Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Really, I'm NOT Procrastinating...

...rather, I'm admitting that the calendar is beating me. Time is not a "wibbly-wobbly" thing that can be stretched. Rather, it seems to be gaining on me. 

Soooooooo - the blankie will undoubtedly be done for Christmas. Or I'll mail it as soon as I get it done. This is what I have so far. Almost 9" done - need 28" before I do the ruffle. 

The ruffle is interesting because you pick up and knit, then do that 3 more times; you don't turn corners... you whipstitch the corners together. This could be frustrating... 

I do have a bit of a problem with my square Kollage needles; I'll have to see how this shakes out. The metal part of the needle is about 6" long, and the heel of my hand rests on that bent part of the very soft cable. I'm afraid I'm going to break it. 

I will cry. 

I do like that the cable doesn't kink. I don't like where it sits on my hand, and I can only move my hand up a bit before stitches start being knit off the tips, which I don't like. 

We shall see...

I'm having a mad moment of "frog it, crochet one - you're quicker with crochet" but I'd have to figure out how much yarn it would take - you know crochet takes -- wait. I was almost going to type "you know crochet takes more yarn than knitting" but then I decided to look it up. 

Well - you could blow up the internet by searching "crochet vs. knitting yarn usage" because Yahoo Answers (not experts) claims anything from 30 - 50% more yarn used in crochet. But at least two bloggers who are in the crochet business claim that this is "utter bunkem." 

I mean, I'm a pretty ferociously fast "hooker" - and with the fact that I have almost 750 yards of this yarn, I could potentially frog. I've used just about 3 balls - that's almost 280 yards. I could do a quick half-double crochet or even a double crochet, making a lacy blanket. After all, the kid will live in South Carolina - hardly Minnesota when it comes to winters. 

What am I talking about, and who am I kidding? 

Plugging along on what I'm already doing. But the next one will be a crochet blanket. 

Hot Flashes Are Not Cool...

My thermometer is like Elvis: it has definitely LEFT the building. (I paused here to put in a few more stitches on that blanket.)

I'm at work, the night shift today, and it's been "sweater Hokey Pokey." My fan is running. It's 52* outside. It should be chilly. 

I'm roasting. 

I purchased my usual old-reliable, non-hormonal supplement, Shatavari. I'm hoping against hope that it kicks in quicker. It's herbal; I know - it'll take 6 to 8 weeks. Period. I can't rush it. 

Losing some of this weight and exercising will help. But in the meantime, I'm not sleeping well, and feel like I've been hit by a bus. 

That, and probably the iron infusions will help even out what's going on. 

The Do-Date...

I'm reading a book called "Eat More, Lose More" and it's by a nutritionist who basically cribs off Atkins: larger portions of low-carb veggies, limit the high-carb, eliminate sugar and beef up (ha) the protein. 

But I'm thinking that perhaps I will go back to Atkins. Because as I'm reading the recipes, the person who created them uses xylitol - a sweetener I don't like. I'm actually only happy with True Leaf stevia. There's nothing in this but stevia and it's the only one that's "not" sugar that doesn't remind me of chewing on tinfoil.

She also (the chef is a woman; the author is a man) uses guar gum and xanthan gum. Not sure about those two things. I can almost deal with the whey powder. But I'm not sure of the other things. 

So I have a couple of days to decide. The upside is that there are some recipes that don't use that stuff, and look pretty good. I have also been looking into a program a local chiropractor has, but I'm leery of a "quick fix." I have to get the weight off, and I have to do it sanely. 

The other thing is, I need to work on the exercise. What this book says that I do agree with is that interval training is a good way to exercise. That makes sense, and I can work that with my yoga work as well. It'll be a nice balance. 

So sometimes, books on 'the right way to eat' can be a bust, but sometimes there are hidden gems in among the chaff.

I haven't stepped on a scale in a couple of weeks. I'll take measurements, start over on November 1 and see what happens if I mash up a few different ideas together. As far as the Halloween candy, I've finished buying it for the campus. What's left is left, and it's stuff I don't like, so that shouldn't be a problem. The students will finish that off. 


Ohio Grove Cemetery
I'll be home for Halloween this year, and I have pencils, some plastic whistles and the like; Hubby will dole out the candy and I give the other stuff.

And yes, in case you wonder: the kids love the Halloween-themed pencils. 

Speaking of which, see the lovely graveyard? It's the Ohio Grove Cemetery, right outside Sycamore, IL, and it was established in 1839. 

I'm not the only one with a cemetery fetish. Lots of historians love these places. I met one at lunch today and we shared cemetery pictures. 

Hello, Cello....

Except there wasn't a cello... This was part of our concert series at the church we attend. We have periodic free concerts, and at those concerts, we take up an offering for a variety of charities. 

Hello Cello is a group of guys who mostly do covers. There is a cello player, except that this past Sunday was his wedding day. You've gotta be there, right? So we had 3 of the 4 and it was really interesting to listen to rock music in the sanctuary. 

The acoustics were decent, but the vocalist was a little shy - we kept telling him to bump up the vocals! 

