Smaug and Dogs

We have a new resident in the house:


This is Smaug, a Ball Python. I’d say he’s about 18″ long, about as big around as Ron’s thumb. Ron says he’s not big enough for his bite to actually break skin (the woman at the pet store wasn’t confident about handling him, so Ron got him out of the enclosure). I’m calling Smaug “him”, but we really have no clue.

Here’s a couple pictures of Smaug’s terrarium:

Smaug_Home_1 Smaug_Home_2

It’s something like 16″ x 17, and a couple feet tall. The branch is fake. The store employee said Smaug likes to lay in the water bowl, so we got a fountain instead of just a small bowl. The back wall decoration is styrofoam, and as you can see, Smaug can use it to climb. The upper section of the front is two doors that swing open, or you can open the (screen) top.

The terrarium is sitting on the end table between the couch and the computer desk (the blue front door in the picture above is a reflection), which has been pushed back to the wall, after removing the bookshelf that used to be between the wall and the table, since Smaug was going to block access to most of the shelves.

When we first put him in the terrarium, Smaug investigated it fairly thoroughly. Currently he’s wedged between the fountain and the back wall, on the side toward the branch. I assume this is part of the settling-in process.

Smaug has been eating thawed previously-frozen mice, currently one small one a week, on Thursdays, so now we have a box of mice in the freezer.

This is Gimli after noticing Smaug moving:


He really wasn’t sure about it. At all. A few minutes later he woofed a couple times. Tommy has noticed the terrarium, but Smaug froze when Tommy’s nose got close to the glass, so I’m pretty sure Tommy didn’t notice him. I don’t think Pippin has either – as far as I can tell Tommy and Pippin are writing it all off as just another weird human thing that caused a lot of living room chaos this morning.

Thursday morning we noticed that the raw spots on Pippin’s lower jaw were worse, and more of his face was raw and irritated. Robin didn’t work until evening, so he took Pippin to the vet, and came home with oral antibiotic, cleaning fluid, and an ointment that combines a corticosteroid, anti-itch medication, anti-fungal, and antibiotic. We started the meds and cleaning Thursday evening, and Pippin is looking better. Vet’s SWAG is that the cause was related to allergy season, with the cut he had in his lip a couple weeks ago (and we thought had healed) didn’t help.

ComEd contractors came by Wednesday afternoon and got the half-tree off of the utility lines, and cut free from the parent tree. The neighbors had a neighboring service out to give them an estimate on taking down the rest of the tree, and were looking at it (and the remains) in our yard, too.

The MuseCon program book is aaaallllmost done. I have to do proofreading and the table of contents, and then it goes to the printer this coming week.

And I have an earache. I’m hoping it’s related to allergy season.

More Doll Clothing

Oops, meant to post this a week or so ago:
 Shortly after MuseCon I posted pictures and nattered about Japanese-style doll clothing. At that point, I’d finished these kosode (robes) and kariginu (vest) from a set of fat quarters:

 I’ve finally finished the last two pieces made from that bundle: a robe, the exact name of which escapes me, which is essentially a kosode without the overlapping front extensions:

Back view, to show off being picky about the placement of the koi:

And this hakama-style skirt. Which is more of a muted olive in person:

And now, the fan-pattern kosode, which I meant as a bottom layer, with the hakama. Sorry, I still haven’t gotten my PVC display stands made yet:

And the layered robes. You’d probably actually want a plainer kosode as the center layer (instead of hiding the koi), but you get the idea:

And a more casual outfit of kosode, kariginu, and hakama:

You may notice that the flowers on the kariginu also show up on the large koi robe. And the koi three of the five fabrics. I wouldn’t have thought of using an olive with the other colors, but it works. Which is an advantage of using fat quarter bundles. Granted, the collars for the koi robes and the kariginu didn’t come from the bundle, but they’re good color matches and work.
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Shelf (ha ha) Portrait

The new shelf (the lower, wider one) is up, Legos rearranged, and dolls placed.

