Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lots to Talk About...

Yeah, I know. It's been another "while." I promised I would keep this up more regularly, but stuff happened.

I got a dose of that vile bronchitis going around, and it slowed me down a bit. I'm done with the antibiotic - this followed a sinus infection about 2 weeks prior. I swear, global warming sucks: we need about 2 weeks of a good, hard freeze to wipe out all the crud.

However, all that being said, I'm better; I just get a little croaky and my vocals aren't where they should be yet. And I could do without the massive post-nasal drip. Sorry for TMI...

But. I've been knitting. And I've got everything baked, wrapped, purchased for dinner, and practiced for. I'm done. Ready for Santa. Two days ahead of time. Wowza.

Here's the headband for K, the girlfriend (Kid #1's girlfriend). She's a lovely blonde, so this should look great on her. Alongside it is a small bottle of "Soak" for her to use. "Soak" is the equivalent of Eucalan - a rinseless product for use on knitting, fine lingerie, etc. I like using it for my stuff that needs to be blocked. It also smells nice.

In case you're curious, the wide part goes on the top of your head, and the I-cords go under, then back over the wide part, to be tied into a bow or fancy knot at the top of your head. She's also got long hair - I'd never be able to pull this one off, because I'm frankly in the same pixie cut I've had for a century and a half!

She's also getting a tote (small one) of Bath and Body products. She's been around a while, so the gifts are a little more plenteous this time.

Yellow Sweater
Also, Orange Sweater is done. Not assembled, but done. We know, though: a BOY and a GIRL. My mom is beside herself with being able to buy "pink." We all run to boys, so it's been a long, LONG time for her! Yellow Sweater is still in the works (I should be knitting on it now...) and it should be done before I go back to work. Here's what they look like, so far.

Orange with buttons
I've put the buttons "on" the orange one, just so you can see. I'm not interested in "twinning" the babies to death, so the only things that match will be the buttons. And of course, the basic structure of the sweater, but that's kind of secondary. I could truly whip out a couple more of these for "baby stash" because they're just about mindless, but they look really cute. They only go up to 6-month size, and since I refuse to make "newborn" patterns, this is it. I love the off-center front, and the fact that this is a basic construction. This pattern is rated "easy" and for good reason. But still - there's a ton of knitting in here. I'm sure a faster knitter than I would say "oh, a weekend sweater" but I'm not going to fuss. This was enough to enable me to make 2 sweaters. The crib afghans are going to be a haul, but these are almost an "instant gratification" project.

Flat knit
Here's the basic format before you fold and stitch, and a close-up of the buttons. The buttons look very different on each sweater.  I suppose a more talented knitter could make this bigger - for say a 12-month size. But by that time, I'd just give in and make a poncho!

Buttons.... The buttons are plastic, washable. Obvious, right? You might be surprised!! I remember my friend Mary Ellen made a whole layette out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino - and her DIL washed it. Washed. It.

This is, as I said, Cascade 220 superwash. I don't mess around.

And this may be a repeat, but I'm going to post it again. Here's a shot of our 2012 crop of ornaments. The only thing I need to do is find 36 more - for the upcoming twins!! I haven't done that yet, but if nothing else, I'm sure I can find them on The Google somewhere. I finished one kid...and next year, there'll be one  more off to college, so she'll be done, too.

And of course, my kids got theirs, too - even though Kid #1 is 29 and Kid #2 is 24... Kid #1 has the blue Santa in the middle. And Kid #2 has the bright green ornament to the right. He's a high school teacher and the colors of his school are green and white.

So on to the rest of the stuff going on. I've done the intro to the yoga teacher training already and I signed up. Wish me luck! I'm excited, and I'm hoping that all goes well. I think it will. I'm training at Prairie Yoga, doing the weekend intensives. It's a 9-month program, and I have a year to finish - I have to put off one seminar because of a Zonta Club event... I have all my books; I've read 2 of them (well, 3, but I have to re-read #3). I have my calendar all set up already. It's all good.

And finally, I can't help myself. I'm beyond sorrow about Sandy Hook Elementary. And I'm beyond mad at the NRA - in the person of Wayne LaPierre. I think he and his organization need a rectal-cranial enema. Because maybe then that will dislodge where his (and his members') heads are. "Arm the teachers." Right. Not. He is, apparently, ignorant. Well, obviously. But ignorant about basic facts of history. Columbine High School had an armed security guard. That worked well... So did Virginia Tech (a whole campus security department), and Northern Illinois University. And the Gabby Giffords shooting? The one guy with a gun couldn't get a clean shot, so instead of taking out MORE people, he chose (wisely) not to shoot.

We need common sense gun regulation. We need to parse the Second Amendment and realize that it does NOT give us the right to military-style assault weapons. It may give us the right to have a gun, but I can't see the Founders reacting well to this situation. The Second Amendment says we can arm ourselves to protect ourselves from an oppressive government - which isn't the country we live in.

And we need to become a kinder society. Caring for the least of these, caring about individuals and making sure that people are given what they need to function in society. Unfortunately, we're not there. I'm afraid that we won't be, for some time yet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh, CRAP....

The worst has happened. I was hoping to avoid it, but it happened. Man, this could get ugly...

Hubby has finally discerned the entire quantity of "The Stash." I'm screwed. And on an immediate "yarn diet."

I had said, over this long weekend, that I would like to "clean out the corner" of my office because we'd stuffed a lot of stuff into the office/yoga space/voiceover studio/guitar room/sewing room. You get the idea: the "multi-purpose room" gone amok.

Toiletry bags for rape kits
So we didn't get it done, but I actually DID finish up the rape kit bags. I'm just finishing up stringing ribbon in the last 2 of them. I did 25 and my mom did another 25. My friend Deanna is going to do some for me, too. Our women's group is doing larger kits with clothing, etc. These bags go in those kits for the shampoo, toothbrush, etc. We're doing this project through the year, so we will be able to not only deplete our stash of fabric, but we'll be able to give these women something a little more attractive than a zipper bag filled with stuff.

Realistically (as I go off on a small tangent), we know they're likely to pitch everything that would remind them of the incident, but at least for a moment, they have something that isn't "institutional" feeling. 

But, back to The Stash...

I did get a few other things done: we bought a "mini-me" truck for me (traded in the sedan) and I started on the lace pattern for the sock. Knitted a bit on the Yellow Sweater. Pulled out Silent Night to get working on it for Midnight Mass (yes, I do know it, but it'll take that long to build up the calluses I filed off to knit).

And today, Hubby pings me and says, (in tones I can *tell* are ominous) "You have an INSANE AMOUNT OF YARN!!!" He went out to buy totes, and no, I'm not telling you how many. But apparently The Stash exceeds the amount of totes he purchased.

The good news is that it was all in bags (specific tote bags) and those bags are now in totes. And I have a floor.

But...but... He KNOWS the extent of The Stash. This is bad. I don't knit for a living, but according to his note to me, I may as well, because I certainly have the yarn to do that.