And as usual, our church's hospitality committee outdid themselves with a feast later. I actually managed to contribute (still-warm) pumpkin-chocolate bread - which Lillian the coffee lady says "is to die for!" She stashed a loaf (there were 2) for this coming Sunday's post-service coffee hour... Smart cookie!


So my little petunia is a bit beaten up by the bunnies... As you can see, it's a little nibbled, and just about buried in leaves. 

It's still an inspiration to me. Cropped up out of nowhere, and I didn't plant petunias this year. It's a gift from Mother Nature. 

Speaking of gifts from Mother Nature, this morning was a perfect example of fall in the neighborhood. 

Storms were just leaving the area. When I came home from yoga last night, it was just starting to sprinkle. Overnight, the wind came up and early a.m. storms started us off. The light was really weird and the cloud cover was interesting. 

This is the shot out the front window. The ground is covered in fallen and blown leaves; the marigolds are giving up the last of their color. The tree is "on fire." And the neighbors have jack-o-lanterns on their stoop. The odd coloring of the sky and the bare tree across the way - all of it spells Fall to me. 

Random Picture...

Yes, this is Tippi at her last therapy visit. And yes, those are "lady bug" deely-boppers. Her bandana has 3 little lady bug buttons on it. I have to lower the buttons and tack on the badge a bit better.

We're a little sad. Tippi went with Raisa and Quinn to the eye doctor. Tippi was there about 4 years ago. She has a cataract in one eye (which I had noticed, but I knew would mostly be inevitable at her age), and uveitis - an inflammation of the eye. She has drops and it's fixable, but it's sad. Cataracts are an old-age thing. I hate to hear the inevitable. She's 7, which is still young. 

But she's had a rough life, and I don't know her family tree. All we can do is speculate and overall, she's healthy as a horse. (Ahem - and almost as big as one, but I swear we don't over-feed her.) She doesn't like a lot of exercise; she likes to walk, but the youngsters like to run. Running isn't her style - at least not at long distances. When she comes to my campus, she'll "zoomie" up and down the hall for about 3 minutes and I do mean ZOOM. If you're in her way, she surprises you with her ability to zoom around you with a hair's breadth of distance between you and falling over. Once she does her rounds, she's done. She wants a nap. One of these days, before we close this place, I'll have to bring her in to just take a video. It's amazing that that much dog can move that fast. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Just sayin'... It's allegedly 74* outside. Both phones say so. But in my office, I have the space heater on 75*. There's a cold breeze coming out of the vents in the ceiling, in spite of my turning the HVAC "button" (the little thing they give us to make it seem like we have some sort of control over the system...) to "warm" - which won't turn the heat on, based on the outside temps, but it should not blow cold air. 

And I'm freezing. I'm on my 3rd or 4th cup of tea, and I've switched to decaf green. If I could hold the cup and type, I'd be happy. I'm seriously thinking of putting on some "arthritis gloves" I have in my drawer, just to warm up. There. They sort of match the grey wrap I'm wearing, and they're less silly-looking than my putting on gloves.

I have nurses in today; I'm listening to a quality assessment class - they all seem to think that if the volume is at 11, it'll help the students concentrate. I'm here till 5 p.m. unless they leave early. 

Frankly, I'm hoping the tea is what I need. Often, when I'm cold or bored or whatever: I'll eat. And as I've said, November is my Do-Date. I'm reading up more on the way to eat less processed crap, but for right now, the processed crap won today. 


The Blankie
The baby blanket is starting to weigh a ton. The Kollage square needles are all supposed to be easy on arthritic fingers, but cotton yarn ain't so friendly!! I was knitting on it, but I thought they might be packing up; and I can't knit on it with these mitts on anyway. It's too slippery. I'll work on it more tonight. 

I talked to my mom last night, and she's going to call for the mailing address. She agrees: mail what I have done (the hat, sweater, booties) and then get the blanket for Christmas. I'm really having a hard time on this project. It's not fun. 

And that's sad, for a baby knitting project. Maybe it was too much to tackle on too short of a lead time. I'd only had about 6 months' notice. For some knitters, that's time enough to knit a prom dress. But not for me. 

I also want to get back to my socks, and at least get past the second buttonhole in the top-down February Lady Sweater. 

Tonight, pizza, Dr. Who and knitting. 

Whiz-Bang Electronics...

So Microsoft bought Nokia. And I have a new whiz-bang charger for the Nokia phone. Those two items are not related. Just mentioning that Microsoft is now on the "we're a software company with our very own phone" bandwagon. 

Anyway, I'd been charging the phone the "regular" way - plugging a USB into my laptop, or when at home, the USB had a regular outlet attachment. Hubby found this. It's really cool, but the only thing I don't like is that I had to put a metal plate onto the back of the phone and now my gel cover fits oddly. The gel is still a good protector, in case I drop the thing, but it's not quite on all the way, which bothers me. 

Which you wouldn't think would bother me, if you saw my house. But I can't help it. 

