Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something for Everyone

Well, there's something for everyone if everyone is interested in eyeglasses, dog grooming, nature trails, crochet scarves, "shoe benches", or any of the other fascinating subjects included in this entry.

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Last night, Donald and I finally got around to ordering some new glasses.

It's about time. I knew it had been a while-- maybe even over a year-- since we'd had our eye exams and got the prescriptions, but I had no idea (until I pulled out the papers and read the date) that it had been nearly two years.

Seriously, though-- this is ridiculous! I know times flies and all that, but nearly two years?! (Minus a couple of months. The exams took place early December 2007.) That's just. . . scary.

Life keeps slipping away, one day at a time. . .

Well, moving right along. . . (g)

We're trying Zenni Optical, an online source with exceptionally low prices and (as far as we can tell) a pretty good reputation for quality, too. You can get a pair of glasses (no extra frills, but perfectly good glasses) for a mere eight dollars (+ a flat rate shipping charge of $4.95). If you're in the mood to splurge ;o) there are other options (glasses for $15, $19, and so on-- tinted lenses-- anti-glare coatings-- etc.). Honestly, though, some of the $8 models were my favorites from the bunch.

Our new glasses should arrive within a couple of weeks. I'm excited! It's been more years than I care to admit since I had new glasses-- mostly because I rarely thought about it. (And when I did, I dreaded the hassle of the exam and picking out new frames and ended up putting it off.) These old ones are showing their age and are ready for retirement.

I'll probably take photos of the new glasses once they arrive. (Thought I'd give you all something to look forward to. (g))

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I think the hummingbirds (or at least "our" hummingbirds) have moved on to their next stop. We haven't seen them in two or three days (and I had already heard that they generally leave this area around the middle of October). The patio seems emptier without them. . . Time to dig out and fill our other bird feeders, I guess!

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The hummingbirds may have left us, but my sister and brother-in-law, who have been living in the Montgomery area, are planning to move back to the coast soon! I know my family will be happy to have them close by again, so that we can see more of one another.

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Over the weekend, we gave Molly another haircut. It's not 100% done (Is it ever?), but it is much better than it was before. Part of the time, she was fairly well-behaved. ("I don't really want to do this right now... *whine whine* Why do we have to do this? I really don't like this very-- Oh! Is that peanut butter you have there? Well, I don't mind if I do!") Part of the time, she was not. ("Mess with my feet, will you? I'll show you! I'll somehow manage to lie on top of all four feet at the same time so you can't reach them! Nanny-nanny boo-boo!" . . .Or even "Ohmygosh ohmygosh OHMYGOSH!! They're making me lie on my side!! NOOOO! NOOOO! I shall surely perish a most excrutiating death if I am made to lie on my side!! NOOOOOOO!!")

As we struggled to cut her hair (and nothing but her hair)-- sometimes against her very vehement wishes-- I renewed my vow to never have another dog of such a grooming-intensive breed. It simply doesn't work out well.

If I could go back in time, maybe I could familiarize her with the grooming process when she was still an impressionable puppy. Maybe then it wouldn't be such an agonizing ordeal to brush and cut her hair on her legs, feet, and underside. Maybe she would never get in such a state that I feel terrible, guilty helplessness over her mats and tangles. Then again, maybe there's nothing we could've done to make it easier. Either way, from here on out, I don't see myself ever owning a spaniel (or similarly haired breed) again.

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Also over the weekend, we took a quick trip to Meaher State Park (on the Baldwin County side of the Causeway). It was ok, but not as nice as the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail(s). There's simply not as much trail there, for one thing, but my opinion might also have been influenced by the hot, muggy weather. (We are still waiting for autumn to get here and stay for more than a couple days at a time.)

On the boardwalk, we saw lots of small crabs, some water fowl, and a raccoon. No turtles, snakes, or alligators, though. (I wouldn't have wanted to see them too close up, anyway.) I did a little filming there, so I'll try to edit and post that soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos that we took:



Raccoon Caught in the Act


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Donald added a couple of doors to the "shoe bench" by our kitchen door. (He built the bench years ago using leftovers from the bookshelf he built.)