2014_ 8_18_20_29.jpg 2014_ 8_18_20_29.jpg

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That was the weekend that was

Visit from my parents went well.  Saturday night Chere and I went to Williams-Sonoma, and a cake pan followed Chere home and then moved into my kitchen.  It’s a “pull-apart” pan that makes little hexagon cake sections, with honeycomb and bee designs on them.  W-S was selling a honey bundt cake mix with the pan, but it was a honey cake only inasmuch as it used a honey glaze.  So that didn’t follow us home.

Pulled out a chocolate bundt cake mix, haven’t made it yet, as Ron’s tummy was upset Sunday evening and yesterday.  Perhaps tonight.  Yes, chocolate honeycombs will look funny.  Ask me if I care…

Anyway, Sunday morning we all went out for breakfast, to Ace for footwarmers for Chere and looking at the Weber goodies there, and then to Eurofresh for tailgating supplies before they headed back to Evanston for game two of the Northwestern/UofM ladies’ softball series.

Sunday afternoon I took my iFruit to visit the Apple store, and it came home with a new battery, as expected.  In the afternoon I also plied the first batch of chocolate cherry yarn, then spun another two quills full on the charkha.

Ron and I were both feeling ooky yesterday, so we stayed home.  Ron did work-work, I searched for the clipboard with information I needed on it, never found it, finally found the information on-line, ranted, and finally wrote the paper that’s due tomorrow.  The missing information on my clipboard was the assignment for the paper, and the two essay questions and an extra-credit essay for tomorrow’s final.  Fortunately, they were available on-line.  Unfortunately, I remembered this morning that part of my final project is also on the clipboard.  If I don’t find it by tomorrow I’ll explain to my instructor that it’s gone missing and ask her to make a note in her grades that she did see it two weeks ago (which she did), in case it doesn’t turn up before the final project is due.  I can replace the bit that went missing, but it won’t have the appropriate scribble on it that she looks for.

By the time I finished the paper Ron suggested that perhaps I should wait and do the essay questions today and tomorrow, which would be plenty of time (since the exam is set up to allow enough time to do them then), because my rationality was in question.

I agreed, and plied my yarn.  And then after dinner last night I washed the big pile of yarn we’ve been accumulating.  I snapped the skeins before hanging them up to dry, but didn’t weight them.  And I took pictures this morning.  First up, you may remember the kinky skeins:

Even though this isn’t a great picture, I think you can see that this skein is still kinky, but not as exuberantly as before washing.  It now looks like a skein, not a floofy bracelet.

Here’s two skeins of the bluish-purple:

The upper skein is one of Ron’s, the lower is one of mine.  Ron’s is about worsted-weight, I think.

And here’s all the chocolate cherry I’ve spun so far:

My attempts to get colors to line up have somewhat fallen by the wayside as being beyond my skill at both splitting roving into equal sections, and spinning.  But I like how it’s coming out.

I think all the yarn of mine in this post is in the fingering weight neighborhood, with possible forays into light sport or laceweight.  Works for me.

This weekend I also found my stash of little bits of brightly-dyed alpaca that came home from Ron’s parents’ wrapped around some of Robin’s miniatures.  I think some of it may have bits of suri alpaca or silk blended in.  There won’t be a lot of any one color, but that’s ok, I can use it for colorwork.

I found instructions for “hand plying” on that allow you to ply a not-too-long length of singles back on itself, kind of like working from both the outside and inside of a center-pull ball.  So I can just spin as much as I can get out of each bunch of alpaca, then make 2-ply from it, and it will come out even.

Tonight I have to sew a leather book cover together, no spinning.

Oh, I remember now, Saturday morning Ron went out to see if he could figure out why none of the colonies made it through the winter (starvation, cold, disease), and it turns out the east hive is not quite dead!  He opened the top, saw live bees, and shut it right back up.  We’re guessing the others froze, as there’s honey left.

