Sarah Jane Humke

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

Elaboration November 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:24 am
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So, to elaborate on the last post a bit…

I got a job.  It doesn’t pay well and the 3 days a week that I work take a day (at least) to recover from.  I’m on my feet all day in (cue evil music here) dress shoes.  I don’t mind being on my feet a lot.  My last job had me walking all over concrete all day but it’s the dress shoes part that kills me.  I don’t know how (or why) people actually choose to wear them.  Anyway, the people who I am working with are infallibly nice and kind, it’s just sort of a tough job for someone like me to do.  Since it is only until January, I’ll stick it out and hope that my feet toughen up a little bit!

The dog that we found we are calling Malcolm (those of you who are Firefly/Serenity fans will know what I was watching before I found him!).  He’s very pretty but he is a lot of work.  He needs a run a couple of times a day or he gets really bored and antsy.  I have gotten together with a neighbor and we are going to walk together a couple of times a day as she has a lovely Golden Retriever that loves to play.  Mal keeps trying to play with Weezy and Meara but he’s just too big and is continuously stepping on them by accident.  I think that it will be good for him to get to rough-house with someone closer to his own size.

 

Mr Malcolm after a good run.

 

 

The weather here has been trying for the past couple of weeks.  It ranges from raining to blowing rain to gusting rain or just gusting.  You can imagine how much fun that has been to take the dogs out into.  At least it gives me some interesting clouds to look at!

My Yarn Therapy group is starting to take off in fits and starts.  I have actually had other people attending it!  I’m very pleased with the ladies that I have had attend so far.  We always get comments from folks that are having dinner in the pub as well.  I’m hoping that more will come as soon as the word gets out some more!

 

Things I Miss July 21, 2009

The other night I was asked by someone at the Click and Clack knitting group that I was at what I missed about the US.  The first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “parking lots”.  Yes, parking lots.  I know that that sounds kinda trite but it isn’t like I don’t miss my friends and family, it’s just that parking is a daily issue that is even more of an annoyance since getting the new car.  Anywhere you go you have to plan out a parking strategy in advance, there is no swinging into a mega sized parking lot outside of a mega store where you can get everything that you may or may not need.  The parking spaces are also sized quite differently since space is at such a premium.  Instead of being able to park a Hummer  you could park a hummingbird.  The smallest parking spaces labeled, “Compact Cars Only” in the US are still larger than the normal sized parking space here.  It just makes it more time consuming and frustrating to do, really, anything, that isn’t at home or within walking distance.

Odd things tend to hit me.  I miss JoAnn‘s with a vengeance on a regular basis.  It’s exasperating how difficult it is to find fabrics or buttons or beads that are cool.  There just isn’t any selection like I am used to anywhere and you have to visit multiple shops (see the above parking issue) to get everything that you need for a project.  Admittedly, it helps keep some money in the bank account but it still frustrates me.

Another issue that is seriously looming is the lack of clumping cat litter here.  We just put the final grains of Tidy Cat from the last of the buckets that I stockpiled before moving into the litter box and there is really no reasonably priced clumping cat litter that we have found here to replace it.  The word on the street is to use chicken crumble as it clumps together pretty well and is reasonable inexpensive but it just seems so wrong.  

I miss Target with a vengeance.  Markets are all good and well until you have to schlep 30 pounds of cat and dog food hither and fro while you finish your shopping since the car is a Sherpa’s life away.  Maybe it is a good thing that we can’t find clumping litter here as it would end-up making my arms rip off!

Boring roads that aren’t very twisty-turny are an odd thing to miss but I do.  It’s nice to be more worried about the wildlife that I may hit (including humans on SOBT) than driving off of the road constantly.   I miss store clerks asking if they can help you when you walk into a store, not just look at you like you are annoying them by wanting to buy something.  

I miss our vets, they are awesome. (With 6 animals, you do miss the vet.  Really)

Being able to understand people on the phone is a daily issue.  I know that it is in theory the same language but on the phone it sure as hell doesn’t sound like it.  I miss being able to call people without it being a huge issue.

I really, really, really miss my Hookers.  I think that Thursdays are the hardest day of the week for me as I know that I won’t be seeing them at the end of the day.  The other groups are nice but definitely not the same, not even close.  Sure they may talk about penises, but they are just so damn polite about it even when they are being bawdy.  I miss my rowdy band of Happy Hookers more than I could have imagined.

 

On the positive side, the weather is great!

