Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Soul Mate

When you love a dog, like I love this one,
seeing him in pain puts pain in your own heart.

Grimace had a fatty tumor removed from his chest last Friday.  So grandma when into "nurse" mode Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

He did fine!

But his grandma saw every change in his face, every painful move of his body, every change in his normally sunny personality, and smothered that dear pooch with love and affection all weekend.  That included sleeping on the floor with him for 2 nights, carrying him up and down my front steps so he could pee, feeding him by hand when he couldn't reach the bowl, and putting ice compresses on is "boo-boo."  And he responded by sticking by my side - following me to whatever room I was in the whole darn weekend.  He couldn't be talked out of that!!

My God, I love that dog and he loves me.
In fact, he loves me like no other being on the face of this earth.
I should be as wonderful as he thinks I am!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Talk the Walk - My History

I thought this picture was representative of what I am trying to do.
Bring back some of the person that I was before.
Connect the dots with walking.
When starting any new endeavor, talking it out can be helpful ... even if you are just talking to yourself.  So in this semi-regular blog post, I am going to pretend I am talking to myself - about me and walking.  I am happy to share this "talking to myself" with you.

Walking for me has been an on-again, off-again habit.  I started running back in my 30's.  I was younger and all my body parts cooperated without complaint (looking back I am amazed how little I appreciated that then.)  I was a hobby runner.  I ran about 2 miles several times a week.

On those runs I discovered a few things about me and exercise.
  • I feel better within a week.  It happens just that fast.
  • I improve in time and speed quickly.
  • I sleep better.
  • I am happier.
  • I love the natural rhythm of running.
Also in my 30's I discovered that:
  • Regardless of all the positives exercise gave me, I always stopped.  Always.
In my 30s, however, the benefits weren't so in-your-face important.  After all, I was 33, 35, 37 ... and I didn't need to do anything to feel better or look better or be normal.  I wasn't disintegrating before my very eyes.  I was going to live forever - every 30 year old knows that!!  So why work up a sweat if the person I see in the mirror is just fine!! (The logic of 30 year olds!)

So I stopped.

In my 40s, the person in the mirror was less sure about living forever.  I tried running again. Mistake!  My knees popped, my lower back spasmed, and my plantar faciitus (foot/heel pain) began ... all were a constant reminder that pounding the cement was probably not a good idea for me.  But still I tried, because I was never very good at listening to my body. After a few falls and injuries that benched me,  I stopped running, but tried walking.

I know, I know.  There are ways of working into a running routine safely, but that didn't happen. (The logic of 40 year olds is ... I am still 30. I don't need to do anything special.  I am still "young.")

So walking it was, and walking gave me all the same positive benefits. 

But still, I stopped.  

In my 50s the reality of the physical decline was hard to ignore. And now I knew I wasn't going to live forever.  But I still had another 100 good years ahead of me.  I also saw more of my future watching my mom struggle with the aging process that was complicated by her inactivity.  So I "fixed" my feet with prescription orthopedics, bought expensive walking shoes,  and put time aside to walk regularly.

And guess what happened ... (all together now), "She stopped."

Now I am in my 60's.  The road ahead doesn't look any rosier that it did 10 years ago. Regardless, I tried to keep walking, but it was an off-again, on-again kind of thing!  All the benefits I know by heart, all the consequences of non-movement clearly understood ... all the excuses have been used up.

So I am walking the roads again.

Next time:  Talk the Walk - Mind Games 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Knitted Tepee

I can't believe that I didn't include this picture with my Mannings Post.

Part of the fun of attending these events is seeing some of the unusual things and people.

This tepee most certainly caught my eye.

Yes, this is a knitted tepee!

Actually, the tepee is made of traditional tepee materials (I checked!)  But as I got closer I noticed that layered on top were these crocheted and knitted blankets.

Very ingenious.

And I wanted to include this very interesting lady.  I love "people watching" and at events like this, people watching is one of the sidelines.  I loved the chair and the hat and the glasses!

