Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Some of My Best Friends are..."

That's the start of a quote from Tallulah Bankhead's character in the Hitchcock movie "Lifeboat."

She uses that refrain a lot in the movie. So I'm grabbing it. 

Some of my best friends are...

teachers

students

parents

school officials

grandparents

siblings


And this Mama is mad. What, you say, do all of the above-listed folks have in common?

They're all victims of shootings. Mass shootings, which are now as familiar to us as a regular old weekday. 

Oh, my friends the politicians (some of my friends are even politicians...) will offer their "thoughts and prayers." And some of those "friends" will mightily castigate those who seek to "politicize" the shootings. 

You know THOSE folks. The ones who want - NOW, finally, THIS TIME to talk about mental health issues and gun regulations. 

"But it's TOO SOON." 

Then?

BAM. The next shooting. 

"But it's TOO SOON."

Then? 

BAM. The NEXT shooting. 

It's a bad refrain to an oft-sung song. 

It's NOT too soon. It's almost too late. 

Does anyone recall that the latest shooting in Parkland, Florida is TEN YEARS from the shooting at Northern Illinois University? To the day, people. 

How long (dare I even put this in writing) till someone decides to do "anniversary shootings"? Seriously, don't you dare laugh. Don't you DARE tell me "it's not the guns."  DON'T you dare tell me that it's a "terrorist" if the shooter isn't a white male. 

The mental health safety nets (what few of them still exist) will be shredded under the current administration's iteration of that farcical piece of garbage called their "budget." And we aren't allowed to mention gun restrictions - like restrictions on large purchases of ammunition - because it might upset the NRA and they won't be able to buy and sell their (really, once upon a time, OUR) representatives. 

Here's an idea. Those responsible gun owners that we hear from and about? How about ALL OF YOU resign from the NRA. Seriously, take your money and spend it elsewhere. Maybe when the NRA has only the zealots, and their budget tanks? Maybe THEN we can talk about sensible limits. Sensible regulations. Politicians that aren't bought. 

Because right now? Apparently, the lone "presidential" tweet sending "thoughts and prayers: isn't cutting it, and it is, after all, "too soon."

But not too soon to plan funerals for youngsters whose only misstep was -- going to school. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Snowmageddon 2018

 Well, we finally got winter. All at once. The forecast had been brewing for about 3 days, and on Thursday, it started. We actually had a "snow day" today; most schools were closed, many offices also closed. Those who worked from home did so. 

All in all, we had about a foot of snow, and it's going to snow a bit more tonight - possibly up to 3 more inches. 

We went to a wake today - the first time we got out, except for shoveling. The main roads were fine, but in our neighborhood, people ignored the "don't park on the street" thing...seriously, my town could have had quite a surplus if they issued tickets. The neighboring town issued over 300 tickets for violating the winter parking bans...


Anyway, it's the light, fluffy stuff so far. The birds were gathered around the feeders, with the woodpeckers nibbling suet, and a junco who decided that the smaller feeder provided his two favorite things: shelter and food. 

Hubby tried to take a few shots out the front window; I was having problems with holding the camera steady. 

Might've been that 3 cups of tea I had that made me a little wobbly... 

It was interesting to watch the neighbors ignore the snow plow. It was with a bit of vicarious glee that I watched the plow "snow them in." Several times. What is it about people where they think, "I'll just wait till it stops snowing" -- and then you can see how irritated they are at moving a foot of snow! We kept up with it, so we had an easier time of it. 

Our neighbor actually used a shovel to push the snow off his car... Wow. I'm pretty sure my father would've had a fit if I'd done that. Then again, it was he who taught me to "stay ahead" of the snow. Hubby's dad actually had a John Deere with a blade - but then, Hubby grew up in Montana, where stuff like this is a "little spring storm." 

I was planning on getting a lot of knitting done today; and getting into my office to continue the organizing. Instead, I caught up on several days' worth of newspapers and I started cleaning out my email. I'm an incredible email hoarder. 

I think I got rid of about 10,000 emails. Seriously, I'm not joking. Hubby manages his inbox easily, filing things right away. I started purging, and will start unsubscribing to things - I got into a lot of different email newsletters, and honestly? Who can keep up now? So I cleared out and I filed. All in all, it's been pretty productive. 

I also shoveled. Tomorrow, I hope to get the elkhounds out - at least on the long lead and let them trash all the snow. They'll enjoy that. Maybe I can even get out on the snowshoes in the park near our house. 

I was able to get out to the street to take a few pictures. The snow came up past my ankles at that point. I had a chance to shoot a few pictures, but I didn't want to linger out there. It wasn't that it was cold, but it was coming down rather fast. 

I have campaign signs in my front yard, and one of my friends was laughing because at one point, all we could see was "Elect Jim." Well, now, you can barely see the "Elect" part! And Denise's sign is pretty much buried. 