 

Most of the time…

 

Casa la Puppy and the American Curiosity April 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:16 pm
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Today I found the local boarding kennel.  I say the as there is only one that is, what I would call, nearby.  It’s in a small village (about the same size as Ivinghoe Aston) called Horton.  Every time we drive through it I think or say, “Horton hears a what!!!?!?!“.  It’s an illness, I really can’t help it.  I am however really glad to have found a reasonably priced place that seems nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed in in the past.  One in Washington DC stands out in particular.  It was a Days Inn and the carpets were sticky!  Sticky carpets!  And that was just the beginning, but I’m not going to go into it.  I wouldn’t make my dogs stay in a place like that hotel room.  Anyway, this kennel is great and I hope that the girls are as pleased being there as I am to have found it.

Today we also had a visit from the electrician.  He fixed a few small issues that we had quickly and in a professional manner.  However, the curiosity in the house was not the dogs trying to nip at his ankles rather, well, me.  He had never met an American and had several questions for me.  One of them was, “Are you really scared of gun violence like they say on the TV?”  It was sort of a hard question to answer honestly.  Here you so very seldom hear of people getting shot that it is a big, huge deal when someone does.  I had to answer him with a qualified, “Sometimes.”  I mean, there are areas of the little town of Apopka that I wouldn’t drive down after dark if I could avoid it.  There are parts of Orlando that I was nervous traveling through even at noon on a Tuesday.  He then asked if guns were as common as they seemed and I had to answer yes once again.  Here, most farmers have a gun for killing varmints and possibly livestock if they are needing to be put down.  There are some people that have guns for hunting but there are very few guns that fall into the “self security” or “people hunting” guns.  It is so non-gun here that they are actually trying to make it so that no-one under 18 can buy a knife (as that is how thugs here try to kill each other).  Coming from a place where 12 year-olds have guns, the idea that knives were restricted sort of blew my mind.  

I’m really starting to look forward to coming back to Florida.  The list of things that I want to pick-up is both long and eccentric.  Just a sampling of the list: Magic Erasers, Squeegee from Target, Fabric from JoAnn’s, Chocolate Chip (seriously, there aren’t fraking chocolate chips here!), Good Ice Cube trays, a pounder bag of M&M’s (they only sell them in little bags here), snack sized plastic baggies (the plastic baggy culture is about as developed as their yarn store culture) and cardboard cat scratchers from IKEA for the cats (as the IKEA here doesn’t carry them!).  Another thing that I would add to that list if it wasn’t so damn heavy is Tidy Cats cat litter for multiple cats.  I would never have imagined the dearth of affordable cat litter options here.  Had I, the whole damn back-end of that container would’ve been a big yellow wall of cat litter buckets!

 

Birthday! February 2, 2009

Yesterday was my 31st birthday.  Yeah, it was my 31st on the 31st.  I guess that the majority of people have their age and the date of their birthday match sooner than I did which is probably why everyone kept giving me these odd looks when I bothered to point it out.  

Anyway, I had, quite possibly, the best birthday that I have ever had.  Becca, Denise, Kim, Lily, Tyra and I started out at Christo’s in College Park for breakfast.  The hubby joined us for this portion of the day but left as soon as breakfast was over to go home and work on some more packing.  Then, the gang moved down Edgewater to the The Beauty Spot, a spa.  We had all gotten gift certificates for a manicure/pedicure, a massage and a facial back before Christmas.  The staff there was fantastic and we had a great (and very relaxing) time.  We had our own “party room” and Tyra had brought balloons and treats.  I got some lovely cards and presents and we discussed poop.  Literally.  Among other things of course.

 

Lily, Kim, Denise, Tyra, Me, Becca

The group (clockwise from top left): Lily, Kim, Denise, Tyra, Me, Becca

 

Becca getting "tag teamed" by TWINS!!!!!

Becca getting "tag teamed" by TWINS!!!!!

Kim, looking like she's gotten more than just a massage...

Kim, looking like she's gotten more than just a massage...

 

Tyra and I seriously "lounging"

Tyra and I seriously "lounging"

(Thanks Lily for the great pictures from the spa day!)

At the end of the day Tyra drove me home and then I opened all the lovely presents that my husband, his parents and my friend Sarah Jane sent me.  The in-laws sent me a lovely skein winder as well as many other lovely things.  The hubby’s presents were pretty camera centric, including a pimpy new flash for it as well as a photo tent that makes it easier to photograph my yarn stash and the most fun (especially when you’ve had a few margaritas!), a remote for the camera.  Sarah sent me some great pampering lotions and a really nice scented candle and a snuffer to put it back out.