Another person had a cup holder for her spinning wheel.  Too funny.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Paying for Piscasa Memory

How much do you know about Piscasa Web Album
 - the storage used by Blogger to house your blog pictures?
I know very little ... and I kind of liked it that way ... 
until recently!

In the last week or so another blogger commented that she could not find her percentage of Piscasa storage used by going through the new editor interface on Blogger.  She could only find the percentage by using the old editor (which is going away soon.)


It got me thinking about how much Piscasa storage I had used up.  Better check now while I still have access to the old editor.

As you can see below, I have used up 78% of my free Piscasa storage in about 2 years.  Yikes!!!

Your current plan:

5 GB of Drive (0% used)
10 GB of Gmail (1% used)
1 GB of Picasa (78% used)


25 GB
$2.49 / Month
+25 GB for Drive and Picasa
Bonus: Your Gmail storage will be upgraded to 25 GB.
Choose this plan
100 GB
$4.99 / Month
+100 GB for Drive and Picasa
Bonus: Your Gmail storage will be upgraded to 25 GB.
Choose this plan

Now I am not totally oblivious to the limits of "free." Another blogging friend, Happy One at the Life is Good Blog, ran out of memory recently.  I remember that she was offered a plan that cost $5.00 for a year.

I looked for that plan, and I found it - listed as the "old" pricing.   The "new" pricing is as shown.

If my math is correct, the charge for more memory has gone from $5 a year to $30 a year. That is a pretty large jump in cost.

So ...

  • I guess this memory storage thingy on Blogger is the only game in town.  
  • I guess when your storage runs out you have no choice but to buy more or you can stop posting pictures. :-(

At first I was upset, but after I thought it out, I decided that $30 a year wouldn't break me, and it is a small price to pay for the enjoyment I get out blogging.

But a number of questions come to mind.  I would really like to hear from you.
  • Do you know how much free space you have on Piscasa?
  • How can you find the percentage of expended Piscasa storage using the new editor - which will soon be the only editor?
  • Are you already paying for memory space?  Are you paying the new rate or were you lucky enough to get the cheaper one?
  • When you ran out of free Piscasa how did you know? 
  • Is there a "work around" to using Piscasa and avoiding this whole thing? 
  • What happens if in 3 years you decide not to pay ... do your currently stored pictures disappear from your blog? 
  • Is there another Piscasa option that provides less memory?  It took me 2 years to use up 1 GB.  The new plan provides 25 GB.  I don't need that much memory.
Questions, questions, questions ....

Friday, June 15, 2012

FINALLY The Mannings Spin In June 2012

The Mannings in East Berlin, PA is a very special place if you are into knitting, crocheting, spinning, or weaving.  Found along a small creek in farm country, it is a destination location for fibery yarn folks like me.

I have made the trip to this mecca of all things fiber several times, typically in June for the Spin In and August for the Knit In.  For those who are curious about what The Mannings site has to offer, check these links. (I will try to avoid repeating similar photos this time.)

August 2011 - a Knit In visit

June 2010 - a Spin In visit

This past weekend was a Spin In - as in spinning fiber (sheep hair) to make wool for knitting or weaving.  But many folks arrived just to share in the fun of the day ... leaving their spinning wheel home and bringing knitting or weaving (i.e. me!)

Attendees came and set up small clusters of seats for the day.
Everyone was weaving or spinning or weaving.
Here was a rather large loom for weaving.  Most unusual.

Sheep Shearing Demo
(I really have to do a better job of framing the picture, don't you think?)

Sheep checking out the folks.

Spinning wheels for sale.

Spinning wheels that already have loving owners.
My crocheting.