The Blue Super Moon...

As I indicated, it was, once again, too cloudy to actually see the full Blue/Super Moon. But the nice thing is that this fella lingered. So about 3 days afterward, I saw this outside, and Hubby was kind enough to take the shot for me. You couldn't -- or, I couldn't - get this shot with my phone. He's got a steadier hand than I do, so outside he went and he got this. 

It was a morning shot; the moon was sparkly and stunning. It was quickly obscured by clouds and of course, moved under the tree lines, so we lost it about 4 minutes after that photo was taken. 

I'm wondering at the plethora of the "super moons" we've had in the past year. How many of them can be "super" before it seems like EVERY full moon is "super"? 

You know the "Blue" phenomena is when there are 2 full moons in a calendar month. That I can deal with. 

But it seems like everything is "super" now, and that takes away the special-ness of, say, the Harvest Moon. I don't want to complain. Well, yeah, I do. We seem lately to have a need to "super" everything. 

How about we just go outside, ditch our devices, and LOOK UP. Admire the night sky, even if you're in an area where there are a lot of people. You'll still see stars. Maybe not as many as you'd see in the wide open prairie, but you'll still see them. You'll see the moon in all its phases. You may see bats flying. 

Go outside and breathe. The night air is wonderful. It doesn't have to be "super." It can just be what it is: night. 

Knitting...

Look at my lovely unicorn yarn bowl! From Darn Good Yarns, it's adorable! I can't wait to use it on my next project. Right now, it's sitting on my table next to some carnations (silk) in a green vase. Time to ditch the snowmen, even though they're perfect at the moment. I wanted something different. 

Anyway, I would normally not have bought this, but I figured I wanted to treat myself for my recent birthday. 

I like the fact that it's a bigger yarn bowl. I had purchased a yarn bowl from Darn Good Yarns before, and it turned out to be wayyyyyyyyyy smaller than I thought. It's fine for a cake of sock yarn. Doesn't work for a ball of Opal. Also didn't work with bulkier yarns. 

But the unicorn will. I like that there are multiple holes, and that swoopy thing where you can just string your yarn in there, so you can switch out the yarns for different projects. 

It's got a nice wide base, and seems pretty sturdy. I've been eyeballing lots of yarn bowls; some are gorgeous works of art, and some look like they wouldn't hold a mini-skein. And some look like they'd slide right off a table if you had to give the yarn a good tug. 

This wooden one also has a good base; rather bottom-heavy, actually. It's just too shallow for a lot of projects I do. Right now, it's holding the Heritage Sock yarn. As you can see, I'm moving along on that one. I'm kinda on a roll with it, so I'm plugging along on it this weekend. I'm hoping to get to the heel this weekend. 


Maybe I misjudged this pattern. I'm starting to get into the groove of the 4-repeat structure, and I'm liking it. It's zipping along nicely. I think I'll make it through. I could see myself doing this again, when I reach into the "Twelve Months of Socks" tote and pulling out a solid color. 

But it would have to be a light color. I don't know that I would do this in a darker color. The "Bowties are Cool" pattern in the Navy blue "Bigger on the Inside" yarn is a kicker. Kind of gets you right in the eyeballs...

So I've had some issues with hats - I can't seem to make one that fits me well. They fit my head, but I can't get them tight enough around the ears. And I still can't find that darned baby blue alpaca hat! 

I have been using my Kiwi hat - and I don't care that it pulls down virtually onto my glasses. It's been cold enough that I just wear the hat. It got good use today! The snow was dappling the black "overhairs" on the kiwi yarn -- the possum part -- and the hat sparkled with diamonds. 

I tell myself it's a "cloche" style and it can rest lower on my head. Problem is, I have rather a short forehead. My mom's the same way. My sister has a higher hairline, which she says causes its own set of problems. But I have trouble with bangs and with hats. 

I'm still looking for a nice pattern. I love the basic ones, and I have to figure out something for my ears. 

Or I just wear earmuffs under or over the hat. It could work. I'm too old to care if it doesn't because my main goal is to be warm rather than fashionable. 

But a well-knitted hat never hurts. If it turns out that I find a luscious yarn, a great pattern and the right button or other accessory? I'm going for it. 

Random Pictures...

There are two more from today. A shot down our street and a shot of the tree in the front yard. I thought the snow was nestling in the tree rather nicely. And I just liked seeing our street decked out in winter's finery. 

There was a guy walking his dog. The snow was falling. There was that typical "hush" in the air. Regardless of people shoveling, snow plows coming down the street... you know that sound of the snow falling? The sound of those little flakes hitting the ground, making that particular "shusshhhh" sound? That was going on. You could almost taste the stillness and feel the sound. 