Oh man. This is bad. I was hoping to only gradually introduce these projects as I was knitting on them. And as soon as I finish the knitting for the babies coming this spring, I was going to start doing these other projects. (sigh)

He'll get over it, because he has a similar stash of electronic stuff and tools. And I tell him that yarn is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cheaper than therapy.

I don't think he believes me...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In a Fog...

Yes, I do mean that. The weather alert popped up last night, talking about a "dense fog warning."

They weren't kidding. Here are some pictures from my drive in. PLEASE NOTICE, I WAS NOT DRIVING!! These are all at stop lights. Just wanted to make that clear.  :)

Driving at about 30 mph here.
My normal "zip up the road" to work was reduced to quite a scary crawl, as everyone was finally driving cautiously. Surprisingly, though it probably shouldn't have been, about 60% of the drivers did NOT have their headlights on.

Really??? Helloooooooooooooooo.... Especially you folks driving pearly grey or silver cars and trucks. Do you know that visibility is about 1/2 a block and we can't really see you?  Talk about in a fog. One guy was actually on his phone and doodling along with no lights, no wipers, nothing. Wake up, sunshine!

Behind that stoplight is the library.
See the rest of them... Can you believe it? It's supposed to be burning off by noon-ish but I'm not sure if that'll happen. It was interesting to see that people were actually obeying most of the traffic laws. It was about the only time that I drove at or slightly below the speed limit on my way to work. It took me about 15 minutes more than my normal commute.

Northbound Rt. 55 is behind the bushes.
Below we have some shots of the very busy Route 55 - normally a hotbed of traffic at this time. But you can't see it! And I can't see the bank across the lot from me.

My campus is behind here.
Hubby took the dogs for a walk this morning. He probably didn't see many deer, since they're all hidden in the fog at this point; I had to drive past several forest preserves and it's also rutting season - I was on high alert for any Bambis crossing the road.

On another note, I finished Baby Sweater Orange. Yay! I have to seam up the sides and get the buttons on. I've already cast on for Baby Sweater Yellow. It took 2 months, but remember, I work full time! Now, all I have to do is the two striped ones, and two crib-sized afghans. I talked with mommy and she says that they'll induce labor in late March. They won't let her go full term, even though she's very healthy. Since she's in her early 30s, they're treating this as a moderately high risk pregnancy. She looks adorable, and we don't know what the babies are yet; she says in a few weeks we should know.

I did get (finally) the backordered square Kollage needles and will transfer the Monkey socks onto those - it should make it easier to knit them, since the needles will now be aluminum and not wood which matches the yarn!

Speaking of "In a fog," let's chat about Social Security and Medicare. President Obama wants this "fiscal cliff" (a/k/a fiscal speed bump) taken care of, and he's signaled a willingness to "compromise." I maintain that cutting into SS and Medicare is NOT a compromise. WE paid into these programs, and they don't count as part of the deficit. Here's a handy-dandy chart on who exactly pays Social Security. I don't know about you, but I doubt in my lifetime that I'll reach a wage of $110,000 per year...

Initially, if I remember what I was taught in school, it was considered that anyone making over $100,000 or so was "rich." Remember, FDR instituted Social Security, so back in the day, that was a lot of money! Of course, that's when a decent-sized house cost about $20,000 or so, too...but I digress. So, if President Obama wants to make the rich pay more, how about they contribute to Social Security? Even at the "millionaire" level, it would help.

Please contact your legislators and tell them to leave Social Security and Medicare alone. I maintain they are NOT entitlements in the sense that they're "welfare" or a "hand-out." Remember, we paid for that!! So in the strictest interpretation of "entitled" -- yes we ARE entitled to get back what we paid in.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! We had ours on the Sunday before, which is tremendous! No in-law problems to deal with, and I have four whole days off! What am I going to do with myself???

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The fiscal cliff, Republican obstruction, and yoga

Somewhere in there, there's gotta be a theme!!

So, the fiscal cliff: it's a speed bump. I love how the media dramatizes everything. Even supposing (shocking, I know) that McConnell et al refuse to bargain and everything goes flushing, those cuts are phased in over FIVE YEARS. Five years. That's 1,825 days.

You're not gonna wake up and magically have your taxes raised and the economy in the toilet. It's available out there, folks - just read.

Republican obstruction: Like that's news? McConnell and the bunch need to realize that mid-terms are coming up and the American people (those who voted in this landslide election, remember??) are fed up with the divisive nature of politics. They're sick of seeing everything stuck because someone's having a hissy fit. So Prez Obama won a second term. Yes, he did, and yes I voted for him.

Y'all need to get over yourselves.

Yoga: I got to sub and teach my first yoga class last week!! How fun it was - and how nerve-wracking. I've been practicing for at least 7 years or so. But getting up in front? That was a bit scary. Luckily, the students took it easy on me and I had a practice that was fairly benign. No backbends; no pretzel poses.

I'm looking forward to teacher training in 2013 and hoping that after it's all done I have a place to teach. Just part-time. But I want to do this. I think I have something to offer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Been A While....

Good grief!!! I'm a "bad blogger" because it's been forever. Let's see if I can catch up.

1.  I've finished Kelly's headband. I just need to block it and then take a pic. I'm hoping (a) she likes it; and (b) I can find that little bottle of "Soak" that I got to go with it!

2.  Went through a period of  "cardiac unrest" recently with a new batch of PVCs cropping up. "Premature Ventricular Contractions." Sucks. Had a Holter monitor and then a ZIO patch monitor (which felt like a 3rd silicone bosom...and my own are original equipment, just so you know). We shall see what goes on.

3.  Hurricane Sandy. Enough said. Lots of prayers going to those still dealing with the mess.

4.  The election. Whoooooooooooooooooooooooo.... Glad it's over. Glad Obama won. Now it's time to clean House (and Senate)... I'm hoping Obama goes all "got nothing to lose" because this country's been held hostage to the Baggies long enough - we need some rational sense in DC and we need them to do what WE elected them to do. Midterms, 2014. Something for them to think about, no?

5.  Babies: Working away on the orange sweater for Twin A. Got the Encore Worsted for the crib-sized blankets (one orange, one yellow). Got the self-striping yarn for two separate sweater/hat combos. That's it. I've spent a TON of money on this (which I do not begrudge, but yikes --- The yarn I wanted for the blankets? TWO HUNDRED BUCKS for two blankets.)

6.  Kid #1 has a job interview; he's been trying to find something closer to home. Cross your fingers, please!!

7.  Yoga: Well, I taught my first class, subbing for MY teacher (talk about weird...). It was nice, even though we only had 2 students. And lucky for me, they were "regulars" so they were very patient for me and with me.

8.  Meditation: Have been leading those sessions for a while now. I'm enjoying it. I like the idea of meditation, but paradoxically, I can't meditate when I'm leading the group. I feel like I have to watch and make sure everything's ok.

9.  Yoga Teacher Training: Wow, coming up QUICKLY in February. I've read 1.5 of the books. Stuck on the Yoga Sutras - and no, it's not "sutra = sex" -- it's a translation of yoga philosophy. Somewhat sticky going, but luckily, broken up into manageable bites.

