Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bread & Circuses...

Of the dozen (or more) ways to describe what's been happening in the USA lately -- or at least the dozen ways not using scatological language, we can say the following:

1.  From Juvenal (Roman poet, somewhere around the late 1st and 2nd century AD), noted for his poems known as the Satires:  "Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt."

2.  From Noam Chomsky, theoretical linguist, cognitive scientist and philosopher: "As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome."

3.  Attributed to Mark Twain (but disproved a couple of times - I'm going with it anyway...): "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It frustrates you and annoys the pig."

4.  Smoke and Mirrors: an idiom for a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description. 

5.  From Carl Sagan, American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and science communicator: "Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us -- and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan that comes along." 

And finally, 

6. From Neil DeGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, science communicator and television host (NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS): "You can't have people making decisions about the future of the world who are scientifically illiterate. That's a recipe for disaster. And I don't mean just whether a politician is scientifically literate, but people who vote politicians into office."

So here's the thing, kids... This circus of an administration is killing us. We have a purported Tweeter-in-Chief who is easily distracted. Much like a 2-year-old who was given a sippy cup full of Mountain Dew for breakfast. He tweets "policies" only to distract us from stuff like, oh, I dunno - the upcoming investigations on Russia's involvement in our elections. His taxes. His family's conflicts of interest. The gutting of so many necessary programs. The appointment of lobbyists and large contributors to departments such as Education and Interior, so that they can rip those venerable organizations to shreds. 

He can't let go of Hillary Clinton. Dude - much to my chagrin and the anger and angst of millions of us, you won. Get over it. Move on. Try "presidenting" at least once before you're impeached. (Are You listening, God??)

He's humiliating AG Sessions, and much though I don't like Sessions, I'll give him credit for not quitting. Sessions is holding his own while there's a kid in the White House having a tantrum. You know - the guy in the Oval Office. 

He's threatening the senator from Alaska because she voted against HIS wishes and FOR what her constituents need. Amazing, that... I can't see her being bullied, and I can't see the folks in Alaska dumping her because she's giving them what they need. But I've been shocked before. 

And much to my surprise, Mr. Lindsey Graham appears to be growing a spine! It's about time. He's finally putting the brakes on the Nectarine Nemesis. And pardon me, but I can't figure out McCain. Is he voting to open debate on the ACA so he can champion keeping it? Or is he NOT being a maverick, and will he cave to his party, since they seem to have no qualms about kicking over 25 million people off health care, because you know - it's "Christian" to do so. 

"The Base" -- you can't even have a discussion with them. We're so polarized that it's impossible to reason with anyone. I'm starting to believe that he truly COULD shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. These people will vote against everything they need, and justify this incredibly inept moron's behavior by screaming about President Obama. People... Your guy got in, somehow (Thanks, Vlad...). Now - when the government takes your Medicare, let me know how that works for you. When the government strips you of any kind of insurance and pension, let me know how that works for you. When the jobs that were promised don't appear, let me know how that works for you. When the teen pregnancy rate rises, when your spouse dies of a preventable disease, and when polio comes back because you don't believe in science -- let me know how that works for you. 

I don't know how much longer we'll sit for this - or stand for it. I'm not sure how to go about pushing for getting him out of there before we end up in a war or a depression. But then, we get Pope Pence... He'll make the most conservative Catholic look like a hippie. 

I fear for our children and grandchildren. 

Knitting...

So - that last inch before the toe decrease? It's about a million miles long. Seriously, it's like time has stopped. This was last night. Today, I finally - FINALLY - got to the toe decrease. And then I had to go hunt for the directions for a 5-needle toe. All the books I had handy were for a 4-needle, and I wasn't about to chance it. 

I went to my friend R's house to interpret a top-down pattern for her. I should've brought my ball-winder and swift, but we're getting together tomorrow so that I can wind her balls for her. 

I'm kind of itching to finish this sock and get back to the sweater. 

But. Must. Finish. A. Pair. 

I've got too many "singletons" out there now. And if I want to wear 'em, I've gotta knit BOTH of them. I have more socks to knit and I'm wondering if I'm going through a "bored with bland" period. I mean, this yarn is lovely. It's going to be a beautiful pair of socks. But I find myself wanting just a smidge more for a challenge. 

Not sure I'm ready for a cabled sock, but maybe some uncomplicated lace on the cuff? I could do that. Or I've been eyeballing "shorties" that I can wear with tennis shoes. That would be nice. I can do those in "Frankensock" - where I use up scraps. Got lots of extra yarn from the socks I've already completed. 