One of my favorite things is to walk in the snow. I don't have to talk. Really, it's more fun to listen. I'll even be happy going out there by myself. Just to absorb it. 

Did you know that there are studies that say silence is good for us? Think about it. We're bombarded by sounds. Mostly artificial ones, of our own making. We don't know silence anymore, and if we do, often we're uncomfortable with it. 

Bundle up. Put on some decent hiking boots. Grab the cross-country skis or snowshoes. Go outside and enjoy the snow in the daytime. I've talked about going outside at night. Try the daytime. And stick your phone in your pocket. (Carry it with you - it's a safety thing.) Walk in nature. 

See what you can see. Notice light and dark. Notice birds. Notice the signs of creatures that occupy the space. 

You don't even have to whip out the phone to document your walk on social media. 

The point is to get out there in nature and enjoy what it has to offer. Our Mother Earth will provide for us. And we need to get out there with her when we can. As often as possible. For our own mental and physical health, as well as to appreciate what she's offering us. 





















Saturday, February 03, 2018

Cure for Insomnia...

...Yeah, I thought that might grab your attention. 

I've been reading some of the books I got for Christmas, and I have to give it to Kid #2... He knows how to pick a knock-out. As in "knocks you out into a dead stupor."

It's "The Detective Stories of Edgar Allan Poe." See, he's literary. Well, he's an English teacher - they're born that way and they get even worse as life goes on. I'm as much to blame as anyone...he was made that way. 

So he got me a few books for Christmas; and I obliged by getting him a signed Amy Hempel. That's a woman who, if I grew up to be a writer (I mean, for, like, MONEY...), I'd want to be her. Anyway, I get these books from a "secret source" unknown to him. All I do is pay attention to who he's reading and who he admires. Then I go find a book signed by the author. 

Unfortunately, I think I've reached my apex in Hempel...Everyone else is going to be wayyyy out of my budget. 

Ahem. Back to the books. He got me the Poe, because he knows I'm a Sherlock Holmes fanatic. Not just a "fan" but FANATIC. I read the canon back in high school, and I still can quote large parts of it. And I've re-read it several times. I just love the way Conan Doyle put together the stories.

Well, legend has it that Conan Doyle wasn't the first to create a "consulting detective," and that perhaps Sherlock was conceived in the wake of Poe's C. Auguste Dupin. (Pronounced, "deu-pah" with the sound like you're swallowing the last syllable.) 

So there are 3 stories in this little volume: The Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Mystery of Marie Roget; and The Purloined Letter. I can tell you this: Poe is wordy and Dupin is a jerk. He makes Mycroft Holmes look positively ACTIVE. 

Sorry - Holmes humor... Mycroft Holmes is written as a large man who virtually never leaves his club. Dupin doesn't leave his home...and in several of the stories, doesn't bother to turn on the lights (in this case: light the candles). 

Anyway, the stories are short-ish. But they're - in a word - boring. They're over-wordy, and the explanations are murky at best. I mean, Holmes gets convoluted, but you can generally follow his logic. Dupin's logic is tortured, at best. Convoluted in the extreme. Battered to death by a wall of words with nary a discernible end in sight. 

Seriously, 3 or 4 pages, and I'm ready to snooze. I'll re-read them. There are nuggets there, and I resent not being able to dive in and grasp the story. So I'll review the book again, but for right now? It may as well be my "Intro to Statistics" textbook. One whack on the head and I'm out...

The other one I'm reading is courtesy of my friend Wendy - for my 60th birthday. Judith Viorst's "Suddenly Sixty," a slim little gem of poems. 

This is my "pick-up-and-put-down" book. You can just grab it, open it and skim one of the poems. Or several. Depends on whether you're taking a break from overly-enthusiastic knitting, or you're bored with whatever's in the newspaper. 

Or you just want a small snippet of something witty to read in between whatever you're doing. 

I haven't read much of her work; I could be persuaded to read more. I know all about her children's book, "Alexander's No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day" and I know she's noted for her short stories. 

But I never had any other exposure to her work. Have to investigate this more fully. 

The Super Moon...

Well. Once again, we missed the Super Moon/Blue Moon/eclipse thingie that went on. It was cloudy. And we're in a comparatively populated area, so there's a ton of light pollution. The best I got was a picture from Monday night's class. Really, the most deserted place I can be, outside of leaving town. 

This shot is over the top of the State Police road salt storage garage. 

It seems like it was gorgeous, given the photos I saw on the internet. I believe the next one is in a hundred years. 

Guess I'll miss that one, too. 

Knitting...

The Petty Harbour sock is coming along. I'm a few more rows down the leg, and I think I have about 7 more of the 4-row pattern repeats till I start the heel flap. 