10. Socks: I've started a pair of Monkey socks with some delicious Opal yarn in their Vincent Van Gogh colorway - somebody's chair.... Very autumnal, but with all that baby knitting to be done, these are going in the "when you have a moment and are sick of a straight basketweave blanket" stack.

11.  Friend question: So what do you do when your oldest friend doesn't respond to a text? Well, several texts? I'm trying to be kind. Her birthday is Sunday, and I'm thinking she's on vacation (they go all the time). I am just feeling a little out of sorts because she calls me when it's convenient for her, and it's usually her issues we discuss, unless I can get a word or question in edge-wise. It's sad. I've known her since 2nd grade. I know some folks will say "dump time" but I wonder. She doesn't have a ton of friends (go figure) and there's a certain loyalty there, at least on my part. Input welcome...

12.  Diet:  Well, "new eating habits."  I'm down TWENTY-SIX POUNDS. I'm aiming for 30, so you know this is the stage where you hit "hard lard" which doesn't want to go away. After all, it's found a home in my belly for over 20 years, and it kinda likes it there!! I'm hoping that now that I feel better, I can get my exercise back into gear.

Will try to be a "better blogger" by keeping a commitment of at least one post a week. I'm sure I can figure out something to say once a week, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hats and Stuff...

As I said, I am posting pictures of the hats and the headband I'm now working on.

(left is for Kid #1, right is for Kid #2)
I took them off the blocking board and they're just what I wanted. I think each kid will be pleased with them, and I think each colorway reflects the appropriate kid.

As I worked on Kid #2's hat, I figured out some things I would change, which were then implemented in Kid #1's hat. In the picture on the pattern, the braiding looked "beefier" and more masculine. In Kid #2's hat, it's a little skimpy, even though I used EXACTLY the yarn and number of strands they specified. Maybe, if I do this again, I'll beef it up myself.

So for Kid #1, I did I-cord for the ties and braids at the top. And the downside of that I-cord is that the braids were easier to attach! I also contemplated a picked-up I-cord border, but when I was at that point, the LYS was closed and I couldn't even get The Google to show me how to do that!! So his edging is the same. I am afraid he will just have to live with it.

Here's a shot of what the crown of #2's hat looks like. I like the fact that the blue bands pull out the blues in the variegated yarn. I am not completely pleased with the "jog" in the color changes, but the next time, I'll have time to work on the "jogless join" technique.
Frankly, even though the pattern said "easy" I wasn't completely sure how long these would take to make. Honestly? Even though I'm somewhat of a slower knitter, they took me less than a month, which means for a knitter who is at "normal" speed, probably 2 weeks if you have a full-time job and knitting gets stuck in where you can. For the speed knitters, perhaps a long weekend? I'll never know that! LOL
So here's a shot of the more subtle colors for #1. The grey/cocoa color doesn't really pull out any of the variegated tones, but it all blends nicely. Kid #1 is kind of quiet; he prefers subtle. Kid #2 teaches high school, so you know he's got to have a "larger" personality! I have enough of each of the variegated + the other colors to do sideways scarves for each kid, too. I'm not sure if men do matchy-matchy, but I figure I have to use up the yarn somehow. I can also make the wrist warmers they've been asking for.
Or, I could do the hats, just reversing the colors - and give them to charity. The yarn is Cascade Superwash, and if I had my knitting notebook here, I'd give you the colorways. Just suffice to say that Cascade Superwash is great stuff. It's not overly bulky, but it'll be very warm for them. And if it gets tossed in the wash, it won't be a "Barbie hat" -- they do their own laundry, and sometimes things get a little confused! (Pink jockey shorts, anyone??)

Here is the "hat" or headband I'm making for the GF too. It's out of the yarn from The Sweater...but a different color. She's a light blonde, so this will look very nice on her. (OK, as a side note, WHY is Blogger switching my settings every time I post a picture? It's VERY annoying!!)
The green color is springy - this isn't a winter hat. It's more of a headband and it showcases a provisional cast-on (that blue part at the bottom. You work this part to about 9.5" and then do the shaping, adding an I-cord. Then you pull out the provisional, and pick up the stitches to shape that side. At first, I was a little boggled, but it occurred to me that it all made sense about 2 a.m. one morning. Yeah, I know - I really need a full night's sleep sometime soon!

The headband is in a nice rice stitch, and the side detail is interesting. For the RS rows, WYIB, you slip 3 stitches, then start your K1, P1 row. For the WS rows, WYIF, you slip 3 stitches, then start your P1, K1 row. Always slipping the stitches purlwise works out to this lovely rounded border you see. This yarn is hand washable, and as long as she doesn't wear globs of goop in her hair, it shouldn't be something that needs to be tossed in the washer or the Woolite every week. I may actually get her a bottle of "Soak" and put that in the gift bag. Soak is what my LYS carries instead of Eucalan. Same principle: soak the stuff, wring and block or lay flat. No rinsing required. And the Soak comes in several nice scents.
One thing for sure, this project is working out nicer than The Sweater. I love the touch of "sparkle" in with the spring-ish tones of the greens. It will stripe, but then, it's not like anyone ever said, "Oh, horizontal stripes on my hat make my head look fat!"
I have the afghan squares at work; I decided that they would make a great "lunch" project, and frankly, work will be the only place I actually get them done. I have to lay out what we have already and figure out what we need and also if we're too heavy on some colors. It's for elkhound rescue, so if it's a lot of grey - what can you say? They're grey dogs!
After the headband, I can start one of the sweaters or one of the shawls I have planned. I talked it over with Hubby, who's now *almost* aware of the extent of my Stash (yeah, I know - but we're cool with it because HIS stash of electronic equipment staggers the mind). Anyway, we thought that it might be good to just pull one project and work it from start to finish, regardless of how long it took. I was aiming toward "work on a project for a month, then pull another one out of stash" -- and I can still do that if it looks like it's going to take longer than I'll be alive to get a dent in The Stash. Like one of my quilter friends said, "I have enough fabric for now, said no quilter - ever." Substitute yarn for fabric and you've got me covered!
Well, I'd better get myself to work and clear off a spot on my desk. I'd rather be knitting. But I have to pay for The Stash somehow!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

THREE More Off The List...

The bolero is DONE!! And it FITS!! And I wore it last night. Whew.

So it's Knit One Crochet Too cotton, and I did it in a different colorway than they specified. I'd love to do another one in a solid color, maybe in one of their wools. The pattern is Yin Yang Bolero, and you can find it at your LYS or on Ravelry.

Here's the "pile of color" that was about the mid-way point. The colorways were similar, and I was looking for a "beachy" feel to it. Remarkably (why am I surprised?), this garment is HEAVY. Cotton weighs a ton and I can see why the Blueberry t-shirt I've got on the needles will be interesting to wear - I think I'll have to have a tank or camisole under that one!

