Wednesday, January 28, 2015

News! News! News!

As I sit here absolutely IGNORING the first tenet of mindful eating (which is to not eat in front of any kind of screen), I have to say I'm all a-twitter --- or maybe all flusterpated, to borrow a Winnie the Pooh phrase. 

I GOT THE INTERNSHIP!!! 

Yay - in the next 4 months, I'll be an elephant journal intern!! As soon as I know what I'm doing, I'll let you all know. 

Follow me!! Please!!! (Ok, that's the extent of my Sally Field immitation. If you don't get it, Google it). 

Ode to a Winter Tomato...


Winter tomatoes,
They sure make you think.

Not really red;
Not really pink. 

There's no 
"summer tomato stink"
On these pathetic winter
souls.

They're hard. 
Tasteless.
Old. 

They're pricey.
Quality dicey. 



What to do?
What to do?

I really want to like you.
Really I do.

I buy you, but only because
I need some summertime, too. 

See? This is why I'm not a poet. 
Thinking of all the tomatoes

And the summers when 
they grow'd.

I salt you with premium salt.
I pepper you with fine, fresh
grind. 

And all I need to do now
Is bring August back to mind. 

On The List Today...

Is to register for some freelance writing gigs. Work with my online copy writing course. STAY OFF FACEBOOK, and hem some yoga pants. 

I've done a lot of the things on the list I created on Monday. I tend to do a running list and work on it over the course of several days. 

It's a disciplinary tool. Sometimes, it actually works!

My Year in Socks...

I'm up to about 3" or so on the leg. Still plugging away. If I could sit for a concentrated time, I'd at least get to the heel. That's my new goal. As soon as I'm finished here, I'll get back to that. 


Random Picture...

A bit of a throw-back. I call this one "Plucky." This little petunia sprung up out of nowhere on my patio this fall. We have no idea how she got there, but we really enjoyed watching her. She withstood a lot of crummy weather and some pretty impressive piles of leaves. 

And through it all, her little purple head smiled in the sun. 

I wonder if she'll be back next year. It'll be interesting. We did plant quite a few purple petunias this past summer. Cleaning out the garden for the coming year will be a chore, but I'm already dreaming of what I want there. 

Ok. Blog over. Time to go finish that sock... I know it won't be done by Saturday, but I can give it a good try. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Progress of Sorts...

Well, at least I have a To-Do list up. Nothing's accomplished yet, but I know where my day is going to go. Or at least where I plan for my day to go.

Elephant Journal...

No word yet. I'm wondering, doubting, a little scared. But whatever happens, it's apparently meant to happen, so I'm not going to cry in my tea. I'm rather obsessively checking my e-mails since they said they'd know Monday. And it's Tuesday. 

Well, I may cry. Just a little, if I'm not chosen. But it's not my first rodeo. I consider all of it a growth experience. And Lord knows, I've had plenty of those in my life! 

My Year in Socks...

Vanilla Latte
I'm progressing through the second of the Coral Fluro. It's a Vanilla Latte pattern, free on Ravelry. You have to sign up to get it, though. If you're any kind of knitter, Ravelry is the place to be. Heaven knows I have a crap-load of patterns stashed, marked as favorites, and downloaded. 

Hubby figures I'll need to live to be about 500 to complete all my craft projects. Which is ok by me, as long as I can still function, you know? 

Star toe
Anyway, here it is. At least, here's Sock #1 of the pair. I did a stupid thing that nobody but me will notice. Sock #1 had a 4-row section of knit on the top (note the small roll). Sock #2 mysteriously has a 6-row section. Because I mis-read the meticulous notes I took. Because I'm rushing to get these done by January 31 (not gonna happen unless I have The Doctor here to manipulate the time-space continuum), and because I started them late at night - well, late at night for ME - and thought I could have enough functioning brain cells. 

Ha. 

So here's the spec on the socks. Fluromania in 7184, Neon Beach (a perfect yarn, by the way, to knit with in the grey winter days). The Yarn Harlot heel from her book Knitting Rules, and a star toe (from any basic "How to Knit Socks" book). 

I did the star toe for the OTHER Fluro pair I made, and I like the way it works. The only thing I would do differently here, on the next pair of Vanilla Latte, would be to stop the pattern. So perhaps on the next pair, I stop the pattern on the top of the foot when I reach 7". And maybe the NEXT pair (it's an amazingly fun sock to knit that shows way more pizzazz than you'd think with these Fluro yarns), stop the pattern at the heel, so that the entire foot is plain. 

