Thursday, February 19, 2015

Catching Up...

Well, my last "I ate lunch" blog entry didn't meet the standards of elephant journal. And you know what? That's cool. I'm doing the internship to learn things. I don't expect everything to be ok'd blindly. 

I got critiqued and it was good. So I'm letting this marinate a bit and maybe I'll try again, reworking it. Or maybe it's just what it is. And I'll try something else. 

I do have a column on kale sitting at the back of my brain. 

Speaking of elephant journal -- click on the link and enjoy! Also, check out Facebook and look at the myriad pages under the "elephant" label. I'm curating Elephant Recipes and Elephant Bicycles, so come on by, like the pages and see what's up. 

You do hit a pay wall at the journal - but I think you'll like what you're reading so much that it'll be an easy thing to get a subscription. 

I will also say that I am learning a ton about social media. A TON of stuff that I never knew. OK, you can giggle. But honestly - I had no idea about the analytics of Facebook and Twitter. And this blog will probably (please, please, please) be better off for what I'm learning now. 

I'm thinking that this is all great experience, and will help me no matter where I end up. 


OK, so the Roman Rib sock is going well (more on that below). And I had to pick up Kid #2's afghan. 

And I had to frog it. Not a happy camper, but it had to be done. So I'm back at it, and about done with the first repeat of the ripple. 

Hubby is out at training (and I feel safe saying that - I have the Hounds to keep me safe...) and I have the evening to myself tonight and tomorrow night. So I'm cracking along with it. It'll alternate this soft grey with a dark garnet red (not quite burgundy). His pick, and he picked the ripple pattern. 

The yarn is Caron Simply Soft. It's ok. It's good for him because it's easy to care for. The drape is lovely and it's really popping those ripple stitches. You can't see much here, but it's evolving in a lovely pattern. I thought about skipping the two ridge stitches defining the ripple. It would be easy to just knit the ripple pattern all the way to the end, but the two ridges kind of make a natural barrier or end-point for the color changes. 

It makes a nice change from size 1 needles and sock yarn!

My Year in Socks...

Fluromania Neon Beach, Vanilla Latte
First, a little housekeeping: When I post the socks, I'll list the yarn name first, and then the pattern name. Hopefully I will now remember that!

Here are the Neon Beach. I can't remember if I posted these yet. It's the Vanilla Latte pattern on Ravelry, and you have to be a Rav member, so I can't link it here for you. There's a bit of a problem. The socks are slightly tight. So I'm not sure whether it's because I wore them right off the needles or whether it's because it's a lot of rib stitching. I should perhaps consider casting on 72 stitches the next time. It's an easy-enough pattern, and what I'll do the next time is either stop the pattern at the ankle, or stop it earlier on the toe. The star toe kind of blends right in - which is fine, but I'd like a bit more definition on the toes, between the pattern and the toe part. 

Opal Borneo Ricky, Roman Rib
Now, we'll see if this batch of Fluro actually runs like the other one. No matter - they're socks for me. I did buy some sock blockers so I might try those on the Roman Rib pair, because they're a bit larger. But for these? If they run, I won't cry. I got two of these skeins from the distributor because of the running of the last skein. I'm pretty sure they heard loud and clear that knitters were NOT happy with runny dye. The ones I knitted with the other color are comfy. They're looser and they have had some more bleeding, but it's only me. I don't care. They're "fun" socks. I'd never wear them to some dressy thing, like I would the Roman Ribs (see above). I'm kind of curious as to how that instep will feel in pattern when I wear real shoes with them. I might use the pattern on the cuff of another plain pair - we'll see. But definitely a different heel next time.

And speaking of the Roman Rib, that Strong heel is really freaky. But according to my sock-knitting friends, it's probably because the directions are... ummm... wonky, to be kind. Kelly at Le Mouton Rouge Knittery helped me figure it out. So I'll do the second one, and won't bother much with Mrs. Strong's heel after that, unless I feel really compelled to give it another go. 

St. John's and Morningstar...

No, not the investment company. Our local homeless shelter. See, at church, we have the opportunity to do service work, and I signed up to work at Morningstar to serve lunch on the second Saturday of the next few months. 