So the Nokia sits in this cradle. There's a tiny white light at the front that shows when you're charging, and what I like is that, when it finishes, the phone can still sit there, and the light goes off. It's not going to over-charge it or anything. 

The metal plate makes it a tad heavier, but as Hubby says, "In your purse, how can you tell??"

Hmpfh. Thanks, but I've been carrying a smaller purse than I have in ages, dear. It's a lovely Namaste bag, which I got on clearance, and while it's meant to hold knitting, this is just big enough for me to do my thing without feeling like I'm hauling luggage.


Yes, this was the Target on Friday morning. Seriously. Not a turkey in sight. But lots of snowmen alongside the pumpkins. 

Sirius even has their holiday channels up on the lineup. Christmas creep doesn't even begin to cover this madness. 

I kind of miss Thanksgiving. Oh, we have it. Though some purists might scoff because we hold ours usually on the Sunday before the actual Thanksgiving, we do have a good reason. 


No, I mean it. Think about it. I'm "lucky" if you want to think about it that way, because my MIL is a couple thousand miles away. Though I'd love for her to be with my bunch of insane people for Thanksgiving. The woman raised 13 children. She can handle my crazies...

Ahem. Anyway, my brother has in-laws. My sister has in-laws. Kid #1 has "almost-in-laws" (they're not engaged yet). My nephews have in-laws. 

So, often, it's either do the "rotation dance" or spread dinners across a small time-frame. And some in-laws (I'm not naming names...) feel "offended" if you don't eat a SECOND dinner, as if you're a Hobbit or something (First Breakfast, Snack, Second Breakfast, Lunch). None of us is slim, and we surely don't need the extra food. 

We accommodate the babies, so Thanksgiving Sunday will be around 3 p.m., so they can have their naps. Being two years old, you do NOT want them un-napped. Apparently, they're both screamers. Lovely. 

At any rate, at least we have it in the proper week. It's not like the retail stores, which glom everything together in a mish-mash. 

We still haven't figured out who's doing what, but I know Hubby and I will do the bulk of it, as per usual. And the kids, I think, will do the potato selection (mashed, at least 2 ways, maybe 3 ways: plain, cheese, "homestyle rustic" with garlic). 

Random Picture...

I call this one "melted husky." Raisa just plopped herself up there, wound around (I swear she's 2/3 cat) and hung her head off. Holding on, she got a chin rub and was pretty content for some time. 

I swear, if there is reincarnation, I want to come back as one of my dogs. Or I'll leave a list of dog people I know. Just so I know I'll have a lovely afterlife.

She's coming along nicely. We're working on our "stop jumping on me in the morning" thing. She sings to me in the morning. 

We're also working on her brushing. She is the only Husky I've ever had who does NOT like to be brushed. But we're getting there. 

Now, if I can get her to stop thundering down the hall and clocking me with her rubber Kong bone... 

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Been a Long While...

...so sorry... You have to love technology (no, not really). I had a phone glitch, then a computer glitch, and then just good old fashioned "schedule glitch" where it seemed that "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get."

But I'm back; tons of pictures, some progress, and some stories. 

Take Back the Night...

So in October, while the rest of the US is donning pink everything, I'm wearing purple through the month. Lost in the Breast Cancer Displays is the fact that October is also "Domestic Violence Awareness Month." Tippi and I were at the table with the Will County Children's Advocacy Center, and here's a small display of the portraits of those who are killed in our county by means of domestic violence. 

I wish I could say that it was a small list. Or that it had stopped growing. But neither is true. And I did get upset a few years back, because the organizers included two boys, and there were some women who went bananas. "Take Back the Night is for WOMEN." Really? Those kids were MURDERED. By a PARENT. If that's not "domestic violence," then I don't know what is. Shame on those women. 

Anyway, that was her first appearance; we took pics with people, I didn't have her cards with me, but I did get a lot of questions. We were in a very loud gym, and she handled the chaos like a pro! That's my girl!


May never end... I'm thinking that I will be sending on this part of the layette, and the blankie for Christmas. I just won't get it done by the baby's due date. Between the cotton really driving my hands nuts and my schedule driving me nuts, there's just not enough time in my days anymore. I have it with me today, but haven't knitted a stitch, having my day job to actually, well, I don't know - DO -- so knitting waits till a calm bit. Which doesn't seem to want to happen a lot lately. Sunday, I didn't knit at all, having church and then a trip to see Kid #2 and deliver the remainder of his stuff... Saturday, though, I did knit almost all day. And I paid for it. 

This is where I'm at with the blanket. At about 5.33" it's got a ways to go. I'm actually zipping along doing almost a repeat a night, though we can translate that into "12 rows a night" and I'm measuring at the end of each night's production. I have to knit 28" and then do the ruffle. The ruffle is knitted onto each side, but you then have to seam up the corners. It seems like it could be easier, but at this point, my energy is into just getting it done. I'll work out details later. I swear, I should have remembered I had the Ann Norling (see the sweater) and created that set. It would have been easier. 

Fall is Here...