Lots of options. That's why I like socks. 

Why Inherit the Wind is Still Relevant...

So. Yesterday I was able to watch one of my all-time favorite movies: Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracey. It's a movie about the Scopes Monkey Trial. And in a very sad way, it seems like the Republican uber-conservatives, including Cruz, Rubio and the rest of them, would very much like to re-try the validity of evolution. 
Scene from "Inherit the Wind"

I mean, look at the picture here: "Godliness, not Gorillas." And look at some of the more shameful "art" regarding President Obama. Anyone else see any parallels here? 

News reports indicate that the budget deficit has shrunk, albeit modestly. It's hard to shrink a budget bloated by unwanted military spending...Just my 2 cents. Apparently, according to Mitch McConnell, the budget deficit "miraculously" shrunk the moment the Republicans took control of Congress. 

Keep on drinking the moonshine, Mitch. 


Then there's John Boehner. Let's just invite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress. Oh, and let's just NOT tell the White House. And then let's pretend that you and your BFF Benjamin think you are the smartest guys in the room. 

Not so much. 

In many circles, Israel is considered the bully here. And we give them aid - sometimes it seems we blindly circle the wagons any time Israel calls and hollers for help. But President Obama says "Not so fast," and then all the clowns start leaping and shrieking that he's "upsetting" Israel. Why can't Israel, who bills itself as the "plucky defender of the faith," actually maybe fight their own battles? 

And I know it's a larger problem than I can solve, but why is it so hard to come to an agreement with Palestine? It's been years - nay, generations - and it's about time everyone starts to play well together. 

Anyway, this is a small symptom of the larger problem of the US trying to go backward in time. Right now, the party of "smaller government" wants to be small enough to get into my uterus. Which is fine with me, since mine is pretty much retired. But for my future DIL? No, thanks, she can and should have a choice of what to do without some rich white republican nutjob making that decision for her. If the "party of small government" had anything to do with it, women would remain pregnant and in the kitchen and we'd have the biggest arsenal on the planet. 

And we would be the Earth's bully. Strutting around, parading much like Kim Jong Il in our deluded idea of our own grandeur, while our planet melts and burns. But hey, we'll be the smartest kid in the room, so who cares about the planet? We'll be the Big Man On Campus (because of course women are relegated permanently into the shadows), and we'll be King of the Mountain. 

Except that the mountain will have fallen into the sea and all of the life that we now enjoy will have been obliterated except for the fortunate ones who are rich and in control. 

Inherit the Wind reminds us of this. From the iconic line by the character who's in actuality William Jennings Bryant, "I do not think about the things I do not think about" (which should be the Republican tag line, in my opinion), as he denies the existence of a fossil millions of years old - because of course every good religious man KNOWS that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. It's somewhere in the Bible. 

To the character played by Tracey, who's supposed to be Clarence Darrow: "Fanaticism and ignorance are forever busy and need feeding." 

We are almost there, folks. The rebuttal to the State of the Union address by a congresswoman whose family got over $400,000 in farm subsidies, in which she chastises the "least of these" (a Biblical concept which must have escaped her)... The continuing assault on civil rights which were hard-fought and earned... The war on women which is a reality, not just a talking point... The vanishing middle class... The rising of the super-rich and the rise in poverty, which are not opposite concepts...

When are we going to wake up and smell the coffee? 

Now would be good.

Winter Birds...

Three in One
So this has been a prime time for taking pictures, and the birds at our feeder are accustomed to my presence in the window. They still fly off if I'm on the porch, and frankly, I don't want to be out there in the cold!

Here are a few of my favorites from this morning. I got this seed ring from the Ace Hardware in New Lenox when I was out there. And when I went back, I got the last 2 they had. The birds love it and so far the squirrels haven't gotten past the steel apron on the pole. 

Smile for the camera
The female cardinal is a tad more skittish than the other birds, so she's a little harder to catch on camera. She found safety in the big maple, and with a little bit of patience, I got this one of her trying her best to ignore me. 

I've seen goldfinch, rose finch (the one in the center of the hole above), regular sparrows and nuthatch. As well as junco, woodpecker and of course the inevitable invasion of the grackles. 

I don't know whether I like winter birding or summer birding. But perhaps it's just that we're lucky enough to have an array of feeders outside that are in the perfect spot to enable us to see them as they go about their lives. 

Job Search...

