Monday, December 29, 2008

A Hit and Run...

We made it through the holidays with a minimum of bumps (there are always a few), but here we are.

We celebrated my dear MIL's 90th birthday on Saturday (pictures to follow). Now one might think that we celebrated in an assisted living center or a little dreary home with lace coverings, but nope. We celebrated at a local watering hole, with the birthday girl sipping a glass of wine. When you see the photos you'll be amazed. I'm always astonished by her. If I'm this good by the time I'm 70 (presuming I make it), I'll count my blessings.

We're leaving for home today after an errand or two and stopping at Dellalo's Italian Food Store on Route 30 in Janette, PA. Best....everything...nearly, on the planet. When I travel on business I try and route myself past Dellalo's. It's worth a trip just to sniff the heady air.

Now home, to reclaim the landfill that is our house, and kick back for New Year's. Thank heaven.

One note: After a high in the teens on 12/22, it was 68(!) on Saturday. I got to wash the car even!

Hope you all had (have) wonderful holidays, and see ya on the flip side.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where I've been...

Yikes, I got caught unawares this holiday. I'm usually pretty good when it comes to having stuff done. Nope, not this year. I've been completing things like crazy to try and mail them out. Fortunately, most everything is inside the state, and I don't have to worry about mailing stuff.

Here's what I did last weekend:



This is a version of a "simple ornament" pattern from Bead and Button a gazillion years ago, when they actually published such things. In order to get even close to the correct colors I used the "underwater setting" on my camera. How weird is that? This is for my sister-in-law. She spends much time taking care of the parents and DH and I feel she is taken for granted. About 10 years ago I began to make her a new ornament each year. Even though I'm running out of ideas, I feel that I still want her to know she is appreciated.









Then because DH family was having a "yankee gift exchange" and I didn't have to do anything specific, I made this one:



This is the same pattern, but with different "frosting". I realized as I was decorating my tree that it is hard to find places to hang ornaments with tons of fringe, no matter how pretty they are. I used fire polished crystals in the connectors in this piece and it turned out too big. (Working with beads is a crap shoot even more than knitting.) So I had to cut it apart and start over. I like the way it turned out though.





As it turns out, we will not be participating in the exchange, so ha! I get to keep this baby. I've not made a new ornament for myself in ages, so I'm pretty tickled.



The gift exchange is a sore point in our house. In prior years, you got someone's name, sought suggestions, and bought one nice ($50) gift. This year, with the same limit, you just buy a gift and, as per the yankee gift exchange "rules", each person randomly selects a gift. Rules are here, except, in my experience, the next person decides whether he/she wants any of the open gifts before opening another. So you could get golf balls or gift cards. I've been involved in these exchanges when they've been loads of fun because the gifts were small, inexpensive and funny. I, frankly, think this gift exchange is going to be an exchange of Macy's gift cards for the most part. DH simply refused to participate. I was going to participate with the ornament and a...ta da...gift card. But as it turns out we will not be there on Christmas, so problem solved.

Actually, to be honest, I've not fared very well in these gift exchanges over the years. Last year was the strangest. I got a blanket with sleeves, and a tea cup that holds about a quart of liquid. It is too heavy to hold....really. No one ever contacts my DH for suggestions. On the other hand, not only have the givers contacted me about him, I've on occasion purchased the items for them. So he usually gets exactly what he wants.

You see we have no family in this area. So we have to travel every holiday. This year we are working up to Christmas Eve, and don't want to have to pack for what would be 6 days away, and travel on Christmas. Also I'd have to sleep in a bunk bed for the duration. So we'll not be traveling until the day after Christmas, which suites me fine. We'll be celebrating my MIL's 90th!! birthday on the 27th. It will be much less chaotic than Christmas Day.

I've also learned that you can't bead and knit at the same time. (I was holding out hope that it was possible.) So I rushed to finish:




Embossed Leaves sock pattern. Great pattern, odd instructions. I changed the heel, toe, and needle size. And I'd change the toe further the next time. The leaf pattern is outstanding though. These will be in the mail today to my dear MIL.











For my FIL, A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend:



My FIL is ALWAYS cold. He wears a hat most of the time, even to sleep. I made him one of these last year, and he wore it alot--he was so cute. Last year's was blue to match a cardigan we bought him. So I thought gray (though "underwater" it looks tan) would be a lovely compliment. I started this at 3:00 am on Friday night. And finished it off Sunday morning, pre-Steelers drubbing.










So I packed these items in little "take-out" container gift boxes and into the mail they'll go. They should be in Pittsburgh via priority by Wednesday.

So now I'm starting on Morgan for my DH, but there's no rush (and if his attitude doesn't improve he's going to get coal in his stocking not Morgan). I had a devil of a time with gauge, and I'm still not sure I'm going to be successful with this yarn. Yet, again, odd pattern instructions. She wants you to knit this on two circs. That's OK by me, but you start out with 8 stitches, which is WAY too fiddly on two circular needles. I gave up and went to 4 dpns. Still fiddly, but not nearly as frustrating.

So that's my story. I don't know if I'll be able to post until after the first of the year. We shut down here tomorrow, and we'll be up and running again on the 5th.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and may whatever holiday you celebrate be lovely, and joyous, and sheesh, let's really hope for peace, especially domestically, in the New Year.

P.S. I learned on Saturday that my hairdresser's husband, a state trooper, will be going to the inauguration, assigned as part of the PA State Police Mounted Patrol. He's excited, and she's petrified (and it has nothing to do with how either of them voted). So good thoughts for Trooper B and Cosmo (his horse).

P.P.S. My weather vane is telling me that it is 9 degrees, working up to a high of 17. Think it's too cold to wash the car?

Monday, December 08, 2008

You tell 'em Ruth!

I'm so glad there are articulate people out there who say [nearly] exactly what I'm thinking...


http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com/pg/08343/933584-152.stm?cmpid=bcpanel1

Friday, December 05, 2008

Irony is indeed the word....

The comments made me laugh. When DH sent met the original news release a few days ago, I asked the same question. "What will they do for the Lion?" I didn't even notice it yesterday because: 1) the news had broken over the weekend; and 2) ho hum, another student DUI. (Wouldn't it make you nervous to drive around here on weekends though?)

In case your entire world doesn't bleed blue and white as ours does, you may not know that Penn State is going to the Rose Bowl in January. A very big deal indeed. (Not as big as a National Championship, but, hey, they let Iowa beat 'em!) So whatever will the Nittany Lions do without their mascot--who apparently thought cramming enough friends into his vehicle so it sagged, was a good idea. Oh yeah, then driving at twice the legal limit of BAL.

To put all your minds at ease here's the followup:

http://www.centredaily.com/126/story/998840.html

A fellow cheerleader will sub until after the first of the year. So even though Mr. Sheep (I'm not kidding) will not get to go to the Rose Bowl, there will be a Nittany Lion in the Rose Bowl Parade.

Whew!! All the faithful are much relieved I'm sure.

Please note that the Lion receives a full scholarship. Not bad. It's not an easy job, however.

I'm guessing that drunk students urinating in parking lots, don't count in the "crime" stats.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yin/Yang.....

The yin

http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/996594.html

Tempered by the fact that I have to go "shopping" for a new snow shovel. (The yang--in case anyone is wondering.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Look at what I did...

...OK, this is not going to be so impressive to certain graphic artists among us. But during our statewide meetings this week we had a little hands on iMovie 8 seminar. I created this.

video

These are photos taken at the PA Grand Canyon and the environs of Wellsboro, PA. The water you see is Pine Creek a kick ass trout fishing stream. Wellsboro is noted for being a dark circle on a satellite map. There is limited cell service and only small town type businesses. Think Deliverance. We love the area though. The rock pyramids on the bank of the creek are a mystery, but we found odd rock formations all the way down the trail we took to the creek. It was rather mysterious. It was my first attempt at creating a video since, well, a lifetime ago. This was way easy, but I can see it can turn into a time sink.

And the knitting elves are back! Last weekend I completed these.