I think this will make a great pair of socks, and I would do this again in a solid color - but something brighter!! This yarn would've been better used to learn a cable because it certainly has lovely stitch definition and with the solid color, I could've seen what I was doing pretty clearly. 

But I'm a little nervous about doing a cable in such a small yarn. Maybe I need to learn them on worsted weight, or something bigger so that I get the hang of it. 

If I could stick with this, it goes by pretty swiftly, I whip through the two "K around" rows, and then the K1, P1 row is a little fiddly, but the K3, P 1 goes by rather rapidly. 

Once I hit the heel, it'll be smooth sailing (see that pun there... Petty Harbour, "smooth sailing"...). I'm going straight knit from the gusset onward. 

I have a decision, though -- do I want to do the regular toe in the pattern or do I do my favorite: the star toe. I really like that one because it fits me the best. It's easy to do, and I think in this plain color yarn, it would really be striking. 

And then there's the "traveling sock," which I started the other day. I've been able to do rounds here and there, and I'm half way down the ribbing for the cuff. 

Here's the thing: I'm not sure I like it. It may be the only Opal colorway that I'm not too keen on. I'm not sure why they named it "Turntable." Doesn't look at all like a record player, a record, or a disco! It almost looks Christmas-like, but the red in the photo is actually a little more orange. And that black-ish line is actually a dark forest green. 

Anyway, this may be my "experimental sock" wherein I use a different heel and toe. It might be a good way to start expanding my knitting - or sock knitting - horizons. 

I'm getting a few of my "fancy" hanks in line to do shawls. Still narrowing down patterns. And I have a hat kit that I really want to start. Of course, since it's February, I have several projects I want to get done, and there are WIPs to finish, realistically, I'll get to it - MAYBE - in March!

The Columbarium...

Well, today was one of those days where I hit another thing on my "accidental bucket list." I had a person call the church and ask to put her loved one in the columbarium. It's a space behind the altar where cremains are stored. 

Our church is currently still searching for a vicar, and the family just wanted to place their loved one, no service necessary. That was today. So... I got the columbarium map out, figured out where the loved one was supposed to go, and we did it. Hubby was installing the new organ lamp, so he was in the church with them for a little while as they said their goodbyes.
I actually helped Hubby place the loved one's remains in the box. It was nice to give the family the closure. But it certainly wasn't what I expected. 

Random Picture...


I love well-done puns. And "Pearls Before Swine" has a run of the best ones. This one elicited groans from both kids so far. Stephan Pastis seems to be having a whole lot of fun with these puns. I enjoy a good comic strip, and so far, this one hasn't disappointed me. 

I still like the comics. I have my favorites, and I follow the story lines, like Crankshaft, and Doonesbury. There are quite a few I don't read, but overall, the comics can give me a chuckle, make me think, and sometimes point out something I may have missed. If they're good political comics, even better. 








Sunday, January 28, 2018

What IS it With Some Men???

I wasn't going to blog today; I really didn't have much to say. But then I saw this story about a record-setting polar expedition, and the trolls that came out of the woodwork. And I just couldn't stand it. 

Jade Hameister, a 16-year-old girl, has completed a "trifecta" of sorts - she's been to both the North and South Poles and crossed Greenland. You can read about it here, and about her TEDX talk.  At age FOURTEEN (yes, 14), she became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from the last degree of latitude, about 60 miles. She then did her TEDX talk. 

And out came the trolls, with "Make me a sandwich." Apparently, that's the latest meme meant to shame females who have the audacity to...be audacious! To do things. To be themselves. To be "more" if they want, to seek, to dream. To go beyond the confines of what "someone" thinks they need to be or do. 

Well. Jade made that sandwich. At the South Pole. And basically said, "Ok, here's your sandwich (ham & cheese). Now, ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole so you can eat it."

I think that's an incredibly witty and totally appropriate response. 

What is with some men these days? I thought it was 2018. I thought we were supposed to be able to get out of the kitchen if we so chose -- or stay IN the kitchen if that was our choice. 

At least, I thought we had a choice; we didn't have to be dictated to by men. I thought we had some -- some options. We don't have full equality, but for the love of Heaven - at least in this country, we can vote. And we can run for office. 

However, in some circles, apparently, we should "make [him] a sandwich." I would love to see what those people think of my own Hubby, who does 90% of the cooking, mainly because of my crazy work schedule. I'm pretty sure they think that I'm a "feminazi" and he's a "wimp" (or worse). I'm hoping, honestly, that that particular subspecies dies out. Soon. Sooner rather than later. The ones who see us - women, I mean - as one-dimensional characters who are there to spit out babies and clean up and "know our place."

Our place? It's anywhere we want it to be. North Pole. South Pole. Greenland. Holding office. Running a business. Running a household. Mother. Not a mother. Artist. Doctor. Lawyer. Truck driver. Priest. Astronaut. President. Whatever we want. No limits. 

