Thursday, December 20, 2012

I can't think of a good title for this post.

I'm usually dynamite at thinking of "sexy" titles for our workshops, programs and institutional blog postings, but today folks, I got nothin'.

Marcella's passing knocked the stuffing out of us. We simply lost the ability to focus. Both of us. Her son, which was to be expected, but me too, which was a surprise - to me at least. My sister, who spent 30 years as a nurse, and who is also a pragmatist by training, doesn't get it. "She was 93. She lived a great life. She didn't suffer", she told me these things over and over, to no avail. But I figured out. It doesn't matter. When someone you cared about deeply for over 30 years is gone, it leaves a hole in your life. Double that for my husband and siblings and I cannot imagine. So we've just been getting by. Our 25th anniversary came and went, and though we recognized it, we still haven't exchanged the very special gifts we have for each other. Partially it was emergency dental work, then the flu, at precisely the wrong time, but I also don't think we had the heart for it.

Then there was the very disappointing election. I'm still stunned by a country who can elect someone who made every facet of this country worse. It isn't simply that he accomplished nothing. He made it worse, with the most deceitful administration I've ever heard of or studied (and I lived through Nixon). We, personally, are on the precipice (I'm not using the word cliff deliberately) of massive health care issues (e.g., won't be able to afford our co-pays), in 2013. I'm still wondering who actually can afford the "Affordable Health Care". But don't worry, I can get free birth control pills. (I hear the hormones make good plant food. The only purpose they would serve for me.)  I feel a rant coming on so I'll stop now.

We are just catching up. Seriously. We just figured out where we will be spending Christmas. One of our families isn't happy. (Sorry Mom.) I spent the last week fussing about what to send our teenage nephews for gifts. Husband finally settled it, with one word "check".

Last year it was a town in turmoil. This year, it is all personal turmoil.

Nonetheless here are some scenes that deserve to be preserved:

An office Christmas tree (that we were discouraged from erecting last year) that each day had homemade "treats" appear on it and in it - including loaves of sweet bread. (I was beginning to be afraid of that tree.)

A Christmas party for the knitting teachers from the LYS where the owners gave everyone Nameste Better Buddies (mine is eggplant).

An SUV driving down Beaver Avenue with a red nose on the front and reindeer horns attached to the windows. 

The barista at my local coffee shop tickled to death that her finals are over.

A concert of Duke Ellington's Nutcracker arrangements.

So all is not bleak. At the grocery store, the checkout person was chatting with the customer in front of me waxing poetic about how it will be nice "to get the town back" for a little while. I agree.

We just need to remember the meaning of the holiday, and get our feet under us again in 2013. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone. We start again in 2013.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The highest compliment ....

I always thought the highest compliment a knitter could get was a request for a hand knit item, then to see it well used and well loved.

Well, I just got the highest compliment I could imagine. My dear mother-in-law left this earth to meet her maker wearing a pair of my hand knit socks. She will have warm feet for eternity. Makes me tear up to think of it.

And if that wasn't enough, her daughter gave me another pair that I had knit for her, that she wore so much there was a hole in the toe of one sock. She asked if I could repair it. Well, you bet I can, and I'll make the pair a little longer so the daughter can wear them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life suspended.

Remember this lovely lady?

We lost her today. She was at home and peaceful, surrounded by her family, including her husband of 66 years. 

She led a long, fruitful, and feisty life. We should all be this lucky.

I'll always be grateful to have been lucky enough to have been part of her family.

Rest in peace, dear Marcella.

Monday, October 08, 2012

I'm so embarassed ....

Think about how close this country came to having this idiot as president.

The altitude? Come on! Really?

Scary isn't it?

Probably shouldn't admit this, but I voted for this chump. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

It's been a while.

Like months awhile. I wish I knew why, but most likely because I'm just baffled and disheartened. This country is in the worst shape it's been in since I've been an adult. There is real data all over the place that illustrates it. Yet, stubbornly, 40some percent of the country seems to think that the policies that are being put forth are not to blame.

It's pretty simple for me. The presidency is a performance based business. If the guy we hired isn't slip. And it's more than just not performing. It's that the policies going forward have no hope of succeeding and every indication of making it worse. How can I say that? Because they've made it desperately worse, not better...not even slightly better. Not even light at the end of the tunnel (that's probably a train) better. But apparently that's OK with the folks who are too busy watching Dancing with the Stars and Hell's Kitchen.

And to everyone who wants to tell me that "things were worse than they thought, so it needs more work", well I have one thing to say. PROVE IT. Show me some data that will prove that simply allowing our very flexible economy to recover on it's own wouldn't have been a better, more cost effective, option and I might consider this contention. As opposed to incurring a 16 Trillion debt that reaped nothing of value. I'd love to see someone do that.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What I did on my summer "vacation".

I knit Wendy Knits' Mystery Shawlette, after the KAL was over. Why? I dunno. I had about 500 yards of my Filigran lace weight left over from my Jellyfish, and decided I'd use it up. I nearly did. I probably have about 20 yards left over. It was quite a nice knit even for the car. I made a few mods to accommodate the transition from fingering to 2 ply lace, but it's still good. If I could wave my magic wand I'd make it longer rather than deeper, but that's hard to judge in progress.

If you look closely, you can see beads at the bottom. You had the option of beads or nupps. Because I have more beads than your local bead store, I used beads. They are "tiny tims". Tear drops to most of the rest of the planet. But they were a little fussy to set because of the fineness of the yarn and the openness of the pattern, and I was glad to be done with them. seriously.

