Friday, December 22, 2006

The Six (only) Weird Things....

When I first saw this meme I thought....only six? How do I decide?

Here are some of my foibles:

1) I love teddy bears. I own about 30+ all sizes and shapes. They all have names. Somehow my husband peacefully co-exists with the bears which are scattered throughout the house. He does not, however, remember their names.

2) I will watch movies and read books that I've seen/read before--sometimes over and over. I cannot even guess how many times I've read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Use your imagination when it comes to the LOTR films.

3) I hate, hate with a passion, punch. You know that mixed up fruity concoction (sometimes alcoholic, sometimes not) that shows up at parties and it's that time of year, alas. I much prefer plain seltzer or a lovely glass of wine. (Unfortunately, I belong to a family of "punchers".)

4) If it were possible, I'd move into Wegman's (an upscale grocery store in the northeast). I have declared to no one in particular, that I will never [again] live in an area without a Wegman's. (If you had one you would understand......) Wegman's has been Money Magazine's #1 or #2 company to work for for the past 3 years and in the top 10, for the past decade. I <3 Wegman's. I bought my little Christmas tree at Wegman's.

5) I do not ascribe to the current popular dislike of Wal Mart. I believe that stopping Wal Marts from moving into an area is short sighted in the long run, and is discriminatory to the very segment of the population that self-serving activists claim to want to protect. That being said, I do not go out of my way to shop there, and Super Wal Marts give me hives.

6) I like to do other things when I talk on the phone, which isn't often, by the way. I'll cut vegetables, put dishes away, set the VCR, you name it. My husband says that this is unspeakably rude.

Here's a bonus:

Bonus) I have a master's in information science and teach computer science, yet don't personally own a computer.

So that'd be it. Not as strange as some...but I decided to share only the elements that can't get me into too much trouble.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

See yunz in 2007!

Friday, December 01, 2006

It can't be December already!!

This morning when I woke up the nightlight we keep in the hallway was off, and the room was pitch, pitch black. I just couldn't believe that it was that dark and my alarm was really going off. How do people near the Arctic Circle do it? I just cannot wait until the soltice when the days start getting lighter again. Even moments matter.

Meanwhile the miserable storms that have plagued the mid-west are barreling toward us. But you can hardly tell. We have miserably high winds, but so far, only one downpour and now the line of storms looks like it passed us and the sun is actually out at the moment and it is still in the 60's. What's up with this? Of course, tomorrow, when we don't get out of the thirties, I'll be griping about it. No doubt.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Not a descriptive title, but the best I can do post election.

If you can't stand a post sans a definite ideology, but with definite opinions, you can skip this.

You have to understand where I'm coming from....the middle folks. I am a "no party" registrant in my state. I've never voted straight ANYTHING in my whole voting life. I've even written someone in. I'm from that group of voters that everyone covets, but no one speaks to.

If you're a survey taker, I'm the person you hate to call. Why? Because I ask more questions than I answer.


Them: Is XYZ doing a good job? (Implying that they want a yes or no answer...and insuring they will not get one from me.)

Me: In what respect?

Them: Uh...[pregnant pause] I don't know...overall? (Are they asking me or telling me?}

Me: You need to be more specific...the economy? Taxes? Crime?

Them: Overall...

Me: Can't answer that. I'm of the decidedly thoughtful opinion that anyone who can answer a question like that is mostly of the "koolaid" variety. Love'em or hate'em based on ideology. (This means I've been mulling this over for a long time, and can possibly change my mind, but haven't found enough data to do it yet.) there you go. I don't adhere to any particular ideology and find the idea abhorrent. Maybe I can start an anti-ideology party? Of course this means my husband thinks I'm a lefty, and my mother thinks I'm just right of Barry Goldwater (her generation).

I just know this, I find the Republican gnashing of teeth grating and the Democrat gloating equally shudder inducing. I think of my dear departed father at times like this. When it came to politics he said "everyone should get a turn". And so they should. The Democrats, if they can stop grinning and breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for a moment, now have an opportunity to move the conflict in Iraq to a hopefully, safe end. (Though I think Murtha who is from this neck of the woods is apparently on some kind of drugs. That's the only excuse I can think of for his "plan". And no, Murtha, you're not vindicated, you're still an idiot. Nothing new about that. It must be the water in Altoona......) The problem I see is that all the Dems have done for the past 3 years have been bitch, call nasty names, and moan. They have never brought forth a REAL plan. So now they've gotta scramble. But with any kind of luck, for that's what it will take, they can maybe help make something good happen. If nothing happens in two years...Hillary is in trouble in '08 if she isn't already.

