Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All A-Glow...

Every once in a while, you get a compliment - I mean an honest-to-God, out-of-the-blue compliment. And if you're very lucky, it comes when you most need it. 

Last Monday, as I was preparing for my Basic Yoga class, one of the students, an older lady, relatively new to my class, stopped me in the prop room. She said, "I just love you. And I love your class. I'm so happy that my friend nagged me into coming here. You are the best!"

Well. Gosh. I smiled, because I really felt the sincerity in her comment and I really, REALLY needed a good lift. I almost discounted it as "Oh, I'm not really the best." But luckily, it didn't occur to me to do so. 

But why in the world SHOULD it occur to me to do so? Perhaps because I've been feeling down lately. Perhaps because we're so often told, even in this day and age of selfies, self-promotion and all that, to "hide our light" - or in the immortal words of Lady Gaga, "dim your shine." 

I don't know. All I know is that I was walking about 3 feet off my mat the whole evening. 

I mean, really. I'm all about teaching my students that affirming your own self-worth is important. "Be careful how you talk about yourself, because you are listening" is an oft-used quote in my class. 

So why is it so hard to think that -- hey -- my students just may actually LIKE me?? 

Anyway, that was the icing on the cake of a very weird Monday, and I so appreciate when things like that happen. 

Food, etc...

Chilly-day chili
Today was a chilly day, so a good day to pull something random out of the freezer. Have you ever cooked up a batch of something, frozen a bunch of it "for later" and then completely forgotten about it? C'mon, 'fess up. 

Well, this is what ended up in my lunch bowl today. Chili. And I know it's mine because Hubby doesn't use black beans. I did have to add some salt to it; and a dash of some probably ancient hot sauce. But it was warming, and good. 

And this is my new favorite "Pumpkin Spice Chai." You all know that all the "pumpkin" stuff around this time of year has -ZERO- pumpkin in it, right? Zip. Nada. None. It's mostly chemical. Blaaaaaggggghhhhh. Anyway, I love pumpkin spice combos. So I found this in the Target the other day. 

I must say - it's VERY good. I use 2 bags for a 12-oz cup, and I like that it's something where I control the sugar. I'm a hopeless Starbuck's Chai addict. But I really, REALLY need to cut out the sugar. This helps. 

Today, it seems to be all about comfort, so I used honey. I have to cut out all the sugar, but like I said... This is one of those days where you want to hang out with a bowl of mac & cheese (yes, the Kraft stuff you grew up on) and just vegetate. 

I had a hankering and Hubby indulged me, though he had a lot of trouble with the crust... I wanted pie. Perhaps it was one of my Facebook friends who posted a (ghastly) picture of apple-and-bacon pie. Urgh, no thanks. Yes, apples + pork = goodness. But not sweet and not with a crust. It just didn't do anything for me. But the idea of "pie" did... 

So here you have apples, a pear, candied ginger, dried cranberries and golden raisins. I hope it turns out ok. The crust is a bit thicker than I like it, but we're just gonna roll with it (ha). It's not like we're exhibiting at the State Fair. Hubby went to further indulge what I will most likely regret, and we have a good vanilla ice cream to go with this. 

I've honestly (mostly) been good with the sweets. Hubby bought Halloween candy and I have not touched it. I usually buy stuff I won't eat. He buys stuff he WILL eat. And luckily for me, one of them is something I particularly dislike: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 

You want a good peanut butter cup, you hustle yourself over to the local health food store and buy a Justin's peanut butter cup. Much better peanut butter - more creamy than the grainy stuff I've tasted with Reese's. 

And I didn't feel like running out, so there you go. Speaking of running out -- the other day, I had a meeting at one of the local restaurants (name withheld to protect the fact that it's a decent spot, though I think I dislike their politics)... And this is what I found in the waiting area. I actually found 2 things, but this has to do directly with the restaurant...

Yeah, one of the duck dudes. Gag me. 

But otherwise, our meeting went well, the food was good and the location was decent. 

I just have to ignore the jerk in the lobby... Hopefully, in this mostly-Democratic town, (we're actually mostly purple) this won't impact the success of the place.

Lucky for us, several younger folks (I'm talking 20-30 year olds) are opening up food spots in our downtown area. A cheesecake place is coming, and there's this place, plus one more. I'm happy to see the youngsters come and liven up the place. 


So I just got my copy of Creative Knitting - the Winter 2014 edition. And I fell in love with this shawl. I thought I'd like to do it in the yarn they specified. 

I couldn't find it at my old reliable, Jimmy Beans, so I did a search on it. Only to find that the COLOR here, bright orchid, is now discontinued. 