Monkeys in Socks That Rock "Stormy Weather". Storm something anyway. But look at the heel. This is an Eye of Partridge heel. Look at the difference between the leg of the sock, and the heel and gusset.








Weird huh? The colorway knits up completely differently in the heel and gusset.





I also finished a "waiting to be felted" hat. I was going to put beads in it, but I got too lazy and didn't bother to dig through my stash to find beads that fit on the yarn (worsted weight wool). No time this week for a work-in-progress photo shoot. I'll just have to wait until this weekend when I hope I'll have time to felt it.

I've moved on to a pair of Embossed Leaves socks, in Socks That Rock lightweight, Cobble Creek. Notice a pattern here. I do love me STR, but I also have some Dream In Color Smooshy which will have to wait until I'm done with my Christmas knitting to use it. I've realized that I have been knitting tons of socks, but for other people. I need more hand knit socks.

Anyway, have a great Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to sleeping.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is so accurate.....

.... it's incredibly spooky. Ok, maybe the "balanced" part is off....

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

6 Impressionist, -4 Islamic, -9 Ukiyo-e, -8 Cubist, -6 Abstract and -8 Renaissance!


Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.


People that like Impressionist paintings may not always be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.


Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Last time's the charm....

I know yunz (that's Pittsburghese in case it's unfamiliar) are wondering why I just didn't let go of this media research stuff. Well, here in academia you can count on a couple (OK,more than a couple) things: 1) political correctness rules; 2) the only diversity that is enthusiastically embraced is that of the rest of the "community"; 3) it is a mortal sin to admit to getting your news anywhere besides NPR/PBS; 4) the only print media worth reading is the NY Times. If you admit to watching Fox News, in particular, you may get your parking pass taken away, and they won't sell you coffee at Saints (local, excellent coffee shop) anymore. The "community" firmly believes there is little (they admit to a little) bias in the media as a whole. (An aside: I don't eschew NPR/PBS, or print media. I DO NOT read the NY Times as a rule, and I don't JUST get my news from Fox. There are too many accessible sources on the internet to only read one point of view.)

So, now, here are studies, (though NPR/PBS wasn't included I grant you), that simply decimates that thinking. And from a source that these people think is second only to ...well...Barack Obama. And because of the source it gives me the opportunity, the next time someone says, "I only listen to NPR, I certainly won't listen to Fox", for me to reply, "According to Pew research, during the last election, Fox had the most balanced and unbiased coverage. You probably didn't have all the information." The according to Pew Research are magic words in these here parts.

So that my friends is my story and I'm stickin' too it. And Bezzie, I don't think it is petty at all.

Now for the important stuff.

*****************************************************************************

Dear Knitting Elves,

Why have you deserted me? I scaled my Christmas knitting way back I decided on 3 pair of socks, and one felted hat (and a beaded ornament, but that's not knitting). The cats will have to survive with purchased gifts. Yet, I am not finished with the first pair of socks. How can this be. Last year, I pelted through socks (1), scarves (2), hats (2), AND a kitty tunnel. I am still waiting for a zipper from zipperstop for my Ribby Cardi (they are trying to match my yarn), and I have a Lace Ribbon Scarf in Koigu on my needles, just languishing. Yet, I have hardly knit at all this week, and not because I don't want to.

I beg you!! Come back! I'll leave out cookies, filet, champagne, anything!!

Hugs,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Somebody stop me....

...before I hurt myself.

This has just come out, from, again, the venerable Pew Research Center.


http://people-press.org/report/470/favorite-campaign-journalists


Bill O'Reilly is both the most and least liked journalist. In my book that means he's doing something right. However, if you read more closely, you will see this

At the top of the Democrats’ list is Keith Olbermann of MSNBC (6% of Democrats named Olbermann).

Olbermann is their "most liked" journalist (and I use the term loosely) I've not heard him recently, but remember him from ESPN. Major ass.

and this

Among those who name the Fox News Channel as their main source for campaign news, 52% are Republicans and only 17% are Democrats. By contrast, among those who rely on MSNBC for their campaign news, 50% are Democrats and only 11% are Republicans. Similarly, CNN’s campaign news audience is largely Democratic – 45% are Democrats and 13% are Republicans.

from here

http://people-press.org/report/467/internet-campaign-news

Ok, absorbed all of that? Now go to the research below, and just look at the graph (read the research findings too if you can stand it), which is ...umm....telling for want of any other terminology. Here's a hint, compare the coverage of the two candidates between the two networks.

http://www.journalism.org/node/13436

What do you notice about the coverage between where most Republicans get their news and where Democrats get theirs? Kool aid anyone?

FYI: Pew is a highly respected non-partisian research institute. Pew funds research at all our major educational institutions. A Pew grant almost assures tenure (just in case you're wondering).

And I like to directly source my data, something MSNBC, and many of the other news outlets, do not do on a regular basis.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some things I think, I think....

1) I was getting mail out of my box, and another resident of the townhouses, stopped me and said "Is that a Kate Gilbert scarf?" I was wearing my clapotis. It was draped over my shoulders, not spread out. I have no idea how she recognized it. It turns out she attended a knitting group in Paris that Kate belonged to. She, herself, is not a knitter, but a good friend of hers is. We briefly discussed the dazzling nature of Kate Gibert's pattern. But I was tickled that someone actually recognized it.

2) In my last post I quoted an Ann Coulter (heaven help me) piece. In a Sunday (11-9) paper (not local) her article appeared. This is how that passage looked:

This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?

See what's missing? Check the previous posting. I don't know if I am outraged or entertained by the [PC]omission.

3) That extremists who are interested in hurting this country could care less about the political setting. Just look at the acts of terrorism beginning in the 70s, and then who was president, or what party was in power. Yeah, it's a little bit of work....so what, suck it up. (You can start with the Iranian hostage crisis, and move on to the bombing of the Beruit barracks.)

4) A few months ago I ran into a fellow I used to work with. He was freshly back from a 5 month tour in Iraq. I hugged him and told him how happy I was to see him looking so well. We chatted for a few moments and I asked what his assessment of the situation was. (I always like to defer to people who are/were involved in any event.) He said that we, here, are clueless because our media is not being honest with us. The situation is improving daily, and he has hopes that we'll be able to bring most of our forces back soon. But...he cautioned we have to be careful, with "that nut" sitting just across the border. It was as honest a reflection as I've ever heard.

5) When this gentleman was shipping out we had a good-by party for him, and I spoke to his wife for a few moments. I asked her how she was "holding up" - trying to be empathic and all. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Geeze I'm fine. Of course, I'm praying he'll be OK, and come home promptly, but I have no sympathy for these whiney wives. If you marry a man, and he's wearing a uniform at the wedding, you'd better expect that he'll be shipped out into danger one of these days." So there! I guess she told me.

6) From, Deborah Howell, the ombudsman (ombudswoman?) of the Washington Post, the entire article appeared on the Op/Ed page on 11/9. (Emphasis mine.)

An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage

The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain.

Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.


The article also goes on to discuss their lack of attention to Rezko and other issues, and the soft scrutiny Obama was given.

Seriously, go take a look. Use bugmenot.com if you don't want to register.

Nice of you now, Washington Post, to do a chest beating mea culpa, after the damage [to the fourth estate] is done. Wasn't ANYONE paying attention for the past 18 months? No we don't forgive and no, those of us who have not been sipping kool aid, won't forget. You, along with others, do not deserve fourth amendment protection.

7) Ol' Deborah refers to this http://journalism.org/node/13307 research article from the Pew Research Center. If anyone pooh poohs the "slanted media" accusation again, please refer them to this. Especially if reporters crying as they give their reports isn't enough. There is a huge difference between an op/ed page and news, and this bias was/is evident in the news pages. We STILL don't know anything beyond the obvious about this soon to be president, because news journalists let their bias rule their stories. This is not about a better v worse candidate, a better v worse campaign, this is about information left unexplored because of an agenda.