Anyway here it is, a back view (why don't I comb my hair?) 

And then opened flat. I'll probably wear it like a scarf, as soon as the weather chills slightly.

I tried to get a close up of the beads, but for some reason my camera just refused to cooperate.

And I now have a taste to knit in more lace weight.

During our travels we spent a little time in Ligonier, PA. You may recall we went to Fort Ligonier last fall. It's pretty in the summer too. That's the town square with the gazebo.

And, just in case I didn't mention it before, there are TWO yarn stores within a two block radius - Bo-Peep Fine Yarns and Kathy's Kreations. It is like dying and going to heaven. I bought some lace weight, stitch markers and Kitty Snips (to go with my Puppy Snips). It was lovely, but too hot to do more than meander around. And both shops were waiting for their winter stock, so were a little light on the wool. I've been told that this is the slowest time of year for yarn stores. I'm guessing that there aren't many of us who like to have a lap full of wool in 90 degree heat, even if it is lace weight. I purchased this:

Yes, more lace weight, and I'm thinking of using it for Natessa. This pattern just spoke to me immediately, and the alpaca, silk and cashmere....what could be softer.

However, I have I don't know how many things queued before I start this, as well as three projects that need to be moved along. I'm trying to do that now - but the Manos and Natessa...... 

In other news, the students are trickling in, we'll get the full bore invasion next week. Because of the events of the past year, spiking in the past two months, we haven't felt like we've had any down time at all. It has been so stressful around here, the University is even holding group therapy sessions for employees. I wish I was kidding.

And look who followed me home, along with the Manos, from Ligonier. I suspect this may be one of those generational things. Anyone recognize this sweet face?

It certainly was a "sheepy" trip.

Monday, July 23, 2012

If I were president....

..... I'd have told the NCAA that I'll see them in court-- after I told them to bite me. They have NO purview in this matter. They did not follow their own procedures and practices. This was not, either a football or an athletic matter. That this coach had extraordinary power was no secret to anyone. Especially to the NCAA and the media who propped up that pedestal on a regular basis. (To much internal "eye-rolling".) So if this "culture" [of personality] was such an issue, why wasn't it noted before - instead it was celebrated. Now you, CEO Emmert and company, decide that it was such a problem that it needs to be punished? Frankly fella, I think God handled that already and more thoroughly.

Without exception, I'm sick of the gasbags, windbags, and demagogues who think that piling on this community is appropriate. President Erickson  made a deal and signed off to move the University past this. I think he attempted to minimize the collateral damage.  There are still sports that will not be supported, employees who will have their hours cut and contracts contracted, or perhaps lose their positions entirely. These are people who are completely and totally innocent of ANY wrongdoing. All they want to do is take care of their families. So to all you gasbags who are demagoguing this issue, next time your local food bank asks for a donation, please do think about the facilities support staff who has probably had his or her hours cut because of you.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Please. Stop. Now.

For the record. Nothing in the Freeh report has been a surprise to anyone with whom I've personally talked. But it is still very distressing.

But this community has had ENOUGH.

And I've, personally, learned something very important. Don't take notes at meetings unless you can mail them on a postcard. (A lesson I've always adhered to regarding email.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Happy Birthday United States!

Even though, right now, it feels like I'm living in crazy town, I can't imagine living anywhere else. How boring would that be?

  • 330,000,000 million citizens.
  •  Every type of terrain imaginable from desert to snow covered peaks, and the freedom to live in any of these places.
  • A democratic republic that changes government control, at least, every four years, without bloodshed (except figuratively).
  • And a uniqueness that thrives no where else in the world. 

And I suspect that Ben Franklin would agree. I can only imagine that the old coot would be thriving in the current political environment. That alone gives me hope.

Oh yeah...and don't forget to thank your local veteran. They are the successors to those first patriots who dumped tea in harbors and ambushed Georgie's soldiers at Lexington and Concorde. 

In other news, I finished Jellyfish!
It was way too hot to model a wool scarf. Even a lace weight scarf.  Would I do it again? Probably not. But I like the finished product and the flowiness of it will be perfect in the early fall. See Rav for details.......I'm too lazy to retype everything.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

May I just say.....


Spread the word.....I think the Olympic Committee needs a few knitted muzzles.

ETA: I sent the following to their "customer service" (donation) address:

While never having participated in a "Ravelympics" I think your lawyers have gone one step beyond the pale........Yes, I know they're on retainer. Yes, I know they need to keep themselves busy, but really. REALLY? You, the USOC, are making yourselves look like the jackasses you apparently are.

Well, here's the reality - not only will I
NOT EVER consider making a donation to our fine athletes, I'm going to ban them from our home. And I'm going to make sure to let NBC (read: sponsors) know. 

Thanks for freeing up my summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is blogging passe?

Seems to be. "Friends", and I mean that sincerely, who I've followed for some time seem to have slipped off the face of the earth. I'm hoping that it means they are doing well and have found satisfaction in "real" life.

Then I looked at the last time I posted....yikes! Nearly a month ago. I can only speak for myself, but gads I've been busy. I've spent more time traveling than I have in a long time. Both business and personal, and boy howdy, I'm tired. I'm out of town four more days this week and early next, and then I think I can "rest" for awhile.

Here's a sample:

 This is the Washington Monument (no kidding, huh?) at dusk from the WWII Memorial.