My loom warped up at the Mannings

My cousin's pocket spinning wheel.
This wheel drew as much attention as many of the demonstrations.
And the wonderful family I spent the day with.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

43 years ago

June 14, 1969
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Shanks

On this date 43 years ago
my husband and I were cutting a wedding cake!  
Tonight we went to Baldwin Station and had dinner out
to celebrate
 - a treat for us, since we seldom eat out now-a-days.

It was a double treat
because the wedding memories of our son and daughter-in-law
were very fresh in our minds.
They were married at this same restaurant just last month.

The weather tonight was perfect,
the food was excellent,
and the company of the man I have loved all these years
 is still welcome in my life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bad Hair Day

Working on the Mannings blog post.  The time is just getting away from me.  But thought you might enjoy a picture forwarded to me by a friend in Facebook!  For some reason this just seems to say it all!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quick Words of Wisdom

Just found this excellent advice on a friend's Facebook page.

  It is blog worthy!


The Mannings story and pictures will be out early next week.
I had a great time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Retired Knitter knits, hooks, blocks, rips, ... stabs

So someone graciously asked about my knitting in a previous comment.

You know, it only takes one inquiry from an interested reader ... and the rest of you who are not interested in knitting must sit through a knitting post.  :-)  I try to play fair to the majority interest when selecting blog topics, but just one of you needs to ask about knitting ... and the majority be damned!!

(In truth, I was planning a knitting post.)  BUT in response to the HUGE outcry from my readership demanding knitting news ... here it is!!


I have been knitting .... but for some darn reason it has been going slow.  I started the Cassidy Hoodie sweater last October.  It should look like this by now.

The Cassidy Hoodie by Chic Knits
It doesn't.  Not yet. I did, however, FINALLY,  get the completed pieces onto a blocking board.  This task took me 2 long arduous hours!!

My Cassidy on the blocking board.
For the non knitters out there (if you are still reading, and you better be - this is important stuff), sometimes wet wool becomes like clay.  Blocking is best done when the wool is wet and toweled dry.  But wet wool has its own challenges.

The sleeve cable.
 My wet sleeves stretched and became gorilla arms ... causing me some angst!  But I massaged those offending limbs into proper shape and hopefully the yarn now knows who is boss.  The test will come when I unpin the dry sleeves.  If gorilla arms reappear, I will take out a sharp instrument and stab them repeatedly.

(Oh my, did I say that out loud?)

Now you might be thinking .... wow, almost done with that project!  No.  Not really.

I need to sew the seams, then I need to knit a generous hood off the neck, and then I need to knit a button band.  And then, I get to sew on some buttons. THEN, when I have done all that, THEN it will be done.  It will then be a sweater (or it will be a vest if the sleeves died an ugly death.)

My second project (I bet you non knitters thought I was done - in your dreams!!), is a Lace Cardi Crochet Wrap for my daughter.  I started it in January.  It should look like this.

It doesn't.  It looks likes this.

Well, it did look like that just 24 hours ago, but being a novice crocheter, I messed up the sizing and the gauge.  I thought it was too small.  And the crochet stitch was too dense.  I wanted a lacier look - like in the picture above.  I also wanted to be able to crochet without having to use large magnifying eye glasses that ruin my eye sight and a special light that says "gosh you have old eyes!" every time I use it.

I sure hated to rip this, but I did.

Last night I started the project again with a bigger crochet hook.  Actually I started it twice last night (don't ask.)

If you count all my "start overs" with this project, I am probably up to around 10.  If you count all the crochet stitches I have done for this project, I have probably crocheted the whole of this project twice!!!

So now it looks like this.

Hard to know if I will be starting over again until I have done a few inches.  (I must let it be known that using a large sharp instrument on this project is not out of the question either!!)

So that is my knitting update.

On more positive news ...

Tomorrow I am going to an all day "Spin In" with family and friends at the Mannings in East Berlin Pennsylvania.    But more about that next week ... if the masses (meaning even just one person) demand that I blog about it (hint, hint ...), I most certainly will.


