Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Slogging on… January 30, 2009

Last night I went to my usual Happy Hookers group.  Even this pack mistress needs a night off every now and then. It was a little unusual in the fact that we first went to Super Suppers for a tasting arranged by our one and only amazing Lily who set it up for us.  I got some food to heat and eat for when Chris is gone and then went and forgot it in the trunk of the car when we got home.  However, it wasn’t the end of the world as it was still pretty frozen this morning when I woke up thinking about the monkey bread and went and got it all from the car….  It was a fun night as usual even though we weren’t in our usual Paneara.  Didn’t get a lot done on the blue and white torture, but that’s ok.  I have resigned myself that it will get finished when we are done with the move.  I won’t have much else to do but crochet it and look at the pets trying to pop the airmattress.

Still packing.  I don’t know just how so much stuff fit into this little 900+ sq. ft. house.  I mean, I know that a lot of things take more space when packed but damn, I think that the amount of mass is multiplying in some mysterious anti-physics way.  Think the Tribbles episode of Star Trek.  Only these aren’t cute little furry creatures rather ugly looking, brown, cardboard boxes and things wrapped in throw rugs and shrink wrap (I love shrink wrap, just an FYI for y’all).  

I took both dogs and 2 cats down to the Virgin Atlantic cargo office on Wednesday.  I wanted to make sure that all of their crates were of appropriate dimension’s.  I’m glad I did as I found out that the cat’s crates were all too small.  I have ordered larger ones for them.  Here’s the odd thing…We are now taking up considerably more space in the plane but we are being charged a lower amount, by something on the order of $500.  Once you pass a certain threshold you are charged a different rate.  Who knew?  So, a word to all you thinking of taking a bunch of pets overseas, go ahead and upgrade your pets crates, it could make it cheaper for you!


Forgive me but I am thinking bad words even as I write this January 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 3:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I have exactly 5 full days before a gang of 4 men descends upon my house and removes everything in it as well as (hopefully) a lot of things around it and puts them into a 40′ container that will get loaded onto a big ship that will bob it’s way across the Atlantic ocean and into London.  Ok, so bobbing isn’t probably the best description of what the ship will do but I thought that it was probably better than zooming since it is going to take 5-6 weeks for my stuff to get there.  I’m freaking the hell out going so far as to measure the front of my house at 9 o’clock at night with my little sheep tape measure that maxes out at 5′ last night when the hubby asked, “just how freaked out would you be if everything didn’t fit in the container?”.  I needed some perspective on how big 40′ is.  Just so you know, the house is only 25′.  I think we are going to be ok but it was seriously not cool of the hubby to say that as I am sure that he already knows the fucking answer!!!  I am also trying to get the last of the paperwork done for the birds as they are flying with the hubby on the 9th.  I could melt pennies in the acid pit that is now my stomach (and esophagus I am sure) and I am prone to fly into a rage.  The one house that fit our needs got rented before we could get to it and a replacement has been elusive.  I am still working part-time as well as taking a class that I need to graduate. 

In other words, please forgive the blog silence.  I’m a little busy right now…….


On a Happy Day January 20, 2009

Packing continues here in lovely Apopka.  The yarn room continues to be filled with more boxes and containers than were even in there previously.  It is interesting to see the house seem to gradually empty into a couple of rooms which are completely impassible.  It will be an experience for me once everything is once again out of the house to see it’s bones.  I don’t think it has been completely empty since I bought it.  I spent a couple of weeks cleaning it before I moved in with my friend Liuba as there was a lot of, well, gunk on the walls in the kitchen and stuff like that.  We had it mostly empty while we remodeled it a while back, but not completely empty.  I am going to be sad to leave this house.  I bought it when I was only 21 not knowing just how hard buying a house is supposed to be!  I think that had I known I wouldn’t have done it.  I’m not going to say that this is one of those fantastic stories that you hear about all the time, where someone buys a house down on it’s luck and magically transforms it into a palace.  It isn’t, the house still has serious limitations but I am leaving it a much more livable structure than the one that I bought.  (For example, it has A/C now.  It didn’t when I bought it.  Seriously.  I lived here for a year with no A/C.).  Still, I have spent a third of my life here and it will be hard to say goodbye…..