8) I am beginning to sound like a raving right-wing loon. This bothers me. My voting record, with regard to party, like my knitting, is rather spotty. I've only ever voted for one party for president twice in a row (and it may have been a mistake). That being said, I have been appalled at what has been going on in the media, at rallies, on the internet, and in classrooms. The fact that we now have a president-elect who can count the number of DAYS he has spent as a Senator is pretty scary to me. And all because many, many people don't want to really assess issues, ask hard questions and demand answers. Instead they launch ad hominem attacks (e.g., Caribou Barbie, etc.), get news from the Daily Show, and make assumptions ("support the troops, bring them home) without ever asking the players. Maybe the ultimate decision would have been the same, however,I have no confidence that this one was made by an generally informed electorate. It was an electorate who just wanted to get rid of George Bush.

9) And finally, I am now addicted to Korean Tea in a jar. I am trying to cut down on some caffeine, though I don't drink a lot of it, caffeine is a "trigger" for hot flashes, and this is a nice substitute. My current favorite is Citron, but Pomegranate is pretty good too.

10) Thanks to all the veterans, and those currently serving, who have responded, regardless of their own politics, when their country called. In my world, that's my dearest husband (Vietnam), my father (WWII), my father-in-law (WWII), my maternal grandfather (WWI)- who refused to fight for the Russian army (in Poland) because they wanted him to bring his own horse, he immigrated to the US and fought in the United States Army. No horse required apparently. I am very lucky because they all returned whole and safe. Thanks to Rick for accepting the posting to Iraq, even though he didn't have to, to Ted of Drive By Thinking (come back safely), and thanks to all those who sacrificed their lives. You (and your families) are all heroes in my book.

Edited to add (1:30 pm EST):

This must be my week for standing in the cold for my "country".

I attended a Veteran's Day ceremony with my husband. These ceremonies are put together by the student veterans group here at Penn State. The length and type of ceremony varies from year to year, but this time, they outdid themselves. From the bagpiper who piped the colors into position, to their speakers, to the 21 gun salute (that the university had to warn the community at large was going to happen so no one got "excited". We did have a sniper on campus once with lethal results.) The speakers though, really got me.

John Magill Jr. served three years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in the 17th Airborne Division during World War II. His unit received the Presidential Unit Citation for its jump into Germany behind enemy lines. Magill was awarded the Purple Heart with two clusters, three bronze battle stars, and a Bronze Star for his actions in Operation Varsity, and in 2002, Magill was inducted into the Legion of Honor-The Chapel of Four Chaplains. He is a Penn State alumnus.

Joining him is Lt. Col. Douglas A. Etter, the executive officer in Pennsylvania's Office of Veterans Affairs. Etter functions as the chief of staff for the deputy adjutant general-Veterans Affairs, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He is responsible for the oversight of Pennsylvania's six veterans homes and all of the state's veterans programs. Etter is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom for which he was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star Medal.


Mr. Magill actually broke up several times while describing his final jump in Operation Varsity, and how we are losing the last of our WWII veterans. It brought tears to my eyes, and made me wonder, how people who just denigrate our military can just ignore heroes like him. Lt. Colonel Etter, spent 18 months in the Iraq theater, and described the ultimate sacrifice of too many of his troops.

OK, then the piper, a woman BTW, played Amazing Grace, my father's favorite hymn, and that was all she wrote for me. I just don't understand how anyone can fail to understand that these people have a higher set of ideals than the rest of us. This is a personal decision and a calling.

By now, I realized my feet might not be connected to my body anymore (thank goodness for hand knit socks and for Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate).

Friday, November 07, 2008

You know the world has spun off it's axis

...when I agree with Ann Coulter. I admit, sometimes her snarky writing gives me a giggle. But in the same way you can't help looking at a drunk student in a Batgirl suit. (Yeah, I saw this and it was in September, not Halloween.) But this week she writes this:

This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. It turns out they're not racists -- they're retards. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?

See what I mean about a car wreck. Only I wish it weren't true. I am completely baffled by the good folks in Altoona, Somerset, Johnstown and points west, among whom I have some respected friends and associates, and this isn't the first time I've wondered. What the hell were you people thinking? Are the earmarks worth being called racist and redneck by your own Congressman? Apparently.

And the answer to the last question is yes. That might do it. Not in our house, but elsewhere.

I swore that I was not going to fash any more and go back to knitting. But this was too good to pass up.

Oh yeah....and she ended with this.....

For now, we have a new president-elect. In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president.

Is this what they mean by poetic justice?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The end is in sight.....

Well, it wasn't this morning. I walked to my polling place (it is less than a block from the house), and the line had about 50 people in it. They were standing all the way back to the picnic pavilion. My polling location is the local Knights of Columbus (a Catholic service organization, they do bingo and lots of picnics). This is PA, and it's chilly in the morning. So my hands would have been too cold to knit as I stood in line. We're expecting the low 60s today, so I'll go back during the day.

None the less, while I'm extremely concerned about a BO presidency, I am floored by the behavior of our fourth estate and that concerns me more than anything. If things keep going the way the election coverage has been handled (e.g., Chis Matthews and "Softball" etc.) who is going to be "watchdog". We don't need a press smiling benevolently at everything a new president (of either flavor) does. We need a press that is going to ask the questions we would ask, without reservation. Anyone else have no hope for that?

And finally, thank you Governor Palin! You performed the ultimate service for all women in this country, though some won't think so. You "outed" the feminists. I cut my teeth on the feminist movement in the mid-70s, but somewhere in the late 80s I began to realize that what I had thought and learned as feminism (equal pay, the right to choose ...everything, standing up for ones self, etc.) was way out of the feminist mainstream. Instead, feminism was blaming everything on discrimination, whether it was or not, not the right to choose-but the absolute necessity of abortion, the right NOT to be a stay-at-home mom (and heaven help those that chose this option), and the right NOT to disagree with any of these tenents. In other words, it wasn't about rights at all, it was about being a victim. It wasn't about having freedom, it was about a new kind of cage. But like many women of my generation, I went about my business, stepped on the toes that needed stepping on, and didn't worry about the rest. Apparently, Governor Palin, thought the same thing. So what if I have 4 (and one on the way) kids why can't I be governor....why not indeed?

So when she was picked as the VP choice and the Sally Quinns and the Gloria Steinems, as just two examples, hauled themselves out of their cauldrons, and began the barrage of criticism, they let the cat out of the bag. Rather than embracing this a different model of feminism, they disparaged it. Rather than celebrating diversity, they dumped on it. This woman has a husband who handles housework and childcare, he supports his wife, the uh, GOVERNOR of Alaska (a little more responsibility, then a journalist and a editor, don't you think?), and because she chose to give birth to a 5th child, knowing he would have challenges, is a religious person, and has values that conflict with their antiquated philosophies, they attacked. And they attacked in the very same way that they were critical of way back. They attacked her fitness as a MOTHER. For cripes sake--when I interview someone for a position, I can't even ask if they are married (male or female) because the Sallys and Glorias determined that that was a discriminatory question! The response of these whiners was more illustrative than any writing I could have done. I can't give credit for this, but the best quote I read during this election was "Tolerance ends, where diversity begins." This seems like it should be the new liberal mantra.

To all the Sallys and Glorias, we're here, we're not whiney, and we're happier and more satisfied than YOU. And if we're not, we take responsibility for our own lives. Get used to it.

And just for fun, I thought I'd show you a deep dark knitting secret. I hate the idea of hauling charts and instructions around. So instead of trying to follow a chart, and keeping track with post-its and highlighters, for every pattern I knit here's what I do:


This is a monkey sock, but that little ring of colored index cards there-that's the pattern. I simply write one row of the pattern on each card, punch a hole in the corner, and slide a ring through it. As I go through the pattern I flip a card. The card on top is my place in the pattern. I never have my cards flip around, and it is quick, easy and portable, for someone who is not very careful transporting knitting. Also you can put something down for a long period of time, and go right back to it without post-it notes, or pencil marks or whatever. Easy peasy.


Want a closer look?






The only down side is when you have very LOOOONG patterns--way too much writing. But the up front work is worth it.









