mordanting because I didn’t like the results I got from processing FreddieOne, and just bunged it into the remaining dyebath and left it in over night. No heat, nothing; I just let it sit there. It occurs to me now that I wasn't really dyeing the skein; I was actually punishing it and hoping it would drown. Of course, since I didn’t wash it or mordant it—and even threw it into the dyebath dry, which is a big no-no—it absorbed very little of the dye. However, the resulting color was a beautiful, light, ethereal, beige-y, peachy tint—definitely my favorite of the two. Photos soon!

Posted by Ryan at 10:14 AM | Comments (15)

August 18, 2004

R-Rated Entry; Not for the Kiddies!

Today’s Gratuitous Story of the Day is probably not suitable for my more conservative readers. (Oh, wait, do I have any conservative readers?)

...Begin R-Rated section

My neighbor and his girlfriend have sex every morning at 7am. Every morning, at exactly 7am, for exactly 8 minutes. I know this because their bedroom is near my bedroom, the head of their bed is up against their bedroom window, in the summer they leave the window wide open, and they are loud, the kind of loud that, in a movie, would make a flock of pigeons fly startled out of a deserted Italian piazza. Because their timing is so predictable, for fun I can lie in my own bed and mentally count down their progress: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...kowabunga! More power to ‘em for having such an active sex life, I suppose, since they are well beyond their twenties, or even their thirties, but every morning, at 7 sharp, for exactly 8 minutes? And must they be so dadblasted loud? I wake up every morning to ringringring (alarm clock—mine) followed immediately by gruntgruntgrunt (obscene noises—theirs). At this rate, heck—I’ll be able to dispense with my alarm clock altogether.

...End R-rated section. Resume normal programming.

Knitting Knews
All'a y'all posted some astonishingly perceptive comments about why I was stuck in the Knitting Doldrums, why I was feeling what I was feeling and what, in fact, I was feeling. Janine bashed it right on the nose when she said it was fear, "fear that the object will not measure up to the vision, fear that it won't fit, fear that you'll screw up the finishing work." This applies especially to the pillow. I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around the idea of making a mistake at this point, after all that hard work. And I was confused and intimidated by the provisional stitches and the mid-stream directional switch I had to make in the Acorn Scarf.

The good news is, as Janine will testify to since I emailed her a mountain of pesky questions yesterday, the pillow is aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! I haven't actually done anything but I'm least allowing myself the mental image of torturing it with my sewing machine and, for extra-super-bonus fun, taking a pair of scissors to it. As for the scarf, well, hell—the provisional stitches are but a distant memory. I'm six inches beyond the mid-point now and bearing down on the finish line.

Here is a photo of the acorn pattern with less of the artsy-fartsy "sun shining through the lace" effect I tried last time:

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I'm all ready for tonight's presentation. Unfortunately, a lot of my A-Number-One Special Folks can't be there, like Dear Reader LindaK and new friend Jessica and old-but-new friend Marti, but I'm sure I can find one or two people to hold my hand. The big catch is that I have to do a presentation about the Net...with no connection to the Net. At first, I was faced with having to do a presentation about the ultimate in high-tech using the ultimate in low-tech, one of those old gray grade-school projectors and transparency sheets, but thanks to Karen, I now have at my disposal a laptop and new-fangled overhead projector.

Karen and I did a mini run-through of the equipment and the PowerPoint presentation on Monday and I was thrilled with how well it went. The only problem? The church basement is hellaciously hot. I wonder if anyone would object if I did the presentation in the nude?

Posted by Ryan at 09:27 AM | Comments (33)

August 16, 2004

The Art of Inertia

Ta’ heck with the athletes; it’s my body that’s not going to survive the Olympics!