The garment knitted up very quickly, even with a couple of additions insofar as adding some additional rows on the bottom to get a tad more length, and adding a few more rows at the shoulder to widen up the arms. The T-construction is quite simple, and once I got the hang of the weaving, the seaming up the sides was quick. A little quirky at the "rounded" part of the armhole, but I can't figure out how to do it any other way. I'm sure there is another way, but I wasn't going to futz with it.

Here's the completed bolero, front and back. I wore it with khakis and a white t-shirt. I have a purple shirt that kind of resembles the "heather" look of the purple on the bolero, but I thought it would pop better with the white. I guess that I could also wear it with black, and of course with a long-sleeved shirt, too.

I need to work on my posture... I like the way the blues and blue-greens blended here. And you know I'm a purple-nut, so it was nice to see the frankly purple areas and the more subdued periwinkle tones. This was pretty straightforward, mindless knitting in a plain stockinette pattern. The yarn did the work, and I just had to pay attention to some increases and decreases, plus areas where you cast on at the end of the row. Doing it again, I'd probably use a cable cast-on, but for this one, I think I did a backward loop.

Here's a shot of the fish button. The vertical buttonhole works marvelously, just have to remember to go "tail first" with the button so it lays right. All I did for that was run two lengths of yarn through the buttonholes separately and knot them in the back.

I'll be uploading a few of these pics to my Ravelry page, and I'm so tickled that I can "cross this off" and move on to some of the other patterns I've been itching to start. Patience, right? My friend Sue is fond of quoting "Patience obtaineth all things." But she's one of those quirky crocheters who only works on one piece at a time, and doesn't have a stash! She calls me a "yarn snob" but that's ok. Her only real fault is that she's a White Sox fan...I can live with that, though. LOL

Oh, and I guess I should mention that BOTH earflap hats are done. No pics; they're on the blocking board, so I have to get that taken care of in the next day or so. For Kid #1, he has I-cords. Kid #2 got braids. Honestly, I do like Kid #1's hat better - the colors are subdued. What I did wrong with them is that I picked up too many stitches around the earflaps for the edging, so they kind of "bow" out a bit, but I don't think it's a huge deal.

So now I'm just working on afghan squares. I need to pull out the headband for Kid #1's girlfriend; that should work up quickly. And the sweater that was originally for me? I'm so scared that it won't even go together that I may shove it in a bag, stick it in the yarn closet and let it marinate till I have more courage to face my obvious screw-up. Sometimes, you just need to let things get space and perspective. Right off the needle, the thing may have ended up in the trash. I spent a good chunk of money on it, so I'm hoping it goes together. But right now, I don't think I could tolerate it if it doesn't work out right. Perhaps a bit of meditation over my most expensive hank of yarn. Some deep breathing. Some prayer and definitely a plea to the Knitting Godesses...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

So Now? Go Get Involved!

I stayed up way too late watching Bill Clinton's speech. He was his usual mesmeric self, but then I got to thinking.

Here's the YouTube of Bill's speech (click on his name - I've provided the link there) if you haven't seen it. Take a look. Forewarning - he went well over his 20 minutes (who set THAT time limit?), but it's 48 minutes worth of facts, outlining what successes President Obama has had, and dismantling the lies of the Republican Party's platform, as well as a reprimand on the "we don't need no stinkin' fact checkers" plank in the Republican platform -- it's not actually a plank, but it's apparently the nails holding that platform together.

I love the fact that it's "arithmetic." In my planet, 2 + 2 = 4. It always has, even after my advanced Finance courses, where you were given multiple reasons why 2 + 2 "doesn't necessarily" need to = 4, given certain circumstances. Which is why I hated those Finance classes!

Anyway, after outlining the case for President Obama and the need for a second term, including the statement that "no president, not me nor any of my predecessors, could clean up the mess President Obama was left with in 4 years," he went after and explained all the garbage the Conservatives tossed around in Tampa. And he also explained in a clear and cogent manner some policies which confused academics - people that study this stuff - not to say that it also would confuse the average voter. Big Bill brought it to a sensible, level field where the policy wonks got their groove on, and the average American who doesn't study white papers as a matter of course could understand this stuff without feeling belittled.

So now what? Yeah, Michelle Obama was stunning. Elizabeth Warren? I swear, if she doesn't get elected, Massachusetts needs its collective head examined! (And may I admit that I had to double-check that'd think being from Illinois would mean that I'm ok with weird-looking names for states...)

But Bill ruled the night. And now WE need to do something. There was an overwhelming feeling that Clinton's speech "clinched" the election - even some Republicans admitted that. But his speech alone won't do it without us voting and participating.

Please don't sit on your laurels (or whatever you sit on) and think, "Ok, this is a no-brainer - he'll get in." Because he won't - without work. There are still states repressing the vote. There are disenchanted voters who need reminding of where we don't want to go. There are populations who need help getting to the polls.

Do something to help get the word out and Get the Vote Out.... Volunteer to be a poll watcher; go door-to-door or make phone calls. Write letters to the editor. Help register voters where you can. Remind people of early voting if it's available in your area. Just DO SOMETHING and don't sit on your rear end thinking "someone else..." We can't win if we don't vote. We can't win if people sit at home assuming "Someone else will be voting, volunteering, doing." That someone? It's YOU. Y-O-U.

Paraphrasing the Big Dawg, "it's a long, hard road." We all have to work hard to get where we need to be. As a nation, we didn't do it ourselves. We did it together. And we will still be the "greatest nation" if we continue to do it together.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Catching Up...

So it's been a few weeks. Let's catch up here.

1.  The Bolero: Finished, not in time for Convocation, but all I have to do is sew up the seams. It's at home waiting for me after work this morning.

2.  Kid #2's hat: Just putting the edging on it now. I was going to do a whack of I-cord and then sew it on, but I thought that I might want to do what the pattern says (boring?) just to see how it turns out - and I wasn't sure how the I-cord would work.

3.  Is it bad when you're looking at the yarn that's left and thinking, "Wow, a really simple rolled brim hat!"??

4.  Cardiac stuff: The guy at Northwestern said to hang tight with the meds for now. He said I'd have to come back twice with EITHER procedure, because "we don't want to nick your esophagus or the top of your lung." I don't want you to do that either! Those parts work, and I'd like to keep it that way.

5. My Website: For the editing stuff and the voice-over work - we just have to decide on which provider we want to use. Hubby did a FANTASTIC job on it, and when it's live, I'll post the link.

6.  Weight-loss: Well, the "Metabolism Miracle" is helping. I'm about 20 lbs. down, and I really feel good. I told my yoga teacher that I almost "whooped" in class. We were doing child's pose and it was the first time in YEARS that when I was in the pose, my CHEST was on my thighs instead of my belly. She's happy with this program because she said it looks like I'm "glowing" and not drawn or saggy-looking (as if I was on a crash diet or eating the wrong things).