I was at a conference in Washington DC, and because I was alone, and pretty far (15 minute walk, on crazy, busy streets) from the White House and Mall, I hopped one of those touristy, double decker tour buses. I was hesitant at first, but I was glad I did. I got to see all of the memorials that I wanted to, save one.

While I was there I did a little house shopping for Mitt and Ann and ran across this little fixer-upper.

It even comes with it's own security system. Enlarge the photo and you can see that "system" peering though a telescope on the left side of the flag. Probably looking for the Mr. Softee truck.

Look down in front. There is a group of Salvadorans in front having their photo taken. They looked absolutely tickled.

This was a tour of the lighted monuments and, to me, the most striking was this one:

Maybe because I most admire Abraham Lincoln, his taste in vice presidents not withstanding. To me walking up to this memorial took my breath away.

The FDR memorial was, frankly, stunning too. And I really wanted to see the Vietnam Veteran's Wall (having a decorated Vietnam combat medic in my family and all). However, by the time we arrived (just across from the Lincoln Memorial), it was simply too dark, and it isn't lighted very well. I think there should be some kind of dramatic lighting for a black wall. But I suppose there are more important things. It was the weekend after Memorial Day, and it certainly wasn't too dark to see the the wreaths and notes propped against the wall. It was rather chilling.

On the knitting front, I'm still working on my Jellyfish. Coming along nicely, but I had to stop, in my travels, and purchase some more Filigran.  Luckily the store where I made the original purchase still had one skein. Now with my luck, I won't need it. Sigh.

I'm also working on yet another Wingspan. I'm teaching a Wingspan class next week (and a beaded bracelet class in late summer), and need to have an in-progress sample to show. (I guess I don't HAVE to, but it's the instructor in me.) This one is going to have wrapped stitches, no holes, and I'm making it wider. It's going to be the same "Tropical Fish" color, because I had a partial skein left over (and yes, bought yet another).  I'll probably give the first one to my mom.

There more, but, I figured I had to walk the walk before I complain about "other people".

And yes, the "TRIAL", began with jury selection last week, and [horrifying] testimony is being taken as of yesterday. As a (trusted) state police source says, this is no slam dunk, though it seems like it should be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm sorry....

I had no intention of writing a post today, but just when I think this administration can't get any stranger...there's this...


And now they're defending the indefensible....what did they think would happen? Can there really be THAT many stupid people in the White House? Just askin'.

And I'm not a Twitter follower but sometimes -  it's just too funny.

ETA: According to articles yesterday, when this was actually first published,  the website was originally intended for school students to use, and learn about the 44 presidents.....Kinda defeats the purpose. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

This n'at.

  • I wish I had FOs to show. By rights, I should - however, I am knitting a "shop sample" of Wingspan, for a class I'll be teaching next month. I need to have it in the shop owners hands before the end of the month for a photo op, and I'd like to get it done ASAP for her. (She could photograph mine, but she says that prospective class participants like to come in and handle the samples. I'm not comfortable handing over a shawlette that I've worn and will continue to wear for that purpose.) Unfortunately, I've not been as diligent as I was with my own. Wooziness makes knitting, not the best activity. I'm in a holding pattern with my "infection". I still experience intermittent symptoms, so I'll decide next week if I need to revisit the treatment with the doc. BTW I'm using Kauni 8/2 (which I pronounce kan-I, and I'm told is really connie) for this version, and it's quite nice. A little scratchy, but the hand of the fabric is nice, and I think a good bath in wool wash will help. I may leave that in the Cynthia's hands as well.

  • For me to make Mitt a lock for my vote (in reality I can't imagine who else I'd trust the economy with) all he has to do at the convention is say in his acceptance speech ".....When I take the oath on January 20, 2013, there will be no more references to what the prior administration did. No matter how horrible the condition of the country is on that day, Monday, January 21st, it becomes "my economy". You will not hear how badly the previous administration "ran the car into the ditch" [ad naseum]. The buck will start and end at my desk in the oval office."  That's it. I'm a pretty simple person. We need an adult in the White House, instead of some dude who, in reality, belongs in a tent at McPherson Square.

  • I continue to be fascinated in a gruesome kind of way, with how stupid the media in this country thinks we, the great unwashed are. I submit:

Mitt Romney
This is the worst you can come up with? Cutting the hair of a class mate? If it actually happened as originally described, that is. Nice investigative journalism that (I hope the reporter didn't graduate from Penn State). You can't imagine that we care when we're paying $3.80 for a gallon of gas?

Elizabeth Warren

No amount of cover will erase this mess Princess Wannabe. You may remember this posting of mine. This faculty member is just most certainly cracked and a fibber to boot. And to be fair, I almost can't blame the law schools who jumped at the opportunity to acquire a "minority female" faculty member. All universities are compelled to be politically correct and acquire minority all costs. Most, can't say all anymore, are legitimately who they claim to be, and are completely qualified for their positions. That's the good news. Warren is most certainly the bad news.