Edited to add (2:00 pm EST):

I stood in line, in 54 degree chill, for nearly two hours to vote. Why? Because the Knights have TWO precincts in their hall. Precinct A has all the apartments housing the students in our neighborhood. Precinct B has residents. Guess where we fall? Yup, you got it, precinct A. The precinct B had NO LINE AT ALL! Yes, read that again. NO LINE. To add insult to injury, there were annoying helpful poll workers (outside) asking you to check your precinct to make sure you're in the correct line, and they are all wearing and handing out Obama stickers. Nice huh? The inside folk, can't show their political affiliations. Then there is the "cheerleader". An idiot excitable woman, probably a student, who kept walking up and down the line, asking if people wanted coffee or water, and literally screaming "Aren't we EXCITED? We're VOTING! Wooo hoo!" I was knitting a sock, but she never came near enough to me for me to stab her with my #1 needles. What I wanted to yell was...where the hell were you people two years ago when we elected a governor and a senator. And NO, "we're" not excited. My husband participated in a miserable war 30 odd years ago, and we exercise this right yearly. It's not excitement. It's a duty, and an honor, and if you've been 18 for any length of time, and this is the first time you're voting, then you should be ashamed not excited! So if all the twenty-somethings who were in line around me, were "excited" to vote, then I have grave doubts that they were even informed.

To make myself feel better, I took a few MORE minutes away from the office, and went to my LYS and vented to Cynthia, the owner, and squeezed the Ella Rae laceweight, and bought some Lamb's Pride to felt a hat for my sister for Christmas.

I have to admit Ted of the "Drive By Thinking" blog comments is probably right. These people are going to get what they think they want, and we're going to be magically transported back to the 70's. By then they'll be working and trying to get established, and damn, those payroll taxes are gonna be killer, and geeze, why are all the goods and services going up (to make up for the higher taxes they'll be paying out). Oh yeah, and then there's the thing where the people with money, who understood this to begin with.......they don't wail about moving to Timbuktu because we have a liberal president. They'll simple protect their assets, take their investments out of the market, and jobs will dry up. (Anybody remember Herbert Hoover?) They'll show up again when they aren't penalized for making sound financial decisions. Some people never learn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blog blah.....

So much has happened since I last blogged. My dear old Mac, which I had been nursing along, kicked the proverbial bucket. Here's a confession, I don't "own" a computer. I've always worked in an environment where I had more technology than I knew what to do with. I had to move to a new position about two years ago, and they are not Mac friendly. In fact, they are so untechnology savvy that we may as well all be entering sales for Lands' End. Everybody has to use the same thing. I could go on about this, but I've spent enough personal time agonizing so I won't waste any more. Just let it be said that the entire philosophy rubs my systems analysis side raw.

I have been very slow in finishing knitting. I do however, have the scarf I blogged about some time ago. It was the gift for my cousin.



This is a moebius in the chevron pattern.

1 skein of Apple Laine in Bubble gum. I added some clear beads just for giggles (and because I have a million beads)and feel guilty because I'm not using them.




This is a tag, that I use when I make and gift jewelry. I designed the logo, and had it printed.

Both of these photos are too red, and the label looks pink. If I wasn't so lazy I'd make it look white, like it's supposed to.

The Short Version

I semi-recovered from my cold, but the cough hung on again. The doc thinks it is more likely allergies, since it happened at the same time of year, again. The treatment is the same regardless.

I am at the point in life when one's hormones get wacky. I now have absolutely no ability to regulate my body temperature. One moment I'm cold, the next I can't get my clothing off fast enough. It is going to wreck hell with all the wool I have in my wardrobe. I also can't sleep through the night anymore. As a result, I'm a very pleasant person to be around (hah!), and I don't need extra luggage when we travel. I just have to pack the bags under my eyes.

We spent about 10 days on vacation. I still didn't sleep, but, not sleeping was much more pleasant. This was the view off the back deck.



This was looking west, and on clear days you could see a beautiful mountain range.













This was taken on a hike at a nearby state park.



There are these hidden gems all over the state. Oh, yeah, that's Daniel Boone.


Not long after this was taken, I made the strategic error of following ol' Daniel up a ridge just to the left in that photo. It was getting dark, and my vision is not good at dusk, so the blazes were not visible to me so I just followed along. We made it to a flat, well marked ridge trail and began to walk out of the forest. That is until Daniel decided he knew a short-cut. By this time it was quite dark, and the short-cut, took us along a sketchy trail near a run (a small body of running water, we're lousy with "runs" in this state). When we finally saw the park road, even Daniel was reduced to using my headlamp to navigate. As we picked our way out of the woods, a park ranger pulled over, and waited. I figured he was going to read us the riot act for not being out of the park because it was well past sundown. Well, instead he asked what we were "hunting". Huh? Other than hunting for a short-cut, we don't hunt. I think he thought our hiking poles were weapons, and that we might have been hunting along the "no hunt" line where deer hide. Apparently, the deer know exactly where the no hunting line is drawn. What we didn't know is that it is musket and bow hunting season. (Actual shotgun deer season doesn't start until late November.) Anyway, he was a really nice fellow and we chatted with him for about 15 minutes and he never mentioned that we were tardy.

I am so fed up with this election crap, I just don't know what to say. Here are just a few "gems".

For a green guy, Obama's crap fliers are outnumbering McCain's 8 to 1. And they are ALL addressed to me. I've save them all. I'm going to cut my address off and give them back to the dopes handing out MORE paper at the polls, advising them to recycle.

I JUST figured out that I have to work on election day night. Yup - from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. So I have to go to the polls sometime during the day. Who knows how long that will take. I should have filed an absentee ballot, but I never thought about it. Am I just an idiot or what?

I wasn't going to vote for either of these people, but I just cannot put my defacto agreement on income redistribution. Just can't. And those that think they're going to get a tax cut...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Or socialized medicine.....HAHAHAHAHAHA!! We have a bizillion dollar bailout to fund now. Time to connect with reality folks.

More to come. Not fast, I'm using Vista, and yes, it is as crappy as all the Apple commercials say.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Farewell, goodby!

I can only hope that I can inspire someone .0001% of this!



Randy Pausch Memorial

They can put little skeins of sock yarn on the seats at my memorial.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm back....

Didn't know I was gone didja? I actually started this post about a week ago and....well, got ANOTHER $&*%#^ summer cold. So I stayed home on Friday. I spent Thursday night coughing up a lung, and not sleeping, so I just gave up.

When last I deigned to be here, I was moaning about not finishing my Hanging Garden Stole....well, voila!


On the first day of my vacation (way back in August), I soaked this baby in the sink, spun it in the washer to get the water out, and blocked it on my living room floor with blocking wires. (I know that using the washer as my spin dryer horrifies some folks, but I put the piece in a "delicates" bag, and watched very carefully.) Though I expected the blocking wires to be a major pain in my rear, they were not, the thing blocked beautifully. It is about 24 inches wide and 84 inches in length. Seeing this confused my husband, who thinks I'm a lunatic anyway, but he wisely refrained from mentioning the knitted piece lying in our living room. You can't tell from this photo, but there are "tiny tim" (4mm x 6mm, tear drops) heliotrope beads on the ends, and druk (round) heliotrope beads throughout. Heliotrope beads are blue with a silvery wash. Very pretty.






You can see the "tiny tims" better here.













And the druks here!






Hanging Garden Stole, Sivia Harding pattern
KP Alpaca Cloud (3 skeins) laceweight in (I think) Tidepool
For more experienced lace knitters this is probably a slide on ice. For me it became a slog. I think it was the laceweight. But I do love the finished product. I ended up using TWO lifelines at a time. Because it was a 40 row repeat, each time I hit rows 20, 30, etc. I added a life line.




I then decided to concentrate on finishing my Ribbi Cardi (another Bonne Marie creation), and started a moebius (yes, another) in Apple Laine for my cousin. Let me tell you about my cousin. She is about 10 years older than me, I was a piss ant kid and she was a teenager. Now she's in her sixties (early, I'm not ancient yet). She takes care of both her mom (my Aunt Monica) and MY mom, her aunt (Monica's sister). All I'll say about this woman is that she is going STRAIGHT to heaven. No questions asked! None. Nada. To take care of two elderlyish ladies is something that leaves me in awe.