As for the chortling I see all over about Pelosi, that's actually the only thing that really disturbs me. A SF leftie running the House is just way outside my comfort zone. (I don't care what gender.) What do I mean? Cradle to grave entitlements with a crushing tax burden to go along with it; a complete disdain for the military (check out her actions and that of the district, not her words); diminishing of parental rights in favor of the government (do you really want ANY government raising your kids? I think it's been was in Nazi Germany). So I don't care much how many of what flavor sits where.... But 'ol Nancy, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. There's that anti-ideology thingy yet again.

I was in the cultivated generation of feminists. In the seventies we were indignant about so many things. Then the feminists changed, (as did I) and somewhere along the way lost something. I'm coming to the conclusion it is their ever lovin' minds. I was so excited that I would see a female president in my lifetime. But I am appalled and disappointed in a way I cannot describe that the candidate will be Hillary. She is smart, politically savvy, and the most dishonest politician on the scene today. I am devastated and embarrassed. I had these lofty, pie-in-the-sky imagingings that the first woman candidate would be someone with guts and character (I sadly, stupidly(?) set the bar higher for a female candidate. I can dream can't I?). She has the guts, but the character stinks. Sigh. I am disappointed beyond belief. And frightened. Frightened that women will vote with their ovaries rather than their brains. And they will. So I made a decision. When the '08 primaries roll around I am going to change my registration to Democrat, so I can vote against Hillary. (Here in PA you cannot vote in primaries without a party affiliation.) It doesn't matter who she is running against, and it doesn't matter if I "waste" my vote. It is my only recourse. I will pretend to be a Dem for a day. Then switch back to where I belong......I like water lots better than koolaid anyway.

P.S. When I was approached by the hordes outside the polling place on Tuesday, trying to stuff paper into my hands, I told them nothing doing and that I should've brought all the crap they'd sent me over the prior 6 weeks to give back. They did look rather sheepish. I wish I had thought of it sooner, and I would have.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bass Ackwards

I've been thinking about it and, yup, I'm backward.

I "read" magazines from the back to the front. I've been known to look at the end of a book first. I occasionally will catch the end of a TV show (on purpose) that I'm taping. It's OK with me if I learn the score of a sporting event that my husband is taping and then sit through it with him pretending I don't know the outcome. Why? No idea. Weird isn't it?

It's the same thing with my knitting and beading.

Most people start with the ubiquitous scarf. Me? Nah. I started with a sweater - a striped sweater no less. Never mind that it was made in creepy acrylic. I happily wore it for several years. Then I went on to a ...are ya' ready, a shawl collar sweater for my then "boyfriend". (He's now my husband and we've been married 19 years today....Happy Anniversary to us.) So I knit a sweater as a second project too and thumbed my nose at the "boyfriend" curse. In fact, I had completely forgotten this sweater, until my husband mentioned that he still had it packed away in the attic. (I had long since given my striped acrylic to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop.) The next one I do remember. It was a short sleeved cotton sweater, in purple, and I had such a hard time finding yarn, that I had to hold two fingering weight strands together to knit it. It had a complicated bells and bobbles front and did I mention...I knit ALL of these pieces in the round. The patterns were not written in the round, but I converted them...including the very complicated front of the purple cotton.

As I look back on these feats, I honestly don't know how I did it. But I did. Remarkable. I also followed the same pattern with beading. I embarked on my beading by creating a complex "stained glass" amulet bag, completely with Mill Hill beads. (Those of you familiar with beading will recognize that this probably cost me a fortune. It did.)

I got back into knitting late in 2004, I actually learned to knit in the mid-eighties. And what did I choose for a first project in 2004. A scarf. A "fun fur" scarf. It was fun, it was easy, and I used straight, single point needles for the first time. Of course, I added Miyuki triangle beads to the scarf. I haven't stopped. I found that I like knitting accessories. Scarves, hats, bags, wraps,....I have one sweater that I may knit in the forseeable future, but we'll see. I've also started knitting socks.

What hasn't changed is that I'm still fearless. I don't care what the pattern difficulty is rated. If I like it, I'll figure it out.
Especially with a little help from my "friends" on the internet. Something we hadn't even considered in the eighties......

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yoi and double yoi!

When I changed jobs I lost access to a digital camera (which I used to borrow to take digital photos). My new position has one, however, the office has lost the CD to install the software to manage the camera. Sigh.