Take a note from Jade - listen to her TEDX talk. And think about what YOU did at age 14. I'm not trying to shame anyone (except the "make me a sandwich" crowd of cretins). But when I was 14? I was babysitting... We didn't have a ton of options. I wish we did, looking back. My family situation was such that I was helping to run the house and did the side job of babysitting while in high school. It was what it was. Now, in my 6th decade, I look back and wonder what kind of opportunities I could have had "if." 

Sometimes, I think "if" is the biggest word of all. In the entire English language. "If" is also the saddest. 

Knitting...

Every sock starts out the same. It's a rather mundane row of loops on a needle. You always, always think, "This is not gonna work." No matter how many years you've been making them, you (or at least, I) always marvel that this little row of stitches grows into a pair of socks. 

The other day, at the studio, I had a gong event. I wore the Teal Socks. Proof that, yes, I will wear them. I think I have to wash them a couple of times so the Trekking yarn softens up. The sole is plain knitting, and for some reason, it bothered my feet. I'm barefoot a LOT. I usually don't have trouble with hand-knitted socks. 

These need to be exorcised or something. 

Anyway, while I was waiting for the presenter to get there, I got out my "traveling knitting" and figured I'd cast on a plain sock. I'm rooting through stash for yarn (mainly Opal, let's face it...I have a ton of it, the colorways are luscious, and it wears like iron!) to make into plain socks that can stay in the car or with me when I'm waiting somewhere. I'm determined to memorize that Vanilla pattern this year! 

As I cast on, I thought about it - everything starts from something simple. From beings who start out as sperm-and-egg, to plants, to a brownie that starts with simple disparate ingredients that come together to make chocolate goodness. Everything starts out simply. 

I'm working on the Petty Harbour socks, and I'm planning my next shawl. Every once in a while, I get overwhelmed by a pattern, and I have to think: it's only knits and purls. One stitch at a time. It starts out simply. 

It's a somewhat fiddly pattern. It's not difficult at all; a simple 4-row repeat, just that it's lots of knits and purls. The texture is lovely. It'll be beautiful, and I'm modifying it so that all I'm knitting in-pattern is the leg. I don't want this pattern across the top of my foot. It started out just like the Dreaded Teal Sock, this Green Traveling Sock, and every sock I've done so far. 

Loops on a needle. Connect them properly. Set the stitches so that the ridge is on top and you've got no twists in the loop. For me, I start with 4 rows of knitting, for a little curl on the top. And then, off you go. Round and round and round for about 12 rows or so of ribbing, then whatever you do in the leg portion. The heel flap. 

Then the oh-so-magical turning of the heel, closing the gusset and then rows and rows of foot in plain knit (for me - I don't like a pattern on my foot). Decreasing the toe. Kitchener the toe closed. 

Voila - socks. Start with loops. End with socks. 

I think I'm going to start a shawl after I get at least this first Petty Harbour off my needles. I will then, if all goes well, finish Petty Harbour, then finish off the two singles I have left: Bowties are Cool and Blue Sole-to-Sole. Those are my last singletons. I still want to do a number of pairs of socks for 2018. And I also want to finish a few sweaters, plus the shawls. 

So much to do. 

Quinn...

You all remember my little "Patch-Puppy" and her continual wearing of the ThunderShirt while her latest surgeries healed. We kept the ThunderShirt on her for a longer time, because it's been cold and she's been bald. 

Well, now she's just about back to full coat. There are still a few bare patches, but her undercoat is coming along and she's more comfortable. As I was brushing her the other day, I noticed two things: she has almost no "undercoat." She never has, poor baby. What I was brushing and what was coming off onto the brush was mainly top coat. And the texture of her coat has changed a bit. Not sure if it's the new food, the supplement she's getting to help keep the cysts under control, the fact that she wore the ThunderShirt for so long, or the fact that she's now an "older" dog. She's 7 now, and an 'adult' even though she acts like a foolish puppy still. That's just her. 

So far, she still has a few smaller cysts. We're watching them. I'm hoping that what we're doing has helped her. She's such a sweet soul. 

Random Picture...

This was from Preston's Gong Event. He sets up this little "portable temple" and plays his instruments. I was worried because it moves, and then, last night, it hit me... That's the point. As he's playing his gongs and drum, there's this tap-tap-tap -- and I realized that the coconut chimes (barely visible there on the right) were keeping time with him, and accenting the music. 

If you're local, you need to investigate this! It's a marvelous event that leads to a fantastic state of relaxation. This time, I found myself agitated. It seemed "louder" than before, almost aggressive. But then, I've been thinking about it...this is a year of change for me. Things are happening - and I'm making them happen. Things are in a bit of flux. I'm a little "un-centered" myself! Maybe that came through on the music. It's something that I've been pondering on since the event. 