Amendment One in NC

In the same posting listed above, you will note that I had a friend on facebook, who has been drinking the CA kool aid too long. His assessment of the 2 to 1 margin in favor of the amendment is that there are "too many Jesus people in NC". Notice I said "HAD". I have made the decision to sever myself from all bigots regardless of what bigotry they espouse. I am horrified that if one is pro-choice that one cannot acknowledge that thinking abortion is murder is a legitimate opinion. Or that if one favors traditional marriage, one cannot acknowledge that gay couples may need some legal recourse to the same benefits. I don't see these things as mutually exclusive, but simply understanding that having an opinion doesn't discount the opposite side of the coin. 
Notice I'm completely ignoring the disingenuous pretense of the ever devolving President. I just can't wait to see who else he tries to pander to. I'm not sure there are any "people" left. He may have to start working on the forest creatures in Bambi. 
I feel like I'm on an island alone....... surrounded by sharks.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

It ends...

... what may have been the worst academic year in the 150 year history of this institution. Officially we are now in "Maymester 2012". (Oh pleeze, don't ask.) Officially, though, it is the start of  2012-2013 academic year.

We spent last week in the throes of final exams, movings, graduations, and for the moment there is a lull. At the end of May "Summer I" starts (these are 6 week semesters), and with it come the influx of new freshmen. But for now all we have to contend with is construction and road closings. Which is harrowing in and of itself.

As for the starts next month. Information is slow to reach the public thanks to a gag order. (I use the term gag in all its incarnations.) There are numerous hearings scheduled at a rate of about one a week. However, one interesting piece of information is that the state has changed the date of the alleged Victim 2 assault from March 2002 to February 2001. No information as to why is forthcoming, however, my suspicion is that Victim 2 has been found and interviewed. What this does, however, is eliminate one of the charges, not reporting known child abuse, from the administrators. The statute of limitations would have expired.

That's where we are. Where I am is still dizzy from a sinus infection.

I'll be in Washington DC the first weekend in June. Can anyone recommend a good yarn store in the vicinity of downtown? I'll be at the Grand Hyatt.

ETA: And, currently, there are workmen on a scaffold outside my window....pounding...yes, pounding, to remove bricks from the facade of the building. It is charming.....Is it any wonder I have a headache? 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Karma will getcha every time....

Just as I was congratulating myself that we both DH and I made it through an entire winter, albeit, not much of one, without the requisite colds, flu etc. (You must remember we live and work in an environment that is lousy with people. It's like a petri dish of bugs.), I began not to feel "right". After a surprising episode that had me feeling like I was hungover, without the associated adult beverages, my DH said, "better see the doc, this has happened before". Huh? Happened before? Well, if he hadn't said that I'd still be attention is elsewhere frankly. Well, the penny dropped. My sinuses! Of course. When I get a sinus infection, I feel like I'm motion sick standing still in a room; sitting down; and sometimes lying down. I don't have to move a thing. Well, sure enough, I spoke too soon. Sigh. I ALMOST made it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Day in Pictures.

The view of Tussy Mountain. What mountain you ask? Good question.

The view out my windshield. Rain turning to snow.

The view of my dashboard. Take a gander at the temperature....on April 23rd!

Campus obscured by a passing whiteout. 

Yes, it's the end of April and I had to pull out my parka once again. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Wind beneath my wings.....

Wingspan completed. And because I was prescient, or maybe anxious, enough to purchase an extra skein, I had enough to finish completely, and do a two stitch i-cord bind off. I should be able to make another, maybe one repeat shorter, probably for one of the mothers.

I've often read that i-cord bind offs cause puckering in the fabric, however, I use a needle two sizes larger, and I've never had that happen. It takes longer, and of course, more yarn, but I still think it is worth it.

Raveled here.

On another topic....remember my discussion of the Liesel Scarf. Said I was knitting for a relative who is ummmm.....not consistent with responses. Well, I stand corrected. I received a lovely thank you note for the scarf. She was most complementary and told me how sad she was when she lost the other.

I am absolutely delighted to be wrong this time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Warning Will Robinson....

From arguably the WORST constitutional law professor evah.


Apparently, he was absent on the day the constitutional separation of powers was discussed in his high school civics class.....duh.

Last president to question the separation of powers was Andrew Johnson... and you remember what happened to him. If you don't there's Google!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Haul

I have a LYS, a very delightful LYS. It is run by two women, who oddly both have husbands named Kevin, who seem to be the perfect balance of yin and yang to make their business a success. Stitch Your Art Out is a comfortable lovely place, with one flaw - it is cozy. I mean really cozy. Somehow miraculously Cynthia and Kim manage to fit two classes at a time in their space. Some of them quilting classes, with sewing machines. So their yarn space is at a premium. Even so they manage to get most of the yarns their customers lust for on their shelves. (Please do visit if you're ever in the neighborhood of PSU or State College. They're only about 10 minutes outside town. Stop at Watkin's Dairyette afterward for "real" soft ice cream.) But I was on a hunt for lace weight, and I'm thinking the local knitters are not lace weight enthusiasts by the extent of the stock they had on hand at the moment.

So when I visited a new-to-me yarn shop in northeastern PA, GoshYarnIt! and found yarns I had only read (dreamed) about, I had to fight down the guilt when I walked out with this:

Hand Maiden Sea Silk - Lord love a duck, it is out of this world. You can see the sheen of the silk and sea cell. OMG. I could only get about 440 yards because that's all they had in that color. A dreamy cream, gray, whitish variegated.

Zitron Filigran lace weight - A beauteous lace weight. that I'm thinking of using for Jellyfish..... 100% merino. Bezzie put me on to this pattern, and though I have a queue a mile long I sometime long for the bizarre. I'm not a mohair fan, particularly in lace weight (too hard to fix my mistakes), so this is all merino.