This weekend was an insane combination of hour upon hour of complete inertia—the kind that leaves a permanent butt-print in your couch—punctuated by moments of exhausting, sweaty, heart-pounding activity. Take Saturday, for example. For most of the day, you would have found me in front of the TV watching swimming, gymnastics, cycling, dressage, ping pong, rowing, weightlifting, and any other sport that even mildly piqued my interest. However, when my viewing choices were reduced to beach volleyball (blech), boxing (double blech), or basketball (triple blech), you would have found me smack in the middle of the dye garden with a pitchfork, wrestling out of the ground 8-foot-tall hollyhocks with obscenely huge and tenacious roots. Sunday, same old, same old, but this time my “surprise your body by actually getting up” activity was pruning a very tall bush with dull pruners. I ended up torturing more branches than I actually cut. You know how that is: You take a big manly swipe at the branches, engaging every fiber of your middle-aged triceps and biceps, and just end up with a juicy, fibrous mess of half-broken twigs. More fun than a person should be allowed to have!

Our other excitement was a visit by this handsome fella. Anyone have a clue what kind of moth it is? It's about 1.5"-2" long in real life.

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Knitting Knews
Here is a (very dark) photo of the finished pillow, still in the round. I gotta say, I look at it sometimes and say, “I knit that?!”

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A large portion of my knitting energy continues to be devoted to getting the presentation ready for Wednesday. Tonight, a run-through with the above-and-beyond-helpful Karen, her laptop and her overhead projector. Karen, you rock!

Rebecca, Rose, looking forward to seeing you at Guild!

Posted by Ryan at 12:03 PM | Comments (7)

August 13, 2004

A Gold Medal Meal

Does the excitement never end? Here I've just weaned myself off smelling salts after having seen Da Boyz and—whammo!—it’s opening night of the Olympics. Be still my heart. The Best Cook Ever informs me that, in celebration, we are having Olympic Teriyaki Marinated Barbecued Pork Chops, Olympic Brown and Wild Rice Mix, some As Yet To Be Named Olympic Vegetable, Olympic Soda, and Olympic Ice Cream.

I assume that TMK will be cooking the rice in her new and most curious way which involves a rice cooker, one of those mondo orange extension cords, and the great outdoors. TMK has a very low tolerance for heat and keeps careful tabs on anything in her house that might insidiously raise the ambient temperature. This year she discovered that the rice cooker had been flying under her heat-seeking radar, so now she preps everything in the kitchen, carries the rice cooker out to the backyard, plunks it on her small teak table, and plugs it into the (mondo orange) extension cord running from the garage. Too funny.

Knitting Knews
Something freaky is going on, and I am starting to fret. I’ve completely quit knitting, except for a measly row or two at lunch! I have two theories about this strange development.

Theory 1:
My knitting tends to sputter and stall whenever I approach the end of a project or part of a project, and I am at That Point in all of my projects. Observe:

Baby Norgi: All knit except ¾ of one sleeve. Sputtered. Stalled.

Acorn Scarf: Finished first half. Need to pick up provisional stitches and dash off second half. Sputtered. Stalled.

Janine Pillow: Completely knit. Just needs finishing. Sputtered. Stalled.

Front of striped sweater: Just needs shoulders to be knit. Sputtered. Stalled.

See?

Theory 2:
Let's see; how do I put this? You know how athletes aren’t supposed to engage in—ahem—“extracurricular activity” before a big game? In a similar way, I think my knitting energy is being consumed elsewhere (no, no, I’m not going to go all X-rated on you). The person who had been tapped to do this month's Guild presentation has been called away on an unexpected matter and I've been asked to substitute for her. I love teaching and love doing presentations, and the particular topic for this presentation—using the Internet as a knitting resource—is near and dear to my heart, so I'm unduly excited about this unexpected project. Therefore, my theory is that, while I’m still thinking about knitting 24/7, my knitting energy is going into, say, typing the text for PowerPoint slide no. 49 instead of wielding needles and yarn.

(Note to all the Guilders: Hope you will be there next Wednesday to cheer me on! I'll be nervous and may need some major hand-holding!)

As time progresses, we will see which of these theories is correct...

