Archive | May, 2015

Dog Walking

19 May

Today I walked Nico.

Nico is a husky / pit bull mix. He is only 8 months old and so full of energy that there was little to no actual walking taking place! I tried to walk him but decided to take him to the fenced in area and let him run around to tire out a bit. He doesn’t fetch a ball. He chased after it but only sometimes picked it up, never mind actually retrieving the ball! He was distracted by every noise, car, bird, etc. After 20 minutes, I went back inside and got a different harness that didn’t allow him to pull as much PLUS some dog treats to reward him for walking well. That helped a bit. He learned SIT easily enough but was still very difficult to walk. Get his puppy energy out of him and he’s going to be a great dog. He was so affectionate and eager to please!  But he needs a dedicated family who can spend a lot of time teaching him.

I also walked Fred.

He walked wonderfully. 

I’m going to say that most of the medium to larger dogs at the shelter are a mix of pit bull. Not only do people buy pit bulls and give them up but, if they keep them, they don’t have them fixed! WHY? Cost? Do they think they are going to make a mint by becoming home breeders? So sad that so many end up in the shelter.  Three of the four dogs I’ve walked are pit bulls or pit bull mixes.


Almost Done

18 May


I knitted with the maroon sock yarn until I ran out then continued with the white. I hope to get a few more rows of white in before a picot bind off. 

What’s Happening

17 May

My oldest son graduated from the University of Illinois yesterday.

His degree is in Kinesiology. He graduated with High Honors (GPA 3.5-3.75 on a 4.0 scale). It was very appropriate that he graduated on Armed Forces Day since he served four years in the Army and went to school on the GI Bill. He is looking for a job – but has his heart set on starting an advanced degree. He’s spoken to an advisor about a research project on the effects of exercise on soldiers with PTSD. I’m very proud of him. He’s come a long way baby!

I spun and plyed some very colorful superwash merino.

It’s two-ply fingering weight. I have no idea what I’ll use it for. My two-ply is not as consistent as my three-ply but I wanted a lot of thin yarn and this is the best way to get that.

On the way home, my daughter pointed out the window and said, “Look! An alpaca!” 


And, sure enough – there was an alpaca made of clouds! My DH said it was a dog. Silly man who doesn’t spin…. 


13 May

Everything I touch lately has just turned to crap! I’m in one of those funks and I can’t seem to break out of it. I need to knit or spin or do something to keep my mind occupied during the stress of these next few weeks, but my fiber crafts are causing stress instead of relieving them!

I felted that roving I dyed earlier this week. Yep… I thought it kind of looked felted but convinced myself that it just needed to dry. Not the case…. Had to be thrown away!

I started this scarf 3 times.

It’s using leftover sock yarn and turning out okay. I had to start it 3 times because I just couldn’t read my knitting and kept forgetting where I was in the pattern. Now I’m on a roll. I hope it will block out and look nicer than what it does there. 

I have two programs to grade and one class of student projects to grade and then all grades will be turned in and I’ll be done for a couple of weeks at least.

I had my first day of volunteering at the animal shelter yesterday. I am a dog walker. I walk a couple of dogs each Tuesday morning for an hour in order for them to get exercised and to train them to walk without pulling. I walked a beagle/boxer mix named StockyRocky and a pit bull named Mingo. The shelter has the dogs rated as green (safe), yellow (some issues), and red.  I am only walking the green ones. I’m fine with that!  Mingo was technically a yellow but his only issue was that he was a jumper. He walked fantastic – pulled a bit but when I corrected him, he was fine. 

Much Better!

11 May


Got up this morning and redyed the roving with 6 packages of black cherry koolaid.  It’s now a great rust/red mottled color. It has good depth and will spin up nicely I think. 

I got the idea for that color after knitting with the leftover yarn that I had used to make my gloves.


See? Close… The roving was more of a rust and less red. The roving is much better than what it was before. That will be my next spin.



10 May

Finished some short socks/slipper things.

Those are out of my handspun Romney yarn (BTW my legs look scaly and gross because they are scaly and gross). 

I tried to overdye some fawn Shetland. It doesn’t look much different. I used what I thought was dark brown food coloring and some peach mango koolaid. I thought it would make it look like a marbled earth tone look. Nope… Here it is drying in my shower.

It looks kinda like a snake. I hope Dan doesn’t try to kill it in the middle of the night. I braided the 6 ounces and left it braided in the dye bath so that some parts would remain undyed. But my brown is nowhere near dark enough. So what’s Plan B? Red? Or get a darker shade of brown food coloring? I’m not sure what I’ll do but I’ll do something different tomorrow. 

A Busy Weekend

3 May

State Science Fair was a bust. It was very unorganized. Once again, they rely on parental volunteers to do the judging. That means that the judging is mediocre at best. Gianna’s judges must not have paid attention to the instructions. I’ve been a judge before at the local and regional level. There’s training (albeit short) that you go through and there’s a rubric that you need to follow. Gianna’s judges didn’t take her paper to read through the documentation and research – even after it was offered numerous times. They said they didn’t need it. They listened to the presentation and asked only one follow up question. They gave almost no feedback. The only potentially negative comment would not have been a negative comment at all if they would have read the paper. There wasn’t a published agenda for the day, so after 4.5 hours we left. I have no idea if there were awards and where and when they were held. No one that we came with nor any of the other parents I talked to knew what was going on either. I assume she will get some feedback mailed back to her school. We drove 5 hours each way to attend the fair. I continue to be surprised at the low amount of effort we as a community, state, and nation put into academics. Do you think we’d have a state basketball tournament and ask for volunteer referees? That these volunteer refs would get less than an hour of training? That the refs could individually decide to not have the players actually play, but that they could just talk to the players for less than 5 minutes and decide the winner?  I have no idea if she won anything, what place she got, etc. and it doesn’t matter. The prize would be meaningless since there is nothing there to back it up. It was frustrating for me as a parent. Imagine how she felt after putting in literally 100s of hours into this project and the judges could not be bothered to spend 15 minutes reading and discussing the paper in order to fairly judge her project! I (politely) complained and the people in charge agreed to re-judge the project.  She waited on the floor for another 2 hours and no one showed up to re-judge it. 

Pardon for the rant, but it is very frustrating as a parent and an educator. I don’t know where the blame lies. After four kids, this is our last science fair. I have mixed emotions. The kids have learned a lot because we as a family really get into science fair and the projects picked. I will try to concentrate on the increased learning that the kids gained and not about awards and contests.