And not only in the temperatures, but in the flora and fauna. This is a picture of the tree out back at home. The fall color has likely peaked, but it was lovely while it lasted. I've got a lot of shots of the trees. And when I was driving home from visiting Kid #2, I stopped at 3 very old cemeteries. Had lots of fun wandering and photographing. At some point, I should bring the large camera, but my phone didn't do too badly. I love the effects I was able to get with some of the buttons on the phone.  I'll keep experimenting, and will try to do some more PhotoShop, especially on some of the more ancient tombstones and compositions.

This picture is of the coral bells out back of the office. I love how the dew is on them. It's a beautiful plant that has survived last winter and I expect will survive this winter. Which, depending on the weather channel you happen to be listening to? Will either be "colder" or "warmer" than last. But everyone so far is saying that it'll be far less snowy. 

My dentist said he loves Hubbys pics "because he has an eye for composition." And he's right. We can take the same photograph and his will be a "photograph" -- while mine is a "picture." It has to do with his eye for pictures, for sure. Also, he can still use manual focus on the camera. With my bifocals, it's harder. However, the manual focus on the camera phone seems to work much better. Go figure. 

So Kid #2 is 99% settled. He still has a few clothes left behind, but I drove Hubby's Boat (the Explorer) so I could bring him the bike, the desk and a bunch of boxes. I kept a close eye on the bike, because last time we were out, my bike popped off the frame! I didn't want to have to get his bike run over. The drive up was via the back roads, so I had time to scope out the cemeteries. Creepy? Well. I guess. But  the older ones are really fascinating. This is, obviously, the front gate of St. Mary's Cemetery. It was the last one I stopped at. In the original, it's full color, but I used the "antique" button on the phone to get this. 

There was also this crypt... In one of the other ones (the cemetery down the block from The Kid), there was a crypt, but it had its glass boarded over. This one had the lovely brass patina with the metalwork on the door, but I was able to glance in (it was locked). This is what I saw, with a little help from the fancy details on my camera. Sadly, I didn't save this as a copy, but you get the idea. The bit of glare in the upper right is from the afternoon sun. I stuck the phone right up onto the glass. I did darken up the walls of the crypt and tried to get the stained glass to pop. Click on the picture to see the rosary left by someone. 

By the way, I don't know what's up with the pictures today... I'm getting some weird spacing issues. Bear with me. 


For the record, Ebola is not President Obama's fault. Look - it's really simple. Banning travel is an insanely stupid act. What if the person comes on a plane from London? Or Ontario? Or Mexico? Or China? You can take other routes to get here -- and I don't believe there's a "one-stop flight" from Liberia to the US. 

The temperature taking at the airports is only a panacea to comfort us. 

There are what? Almost 319,000 people in the U.S. How many have DIED from Ebola? Well, just one - and there appears to be some doubt as to whether he was a US citizen or not. Regardless. 


It's really not an "epidemic" here, folks. If you're in Liberia, well, then, yeah. Otherwise, unless you're up close and personal with bodily fluids, including blood, vomit and semen, you're probably going to be ok. The virus is NOT airborne, so not even a sneeze or cough will be a problem. 

Stop listening to the hysteria. Take reasonable precautions just as you would with a virulent flu (Bird flu, anyone???) and just stop the panic. 

By the way, over 20,000 people died of AIDS before Reagan even decided it was a problem in this country. Over 20,000 AMERICANS, folks. 

So wake up, do your research, and turn off Fox News. 

Oh, and we wouldn't need a "czar" if the Republicans would stop piddling their pants every time the NRA wants something. Seems the NRA doesn't like the nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, because he said that "gun deaths are a public health problem."

Well, gosh-darn - can't have that kinda socialistic claptrap. So they've blocked his nomination. And now blame OBAMA because there's no Surgeon General. No. I'm not kidding. 

I wish it was just a joke. Well. It IS a joke. But not a good one. 


Kombucha. My friend Kristy is brewing her own. It's full of probiotics and good bacteria, and it is a tasty beverage. But it's too fizzy for me. I know I could probably adjust the rate of fermentation if I had the time to brew my own. But I did end up trying a concoction from the local health food store. 

Didn't like it. 

Because I have such an active social life, the next thing coming up is a colonosocopy and endoscope to finally (a) rule out any possibility of bleeding in regard to the anemia diagnosis; and (b) catch up on diagnostic tests. It's been close to 10 years since I've had either and it's about time to get that over with. At least I'll lose 5 pounds in the prep and have a good nap that day. 

I'm also getting myself prepped for the iron infusions. Seems that the 6-session infusions will work better (less chance of side effects) than the one long 6-hour infusion. And November 1 is my "do-date." 

Yes, "DO" date. I'm getting my diet cleaned up in a more sensible fashion than just eliminating all the food groups and eating 6 crackers with 2 tablespoons of cream cheese for lunch. 

Between the diet clean-up and iron, I'm hoping to be fit as a fiddle soon. 

Job Update...

There isn't one. Seems a high-up muckety-muck told my boss that they didn't want to move me to the new building "because someone from the College will have her ordering their lunches and answering their phones."

What? My boss said it was all she could do to keep a straight face and say, "You don't know her very well, do you??"