Consequently, I've not been posting since I can't show off my completed lozenge sock from Vintage Socks, my Tendrils wrap from Knitty, my bead knitted bracelets. I'm currently working on three projects, all for Christmas gifts: a ruffles scarf from Scarf Style with Brooks Farm silk/merino yarn (my all time favorite yarn I think); a Liesel scarf with Knit Picks Elegance in lilac, which I think is a fun knit; and the lozenge mate in Trekking XXL. The lozenge sock takes so much yarn, that I had to ask my LYS, Stitch Your Art Out to try and find another skein, which they did (bless them) in the same dye lot even. It looks like I'll have enough for the lozenge pair and a smaller, shorter pair when I'm done.

So where knitting is concerned, I'm afraid this will be a photoless entry, at least for the moment.

I can show you some of what I did on vacation though...we went here.

That's PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not the best team in baseball, but the best ball park. Even if the game isn't good the view is always delightful. That is a view of the Majestic, one of the Gateway Clipper fleet that runs the three rivers, passing under the Roberto Clemente Bridge. That bridge is the main thoroughfare to the ballpark, and is turned into a pedestrian walkway before and after all games.

As luck would have it, the Sunday we were there was Stitch and Pitch day and I had no idea! I would have remained blissfully unaware except during the 7th (or so) inning one of the publicity interns (those poor students who get to do all the bizarre stunts for an internship--what did you do on your summer vacation? I got to dress like Oliver Onion and run in pierogie races!) interviewed some of the women who were sitting and stitching. My sock, alas, remained safely enscounced in our car downtown (across the bridge).

To the wonderful folks who made comments about Franco Flamingo, I spent a few days with my mom when she was having a cataract removed about a month ago and took him with me to cheer her up. (Who in the world can't smile when they see him?) She tried to convince me to go through with my plan to give him as a gift. She was pretty convincing. So much so that I purchased the yarns to make another. Still can't give him up. I don't know if I'll get to it for Christmas, but perhaps an April birthday. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty behind where I was a year ago in my Christmas knitting.

Also my cellulitis cleared up fairly quickly. My sister a critical care nurse, who is highly allergic to some insect bites and gets cellulitis every time she encounters a "green head" fly, suggested Ivarest for the itching. It is like calamine (sp?) lotion in cream form-very thick and gooey, but it worked and I stopped scratching my skin off.

Thanks for the comments. I'm actually amazed.
I'll try to be more diligent in the future.

P.S. Anyone from Pittsburgh, and environs, will understand the implications of the title of this post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Remember when I wrote...

... the flamingo was too cute for words? Well, what say you?

When he was completely finished, I showed him to Rich and said, I don't think I can give him up. He said, "then don't, she (the giftee) will not appreciate him anyway." While that probably isn't exactly true, it gave me a lovely excuse to hang on to him.

He is from a Fiber Trends pattern. And while their patterns are usually terrific in terms of yardage and direction etc. This one was WAY, WAY off. It called for 2 skeins of Brown Sheep worsted pink and one black. I used three pink skeins! It took a full skein just to knit those two knobby legs, because you hold the yarn doubled. The "feathers" are a Moda Dea novelty yarn from Joanne's that I picked up on a whim. I should have paid better attention though as one needs between 30 and 40 yards of novelty, and this skein only had 11 yards!! I needed three and could have used a fourth. In short Franco Flamingo has lots more $$ invested than I intended. (I named him Franco because his soulful black button eyes reminded me of Franco Harris...don't ask.)I'm thinking of knitting a second one for the giftee anyway, but with a better choice for the novelty yarn.

Anyway, I knit him because I needed a little fun in my life. I was stressing about my new job and changing offices and just tons of other things, and this was just a very fun silly thing to do. I took the photo with my camera phone, so it isn't the best quality.

I may need to find some more anti-stress knitting. On Sunday, even though the temperatures were in the low 90s, we decided to go hiking late in the afternoon. We drove out to Penn State's Recreation Center, Stone Valley. We thought it would be cooler, and since everyone else was in town (or should have been) for the Central PA Festival of the Arts we thought it would be quiet. It wasn't quiet on the lake. There was some kind of boating/fishing event, but as soon as we got into the woods. It was very peaceful. Unfortunately, when I extracted a map from a posted sign, I was literally attacked by a nasty flying insect. I'm reasonably sure it was a yellow jacket, though I didn't bother to ask for identification. It hurt like hell! No stinger, got the bump, it went away, I used hydrocortisone, all seemed well except for a little, to be expected, soreness. To make a long story short, by Tuesday morning, I had a VERY swollen, hot, red, forearm, which hurt and was itching like heck. Fortunately the doc had an opening, and I found out that that bugger not only gave me a nasty bite, he also gave me cellulitis. So I'm now on antibiotics, and after 36 hours my arm looks and feels lots better. Still itching like mad though.