We had nearly a full house, and I was happy about it. A few people didn't show, but we had a few walk-ins. I had to put up a "Registration & Policies" page on our website for the studio because I've been getting people who will register and then cancel the day of or the day before and want a refund. 

Hey, I know. Stuff happens. But as a business owner, I can't wait on you, and not know how many people will come. I'm pretty generous with my refund policy, but day of the event? Usually not gonna happen. Presenters come out specifically to do their job, and it's their livelihood. We hold these workshops and events for our students and the community, and we hope you like us and want to attend. 

And we hope you understand that we're a small business. We'll bend over backward for our students (yogis and all that...) but there comes a time when we have to have a policy and we have to have it across the board, for everyone. 






Sunday, January 21, 2018

They're Done...

Yep. The Dreaded Teal Socks are done. DONE. D.O.N.E.... It's taken me what? 5 years? I finished them the day after my 60th birthday (more on that later). 

It's a long time coming, and I'm so glad they are finally done. I think I broke the "Addicted to Sock Knitting" FB page - I posited a question: Should I spend my 60th birthday finishing these or starting something new?

Well... a couple hundred opinions later, a friend said, "Just finish them and get them off your back." So I did. 

As one comment said, "You must've loved them at one time - the stitches are beautiful and I love the yarn." I did love them. Honestly, my "dislike" happened at the heel of Sock #2 - I lost the pattern, couldn't figure out then which heel I was doing, and ended up totally mucking up the heel of that sock. And I was bored of the ribbing. 

If you look closely, you'll see two things: (1) I was literally 1" from the toe decreases -- far too close to finishing to rip the second sock out. And what would I do with a single teal sock??? and (2) there are two distinctly different heels. One is beautiful. One... Isn't. 

And the second sock is about 1" smaller in the circumference and about 1/2" shorter in length - even though I measured it. I think my tension was pretty crapped up, honestly. I was so frustrated at this pair of socks, it was destined that they wouldn't turn out to be a perfect pair. 

Though... if you think about it, my feet aren't a perfect pair either! And I bet yours aren't either -- most of us have one foot larger than the other by a little bit. And then, as we get older, our feet actually grow. I remember (back a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), when I was in high school. My shoes were size 7. Now I'm a size 9. 

The needles are the Kubics squares. SUPER-sharp, great for lace. But not great for a person who's a "pusher," like me. I push the needle with my left index finger. Yeah, I know - but each of us has our ways. Those needles are extremely sharp, and I've got a callus on that finger now, rivaling that of my guitar calluses. I had to let my finger rest for about a week before I could pick up the Petty Harbour socks again. 

And I have to say, Petty Harbour is starting to get on my nerves. I love the pattern, and I love the yarn. I love the way this is working up. But the purls are driving me nuts. The 4-row repeat is quick enough, but the "sort-of" ribbing look is a pain in the rear end. Then again, maybe I'm spoiled because my last two pairs have been plainer. The yarn had done all the work in those. This one, it's me and the pattern! There's really no discernable progress, so I didn't bother with a picture. In a few more inches, maybe. I'll be working on them tonight. 

ProFlowers Debacle...

So my 60th birthday was just recently. My oldest friend tried to send me flowers using ProFlowers. Well. The first time was a total mess. 

They were supposed to be delivered on my birthday. Which they weren't. They came a day later. And were left on the porch, because of course they were delivered in the 45 minutes that Hubby was out with the dogs. 

It was a "barely-two-ply" cardboard box, with no insulation, and the flowers were bare - no plastic or anything. 

So -- wilted lettuce. Icky. And I know she paid a good penny for them. So she called and they were supposed to be delivered on the next day. 

Which they weren't. I complained on their Facebook page, and they emailed me. By that time, my friend had arranged a refund. They were supposed to send me a "comp" bouquet. 

They finally arrived on the Thursday. Stargazer lilies. They usually arrive closed, so they can open and you can enjoy them. 

I think they are beautiful, except that the scent isn't what I need right now. 

It'll be interesting to see when (or if) the "comp" bouquet arrives. I think I'll be delivering that one to my friend for all her trouble. 

I don't think I'll be ordering from ProFlowers ever. I do order online when I have to, but I prefer to use a local florist; even if I have to ship flowers somewhere else. I think supporting local businesses is important. 

After all, you CAN get yoga videos on YouTube - but I'd rather you came to my studio. I care about my students, and I can't run a studio without students. Local businesses need you! 

60 Years...

So as I noted, it was my 60th birthday recently. A friend has told me this is "the best decade." I'm not sure. I'm feeling weird because I'm now older than my dad - he only lived to 59. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because even though we weren't close - it still stings a bit. 

I would have liked him to know his grandkids. 