Really? Ok, I know - realistically, publishing a magazine is at least a 3-month prospect. And yarns come and go. Luckily, I was able to find the yarn. And I found this color in the "discount" bin, so I actually got it for 50% off. Normally, I'm willing to experiment, and have been trying to branch out. But truly, I didn't like any of the "regular priced" colors. That was before I hit the "clearance" button. The other color on clearance was a rather odd-looking peach. And I don't even like to wear a NICE peach tone. 

So, the baby sweater continues apace. I'm almost done with the last bit of the front. I bind off and then pick up stitches for the button band. I'm seriously considering making I-cords and skipping the button band/collar combo. I have enough yarn. 

Actually, I will likely make a washcloth out of the yarn I have left, since this is a substitute pattern from the original. I didn't like the fact that the original was quite futzy. I believe baby sweaters should be as easy as possible. Babies are chunky, in the main, and they don't require a crap-load of shaping. This is a rectangle with sleeves, and I like it. The sleeves are a bit more tapered than my usual sweater, and thanks - I did find the pattern book.

And I made about 4 copies of that pattern so that I could stash it... 

Anyway, I'm going to finish it (at least the body) tonight, probably deciding then if I want to work the button band. It's an NCIS night, so I'm looking forward to the veg-time. 

Random Picture...

It's a comic this time. I couldn't resist. I'm constantly looking at menus, and in the editing biz, we call it "Chinese Menu Syndrome." 

You know: Like this one. I am so sorry, but Victoria's secretions don't really interest me. And no thanks on the "crunchy avocado." 

We can't help ourselves. We proofread. All the time. And I'm sorry to admit: we laugh. Yes, we do judge you by your ability to spell and your comprehension of sentence structure. 

Even if the food is good, like the one local restaurant which has a "Friday Night Codd Special." What? Cod is more pricey with the added "d" there?

And this one - you're kidding me, right? Fried rice, rice not included?? Or does a house really come with the "House Fried Rice" item?

Anyway, I saw this comic and I thought of what I go through. I was at a lovely tea shop recently, and only the fact that the waitresses hover kept me from taking a picture of the menu. The misspellings were rather funny. And it's a tea shop. They don't even have the benefit (?) of not speaking English! It wasn't even a word or words commonly messed up. It was simple stuff, much like the "Friday Night Codd Special."

They do, however, make a killer egg salad. But the Red Velvet Cheesecake? I could've done without that. 

Anyway - for your enjoyment...

I will tell you that a table of English majors and/or copy editors can be a total hoot. At least we think so. We trade these kinds of faux pas as kids trade baseball cards. 

It's funny even if you are not an English major. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Plucky Petunia
I haven't decided whether this is "bloom where you are planted" or "go with the flow."

Either certainly describes my life at the moment. 

I got word that apparently the Dean "doesn't know what to do" with my position, so it looks like, after 8 years of happy employment, I'm facing the dreaded "reinvent yourself yet one more time" thing. 

The problem is that jobs like mine don't grow on trees. Or sprout up between patio stones, either. And other jobs I can do? I can do lots of things, but employers in this tight job market only look at the "recent" job experience. Eight years is a long tenure for some folks. 

I'm moving forward, though. Like this Plucky Petunia (wouldn't that make a great name for a hand-dyed yarn?), I'm going to just move on and see what there is to see. 

My boss has been entirely supportive and incredibly sympathetic - even passing job leads to me. I have an alternative, if I want it, but I'm not sure I want it.

Don't be picky, you say. Well. The option involves something that would require me to work with a difficult person, commute in one of the busiest business corridors in the state, and work odder hours than I already do. 

At what point do you say, "You know, this just isn't going to be a good thing"? I'm not exactly a newbie on the job scene, which works both ways. It makes me slightly more expensive, but frankly, I'm an extraordinarily hard-working person. But it also makes some employers look at my "tenure" and think, "She'll be retiring soon." Which isn't likely. 

However, as Plucky Petunia seems to say, "there's always hope." Will keep you posted. 


This blue stuff is Lorna's Laces, "Shorewood" colorway. I can't wait to knit it up. It'll be socks, but I'm not sure how, because I'm not sure how the colors will lay out. I think this might be the pair where I try for a cable. Just one. No need to be greedy. Just on the leg. I'll search around. I don't think I'd like to do socks that are definitely "right" or "left" leg - because the wear patterns would be pretty immediate. Maybe a mock cable would be cool, too. 

Sounds like I'm a chicken about cables...and that's probably right. I've never done them, and I know it's like reading a chart: sooner or later, I just have to dive in. 