The fun just never ends.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fallen off the face ......

.....of the earth. That's what it feels like, but now, all of a sudden I can come up for air.

I changed jobs June 1, and the remainder of April and the majority of May I spent packing and sorting through 15 years of files. My new position is very much similar to my old, so I have the opportunity to use much of my prior work in my new office. That is a double edged sword. It means that one can haul an awful lot of junk along with them. My old office is also collapsing so I had to opportunity bring a lot of stuff, office furniture and the like with me.

When I arrived I had two days to unpack then had to plan for a course to be taught beginning th 4th day I was in the office. I could barely catch my breath.

Through it all I kept creating, though I can't share it because I do not have acces to a digital camera in this office. I'm hoping that I can get my camera phone working and connected to my laptop.

My FOs include:

A knitted sterling wire necklace and bracelet. Another bracelet in progress.
A bead knitted cuff bracelet.
A flamingo. (Yes a bright pink felted, stuffed, flamingo.)
A tendrils (Knitty) still in progress.

I'm beginning work on some Christmas gifts. The flamingo was slated to be a Christmas gift, but he is just too damn cute for words. So he's going to have to stay with me.

I've cast on for some Christmas socks in a pattern from Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock book, and just ordered lovely yarn for two scarves.

Meanwhile I settle into my new position, and try to enjoy the summer which seems to be slipping through my hands like sand at the beach.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Too long, too long.....

Since I've done any meaningful writing, either in my personal journal, online, or in my little knitting book. I don't know what's stopping me. I often think about stuff I want to record--just to remember something specific--a feeling, an unusual sight, just a revelation (not too many of these) but I'm lazy or exhausted. Hard to tell the difference.

Today though I have some show and tell.

First it has come to my attention that though I am a rather conservative dresser, think Lands' End, I'm a veritable disco queen (for those younger than say 40, that's when all those funky platforms, and polyester blouses were actually stylish the first time) when it comes to my hand knit socks. Nothing is too strange or bizarre, and I take great pleasure in wearing them. I've been reading blogs where the knitter will actually frog a sock because she is unhappy with collaboration of the pattern and the yarn. I also see many knitters who knit lovely patterned solid socks because the "lace shows best in solids". I simply can't bring myself to do it. If you are one of these fine, careful knitters, the following sock photo may make you cringe so there's the PG-14 warning.

I love how these came out. Feather and Fan from Socks, Socks, Socks in Socks that Rock Carbon. There a bit of pooling on the right sock, but I think it actually adds to the charm.

The second photo is of my favorite part. The Dutch heel. So far I've knit 4 pair of socks, with another in process, and each has had a completely different heel. I think I like the fit of the Dutch heel best for me so far, but I like the construction of the short row heel.

Here's an upclose and personal view of the heel. As you can probably tell, I'm taking these photos myself, hence the dough white appendages.

And these all wool babies are perfectly comfortable in our Central PA 60 degree weather. I don't know about tomorrow though, we're hitting the 70's.

Next is that internet favorite Grumperina's Jaywalkers. Had to try them, and of course, my inner disco queen took over and I used Socks that Rock, Fire on the Mountain. Then....go figure, I decided to try an Eye of Partridge heel. Weird, wild and I really think it's a hoot!!

Finally to take the edge off all this fiber I have this.........

It is the beginning of a crocheted beaded bracelet. I've made dozens of them. It is my quickie giftee when I'm caught empty handed. Alas, I haven't constructed one in so long I forgot a major design principle, and it's working out a bit wonky. I'm hoping I can forgive the wonkiness, and I can find it eclectic. It's for me anyway, and I've worn experiments before.....with my Lands' End wardrobe.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The good, the bad, and the ugly......

Since I'm not nearly as entertaining as so many other bloggers (Yarn Harlot and Franklin), I figured that I'd just steal movie titles. However, as I look at this photo, I can see the good, but can't put my finger on the bad and the ugly....