Till then!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Love a good storm

I love a good storm.
  I love the reminder that I reside on a living planet 
that takes no notion of me personally - or any other living thing. 
It just plows through whatever is in the way and moves on.

And that is what happened last Friday.  It was a bugger of a storm!  Ten tornadoes were reported in the state.  Some of the damage in my neighborhood made we wonder if we had some tornado type wind motion.

So here is my deck normally!
Here is my deck just moments after the raging wind and rain
obscured the deck posts and trees from view.
Nuts!  I missed that shot.
(I was running around trying to find my darn camera.)
 Boy, it was exciting.
Wind was reported at 60 miles per hour.

Of course, I had to step outside and take pictures.
The side walk was like a mini river.
The run off was pretty impressive.  By the time I stepped from
under my front porch some of the street was showing.
But from my living room window,
the road was mostly covered by dirt filled water
racing down the street.
I missed that darn shot too.

Our neighbor's yard was totally covered by tree branches and leaves.
Emergency vehicles arrived before I even got out my door.
Two large trees covered the road.
The men worked very quickly and before you knew it,
they were back on the truck and on their way to another downed tree.
There were a bunch.

A day later I noticed trees that were stripped of their branches.

Or ripped out by the roots.

Trunk but no limbs.  Strange.
One of our neighbors had lost their chimney!

It will be weeks before it is all cleaned up in our neighborhood.  At least no one was hurt in that stormy weather.  And it was great fun to watch nature get all worked up and do her thing!

I sure do love a storm. 
But I have to be more camera ready next time!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting Campy with Family

My son and his wife have a "weekend place" that they use for fun, friendship, relaxation, and a sanity refresher!

Hard to believe that I waited almost 3 years before taking advantage of a "sanity refresher," but that is exactly what happened.  Believe me when I say that my sanity has been sorely tested over the last 3 years.  It is a testament to my extremely hard head and stubbornness, that I am reasonably sane today (of course, it depends on who you talk to.)

This past Sunday we visited the Dennis Point Camp Grounds in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

Here is a photo journal of our visit ...

Arriving at the camp grounds the first thing we saw was this Pirate Ship.
The kids must love this. In fact, I plan to climb around in it
my next visit. :-)

The street names are themed: like Rockfish Lane and Oyster Lane.
My son and daughter-in-law are on Saltwater Lane..
Arriving at the Shanks camp ground site.
Meathead welcoming us to his "other" home.
What he is really thinking is,
"Gram, you are taking me home, right?"
Much of our day was spent just "hanging out" on the front porch deck.
(with a glass of wine in our hands)
It is really lovely wooded area with many beautiful views.
The area is well kept: pleasant and inviting.
My son says the new owners have made many improvements.

Bird house and water decorations in his front yard.
The birds were busy there all day.
Of course the most interesting thing is the way the camper
living space is organized.  Left: couch covered for the dogs .
Center: dining area.  Right: part of kitchen.
Couch and dining area convert to sleeping spaces.
Kitchen and entrance to the camper.
Another shot of the kitchen.  To the right is the fridge and the freezer.
Bedroom with a queen size bed - and me in the mirror taking
the picture.
I am a novice to campers. I have never been inside one before, so I was very curious and surprised about how well the space is used.  Matt and Mo's camper is 33 feet long.  Although looking from the outside the structure looks adequate, from the inside it is amazing how much space and storage is available.

Not shown: The shower, toilet and bathroom sink are located between the bedroom and kitchen areas.

We had a cook out! My son did the honors.
I have no idea where he learned to do that.
We never cooked out at home. My husband wasn't interested
and I didn't want to inside and outside cooking duties.
Time spent with family and friends is priceless.
Matt is opening a bottle of champagne.  Notice the way everyone is
standing back - those corks can be lethal.
Sadly, the day came to an end and we headed home.
But next time, we will stay for an overnight!
Refreshing sanity needs more than one day.
United States Marine Corp Flag.

Oh yes, we will be back.