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.