 

Remotes are FUN!!!!

Remotes are FUN!!!!

 

I got the entire last season of Knit and Crochet Today on DVD!!!

I got the entire last season of Knit and Crochet Today on DVD!!!

 

The lovely skein winder that my lovely in-laws gave me!

The lovely skein winder that my lovely in-laws gave me!

 

I think that this is probably a good idea!!!

I think that this is probably a good idea!!!

 

I then washed the massage oil off (there was a LOT in my hair, it was making things look pretty nasty) and got dressed and went to our friends Tony and Laura’s house.  Laura was so kind as to host a sort of birthday/going away/new citizen party (one of the Hubby’s friends became an American citizen about a week ago).  There was a ton of food, lots of drinks, interesting conversations and lots of very competitive Pictionary.  

 

Tony telling the RULES!

Tony telling the RULES!

 

We had a LOT of food!

We had a LOT of food!

 

Laura, our hostess with the mostess!!!

Laura, our hostess with the mostess!!!

 

Pictionary is FUN!!

Pictionary is FUN!!

 

Let them eat........

Let them eat........

We didn’t get home until about 2:30 in the morning and promptly fell asleep.

Today has been totally taken-up with packing for the move.  The kitchen is now mostly done as is the bedroom.  It still feels as though we have a lot to pack yet I find myself casting about looking for something to finish off the box that I am working on.  The dogs and cats are all getting sort of annoyed with us as there seems to be no really safe place for them to sit and sleep.  As soon as they get comfortable, they get rousted from their place by one of us needing something that is below them to pack.  Oh, and most spaces where they would normally lounge have been covered with boxes.

We also said goodbye to the worlds toughest goldfish.  We’ve had this guy for a few years now and needed to find a new home for him.  It came to us through freecycle that there was a family looking for an aquarium for their little girl.  So, we said goodbye.

Call me "Blossom" now baby...

Call me "Blossom" now baby...

It is strange to type with painted fingernails.  I cannot remember the last time that I had my fingernails painted an I have them what I am calling “race car red”.

I's gots my nails did...

I's gots my nails did...

 

A House Divided September 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 2:12 pm
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We have 2 cat litter boxes again. 

 

We were down to one very large Booda Clean Step domed monster for about a year.  We used to have a bunch of omega pawroll over type litter boxes, but Jiji got to the point where she would pee out the back of it with the front of her body completely in it.  We haven’t had that issue with the Booda since a cat has to walk completely into it in order to get to any litter.  Now she just randomly sometimes poops on the stairway into it.  Anyway, when Willma decided to move back into the house, I had to break out the omega paw box once again.  She would only sit and hiss at the litter box where the rest of them go.   She also hisses at their food as well.  I can only imagine that this is where the term “hissy fit” came from.  Well, unless it came from something like “pissy fit” which is another thing altogether.

So, now we have a separate food and cat litter box set up for Willma in the front room and the regular box in the office.  It is a lot of litter.  It is a lot of poop.  And the smell is more widespread.  It is not ideal and hopefully I will be able to get Willma to gradually move into the office where the other cat litter box is.

 

We are also having issues with the remaining puppies going to the bathroom in the house.  I don’t know if it is because Micheal is gone, and he was REALLY good about not ever going in the house (ok, there were a few exceptions to that statement.  A few times he totally protest pooped while we were on vacation and he had a few accidents when he was sick.  But for 10 years, that’s not a lot of interior pooping.).  It could also be that we were gone so much over the summer that they, I don’t know, forgot their training or something.  Anyway, they are both on “lockdown” for a while.  Which means that they cannot be anywhere in the house not in sight of either the husband or I at all times unless they are enclosed in their crates.  They are not happy about this.  Hell, I am not happy about this, but it is the only way that I can think of to get them to stop doing this.  Basically, start over and act like they are puppies again. 

 

Part of the Pee/Poop Factory

Part of the Pee/Poop Factory

It is a pee and poop fest ’round these parts!