We are liking the iPad.  Figured out that it wants a high-power USB port to charge from, which the hubs on Ron’s desktop aren’t.  But he freed up a slot on the machine.   That explains why its charger wall-wart is bigger than the iPhones’.  We’ve got it set up so that we can both check our various e-mail, facebook, and other accounts without logging each other off, which is convenient.  Managed that through setting up mail for multiple accounts, and then judicious install and setups of various apps and bookmarks in browsers.

My Son, Instigator of School Policies!

Last time the dress code was discussed, Robin says there wasn’t much about boys’ clothing.

The latest iteration, which was apparently gone over in school this week, included requirements for kilt length.  Yay Robin!

(minimum kilt length same as girls’ skirts – when standing with your arms hanging straight down, the skirt has to go at least as far down as your fingertips – which seems pretty short to me!)

Hmm.  Seems I never posted this picture:

Tonight’s Accomplishments

Did dishes, then while Ron cooked dinner I found the Village requirements for deck construction for Robin – he’s ahead in CAD, so he can draw up the plans for the new kitchen porch.

Finished filling the quill in my charkha, wound it onto a bobbin, then plied it.  I’d say I filled the quill pretty evenly both times, here’s what I had left on one bobbin after plying:

I’m doing better all around, I only had one ply break once.  Ron and Robin were nice and took care of the PeaPod order and let me keep plying.  Ron was only using one bobbin, so I could use the regular head, not the big plying head.  Given how fast I’m treadling to ply, next time I may try the fast flyer.

Then I skeined it off.  I thought I’d been over-twisting while plying, but I was ok with that as I didn’t want the plying too loose.  Turns out it’s a very nice balanced pretty skein (although in person it’s more purple than blue):

While I was plying Ron had disassembled the charkha for me, so I could give it a coat of danish oil.  I’d bought “golden oak” hoping to even out some of the color variation, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.  OTOH, I didn’t want to darken it up, more than I was hoping to even out color, so that’s ok.

Tomorrow evening I’ll reassemble and probably spin some more of the purple.  Even with Ron and I both working on it we’re maybe halfway through the first pound (of two).  Or maybe I’ll use the Lendrum (since Ron won’t be home), and ply some of the sheep’s-white I spun mumble years ago, which I’m thinking would be nice to use with the purple in color work.

Ouchie, Plus Two Days

Oh, my eye is looking so very very pretty . . . not!  The bruising is spreading, although the swelling is down, we think.  Last night a friend with vast pharmaceutical knowledge suggested antihistimine eye drops.  CVS was out of the ones with a particular active ingredient she suggested, so I grabbed one they did have.  I think it may be helping, and if not, it won’t hurt.

Ron kidnpped me and dragged me to the zoo today, and on the way home we stopped at Chevy’s for lunch.  Now I remember why we stopped going there: portion sizes shrunk and/or prices increased, and the food got more frou-frou.  Plus Toreo is close to home for real Mexican food, and since then we’ve also discovered the little hole in the wall Mexican place across from Zimmer Hardware.  Neither are Tex-Mex, but they beat Chevy’s.  But I digress.  I kept wondering today if people thought I was an abused spouse.  Hah!

Ouchie Picture

Here’s a picture, roughly four hours post-sting. No, my eyelid is not swollen shut, closed my eyes for the picture.

Probable Move to WordPress

Both Blogger and LiveJournal are unwieldy to post to from my iPhone, worse with posting pictures, and neither offer mobile views or offer a mobile posting app that dosen’t use text-messaging. Therefore, I’m giving WordPress a try.

That said, on with the post that started this odyssey:

I’m very good at killing house plants, especially at home. But I do have one little succulent at work that’s surviving. It’s been in need of more space for an emberassingly long while, but I finally took care of that this morning.

Although I couldn’t find a pot I liked in stores, it turned out we had a perfectly servicable one at home. We were out of cactus/succulent potting mix (Robin has several,although IIRC the ridiculously-tall Lithops died), so I faked it with sand, mushroom compost, and top-dressing gravel. I even gave it a good layer of top dressing with said gravel.

(good, copy & paste work, now how about posting pictures…cool! Would probably have been even simpler if I’d read directions!)