So. There's supposed to be a Dean "contemplating" my resume. We shall see. I'm resigned to the fact that I'll likely have to find a new job, but I've already decided to stay here through the close-up of the building. 

At some point, I have to spend some serious time scanning websites and applying for jobs. I've applied here and there, but have had only 1 interview. I need to get the freelance stuff up and prepped, too, but I know that will take longer to get off the ground. 

This gives me some breathing room, at any rate. It just feels like it's coming at me too fast, though. Which is just about normal. 

Random Picture...

She's so not a lady! But this is one of Raisa in mid-nap. Couldn't resist the intertwined front legs. Such a yoga-dog. 

She's coming into her teen period, doing  a bit too much "husky resource guarding" and there have been some power grabs. Usually, we don't let it get too far along. She's tried it with both Tippi and Quinn. I don't think Tippi would get to "blood" stage, but I'm perfectly certain that Quinn would. 

Raisa needs to learn her place, and so far, it's up to us to make sure that it's all figured out. 

See what I mean about the pictures??? What is up with that, Blogspot?? Don't go changing the settings on me. I don't like my pictures all chunked together. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Things To Do, Things To Do...

So the 2014 District 6 Fall Conference is actually upon us. Three of us from our local Zonta Club are leaving tomorrow morning and heading to Indiana for a weekend of all things Zonta. 

Things to do....

Last minute notes to self
I have the list of items to pack. Go ahead and laugh, but I bet that I'm the one who does NOT forget things to pack. Oh, and I just noticed the "casual elegant" notice for the Saturday banquet. Crud... Dressy clothes; I forgot about that. So I'm adding that to the list. It'll be the outfit I wore for The Nephew's wedding, I think. It's easier than a dress. 

I have two different routes - I despise Rt. 80 with a passion I only hold more strongly for absolute idiots. And I happen to think that the majority of motorists who drive Rt. 80 are, for the most part, idiots. There are too many accidents; too many trucks; too many people trying to jockey for the same small patch of asphalt. 

So we're taking the scenic route. My riders already know this, and they're ok with it. 

I have my schedule, credentials, and reservations. 
Credentials & Schedule

I have to do laundry. 

Pack knitting.

Gas up the truck. 

And that morning? I have a 7:30 a.m. board meeting. So I have to then pick up Rider #1 and meet Rider #2 at my house and we'll take off from my house. It's around 4 hours to get to where we're going and I'm adding more time to take into account both traffic and the inevitable construction, since both IL and IN are undoubtedly packing in the construction projects before the end of the Federal fiscal year and before the weather turns to total crap. 

So we'll be coming back on Sunday afternoon, so we'll be looking for a route where we can avoid the Sunday Crazies, too. Fun. 

Health Stuff...

Well. It seems that two of my docs don't necessarily agree with the hematologist. The PCP says my iron levels were normal in 2000 and then started tanking. The cardiologist, who HAS the anemia the hematologist is claiming I have, says "no" as well because he said I'd have had different symptoms which a "decent pediatrician" would have picked up on. So both are going to call the hematologist and discuss. 

Also, the cardiologist asked me to stay on the meds for another 3 months. That's kind of a downer. I was really expecting to get off them. He just said he'd rather I stay on them for now. 

The highlight of this visit was Maximus. I think he might be Raisa's daddy - or at least a really close cousin. 

I first met Maximus about 3 cardio visits ago. His owner was rather surprised that Maxie (at least that's what I call him) kind of glommed onto me. I told him that undoubtedly, Maxie knows a Husky-fiend and he also knows I have 3 lovely lady dogs at home. 

Maxie is a love-bug wrapped in a ton of fur. He also howled for me on this particular visit. I finally had the presence of mind to ask for a picture and was granted permission. I showed his owner the latest pose of Raisa (at least the latest "pretty" pose - we have a ton of goof-ball poses!) and he agreed: they could be related! Of course, at some level, all Huskies are related, but there are a couple of distinct breeder lines. 

For example, Raisa is thinner-boned than River was and she's far less fluffy. Of course, she's also one year old, but her legs are more rangy. 

Topaz was huge - she was outsized in form and in personality, and she was from a fairly nondescript line. River was from the "old line" model, where the dogs were more true to the actual type of a Husky who was -- husky. A working dog. Not a "wolf-like-hairy-dog" thingie that you see sometimes in overbred lines. Raisa is from a back-yard breeder, and while we've had some health challenges with her already, she's going to mature nicely, I think. 

Anyhow, don't they look pretty closely alike? They both howl like crazy, too. It's just funny. I did tell Maximus' owner that he and Maxie made my day. He hugged me. It was nice. 

On The Way Home...

I stopped to take some pictures. There were several of the 'fall' variety, and one for our club's Facebook page that I need to upload. And then there were these...

It's not creepy. Old cemeteries can be very peaceful places. This is where my paternal grandma and grandpa are buried. I just have to find them. 

This cemetery is old. Not as old as the oldest one in the whole town. But a close second. One can only imagine this trio of stones when the trees weren't this large. 