The phone interview was a bust. It seems their idea of "flexible" and my idea of "flexible" didn't mesh. Oh well. It was a good experience, and perhaps Tippi and I can get an extra therapy gig out of it. It depends. 

I looked up reviews of the facility and it's interesting. They weren't the state reviews, and they were exactly 50/50. Not sure if the two negatives were disgruntled employees, but they were bad. The good ones were positively glowing. 

Hubby and I talked. We agreed I could wait and not jump at the first thing I'm offered. I'm still looking, and since I'm on unemployment, I am still recording my job search. Prospects aren't great, unless I want to travel to Chicago. I'm sorry, but I've been there and done that. I think that at this stage, I want to stay closer to home...

And then I had lunch with a friend. I can't go into great detail here, but let's just say that when one keeps one's options open, all kinds of interesting things present themselves. 



Random Picture...

Yes, it's the end of January. Some folks back East are getting slammed with snow. Some folks out West are also in the same pickle. Right now, it's 29* out there (at least it's above zero) and we had a light dusting of snow. Just enough to make drivers stupid, honestly. 

So I think I can provide a bit of summer for you. These are Stella d' Oro daylilies. These bloom all summer and into fall. They were at a junction where there's a pull-off near an ice cream store. 

They're sunny, bright, and beautiful. 

Just what we need for today, right? 



Friday, January 23, 2015

Chinese Menu Syndrome...

...no, that's not offensive. It's "proofreader slang" for the innate ability to spot a typo about a million miles away. Oh, and a grammatical error, too. 

This is important for a number of reasons. 

First,it drives everyone around you absolutely bonkers if you can't keep the error to yourself. And of course you can't. You're compelled to expound on the errors you see. 

Second, it actually drives you nuts as well. Here's the thing. My friend S gave me a book for Christmas, by a local author. The book has a nice slick cover, it's from a decent publisher, and the author graciously thanks everyone from her cats to her proofreaders. 

Ahem. 

Not so fast with the thanks. You have a lot of work to do with your own writing (of which I'm not overly critical because it's your first novel). And your proofreaders?

"Mute point." Really?? Really??? That's the one that almost made me toss the book across the room. There were others. Too many, even for a debutante writer. I'm nearly tempted to e-mail her and ask if I can be her proofreader. 

So I'm in the running for an apprenticeship at elephantjournal. This is a big deal. This e-zine/website platform is a large presence in the yoga/meditation/lifestyle arena. After the apprenticeship, if you all like each other, you're offered a position as Associate Editor - which basically means they will then PAY you to write for them. 

The Job Front...

Nothing. Well, sort of something, but not what I had expected. Which is how it usually goes. 

Nothing came of the "anchor" position which the president if the university spoke to me about. However, there's a Board of Trustees meeting in February, which is usually a big deal. I mean, the planet stops moving till after the BoT meets. Then earth resumes her normal activities. 

So maybe the anchor has yet to be launched off the boat. 

I'm networked with freelance gigs, thanks to my friend Nat. I'm working the voice-over thing, though I have yet to hear anything positive from the editor I'm working for. I know he's championing me. It's up to the client. 

And I do have a phone interview; for a job I really don't think I want. Because something else interesting has dropped into my lap.

The potential to run a yoga studio. 

Yes. Stop laughing. It's an opportunity that doesn't usually fall into someone's lap. Will it make buckets of money? No. Is it sustainable? Yes. It pays its bills. I've been its part-time manager when the owner is away. I'm teaching there 3 nights a week. We have a good core group of teachers, and a pretty good following. 

The thing is this: I'm now 57 years old. I have education up to my eyeballs. And I've always worked for someone else. I talked this over with my brother, who's owned his own business for almost 30 years. He suggests I go for it, because I have enough other irons in the fire. 

Hubby wants me to actually get the "anchor" position, if it's ever posted, and work the other things, just having one source of consistent income. And I get that. But I can't shake the feeling that I really, really, REALLY want to do this. And I think I can make it work. 

I know I can make it work. 

Knitting...

My Year in Socks
So the Knit from Stash thing is off to a rocky start. I couldn't get the Strong Heel instructions to make sense. I was supposed to go to the LYS to get some help, but I have a ton of things to do, so that's delayed to sometime next week. 

This is what I'm knitting instead, and yeah, I won't get them done in January. But I think what I'm going to do is just knit the pair, not having to face the potential of TWELVE single socks... So if I complete SIX pair of socks, then I'll consider that a success. Twelve would truly have been a miracle. 

