We're babysitting two rats for a friend at the moment. #2 is in serious rattie lurve. Every morning he hovers by the cage waiting for them to 'wake up' and says, "Dood morning, Ratties! It's a brand new day!" He'll be shattered when our friend returns next weekend and reclaims his pets. To be honest, it has reminded me how much I like rodents -- they're wonderful, social critters. I'm terribly amused by the fact that the rats have completely freaked out our cats -- they don't know how to cope with them and are therefore giving them a wide berth. I've been going a little nutty in my garden lately. Thanks to my brother visiting this week (by surprise -- a whole other story, but really wonderful to have him here), I've planted a rhododendron, varigated dogwood, pink hydrangea, various perennials (some hostas, lady's mantle, coral bells, columbine and others), a lovely sunshine yellow asiatic lily, daylilies that have been lingering in pots for over a year, and moved some violets. I have yet to plant a powder blue hydrangea, pink speedwell (aka 'Veronica'), more coral bells, columbine, and lady's mantle, and a few pieces of corkscrew will I've rooted in various buckets around the yard. I also have to pot a tomato and two rosemary plants. Friends gifted me with two incrediblely huge concrete patio stones, so I'm hoping to finish up my patio soon and seed it with thyme. It would also be nice to get started on the BBQ/smoker patio, which I'm intending to do in a similar fashion to the seating area.
As mentioned above, my brother came to visit. I received a Facebook message on a Thursday from him telling me of his intentions (this is a definate improvement in communications for him -- usually he just shows up!), followed by a concerned phone call the next day with my mother verifying I was aware of the impending visit. He arrived Saturday night. Due to unforseen electrical issues with his motorcycle, he stayed an extra day -- leaving yesterday. It was really great to have him here and such a treat for the boys to get to entertain him in their own home. #2, especially, enjoyed having him here -- normally he's a "Mommy do!" kind of kid, but I was pushed aside like day-old mini-wheats and it was all about "Uncle Matt!" It was very cute to see him shadow my brother everywhere he went.
The other great thing about this visit was to length and low-key nature. I had a really great chance to hang out with him -- something I don't get to do when I visit back East. We get along a lot better as grown-ups and everytime I see him I like him that much more. It's neat to see where we've developed values and opinions as adults that overlap and complement each other. I really hope we keep building our sibling relationship as I very much enjoy the man he has become. I was sad to see him leave yesterday.
Other than that, the only interesting thing left to mention (besides a felting obsession waiting to ferment to the project planning stage) is that I started knitting a baby blanket last night from Lang Yarns 'Silk Dream' (50% merino, 50% silk). I'm doing it in cream and crimson stripes. This yarn is simply luscious and I think it will make for a very nice lightweight yet warm baby blanket that will drape nicely and be easy to wash. It has got me to thinking about spinning silk (I have a 4oz pkg in my stash that I've yet to try). I wonder if I can find a Turkish style spindle that is lightweight enough to use for this? Or maybe I'll have to give my Russian spindle another whirl (no pun intended) -- I think I'll need to find a little supporting dish for it, though.
While I was starting the blanket last night, I watched Brokeback Mountain for the first time. Can I just say that I had no idea just how hot I'd find a couple of gay sheepherders? Yum. Such a sad movie, though. I think I'll pop in Bridges of Madison County tonight. For anyone interested, I'll be knitting at the Carleton this week. I promise. I haven't been in months and months and I miss the ladies. :)