7.  New Chiropractor: So, my plantar fasciitis never really healed up after the Avon Walk, and it's gotten to the point where my friend Lori the Podiatrist said she really couldn't do anything more from her end. So I sought acupuncture to at least relieve some of the pain, but the doc (also a chiropractor and medical massage therapist) says that he'd rather work on getting my foot "right" and then use acupuncture if necessary. I have never had a "medical massage" but I have been adjusted. He pointed out that now, even though I can touch my toes, I'm bending funny and my hips are out of line (which I could feel). After he got done working over both calves, I felt like cooked linguine, but oh my.... I have noticed a difference. I'm excited to get this all fixed, and equally excited that he's in my insurance plan!

8.  Upcoming Election: PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE!! Go to the Google. Type in "register to vote" plus your state. Find out the deadlines, do your homework, and GET READY TO VOTE. I'm patently and obviously a liberal-progressive-tree-hugging-Democrat. And I really do want "our side" to win. But aside from that, it really irks me that people in some districts (You know who you are, Ohio) are screwing with everyone's right to vote. EVERYONE who is eligible should be able to vote easily and I can't believe we're going back to the Jim Crow era. Please make sure your registration is in order; help someone who's not sure of the process; offer to drive to the polls. Get involved. We have the right and we need to exercise it, regardless of HOW you vote. It's important that you DO vote.

9.  Abortion Rights: Really? Hang on...let me check. Yep, it's 2012. Women have been part and parcel of society since Eve ate the apple. We have the right to vote. We work. We raise families. But a group of uber-religious men want to tell us that we don't have the right to make the choice. I'm also blatantly pro-choice - which does not mean I'm pro-abortion. It means that I am in favor of our God-given right to make up our own minds. What does the Bible say? (I figure since we're being thumped over the head with it, we may as well use it...) God gave us free will. It's not my job to be God. It's my job to be there for you, to ask questions, to help you make sure that your decision is right for YOU. Not right for ME or right for some Republican conservative who won't ever know the impact the decision will have on you, because he's not living your life.  Abortion rights are needed. What's not needed is men shoving women backward. As women, we need to shove back. If you weren't born with a vagina, you really don't have a stake in this fight.

10.  The Garden: Well, I'm not sure we'll be overrun with tomatoes; they're coming steadily but not in great numbers or great size. Carrots? Well, yeah, THOSE are coming along like crazy. And my friend Shaun brought me a bag of backyard peaches. We're making peach preserves today. I hate peach preserves, but I know people who love them, so what the heck, right? I'd rather use them than toss them. If I can find the fruit without having a heart attack, we may also do strawberry jam. And I think we still have sour cherries - that would make a lovely sauce over ice cream, don't you think?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pink Shoes Day...

Blessed Rain!!
When your day looks like this, it's a day for the pink shoes... Granted, we need the rain - badly. But when it's 7:30 a.m. and it looks like 7:30 P.M. and you're planning a mad dash to work before the heavens open -- and  you miss it anyway because the heavens open on your way, and in spite of a rain coat the color of sunshine and your favorite full-sized purple umbrella, you're still fairly well soaked on your way into the office because you don't have a canopy over your front door and the rain is coming in buckets and your key is tangled in the key lanyard... you need the pink shoes.

In a moment that was totally outside my norm, I bought, for a wedding, a pair of pink tennis shoes. Granted, this was a wedding reception that was being held at a bar with a beach volleyball court...but I figured I needed something "zingy" that wouldn't require me wearing heels of any sort. Since I was also making the cake, I wanted to be able to carry it to the table without the danger of falling over myself. So I bought pink tennis shoes and a raspberry-colored straw bag to carry with me. I thought it was pretty spiffy looking, if I do say so myself.

Jodie's cake
Here's a picture of the cake. Amazingly, I had it scanned into the computer - because the original picture was actually on film! It was supposed to have been stacked - I purchased the acrylic stands the cakes are on specifically for the purpose of making the cake look like it was "floating" in the air. But once we found that we were outside, in August (this was several years ago), and next to said beach volleyball court, and there was a pretty stiff breeze? Well, we didn't stack the cake. Maybe for their 25th anniversary, I'll do it again and we'll stack it!!

Anyway, they got married lo those many years ago on a cruise, and then had a reception for those of us who couldn't attend the wedding.

Back to the pink shoes - I've worn them several times since. Always get comments on them, and I'm not sure if it's more like "Good grief - a woman HER age wearing those?" or "Good on her for wearing those." But I really don't care. They're comfy and they make me happy.

So today, we watched a storm spring up literally in front of us. And I decided it was "pink" day. I skipped the crazy socks; I do have my limits, right? I have a raspberry sweater on becaues my office is a blast chiller; I have on my 3 strands of faux pearls in pink, white, and red. And I'm wearing red gemstones. With tan khakis and a white tank top. And the pink shoes.

There's gotta be some sort of zing of color in a grey day like today, right?

At the moment, we're between rain storms.  We've probably got another several hours of rain, and like I said, it's nice to see that. Could do without the sound-and-light show, however. Particularly since I don't like thunderstorms, and the east wall of my office is actually a window...

I didn't bring my knitting to work today, which is probably a good thing. It would've gotten I'm reading at lunch. I'll be up and around checking on our IT department, who're redoing our computer lab, and I'm busy kicking "pillbugs" out of my office.

First, the bug guy said they were coming inside because of the drought. He re-sprayed and they went away for a while. Now, with the recent few rainstorms, they're coming in because it's dry in here?? Anyway, they're marching in like a herd of elephants, and we're vacuuming them up as fast as we can every morning. Our cleaner has taken to counting them!

So in honor of today's rain and in light of the fact that I'm kind of bored with my usual "neutral" dress, I'm wearing my pink shoes and trying to bring some "bright" in the "grey." Every once in a while, it's good for me to get out of the usual "beige" and "grey" that I usually wear. Today, I'm not going to blend into the wall.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Bolero Project

I have finally had it with baby blankets. Nobody else can reproduce for at least a year. Seriously.

And I hate, hate H-A-T-E my Knit-along sweater. I haven't even assembled it because I'm still disgusted. I mean, my mom will have a lovely sweater. That part I don't mind, but I kind of do mind, because I made this thing for me, and it wouldn't fit me if I gave up eating...

That being said, I did dig a little in the stash pile and found the Yin Yang Bolero by Knit One Crochet Too. You should check out their patterns; they're very cute. I have their "Blueberry Tee" that's in the stash, about 1/2 done, but I thought the bolero would be a nice change.

They made it in two distinct colors (each side is a different color) but I chose two of them that were kind of close together. I have a totally fun fish button for it, and I plan to wear it by the end of this month.

Here's what I have so far. I've started on the back - you knit each side from the bottom up, and then join them at the back, knitting across.

You can see that the yarns I have, color 672 and color 631, are rather close together. There's enough purple and blue in each to make them sort of look like they match. I didn't want to do the green they suggested, though the 631 was one of the pattern colors.

It's going to be short, in spite of me adding 4 rows at the very bottom, prior to starting the increases. But that's ok. I can wear it with an un-tucked t-shirt or a turtleneck if I want. I've recently found my waistline and I think this won't look too boxy.