The older headstones were works of art. I'm awed by the artistry, and had I the time, I'd have spent more of it taking pictures here. I really want to go to the very oldest one. Hubby thinks it's slightly odd... 

But it's stuff like this: the beautiful porcelain medallions with pictures. This and the sculptures on top of the larger monuments. All of this took talent and this was a viable trade. You were a true artist when you created some of these things. 

Now, they're all kind of generic. I get the whole "green" thing - or whatever they call it. Where all the stones are flush to the ground so that the groundskeepers can just mow over things quickly. But the stately stones, keeping watch throughout the years, generation upon generation. Consider that. 

Consider these two people and how long this medallion has lasted on this stone. Granted, there are a number of stones where the medallions are missing or broken. But a remarkable number of them are in really decent shape, given the ages on the stones themselves. 

As you can see by this stone, the guardian angel is in pretty good shape, but the medallion is either missing or was meant to be put there, but somehow never got there. 

You can create a whole story about who's who, why they chose these particular monuments, etc. and I think it brings history to life in an entirely different way. You see families buried for generations. 

You see a sole headstone. Sometimes off to one side. Sometimes in line with a larger group of families side by side. You wonder who these people were? Which community did they live in? (Well for this cemetery, you know the church they attended) What did they do in their daily lives? For those sadly short lifetimes on some monuments, you wonder: Spanish Influenza? Mumps? Measles? All of those things took turns in many communities generations ago to wipe out a certain segment of the population. 

And there are always the military stones. For the longest time, we didn't have a military cemetery in the county. Now we do, from around the late 1990s. My mom chose to keep my dad where he was; he could have been re-buried. My friend's parents were re-buried in the veteran's cemetery. 

Anyway, those were my pictures. It was a nice way to just be outside and breathe for a bit. 


Baby knitting continues. The way I figure it, every 15 rows is about 2.5" so I have about 2 weeks worth of straight knitting, if I can get in at least 15 rows a day. Each pattern repeat is 12 rows. I got in 2 rows last night. 

Cotton is a stinker. There. I said it. 

I'll be extremely, EXTREMELY lucky to get this thing done on deadline. 

And I want to cast on a pair of Plain Jane socks. It's not a pattern name. I guess I should say "plain vanilla" socks. Just to have as a grab-and-go project. 

At the doctor's office, I resorted to reading. It was a good Barbara Kingsolver, but I should have plugged away on this blanket instead. 

It's just that this isn't a good portable project. Even with the square needles, the yarn is too slippery and if I drop a stitch, I will not be happy. 

Like I said, I can get the clothing items off to the New Mommy, and the blanket can come later. I can decide after I see how much progress I make. I'm taking it to the Conference. I'm sure I'll get a stink-eye about knitting during the events, but it works for me. 

And it's baby knitting. I've got a deadline here, people!! 


So I had to have an interview with someone who's had some organizational issues. This person's side of the story is one thing. I'm talking to the other person involved today. 

There are always different styles when leadership in an organization changes. But the organization where I've been volunteering for a number of years (not where I work, by the way) has had nearly 90% changeover of staff. That's a leadership problem. 

My problem is that I counseled one of the people involved, and there was agreement. There was nodding. There was a lot of "yes, I see that." 

But we've had this conversation before. And here I am, back again. 

We shall see how this conversation today turns out. That's what the meeting on Friday is about. It could get interesting. 

And not in a pleasant way. 

I'm totally cool with having the hard conversations. But I'm not cool with spending the time, especially in a volunteer capacity, only to have to repeat them. Then the drill sergeant in me comes out. And people don't like that. 

Random Picture...

Ahhhhh - Choooooo! Yep, it's goldenrod. One of the "fall" pics I took yesterday along a park district trail. The light was lovely yesterday, the clouds were puffy, and the field behind there? It's a hay field, and the piles were all neatly wound into balls - kind of reminded me of cakes of yarn. 

This is my favorite time of year. Aside from winter and spring. Even with the itchy allergy eyes I have today, which make me want to unplug my eyes and stick 'em in the freezer.

This is nature's last blast before the cold sets in. This year, she's putting on quite the show. I love looking out my window to see what's in store every day. I love the crispness in the air. 

I could do without the pollen. But it's a small sacrifice.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Did You Ever Just Know...

...that something wasn't a particularly bright idea? Well, that's how it happened this morning. 

After I had forgotten my office keys and had to go back home. 

Anyway, I bring chocolate almond milk to work, to use as a base for a protein shake. I made my shake, had my breakfast and then thought about a cup of tea. The cup was in the kitchen area, so I figured I'd take the mixer bottle and the milk bottle to the back to wash them. I did that. 

I set the milk bottle on the drain pad, and as I did so, I thought, "Hmmmmm. Not very stable." And by the time "stable" came into my head, the glass crashed to the floor. 

This is after I'd dropped a stoneware saucer on the floor in the kitchen last night, but at least that didn't break. 

Shattered glass. Flew all over the place. 

