I've been meaning to post this all week....

Last Saturday, I went down to Gilbert with some friends to Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. We were able to actually go into one of the pens and sit with the alpacas. All 179 pictures are in their own set on my flickr.

Lindsay wants a kiss:

Buzz accepts some food from me:

Rowan looks all Celtic with Janus and another alpaca in the background:

Frank gets close to the alpacas:

Nick feeds an alpaca:

This cria (baby alpaca) is only 3 days old!

We had a blast and learned a lot from Linda, the owner of Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. Thanks for having us!

KYS "Rub My Lamp" Genie Swap...

This post needs a little introduction. If you read here often (or as often as I write here these days...), you probably already know I'm addicted to Ravelry. I have about 95% of my stash photographed and listed in Ravelry. Since I already have my entire book collection entered on LibraryThing, it was relatively easy for me to put my entire library on Ravelry---I just have to remember to put any new books in both places. I browse for patterns, drool over yarns, destash and buy, swap and trade. I read a lot of posts and write a fair number myself.

One group I'm a member of is the Karma Yarn Swap. I love this group. To me, it's a microcosm of what Ravelry as a whole is: crafters taking care of each other and helping each other out. Most threads in this group are started by someone offering something they have they no longer want. The OP (original poster) might mention how (s)he wants the thread to be limited, if at all. There's a Purple thread, a Lace thread, a Dishcloth-cotton thread... And, when someone has the time and interest, there's a "Kick-Ass" thread which lasts for just an evening or an afternoon. Things swap *fast* during a KA thread; it's best to have a couple items you're willing to destash which could be considered KA and have the postings for them (with all the links and etc. ready to go), so you can just copy/paste and beat the clock.

But there's a newer thread which has caught my attention: the Rub My Lamp Swap. This one started differently. The OP "found" a genie lamp and rubbed it. She made three wishes and waited to see if someone out there could/would be her genie. (There's always fine print, but you can look at the top of the thread for those details.) Whoever said "I'll be your genie" then put their 3 wishes up...and so it went.

What does Mal say in Firefly's pilot? "The wheel never stops turning, Badger." And it came flying back to me in the form of a gifted genie lamp from Mysteri1229. I wracked my brains for three wishes---my birthday just came and went and I got the needles I'd really been hoping for... Oh! I forgot about my Wists. So, I sorted through there and made sure that the items I selected were all within guidelines. But, to be fair, I also made sure they weren't too restrictive. (At least, I hoped not.) DigitalDurga jumped in and said she wanted to be my genie. Well actually, she said:

Wow… Umm.. I can be your genie.

Seriously. I never expected that. But I think I have some things you would love. I kept wondering why that box showed up on my doorstep saying “do not open until annekaelber”, it’s all starting to make sense to me now!

Even with life stepping in and slowing things down on her end, my package arrived safe and sound today...and just blew my socks off! I was able to compromise with my camera and get some fairly decent shots of all that came in the box.

One of my wishes was for buttons for the sweater I want to make Randy. The pattern calls for 10 3/4" buttons. She sent me five groups of ten! Wow!!!! I haven't started on the sweater yet, so I don't know which of these I'll use.

I mentioned I'm just learning to really crochet. So I asked for some really cool freebie patterns that were favorites of my genie. She sent me three rosewood crochet hooks and a 2GB Cruzer with patterns on it! My favorite two patterns so far are the (crochet) Asian Dragon and the (knit) Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise. The Asian Dragon is a purchased pattern which can be purchased on Ravelry or at Skyfirearts Creations.

I also asked for some SpindleCat Studios stitch markers. I listed a couple single markers that I like because I know I am picky. I bought a whole bunch of stitch markers a couple years ago and have been giving away or selling them, because they aren't a style I like. If someone might be spending their hard-earned money on a wish for me, I wanted them to have a chance to please me. *grin* Well, my genie went overboard. She got three different kinds of markers. Two were of the styles I requested---and one of those there's 4 of! And the third style? A hook-style for crochet! That's my first crochet stitch marker!

So, I'm sending out a huge thank you to Mysteri1229 for RAKing me with the Lamp. And another huge thank you out to DigitalDurga for her amazing package of goodies! I am honored to know such generous people. Crafters rock!

Ferret Mishap (and other things)

Yes! I'm alive! I've just been in a ho-hum kinda mood and not really been motivated enough to blog about it. But things have happened, so there's much to talk about.

First, the current worry on our plate: Elijah Benjamin (second from left in the banner at the top of the page), fell from the dining room table yesterday at about 15:30 hours. He's been unable to walk on his left hind leg since then. We had a "fear evacuation" (bowels and bladder empty NOW!, sorry for the TMI) that scared us 'cause it looked like there was blood in it. He's been cooped up in a smaller single-level cage, laying in a cuddle cup with fleece blankets. He can't quite get into the litter box 'cause that back leg is not working.

The pet sling I bought on Etsy has really come in handy---either Randy or I have been cradling Elijah almost non-stop, with several hours spent in the cuddle cup yesterday afternoon and three hours last night. (Yes, I'm running on 3 hours sleep right now!)