I had a little trouble with the "joining" in the back because the instructions weren't exactly clear. And what I did was just knit the 2 colors together. I don't think it'll look odd; so far it seems to just be a little "tweedy" at that point. And if you're that close to my back? We'd better know each other!!

The buttonhole they had was a yarn-over and it absolutely was not going to fit the fish. Here's the fish. I wanted a colorway that was kind of "beachy at sunset" looking, and I wanted a fun button. The fish is a wooden one, so it's going to be hand-washed or using a dryer product just so the button won't get ruined. The yarn is 100% cotton, and surprisingly heavy.

So, I changed the length a tad, changed the buttonhole, and along the way, learned a new skill: the vertical buttonhole.

Now I've done yarnover buttonholes...most of the time they've been mistakes! But this buttonhole thing was serious, and I did a little looking around to see what I liked. I ended up with this one out of a knitting book, I think Maggie Righetti's "Knitting in Plain English" but I can't remember. Anyway, it was easy, once I got over the thought of breaking yarn and knitting it up that way. But it wasn't that big of a deal. The pattern calls for 2 balls each of the colors, and luckily, ball #2 of the appropriate color started on the colorway I was in the middle of! Whew!

So this is my buttonhole. I'm rather proud of myself.

I also learned "Work as for left front, reversing all shapings." Yikes...That took a little bending of my mind. I thought, "Oh, I'll just do another left front." Not really. I had to think that all the shapings which initially were done on the right side of the work were now to be done on the wrong side. Luckily, the pattern is entirely knitted, so it's rather mindless when you come down to it.

As usual, it's all in my knitting journal. One of these days, if I'm lucky enough to see the Yarn Harlot in person, I hope to bring her at least one of my knitting journals and have her sign it for me.

Knitting journals are weird things. Some knitters (not me) can just knit a pattern and keep a few scribbles on the pattern itself. Some can do it all in their heads (!) and don't have to write anything down or keep track of what row they're on or what they've modified. That would not be me.

I write things down. A lot. In detail. Excruciating detail, some might say. But I can't seem to function otherwise -- I mean unless it's a scarf or something. And I keep a ball band and a scrap of the yarn in the journal, too. It's like a diary of where I'm at as a knitter.  Or as ample record of my anal-retentive characteristics. Or a record of the fact that I need instructions to do the same thing twice!

Either way, the journals are helpful. I have about 3 of them in current circulation, plus some paper from my old Franklin planners that I have attached to patterns. Those will make it into the appropriate journal at some time. Or perhaps it'll just be stuck on the pattern and the pattern put back into the binder. You never know. If I actually do make the same thing twice (it's happened - the Liberty Wool mitts are on version #3 for MIL - I didn't like the second pair to give to her, but that's another blog entry), this is a good way to track what I did, particularly since sometimes little quirks develop.

The hash-mark row counting was what I learned from my second knitting teacher. My first, my grandma, could count in her head. I didn't stick with knitting long enough for that to work its way into my brain, and my second teacher (a now-deceased talented knitter named Dorothy) was a fan of "hashing" - she didn't even like the katchas (mechanical row counters). So I got into that habit. And with Sonda, knitting teacher #3, it just stuck. Sonda actually used my notebooks as an inspiration to a knitter who'd had a stroke and was having trouble.

The woman was one of those "in my head" knitters and she was horribly upset about being unable to do that after the stroke. I remember Sonda picking up my notebook, and telling the lady, "Look -- she does it and she hasn't had a stroke. You have to do what works for you now and then go from there."

So. The journals work for me now. Hopefully, the bolero will come out on time and fit ok. It all comes together eventually, I suppose. And if the bolero DOESN'T work... well, it'll fit my sister.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

"Biblical Marriage" Concept...

Well, with the recent Chick-Fil-A crap going on, I figured I'd just mention something obvious, that I learned in church last week...

The conservatives ramble on and on and on about marriage being "sacred" and "between one man and one woman." We'll leave the majority of the biblical citations alone - those showing that a man can have more than one wife (simultaneously) and is entitled to lie with his concubines, his slaves, prisoners of war, etc. Those are just "piffle" compared to the conservatives' strong moral assertion that marriage is SACRED, BY GOD, AND WE ARE THE STANDARD-BEARERS.

This inspite of so many Republican politicians being "caught with their toes tapping in the bathroom" among other things. And they don't resign. They keep going - which amazes me, because it serves that old adage, I guess. "If you repeat a lie long enough it becomes the truth." So conversely, if you ignore the willful disregard for the "sanctity" of their own marriages, then I suppose their constituents can as well. Remember, Newtie Patootie said he was compelled to have multiple affairs because of his "patriotism." And now as a converted Catholic, he and Calista (wife and former mistress while prior wife was dying of cancer) are paragons. I guess.

Anyway, on to church. We have recently been attending St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church and have truly enjoyed the switch from Catholic to Episcopal. It was a little strange at first, but we have rarely felt so welcomed and so embraced.

So we went last Sunday and the first lesson (First Reading in Catholic) was 2 Samuel 11:1-15... which I am telling you now that I absolutely do not remember in all my zillion years as a Catholic. At least not in this fashion.

This reading tells about David and Bathsheba. The following part caught my eye: "...he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house..."

Wowza. Period and extramarital sex all in a few sentences. And then, farther along in the reading, David gets Uriah drunk  so he and Bathsheba can play footsie together, Bathsheba becoming pregnant after the first round of sex. Then, David --- who, if you remember, is the David who slew Goliath, the poet, the writer of psalms.... David sends a letter, delivered to the battle commander by Uriah, who was apparently illiterate. The letter said "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die."

Add "murderer" to that glowing description of David.

My point is this. Well, two points. First, I've never quite heard this version, though I've seen the Hollywood movie. Second, let's add this to the pantheon of verses that really rather bash traditional marriage. I'm pretty sure Uriah wasn't keen on just letting Bathsheba go. Cultural differences of which I may be ignorant may play in here --- David was the Big Cheese. Perhaps whatever (or whoever) he wanted, he got and Uriah didn't have a choice.

But let's just suppose for the sake of argument that Bathsheba and Uriah were for the most part, contentedly married. Then, some Big Cheese summons her out of her purifying bath (sorry, the period thing still kind of blows my mind) and has sex with her. She's married. He knows that. And he goes ahead with his own selfish wants and desires.

This hardly sounds like a good biblical argument for 'traditional marriage.' It sounds like those folks were pretty randy and surely not as straight-laced and conservative as today's conservatives would like to portray them - or themselves, for that matter.

Either way, the Bible is open to interpretation. And without doing too much scholarly thinking, I'm thinking David didn't exactly respect the "traditional" marriage. He didn't have any qualms about seeking out a woman he wanted. And getting her. And then killing off her husband, if not by his own hand, by his own command.

This section alone kind of blows the conservatives' argument out of the water. And it's not the only one.