Wool washing also continues.  Luckily, wool washing appears to be coming to an end.  I am on my last sheep fleece from Rhinebeck, all I have left after that is to wash lovely Chico’s blanket and everybody is clean…  I finished washing the Romney’s fleece and it is even more lovely clean than it was greasy.  It has more silver in it than I even thought.  Now I am working on the Romney-Rambouillet crossed fleece which is another of the white fleeces.  Lots of soaking it in the washer and hauling hot pans of water out to it.  I’m glad that the alpaca fleece doesn’t need hot water since it has no grease in it.

With random balls of yarn that I have found around the house as I was packing, I have broken 1000 on the Ravelry stash list.  That means that I have 1000 different kinds of yarn, not 1000 skeins or balls of yarn.  I have way more than 1000 skeins since many of the kinds of yarn that I have I own more than one ball of it.  Still, it is dubiously a banner day for me!  

I am optimistically hopeful that we may have found a place that will work for us in the UK.  Not only would we be able to live there but the entire zoo as well.  I don’t want to talk about it too much for fear of jinxing it, but I will say that it even has a greenhouse!!!

I’m not going to talk about the inauguration here.  I listened to it on NPR and I am sure that there are LOTS of folks blogging about it.  I’m just glad, in a perverse way, that it is happening before I move overseas.  For the past 8 years I have felt that I had to apologize when I told people over there that I was an American.  I no longer feel that way.  I am happy and proud to be an American and I hope that I stay that way…..

(MSW-101, Birthday-spa day-11)


I’ll Spin You Right Round Baby January 17, 2009

What a fun day.  Today I went to the S.O.C.K.S. (South Orlando Crocheters, Knitters and Spinners) 5th annual Distaff day.  It was a blast and the first time that I have ever gotten a chance to spin with other people.  It is also the first time a photo of me spinning has been taken.


The folks to the left of me in the picture came all the way from Gainesville for the day.  There were a lot of spinning wheels there and even a loom!


I do wish that more of the Hookers had come.  I was the only person there that listed crocheting as my primary rather than knitting.  I just wish that we were out there more declaring are hooking independence.  This might be why the industry tends to give us sort of short shrift as we aren’t out there showing off our stuff like the knitters!  Hookers!!!  Get your asses out there and make yourselves known damnit!!!  Ok, end of lecture.


There were items that had been made that were for sale as well as yarns that folks were ready to part with for sale and I was, well, pretty good.


This photo really doesn’t do it justice.  It is, however, 4oz of Seawool pencil rovings dyed by Celena Crews of Rocket Yarn.  You can find her stuff on ETSY here.

I also got this little cutie:


She’s a little polymer clay bead that one of the organizers of the event makes.

I took a large bag of yarn for the free table (as well as two boxes of slightly cold injured violets) so I didn’t feel bad about taking this very little bag of yarn home with me.  It contained 4 teeny-tiny balls of Lightweight DK wool yarn from Rowan in shades of grey.


Definitely not a stashbuster (at least not in my house!).

We also got to make shawl pins by choosing our own beads.  Here’s mine.  Not exciting except maybe in how unexciting it looks.  But it is red, my favorite….


It was a LOT of fun and I would totally suggest to anyone that can go to this next year to do so.  I got to meet a lot of great folks and SPIN IN PUBLIC!

On my way there I stopped at a Wal-Mart.  Now normally I do not like to shop at Wal-Mart.  I don’t like a lot of their practices and well, then one in my area is NASTY.  But, I needed something pronto and I didn’t have time to go to Target which was way out of my way.  So, I ran in and ended-up running out with this:


It is a new set of drawers for my sticker collection (which had recently overflowed into two of the normal sized plastic drawers and was being a real pain-in-the-ass).  It is 3’4″ tall and about 29″ wide.  It is a beast and I love it.  It is exactly the right size for my stickers with a little room to grow…

All in all, a most fun and pretty productive day as I actually got some spinning done!!  However, the super-fucking-secret pain-in-the-ass is still there, awaiting me.  I am also still washing that big-ass Romney fleece.  It is, thankfully, nearly done….