We can't get to the "exotic" vet until 15:00 hours today---almost 24 hours after the initial trauma. There's a bruise on the knee of his left hind leg. I can't feel any breaks (but there's a reason I didn't major in medicine: squeamish!).

While worrying about Elijah, I have other things on my mind: moving! I want to go home. This year. Before the March blooming of the citrus trees!

We're job hunting, which is no fun considering the economic condition of America in general. But what I think is pretty gosh-darn cool is that Randy has such a good relationship with his current boss that he(Randy) can talk to him(boss) about the job hunt. When we were courted by LucasFilm, Randy talked to him(boss) about it. Why didn't we take that job? Two reasons: ferrets are illegal in California and they offered a decent salary....if you didn't live in the Bay area (where the freaking job was!).

I'm ashamed (now) to admit that we actually considered trying to live in California with ferrets. I mean, isn't keeping ferrets the worst-kept secret in the state? Well, after reading this (warning: annoying pink background!), I can't ever consider living in California, as long as ferrets are illegal.

So, we're job-hunting for a computer/geek/nerd...ahem, "Software Engineer" position that isn't sucking Bill Gates....er...well, yeah. That. My geek is a Unix geek. A Linux geek. A real geek. *wink*

In the meantime, I'm trying to kick up the "let's pack what we're not using" campaign, all the while asking, "If we're not using it, do we need to keep it?" The last move (January 2005, when gas prices weren't already at $3 a gallon (though they had come close a couple of times)) cost us almost seven thousand dollars. Figure that again (plus some), add the cost of gas for us to drive west, the deposits on the new place, any fees on the old place.....you can see how throwing out stuff we just don't use could start making a difference!

For that reason, allow me to highlight a couple relevant posts from 2007. There was the Bead Destash, the Czech glass destash, the Jewelry Book destash, the Cross-Stitch destash....and I still have way too much stuff (despite my Mom buying $100 worth of yarn off me! Thanks, Mom!). Save me from having to pack this stuff! Help me pay for ferret medical bills! Buy my stuff, please! if you know someone who would be interested, point them my way, post on your blog about this de-stash... It's now a double-duty destash: less to move and money to fix Elijah up, whatever the problem is!

In other news....Oh....I'm such a dork. (No, that's not the news, just the preface to the news!) I found out that I could put way-cool progress bars up on my blog, from Ravelry. Casey, the resident code-monkey who makes Ravelry all that it is, put forth the script we needed to use. Those who are testing it paste the code into their blog and....like magic, progress bars.

Uh, where's mine? I see the block I put the code in. No progress bars. I looked at other sites. See, their bars work... what's wrong with mine? I mean, I want you to be able to see the progress on the WIPs I have over on Ravelry. Projects like.....oh. Maybe that's why I don't have any bars: I don't have any WIPs listed on Ravelry! Doh!

Here I thought it'd be so cool---I wouldn't have to do anything to my block code to update my progress bars....just update my project on Ravelry and again with the magic. Except that I'm apparently as lazy getting my projects into Ravelry as I was getting them on my own "On the Needles..." block. *sigh*

I've got to be ready to go at 14:00 hours so we can take Elijah to the veteranarian. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Maybe I should go cat-nap before then?

Oooo.....a Yarn solution!

I meant to post last night, but we had to kick some Zergling butt for a while.... *grin*

I found a solution to my yarn dilemma: buy more yarn. ::snickers:: Yeah, I know. Totally original. However, I justified it by the low cost of the yarn. I selected Wool of the Andes by Knitpicks. The beauty of it is, there's so many freaking colors, Nick was sure to find one he wanted. And, he did: Sapphire Heather. Oooo.... Aaaahhh....

And to further the insanity, I thought Randy might like a matching sweater (in his own color of course). So, I offered to knit him one for Christmas! Instead of being nice and helpful and picking out the color he wants, he said.... "Surprise me." Oh, no pressure or anything. *sigh* Since he reads here on occasion, I can't actually *name* the color, but I can tell you this: 6th row, 2nd one. Uh-huh. (Hey, Randy, if you peek, fine. I'll probably knit it in front of you anyway! ::grins widely::)

I got a call from my FIL today---wow. I haven't talked to him in ages! Randy usually calls home and talks to them. He's really excited about my knitting and wanting to get into spinning. He mentioned Alpacas and how cute they are---ah, no wonder I like the man: he has taste!

I was talking about felting and how cool it is---for some reason I've had the image of really huge unfelted slippers in my head for a while now. So I mentioned them as an example. He said, "I'm a size 12." Squee! Don't you wish all Christmas planning was that easy? I prompted for MIL's size and he said she's a 10, so there's two more projects in my Ravelry queue.

What am I doing talking to you guys? I've got knitting to do!

I'm on Ravelry!!!

I got my invite on Sunday night to Ravelry----I'm in!!! I sat at the registration screen for a little while, pondering the all-important username. I've got so many I've used over the years. I finally decided that I'd use annekaelber -- just like my blog -- on Ravelry.

Now, I just need some time to put things in and look around. I'm so excited!

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