And I can't totally stop buying yarn. This is a colorway that simply fascinated me. It's called Unicorn Farts. And the base yarn has gold sparkles in it. 
Unicorn Farts

Because of course Unicorns fart with gold sparkles. Who doesn't know that? I don't know what pattern this will be, but it's entirely squishable and I can't wait to knit it up. Heck, I almost can't wait to get it on the winder to make a cake. 

It's from Purple Goddess Designs. Check her out. Awesome yarn, fantastic customer service and a lovely Etsy site. 

Necessity...

...Is truly the mother of invention. While I've been home, I've done more housework - which you can do when you're not away at a desk... 

I was looking for my handle for the dusting sheets. I couldn't find it, and I needed to dust the fax machine because I had to send out a fax. 

So I pulled out my size 10 needles. And did what you do when you don't have the handle to your duster sheet...

Did it work? For the most part. Of course 2 days later, I found the handle. Which is now in the box with the duster sheets. 

But hey - the fax machine is now clean. 

Random Picture...

Once again, I question my wisdom. I really wanted a La-Z-Boy recliner that could be my knitting chair. 

I have the recliner. But for the most part, I don't recline it. 

Nap time
Why, you ask? Well. It's either Quinn with her head under the back of it. 

Or Tippi hiding under it when I do manage to recline it, thereby rendering me stuck in my chair till she decides to move.

Or Raisa. Who is part cat. Because she can get almost 100% of her considerable husky body under the chair. 

This was yesterday, before I had to put her in her crate because I was leaving the house. I'm still not ready to leave her roaming with the other two dogs. She's at that age where she thinks she's Big Dog. 

And she's not. But as with most huskies, particularly those going through adolescent phases, they're rather oblivious. 

I'm ok as long as she doesn't decide to stand straight up. She could. And I'd be toast. 





Friday, January 02, 2015

I Had Good Intentions...

Really, I did... I had on my list, "Blog."

But then I got sucked in. 

My Year of Knitting Socks...

This is a new KAL (knit-a-long) in my "Addicted to Sock Knitting" group. Here's how it works: I put 12 hunks of yarn (hanks/skeins/balls) into 12 separate brown paper bags. Then I had Hubby label them. He put them in a tote, and yesterday I started knitting. 

The object is a pair a month. We'll see. One of the designers who's in the ASK group has donated a year's worth of patterns, and they're of various skill levels. And you can, of course, use your own - or knit 12 pairs of plain socks. Whatever you want. 

So far, there's at least ONE of our members who's already finished her socks. But I refuse to be intimidated. I'm knitting. On my own socks at my own pace. 

In the bags, I put a variety of yarn and I honestly can't remember what's where (which is the point, really). So I picked January's bag, and found a pair that I had started then frogged (knitting term meaning: ripped out - like a frog - rippit, rippit, rippit -- use your imagination). 

They're in Opal, the Rainforest collection and the Borneo Ricky colorway. It's a grey/cream self-patterning yarn, and the ball said, 'Roman Rib' -- so that's what I started. The designer has a heavenly pattern for us for January, but I will wait till I have a solid-color yarn to do that one; it'll fit better. 


So as I said, most of yesterday I spent working on the sock. Well, I didn't exactly speed-knit, but I'm a good way along the leg. This is the progress as of this morning. 

You all know I'm not a speed-knitter, and remember, I've been working on cotton over the past few months. It takes a while to get your "sock knitting fingers" back. 

I think it'll be nice. The pattern called for 1.5" of rib, but I usually only do 1" and even at that, it seems to take forever. 

I didn't just do that all day. I was puttering in my office, doing some cleaning, and my mom came over to visit. 

Anyway, these will make nice socks and they're far more subtle than usual for me. I guess I've never grown out of the crazy-colored sock fetish I have!

So we'll have another category here, where I will attempt to document my sock progress. I'm not sure what other knitting I'll get done, but we shall see. 

Knitting...

I haven't yet e-mailed Alicia at Purple Goddess Design about the mug and how the letters are chipping off. That's on my list to do today. 

As well as working on the sock and dealing with my "2015 My Year In Socks" binder. I'm rooting through the office ... yes, it looks like a paper machine barfed in there ... to gather up some simple patterns to have in waiting in case I don't feel up to the designs that are in the KAL. Of course, I can still always do a vanilla (plain) pattern, particularly since I do recall that I have a car-load of Opal in there. 

In between ending the Baby Layette and starting the Sock-a-Thon, I knitted this up for Kid #1's girlfriend. 

