Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Year In Tucson

First of all, Happy Halloween for those of you who will be partaking in the festivities.  As of yesterday at around 3:30pm we have been in Tucson for one whole year.  For some strange reason both D and I woke up yesterday as sore and tired as we were a year ago, after having drove for 36 hours straight hours and proceeding to unpack. But, I'll start at the beginning of the past few days then sum up the year. (Warning this is going to be long, get a beverage of your choice and hopefully, I won't bore you to tears.)

On Thursday, I knit, knit and knit for 10 hrs straight on the slippers.  I decided I didn't like the pattern I picked on Wednesday and switched to this one.  I also figured the yarn I had wasn't thick enough.  I had an 8 oz skein of Crown Mountain Farms BFL in East of Eden, I had spun a couple years ago.  Why I got it, I do not know as it's not a color I would wear, but I did enjoy spinning it. So I wound it into a center pull ball and used the two strands with the purple.

From Knitting Kitties

It was a heavy worsted, maybe bulky on size 9 needles, so I just doubled the stitch count on the pattern and figured it would ok.  Never having made a felted project before.  Also, the washer's are coin operated, so I'm doing this felting thing by hand.  Yeah, I bet you can see where this is going.

From Knitting Kitties
This is at 10pm Thursday night on my size 7 feet.  D wears a mens 12, so I was still kinda hopeful. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed in really hot water.  For those of you who have dyed yarn, remember those first attempts and getting impatient only to have a matted felted mess?  Why does felting work so easily when you don't want it to happen?  I shocked it with as cool water as I could get from the tap in Tucson.  Then I boiled water and poured it on.

The next morning more scrubbing and it wasn't shrinking very much.  So I decided to try to trick it, I got out my blue dye, as I had planned to make the bright fuchsia parts purple. That part worked, I got a nice iridescent looking blue violet.  However, not much more felted shrinkage.  In my desperation at that point, I grabbed D's leather work shoes and formed the slippers around them and pinned up the back.

Here is where achieved a whole new level of crazy cat lady status.  Just as I was trying to take a picture, Di and J scrape on my window.  It's Di's way of knocking that makes me a little nuts.  I hollered at her as I let her in that I was trying to take a picture and went back to the camera.

"What are you taking a picture of?" she  asks.  Not see anything photo worthy.
"This" I take the picture.
"You made shoe coozies?" J asks and they both look at me like I might be just totally round the bend.
"Yeah, you know I wouldn't want D's shoes to get to cold here in the desert."
They left me to my madness and went to the office room to sing happy birthday to D.

From Knitting Kitties
That's as far as I got.  They are still sitting there in time out to think about where they went wrong. (The slippers that is) In the next couple days I will sew up the backs and cut off the extra. I have some blue worsted weight wool I can use to crochet an edging.  We'll see what happens later this week.

On Thursday night D said he was an old man and all he wanted for his birthday was a day of peace and quiet. Di dyed most of the grey out of my hair that afternoon, so he could have a woman 20 years younger.  Hah, he doesn't want a 20 something woman, he just wants peace and quiet.  We did our usual when he has a Friday off, cooked out on the grill and played Scrabble, which as usual he won twice.  Then we all watched a DVD he bought last year but hadn't watched Masters of Horror - Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House based on a story by his favorite author H.P. Lovecraft.

Yesterday I made shortbread and a pumpkin cheesecake.  We didn't have graham crackers in the house so I whipped up a couple batched of shortbread cookies.  D's favorite cookies are Pecan Sandies, so I added some chopped pecans.

1/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1/4  cup chopped pecans
a pinch of salt (butter was unsalted)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Let the butter soften to room temp, then cream with sugar.  Mix in flour, pecans and vanilla, salt(if butter is unsalted) until it forms a soft dough.  I then formed 1 inch balls and smashed them flat with the palm of my hand.  (I'm not getting all fancy with rolling and cookie cutters. *smile*) Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350F for 10-15 minutes.

From Knitting Kitties
I found this recipe on for Pumpkin Cheesecake. As always, I rarely follow a pattern or recipe exactly as written.  I used a 1 1/2 cups of the shortbread cookies crumbled up with 4 tsp melted butter to make the crust.  For the cheesecake, I added 1/2 cup more pumpkin and more spices.  I like my pumpkin a bit spicier than most recipes. Spices added were 1/4 tsp each ginger and ground cloves instead of allspice I added 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
From Knitting Kitties
When it was chilled and ready to eat, I forced to D to have a piece for picture and blog purposes. It was his belated birthday desert. The crust stuck a bit to the bottom of the pan and I told D next time I'm going use non-cook sticking spray.  He said, "I thought that's what you did, it's called glue."  I need to just go sit in a corner somewhere.  The good news was he said it was the best pumpkin cheesecake he's had and that the pecan shortbread crust added something special to it. 