One good is I'm finallly on track knitting Via diagonale, after four, count'em four, starts. I frogged this damn thing three times. The first because I can't count, the second because I thought it was coming out too big, and made it one repeat smaller (no I didn't swatch, it's a purse), and the third because I wasn't happy with the color contrast. As you can see the blue is varigated in the photo and looks pretty good against the black. However, originally I had it against another shade of blue, and the "diagonale" pattern got pretty lost. I was away over the weekend so I toddled off to what passed as the LYS (A.C. Moore) and bought "Sugar and Cream" cotton in black. It costs about 1/3 the price of the blue and you can tell, it is not nice. But I was away from home, and I was desperate. The other interesting thing is that no where on the ball band did it tell me how much yarn was in there. So I had to buy enough extra, just in case. So I have a feeling that I'll be stuck with black "Sugar and Cream" when this whole thing is done. I'll also have more of the blue varigated stuff. So I may have to go back to my LYS and exchange it for two other colors and make one that I'll like better. I'm still running a little larger than the pattern, so I'll probably decrease it one more repeat if I do make a second. Knitting Rules! (which is quite good, if only I could read more than a page at a time before I fall dead asleep, no fault of the author) and my rapidly fading crocuses are both good as well, so I suppose the Sugar and Cream gets both the bad and ugly designation, even though you can't tell that from the photo.

On another front, I got my sister started on a Kitty Pi Bed. She hasn't knit in years (had vague childhood nightmares of learning), but after starting on Saturday afternoon, she was more than half way finished by the time I left her on Sunday afternoon. In addition, she neglected to do any of the chores my mother had asked her to do. I had to explain to my very affronted mother that it was "knitter's syndrome". She was counting. I'm not sure that she'll continue. I've already got her hooked on beading. But if she does continue, she'll definitely be a "product knitter". Today she called me at work so I could describe binding off to her. I'm now awaiting for the "felting" phone call.

And wouldn't you know, even though her own cats each have a bed, knitted by yours truly, the one wants to sit right in the center of the one she's knitting. I had better get a photo of the finished product!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Who said socks needed to be identical.....

I guess there's a first time for everything. I am not a fast knitter. I'm actually happy not being a fast knitter. Since I do not have to knit for warmth or protection (that's what Kaufmann's is for), I can putz along as I please. But I am going home to visit my mother. When I saw her at Christmas, she asked me to knit her a pair of socks, in the Brown Sheep Symphony colorway. No problem. Well, it has taken me about two weeks to knit the socks. I just finished to take them to her this weekend. However, when I really looked at the pair this is what I saw.

Not only are they not identical twins, they are barely fraternal twins. In fact, it appears that I used two completely different dyelots. My LYS bands together two balls of the same dyelot in their sockyarn so a customer doesn't have to sort through an entire bin. I just grabbed the color I wanted late one evening, and didn't really look that closely. So I've now checked and nope. Both said 004 dyelot. I thought the second ball looked like it had less burgundy, but I thought that perhaps it was just on the "outside". Of course I was pulling from the inside. So now I have two what appear to be mis-matched socks for my mother. I'm hoping she'll wear them until I can get back to the yarn store and buy one ball that appears to have more burgundy to knit her yet ANOTHER sock.

Sorry for the blurry picture. I was experimenting with my camera phone. I thought it was clear enough to get the idea across. Life is never easy.

On another front, I am giving my sister Kitty Pi Bed lessons this weekend. Her kitties love their beds so much her boyfriend wants one for his mother's kitty. I said fine. I'll be happy to teach someone how......

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ever have one of those lives?

You think everything is going along pretty much normally, then karma, or something equally sneaky, comes in to bite you on the behind.

Husband and I were supposed to be going to the 'Burgh this weekend to see a ballet. I've been a season ticket holder for years, but this year, I've not been able to get to many of the performances. Here in Happy Valley, it is spring break--students are non-existant, so restaurants are quiet, traffic is low, it is quite nice. So what happens... my dearest gets a toothache. Now, unfortunately he is one of those poor folks who didn't get a good roll of the dental dice, but we have a good dentist, and all has been well for quite a while so this hit him out of the blue. He had an "emergency" root canal last evening, and this morning is in some dreadful pain. No ballet for him. So it is up to me to I turn the tickets back and stay home? Try to find someone in the extended family who isn't busy this weekend? Find two someones in the extended family to give the tickets to? Sigh. It's always something.

So yesterday, I'm busily working on socks to take to my mom in two weeks. I needed a sock break so having exchanged some of the cotton from my frogged Cozy, for a darker shade I begin to cast on for the Via diagonale . Casting on is not my favorite part of the knitting process, but last night I don't know what I was thinking. I cast on and began to knit. I noticed at the end of the first patterned round that I had an extra stitch. Oh well, it was just a miscount right? On the next round I purled two together, and that took care of the extra stitch. On the third round where the pattern really begins to emerge, I'm knitting along fine, when I realize I won't be able to finish a repeat of the pattern......What's going on here?!! Well, as you can all assume what went on is that I couldn't count, or add........So here we are again...... sigh.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The year of knitting dangerously.....