Madeline Tosh lace - in a variegated blackish/grayish. For a Dainty Bess scarf I'm turning into a wrap with beads. I've had the pattern from Knit Picks practically forever. But a trip to a ballet last month when we were hovering in the 60s made me wish for a fancyish scarf.

I could have spent longer than the hour I did (but my mom would've had  stroke waiting for me to get back - I was visiting), and way more money than I did, but I somehow stopped.

(An aside: Ann, the manager, was just the right blend of helpful, friendly, and chatty. She showed me exactly what I wanted (and they had a lot!) answered my questions, left me to browse. It was a very comfortable shopping experience. So many times I read about "unfriendly" yarn shops, but that's not the case here. As I was checking out I met the owner Jill, who was also quite friendly. This shop gets a big thumbs up for customer service and comfort!)

 You may also have noticed more Zauberbal in the "tropical fish" colorway. That's because I decided I wanted to continue Wingspan beyond its current nearly finished size. I likes me some long scarves. And yes, considering that I'm the woman who knit TWO pink flamingos, I kinda like the unusual.......

Just call me Isadora.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Why can't I stop talking to myself?

Every day I swear that I will not write about politics. There is simply nothing new. But maybe that's the problem, I can't believe that so many people just don't learn from experience. I've even stopped reading a few blogs that I used to actually like, because they sound like "jabber chambers" of the ill informed.

Here's the bottom line:

HHS mandate, NOT about birth control, not about Catholicism, it's about the separation of church and state....remember that? Oh, right that's only when some group doesn't want to see a menorah or creche on the lawn of a public building. If you don't believe me read the FIRST Amendment to the Constitution. THE FIRST, it even comes before Freedom of Speech.

And one more thing before I leave the subject of the Constitution. It is NOT a living document, like your ill-informed history teacher told you in high school. It is a foundational document. Like the foundation of your house supports the structure, it supports all the laws of this country. And much like the foundation of your house, if you want to put that addition on your home your foundation has to be able to support it, or it needs to be reinforced. The Constitution CAN be changed, but, it is a long difficult process and correctly so.

Many of these jabberers are so ill informed about Catholicism in particular, and religion in general, I feel like I've stumbled into a Klan meeting. They seem to have forgotten, or there's that ill informed thing again, that the Klan had a knot in their knickers about Catholics in addition to African Americans. But these are mostly liberals - so the discussions are always civil, right? Right?

No one wants to stop anyone from using or obtaining birth control. In fact, in some of these cases I insist!
A pallet cleanser:

My Liesel Scarf....well, not mine any more:

Off it went yesterday. It took about a skein and a half of Silky Wool. It turned out longer than I expected, but then so do all my scarves. More to twist and wind. It's an easy knit, but it has ten rows, that I could not seem to memorize, and I forgot YOs too many times to count.

And I'm not much of a joiner, but a friend gave me two balls of Zauberbal sock for Christmas. I was casting about for a project for the yarn, and lo and behold I found Wingspan! And someone had already done it up in MY Zauberbal color "Tropical Fish". So I was off. It's a remarkably fun knit. And I love the Tropical Fish colorway.

Apparently, thanks to Wendy Knits, a lot of people have caught on to Wingspan now - but whatever. 

Thank goodness for something else to occupy my brain. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Things that make you go hummmmm?

Keep your distance, I accidentally had onions on my salad at lunch and they've put me in a feisty mood.
What's going on with the people one sees pushing empty baby strollers on the street? Today I saw a young woman, pushing a stroller with a fleece blankie, but no baby. I nearly wanted to ask if she forgot her child in the car? I can't seem to find an explanation, though there is probably something logical that I'm missing.
I have no qualms with someone expressing likes and dislikes about political candidates on policy matters, but let's get one thing clear. Disliking/berating someone for espousing a particular personal belief, regardless of  what it might be, and as long as it isn't illegal, is bigotry - pure, simple, and unadulterated. Might as well start cutting eye holes in a sheet.
I've mentioned parking issues before, and here's another. Some time ago, I arrived at my building to find there was only ONE usable parking space left (they have designated several that are too narrow, against walls, with exhaust fans sticking out, I don't need the hassle). Unfortunately, it was next to someone who apparently couldn't be bothered to put his vehicle in the space straight. What's up with this? It is way too easy to bang other people getting in and out of this place. Why make it harder? I grumbled about having to fuss around to get into the empty space, thought about leaving a note, didn't, then forgot about it the rest of the day. I left the office late and rode down on the elevator with someone whom I didn't know. We exchanged pleasantry's as people in elevators in these here parts are wont to do. When we get down to the lot, I find that he is the idiot who can't park. I breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't leave a note, but not so fast. He holds up a yellow Post-It and says to me "Someone left me a note!"  "Oh?", even though I know what's coming. "It says learn how to park asshole! How rude!" I simply smile, and shake my head. "Nice!", he says, clearly miffed. Inside, I think, so learn how to park. Outside I say "Probably someone who had some damage done to their car here. Have a good night." The bottom line....he hasn't learned yet. Sigh.
I am recovering from two, count'em, two root canals, done at the same time (they were on the same side). Props to the endodontist and assistant who made it as uneventful as such an experience can be. In fact I got a floor show along with the dental work. For the bulk of the time they were working they played "name that tune" or "name that group" to the piped in music (satellite radio I think). While that might not inspire confidence in some it was actually quite reassuring to me. But then I've never been normal.
And Happy Leap Day. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Junk mail Thursday

Every now and again, I review some of the spam mail and phishing that land in my junk mail box. Because important documents land in my junk mail (Sorry Dr. Erickson!), despite my best efforts I have to peruse it every day. Penn State has a "grey mail" screen that sends messages to junk if the screen even guesses that it might be junk. Lately though I've been finding what is clearly garbage in my "in" box. It's a mystery.