It's only knitting... 

So here are my "voodoo socks" -- I had ordered this Lorna's Laces (colorway "St. Charles") in the deluded hope that perhaps this would bring me luck in a possible transfer. 

Oh well. At least I'll have socks. 

This is the Vanilla Latte pattern free on Ravelry. It's a cuff of my own creation, a bit of a mishmash of things, and I'm really (a) loving the autumnal look of these; (b) enjoying stitching this up because the yarn is gorgeous on your hands; and (c) anticipating what will happen with that purple spiral/stripe thingie. 

These were initially for a KAL (knit-a-long) in my FB group, but since I have to buckle down on the baby knitting, I definitely know I won't make the deadline on the socks. But that's ok. I'll have socks. 

So I needed a "mental health day" and I (obviously) headed to my LYS where the lovely Kelly had set aside two of these beauties. And of course, I grabbed the 3rd one. Never pass up a new Opal colorway. This is Sweet-and-Spicy2 -- a reiteration of their first Sweet & Spicy, which was nice. But this is kind of nicer... From left to right, we have: Watermelon, Honey, Peppercorn. 

So many people on my FB group love a watermelon yarn that's hand dyed. I love it too, but it's a bit pricey. This Opal will knit up just fine. And I'll have watermelon socks. I have to figure out what to do with them, because EVERY one of them are self-patterning. So you want something that will not be boring (as in Plain Vanilla) but not too busy so that you are fighting the self-patterning bits. 

Maybe a pinstripe or some variation of K3, p1 or the like. I have time. Gotta get to finishing the baby knits! Today will be dedicated to the sweater, and then I'll crack on with the blanket. I'm really only worried about the blanket now, because I think the sweater will be done in about a week, if I do nothing but knit on that. Which I'll do because babies have deadlines...

And since this is a newborn layette, I want to make sure that the kid has a passing chance at actually FITTING into the garments! 

These are the buttons I got for the sweater. Since we're doing the whole "snowflake" theme, I knew that while my "vintage" white buttons would certainly have sufficed, I really wanted something a little more into the idea. Of course, the child and parents reside in North Carolina, where snow is but an image on a Christmas card. But the mom grew up here in Illinois, so she knows what winters are supposed to be like. Anyway, it was a whole $2.60 for the pair of buttons, and if you count what I've already spent on yarn, it's a small price for cute. 

The War that Isn't a War...

Shades of Korea. The air strikes in Syria are all the news lately, pushing a lot of other important topics to the background. What I find interesting is the coalition, which now includes Saudi Arabia - heretofore, they were only going to "allow the US to use their airspace." 

I guess when you're looking a caliphate in the face, you change your mind. A caliphate, in case you're not familiar with this kind of ancient word, is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious leader. This is a clear and present threat to the monarchy in Saudi Arabia. 

Anyway, my reference to Korea is somewhat historical too. It's known as the Korean War, but actually there was never a formal declaration, so technically it's the Korean Conflict. Which conflict lasted longer, I believe, than BOTH World Wars. 

I'm afraid that's what this War That's Not A War will be. And I'm afraid of what it will cost us. In the many layers of that "cost," I'm considering the political cost, economic cost, body count, and history. Why do we have to be "all war all the time" lately? 

And how about a "War on Poverty" or a "War on Corporations" to keep them from taking advantage of paying -ZERO- in taxes while us average folk pay a bunch of money - to keep our government running while the corporations who've purchased our politicians continue to bemoan the "lack of talent" in the US workforce and the "lack of opportunity because of oppressive regulatory rules."

Ha. You want an "oppressive regulatory rule" then how about paying your fair share and stopping the shipment of manufacturing and jobs to cheaper overseas locations? 

That would help. 

Health Issues...

Well, aside from not sleeping because of the aforementioned job issues, I'm hopeful that the cardiologist will give me a good report. I have my annual physical too, wherein we'll have the "why didn't you do anything about this long-term anemia?" discussion. And another visit with the hematologist to reaffirm that my iron levels still stink, and probably get me going on the iron infusions. 

I'm sort of back on track with the food issues; less junk, more fluids. Working toward more exercise, too. 

Random Picture...

Of the elusive Siberian Husk-Cat. Raisa is about 50% cat. I'm convinced. She uses her paws just the way a cat would. Here, she's emphasizing to Hubby that she REALLY wants to have him continue to give her belly rubs. 

Or otherwise she will pummel him with her big fat Husky Paws. 

I still expect that if I was not sitting directly next to it, she would completely try to climb up on the canary cage table when Arlo isn't there. Just to get a better view. 

