Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

For those of you who normally get a Christmas card from us, don't hold your breath. It's not that we don't like you or that we aren't thinking of you. It's just that time has really gotten away from me, and Writing and printing a letter, addressing and signing cards, and going to the post office (again) are just not high on my list of priorities right now.

So let this blog post serve as your official 2014 Christmas Card from the Baumeister family.

It was, to put it mildly, a trying year for us.

January came in with a bang - plenty of snow and cold.
Karl took the traditional New Year's Day bike ride.
Then the 5 month adventure of car repair began. I won't go in to the details, but let's just say that my January 7, 2014 prediction of "buying an engine off the internet? What could go wrong?!" hit pretty close to home.

In February, we said goodbye to our kitty Sally. Since we were down to just one cat, I filled that void with some foster kitties - a mama cat and her 5 kittens - later in the spring.

In May, Katrina marched in her first parade as a band member. Of course I cried the entire time! I'm so proud of her.
She has great form! Look at how level her horn is!
As predicted, Katrina has grown taller than her mother. She makes sure I don't forget it too.

I had carpal tunnel surgery in June.
Some of the foster kittens never left (securing my status as Crazy Cat Lady)
(L) Captain Fuzzypants  (R) Colonel Bogey

I actually followed through with my New Year's Resolution and knitted a sweater to enter in the State Fair. I finished knitting just before my hand surgery in June, sent it off for judging, and won a ribbon!

2nd Place!

In July, I started a new job. After eleven years of part time work, I am back working in a "grown up" job, and back in the field of veterinary medicine - sort of. I am a sales support person for a veterinary supply company. The adjustment to full time work has been a little rough. I really miss not being able to cook dinner every day, and it always feels like there are not enough hours in the day to get things done (hence this virtual Christmas Card!). But I am really enjoying the work I'm doing. I am in the equipment department, so learning about all the advances in technology has been rewarding. My co-workers are fabulous, which makes it so much easier!

The chickens are still clucking around the yard, all three cats get along like they are littermates,
I have time to bake on the weekends, and I did finally get my car back. Despite the trials and tribulations of the year, we're all happy and healthy. 

We may not have any snow, but I am sure we will have a Merry Christmas, and I wish all the same to you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finish Line!

One marathon ends, another begins.

The weekend at knit camp was uber-productive - with Kathy M's help, I got the blanket put together and half of the edges done. A mere four days later, the edges are finished, thus ending the knitting marathon.

There's just one week to go before the lucky winner's name is selected, and we're not anywhere near our fundraising goal! Every little bit helps - even a $5.00 donation gets you one chance of winning this beautiful blanket. Imagine a cold January night, snuggling with your Honey by the fire, under a cozy warm blankie, sipping hot cider, maybe a little smooching... Or how about just napping on the couch on a lazy Saturday? Yeah, you want this blanket!

Get out your wallet right now and give the Krempels Center a little love. I'll be forever grateful.

And the marathon that's starting? Christmas knitting! Socks. Mittens. Scarves. My fingers will be flying!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In which I go west

So today I drove 6 1/2 hours so I could knit.

Well, not exactly, but yes, that's what I did. I'm currently in Nebraska, at Ponca State Park, in the Osprey cabin. Well, not exactly a cabin, more like a woodland palace. I mean the place has cable TV and Wi-Fi, for crying out loud! But I digress.

As a consolation for not being able to take my vacation this fall, I got to come to knit camp. Well, it's not exactly an official camp. There aren't any counselors or anything. But here I am, in the woods, knitting.

The drive here was really pretty boring. Once I hit Iowa, it was literally due west across the entire state. That part when I almost ran out of gas was fun. Well, not exactly fun. More exciting than fun. There is not a lot of civilization in Iowa. I was not sure I had enough gas to get to the next major city, so I took a chance and turned off into a town.

Well, not exactly a town. More like a grain elevator, a bar, 3 houses, and an unmanned gas pump. Luckily, it was a real gas pump with a credit card reader, so I filled up.