Here are some of the latest offerings:

SPAM:SPAM: Advise To Contact

There, of course, is a link for me to "send" my signature. Somebody needs to tell this asshat that there is no FBI FOREIGN....FBI only deals with US crime.  Also, some lawyer lackey would have been sent to my abode with paperwork if this were remotely true.

From: "Loterias del Estado"
Subject: Award Notification
With only a PDF attachment .......huh? Yeah, I'm clicking on that right quick!

From: " Editorial"
Subject: News Portal for Universities Worldwide -

This one got through to my in box probably because of the word universities.

But here's the fun part:
We are pleased to inform you about our News Portal for Universities Worldwide. has been online for more than 1 year and has been continuously updating news related to education fraternity. It will be wrong to say that this site is the best but yes, we can say It is no less. 

You're the best? That's why no one has ever hear of you.

And my favorite:

From: "Karen"




Karen, please do us all a favor and go gain yourself.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

There's more!

I spent the weekend + one day, catching up and then doing whatever I wanted. I actually got to knit on three out of the four projects I listed last week. 

I knit a inch or two on the Kauni sweater, tendonitis or no. Then I moved forward a bit on the Parcheesi blanket. Because the sweater looks nearly the same, here's an updated progress photo of the Parcheesi blanket.

I estimate that this will be about 60x48 inches and am now contemplating whether to to knit a couple or three log cabin squares to make it wider. I still need to finish the connectors. I can then see how much yarn I have left I suppose.

It's a nice project when you just want some mindless knitting.

Next is my Gothic tam all washed and blocked and everything. I think I like it. I can tell you that Romi's pattern is immaculate. Any difficulties I encountered were completely of my own doing. No surprise there.

I'll wear it and see how it feels. I do like that I won't get the dreaded hat head!

This is a better photo of the color. I don't know what's going on with the flash. I had the same problem with my Cable Crossings. It was way too dark rather than a lovely natural white.

And even though I swore (bad language and everything) that I wouldn't start anything else -that I'd work on DH's green Earl Grey socks, I lied. But there's a story. Isn't there always?

A number of years ago...maybe five, I sent a relative a Liesel Scarf for Christmas made with a silk wool blend. I don't think she ever actually thanked me, but I'll be charitable and assume she may have told me thank you when we spoke on Christmas day. (Not getting a "thank you" would not be out of the norm.) We stopped exchanging gifts soon afterward (no animosity, just pragmatism), and I, of course, did not make her anything else. Recently, it came to my attention, through a meddling mutual relative, that said relative lost her scarf and was sick about it. Apparently, she wore the scarf all the time, loved it, and upon changing jobs may have left it on a parking shuttle. I never knew. The person who passed the information along to me, this is the meddling part, strongly hinted that maybe I should consider replacing said scarf. I was pretty adamant that since I didn't know that the scarf was so well loved all this time, then maybe I wasn't open to putting in all that work again for, probably, little appreciation.

Well, you've guessed right. I bought some Elsbeth Lavold wool/silk (20% discount at my LYS), and I'm working another. As I'm knitting, it is apparent that it will not have the same hand as the original (Knit Picks, Gloss), but it is nice in it's own way. It is also a different, tonal blue, as opposed to a lavender. I may not love the result, but I can't actually remember what the last one felt like. So I've decided that I'm simply forging ahead, and will send the replacement as soon as it's done. I can't tell you how passive aggressive this is making me feel.  (I have no wish to discuss this further with this relative, she is integral to our family, and I have no real issue with her. And this is personal on my end - I have a real problem with people who do not even recognize that you sent them something, let alone handwork, and it seems to be more common than not these days.)

(A case in point: Out of the blue I received a small calendar from a friend. I received it on December 24th. It was a complete surprise. As soon as I had access to email (probably the 28th), I dropped her a line told her I received it, and that I was going to enjoy it. In the meantime, I worked up a pair of knitted earrings for her and mailed them with a short note of thanks for thinking of me. About 10 days later (as I was wondering if they had made it), she texted me just to let me know that: 1) she got them; 2) liked them; 3) was hoping to find time to send a REAL thank you, but then just gave up because she wanted me to know that she appreciated them. We subsequently exchanged several emails. This, especially now, is perfectly acceptable.)  So, is it me?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Through all the recent angst and trauma I knit on... and on....and on. Nothing big. I haven't touched my Kauni sweater in months. My right elbow tendonitis is acting up again, and I'm slightly wary of making it worse.  That being said, I have no less that FOUR, count'em FOUR projects "on the needles". This is not my typical MO.

Here they are, oldest to youngest:

  1. Kauni Sweater
  2. Parcheesi blanket
  3. Earl Grey socks (in green)
  4. Gothic Tam
This is more than I've had in progress in a long time. Before the socks and tam were cast on though, I finished these.

Another Cable Crossings hat.