I had somewhat of a melt-down on my birthday; miscommunication was rather the order of the day, and that, coupled with frozen flowers? It just sent me over the edge. It wasn't pretty. But it happened. Time to take a deep breath and go at this thing called "life" again. In a way, this IS a milestone. I'm looking at what my life was and what I am now. And what's next. And I'm so unsure. Maybe the insecurity comes first, and then the "best decade" comes later. 

Chicago Women's March...

...Or the march where we showed (once again) that we despise the Mango occupant of 1600 PA Ave. I went with 299,000 of my new best friends... We were 300,000 at Grant Park. This time, Chicago was prepared, and streets were shut off for us to use - so we actually did gather THEN march. Here we are, the three ReSISTERS as we call ourselves. My friend Sue had her artist hubby make her "sign" - and I'm telling you, we were photographed about every yard or so! Her aunt is the one in the middle. It was her first time. 

What I loved, aside from seeing everyone PEACEFULLY protest, from seeing the young as well as old, the diversity, the creative (and sometimes crude) signs, the joy and the common purpose we shared? Was seeing Sue's aunt's face. She glowed. She was overwhelmed by the energy and the vibe that was at the march. 

It's a transforming experience. And in Chicago - a place I normally avoid. Not because of crime or anything. Just that I don't like the hustle-and-bustle of the city. I'm not a city person. I'm a slower-paced person who's not always racing here and there. Anyway, on this day, everyone slowed down. Everyone took time. We talked. We chanted. We marched. And we made an impression. Following are some photos; I took nearly 200 of them, and though I deleted about 50 or so which didn't turn out, I had a ton to post on social media. These are just a few of them. Enjoy... 

I made a double-sided sign, and this one quote from Shirley Chisholm is one of my favorites. Elizabeth Warren kind of co-opted it, and her version was on the other side. 
One of my favorite signs. 



My backpack - snacks and a spare scarf, just in case

Truth there!
Love the fighting grannies!


A new day indeed

#Resist

...and he DID think it was all about him!

Wait till we all sync our hot flashes!











Sunday, January 14, 2018

#Sh*thole...

...I wasn't going to go there. I really wasn't. Because everyone else seems to have gone there, I was just going to let it lay. 

But I can't. 

I know that folks who read this blog are bright and intelligent (and must love yoga, cooking & knitting... else you're bored stiff! Oh, and dogs!). So I know that you know the meaning of the word "nadir." 

Let me skip around... I renamed my personal yoga page to include "wellness" in it, and I was digging through the thesaurus (the real one, the book) to find another word for "wellness" because, well...EVERYONE is using "wellness" and I didn't want to get on that train. I ended up using the word, but added another word to it, "essential." Kind of a play on "essential oils" which I use in my own wellness program. 

I didn't look for another word for "nadir" because that's such a cool word that actually fits where we're at, kids. Funny enough - now roll with me here - when you look it up, you find that "nadir" derives from the Arabic word meaning "opposite." 

So. The Hater-in-Chief, "Liddle Twittler," Mr. "All Thumbs," who endorsed a guy who held up signs saying that his wife ought to be raped, the reality star hack who's sitting in the most powerful seat on the planet... THAT guy - has caused us to hit the nadir. The very lowest point. "The lowest point in the fortunes of a person or an organization." The opposite of the word "zenith" - the highest point. 

By the way, the Urban Dictionary defines a "hack" as "a person who is a professional at doing some sort of service, but does crappy work." Well, there ya go. That just about sums it up, I think. 

With his statements about countries and people who live in them, he brought us, a once-respected country, even lower down the food chain than we were when he took office. For Heaven's sake, even Norway is laughing at us... 

Now, you have to understand this garbage. It's clearly racist. Because every single one of the countries he named or referred to? Hmmmmmm. They're all mostly brown countries. And he wants Norwegians. One of these things is not like the other. Hum it with me, if you remember the tune....

There were a lot of politicians who were, rightly, up in arms about the "holes" they came from, though mentioning Ireland is probably irrelevant. Yes, the Irish were treated horribly around here. My grandparents told me stories that would make your hair curl (or straighten, depending on what you've already got). And there were stories about them... Polacks, hunkies, krauts, any slur you want to make about people whose English isn't great. Even though my great-grandmother was fluent in 3 languages, and English was really her FOURTH language, that she learned, on the fly, as an adult in a "total immersion" that even Berlitz wouldn't match. (Google that reference if you don't get it...) So xenophobia isn't necessarily a new thing. Neither is jingoism. 

But now, it's living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And we cannot have that. Seriously, we can't. Historically, it hasn't ended well. 