Then there was that 40 mile stretch when the 4 lane divided highway quickly became a 2 lane country highway. In that 40 mile stretch - one single town. And corn. A lot of corn. But the scenery was pretty - rolling hills, farms, manure...

But now it's lights out. Tomorrow is arts & crafts!

I love camp.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Not Complaining, But...

The season of shenanigans continues.

In the past 48 hours, these cats have:
  • Stolen and eaten a whole pancake
  • Eaten through the foil and well in to the carrot bread on the counter
  • Eaten part of a twist-tie
  • Spilled about a gallon of water
  • Attempted to eat out of the cereal bowl while I was still enjoying my Mini Wheats

And picture this:
I'm standing naked in front of the closet, trying to find something to wear. No, wait. DO NOT picture that - I don't want you to have to deal with that mental image.
Anyway, I'm standing at the closet, and The Captain leaps from the bed behind me to my shoulder. Apparently he wanted to help me choose which pants he would be covering with cat hair today.

But they have also been adorably cute and cuddly, so that totally makes up for it.

See how adorable?

In other news, I'm making progress on our blanket for the Krempels Center. Three more squares arrived today from Australia, and I'm expecting the last batch from Seattle tomorrow. Donations are trickling in. Help me spread the word by forwarding the website to anyone you think might be interested in a beautiful hand-knit blanket.

And that reminds me, I've got some knitting to do!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Little Late-Night Excitement

First off - Don't forget to make a donation to the Kremepels Center so you can have a chance to win a beautiful hand-knit blanket. Just click the "Donate Now" button to the right

And now, on to the story:

Last night, about midnight, the cats were having Wrestlemania IV on the bed so I kicked them out of the bedroom, and they continues their festivities in the hall. Just as I was finally drifting back to sleep, one of them starts going nuts at the door - I'm pretty sure he was chewing on the door. Karl got up to deal with the troublemaker, and to visit the loo. It was quite a while before he came back. He poked me and said "Hey, you'll never guess what happened!" Well, that's not something you like to hear at 1 am.

Karl said he heard the boys fighting, but when he got up, he only saw one kitten. Understandable, since Bogey is blacker-than-black and pretty much invisible at night. But then he heard a distant meow. He followed the meow down to the basement. He checked the office - nope, but he was getting warmer. Next stop - the furnace room. Yup. He was in there somewhere. Karl looked behind the furnace and didn't see him, but he was definitely in there - meows were much louder - coming from INSIDE THE FURNACE. He pulled out the air filter, and out came Bogey! Somehow, the kittens wrestling knocked the vent cover off the cold-air return duct in the hall and Bogey fell down the duct. Never fear:
  1. We have a tiny 1 storey house, he was unhurt.
  2. The furnace has not yet been turned on for the year
  3. Bogey wasn't phased in the least.
We credit Captain Fuzzypants for alerting us to the situation, so they both got let back in to the bedroom for the rest of the night. Bogey snuggled right up and went to sleep. The Captain brought a toy and kept me up for another hour.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Moving along...

The seasons are moving along at a nice clip. We had some snow flurries last night (supposedly - I didn't see them). The leaves are falling, the chickens are molting too so it's a mixture of leaves and feathers in the back yard.

A few weeks ago, we took advantage of a beautiful day and went apple picking. The tiny trees were loaded, and it only took a few minutes to pick 20 lbs of apples!
Notice my award-winning sweater!
I volunteered to be Karl's support at his cyclocross races. 
He had a little "incident" at the race in Lake Geneva.
That's NOT where the seat belongs, Karl!
We also went to see the pros race in Waterloo.
Both Jeremys in one shot!

Katrina doesn't enjoy cyclocross as much as her parents do.

Katrina tried out for Jazz Band at school - she worked really hard on her audition music - we'll find out on Monday if she made it. She's also joining the 8th grade "bucket band" for the upcoming talent show. I'm not really looking forward to her practicing that music at home.