Mind you, I'm on a really strong blood-thinner and I'm by myself in the mornings. I wasn't quite sure how to pick this all up without cutting myself. And I found that our building doesn't have a dustpan. Hmmmm. 

Anyway, this is how you spend a little over 1/2 hour picking up glass when you're scared witless of cutting yourself: get the broom, grab a snow shovel (hey - use what you have, right?) and then a couple of fairly large wads of wet paper towels. I swept up everything, even the carpeted area. Then I got the snow shovel to use as a dustpan. For the remaining little teeny bits of glass, I wadded up paper towels and wet them slightly. That enabled them to grip the nearly invisible shards. All of it went into the snow shovel. All of that went into a garbage bag. Which went into another garbage bag. 

Which all went into the dumpster. 

I liked that bottle. It was the perfect size for me to bring to work. 

Yep. Full moon on the 8th. It's about time...


Baby layette
The baby layette is DONE. Well, the clothing part, at least. I finished the sweater and decided that I didn't need to embroider snowflakes on it. First, it's garter stitch, which has enough texture for anyone. Second, because I had the lovely snowflake buttons. 

Now to get cracking on the blanket. I figure if nothing else, I ship the clothing items to Mommy and I can get the blanket done for Christmas. But it's still early days; I can do it, I think. I'll still alternate with socks, because the cotton can be hard on the hands. 

Note the adorable buttons!
If you click on the picture here, you can see the detail in the snowflake buttons. Hubby said, "Move them down a bit." I had to explain that the buttonholes were already done! And anyway, I moved them from where the pattern had them. 

Remember, this is a newborn size - I think the neck is a bit small, so that's why I moved the buttons down anyway. 

Regardless, this is part of an Ann Norling set that I bought when Sonda closed the shop, and I would easily do again. But not in cotton. The entire set encompasses a hat, blanket, booties and sweater, much like the one I originally started with, but the hat is a "helmet" type, with ties for under the chin. Definitely a go in a superwash wool or wool/acrylic blend. The hat and blanket are in a large basketweave pattern and I think it's a tad clunky - at least for the hat. But it's a baby. Not Vogue. 

The link takes you to Jimmy Beans Wool. I thought that there was an individual site, but apparently not. The patterns are really nice. I'm using her ripple pattern for Kid #2's afghan.

Eye of Partridge heel in progress
The St. Charles sock comes along. I'm on the heel flap. It's Eye of Partridge heel and I must say I'm questioning the durability of this as opposed to my usual "Doris Heel" which is more or less a double-knitted slip-stitch heel with K3 at either end. I wanted to try this one, and so I will. But that doesn't mean I have to use it again. 

Still really digging the Lorna's Laces yarn. I'm now questioning, however, whether casting on 72 is a good idea. I mean, my cuff's going to hold up no matter what I do. It's two different ribbing patterns and it's nice and snug. But the leg looks a bit big. Now, this is wool with about 10% nylon, so perhaps it'll shrink a tad, but it will be a good test sock for this yarn. 

Overview of St. Charles colorway
Seems like the purple and the green swirls are predominating. It's definitely a "fall sock" and I believe it will definitely NOT be done for the KAL in the Addicted to Socks group I'm in. Oh well. Can't stop the baby knitting. Even for socks. 

So what will I do for my next pair? Someone asked how you pick your socks. I have my yarn in totes, and I think I'll just reach in and grab one. Then I can decide about the pattern. My goal is to try to get 7 pairs done this year, so that I can theoretically have a pair a day. 

I'm up to 5 pair, so we're going along well. Note, though, that only 2 of those 5 were done this year. The Robin's Nest MadTosh were done last year. I have 2 Opals that were done this year. 

Yesterday, at the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic 5K Blood Run, I was on the registration table. It was FREEZING. 
Hiking socks

So of course, I wore stuff I'd made. My knitted hiking socks; my crocheted ruffle scarf (I could have used the heavier one) and Sonda's hand-dyed hat (could've used the heavier one here, too). One of the gals took the hat and examined it, declaring it "almost machine-made" -- not sure if that's a compliment or not, right? 

I guess to a non-knitter, if your tension is good, it's "like machine made" - so I'll take it as the compliment I think she was aiming for. 

I got home and was still bone-cold. And stiff as a board. I did not, for the record, wear the Birks you see in the picture. I had on thicker shoes! It was a few hours of multiple cups of tea before I felt like I could move without feeling like I was hit by a 2x4. Between the cold temps, the harsh wind, and standing on concrete, it was almost inevitable. The runners, by the way, were fine. 

Maybe my next pair SHOULD be the companions to the hiking socks above. I have enough of that purple Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian wool) to add to the lovely sky blue I bought with a plan in mind - making contrasting heels & toes. It's knitted on size 3 DPNs, so it makes a nice sturdy sock. As long as your Hubby doesn't try to felt them in the wash! 

On The Way...

We live next to a town which is essentially bisected by a river. That river splits the west side of town from the east side. And crossing over is generally an adventure because the river has a high number of barges shuffling cargo here and there. It's great; the barges carrying goods all over and the tug boats doing their thing. Fascinating to watch. 

