Thursday, July 11, 2013

Progress in State Politics? Oh, and Socks...


So Gov. Quinn (in some circles, known as "Gov. Jell-O") has finally done something that is, of course, being labeled a Political Stunt.

And I'm ok with that. Because at least it SOUNDS like progress, even though, yes, by and large it is most likely a Political Stunt.

He's zeroed-out the budget for legislative pay (including his own, I must add), till the state politicos get their severe rectal-cranial inversion fixed and do something positive about pension reform. Now, that's likely to mean whatever they come up with will suck. But at least there may be some forward momentum, because right now, on several levels, this is a horrible situation. 

We are the laughingstock of the nation. Aside from the 2 governors in prison, I mean. Our state rates a really crappy credit score; we have a "purple" state in that the Reds and the Blues are equally corrupt and practice the Religion of Nepotism with a verve and fervor not normally seen outside of the Bible Belt. And there are so many seniors I know who are in dire straits. They're in danger of being penalized by the politicos and losing what's left of their pensions. 

The issue is truly complex to unpack. I can't. Well, maybe I could, but I'm not privy to anything other than what I read in the papers. And I can tell you that even the conservative Chicago Tribune said today in their editorial that the legislators haven't done their jobs, so why should they get paid?

Now, can we ask that question in Washington???

I know. Stop laughing. 


Teal Trekking XXL
Here's the progress on the Trekking XXL socks. Not much, but every sock starts with a cuff. At least the top-down ones, right? You can see the roll where I did the knit rows. And I have to say, a 1x1 rib is a very fiddly business. 

The pattern is A Nice Ribbed Sock and you can click on the name to get the link. It's free. I think it'll be a nice addition to my sock knitting repertoire. You know how many varieties of sock yarn there are out there? Well, a couple of plain patterns in your notebook will be enough, really, to get you started on a "good sock drawer" full of handmade socks. I know, I sound like an evangelist, right? But as soon as I got past the "ayyyyyyyyyyyy" factor - in which I said, "Ayyyyyyyyyy, I'll NEVER be able to do this!!!!" -- well, it's not rocket science. Though one must suspend some belief around the time you turn the heel, because that's still magical to me. It just turns. 

Seriously, you follow the directions and then, presto! A heel. Sheer genius! 

Cuff & Roll
I think that, just for grins, I'll actually follow the pattern this time. Though I still use the joining method in the sock book I have at home. Basically, on the DPNs, you exchange the first cast-on stitch with the last one and it makes a nice, crisp and basically invisible join with no jog in the first row. I'm not at the point where I'm able to knit socks off the top of my head, but I am more comfortable now.

I just noticed the picture. I really need some hand lotion... 

I wish I could take my socks on the plane. Hubby and I are off on a trip in August. Kid #2 will be holding down the fort along with the intrepid Tippi and loudmouth Quinn. But I just checked the regulations...I can take plastic needles.

Seriously, you can take a butane lighter on a plane, but you have to have plastic knitting needles. Not even my bamboo circulars!! So I have to find a plastic set in my stash to put the Before and After scarf on. That's turned out to be my mindless-travel-knitting project. Well, it's 96" or so - there's a lot of "mindless" there. I'm just having a minor knitting spasm thinking of that lovely lace-weight merino on plastic needles. 

I'm also going to the TKGA show in Indianapolis with two fiber fan friends. I am taking 2 classes and each of them is taking one class each. One of the classes is a big-honkin' Aran Sweater class! Yikes! I'm just doing Continental Knitting and one other. I have homework to do which amounts to casting on 40 stitches. I think I can get that done in time!! I'm driving, because I'm an anal retentive control freak who doesn't do well in traffic. It's been ever since the head-on accident in 2000 - I just get antsy when other people drive. That's ok. My truck is comfy, it's high up so I can see, and they can knit in the car. I actually can't knit in the car because of the no-line bifocals. They also prohibit my reading in the car, as well. Too much movement.


It occurs to me that I haven't talked about books here for forever. Right now, I'm reading Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace in "real book" form and I'm working my way through the Jane Austen collection on the Kindle. The actual version of Sense and Sensibility is quite different from the movie, although I must confess that, aside from the obvious age gap between the actors and characters, I like the Emma Thompson version the best. The story is handled well, though Kate Winslet as a 17-year-old is stretching my literary muscle to its extreme. 

Apparently, I can take the Kindle on the plane, so I may load up on some Margaret Atwood and have those to read. I had read Alias Grace and The Handmaid's Tale - I have both of them in regular book form. I don't mind re-reading a book if it's a good one. 

I also re-read all of the Yarn Harlot books I have. I do have to pick up a few I missed. But those will be in regular book format. I've linked to her blog here, but her books are in the sidebar. What I like, aside from the humor, is that often, the patterns are so accessible! Her sock pattern is next on my list of experiments. With the Opal yarn, most likely, since it seems to be a pretty straightforward sock and the Opal is self-patterning. 


So I taught my first Community Class. It was different, teaching with 2 other people, particularly when THEY practiced the sequence and I didn't! Happily, I did the intro, so there wasn't much for me to actually practice. We got lucky in that we all are fairly mellow folks; our practice was a quiet one, and we handled the transitions pretty well, in my opinion. The  next one is July 23 and I'm still working on my section. In that one, I'm doing the middle section, so I have to wait - all we have is the middle and end sections...Dang, I hate being dependent on someone else to get things done. But I need to let go of that. She'll get it to us, and we have our part in to her, so she can see what we're planning. I just have to make sure my section is about 1/2 hour. With at least 3 poses "just in case." Always better to have too much, in this instance.

It also looks like my Tuesday a.m. class may be going on hiatus for August. We're not getting the people. But I have to say I'm very happy with the Wednesday night class. I had 8 people last night. You may think that's not a huge class; it's not huge but it's workable for someone with limited teaching experience. And I don't like big classes. Frankly, I think our training class is too big, but that's just me. I'm used to smaller classes at our campus in my day job, and I think that there has to be a limit in order to be effective teaching. The Tuesday class has only generated two or three people at a crack, and honestly, we need at least 8 consistently (which would probably mean an average of 10 who come "regularly" because the average might then be 8 week-to-week). We've got some options, so we'll see. 

Dental Freak-out...

My permanent crown comes in next week. Yes, I'm freaked out. And I think I have 2 more cavities. What the heck........??? The crown gets "installed" the day before I leave for Indianapolis, so hopefully it goes without incident. 

Anyway, tomorrow, I go with my knitting group to just sit and knit. Will finally (I hope!) get the cuff done on the sock and be able to start on the leg.

Saturday at work, I'll work on yoga homework. Hey - it's the a.m. shift and after we get them settled in, nothing else is going on! 

Till next time....

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