I tried out a new look for our LMS dances - Rosie the Riveter. I think it's may favorite because it's the easiest. Jeans, a denim shirt, red socks and loafers!
Yeah, I know - the purple hair clashes with the red bandanna.

My grandmother's name was Rose, so I think it's fitting...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What's your view?

After a busy, rushed start to the weekend, I finally have time to relax. If I could get the stinkin' photo to upload, I'd show you my view of he chickens scratching around in the yard, my feet up, and a nice glass of iced tea next to me. But since the technology won't cooperate, you'll just have to imagine it.

In the "what's new" department - I got some new, spiffy glasses. Several people have said that they make me look really smart. I'm not sure how to take that...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Family Member Update

Day 3:

Bogey has jumped right in to the routine - yells for his dinner right along with the Captain, found the toy box, is first to claim the highest perch on the cat tree, and is almost-but-not-quite wrestling with the Captain.

And best of all, the Captain was sprawled in my lap and Bogey plopped right down next to him, snuggled up and went to sleep!

I. Am. So. Happy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Colonel

The new kitten has arrived. He's a little on the timid side, but he's coming around. He jumped into my lap this morning, and I did hear some purring too.

Katrina so graciously created this as an announcement:

Seriously, it's like having a little black leopard slinking around!

He was already named Bogey, but we're not sure if we want to keep that name. (Well, actually his first name was Brittney because someone can't tell the difference between an exclamation point and a colon. And then the new-graduate vet didn't bother to double check before "spaying" him. So this poor dude has both a neuter scar and a spay scar!) But anyway, we'll probably end up calling him Colonel Bogey, because I love a good British march.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Capt'n

  The fuzzbutt Captain isn't driving me super crazy yet, but I can tell he misses his brother. Poor guy, Braxton won't play with him for more than a minute (the old man gets tired fast), and I'm at works all day. He goes super crazy on you when you sit down - purring, biscuits, licking you...

I think he needs a new brother before he gets depressed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Suck it 2014!

I'm not going to lie. This has been a really shitty year. Four months to go, and I just don't even want to think about what else can happen.

My kitten Gus got really sick really fast. So sick that there was no coming back. I lost my little buddy. 36 hours before, he was his normal, crazy self. But the hardest part for me is that we'll never know what caused it.

It has been a rotten year - not just for me, but the whole world. So many terrible things happening everywhere. I kind of just want to run away from it for a while, be a hermit on a mountain for a bit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hey, Remember that Thing?

I'm doing a thing for that place. Remember? I told you about it a while back. No? 
Let me refresh your memory

Now click the link and donate. Do it!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

In Which I Go To The Fair.

  First things first, I started my new job last Monday. The first day was horrible and I wanted to cry. But it's gotten better each day, and I'm starting to feel comfortable. I have my own desk, which is exciting. I've kept it pretty neat, but I haven't really done much real work yet. 

  Yesterday we went to the State Fair to visit my sweater and eat exotic foods. We had a hard time finding my sweater. We circled the building three times before I finally spotted it right next to the exit!

I didn't expect it to be folded!

Then we proceeded to eat our way through the fair. Like last year, I did my research and made a list of the things I wanted to try (deep fried kringle, mac & cheese dog, bacon caramel corn, bacon wrapped smoked pork belly). Last year, I only ate one thing off my list, then I was too full to eat anything else the rest of the day. This year, we decided to all share everything so we wouldn't get to full. First, we found one booth we missed from last year (fried noodles with chicken and veggies - they were excellent!), so we shared that. Then we wandered around and I spotted the booths that were on my list. Then it all went to hell when Karl wanted a grilled cheese (not on the list, but a favorite). That filled us up, and it took a couple of hours before I got hungry again. But by then, my feet were tired and I didn't want to walk all the way to the other side of the park for anything, so I settled for a pork burger (another favorite, but also not on this year's list). I ended up not trying anything from my list.