Yes, that's a tassel, not a pompom -- I couldn't get the yarn to behave and he thought she wouldn't mind it. Apparently, my wig-head (I use it to help block hats) is tiny. This is an average adult size. And she's got long thick hair, so it'll fit her fine. 

It's acrylic. She'll be able to wash it. And the purple is a bit more magenta than I thought, but it's very pretty. However, I don't like knitting hats flat anymore. Had I had a set of size 10 DPNs in my bag, I'd have done this in the round, but I wasn't going to go out in the post-holiday insanity to find them. 

If I could have... Either way, though, it was a nice change. 

Christmas...

Was quiet. Thankfully. Of course, I barely had a voice. But we did get through all the music. And lookee - what Santa brought me. 

Santa in the persona of Hubby. I had been eyeballing this ring for a long time. Like, before I knew I was losing my job. Hubby jokingly said, "You can take January off, but after that, get a job so I can pay for this ring!" He was joking - he got it on a good sale because he's a good shopper. 

I was expecting a FitBit... 

It's a Morganite, in rose gold. I love the antique-looking Deco-ish setting. 

As I work through a Hercule Poirot marathon, drooling over the architecture, jewels, and general decadence of that period, I just think that it was my particular era. 

Minus the boozing and loose women... And the fact that you apparently have to be a size -0- to wear any of the clothes. 

Happy New Year...

Yeah, not so much at my house. This is Tippi, modeling her headwear. And it took a couple of shots to get this. I cropped out Raisa's nose. 

We spent New Year's Eve like we typically do. Hubby went to bed early because he gets up at Dawn O'Clock. I was up later because I had napped (I wasn't feeling well) and had screwed up my "time to go to sleep" rhythm. So I stayed up to watch more Dr. Who and work on some knitting. 

I ended up in bed around 10:30 or 11 p.m. and was reading an OUTSTANDING book, got it from Kid #2, called, "The Remedy," about the journey to cure tuberculosis and how Arthur Conan Doyle ran against the guy who said he'd cured it. 

Fascinating reading, about how it took us so long as a society to believe in germs, when now you can't swing a hank of yarn without hitting someone's bottle of hand sanitizer...

Anyway, I'm ready to shut down for the night, and it happens. 

Fireworks. 

And I hear Quinn "tip-tap-tip-tap" pacing maniacally up and down the hall. Then I hear no pacing. Never a good thing. 

I go into the larger bathroom and there she is, wedged between the wall and the toilet, with her head stuck in under the tank. 

I had to pull her out because she was trying to get BEHIND the toilet (a space into which my mother's dog Buddy might fit into, but he's 20 pounds). I dragged out 47 pounds of quaking Norwegian Elkhound and then had to dead-lift her out of the bathroom. I got her into her cave (her particular dog bed that has a canopy on it where she feels safe) and then sat there petting her and reassuring her.

While the casino and God knows who else were shooting off the fireworks. Half an hour. I was freezing, she was shaking. I should have figured that, and given her a Benadryl or something, but I forgot. 

So I was kind of "hung-over" on New Year's Day, but only because of lack of sleep. Here's Raisa's take on New Years Day... 

Her resolution is apparently to nap more. 

On the Job Front... 

No news on the posting for the university. No news on the voice-over - which I expected anyway. I figure I'll hear from them next week. 

I have, however, hooked up with a publishing company thanks to my friend Nat. They've got a project due January 9th and they would send me no info till I signed a confidentiality agreement, which is standard. 

I'm waiting... I hate short deadlines, though I'm good at them. It's been a while since I've exercised my editing muscle, and this is totally different from the publishing house I used to work for. But it's any port in a storm for now. I really would like the full-time position to come to fruition, but I've also got a hankering to build up the freelance work. 

Random Picture...

We survived the dreariest December in ages. And finally - FINALLY - my solar snowman lanterns were able to charge enough to get some use. Today is a cold, frigid day - also sunny, so we should have a nice display tonight too. 

It was also a pretty sunset that night. 

No snow. But supposed to be some tomorrow. Of course, because we're going to dinner at my sister's house. 

My BIL has an idea for a book. You never know. It could work. At any rate, it'll be nice to spend time with them. We don't do it enough and life's too short. 

Otherwise, I wish you all a great 2015. I hope you'll share this blog with others; I'd love to see it spread a bit (writer's conceit), and I think that it spreads a little happiness. 

At least I hope so.