I've never been one to follow the crowd. In high school, when mini skirts were popular (and I had the legs to wear them) I wore midi-skirts. If someone wrote that AB beads were hard to manage, I used them everywhere, and somehow made them work. So the popular wisdom that painted/multi yarns were terrible for patterned/lace knitting didn't make much of an impression. I've been told that I have a unique and "exciting" color sense. I think that means I take color risks, with improbable combinations, and somehow they work. Which is why I have a beaded ornament collection that includes several brown ornaments. (Or that my work is weird and the commentators don't have any idea what to say!) My favorite book on color is one by Margie Deeb (title lost in the cavern of my head). It specifically addresses beads and color. The astute reader will most certainly remind me of the fact that beads and fiber are really (REALLY) different mediums!! So far, though, I've played with fiber fire, and it's worked out really well. At least I've been pretty happy.

Example #1

This sock for example .... yeah, yeah, feather and fan lace, Socks that Rock Carbon, colorway disguises the lace pattern, but, actually, I think the colorway makes the lace pop. Maybe you don't think so. Well, that's OK. I don't think I'll be losing any sleep over it, and I doubt that you'll be losing sleep either over a misguided knitter in Central PA.

But now we come to this........

It is the Cozy pattern from Knitty. My original inclination was to use Elsbeth Lavold wool/silk. But during the Super Bowl sale at my LYS, I succumbed to cotton. They didn't have enough of the color I liked the best, but it was 50% off, so I chose the multi pictured. Yeah, same sad story. So I forged ahead this past weekend and began Cozy. After two or three repeats, I can honestly say, I don't like the pattern with the colors, the drape is too stiff. Wait, what am I saying--there is no drape?! It is very stiff and it makes me tired knitting it. (I usually have no problems with cotton, so I don't think it's the fiber.) So what say you? Should I forge ahead or frog and find a project better suited to 800 yards of cotton yarn. Which begs the question does anyone have any project suggestions for said, stiffish, sorta splitty, cotton?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thank Goodness they're almost over.....

....... yeah, the olympics I mean. I know I'm in the minority here (or maybe not based on ratings) but I find them extremely hard to watch. NBC, who is broadcasting most of the events in prime time here in the US, long after we've heard the results, seems to think that everyone has the attention span of a flea--or someone who watches MTV. They show the top three skeleton competitors, then the top three snowboarders, then back to skeleton or the the guy on the Zamboni, or worse curling, a niche sport for sure. Hey, NBC, how about this. Pick an event, show us ALL the folks who compete, that way we may even cultivate an appreciation for the sport. We might even be able to see why someone didn't get good scores verses someone who did. How about that? Oh, yeah, and in between there are 10 minutes of commercials, which makes it convenient if I want to do the laundry while I'm "watching".

To add insult to injury, the other networks are playing up their "reality" (term used loosely) crap (to scarf up ratings) and not showing the few programs I do watch, like House. Someone try and tell me that watching bad entertainers crash and burn is better than House? Go ahead and try.

I'm sure you'll have figured out that I'm not a reality show fan. I've only watched one episode, one time. That was the infamous first Survivor when some idiot was walking around in his birthday suit because it was his birthday. I was away at a conference and killing time until I could call home. I had the TV on in the hotel room. I haven't watched a "reality" show since. Strangely, I used to be a big fan of Burnett's Eco-Challenge Adventure Race. Which I now realize was a reality show in and of itself. The difference is that there is no "voting". The race teams made it or didn't. It was painful, grueling, and sometimes the unexpected happened.

So the good news is that I've found other things to do, like go to a Canadian Brass concert. (See... not having Olympic knitting on my mind I actually get to do enjoyable things.) If you've never heard this group, and have the opportunity, do!! You will not be disappointed. They are a chamber group, but play all types and styles of music. And they're funny and entertaining to boot. How does one get to be an accomplished musician AND entertaining and funny? It just doesn't seem fair, does it?

De rigeur artsey stuff. I'm on the last few rounds of my third and hopefully, final for awhile, Kitty Pi Bed. I await a swift and ball winder that I finally broke down and purchased. I realized that I had something like 15 skeins of yarn that needed to be wound to use and I couldn't face it. It seemed to take forever to wind my "Socks that Rock" yarn and there was just a little over 300 yards of it. I just received two more in their new sized skein, so that will take even longer. Better to not make myself crazy, which I nearly did hand winding the 500 yards in Brooks Farm Harmony.