Yesterday, she apparently thought that my knitting chair was her personal province while someone came to the door. The other 2 dogs were yowling at them by the window, so she clambered up on my chair to add her voice. 

Hubby says, "OFF!" and she LEAPS from my chair to that couch in the picture. 

Yep. At least 50% cat. And 50% idiot. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

So Much to Tell...

Well, it's been an eventful few days. 

My mom's surgery for a resurfacing of a tendon in her hip went ok. It's a good thing my sister's a nurse. However, I'm still stuck doing some stuff for her that I'm not jazzed about. 

I make a sucky nurse. Can't help it. Always have been.

And in the Meantime...

Buddy, my mom's dog, has been boarding with my brother. Sadly, the other day when my SIL was walking him, she and Buddy were attacked by a pit bull.

Now, you know I'm not "breed-discriminatory." I've known some awesomely sweet pit bulls, and some "more-than-obnoxious" little yapper dogs. 

Just stating the facts. Anyway, SIL was walking him and out of no where, a pit bull charged both of them. Had she had "just a few seconds more," she says, she'd have picked Buddy up and out of the way. However, the pit was pretty fast, and SIL was trying to keep him off both herself and the dog. 

The owner came running out and tackled the dog, but in the meantime, Buddy slipped his harness and took off like a scared rabbit... He's still MIA. We have everyone out searching for him, and posters with a reward offered.  

Interestingly, SIL was very shaken up (I'm going somewhere with this, trust me), and she blanked out when my brother asked her which house... But a COMCAST driver said, "Oh, I know that place - this is the THIRD time, if not more, that that dog has gotten loose and charged or attacked people." 

And the COMCAST guy drove past the house to grab the address and bring it to them. OK, that's above and beyond, and I'm happy he did that. 

My brother is talking to the family lawyer. The town has a "3 strikes" law. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but the facts remain: the dog has a history of getting loose and attacking. And my mom's beloved dog is now missing, in an area where there's a lot of traffic and far too many opportunities for a small dog to be a DEAD dog. If - or when - he's found, if there are any vet bills, plus the reward, etc. -- she deserves to be compensated for that. I'm nobody to wish a dog to be put down, but think about this:

My mom's 76 years old, with a bad back and hips. What if SHE had been the one walking Buddy? What if, instead of walking Buddy, she'd been taking the twins for a walk in the stroller and this dog attacked? 

If you can't or won't train your dog, you have to be prepared to suffer the absolute worst consequences. 

We hope to hear soon. We've got him on Lost Dogs Illinois, he's on my FaceBook and Twitter, and we've called the shelters and animal control. The animal control guy said that all the vet clinics know to call them if a dog is turned in. He's chipped - I know our own vet will scan and then call the owners.

So, if you pray, please pray that my mom gets her dog back. Otherwise, good vibes to the Universe are also appreciated. A few prayers for my SIL wouldn't go amiss either... The poor gal feels awful - as if it was her fault that the pit bull got loose. 

I know how I'd feel. No matter how much my mom tells her it's NOT her fault, she'll still feel guilty. 

If there's ANYTHING to feel good about, it's that neither of them were hurt in the attack. It could have been vastly different. 

Fall Is Here...

Today, I wore gloves in to work. We haven't turned the heat on yet, but it's definitely fall. And Hubby put long pants on. There you go. When he climbs into his hiking boots, we know it's getting colder! 

You might be able to see the temperature indicator on the dash. I came in this morning and it was 40* outside. It's getting up into the 60s so if we go out on The Great Search for Buddy, it'll be nice weather for a walk, that's for sure. 

And this was my look on Thursday. Yep, socks with Birkenstocks. Hey - there are what? Over 100,000 stitches in a hand-made sock. I want people to see them. 

Though with these colors - who COULDN'T see them, right??

And yes, I did roll my cuffs down after I took this picture. Just illustrating that with hand-made socks, sandals are a perfect fashion statement. 

The garden hasn't fizzled yet. We still think there's at least 1 batch of cucumbers. And since Kid #2 is coming out this weekend, perhaps he'll take some tomatoes home with him. 

The sun can't decide if it wants to be out or behind the clouds. And the clouds are bumming me out -- we're supposed to "almost" see the Northern lights, courtesy of a massive solar flare. But not if there are clouds. 


Beginning newborn hat

So yesterday, I started the baby hat. And I ended up using DPNs because I only had 16" circulars, which are too large. 