None of us siblings live near my mother. We're all about 2 - 3 hours away by car. So, close enough that we can hot foot it home if she needs help, but far enough that we can't drop in for dinner. So this cousin sometimes does things like driving said mother to appointments and things when she can't drive herself. (You know, pupil dilation, sedation etc.) So I started the moebius so I could send her something to thank her. She needs to know that she is appreciated now, and doesn't have to wait for the "big escalator" to the sky.

So I started the moebius on said August vacation. Worked on it for about a week. It made great car knitting because it was round and round and round (and round), and when I wasn't contemplating how I was going to murder my DH and hide the body (his putzing around made us way late for a concert that was about 90 minutes from home, we did make the wine and cheese reception though), I was knitting. Then on my birthday, my second day back at work, I began to feel "yucky", I had to go out of town on business, the next day, and by the end of the week, yoi! I just happened to get an appointment with a PA in the doc's office to look at a mysterious "rash" on my legs (you really don't want to know), and they found that I had a low grade fever. Clearly, I was failing. The reason this is important is because by Saturday night my low grade fever was going up to a full blown fever. I spent a glorious (weatherwise) Sunday, sleeping, and when I dragged my carcass out of bed to make me some tea, I sat down with my moebius, and promptly discovered that I screwed it up. If you've ever knit one of this babies, you'd discover, that while it is a simple knit, it a mess if you drop a stitch. And this is a lacy pattern. (Damn that Viggo Mortenson!) I ended up spending about an hour trying to retrace my steps, and then pulled the whole mess out. This is also a chore with a moebius, by the way. Ten days later I am NEARLY back to where I was. Sometimes I knit fast, sometimes I'm positively glacial. But it's the journey, right?

Anyway, I'm hoping to finish this piece sometime this week/weekend. Then a photo shoot. You've seen it before, and the color is reminiscent of the silk one I did a year ago. I love to knit them, but they take forever. You cast on 181 stitches and you are effectively knitting 360 in each round. Who knew. I am still on second sleeve island on the Ribbi.

One last thing. I'm not watching the conventions with any real attention, or at all really. Kool aid drinkers patting each other on the back have no real attraction for me. I watch O'Reilly occasionally for the "high/low lights", but feh....reruns of the Office are better. However, I was home last Friday when the Palin nomination was announced, and I couldn't help grinning. I had seen the ad from McCain, congratulating Obama on his historic nomination, and all I could think was he (McCain) knew, that less than 24 hours later, he'd be announcing an equally historic nomination. It knocked Obama out of the swooning news cycles. (The other thing I found interesting was that the first comment from the Obama campaign was "She has no experience." Huh? "Pot, kettle, kettle, pot?" That's all you got?)

Anyway, central casting couldn't have come up with a better character than this women. Can you just imagine the conversation? "We need a traditional conservative, female or minority, who doesn't press their views, fights corruption, doesn't stand on ceremony, and is an independent thinker. Portfolio experience more important than specific experience. Maybe this person should have "real life" experiences too." I don't know if it will work out, but it is truly a brilliant strategy. Me? Cynical?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The knitting gods are laughing.....

Oh, long about 3 weeks ago I had one, ONE, forty-eight row repeat left to knit on my Hanging Garden Stole. As I mentioned in a prior post, I've been struggling with this for over a year. It was my first foray into more complicated lace, with lace-weight yarn. (Yeah, I did Branching Out, but it didn't seem that complex.)

Anyway, I'm in the last repeat...it's so exciting. Each row, I think, "last time for row nn", I was in the forties (going to row 55), and thinking I've finally got it, after 13 repeats! When I find that I accidentally pull a few stitches off my needle. OK, I take a deep breath, and pick up the stitches, or so I think. (Insert Jaws music here.) I knit another row, and damn, damn, double damn, triple damn, HELL, a hole has formed - IN MY LACE! OK, more deep breaths. I try to pick up the pattern, but it is beyond my skill. Here's the good news, I have a lifeline placed at row 40. So I thread a #1 needle through row 40, and pull back. Looks good. That is until I knit row 41 and notice ANOTHER hole. This cannot be happening!!

Again, I try to rework the pattern, but no go. You may not believe this, but I have a second lifeline placed at row thirty. For those playing at home, I am now pulling out over 10 rows, that I thought I'd never do again. You'd probably like photos, but I didn't have the heart.

Here's the kicker......I pull back to my LAST lifeline, and find that I missed stitches in that row too!! What the hell is wrong with me? I haven't needed to use the lifelines until now, the last repeat, and I can't even pick up all the stitches! Fortunately, I caught the stitches, got them back on the needles, and now I'm back to row 40.

I may not live long enough to finish this thing........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When you see bugs you know it's fresh.

Let me tell you where I've been.

Housecleaning. No, I'm not kidding. Once a year I hire an Amish woman (who has since become my friend), to houseclean for me. (Amish = no photos, sorry) In years past, my DH and I spent two WHOLE days cleaning our townhouse, once a year, top to bottom. My DH can give Adrian Monk a run for his money. (To his credit, the rest of the year he survives with my version of cleaning. Which I can tell you doesn't come close to his standards. Ah, well, ya' can't have everything.) But I digress. I used to look forward to these days with trepidation and loathing. At the end, I'd feel like I had been hit by a truck, and my hands would look like lobster claws. But we'd have shoveled out of the mail, and some of the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates over the course of a year.

Then one year he injured his back, and was incapacitated for over a week. When he was finally back on his feet, there was no way I was going to allow him to think about moving furniture etc. I hired two local women to come in and houseclean instead. (Let me define houseclean here: Wipe/wash walls and ceiling, move and vacuum under furniture, scour bathrooms, scrub floors, wash all the woodwork, clean the dishwasher (I kid you not, ya know all that crap that accumulates around the door?), wash windows (inside and out) all the stuff that a working person doesn't have time to do on any regular basis. Well, they did most everything in the course of one day, I helped by putting all our "stuff" (books, CDs, knick-knacks etc.) in boxes, and helping to move things when asked. It was much better, and even though it wasn't exactly as we did it before, it was fine by me.

The next year, I just went ahead and tried to call the same person back, but couldn't reach her. I learned about Mary Ann from a friend of mine, and she agreed to come. She brought along her sister-in-law Nancy to help, and it was like having two tornadoes in the house-and they were funny and entertaining to boot. And Mary Ann loves to do windows! When she is finished, you can barely see the glass. Anyway, it isn't inexpensive, especially since I have to pick them up and take them home (it's too far for the buggy), but I liked their work (and work ethic) enough to ask them back. This is the fourth year that I've had Mary Ann. This time she came with her two nieces. (It turns out Nancy and her husband purchased a food concession and are busy with their new business. The Amish are nothing if not resourceful.) Well, even though I have these folks to do the heavy lifting (so to speak) DH and I still have a lot of "prep" work. So it isn't a picnic. I still look forward to it like a trip to the dentist, but I gotta say, I much prefer it to doing it myself (with DH). You don't get "sidetracked" by trivia. Like cleaning out the junk drawer instead of just wiping it down. (BTW, Mary Ann wiped out the insides and outsides of the cabinets in the kitchen. I'd never do that!) Anyway, I take the day off as a "vacation" day, and do stuff that I'd rather have them not do, so they can focus on the hard stuff. With three people, they finished a little earlier then they had in the past, and I got them home by just before 4:00pm. I still had to "reassemble" the place. You know, nothing was in the place where it began, but all you have to do it organize/find it. You haven't seen my bath pouf, and my Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book have you? I still feel like I was "grazed" by a truck, but at least my hands are not raw!

The bugs? Oh yeah, the bugs! Because all of these women live in the same rural neighborhood, one passes a number of farms, many of whom sell produce at farm stands. I stopped on my way home and got some sweet corn from a tractor on the side of the road, and as soon as I got home, I threw it in the microwave.