There are stories out there that say that perhaps this is effectively the end of the Republican Party as we know it. That, because they have appeared to collectively have lost their spine, their courage, their souls or their what-have-you... nobody will stand up and say, "Enough." And Democrats? Well, frankly, we're better at stepping on ourselves and miserable failures in "street fighting" - I don't mean actual street fighting, but in the sense that we don't fight dirty very well. We like to think that if we can just talk about it, everyone will see reason. 


Well. They don't. Though I do find the New York Daily News cover amusing, it doesn't specifically help. 

The categorical denial by Mr. Twitter is amusing, since several people who were there can attest to what he said. 

And yeah - I know. Nobody's perfect, salty language happens, and there were of course Mr. Nixon and Mr. Johnson. Richard Nixon was a vile little man. And LBJ? Aside from showing his appendix scar and lifting a beagle up by its ears (enough in my book to have him horsewhipped...), he was a crude, crude man. But when he needed to be presidential, he was. We got stuff done - BIG stuff. And I'm talking about Civil Rights and the war on poverty and education reforms. Yeah, LBJ is pretty much "invisible" to Democrats now, but take a look.

We can no longer wait for Liddle Twittler to "become presidential." His expiration date has passed. 

Here's a thought: how about we LEARN from history. That would be different. And probably effective. 

Instead, we are once again watching Rome burn while Zero tweets. (Yes, I know it's "Nero," but I'm making a point.)

Retainers...

So I'm wearing the retainers about 20 hours a day. One can't wear them 24 hours, because one has to eventually eat and drink tea. I'm only allowed water while wearing them. I foresee another bout of weight loss, because they're kind of a pain to get in and out. They look like "invisible" retainers, and the other night I was seriously questioning my "purity" in not wanting permanent retainers glued behind my teeth. 

But then I thought about it. Never biting into an apple. Never crunching on a carrot. Celery would also be off the list. Not that I'm that pure... I'd also be in trouble with my caramel addiction. 

So. One month of "all day/all night" wear, then wear them only at night. And my dentist reaffirmed this, strongly. I know it's worth it. I've gotten compliments when people have actually noticed the braces are off. 

But I still talk like I have a mouthful of polenta! Oh, and the orthodontist cut down the top retainer because for some reason he thought it sat too high, and now there are "spurs" on part of it... Thankfully, I still have orthodontic wax. I'll have to have him trim it a little bit, kind of bevel down the sides. 

Knitting...

Well. All I have to report is - ZERO. Nada. Nothing. Nic. Nichego. Not a stinkin' stitch. It's been that kind of week. I set the Petty Harbour sock on my table. I swear I'm going to knit tonight. And then something else happens. 

I need to get it moving so that I can work on another shawl, or a singleton sock or something - the February Lady Sweater comes to mind, as a UFO. Also that scarf that I started in that bulky alpaca - since it's bloody cold outside (again) and I'd like to wear it this year. 

I need time. And of course, I know that all I have to do is settle myself and MAKE the time. It only happens if I get to the point of making it happen. 

Reading...

Just finished a remarkable little book. Well, it's not little in the sense that you can shove it in your purse; it's a full-sized book. Called "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir" - it's a debut novel from Jennifer Ryan. 

I really enjoyed the story and I loved how she wrote it. Taking a page (ha - see what I did there?) from "84 Charing Cross Road" (another FANTASTIC book, if you're interested), she wrote it in a combination of letters and diary/journal entries. It's really a charming story with multiple plots going, and spots where you just shake the book, and say, "WHAT??? What???" 

I really like that. I don't always want predictable. Yes, there are times when my brain is tired, when I want to practically write the end of the story because it's so obvious. 

But other times, I want the story to unfold. This was one of those books where I didn't want it to end. I could've used another 2 or 3 chapters, just to finish off some things. She resolved everything, but I wanted to know more about a couple of characters. 

Pick it up. You'll love it. 

Random Picture...

Saturday, I made two things: a tortellini salad full of veggies (which I should have brought home; at least a portion!) and Chrism (holy oil) for a baptism at church. The bishop blessed the oil, which I was happy to have him do, and we baptized a new young child into the church. 

And then we fed everyone. We feed people really well. We had sandwiches, meatballs, cheese, fruit, salad, more salad. Then desserts. LOTS of desserts. 

Anyway. I digress. The oil, if you're interested in ever making it, needs to be stored in an airtight dark bottle, though the bishop's secretary told me she's seen it in a pickle jar... Anyway, it's extra-virgin olive oil, and I added Frankincense, Myrrh, Spikenard and Galbanum. This was an older bottle; it's not manufactured anymore - at least Young Living Essential Oils has stopped making it because they can't get the plant anymore. 

See, this is why I love this company. If they can't get the real product, they don't go synthetic. They tell us that they can't get it. I was happy to get my  hands on it, courtesy of a friend who wasn't using hers, but I know I can't get any more unless I find someone with a stash!