But I think the hat looks too small. You cast on with size 5s and then move to size 7s. However, I cast on with size 6 and went to 7s; so the size differential isn't quite as bold, but on the other hand, it might fit a head that's slightly smaller than a 12" softball. All I can hope for is that Susan doesn't give birth to a linebacker. The picture in the book shows that it does fit closely. I probably should have started the cardigan to see how much yarn I'd have left - and then made the hat bigger. 

On the other hand, if I don't get to the afghan, I may be able to whip out a couple more pairs of socks - I have some "boy-ish" looking Opal that will be fine for that - and the Fluro yarn. That would be on size 1 needles - like a "regular" sock, but to fit a kid who's bigger than a newborn. 

I figure that the hat should be done sometime today or tomorrow. In the picture below, it's about 2" high. You go to 4" and then start the decreases. It goes fast after that. 

Hmmmmmm? Small????
Not sure what I'm doing yet - pressing on with the cardigan (since I have a crap-load of this cotton yarn), or switching up to socks. I could always use the extra cotton for washcloths, but it's a heck of a price to pay for something you're using on your face...

But between parts of this project, I'm working on the St. Charles sock. I also did order some 12" circs in sizes 5 and 7 - baby hats and all that... And I found more Lorna's Laces. Who wouldn't?? This colorway is "Shorewood." It's lovely - so we will have lots of socks for me for winter. Yay, me!!! 

Lorna's Laces Solemates
Oh, and I also bought some Bijou Basin that JimmyBeans Wool had on sale - I'm talking 50% off!! So I bought 2 hanks, and I'll make myself a lace scarf. Bijou Basin makes yarns primarily from yaks. And it is the most deliciously scrumptious/yummy yarn there is! I have always wanted to knit with it, and with a 50% sale, I could finally afford it. 

The Blog...

I know I haven't talked much about politics. It's been a little overwhelming lately, and I don't feel I have a good grasp on the information, so I'm not going to comment till I can figure it out. 

I'll say one thing -- well, two things...

I'm disappointed that we are now "at war" so to speak, with yet another faction in the Middle East. President Obama played into Republican hands. If it works out well, he'll get just as much credit as he's gotten for "getting" Osama bin Laden. Which is -ZERO- if you're counting. 

And if it blows up into full-scale "boots on the ground" war? Then the chicken hawks who WANTED war will be whirling in place trying to spin this as "Obama's Fault" and will again scream about having to cut social services to pay for yet another endless war. They'll be spinning because they truly DO want war. As long as they and their kids don't have to go, and they and their families profit massively from their interests in such companies as Halliburton, etc. - they're all for a war that makes them money. As long as someone else's kid gets killed. Who cares about them? 

The second thing is that I'm not surprised that the Republicans voted to NOT overturn Citizens United. I'm disappointed, but not surprised. Why would they cut off their own arteries? They're more interested in salving the egos of the Corporate Overlords who bought them. And they have their "base" buffaloed into believing that "one day, you too can be as rich as we are." 

As if. I may as well wish to be 5' 10" tall. Which, I'm telling you, I've been wishing for nearly 40 years!! 


For the yoga book club, Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires. Stryker talks about tantra and its principles for living (and this is a phrase I'm sure Oprah stole) "your best life." Yes and no: tantra IS and IS NOT about sex. 

I'm finding it fascinating, even though at first I thought that I wasn't going to like the book. 

So I grabbed a notebook that a student left behind (they often do that), because the book is a workbook. I like to take notes. Well, I'm reading through the notebook and find all this math. Now, I'm not dim. Well, maybe I am with math. 

But I'm totally confused with this stuff!! Thankfully, I'm done with this kind of thing. And anyway, Hubby is the math genius. If we ever do have grandkids and they ever do ask for help with homework, he can do that. 

I'll proof their English homework!

Random Picture...

A hibiscus from my trip to Florida. Which I fiddled with -- had to try the settings on the phone camera. So I popped the flower's color and made the rest black & white. It's interesting. 

And I love Hibiscus anyway. I wish I had a 3-season room so that I could grow one. But right now, I don't have the space for a tree and we're in Zone 5 - which means that by now, anything like this that's still outside would be withered and dead - or near-dead. 

But I can still take pictures of them and enjoy them. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guinness Book of World Records...

...That's gonna be me. Because I will most certainly beat the "oldest woman still menstruating." 

Here's the thing. Saw the hematologist. Who looks about 12 years old, but is a very nice, intelligent man. I was, however, a little creeped out because he's in a cancer center, and I was surrounded with folks in various stages of treatment. I felt like I was bringing germs into their space...

So the doc says that my case is "easy to fix." The anemia is likely something I was born with, called Thalassemia - an inherited condition from somewhere in the gene pool. It's common, apparently, in both Middle-European and Mediterranean heritages. Often called Mediterranean Anemia. 