My corn cooking system is something like this:

Cut the silk off the top, peel the outer husk and snap off any long stalks. Allow a layer of husk to remain on the corn. Soak for a few moments in cold water. Throw in microwave (I usually do 3 at a time because of space.) for four minutes. Turn and do another three or four minutes. Rinse and repeat. At this point, cool slightly, and the silk and remaining husks will come right off. (I slice my kernels off the cob to eat. Expensive dental work.....) I'm getting to the bugs. When I'm husking the first few layers, I've learned to look for signs of insects and those charming little worms that like sweet corn. If I pick my own ears, I'm pretty good at spotting the signs. But this time the farmer put them in a bag for me instead. I got a bonus ear though. Anyway, this time there were several with tell tail worm signs and one ear actually had little bugs scurry out when I stripped off the first few layers. IN MY VERY CLEAN KITCHEN!! I washed them into the garbage disposal, cut off the chewed portion of the ear, and when ahead with the cooking.

That's fresh corn folks!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Those little knitting elves....

..... were working very hard. 'Cause finally I finished this! Crest 'O the Wave scarf.



Franco looks lovely in it no? The one thing you can sorta see is that there is a distinct difference in the color of the two ends of the scarf. Sigh. I thought I'd have plenty Claudia's Handpaint (2 skeins, about 380 yards), but this pattern ate yarn like a champ. Then started the quest. The quest to find the same colorway. It's a handpaint so no two are alike. But some of these are like - completely different combinations of colors. Sheri from the Loopy Ewe came to my rescue and had a skein that came close.







What you can't see in the photo is that the waves are beaded.



I beaded the two middle garter stitch rows in the pattern (rows 10 & 11, for those playing along), and I beaded the last six rows of the ends. Using this method the beads show on both sides of the piece.

Looks fabulous, though I think I made it a little long than most folks have.











Here's the beading....



The beads are 6/0 AB iris. Large and easy peasy to thread.

Next up is my Hanging Garden Stole. I have ONE repeat to do. Unfortunately the repeat is nearly 50 rows long...in lace weight no less.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Still waiting.....

... for those pieces to knit themselves, but in the meantime here's what I've been doing.


This is a peyote stitch bracelet trimmed with freshwater pearls. (See the "bead" in the blog name means something really!) The backstory is that for the past oh, ten years or so I've made some jewelry for my sister-in-law for her Fourth of July birthday. She goes "above and beyond" to take care of my DH's parents and does a lot of the organizing for family picnics etc. Though my in-laws are pretty easy-going, ya'll know what it's like to interact this way with your own mothers. Frustration is a word you'd know well. Anyway, last year I sent her a unique piece that I didn't make because I ran out of time and ideas. This year I had to get back on the horse. When a pattern for this crossed my desk, I thought wow - perfect. And it is not that complicated to boot. All I needed was time. That's the hardest, most precious commodity.

Wanna see it up close. You can see the Swarovski crystals peeking out in this one.



Her birthday is usually deadly hot around these parts, so even though I toyed with the idea of a moebius, with beads natch, and even ordered the Apple Laine to make it, I couldn't imagine giving her a wool/silk scarf in 90 degree weather.

This bracelet has a slide clasp, my absolutely favorite kind of clasp for cuff style bracelets. Makes the bracelet really easy to wear. I'm going to make one for myself, with a few changes. Right now I'm waiting for some "button" style freshwater pearls to make an appearance.

Good thing she doesn't read this blog.

Next up, my scarf should finally be finishing itself.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

While I am waiting ...

.... for the pieces I am working on to knit themselves...

I did this. And it was so astonishingly accurate I had to post it




You Are Indigo



Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.

Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.



Especially the funky part. There was one question about a "best friend" that I had a hard time with. I really don't have a "best friend". I'm married to my best friend. I often wonder what a shrink would make of that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Still no FO's

.... working on it though. I did hear from my local yarn shop that Cynthia got me another skein of Claudia's Handpaint to try and finish the Crest of the Wave scarf I've been pooping along on. It's just pooping along because I'm beading as I go, and damn, not only does this pattern "eat" yarn, the beading pattern I've selected is "eating" beads. So I'm going to have to order a kilo or two from Fire Mountain to finish. I should get a photo of the work in progress, it is very cool, but way more fancy than I originally thought. This is going to be one heavy scarf.

ETA: I just got back from the LYS and the Claudia Handpaint is COMPLETELY different then the skeins I have. It's like they're two different yarns. And it's not even like one has more blue or more pink. This yarn is loaded with black and very, very light blue/gray.

I'm also moving along on the Ribbi Cardi. I'll be finished with the body, which is knit in one piece, maybe tonight, and can start on the neck and sleeves. I suspect that it won't take me too long and will get the heavy wool off my lap.

Of course, heavy wool is perfect for the 20 degrees below average temperatures we're getting. Not to mention the S.N.O.W. that I had to brush off my car last Monday. Yes, last Monday, May 12th. I am not joking. I was traveling to a another campus, and when I went out at the crack of dawn the car had snow on it. Bah! If anyone sees any of that there global warming, please send it in our direction. My few plants are gonna freeze.

But yesterday hot damn, "Elvis left the building"(apologies to Mike Lang)! And where was I? In my car...traveling east to west across the middle of the state, where I couldn't get a radio broadcast of the game to save my life! (Other than the repent or go to hell types. Which always seem to come in loud and clear. Can this be a coincidence?) And it was on NBC. And I missed it. We don't have Versus (no digital cable), so we haven't been able to actually see any of the games. We listen to the radio broadcasts so it's a little like being Amish--except for the bad words my DH yells at the radio. I've never heard an Amish person curse, but they may do it in PA Dutch and I wouldn't know anyway.(Why pay more to see more, for the most part, bad TV? Turner Classic Movies excepted.) On the positive side we got to hear the incomparable Mike Lang call the games, so it isn't all that bad. ("Get in the fast lane grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll.....!") So it was a treat to have the game be broadcast on a network. On another note, my mother also doesn't have digital cable, but she gets Versus....what's up with this?

Anyway, it was great to see them win. They've been playing really well, and they're a great group of guys...very, very young, but for 43 year old Gary Roberts. But as one of the news writers from Pittsburgh pointed out, you wouldn't mind your son or daughter emulating any of these guys-no steroid scandals, no child support issues, no arrests, not even any DUIs (probably because so many are not old enough to drink yet). No dirt anywhere. It will probably happen sometime, but not yet. Pretty remarkable.

Go Pens!! Enjoy that dance with Lord Stanley!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heard at the polls......

..... or who says there shouldn't be a voter intelligence test?

First the stipulations: 1) I didn't hear these first hand, I cannot vote in our primary because I am "unaffiliated". The events were related to me by an individual whose integrity is unassailable; 2) I swear there really were one of each party flavor; 3) the individual who heard these exchanges swears no idiot was harmed in the unfolding of these events, but it was considered (by more than one person apparently).

Scene: Local poll staffed by older retirees. Generally these folk are genial and helpful. Because we have the new electronic voting machines (which can be the subject of another stupidity post), there is a younger fellow, a technician, I presume, to help those who are new, intimidated, etc. My experience of him is that he is unfailingly nice and considerate. (I'd kill myself, he has my undying admiration.) It is a few minutes to 8:00 pm EDT the time the polls close, and they are actually counting down. Not a usual event.

Event 1: There is a line and a woman steps up to the poll attendant.

Attendant: "What is your party affiliation?"
Woman: "What?"
Attendant: "Are you registered Republican or Democrat?"
Woman: "I'm for that Obama guy. What is he?"
Attendant, nonplussed: "Uh, Democrat."
Woman: "Yeah, that's it."

After looking though the Democratic rolls, then the Republican rolls, without success, they find Madam Voter is "unaffiliated".

Attendant: "I'm sorry, but you have an "unaffiliated" registration, and cannot vote in the primary."
Woman:"What? That can't be! I thought I changed it! I'm sure I did! I want to vote for that Obama guy."

Never mind that she didn't even know what party that "OBama guy" is running under..... I'm sure she changed her registration. Probably to Martian......

Event 2.

Yet another woman, this one a Republican, steps up to the voting machine, and the attendant turns the machine on and sets it to the Republican races.