Posted by Ryan at 01:12 PM | Comments (8)

August 11, 2004

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...Actually, Yeah, It IS a Plane

From the comforting and quiet gray days at Pacific Beach to hot, bright sunshine and the high-flying maneuvers of My Boyz, the Blue Angels. On Sunday, we went to one of our local viewpoints, Volunteer Park, to see what we could see of the Angels, since Volunteer Park is not the best vantage point. For me, it was an opportunity to spend an hour feeling weak at the knees; for the Mysterious K, who likes Da Boyz but is too butch to admit if she goes weak at the knees, it was yet another photo-op. She did actually get some effective photos, including the two below. And she learned a valuable lesson: If Da Boyz fly right over your head at umpty-ump-obscenely-fast mph while you try to take a photograph, it is possible to lean too far over backwards.

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You would think that the Blue Angels demonstration would have been the most exciting part of my week, but, no. The most exciting part of my week was going for my candygram mammygram and only frying one of the four slides. Woo-hoo!

Knitting Knews
Nothing new to add today, since I haven't knit in the last two days and have no photos, but I did want to say thank you to all the Dear Readers who helped me understand the cast off/decrease/right shoulder/left shoulder conundrum. What's frustrating is this isn't the first sweater I've ever knit, far from it, in fact, but every frickin' time I come to this point, my mind just goes on the fritz. Must be the same part of my brain that doesn't know which direction to turn when I reach an intersection.

Dyegarden Dyegest
Finally got around to washing and mordanting one of the skeins from Freddie the Alpaca, and am sorely disappointed in the results. So disappointed, in fact, that four days after I rinsed it, the skein is still languishing in the colander where I left it to drip-dry. I tried to be gentle and kind to Freddie throughout the process since I know heat and mordants can be torture on yarn, but the skein still metamorphosed from being cloud-like in its softness to to being stiff, sticky, and very un-Freddie-like. I'll go ahead and dye it, most likely with coreopsis, and see what I get but still, dagnab it, I say, dagnab it!

Posted by Ryan at 11:17 AM | Comments (12)

August 09, 2004

We Had a Beachin' Time!

(Picture-heavy posting, Dear Readers!)

Many thanks to everyone who left comments while The Mysterious K and I were gone. I missed you and the blog amazingly much. And a special thanks and a hug to Anj who sent us a postcard from Provincetown! Anj, it was great to find the postcard waiting in my mailbox when we got back from the shore. I immediately called The Mysterious K and read it to her over the phone—which reminds me, I’ve actually been carrying it around in my knapsack for the last two days to show her, but have I? Nope. My bad.

Now for the trip. First, a quick geography lesson for those who care. We were on the Olympic Peninsula, the blue part on the small map to the right on this page, in the speck of a town of Pacific Beach, shown in the lower left-hand corner of the big map. (Note to Dear Readers Samina, Melinda, and Anj, the newest members of the Humptulips Fan Club: Look about an inch to the right of Pacific Beach.) Even more specifically for the locals who may also have been there, we were at Sandpiper Resort.

The one thing I learned on the trip was the breadth, width and depth of the ways that the term “resort” is used. Until this trip, I naively thought “resort” meant a place with golf courses, spas, luxurious rooms, and lots of ultra-pretty and ultra-rich people. But here in Washington, “resort” apparently means “a place that is not your home and may or may not have any amenities and may or may not be near a beach” and the resort itself can be anywhere from Palms Springs high-end-ish to five shabby and rusty mobile homes managed by Bubba BeerBelly. Sandpiper is somewhere in the middle. It’s not a fancy resort, certainly, but it is perfectly located right on the beach (Literally. Open the door—beach.), is pleasantly rustic, offers all the basic amenities including a fully stocked kitchenette, and is the perfect place to “get away from it all.” And most importantly, it allows dawgs.