We love cream puffs!

  We rode the sky ride to the other end of the park (got caught in a shower while we were up there) and got our obligatory cream puffs. I think this is the first time I've ever eaten a whole cream puff. We were damp and tired, so it was time to hoof it back to the car and head home. All in all, a fabulous time at the Fair.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chapter 4

  I'm starting a new chapter in my life. Chapter 1 was a long one: Vet Tech extrordinaire, Chapter 2 was short: Tupperware Lady. Eleven years at Giggles for Chapter 3 was a pretty good stretch. 

  But I'm looking forward to Chapter 4. Back to my "roots" of veterinary medicine, but from a whole new side. My new title is "Equipment Sales Support" for a veterinary supply company. It's a company I enjoyed dealing with in my days of doing the ordering for the clinics I worked with. 

  Tomorrow morning is going to be tough though. It's been 12 years since I had a commute of more than one mile. I have to get up way before 7am (that's the worst part!), and I have to dress "business casual" - I'm not even sure what that is! Twelve years of wearing scrubs followed by "just no jeans or t-shirts" for eleven years means my wardrobe is somewhat lacking.

  I'm not sure, but I think I'll have my own cubicle. I found a mini-orchid for my desk. People complain about the "cube farm" office, but it's so new to me, I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

So Much News!

Wow, things are moving so fast lately!

You may have seen that I am starting a new job soon. I found a position at a company I used to deal with when I was a Vet Tech. I'll be doing sales support in the Veterinary Equipment department. In the time I've been away from Vet. Med, I'm sure there are a bajillion new pieces of equipment being used, so I'll have quite a bit of homework at the start. But I'm excited about this new job, although full time with a 25 minute commute is going to take a while to get used to!

The kittens are growing so fast, they're already 4 months old! The foster kittens are also getting in to the swing of things, pretty soon they will be busting to get out of their room and explore the rest of the house.

Katrina is teaching herself to play the ukelele, which is an adventure. So far she is playing by ear. I've ordered a book and CD for her to use. Hopefully, I'll be hearing a new song or two soon. Her trumpet lessons are going well, and I don't seem to have to nag her to practice as much as I did during the school year.

And once again, a kitten is climbing my bare leg as if it was a tree, so I've gotta run!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A quick note

I sincerely apologize for my absence, but I've been busy: new kittens, gardening, LMS gigs, hand surgery, more foster kittens, and more!

The new additions are fitting in great. Their names: Augustus Waters and Captain Raymond G. Fuzzypants. Old Braxton is getting used to them, I even catch them playing together occasionally.
Gus on the left, The Captain on the right

The garden is looking good, the chickens are keeping their lawn relatively mowed. The raspberries are starting to ripen (yum!).

I'm knitting away on another super-awesome project. but it's a gift for someone, so I can't say what it is. I did enter a sweater in the State Fair. Judging is next week. I'll be sure to let you know how I did. (not good, I'm sure - my seaming is sub-par).

The new fosters arrived yesterday: mom and 2 babies. Mom is super sweet and purrs like crazy as soon as you come in the room. The kittens are about 5 weeks old, and crazy! In fact, one of them is climbing my leg right now! Ouch! Gotta go!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm Baaack!


It has been weeks and weeks since I've been able to sit down at the ol' computer. The room was full of rambunctious kittens who would climb your leg in 2 seconds (it didn't matter if you're wearing long pants or shorts - those claws could penetrate hardened steel if needed!). So to avoid unnecessary lower-limb injury, we pretty much avoided the desktop computer at all costs.

But now the babies are all grown up, getting fixed tomorrow, then getting adopted out to great people. They were so sad when I left them at the shelter this morning. But I was strong. No tears were shed, because I know 4 of the 5 already have homes waiting for them. And the 5th kitten will get adopted lickety-split because he has such good manners.

 The house seems so quiet without them. 