Woman: "So, I can't remember - how do I vote a "straight ticket?"
Long Suffering Attendant: "Mam, this is the primary, you can only vote in the Republican races. You vote for Republicans that you want to run in the general election."
Woman: "What if I make a mistake? You know I want my votes to be counted!"
LS Attendant: "Mam, as long as you vote for the people you want, you really can't make a mistake. Your votes will most definitely be counted."
Woman: "Well you know what happened in Florida! They left all those chads and then their votes weren't counted! I don't want to leave any chads!"
LS Attendant (who is probably wishing for a good stiff drink about now): "Mam, I assure you that if you follow the directions and push the flashing red "VOTE!" button, your vote will be counted. You need not be worried about chads."
Woman: "You'd better be right! Now, how do I vote a straight ticket?"

I wish I were kidding. I am taking a little license with the actual dialog. As I said I heard it second hand. But I attest to you that the substance is true.

Now, do I hear a vote for a test before you can actually vote?

(And that test should be in English. It was pointed out to me yesterday, that there were probably illegal immigrants voting in the primary, and I could not! Where's the justice in that?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Knitting? What knitting?

As the month from hell rolls on, I have no knitting to show for it. Not only do I have nothing to show for it, I have hardly been knitting. When I've had a few moments I can hardly keep my eyes open. Case in point......

This past weekend DH and I drove to the 'Burgh to see "Alice in Wonderland" performed by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. It was the North American Premier of this particular rendition. The scenery, costumes, choreography, etc. were courtesy of the London Ballet. The production was amazing, but the curtain call was the funniest thing. With all the animals and characters (March Hare, door mouse, white rabbit, duchess and piglet, Mad Hatter etc.) the curtain call looked like a Star Trek convention. I just had to laugh. What does this have to do with knitting? Well, on Saturday afternoon when we drove, I should have had something like 2 hours of uninterrupted knitting time, but I was so exhausted, I didn't even bother to take out my sticks and string. So my Ribby Cardi languished. After dinner, it was all I could do to find a comfortable place to sit, and read before I fell over. I even had to reread the two or so pages that I had been reading the next day.

Same thing happened Monday night. I can't keep my wits about me enough to knit at all, and it sucks. So there is absolutely NO KNITTING going on, and I have three projects on my needles. The good news is that I am not compelled to add any more. And I don't even have any socks started.

Today is the last day, at least in the near term for the political robo calls the name calling, bitching, moaning, pimping and all things associated with the primary. After today we can go back to being a sleepy ol' state. What I find less than charming though is the realization that college students are all of a sudden deciding that they invented primary elections. This morning at a busy intersection there were Obama supporters on all four corners jumping around with signs, like Teletubbies on speed. How I wish they could put that much energy into not getting drunk on weekends.

And for me, the primaries are nothing more than a nuisance. In PA, unless you have an "R" or "D" on your registration, you cannot vote. We are being entertained though by a race for our congressional seat. There are dueling felons (OK accused felons). One got nabbed for DUI about a year ago, and the other just had charges filed for taking nekked photos of a former girlfriend, without her consent.

Who says this isn't Happy Valley?

Monday, April 14, 2008

And so it goes .....

..... when we last left our heroine, she was trying to refrain from thumping herself silly before a major work endeavor.

Well, just as I posted, the inevitable "issue" happened. A colleague, who was scheduled to present not once, but twice(!), fell ill. (And I might add here that the second presentation was a "political" presentation. Not one I would have scheduled if I had not been "requested" to add.) It fell to me to 1) find a suitable presenter substitute (read: victim); 2) make the decision in time to allow the substitute to become familiar with work that was not her own.

Let me clarify. If one produces a professional development presentation, it stands to reason that one is somewhat of an expert in the field. If one is substituting and using someone else's presentation...all bets are off. The person who got the flu, kept insisting she would be well enough to travel. It was Wednesday, the presentation was Friday, she looked terrible, I just couldn't take the risk. So I filled in for one and a friend pulled my bacon out of the fire for the other. Everything went OK, but still. I truly didn't need the stress that this invoked.

Sigh. So now the cleanup. Thank you notes, budget stuff, find my sunglasses...you know the usual.

And this morning I dropped my vehicle off for minor (ha!) bodywork. They gave me a loaner. I was expecting the little crappy thing they gave me last time.....instead, I get a 2007 (or 08) Tribecca!! Leather seats, the size of a tank, everything electronic....yoi! Makes me crazy nervous! Go figure. I want my Forester!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Slowly sinking....

Ever coordinate a conference? If you're a conference/event planner you know from whence I speak. I am NOT a conference/event planner, however, I have the dubious honor of coordinating and organizing a conference once a year, among other smaller events as part of my position.

Consequently, with a conference sneaking up on me the end of this week, I will not be in a good "place" to post until next week, if then. I will be sitting cross legged, chanting, and probably banging my head off the nearest solid surface, until this is over. As the last week rolls by, issues "pop up". Issues that no matter how carefully one tries to avoid them happen. Sigh.

Anyway..... my Monkeys are finito!!



And they're green!! These are Mountain Colors Barefoot in Mountain Tango colorway.










Here's a closeup.


These babies have an Eye of Partridge heel, my favorite heel, and fit beautifully. This is another lovely pattern from Cookie A. She must be a much tighter knitter than I am. I usually use the same stitch count, and a size 1 needle, and it fits beautifully.







This is also my lace slog...It is a Sivia Harding Hanging Garden Stole. If I was a good lace knitter I suspect I'd be done with this by now, but I've just passed about the year mark, and still have 4 repeats to go. And yesterday I discovered I made an error, and will need to try and recover, though I doubt that it will be noticeable to anyone but me. And probably not even me, when all is said and done. How do people knit lace, with lace weight yarn, so fast? I can't imagine.



Sigh. This is probably not a good project for me to work on this week. Not if I want to keep what's left of my sanity anyway.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, thanks for that...

This is for the anonymous commenter, who explained that she is anonymous only because of technical issues. Please know, I appreciate your comment, regardless of mode. We might wish to agree to disagree however.

I thought you, and anyone else who cares, might like to know that the genesis of the "elderly hippy dippy" description comes from the self descriptions of elderly (or maybe aging would be a better adjective) hippy dippies of my acquaintance. Some I count among my good friends. I also never said that ALL of Brattleboro was of that description, just the few that began the idiocy on your council, and wasted tax money on a public vote. And just so you know we have plenty of those types who sit on our very own town council, and waste our tax money on a regular basis.

As for being jealous. HA! (Maybe even double ha!) I have had more people tell me how lucky we are to live here than I ever thought possible. Just this week I met a realtor in another city, who waxed poetic, about clients selling their homes to move here to retire. They don't call it Happy Valley for nothin'. So jealous....hardly. We have woods, hippy dippies, little traffic (outside of six weekends a year) and a Wegman's (which is why I'm never moving).

I am jealous of Brattleboro for one reason though, you have one of the most talented, and charming, artists I've ever had the pleasure of meeting living there. We met him something like 30+ years ago, and if he had a web site I'd give him a plug.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Some things I think, I think.

If I hold this in any longer I'm gonna 'spload....

1) Hey Buddy!! What the hell were YOU thinking?




Bill O'Reilly is calling it self-destructive behavior (a'la Beluchi)- that he wanted to get caught. I think that is too forgiving. I'm with the psychologists and Geraldine Ferraro (a friend of Spitzer's) hubris, laced with narcissism and arrogance (a'la Clinton).

And for the idiots who are saying things like, in Europe this wouldn't even be news....I have a message. Perhaps we're a little bit better than Europe. Even though, frankly, I don't care who you "do it with" I think we hold (or try to) our elected officials to a higher standard [than Europe] and actually expect them to uphold the LAW they've sworn to serve. Fancy that!!

If you don't like the law - change it. But until then...zip it (pun intended).