Gay marriage will happen in some form or another. There's so much science out there proving that it's not a "lifestyle" but a biological trait. It seems that with our economy in a snail's-pace recovery, a huge budget battle looming, wars on 2 fronts... with all that going on, Congress and the conservatives have this stuff to argue about?

How about, just for fun, you folks get the jobs done that we need you to get done? Oh, maybe they really ARE, since Mitch McConnell said that his job was to make President Obama a one-term president. But I think that with the "do-nothing congress" we're now seeing, Mitch may be sweeping out some of his buddies with that same broom. People are fed up with the wrangling and lack of action.

I think - and I hope - that we're past looking at the shiny objects distracting us, and we're paying attention to what matters: getting our country going again. Moving forward instead of staying in limbo arguing about stuff that in the end won't change anything.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gun Control Discussion...

Politicians are busy this season avoiding any hard discussions about the reality for the need of gun control. Nobody wants to "anger the base." However, it's a discussion that is literally the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. It needs to be had, hang the "base."

Just as an aside, the alternate definition of "base" is "lowly" -- as in "lowest common denominator." So politicans appealing "to the base" are appealing to those voters who usually are one-issue voters, vote without educating themselves, and are usually also the "vocal minority." Squeaky wheel, and all that.

There is no God-given right to own a gun. If you can cite a source in the bible that says you can own an AK-47 (or an AR-15) with an extended clip, I'd like to see that. The Second Amendment, vaunted as the 'be-all and end-all' of the gun discussion, also doesn't mention any right to own a gun conferred by God.

Actually, the Second Amendment (as ratified by the States and authenticated by then-Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson) reads as follows:  A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Since so many people insist on "strict interpretation" rather than realizing that our Constitution is a living document meant to be deliberately vague for the growth of this nation, we'll go that route.

So... No "God" in that Amendment at all. There goes that argument. Then there's the phrase "well regulated militia" -- a militia, in the strict definition, is "a reserve military force that is on call for service only in an emergency." (Webster's II, third ed.) So, let's look at the last part of that definition: on call for service only in an emergency. Is your argument that you are part of a "reserve military force" so you are required to own a gun? Is your argument that there's always an emergency? That's a little paranoid. An individual is not a part of a reserve military force in 2012. In the late 1700s? Well, yeah. There were no organized police forces; the military was just being put together. People lived in agrarian areas far from their nearest neighbor, unless they lived in a town - which was usually remote from the next one. I can drive to the next town over. Heck, I can walk down the block and across one street and be in the next town. In 1787, for example, I had to get on a horse or in a wagon to go to the next town. A militia in this case was necessary because I couldn't exactly dial up the cops when someone was robbing me or breaking into my house. A gun was necessary when it was me or the wolves. A gun was necessary for me to get my dinner, since we didn't have the local Jewel 2 miles from my house.

And let's look at the next phrase "necessary to the security of a free state." Well, there's the hole in your argument. We have a police force. We have a military, and a National Guard. The "free state" is usually relatively protected. All of us go about our business unscathed, and we don't have to be worried about Indians coming around the corner to ambush our settlements. We have modern communications: if we need official protection, we call 911 and people who are actually trained in protection will come to our aid.

The phrase "the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed" is also worth some discussion. Again, no God. But if you look at this without the "crazy-eyed" notion that someone is going to take your guns away, you can see that the Founders didn't want us to stockpile our own arsenals. You may have a Constitutional right to bear arms, but do you really, really need an automatic weapon with an extended clip?

And to those who say, "Oh, if the folks on Colorado were armed, they'd have stopped the shooter"... I have 2 words for you: FORT HOOD.

If you recall, in Ft. Hood, a crazy gunman shot people on an ARMY BASE. Where they routinely CARRY weapons. And they're trained to deal with them properly: they know how and when to shoot. And still, 13 people were killed by one guy. Who had access to "the most technologically advanced weapon on the market and the one with the highest magazine capacity." He told the gun store owner, who asked a logical question ("How do you intend to use this weapon?") that he "simply wanted the most advanced handgun with the largest magazine capacity." He also was able to return to the store on a weekly basis (red flag much??) to purchase extra magazines and hundreds of rounds of ... ammunition. (Wikipedia, accessed 7/26/12) When he was finally apprehended, he had in his pockets 177 rounds of unfired ammunition in both 20- and 30-round magazines.

In a logical world, you don't need that kind of capacity. Unless you're in uniform and deployed to war, or a cop. And I'd even question the cops having that amount of firepower on a "normal" basis.

I have a crazy right-wing uncle. Otherwise intelligent, a gun collector, hunter and absolutely rabid in his assertion that this president can 'take away the Second Amendment.' Procedurally, that's not correct. A president can't unilaterally make any changes to the Constitution. Period. That's how the Founders wanted it. Amazingly, they knew they didn't want to give that much power to one person. You won't find that factoid in any talking points, though, because it's much more effective to promote the agenda that "the black guy in the White House will be taking your guns away."

The only thing I agree with about this uncle is that he's equally as rabid about gun safety. His guns are stored in a locked safe. His ammunition is stored in a totally different safe. He hunts, but usually with a bow and arrow, because "it doesn't give me an unfair advantage against the animal." When asked about semi-automatic weapons and hunting, his comment is, "Why would you want to ruin the meat?" He hunts for food, not for trophies.

I'll give him that. But otherwise, he's kind of a crazy-gun-guy and is determined to have an arsenal. Some of his weapons are historical in nature, but quite a few of them are modern weapons. Be that as it may, every year, he requalifies through a gun safety course. And he makes sure that his hunting buddies, and his family, also do that before he'll go anywhere near them with a weapon (like to the shooting range or to hunt).

We need to address the very basic gorilla (maybe a chimp?) -- you don't have to "restrict" the ability to own a gun. But you do have to regulate it. People with mental problems do not need guns. People with criminal records do not need guns. People who amass arsenals need to have a chat with authorities. These are common-sense regulations. They will help keep people safe.

In the movie theatre, one politican said that "if everyone was armed, it would've been over." OK: picture this. Darkened movie theatre. Assailant in full body armor. He tosses tear gas. Crowded and closely-packed area.  People pull out guns, they're blinded by tear gas, and they randomly shoot. C'mon, use logic. How much collateral damage would've occured? And how could an amateur actually shoot a guy in full body armor?

I owned a gun. A .357 magnum 6-shot. I sold it, because it became more gun than I would ever need. I was a decent shot. But I truly believe that only my crazy uncle or perhaps my brother (who taught me to shoot) might --- just might have been able to make that shot.

When I was studying criminal justice, one of our instructors, a former police officer, gave us "Shoot, Don't Shoot" training. Even those of the students in the law enforcement track were unable to reliably complete the training. Our instructor said something that's stuck with me to this day: "Even well-trained cops can screw this up. Shooting someone is forever.  What you do with a gun will haunt you all of your days."