Not for long because 2 little orange dudes are coming right back here to be ours forever! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mini Post

I'm doing some experiments today. First and foremost, I'm composing this post on my handy-dandy tablet to see how it goes. Secondly, I'm doing a test-run with my yarn dyeing. At the moment, the mini-skein of yarn is soaking in water and vinegar. Let me tell you, the smell of wet wool and vinegar is not pleasant.

  Last night LMS played at a benefit dance for a Veteran's organization. It was a good gig, we've done it twice before. I had a last-minute solo. Normally, this would rattle me, but last night it was fine because the solo was not on my trumpet. It was a whistling solo. Making the jump from trumpet to whistling isn't easy, so I'm not sure any sound came out for the first few measures, but by the end, I was cooking!

  Oh, there's my timer. Time to dye some yarn!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Sincerest Apologies

  I have been remiss in blogging lately. Mainly because I can't sit down at the computer without 2 kittens climbing my leg, another sneaking onto the chair and up my back, and two more wrestling with my feet. This morning they all (Mama included) settled in on the desk chair, and I didn't have the heart to move them. I squatted at the desk for half an hour.

You can't find us because we're hiding!
 We're having trouble deciding which one(s) we're keeping.

Big mean Karl hates kittens, can't you tell?
So, as we head in to the Mother's Day flower rush, I hope I can find a few minutes to complain share my feelings about life in general here at the ol' blog.


Friday, April 4, 2014


  I'm starting another new knitting project today, and I'm excited. I'll be excited for about the first three inches, then it may turn tedious. But I will persevere, for these are Birthday Socks! For my favorite husbeast. The dude has big feet, which makes this a bit of a rush job. His birthday is quickly approaching. But fear not! I have a full workweek coming up, which means plenty of knitting time. 

Colors of the German flag for my favorite sour Kraut!
 I hope he likes stripes.

  Spring appears to have sprung, the back yard is muddy and the daffodils are poking their heads out of the ground. It's almost kitten season, and I'm making the leap (again) to start fostering kittens. We just need to get the bicycles out of the office and cover up all the computer cables, and we'll be good to go. There's nothing better than laying on the floor and being covered in kittens!

PS Still no engine (Boo!!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Can't Read

  Last week I was raving about how I ordered some really great sock yarn for a project. I guess I didn't read the description very closely, because it's not what I thought. The yarn is spun onto three pound cones, but is sold by the pound, not by the cone. So, when I ordered "1" I got one pound, which is not enough for a blanket. It's still a really good price for sock yarn though, so I went ahead and ordered 2 more pounds. (comes out to about $4.50 per pair of socks, which is much less than the $20 I usually pay for hand-dyed yarn!) So I'm still excited about the purchase.

  And I've decided on a color scheme and dye pattern. Now, I just need the snow to melt and the weather to warm up so I can work outside (that way I don't have to worry about dripping & staining anything!)

  In other news, it's Spring Break for Katrina, so yesterday we drove down to Chicago to the Field Museum. They have an exhibit about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago - one of Karl's favorite subjects. They were exhibiting some artifacts from their collection which were also exhibited at that World's Fair. It was pretty cool to see those things - some were shown in their packing crates because they were too fragile to remove all the way. We were disappointed that there wasn't more about the actual fair itself. We did learn a few things, so it wasn't a complete loss.

  And today's Spring Break activity? Shoe shopping with my mom! (YAY!)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Warning: May Contain Knitting

  When everything is crap, the little things are just so much more exciting than usual. Take my hobby of knitting, for example. I was so happy to finish the back piece of a sweater that's been languishing for a while. I quickly started to front to keep my momentum going. There are 14 inches of boring before it gets exciting, so that's good knitting to take to work. Then Katrina says that one of her teachers is having a baby, and would I maybe knit something for her? Ooh, baby stuff- so adorable and quick! That's going well also. And those funky socks? Set aside so I can finish the baby sweater.