After years of having it just as it was-- always right next to the door we use most, to house a few pairs of our most-frequently-used shoes-- it suddenly seemed odd to have a bunch of shoes in close proximity and open view of the table where our guests sit and eat. Isn't that the way these things usually work? You go a long time without noticing something, but once you see it, you realize that Something Must Be Done. So Donald found a piece of wood that would work-- the kitchen-sink-shaped cutout the builders made in our counter-top-- and with a little sawing, sanding, spackling, and painting, the shoe bench had two doors. We filled the middle compartment with a basket, and the result looks much more "finished" than it did a few weeks ago!

Here's a "before" photo:

New Beadboard Wainscoting

And a couple of "after":

Shoe Bench

Shoe Bench

That'll do nicely!

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I think the last time I mentioned crochet on this blog was back when I had decided to try a scarf that was basically a bunch of Solomon's knots (love knots, lover's knots). I gave it a try, and after the first or second row didn't know what to do next. It was night, and I was tired, so that may have accounted for it. Whatever the reason, I couldn't see where/how I was supposed to attach the next row into the previous one. I'm going to give it another try-- and maybe seek advice if I still can't figure it out on my own-- but in the meantime, I happened upon a different scarf pattern.

The Luna Lovegood Scarf (pattern by Melissa Helton) is so called because it's based on an accessory worn by a character of that name in a Harry Potter movie. I liked the looks of the scarf, and none of the stitches seemed too difficult for a beginner. Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out. It is a little wider than I pictured it, but that's not really a problem with a scarf. I think my beginner status showed itself in a couple of spots, but I can definitely wear it without wrapping it up to my eyes to protect my identity. ;o)

Luna Lovegood Scarf

(There are a few more photos on Flickr, if you'd like another look.)

Oh, and this was also my first attempt at blocking. I still don't know if I did it perfectly, but I do think it made a positive difference in the shaping and arrangement of the stiches, so that's good. At least I have a little blocking experience under my belt, now.

Scarf stats:

Yarn: Red Heart Sport, "Aran Fleck"
I used a little less than two 2.5 oz (70g) skeins.

Hook: G (I think...)
That's not what the pattern called for, but I knew it didn't really matter that much, seeing as it's a scarf, and I didn't have whatever hook the pattern did call for.

Time: I don't know. I don't really time my crafty pursuits. It's supposed to be fun, and I don't like timing things. Makes me feel like I'm in a race. . . It probably took longer than it "should" have, but I'm still a beginner.

Approximately 5.5 inches (14cm) wide and 78 inches (198cm) long.

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Last week I received a jury summons. (I mentioned it on Twitter, so if you read those updates, you already know about this. But in that case, you already knew about some of the other things I've written about, too. Let this be a lesson to you. . . or something. . .)

The last time I got a jury summons was my first time to get a summons-- the first time I'd ever been notified that I might potentially be selected to sit on a jury. (When was that, exactly? I probably ought to try to figure it out in case they ask. Seems like they did ask something about previous jury experience, last time. . .) So, seeing as it was my first time seeing The Law up close and personal, I was interested, nervous, and kind of excited, even though I knew it was my civic duty to be completely bored and annoyed by the prospect of sitting on a jury. Everyone is (or so you'd think, based on what you usually hear and see people saying).

I happened to see a (2nd? 3rd?) cousin on my first day there, and she seemed bored and nonchalant. Unfortunately (?) I don't find it so easy to be bored and nonchalant. ("A bundle of nerves" might be closer to it, actually. This makes certain aspects of life more difficult, no doubt, and I'll never be really "cool", but at least it's probably also more dramatic and interesting this way.) In any case, being interested/excited made the first part of the experience. . . well, interesting and exciting. As time passed, some of that wore off. By the time it was over, I was ready for it to be over.

This time around, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think I'd rather not have to go, but since I don't really have a choice, I'm trying to feel interested in it. It is interesting, when you're actually sitting on a jury and not just sitting or standing around waiting to be selected. I honestly feel a little sorry for people who don't feel even the least bit interested in the prospect of a brief period of jury duty. It must take a lot to keep them occupied and interested* in life in general. . .

*Note to self: Practice using synonymns for "interested" and "interesting". ;o)

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Well, that's more than enough blogging for one day! ;o)