Strangely enough, he says that iron infusions are one method that he would use. But according to the Mayo Clinic - one should avoid iron supplements. 

In the meantime (and I didn't know this before I saw him, so now I'm confused) - he says "Take your iron and B-complex; come to see me in a month, because it won't help, and then I can do the iron infusion. That's good for at least a year.

"And it would help if you weren't menstruating." 

Yeah. I know that. Trust me. 

I did The Google and saw that on one website, it states that women "in their 60s" can still be menstruating. 

Shoot me now. I'm 56. I don't want another four years of playing footsie with my hormones. 

The only GOOD thing is that the hematologist says "You will likely never have osteoporosis, since you've still got enough estrogen running through your system to keep your bones healthy." 

But the periods. They're getting old. As am I, I suppose. Hubby will be delirious at the prospect of me having periods for another 4 years. Delirious, I tell you.


So, working my way through P.D. James' autobiography - which is a diary she kept for one year. I want to write like her! It's both mundane and soaring in some spots, when she gets her descriptions on. I have to go back and see if I've got her works. They're marvelous mysteries. 

And while I'm at it, a little church-reading... I went to the Episcopal Book Store (online) and found a couple of books to read up on. This one is very nicely done - not overly deep, and with enough information that you end up knowing more than you thought you would. It's nice to have answers to some of the questions. 

And it's nice to see that some of the answers, I already had.

Also catching up on a bunch of Mother Jones magazines. Wondering, if I really do have to reinvent myself yet again, how hard it would be for me to learn to code. As in, learn computer code? Apparently, the US lags far, far behind in educating kids in Code - which may well be the next "second language" we all need to know. 

Hubby, who I thought knew how to do this, says he has no clue, other than some simple HTML stuff he figured out himself. I'm just curious. I mean, I'm not an idiot. What I actually AM, though, is tired of reinvention. 

Maybe that's the secret to Eternal Youth or somesuch concept - but I've already got a resume that most people don't believe, so why add more to it??

I have a couple other books in the queue, so we'll catch up soon enough. 


We have BABY SOCKS! And yeah, my hands are hurting a bit. Wee little socks; 3" cuff and 3" foot, and they're adorable. I still have to work up the courage to start the hat. Then the cardigan.

And I had a brainstorm! Since we have 2 different shades of blue, I want to use both of them. See, the hat and cardigan have snowflakes embroidered on them. And in the picture, it's the same color yarn - they did the entire layette in a color called Bleach. It's a cream-ish white. 

I'm doing these clothing items in Atlantic and the afghan in Ice. So I propose to use Ice to embroider the snowflakes. "Ice." Snowflakes. Whaddaya think?? I kind of like the idea and we'll see how it goes. 

In the meantime, I set aside my striped socks for this yarn, which was calling my name... It's Lorna's Laces, and the colorway is St. Charles. There's a hook here, too.

Anyway, the pattern I'm using is Vanilla Latte, available on Ravelry, and I can't link to it - join Ravelry if you would like the pattern. 

The KAL I'm sort of working on is a "stripes" theme. And I wasn't sure how this would work out, but (a) I'm enamored of the color; and (b) there's a cosmic thing to all of this.

And (c) -- it's freakin' awesome! I love the bold purple stripe. I love the autumnal colors. I love the feel of this yarn. 

And I think it'll work for the KAL by virtue of this wide purple swirl. The orange bracketing it could also qualify as a "stripe" - and if it doesn't, then I don't care. I really like these. 

I did something funky on the cuff; started off at K3, P1, and then went to K2, P2. Then the pattern, which is pretty simple, K6, P2. It's shaping up really nice, except I have to remember to knit the alternate rows! I'm using my row counter, thanks. 

Anyway the "cosmic" angle is that my assistant and I are hoping that, since our campus is being closed, we'll be moved with "the operations" to the new place: the St. Charles Center. See? The YARN is called St. Charles. I found this while I was searching for some TARDIS-colored yarn on the Jimmy Beans website. 

Must be fate. At least that's what I'm telling myself. We should know soon. I hope they don't string us along till December, because that would be cruel. 

Would I like to not have to work? Yeah. Am I going to retire? Nope. It's just the facts. I need to work. At least to keep myself in yarn!

Still Pickled...

Yes, we think we MAY have finished pickling. At least we hope so. The tomatoes are coming in now, so we hope to switch to tomato sauce. 