I love the result of this pattern, but let me warn you, the cabling-- is as fiddly as it gets.The look is worth it in my estimation. If you look on my Rav page, you'll see that Sarah, the designer, recommends that you repeat the first and second repeats of cables twice, making the hat deeper and more comfortable if you want to maintain your ears without frost bite. This is way more comfortable. It is knit in Foxfire Designs Flock Sock in natural. Love this yarn. I only needed one and a bit of a second skein--for the full hat and a deeper brim.

This is the Cabled Neck Cozy by Kate Lemmers.

This is done with a bulky Katia yarn in an acrylic/wool/alpaca blend. I made it specifically for running/walking in the cold. The buttons are really useful in case I want to loosen it, or unbutton it completely.

It's a fast, easy pattern (the same one I gave to my mother-in-law), but it is not clear to me where to place the buttons. So I've done it differently the two times I've made it.

Finally, in progress, the Gothic Tam. It's going really fast.

I'm using Foxfire Designs, Upland Wool and Alpaca in the Ikat colorway. It is knitting up really nicely. I hope it blocks out well.

I've never knit a tam before, but I got a new eggplant color coat for Christmas, and think it will make the color "pop". My head will certainly will.

I don't even know if a "slouchy tam" will be nice on me. If it isn't, I have a sister.

So that's the progress report. You really don't want to hear the rest of what's going on here. Srsly.

Friday, January 27, 2012


... to the new normal. Again. Every time I say what ELSE can happen, I find out. And it is never good. I cannot describe what it feels like for an entire community to be hit in the belly over and over. This new normal sucks. Really sucks. And I fear it is only just beginning.

Paterno was a good man, some will tell you great. He put his money and actions where his mouth was. He was smart, sarcastic, competitive, and meant what he said. He was also "untouchable"... until November. I won't rehash, or take back, what I've already written. I still think it's valid. However, he built something here that will not be replaced, and should be acknowledged. Many times I've attended sessions and meetings in the high tech auditorium and reading rooms in the Paterno Library. It is gorgeous. Many students are benefiting from the Paterno Fellowships, in Liberal Arts. My spidey sense tells me that there will be a cancer wing with the Paterno name on it at the medical center in the near future. (A wing is already under construction.) And most certainly the new Penn State Catholic Center and Chapel, also under construction with a large gift already from the Paternos, will be similarly titled. And this does not account for all their contributions to Special Olympics, THON, etc. There is no other athletic coach in history who has contributed this much for the greater good outside his/her sport. None.

So I fervently wish that the coach who, by all accounts went the "extra mile" for his players, staff, students and university, had also gone the extra mile back in 2002. Realistically, I understand why he probably didn't. One just wants to put something so heinous away from themselves as fast as possible. Do the appropriate thing and move on, fast - but it wasn't enough. The beleaguered board of trustees, did the right thing, in a ham fisted way. I can't blame them either, considering the circumstances of that week. 

 I have one memory of running into him, many years ago, after a football game. He was walking home from the locker rooms. DH and I just said "Hi, Coach", he said, "Howya' doin'?" No biggie, and I hadn't thought of it in years, until you start hearing the stories of the students who were thrilled when he barked at them "Get to class!", when they greeted him.

So the era ends. We knew it would. I wish the circumstances were different.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

View from the cheap seats....

These are the things I think, I think:

I think you have to live in our insular world to have any concept of what has happened here, and continues. This is what I've finally sorted it down to. Hopefully, this will put it to rest for ME, for a little while anyway.

I think the alumni, university community, and neighbors who are still railing about the "unfairness" of the firing of Paterno (there is at least one new whine about this daily on the op-ed page), and to a lesser extent Graham Spanier: folks, think about this. If you were unable to do your job any longer, no matter why, would your employer keep you on? Maybe some do want to place "blame" at the feet of Paterno, and certainly it is their right to do so, however, that, in my opinion, had nothing or little to do with the board's decision. Paterno and Spanier, were "players" in the NCAA and Big Ten communities. They sat on rules committees, boards and other groups that literally guided the ethical approach to college athletics and academic integrity. Even though, recently, he was a coach in name only, Paterno was still the moral/ethical leader of the football and athletics programs. This was a large part of both of their professional responsibilities. With the exposure of a possible crime that was committed under their watch, they lost the authority to represent a cogent ethical presence. Was it fair? Nope. But life is anything but fair. Ask the victims, particularly the victim who was "outed" by overzealous NYT reporting. (Nice work that.)To the cry babies who lament that he was "fired by phone". Please remember what the environment was like that Wednesday evening (and if you weren't here, take a gander) - the hordes of media outside the Paterno home, and the conference center where the board meeting was held. What would the pictures have looked like if a contingent of grim reapers marched up to the Paterno's home? Why would you want to do that to ANYONE? They attempted to keep a sad and bad business as private as possible. I'm tired of your whining. I'm sorry, but I am.

I also think Paterno built the culture that ultimately was his undoing. He had "control" issues. So do a lot of athletic coaches. In Paterno's case, it started out to be a good thing. Mandatory study groups for his players, EVERY NIGHT, mid-semester reporting for all athletes. (I once had a football player in one of my classes who missed a fair number of classes because he had an extraordinary number of relatives "die". In my mid-semester report to his adviser I mentioned that I hoped his family was coping with the tragedies (wink, wink). Not 24 hours after receiving my report, the adviser was on the phone to me asking me about my comment, we talked about the student's progress, how (and if) he could make up for lost time, and at the end of the conversation, the adviser said "His mother is going to KILL him!" I had to laugh. This was a good student who was getting lazy. He finished well. This is the only problem I've ever had with ANY athlete in more than ten years.) But in Paterno's case it progressed to other university aspects. He wanted to do EVERYTHING under the athletics umbrella. This athletics' omerta means that in general, unless you are here, and have some connections to athletics you didn't hear the "other stuff". I did, so I, and many others were not fooled by the press clippings. It was "normal" some good, some not so much. This is your wake-up call. Everything was not rosey all the time. The clue phone is ringing pick it up.