That's me, front right. Yeah. A hairnet and apron are great fashion accessories! Anyway, we had a great time, but it's also sobering.

I really haven't made many political statements here lately, and I'm not going to do one now. But what I will say is that we - all of us - are only a couple of paychecks away from using many of the social safety nets available to us, if we're lucky enough to have them. 

If our country continues the way it's going - where all social services are considered an "entitlement" (and no, no, a THOUSAND times no - Social Security is NOT an entitlement. The government has MY money that I've paid in!) and where any of us who needs such aid are now considered "moochers" -- well, then we are not The Greatest Country. And we truly can't even claim, with a straight face, that we're a "Christian" nation if we don't take care of the "least." (Matthew 25:40 if you're interested) 

Because if we don't heed these folks - the ones who are truly down-and-out; the ones who have nothing; the ones who can only go up from here because they're down as far as they can go? Well, if we don't heed and help these folks, how do we expect anyone to help us if and when we need it? 

We can't. But we ought each to do our own little bit. I'm not changing the entire world by working at these service projects. But I feel confident that somewhere along the line, I may be creating a small ripple. And small ripples get bigger. 

Please - do this for your own sake - find a project that you're passionate enough about. And then do something. You don't have to be rich. You just have to be present. 

(OK, I was mistaken. This is a vaguely political statement. But if you're a regular reader, you know where I'm sitting anyway.)

It's COLD out there...

Here's a handy-dandy chart telling you when to bring your animals inside. When? Well, NOW. Now would be good. 

I don't want to hear that your animal is "an outside dog/cat" -- bring him or her in. I'm telling you right now - it's 1*F out there and feels like -15*f. The wind chill advisory for our area is predicting -20 to -30*F for wind chills through Friday morning. Even The Weather Channel is telling us to bring pets indoors. 

Here's the thing: Even if you have huts for your dogs (we have igloos) - at this temperature, even my elkhounds and husky would have a difficult time. And dogs who are "built" for outside are still susceptible to frostbite. 

We're in the midst of a cold snap now that's closed schools. Thankfully, we're not in Boston or anywhere else on the East Coast where they're getting piled on with snow. Heck, in the time I've been typing this, the temperature here in IL has dropped another digit. It's now ZERO degrees - still "feels like" -15, but let's face it. When it gets cold, after a certain point it really doesn't matter. 

Tomorrow and Saturday, temps will slowly crawl back up. We'll be darned near 18* or so!! But look -- Niagara Falls is nearly frozen over. 

THAT, my friends -- THAT is cold. 

Random Picture...

Yes, Miss Tippi was in her glory on Fat Tuesday. Hold the jokes, please. She's sensitive. So we brought both hats to her therapy visit and she figured out a way to not wear the hats. 

First, she starts this incredibly pathetic thing: head droops, eyes seem to get bigger, ears droop... then, she rolls over for a belly rub, thus knocking off the hat. 

So smart! 

I'm sitting here watching Judgement at Nuremberg and remembering why I've always liked this movie. Strong performances. Next is Dr. Strangelove, and I think I'll be finding something else to watch. Just not one of my favorites. I'll be back knitting on the afghan, but I just have a thing about Peter Sellers. Monumental talent, but his frenetic energy isn't what I want to see tonight. 

Soon, I'll be heating up the kettle for some Tulsi Sweet Rose tea. I did a bad thing. And I will pay for it. I ate some Kraft Mac & Cheese. A LOT of Kraft Mac & Cheese. It happens. I've been tired with Hubby's weird training schedule, not sleeping well, and I tend to over-eat when I'm in that situation. I'm so cold (and we haven't lost power - my fingers are just freezing) that my wedding ring is falling off. 

Raisa is sacked out next to me. Tippi is back in the back room. She and Raisa have been having some issues, so the baby gate is up. Quinn is next to the dining room table. 

My hands are freezing, and I'm dreading taking them out in the next hour or so. I'll have to do it before Hubby gets home, but I'm hoping against hope that they can hold out. Ha. I doubt it. 

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