From Knitting Kitties
Pictures of food don't come out quite right in here.  The colors are just a bit off.  I would have went outside in the sun to take a picture but my reputation for baking has spread around here and I didn't have enough to share with the masses.  Every time I mix pumpkin filling I remember an incident when I was four.  I think it would be best posted in pictures the way Allie does for Hyperbole and a Half.  I'm going to work on my mouse drawing in Paint and see what I can come up with for Thanksgiving. 

Yesterday, in my mailbox I found a special surprise other than the bills, which are never a special surprise.  Dina of Five Cats From Crazy had a contest on her blog.  Only three of us entered so she made each of us a bracelet rather than pick one name.  She included an extra surprise of some really soft and pretty yarn. It goes well with my futon. 
From Knitting Kitties
The bracelet fits perfectly.  Thank you so much Dina.  You still see the scratch scar my very first bunny gave me almost two decades ago.  Baby bunnies have very sharp claws. 

From Knitting Kitties
I finished the first spindle of the bfl.

From Knitting Kitties
Almost finished with second foot of my footies.  These taking forever. Normally, I can make a pair in a day or two. These are like knitting into a black hole.  I'm not real happy with the yellow green in this yarn, so I will probably mix up some blue dye and over dye them.  Watch these will felt on me, just because I don't want them to.

This year we've had more downs than ups, but we are all still together.  Unlike when I attempted this move 8 years ago, I haven't cried myself to sleep every night homesick.  I do get homesick every once in awhile, I really miss my granddaughter.  I just remind myself how much pain I had been in for years.  Now, I have weened myself off all the pain meds the dr. in NY had me on that barely worked.  I just take 1 Advil PM at bedtime and maybe a couple during the day once a week.

I'm up to walking 2.5 miles in around an hour without my cane, last year I could barely make it around the grocery store.  Hopefully soon, I can get a part-time job.  The days are getting pretty long and boring now that I'm not all doped up.

Last time, I was down here the culture shock was really bad, D said it was like he picked me up and dropped on another planet.  I still get culture shock but I prepare for it every time I open the door.  Now Denise, the probability something will happen that will cause you to pick your jaw up off the ground is really high.  Panhandling is really bad.  "Do you have a dollar for the bus?" is the average greeting.  I had a lady chase me down as I was leaving CVS wanting me to give her $10.00 for her medicine.  If I had it, I might have helped her.  However, people always asking for money rarely happens in Rochester, New York, so it shocks me when I am accosted every time I go for a walk.  Seriously, every time.  I think it's because the social programs are just horrible here compared to New York.

Bright Eyes is my cat.  My familiar is what my kids and D calls her.  She used to like lay on my hip ever since she was a kitten.  With all my hip pain, it would become quite uncomfortable and I would push her off. So she started waiting til I was asleep then I would wake up in the morning feeling like a truck ran over my hips.  She has a new thing she started when we moved down here.  Now she climbs up on my side and puts her head on my shoulder.  Her little nose is in my ear purring, to keep me asleep.  She's doing this more and more, like all night or anytime I lay down.  D took this picture last year, I just haven't gotten to post it.

When she decides she's so hungry she can't wait any longer, she will do this to D, then stick her paw in his ear to wake him up.  There's no waking me unless she gets a bull horn and shouts in my ear. Yes, by the way, she is a poly-dactyl like her father Butterscotch who has 7 toes.


If your still here, I'll say good-bye for now.  I  do hope I didn't bore you tears.  Hopefully my next post, D will have his slippers.  Cross your fingers or paws.  I'll leave you with pictures of D cuddling Nippit.



Anonymous said...

wow, I'd love a polydactyl cat!!!
congrats on your tuscon anniversary!

melbatoast68 said...

I hope your next year in Tuscon is filled with love & laughter!

Julie said...

Happy Tuscan anniversary!

Lots of nice pics of food, crafting and kittys, what could be better, a lovely post to read.

Anonymous said...

You know how to pack a lot into one post! Love the knitting and the spinning. And the many-toed cat!

Carol said...

the comments worked!!!! Yay! ANd what a gorgeous bracelet! and how many exclamation points can I put in one post!!! Oh wait, that's a question. Ah well.

Anonymous said...

Bunnies and blue wool being spun = heaven

Shanti said...

I like your blue socks... I would never have the patience to make some... I'm still thinking about the felting of my slippers, they are crocheted in very virgin wool... hope they shrink!