Sorry no pictures today. Maybe next week, when the bed and even possibly some sockies are finished. And I'm trying to figure out what gauge of wire (26 or 28) to purchase so I can try some bead knitting and/or crochet with sterling. I've been thinking about it for a long time and mes thinkin' it's time to take the plunge.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Just Sayin'

We temporarily suspend knitting and beading for the following PSA.

I'm a non-smoker. I admit it. I do hate cigarette smoke. (Oddly, I'm more tolerant of cigars and pipes, go figure.)

When it comes to personal habits, I lean toward libertarianism. So yeah, this is sort of a contradiction. But the way I see have an absolute right to poison your body, to gunk up your lungs and to stink yourself to high heaven if you want to, but you have no right to do any of those things to me. So until the cigarette makers and smokers can figure out how to inhale the smoke, and keep it in, I'll be fighting for banning smoking just about everywhere the "public" congregates, but particularly indoors.

Why is ths coming up now? Because it's on my mind. We attended a family dinner at a nice restaurant over the weekend. We had a private room. Many of the people in attendance lit up regularly and with impunity, even when dinner was served. I even found an overflowing ashtray on the buffet table!! Bleah!! When the evening was over my hair, my wool jacket and slacks, everything, smelled like I spent the evening in the Elks Local 101 Lodge.....It was not nice.

Food was good, company was fun, but the incessant smoke made it difficult [for me] to enjoy the food and the company.

Is it me? It's OK you can tell me.

Just so you know the bead part of the title is's a photo of a little gem I did some time ago. (The design is not mine, but for the life of me I cannot remember the designers name.) I made two of these and gave them both away. It might be time to make one for ME! And Mom you better still have yours. You better not have given it to Matt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Heart Day

Can't get interested in the Olympics. They are just so technical and mechanical anymore. I was reading, and figure skating was on and the commentator was saying that the Chinese couple hadn't been home with their families for more than a week or two since they were very young children. They are now in their late teens. They have been training for their entire lives. I suspect that the same is true in Russia, and other more totalitarian governments. Who really wants to live life that way?

Here, in capitalistic countries, it just costs a fortune. Sigh. Perhaps I'm too cynical.

Finished the Odessa! Soaked, blocked and currently drying.

I'm now knitting my FINAL, really, final Kitty Pi Bed. The count stands at three. Not that it isn't an easy knit, and pretty nice if you want to knit and meditate. But really....I never thought that it would be as popular as it turned out to be. This one is for my mom to give as a gift.

I also have a bead bracelet just hanging around waiting to be repaired. But it just languishes.......

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank Goodness...It's Over!!

The good guys in the black hats carried the day. My DH can relax until April (NFL Draft), of course in the middle there is March Madness, and he'd rather watch good college basketball than eat, but I digress. The Steelers won. He'd been waiting for 26 years for another Super Bowl, the smile on his face was priceless. It was excellent. Never mind that I could barely watch. I couldn't believe that a team could play so well one week, and be so mediocre the next, but never mind....

If it were any other team, I'd have been taking my Super Bowl nap. Or better yet, perhaps I'd have been able to concentrate, and would not have had to frog my Odessa hat 3 times because I couldn't get the gauge right.

I chose to knit the hat instead of my Feather and Fan socks because I thought I wouldn't be able to concentrate on lace. As I realized after the third just didn't matter. Here's my sock in progress shot.

The pattern is from Socks, Socks, Socks, and is being done with Socks that Rock "Carbon". I thought because the colors are rather "subdued" I'd do something interesting with the pattern. I like the way it's looking so far.

Another Super Bowl Bonus was that Stitch Your Art Out, my local yarn store, had what has become an annual Super Bowl Sunday sale. They open on Sunday and have pretty good yarn (and fabric if you're a quilter) sales. I picked up some Fantasy Naturale on sale for 50% off. Then they have a little contest-- you pick a team to win the Super Bowl and if your team wins you get the yarn (of your own choosing) for one project at 25% off. A pretty good deal. I got 6 skeins of Steadfast Yarns wool in "Carrot Cake"--just love that name. Hoping that some day this will turn into Cinxia from

Friday, February 03, 2006

Yes Virginia, there really is a Stiller Nation....