(MSW-103 Birthday spa day 14)


As she waits for pizza January 16, 2009

I ordered a pizza on-line for dinner tonight.  While this may seem like no big deal to a lot of you out there it is a HUGE deal to me for 2 reasons.  Reason #1 Up until a couple of years ago you couldn’t order pizza in any form to be delivered to this neighborhood as it was “too far out”.  Reason #2  It is Pizza Slut which I feel make the best breadsticks this side of heaven and I am in my pj’s.  Come on, that is just freaking awesome folks!  I am wearing a pair of Mutts pj pants and a long sleeved Valley Crest freebie shirt from PLANET student career days.  I am rocking the “lazy at home look”.  Fuck it.  I am so not out to win a fashion show in my own fucking home!  Besides, the “Love Crew” arrayed around me really doesn’t give a damn as long as I am liberal with the treats and let them out in a timely manner!


The Love Crew

The Love Crew

Last night was Hooking night.  I was good to see (most) of the gang! (I’m saying that some of the gang wasn’t there not that it wasn’t good to see everyone that was there.)  We had a good time and didn’t get threatened with expulsion from Panera Bread at all so I count it as a win for the home team.

I am still washing wool though slightly more carefully now after burning a spot on my right hand with a pot of boiling water on Wednesday night.  I am almost done with the Romney wool and I have a serious crush on the shepherd who brought that wool to Rhinebeck.  I wish her/him many, many healthy twins this spring and many mild days for them to be born into.  It is soooooooo clean.  Compared to the other fleeces that I washed up to this point, this one is a serious walk in the park.  With some one you like.  Maybe even someone you would like to hold hands with.  Holding hands. Laughing and giggling.  Yep.  Folks. It is that good.  I am having fun washing this fleece (other than the scalding water on dominant hand thing).

Ok, maybe I need to get out more as I just realized what I just wrote.  I am having fun washing a dirty sheep’s fleece in really hot water in my washing machine.  Wow.  Some serious dork material there.  I am already guessing at the numerous bills for a therapist that my as yet unconceived daughter will have when she has to overcome her childhood.  “My mother would put these bags of dirty wool along with some dish washing liquid in the clothes washing machine and just sort of, you know, let it soak.  Then she would spin out the water and later like wash my clothes in it!  Even my underware!!!“.

To my future daughter:  Get over it.  You’re made of stronger stuff than that (trust me, you came out of me, you are stronger stuff than that if you realize it or not.).  Love, Your Future Mom 


(Is it wrong to start a countdown to Maryland Sheep and Wool when I have several major events coming up in my life before then?  Like a move to another continent and graduating from college????  Oh fuck it.  MSW-104 days. Birthday Spa day-15)


Washin Wool, Wooly Washin January 14, 2009

So, I am back to washing wool.  I still have a long way to go, but have gotten through most of one box that has vexed my husband by sitting in the kitchen for a few months now.  I have found that (gasp!) smaller batches actually make the whole overall process go more quickly.  Go figure.  So I am working on washing da wool once again.  You may ask (and with good reason), “Why now, in the middle of a move?”  Well, for starters, I don’t want to take dirty wool to the UK.  I am not sure what their rules are on that but, quite honestly, at this point I really don’t want to find out!  I am afraid that I would have to fill out a permit for it and that is not going to happen! Secondly, I don’t really want to pack dirty wool period.  It smells.  I enjoy the scent of shorn fleeces but I am not going to subject the rest of my family’s possessions to be scented like that.  I think that my husband will thank me both in the short run (the box is out of the kitchen dear!) and in the long run.  And lastly, I think that I am getting hyped-up over the thought of going to Maryland Sheep and Wool (I booked my car today on Priceline!!!) 

Last night was Yarn Therapy at Infusion Tea.  I really like that this group was named in such a way as to not make crocheters feel like red-headed stepchildren. (Man, with all of the mixed marriages out there, I’m sure that there are a lot of read-headed stepchildren out there.  Where did that saying come from?  Does anybody know?)  However, last night is was just Terri (the founder of the group) and I.  No ICAN, but there was a book club (but none of them were breastfeeding during the course of the night….) and it was in general a pretty busy night for a tea joint.  Since Terri was the only one to show-up besides myself, she got the whole load of violets that I seem to take everywhere with me nowadays.  It was still a very fun night even with just the two of us though I didn’t seem to get much done on the super-fucking-secret blanket.  It is the never ending storyline.  (I think that you need to be around my age to get that joke….)