I don't want that responsibility. I don't really want my neighbor to have it either, because I'm convinced that most of us civilians not only "couldn't hit the broad side of a barn" but we're not psychologically ready to make that grave decision to pull the trigger with the realization that what we're doing is forever. Not that all my neighbors are nuts. They're just civilians. They're untrained. They haven't been in the position to have to shoot in self-defense. And I don't think they understand the permanent nature of firing a weapon at another human being.

That doesn't even count the people who really do have psychological issues. If you're on medication for a psychiatric disorder or ailment, you don't need a weapon that could kill you, permanently maim you, or hurt someone else. You just can't deal with it. Period. Cold hard fact.

If you're a criminal, even if it was a "non-violent" crime, you've abrogated your right to have a gun. You broke the law. You're done. Period. Cold hard fact.

If you do decide you need a gun, you really do need to get training - and not from some clerk wanting to make a sale. You need to have real training in what you're getting yourself into. Buy only the gun you need. And normally, honestly? That's a rifle to hunt with and a handgun if you feel like you need the protection. And neither of those needs to be an automatic with a large magazine.

If you want to go the "carry" route, then let's do away with "concealed" carry. Wear it proud, folks. Why have a criminal "think" that you "may" be carrying. Own it. But be prepared that statistics show that a person wearing a weapon has a better-than-even chance of having his or her weapon used against them. Do you really want to be shot by your own gun?

The politicans have to grow a spine and address the 800-lb. gorilla. It needs to be done because we're already almost "out of the news cycle" where we'll forget what has happened in Colorado. Tell me honestly, did Ft. Hood even cross your mind till I wrote those words? Nope. Because we're easily distracted by shiny objects. Our politicians and news media have made us that way. We don't bother to do our own independent thinking and we rely on "authorities" to tell us what to think and what to say.

The Founders, I'm sure, wanted a thinking nation. A nation unafraid to deal with the tough issues. And a people brave enough to know when to say "Enough" -- and make a brave change to ensure the fundamental safety of all of us.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meandering Monday...

OK, so I know I should ("should") be blogging more often, because I know I have wanted to say stuff, but I'm just pffffffth lately. So here goes with a really random list of things I've wanted to say.

1.  Penn State: Sorry, not enough. The NCAA should've invoked the "death penalty" on them. The students/coaches at SMU did something rotten to earn theirs, but not NEAR as rotten as allowing a pedophile virtually unlimited access to children. Sure, invoke the fines, pull back scholarships and delete their presence from bowl games -- and YES, move the statue of "St. JoPa" - but more importantly, a "death penalty" will give people pause and give them lots to think about.

2.  Health issues: I'm feeling pfffffffffth because (a) it's hotter than a convection oven today and has been for a while -- and I'm not "lizard" like my mom. Not liking the heat. And (b) the medications I'm taking so far lower my heart rate, keep my blood pressure down, and thin my blood. And I'm still having the "joy of Mother Nature's visits" so I'm probably somewhat anemic. Tired much? I swear I have the stamina of a newborn and it's really annoying me.

3.  Health update: I have an appointment in August with a specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital about the ablation procedure. They're doing a "cryo-balloon ablation" as opposed to a "radio-frequency" procedure. One is hot (RF) and one is cold (cryo). One is 6 hours on a table (RF) and one is about 2 hours (cryo). While I know there are risks on every procedure, to me - the fact that you spend less time "under and out" makes the cryo more appealing, but I've got lots of questions to ask. The ultimate goal, of course, is to fix my heart while it's still in good shape and get me off the meds that make me feel "pffffffffth."

4. Knitting update: I absolutely HATE the sweater!!! It's wrong. The gauge is wrong. The measurements are wrong. It looks like a sweater that would fit a 1o-year-old. And I knitted it according to the "XL" size on the pattern. I'm sure (ahem) that there's some knitter-issue there, but I've heard from some of the other KAL knitters that the yarn was a stinker to work with. I have one skein left, and I'll probably trade it for another color (pink or salmon) and make Kid #1's girlfriend a headband. She's a blonde, so the ivory yarn would just melt into her head.

5.  Politics: Does it strike anyone else that Mitt's going to LONDON to hold fundraisers? Yes, they'll be soliciting "American donations" but those folks work for Barclay's Bank. Conflict much? The Citizens United decision is stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And for SCOTUS to have the gall to claim that there would be "no inherent conflict or corruption" means that those folks need to get out more.

6.  Knitting 2: I've started a bolero out of Knit One Crochet Two cotton. It's pretty. And yeah, I've already frogged and started over. Knitting = relaxation, right??? Auggggggggh!!! But it's coming along and I hope to have it done before Convocation, which is our big "start the fall semester" celebration at work. It'll be cute. If it's not 100* in the shade!! It's cropped AND short sleeved, so I'm hoping I can wear it.

7.  Tippi's Therapy Work: Well, the Tipster is working out quite nicely at Child Advocacy Center. We have a gig tomorrow that's THREE appointments! I believe she'll do well, as long as we get a break mid-way through for her to eat and decompress a bit. And we start the work at the main campus for "Tuesdays with Tippi" in September. She'll be a busy girl! We'll have that TDIX certification in no time! Not bad for a rescue dog.

8.  Knitting 3: Yeah, lots of knitting today. I'm trying to get organized and do a NO MORE SHOPPING approach till I get some projects done. Please, stop laughing!! I'm serious!! I've decided to bag up my projects (those not started and the WIPs*) and pull one out a month. Work on that project for a month (socks don't count if I can get them done quickly) and get some of this whittled down. *WIP is "manufacturing speak" for Work-In-Progress. The other common term is UFO (Un-Finished-Object).

9. Knitting 4: So the boys found "ear-flap" hats they want for Xmas. Blowing a slight hole in my "empty the stash" project... Yes, the yarn is purchased. Yes, they're bagged up. Will start THEM after the bolero.

10.   The Garden: So it looks like Hubby's persistent watering has done some good. We have our first batch of tomatoes, and the herbs are weathering the drought. We have a nesting pair of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, and they visit the feeders regularly (as do the wasps, but we have traps out...). The shallots are done and need to be pulled up, and the carrots are coming along swimmingly.  I do, however, have a severe problem with a soil-bound fungus which is totally screwing up my roses. Unfortunately, the only cure is to pull them up, pour on neem oil and then never plant roses in that area again. Bummer. But I think we'll shift over next year to a butterfly-and-hummingbird-friendly garden. I also have a Memorial Garden set up for our dogs who're passed on with solar gazing balls and little monuments. It's a rock garden, and we have St. Francis there. And my Cubs gnome.

11.  Ron Santo: Sorry, I was only going to do 10... But Ron Santo was finally (FINALLY) inducted into the Hall of Fame. Could you all have waited any freakin' longer??? The man is dead. He LIVED for Cubs baseball. And he had a pre-steroids record, including him being a diabetic, that should make most younger players hang their heads in shame. I'm so glad he's finally there, but jeeze....You're talking about inducting Sammy Sosa and the other 'roid-heads that are already there, and you leave Santo out in the cold till after his death? Heartless morons. His wife and family were very gracious. And actually, I'm thrilled. Just annoyed at the way it all came down.