As I try to dodge all the Terrible Towels, flags, and black (yes, I'm serious) and gold flower arrangements in the house, and decide what food to serve on Sunday--the what ifs are important, (What if the Steelers are way ahead? What if they're not? [Perish the thought] What if the game goes into overtime? [Another perish the thought.] What if we run out of Rolling Rock? etc.....). I've been ruminating about why this is so very important to so many people in Pittsburgh and beyond. You'll see blogs and writings that make the pretense that it isn't all that important. That there are actually 'Burgh residents, all two of them, who can pretend the team(s) doesn't exist. But I can guarantee you that if the symphony were playing, the string section would all be using Terrible Towels for their instruments and game updates would be announced between pieces. They held the curtin on a ballet performance once when a playoff game went into overtime and gave patrons time to rush from the various taverns into their seats after the team won. That is Pittsburgh! If you're ignoring the Steeler hysteria, you're probably in a coma. I saw a notation somewhere that it is the "sacred game of my people", but no, in the 'Burgh it is way more than that.

My husband is a native Pittsburger......and the pride and excitement is just about overwhelming about now. There cannot be anywhere else like Pittsburgh-hard to explain, amazing to experience. Back in August we were sitting on a hillside of St. Vincent's College with, literally, thousands of other people, all dressed in some version of black and gold. Hines Ward had just come to a contract agreement, and was in camp for the first time. It was like he was Bono, fans and media just crowded around him and he took his time, and spoke to nearly everyone. He was on the field at least 30 minutes after the rest of the team had left. That in a nutshell is the portrait of this team. Not a bad egg among'em. (If there is a bad egg, it sure isn't evident.) This group of players epitomizes the city-proud, hard working, low key, community minded. Sometimes the stars align. It is rare.

Another rarity, Myron Cope, the beloved raspy (alternatively called squeeky) voiced color analyst (described recently as a "gnome in a trenchcoat") retired after 35 years. There is no other city on the planet, perhaps ANY planet, that would have embraced his voice and analysis. It is uniquely Pittsburgh. Yoi!

So rather than my words here is a piece that I think explains it better than I ever could.

Steeler Nation


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Just Couldn't Stop

It happened nearly exactly a year ago.

I fell ill, with a horrible cold, and ended up at home for days. Last year I experimented with constructing a beaded flower brooch, and liked it so much I couldn't stop...... I made, literally, a dozen beaded brooches.

Last week the same thing happened. This time it was a sinus infection that I neglected for over a week before it wore me down. This time I was knitting stuff. It really began when I finished my Clapotis. It is done using Brooks Farm Harmony Yarn, it is superb.

Since I only had a pair of socks in progress, I decided to start a Kitty Pi Bed promised to my sister's cat Trixie (aka Dementia). I had given my sister a Kitty Pi Bed bed for Christmas, and her goofy male cat, Hef, appropriated it, after several kitty "set tos". So poor Dementia was left out in the cold. I started the bed on Thursday, and finished the knitting on Saturday, felted on Sunday, and it's already on it's way to little Dementia.

Does anyone want to give me odds that Hef will want whatever bed Trixie is sleeping in.......? I used three skeins of Brown Sheep Bulky and some eyelash yarn I found at JoAnn's. I only needed to felt it about 15 minutes on very high agitation (towels added) with very hot water. And in case you're wondering, I'm blocking these beds over a 15 inch round hatbox.

Then here is what I'm calling my Sunday Scarf......because I knit it in one Sunday afternoon. The instructions are from the Yarn Harlot (it is the December 13th 2005 posting), and I fell in love with the yarn--2 skeins of 100% wool that looks like velvet, Zitron of Germany, the yarn is called Turmalin. Ummmmm......

Alas, I had to come to work on Monday. Darn......I was beginning to hear my beads calling....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

So this is Blogging?

I keep asking myself, why do I want to share my thoughts/ideas/adventures with the world.....possibly the universe, that is if we keep in mind that there might be (more) intelligent life out there. I'm certainly not that interesting.

And so I try and justify it. For example, I'm a computer science faculty, I should stay on the cutting edge of technology. I've been a journal writer for years, which may surprise folks who know me personally, or think they do, and this is just a natural extension of that. I find the voyeur in me tickled by looking in on other folk's lives, so perhaps I should return the favor.

All true and yet, I suppose the sum total of my musings is that I'd just like to see who finds their way to this vanity piece, and to see how it all works. Also I'd like to share my handwork triumphs and tragedies with those who really might give a hoot. The Steelers are, for the moment, in the playoffs so I'm getting no traction at home.

Let's see how this goes.