This weekend, 17 more jars; these are dill (with sugar) and about half are spears, and half are chips. I added some garlic cloves to a few jars, and then 1/4 teaspoon of pre-packaged roasted garlic to some of the chips. We shall see. 

We're pickled out. 

In today's Chicago Tribune FOOD section, there are recipes to freeze your "garden excess" and except for the pesto starters (which have olive oil in them), I think I can do the water bath for the roasted tomato puree. I wouldn't mind doing the pesto starters, if we can find enough basil left in the garden. 

Harvest Moon/Super Moon...

On the way home from yoga on Monday, I was FINALLY able to get the Harvest (or Super) moon. The last few times, we had clouds. 

This is from my phone, so it's not perfect, but it's an amazing image all the same. 

Love the way the moon floats above the clouds and colors them with a light that's both mesmerizing and beautiful. I stopped several times on the 7-minute drive home to catch different angles with the phone. I wish we would have had time to get the telescope out or the nice camera.

But it being Monday and Hubby having to work on Tuesday - that's not conducive to getting out into the country to take a really good shot of this moon. 

It's in my head, though, so I'll remember it. 

Our weather has been slightly nuts. As I type, the clouds are rolling in again. We've had tons of rain and I know that if folks are reading this in certain parts of the world, they may well say, "send it our way." I would if I could! 

I'm supposed to go to a United Way dinner for our Free Clinic. And the Google maps optimistically says "It'll take you 11 minutes to get there." Ha. 

If I take Rt. 80, at anytime after 4 p.m., it's likely it'll be a parking lot. Same with Rt. 55. So I'm taking River Road, which Google says takes "17 minutes." I'm not sure how they figure that, but I'm sure it's with no other cars on the road. 

My phone has Cortana on it, and in spite of the TV commercials, I haven't figured out how to get traffic updates. It translated "Minooka" into "Tim Ocka." So we may have a failure to communicate. I'll check both the weather and the maps again before I leave. 

Random Picture...

Ok, one thing the phone does really well is manipulate pictures. So here's a close-up, cropped of Quinn resting. She twists and hangs her head off the couch and I swear she's going to fall off. But she never does. 

And in a dog update, we had a 3-dog fight yesterday. Which I did not need. 

No blood, thank goodness, but man - they were hard to separate. They confirm what happens in humans: females fight more fiercely and are buggers to stop. 

It started with antlers. They'd been playing with trading of antlers till Raisa decided she wanted the one Tippi had. The one Tippi had and had walked away from. 

Before I could get the 2 steps to them, there was a growl and then a pile-up. Quinn had no dog in the fight, so to speak, but she's never one to let a confrontation escape her. My clipboard was a tool used to avoid getting bitten. My knitting went flying, my notebook went in the other direction. 

I used my COMMAND voice, and finally got Quinn to back off, but Tippi wouldn't do that. Finally threw everyone in their crates for a huge time-out. Luckily, no blood from either the dogs or me! Removed the antlers and then this happened...

This morning, as every morning, the girls get their cow ears. Tippi is usually the last one to finish. 

And I see Raisa eyeballing her. After a shout of "How STUPID are you??" I got her distracted. I know - she's only 1 year old. She's feeling her oats. 

But you don't mess with the big dog. And at this point, I don't mean Tippi. I mean ME. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Sort of Started...

...another KAL - this one for striped socks. So I have my favorite Opal yarn, another in the Little Prince colorway. And I have my favorite needles. Color is 7767 and dye lot is 822. Let's just say it's festive and bright, and it'll be very pretty. 

And I figured I'd start out with something different, because while I love a plain sock, that's what my last several have been. So I checked out the Vanilla Latte pattern on Ravelry. So you can't get to Ravelry from here, unless you're a member. 

Vanilla Latte Sock
Therefore, here's a picture of what a Vanilla Latte sock looks like. Actually, the sock pattern is more of a "recipe" - you have your choice of cast on, ribbing, size (circumference) and heel. All with suggestions, but then basic construction elements.

I thought, "I'd like to shake this latte up a bit." So I cast on 72 stitches. I know - seems huge. But since Fluro was that size and it fits well, I figured I'd give this a go. Got my usual 6 rows of knitting knocked out and read in the directions, the following:

"If you want a bit more caffeine, knit through the back loops of the knit stitches for a twisted rib."

How hard can that be, right? Well, THIS is now what my Vanilla Latte looks like. First off, I started the rib on Needle 4. And yeah, at that point, I could have just moved the stitch marker, right? Well, that might have caused the earth to tip on its axis. So I thought, "Well how hard can that be? I'll just have one extra row of ribbing." 