2) A vote for this guy

is like voting for David Duke (The Grand Wizard, or whatever he styles himself these days) or perhaps Hitler. They all traffic(ed) in hate under the guise of helping the "little guy". I used to think he was funny too. He had real talent until his bitterness took over. Now he's just dishonest and disgusting. And what is very scary is that he has a constituency, albeit small, mostly made up of the "hate Bush" kool aid drinkers. Yeah, lots of depth of thought there. Must be the kinds of drugs in the Minnesota water.....


3) Because in PA one has to actually register for one of the two political parties in order to vote in the primary, I, as a no party registrant (independent is a separate category even though I don't know what that means here), can't vote. A year ago, I decided that I would change my registration for a month in order to vote against Hill. Who could have guessed that it wouldn't be necessary? Who also would have thought that PA would matter at all? (Though DH is still encouraging me to do so. I would hate to get on those mailing and phone calling lists. Brrrrr....)

4) Because I have such fond [not!] memories of the last general election, all the robo-calls, all the crap in the mail, etc. I have decided I am going to take action. Call it my own personal protest. I am going to collect all the political garbage we get after the conventions, put it in grocery bags (I'm sure we'll get enough for several) and when I go to vote, instead of refusing the paper the volunteers try to hand me as I go in, I'm going to just hand them the bags. They can sort it out themselves or just recycle it.

5) And ultimately, and sadly, as of today, I have no one that I'd actually like to vote for in the election in November. And this is the very first time I can say that. Even if I wasn't totally sold on either candidate, I could usually make a "lesser of two evils" distinction. This year, it hasn't happened. I'm hoping it will. Otherwise, I might just have to stay home. And no, I cannot vote for Ralph Nader. That poor fellow's tin foil hat is on a wee bit too tight. Makes me very sad. To be honest, I wouldn't stay home, because we have other rather important races going on, but I may not vote for President, which would be a damn rotten shame. But it won't be an apathetic non-vote.

6) The good news is that I finished my Mountain Colors Monkey Socks and as soon as the weather cooperates I'll take a picture!

7) I can't believe I forgot this!! I would be shocked if even 10 percent of the Brattleboro Vermonter elderly hippy dippies, have even read the constitution. (You may recall these are the idiots who voted to have Bush and Chaney arrested if they ever cross the border. The charge is "crimes against the constitution".) If they had bothered to read it, then perhaps they'd be able to figure out that they themselves are simply idiots. (No constitutional lawyers in Brattleboro?) Alas, unfortunately there is no crime in idiocy. (Frankly there is lots of stuff to be pissed off at this administration about, but crimes against the constitution? Really...) The other thing they haven't figured out yet is that the rest of Vermount, just keeps them around for the entertainment value.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yoi and Double Yoi and say "hi" to The Chief!

The world is definitely a less colorful place without you,
Myron.

But your legend will live on!


Monday, February 25, 2008

The joys ......

... of living in a college town. Those of you in An Arbor, Chapel Hill, College Station and other similar venues will probably be able to relate.

I'm watching a tape and knitting at 2:30 am on Sunday morning. (Yes, I keep odd hours on the weekend.) Our drapes are drawn, and the outside lights are out. We live in a small townhouse development that is far enough away from the campus that we don't have oddles of students around. Apparently it doesn't matter. There I was minding my own business, and the doorbell rings. I'm stunned. The doorbell! At first I think, maybe it's the newspaper carrier. (He's a middle aged fellow, with a disabled son. He delivers papers so he can stay home with his kid.) I'm thinking maybe he was delivering the Sunday paper and his car broke down, or he hit someone's vehicle or something. So I go to the back door and turn on the porch light. Nothin'. The bell rings again! Front door! Our door is solid, no way to see who is there, unless I peep out the front window (and turn on the porch light), or open the door, which leaves me very vulnerable.

Now I do have a husband, who is upstairs doing goodness knows what, and who apparently has not heard the bell. I run upstairs and say "Someone is ringing the door bell!" "You're kidding!??" As if to confirm that I'm not crazy or dreaming, the bell rings again, now for the third time. He says, "Don't open the door!" Well, duh! Look out the upstairs window and see who it is....well I can't see the person. Bell rings yet again! So I actually OPEN the upstairs window, it is in the teens by the way, and call out "Can I help you?" It is a young fellow, in his twenties probably. He says "Is Roger "Something" here?" I tell him I'm sorry but he has the wrong unit. "Do you know where he lives?" What? Do I look like directory assistance? I ask if he knows the unit number. Even a few digits would help. No, he doesn't. So, genius, why not just choose a house at random and ring the bell in the middle of the night. Great idea! Pretty much par for the course in a college town. I tell him I cannot help him, and he apologizes profusely "for bothering you", and walks away. He is clearly lost, and he is also shaky--frightened, drunk, drugs, I couldn't tell.

Now, though, I suspect it wasn't quite so random. He probably saw the lights and figured we were awake, however, unless I was in dire straits, I would not just knock on a strange door. I certainly hope it was no more nefarious than idiocy, which is in no small supply here. I wanted to ask why he didn't just call "Roger". But didn't get the chance.

I debated about calling the police, but really didn't want to wait for an officer to come and take a report. It was "THON" weekend and the town was packed with visitors.

Lest you think this is something out of the ordinary (people just randomly coming to the door and asking where "someone" lives), I once answered the back door, on a week night, only to find a young couple in formal wear. It was 11:00 pm, and I was in my jammies. The couple were as shocked to see me as I was to see them. They were looking for a party, and were told the host had a "silver" car parked in front. Our neighbor at the time had a silver car, but I didn't think she was having a party either. They just picked a house.

And to add to the fun, about two months ago, I came home to a "Code Red" message on our answering machine. It was from the local police, alerting the residents in our area that there was an armed and dangerous person being pursued in our area. At first I thought it was one of those robo-calls, and nearly blew it off, but as I listened it because obvious that it was an officer reading from a script. It spooked the hell out of me, I can tell you.

So the fun just never ends.......not even in the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A potato's a potato......

I've had any number of serious things in my head today, and I could write a long post full of myself, and flight of ideas, but I won't, I'll only pick one for now.

It started with the Yarn Harlot "musing" about how people can say things "electonically" that they wouldn't say in person. Well, duh, we (in the higher ed arena where this monster took shape) recognized that for the double edged sword that it is. When you post to the internet three things are true: 1) It's there forever, no takee backsees 2) It's public, not private: 3) NO VOICE, it takes a mighty clever writer to put voice in electronic communications. Maybe you would prefer the world to be a sweet place were folks do not feel compelled to make negative (however mild) comments. (An aside: I for one rarely read blog comments. Particularly those that can reach into the hundreds. How many times can you read "Wow, I'm first!") But as for the negative comments...well, say hello to the tin man there in Oz. For any number of reasons someone may feel compelled to make a comment that curves away from the "popular". (I can't help but wonder what would happen if the blog was an attack on Bush, and one poster said "Whoa, let's be reasonable with the name calling and piling on." I shudder to think.) One other time comes to mind. It was, again, the Harlot's blog describing a plane trip. The guy in a seat in the same rack, told her he was uncomfortable with her knitting needles (socks on dpns). Even after she explained that she had been cleared through security, he was still nervous. Ok, I admit, he sounds like a nut job, but one of the commenters thought it must have been Rush Limbaugh (Stephanie snapped a photo of black wing tips) because "he's a weenie" (wimp or something like that). Now I have no particular love for Limbaugh. His brand of attack politics distresses me, but in this context it was a bizarre non sequitur. The point, however, is that that particular comment, an ad hominem attack, didn't even cause a ripple. I guess attacks on unpopular personalities are fine, but not negative comments about socks. I'll tell you it has me scratching my head.

Now lets talk, if not ugly, but odd. When I made these I thought they were hysterical. (Still do.) I brought them into work to show a colleague. Another colleague saw them, and asked "Who are they for?" I answered my sister and her boyfriend. "How old are they? Seven?" Do these people look seven?



But do they look like they have a sense of humor? That second colleague apparently thought the hats were weird and that only a child would be caught dead wearing it. I could have taken great umbrage. Instead, I just smiled and thought how glad I was that I had a person with a sense of humor in my family. (My sister squealed with laughter when she opened the package.)



My advice. Get over yourself...whoever you are!