Till you get caught by a bridge. We call it "Bridge Roulette" and some days you can beat the barge. Some days, not so much. 

Yesterday at 7 a.m. was a "not so much" day. The bridges are drawbridges. Modern feats of engineering, and of course, when one is out for repair, it screws up the entire traffic flow. As you can see by this dashboard picture, the counterweight is a massive block of concrete. 

We're very strict about our bridges, and you'd be insane to try to beat the bridge if the light at the crossbars is already yellow. Which it was yesterday. I had already seen that the Ruby Street bridge was up, so I scooted (in plenty of time, I thought) to Bridge Street. Just as I got to where I thought "Whew," the light turned yellow. 

Nope. Not gonna risk it. Luckily, the tug was shoving 2 big barges, and it was moving along at a good clip. It was about 10 or 12 minutes from raising to lowering, which is a good thing. 

What bugs me is when they raise it for a sail boat or larger boat where the mast of the boat comes no where NEAR the bottom of the bridge deck!! That's annoying, but that's living in a river town, I guess. 

The Garden is Done...

The carrots are in. There were a lot of them. And no, I did not take a picture of what Hubby called "the anatomically correct male carrot." We thought about what to do and came up with freezing most of them. I have a bag of them in the fridge to scrape over salads or add to a soup, but the majority are in the vac-bags for later use. 

Kid #2 already requested at least 1 bag. He's a big soup-maker and he says "your garden carrots ROCK!" So how can I resist that, right?

We took out everything, and all the paraphernalia is stashed in the shed for next year. Not sure what we'll plant. Tomatoes didn't do much this year, though they were better than last. 

You know the pickles went gangbusters. The carrots went well, I think. And so did the lettuce, though it seemed to come all at once. Perhaps next year we plant a couple of rows, wait till that's done then do another 2 rows. That might make it easier to deal with. 

We will definitely NOT plant pickle cukes next year. But maybe 2 plants of salad cukes would be good. 

We got 10 bags of carrots for the freezer. I will definitely use this in soup and of course glazed carrots. 

The whole ones will be used as roasting carrots. I usually make a roasted medley for Thanksgiving, so these will be perfect with the parsnips, Brussels sprouts and other stuff I usually toss in there. 

I have to put a plug in -- if you have never grown your own carrots, you really need to do so. The flavor is amazing. 

Actually, it's amazing because they HAVE flavor. Once you grow your own, you'll notice that the bagged ones in the stores taste like... well, nothing. Really. 

And for juicing? Apple + carrot juice with a bit of fresh ginger and lemon? Wowza. A treat for the tastebuds. 


Hubby saw a post from a high school friend which blamed President Obama for the Ebola virus coming to Texas. I reminded him that it's likely some of those friends are rather close-minded and stupid. He didn't even answer the post, because how do you counter that deeply-rooted idiocy? 

Anyway, on the way in to the office today, I briefly listened to the Stephanie Miller show. I love her, but I'm on a "no progressive radio" thing lately. 

I'm so appalled at the negative and obviously misleading (and slanderous) commercials by conservatives. They are completely re-writing history and their followers are swallowing this crap hook, line, and sinker. 

For example, in Louisiana, Mary Landrieu is running again. She's a pro-gun Democrat. Yet the conservatives there say, "Mary voted for MORE GUN REGULATION." No. She didn't. It's in the Congressional Record, people. Use your internet for more than stalking celebrities. Try using your brain and doing some research before swallowing wholly-made up "facts" shoved at you by politicians who've been bought by special-interest groups.

She actually voted merely for expanded background checks in the wake of the Newtown shooting. But yeppers - the Conservatives are calling her an "anti-gun" politician who's right there with Obama to "come get your guns." (Which, by the way, hasn't actually happened, but who's gonna let a good lie get away?)

And yesterday I was waiting for a movie, so I thought I'd watch Bill Moyers. Check out the full show on his website and listen to how President Obama and Mr. Holder actually did screw us over by not going after the bankers. Just the banks, who can then write off the "fines" as a "cost of doing business." 

Made my blood boil. While President Obama has done a lot of good (in spite of what you'll hear on FixedNews(?) Network), he's disappointed a lot of us who consider ourselves liberal progressives. 

But he's still better than "Bomb, bomb, bomb" McClain and Poopsie "Moosewoman" Palin. 

Random Picture...

This is Tippi yesterday afternoon. I tried to get her first pose, which was with her head flattened between her paws. She can sense when I'm moving, I swear. This was her reaction to my putting the camera on the floor. 

"Really?" She briefly opened her eyes and then figured that if she shut them, the flash wouldn't disrupt her nap.

She and I attended the Take Back the Night event as visitors to the Will County Children's Advocacy Center where she does some part-time therapy work. 

Of course, her personality and furry grey presence captivated people. It always does. Many people asked what she was there for, and how they get involved. 

And many more just wanted to pet her. She was charming and she found the one air conditioning vent on "full blast" so she could lay on the floor in comfort. 

As long as I know I'm just her driver... all's right in her world.