Ha again. Somehow, I don't know how -- I ended up ENDING one needle with the K stitches and the next one would have STARTED with the K stitches. That, my knitterly (and non-knitterly) readers, is NOT how ribbing goes. And on top of that, the K through back loop looked weird. So..... THIS --> is what my sock now looks like. 

Yeppers... Frogged. I'm going to let the yarn rest a bit and start again. I'm not all peeved at the screw-up. Screw-ups happen, especially in knitting. I'm not even annoyed that the KAL is from 9/1 - 10/1 -- I have baby knitting due in November. Coincidentally the month the BABY is due. So if I make the KAL, I make it. If I don't? Well, either way, I have socks. And I love socks as a take-along project. It's probably a good idea, given the size of my sock-yarn stash, that I always have a pair on the needles. That or hats...

But let me explain my "oh well" attitude...

Bleeding socks
It's like the Fluro socks. See the bucket here? This is AFTER a 10-minute vinegar+ water soak, a microwaving and steaming to supposedly set the hot pink. After that, you can wash them, but suggestions are made that you should use baby shampoo. 

So, not having babies, I went to the now smoke-less CVS (see below) and purchased a couple of bottles of Burt's Bees baby shampoo. I had forgotten how much I loved the smell!! Anyway, the bucket holds lukewarm water plus the shampoo and socks. 

And look at all the pink. I'm told by a couple of folks who dye yarn, that "eventually" the hot pink won't bleed. But you know what? I'm not really upset about that, either. 

They're socks, people. The most disposable of all knitting projects. I don't have a photo of the "bleeding socks" but I may take one. It's not a huge deal to me. I will know now that I have to vinegar wash all the Fluro colors, and maybe if I did a pattern on the leg and foot, it would have "hidden" the bleeding. 

I would have been more upset had it been a sweater or even a scarf. I can always wear shoes.

Baby Deadline...

So, speaking of the baby deadline, look at the CUTEST sock you'll ever lay eyes on. It's done. Well, the "bootie" part of the layette is 50% completed. 

I will tell you that the cotton, on size 6 needles, is a stinker. The first picture here is while working on the heel flap. You have to tug and tug to get it nice and flat. But then you wonder if you've "overstretched" it. And then you remember (because your hands are now cramping up) that it's COTTON. No worries about stretching, because it doesn't stretch. 

So the KAL mentioned above is an excuse to change up from the unforgiving cotton. And yeah, Fr. Matt will have to bless this thing... 

I'm so sorry, Susan. I'm trying to impart good vibes as I knit this for your baby!! 

Anyway, the bootie took me TWO days. Period. Wowza. Of course, Hubby was kind enough to give me a nice hand massage - that left one (see the death grip on the needle??) really was hurting. 

Turning the heel was a cinch. Just 4 rounds. And the gusset was a piece of cake as well. You can see my notebook - that's the one that I'm committed to only using for baby stuff. That way, I won't be plundering other notebooks for info. 

So since this was a relative breeze, I figure I can just whip the second one out in a few days, then move on to the hat. Then the cardigan. 

And I'm still whirling away on the blanket, too. Fingers (and needles) crossed - this should all be done by the time the little one arrives. 

At first, I thought the cuff was "awfully long" - but upon completion, it looks squishy-adorable when it's cuffed down. And I'm just imagining a chubby baby's little toes in there. 

Now watch. She'll birth a linebacker!

CVS Now Smokeless...

Read it here. Or watch it... CVS is the #2 drugstore in the US. And it just went smokeless. As in: we are not selling tobacco, tobacco products, smokeless tobacco - nothing. 

And in a shameless plug, it's also changing its name to CVS Health. And I'm ok with that. 

I don't smoke, but my dad did. So does my sister. And my mom - who never smoked a day in her life - has emphysema. 

So. I'm actually tickled to see how this will play out. 

Don't Forget...

...when you make a green smoothie and forget it in your office fridge?? Well. Not nice. 

Smelly, explosive, and if it wasn't a good Mason jar, I'd have tossed it. Anyway, I managed to not spew smelly green stuff all over the office kitchen. But not by much! 

So. Write notes! Green smoothies are really, REALLY nasty when they're fermented. 

Just a word to the wise. 

Random Picture...

Wonder who's hoarding all the bones.

Well, you shouldn't. It's Raisa, the bone-hog. She sneaks up and takes them and hoards them. Well, she tried when Tippi was chewing one and in true bone-head husky fashion, she was ignoring the basso profundo growling. I probably should have let Tippi teach her a lesson, but I stopped it in their tracks and shooed Raisa away. 

Till Tippi got tired of it and left it. 

For the Bone Hoarder...