I think the cover of the current alumni magazine, we got it early last week, is brilliant. It is black, with shiny black letters that spell out the name "The Penn Stater" crumbled into a heap. But what is even more brilliant is an article by one of our sociology faculty, Eric Silver. Remarkably he was teaching sociology of deviance (BTW: this isn't exactly what you're thinking), and covering the topic of adult-child sexual contact when the story broke. In his essay, he focuses on the sociology of bureaucracy. It is lengthy, and I wish I could link to it, but here's one quote: "Everybody likes to think they would be the whistle blower. What I told my class was this: Statistically you're full of crap." The reason is that a whistle blower is deviant in his environment. This man is on to something. He also differentiates between moral and professional responsibility. Could we be seeing a decline in a moral imperative in our environments?

I think if I had to pick one of the administrators at whose feet to lay the bulk of this mess it would have to be the former business director. He oversaw the University police and met with the chief of police every two weeks. How hard would it have been to call the chief on the phone and explain what he learned and ask how to proceed. No one is blameless, but jeepers....he met with the chief, regularly. It was his job!

I can't imagine what to think if the state can't get a conviction. I think it is a realistic worry.

The students, themselves, are still struggling to make sense of this - to put it in some context. Most of them were in grade school, when Sandusky allegedly began his crimes. I think this is a worthy attempt to figure it out. Music and lyrics were written and performed by the two students.

Friday, January 06, 2012

I'm back ....

...and wish I could say, "better than ever", but would be a lie.

Here's the short list of what I've been up to:
My mother and father-in-law are celebrating their 93rd and 91st birthday's respectively. Gotta love it. They're slowing down a bit in all aspects, but still living independently. Independently enough to make us wish that they'd consent to bring someone in a few hours a week to help. Not happening yet. This is the cowl I made for my mother-in-law for Christmas. (Still have Blizzard yarn in my stash.) Looks pinker that it really is. It is a pattern that I bought at my LYS. It was knit in a super bulky alpaca. I made it a bit longer so she could slide it over her head if she wished, or could button it up close. The buttons go through the cable crossings.

I'm thinking of making one for me in black alpaca for running. I think it will be very convenient with the buttons.

This is the ornament I created for my sister-in-law who shoulders the primary responsibility for the parents. Every year I bead her an ornament. I try to do something very different each year, but I cheated a little this year. The ornament you see is one of my personal favorites, and I added pearls as a twist. I was especially fond of the large pearl drops you see on the bottom. For Christmas 2012, I'm going to have to start much now. Taking care of elderly parents, is a pretty thankless job, frankly, so we try and do nice things for her whenever we get the opportunity. That included taking dinner with us when we visited, so she didn't have to come to the house for two nights (she did anyway, and we were happy to see her, but she didn't have to worry about someone checking on meds, food, etc.)

The rest of the break we spent finishing up chores (seriously), relaxing, eating and exercising. And just to show you what an exciting couple we are, we bought THREE, no kidding, THREE irons, before we found ONE that actually worked. (My hubby is an ironer, and he's really tough on irons. Well, between him and our calcium rich water, they don't last very long.) So this time we invested a little more (Rowenta) because I was becoming so frustrated with our current iron. (I really didn't like it overall. The hand controls were poor, it switched heat settings unexpectedly because of how it was designed, ugh.) So into the trash. But the first iron we bought didn't shut off as it was supposed to. We depend on the auto shutoff feature, so I returned it, and got another. Different store, different city, and what do you know - this one shut off while one ironed. What the heck?!!!! So New Year's Eve (see, I told you we were an exciting couple), I took it back once more. As luck would have it, it was the same clerk who had taken care of me the NIGHT before. This time I also bought,  an additional (more expensive) model. Well, thank goodness third time's the charm and I got to return the more expensive iron. Now to train my husband to use spring water, instead of tap water. And what store was so patient with a seemingly crazy customer. Target. Never a problem returning to Target. (I do keep my receipts.)

And now I must ask for some advice. In a prior posting, I mentioned that I was making fuzzy feet for my husband. Well, I knocked them out pretty quick. I used Knitpicks, Wool of the Andes, and based on prior experience did not expect any felting difficulties. In fact, I was expecting it to felt like a sonofagun. Well, I would have been incorrect.

Here is a photo of the drying slippers. See anything unusual? Maybe not yet.

How about now? The black, foot portion is felted, and the yellow is completely not. And though you can not see it in the photo, the heel flap on the right one, is also not felted. This is all the same wool folks. Do not consider the white. That is a leftover, from another project and NOT Wool of the Andes. I had two choices. Try and force the yellow to felt, and then the foot would be too small, or just call it a day. Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm thinking that I'm going to stick to wools that have a touch of mohair for felting from now on. Like Lambs Pride. Any other suggestions would be most welcome. I'm putting the Fuzzy Feet in time out for now.

And don't even ask about the new coach. I don't have any idea or opinion. And I'm trying to decide if I even care.