I took some pictures of the office.  It is now offically “full” meaning that no more boxes are going into it.  You can imagine that this makes it a little hard to photograph.  First I tried to take a picture of the wall of boxes with very little space to take it (basically a walkway area).


So then I tried to take a picture of the top of the solid mass of boxes that is the office.  It didn’t go so great….


To give you some perspective, there is a little less than a foot from the top of the white thing and the ceiling.


However, my yarn room is the most organized that I’ve ever had it.


Maybe not for long with the Milo cat in it!

I have talked to folks who know me about Belle and Willma, my twin sister cats.  I’m sure that a lot of folks have thought something along the lines of, “Uh-huh, a lot of cats look similar….”  Well, here is a very rare picture of the sisters together in one picture.


Belle is in the back and Willma is in the front.

I am, so far, seriously enjoying the Never Not Knitting Page-a-Day calender by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  It is like getting a little hit of her blog only first thing in the morning (or whenever I fracking wake up!) and so far it has been really fun.  I’m also diggin the fact that my daily Get Fuzzy calender is now in color!  Has my life really contracted to this???


Working on the Tea Thing January 13, 2009

I am writing this post from Infusion Tea, a cosy tea joint (that just sounds wrong on many levels yet I persist in using it!) where I am waiting for somebody (anybody!) to show up for Yarn Therapy night.  Last week Lily and I were the only ones to come (along with a lovely, though non-yarny Tech Support) though the ladies of ICAN which is a c-section support group were there in force (and took home a lot of violets:-)).  

Today has been an odd one.  I mailed off the CITES permit application for the birds to the UK via very expensive Global Express mail.  There is just something wrong about spending nearly $40 to mail 5 pieces of paper.  Oh well, it had to be done.  However, I did get some good news.  The UK Animal Health folks will allow their applications to be turned in via either e-mail or fax.  I told the man on the other end of my Skype phone call that if he weren’t an ocean away I would have kissed him.  On the mouth.  It was that exciting of news.  

Speaking of exciting news………I booked my flight to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  Alas, I won’t be there right when they open the gates, I couldn’t figure out a way to fly on Friday night that wasn’t going to cost , well, let’s put it this way, I would only be able to go I wouldn’t, however, be able to buy anything nor sleep anywhere or drive to get there.  That expensive.  Oh, and I would have had to leave my own graduation from college.  I am pretty damn sure that that scenario wouldn’t go down too terribly well.  So I am leaving on Sat. morning on the earliest flight that I could find.  Southwest=$129.  Woo hoo! Maryland Sheep and Wool here I come!! (Now I need to work on getting Tyra to come with me…..).

This past weekend we went down to the uber touristy part of town (I-Drive) to go to the Coldwater Creek outlet.  I didn’t find anything there that really called out to me so we went on to the other outlet mall.  There I found sweaters at Eddie Bauer for $8.99 each!!!!!  I got 3 different colors of that one.  They were in a rack of 70% off!  Serious score! I also got a pair of hiking type shoes at The North Face outlet as well as a squall jacket that was half off of their half off.  It was around $60.  The Hubby found a pair of biking shorts for $18 so all in all, it was a good shopping trip.  Everything purchased was needed and for really good prices.  Plus, it felt good just to be out of the house and not packing:-)

Tech support is back in London town for work once again, though this time for only a week.  He will be looking at a few houses while he is there and has lined up help with the bird move (which should be interesting no matter which way you look at it!).  I have been working on getting some non-sedative, calming drugs for the furry animals.  The cats apparently get Valium and the dogs get Xanex.  I am planning on testing it on each of the pets in order to make sure that A.) they don’t have any adverse reactions to them and B.) that they work for the length of time needed.  So, I will be pilling one animal each day and observing their behavior.  Should make for an interesting week when I get those drugs!  I might request some for me before this is all over!!!!!

Before I forget…. Happy Birthday to my friend Sarah Jane (no, I am not crazy, she has the same name as I)!!!  This has been sort of a crazy year for her becoming a new mom and all (MH is her little cutie) and I am sure that next year will be even better.  I hope that both you and MH got a nap today!!!  Happy Birthday Sarah!!!


Sarah Jane and MH

Sarah Jane and MH in Ackley after Christmas this year