But what really got me excited was a yarn purchase. 

A little background: A while back, a friend hinted that they kinda wanted a blanket similar to the charity blanket I worked on last year. Who can blame them? It was gorgeous. So, I've spent a lot of time gazing at pretty yarn, wondering how I will come up with the funds for this masterpiece (considering I have an engine to pay for!). Good yarn ain't cheap. Non-knitters don't realize knitting a pair of socks usually costs $20 - $30 if you use quality yarn. And this blanket? About 9 pairs of socks worth of yarn. So last Monday, I was gazing at yarn again and came across something I had overlooked. A three pound ball of good sock yarn for $20. Three pounds! For twenty dollars! That's about 14 pairs of socks! JACKPOT! What's the catch? It's undyed. 

  Undyed yarn does not, in any way, present a problem. I love dyeing yarn. The problem is deciding on a color scheme. Any suggestions?
The color wheel is your friend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hey, how's that new engine working?

  I don't know, because IT'S STILL NOT HERE!

  Perhaps I'm getting tired of the crappy things that have been happening. Perhaps it's just PMS. But either way, I want my car back, and I want to see the grass, and I want a vacation from my life. 
2014 can suck it.

  On the bright side (there is always a bright side), it was really nice driving Dad's truck to my gig in a snowstorm.
  I'm going to go knit now. Because knitting is like Valium. (Even when you have to rip out and re-knit about 8 inches of a sweater because you can't do basic math.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


  It's not a decision I'm taking lightly, the decision to end a life. And it's not something you're ever "ready" to do. Especially since this time, it's not about quality of life. It's about bad behavior. 

  I love my cats, every one I've ever had. They are really like my furry children. But after so many years of litterbox issues, I just couldn't take it anymore.

 We said goodbye to Sally today. She was probably the cat with the most personality we've had. It's a good thing too, because she was definitely not good looking. Poor thing, living in Wisconsin without a nice fluffy coat of fur. That's why she always wanted to cuddle. Her favorite place? Inside your shirt. And she was always purring. Always. Such a happy cat.

  I feel like I'm the most horrible person for doing this. Like I didn't try hard enough, I'm giving up too soon. But we did try. We tried a lot of things, for a long time.

  I really going to miss you, Sally.

Crazy cat lady knit her cat a sweater.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To Bring You Up To Date

  One month later, and I'm still driving someone else's vehicle. I'm not even sure if the new engine has been ordered. But Dad's 4 wheel drive pick-up has come in handy after the several snow events that have happened in the last couple of weeks. 

And the heated seats are nice too. My next vehicle will definitely have heated seats.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I got this.

  On Tuesday, my wonderful daughter told me that I needed to take her shopping. Shopping for a warm hat that will stay on while she's skiing. Because Friday is the first ski Club trip.

Um. Really?

"Honey, do you not see the bins of yarn downstairs? I think I've got it covered."  


Edited to add: Finished the hat at 5pm Thursday!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Straight down the crapper!

I knew things had been going to well lately. I got all content with my life, and that jinxed it!

My car died. It didn't slowly wither away. There was no reason to suspect a problem. It showed no symptoms, then BAM! It was gone. Well, not really BAM, it was more of a "CLACKETY, CLACKETY, CLACKETY, RATTLE, RATTLE, SILENCE" episode. And so there it sits, lifeless, in the driveway. 

The preliminary diagnosis is that the engine is dead. Gone. Seized up. Kaput. 

The treatment? Engine transplant. 

And so my life has gone down the crapper. We can't manage two car payments, and professional repair costs almost as much as a crappy used car. So, self-repair is Karl's preferred option. Yeah. Self-repair, to replace the engine. (Don't worry, I think he's crazy too)

It's still going to cost a bundle, just a slightly smaller bundle. Goodbye 2014 family vacation. Goodbye 2104 "mental health" vacation to New Hampshire. Goodbye new windows. Goodbye kitchen makeover.

Just kill me now.