 

 

Milo and Weezy being extra cute

Milo and Weezy being extra cute

 

All oiled-up and well…..not quite ready to go. September 1, 2008

Today I hot oiled my spinning wheel. To every female (and I am sure, a few hair conscious males out there) who lived through the early 90’s, this brings up memories of little squirty vials that you were supposed to put in a glass of hot (not boiling) water to “activate” the oil, and then spread this warm grease on your head.  And then wash it back out.  The ends to which we will go in order to achieve “beauty” as it is classified at the moment.  Anyway, so I am doing something to my spinning wheel that is more or less not at all like that.  For starters, it involved a hot GLUE pot, and absolutely no water anywhere. Basically, I took a very small amount of hot oil on a rag and then rubbed like hell.  Way more work than the hot oil for your head.  Anyway, I now have layer one of the “hand rubbed oil finish” on my spinning wheel.  At least 2 more layers to go before I get to actually put it together, let alone play with it.  Sigh.  And watch, I get it all rubbed and oiled and put together and then……then…….I go to California for the weekend for a wedding. Sigh.

This has been a summer of weddings for me.  In early August, I had one in Nebraska to attend (which was a LOT of fun) then a few weeks later, one in Morocco. Now we are on to the California part of the summer, and then one more in the fall in Chicago.  I feel like I am too old to be going to this many weddings.  Aren’t you supposed to have the whole wedding craziness when you are like 23? I guess that all the folks that my husband and I know are a little…..different.  Go figure, right?

There’s also been a bumper crop of babies of late as well.  I have been a stitching up baby blankets as fast as I can find a seat in an airplane.  My travel projects are almost always baby blankets.  In fact, more than one friend has come to find that the baby blanket that I am giving their newborn is more traveled than they are.  Baby blankets are easy to pack and carry and I never use a pattern for them.  Oh hell, I scarcely ever use a pattern for ANYTHING, let alone baby blankets.

Here are some past baby blankets:

Baby Blankets that I made for Twins

Baby Blankets that I made for Twins

 "Little" baby blanket, good for the carseat.

I’ll have more to post soon as I have one that we are calling the “Babies r’ Us Flag” and a female version of the one above.  Both need to be finished post haste as the babies have both been born.  Ugh.
I don’t do blankets for weddings. First off, grown-ups are much bigger than babies, and much pickier.  They care about things like “color” and “design”.  Babies poop on design. So, for weddings, I tend towards Target gift cards (plus, they are easier to pack).  If any of these marriages make it to 20 years, then we might talk about a blanket.  Until then, it’s just too much to even think about it….
Hell, I don’t even have my spinning wheel put together yet.
 

1, 2, 3, 4, what in the hell is this day for August 31, 2008

I don’t really feel up to being creative right now, cleaning up dog poop from previously pictured cuties really takes the creativity right on out of a person (though, I am thankful that they are small dogs as I have cleaned-up rottweiler poop in the past, and that will just knock you flat on your ass!). So, I have decided to do a list of things that you probably don’t know about me.  Here goes…

1.)  I own over 3000 books.  I have more books than many small libraries do.  It’s a pretty amazing thing to behold, especially in a house that is under 1000 square feet.

2.) I have been working on my degree in horticulture since 1995.  I am finally set to expire, I mean graduate, this coming spring from the University of Florida.  Which, coincidentally, was voted the #1 party school in the US this year.  Go Gators!

3.) I love to sleep.  If one could really call sleeping a pastime, it would totally be mine.  And I am GOOD at it, like olympic level good.  I need my 8 hours or I am a seriously cranky woman.  However, I have a very hard time sleeping in public (like on planes or trains or places where folks are waiting for planes and trains).

4.) I write letters.  With real paper and quite often a fountain pen.  This is not some sort of response to an ever increasingly computerized world, I have been doing this consistently since I was in grade school.  I like to write on paper much more than I do typing.  I tend to be able to show my emotions through my handwriting a little better than through emotion-cons.  I also tend to coat the envelope of my letters with stickers.  I love stickers.

5.) I crochet.  I tend to crochet blankets.  I do not like reading patterns, but I love looking at pattern books.  I am trying to make a blanket from a pattern right now and it’s like trying to get me to speak dolphin.  Neither is very pretty.

6.) I can swear pretty raucously in Bulgarian.

7.) I love airplanes.  I love being by airports for the really little planes (you know, the 2 seat-er Cessna’s and planes like that).  My brother is in the Iowa National Guard and is a crew chief for a Black Hawk helicopter.  Other than the whole “going to Iraq for a year thing” I am so jealous.

8.) I wanted to elope.

9.) I want to drive to Alaska from Florida. As part of this, I LOVE Northern Exposure and am so VERY VERY jealous of Amy from The Hook and I for getting to move to Cordova, Alaska.  So, while I am getting ready to move to somewhere near but outside of London, I am living vicariously through her.

10.) I have loved Martha Stewart since I was in middle school.

 

Ok, enough for now.