Now for the pictures. Warning: The photos below are mostly of low-key forms of entertainment and gray, quiet beaches. If you like to bungee jump, hang by your fingers from tiny rock outcroppings, go spelunking in the deepest, darkest unexplored caves, skydive, mountain climb, or raft Class 5 rivers, these photos will probably bore the crap out of you. But they are a true representation of the wonderfully lazy time we had during our trip.

We spent a good portion of our time playing this:

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While Scrabble is a great game in and of itself, we learned the true meaning of entertainment when we used this travel version for the first time since, every time we tried to press one of the letter tiles into place, five or six others would go flying off in every direction, frequently ricocheting off the window and/or Frankie's nose. It was more like playing a game of Tiddlywinks than Scrabble. Scrabblywinks, anyone? Or how about Tiddlyabble?

And we spent a lot of time playing this, the best-kept secret of the card game world, Milles Bornes. (Wonka, remember playing this?)

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When we weren’t eating or playing games, we went for lots of walks, three or four a day. Here, for the first time ever, a full-body photo of The Mysterious K!

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Although we don't allow Frankie to run around sans leash, by way of a compromise, we took a 40' lead with us so that, for at least 39’ 11”, she would think she was free to roam. This setup would work well for the first fifteen minutes of the walk until the lead would become water- and sand-logged and the poor puppy would end up muscling the thing across the beach. In this picture, while it may look as if TMK is just strolling along contemplatively and meditatively, she is, in fact, making a determined effort to wash the leash and prevent our dear dog from strangling herself.

For my part, I rediscovered the joy of flying a kite. Since it turned out to be quite breezy on the beach, on a whim, we went to a nearby town and bought a cheap-o $10 kite which, to my surprise, I flew for hours. Note to the stressed and borderline suicidal: An hour spent flying a kite—much cheaper and much more effective than therapy. Trust me. Try it. (Wonka, do you remember the black and white bat kite we used to fly when we were kids?)

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Here I am executing TMK’s demand that I make the birds fly, make the birds fly, make the birds fly! Mr. Kite is still with me but is out of camera range which explains why my right hand is just sort of dangling out there.

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And here, a photo of some of the hundreds of sandpipers for which the resort is named. Aren't the reflections of their feathery little selves in the water wonderful?

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Although we spent a good two-and-a-half days at Sandpiper, ironically, the best moment came during our final hour there when we met another (female) couple on the beach. We instantly hit it off, I mean truly hit it off in one of those ways where you feel as if you have known your new friends forever. We learned that they were going to stop in Seattle for a couple of nights before heading home to New York so TMK spontaneously gave them her business card and invited them to contact us when they were in the city—and last night they did. We met at their B&B, spent five hours walking around the neighborhood, eating dinner, sipping coffee, and watching a sunset from the balcony at the B&B. How bittersweet it is to bond with two strangers so fast, only to have them fly 3000 miles away. Bon voyage, Janet and Carrie!

Knitting Knews
I finished the knitting part of the Janine Pillow but don't have a photo yet. In the meantime, Janine, help! What do I do now, steek-wise, i-cord-wise, and pillow-wise? And why, when I finished the pillow, didn't heavenly music fill the living room and why didn't I levitate and float half-way across the room with a sense of fulfillment, closure and completion?

I also finished the back of this child's sweater which I started in March, and am half way through the front. Again, no photo yet; this is the old photo I used before.

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I am currently stuck on this pattern so, as always, I will float my question out to my ever-helpful Dear Readers.

The Question: I have cast off for the neck of the sweater and am now knitting the two shoulders separately. The next set of instructions says:

At each neck edge, bind off 3 sts once, 2 sts twice, then dec 1 st every other row 2 times.

Overall, I understand what I'm supposed to do and I understand what "neck edge" means so I guess my question is: At what point do you bind off and decrease? For each shoulder, it seems my choices are:

1. From the wrong/purl side at the neck edge.

2. From the knit/right side at the neck edge.

3. Both, meaning you decrease both from the wrong and from the right side.

4. The answer is different depending on which shoulder I am working on.

Can anyone help?

Posted by Ryan at 12:46 PM