It's a thought. Just have to push on and get moving. 

The Girls...

I mean the dogs. We've begun using CBD oil for Quinn and Raisa. We're trying to see if it curbs Raisa's aggressiveness and calms Quinn's nerves. Nothing much so far. 

Except that Raisa has determined that, against all logic, she loves Rose essential Oil. Of course. At $100/bottle. And a bottle is 5 ml. Of course she loves it. 

I had a "distance" session with a healer - using Healing Touch for Animals, with Quinn, and it was interesting. I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pretty certain this "Reiki for animals" would be good for her in-person, but the person I spoke to wanted to do a distance session because of timing and scheduling. We do live a couple hours from each other. 

Quinn was kind of "meh" about it, except for, part-way through the session, she perked up, looked around and seemed to sense that someone was close by (besides me). Nobody was there. The person doing the session was far away. 

Tippi with blue crown
Quinn had a relaxing day that day and the healer told me she could use some Frankincense oil. Which, it turns out, she loves. Sacred Frankincense, of course, the more rare one. 

I did use regular Frankincense on her when we thought we were having a thunderstorm. Normally, Quinn's kind of "resigned" when I use lavender on her. She did enjoy the Frank... She bowed her head and seemed happier for me to use that. 

Quinn with red crown
It's a process. Whether you believe in this kind of thing or not, I have to try different things. I don't want her drugged, but she needs some relief from her overwhelming anxiety. 

If this works, I'm happy. If it doesn't work, I haven't wasted anyone's time. The person doing the healing needs a "case" to work on. I have a "case" for this kind of thing. 

I got a couple of new crowns for the girls. Raisa does without - she eats hats. Quinn would walk around the house with it on and doesn't mind. 

Tippi technically doesn't like them, but she tolerates them for therapy visits. This one - I had to whistle to get their attention and take a picture when they looked like they weren't ready to die from humiliation. 

I think they're adorable. Don't you?

Weather...

It rained. And it's been raining. These past 2 days are the only rain-free ones we've had in about 10 days. The park near my office looked like a mess. We had a relatively mild winter, and we need the water. 

Just not all at once. I had to drive through a neighborhood because traffic lights were out and I'm thinking that just about every house in the blocks I drove by had some sort of damage: a tree limb, a shattered tree, destroyed lawn furniture... It was rough. 

Lucky for us, our idiot neighbor's dead tree is still (miraculously) standing. Though I don't know how much more it can take. 

As I taught through a downpour, this is what greeted us after class... 

We all stopped and took pictures because it was a beauty - end-to-end with the most intense colors at either side. 

Mother Nature sometimes throws you a gift while she's wrecking your yard. It was a beauty and I'm glad we caught it. 

Stencil Art...

Kid #2 is really into stencils. This is what he gave me recently. You think the kid knows me or something?? 

I mean yes -- thoughts and prayers are meaningful. I'm a spiritual person. But -- sitting on your hands and praying won't cut it now. 

We actively have to resist the crap that's piling up on us. If not for us, then for our kids. Those of us with adult children see them having a much harder time than we did. Kid #1 is going to struggle his whole life to save anything. Kid #2 - we used to think that nurses and teachers "had it made" what with guaranteed jobs and pensions. 

Well, neither nurses nor teachers have it made. Hospitals are cutting nursing staffs and schools are impacted by Washington and the various states' budget woes. 

Maybe both kids should've gone into technology, but then again: those jobs also come and go. I really can't think of a profession out there with any sort of security. 

Oh. Wait. 

Professional politician. 

No thanks - I raised them to be independent thinkers. The current herd doesn't always use their brains. See: Lost Election of 2016 for the Dems (who thought they had a "sure thing" and didn't count on the vast impact of crazy), and "How to vote Party all the way" for the Cons... Where you've sold your soul to the highest  bidder, and you really don't care. 

Random Picture...

So at work, we'd been using a chemical air freshener. Ick. I bought this one - it's a very small one, but I'm trying it out. So far, it's working nicely even if it doesn't cover the entire space. 

Technically, this Orb Diffuser can fit in your cup holder, and if your car is new enough to have a USB port, it'll freshen the car as you travel. I have a diffuser in the kitchen, the bedroom and the main living area. I have one in the studio. I use them daily. If this works, I'll bring a larger one into the office. 

My going "chemical free" (or as much as I can, given life in general) has really changed the way I clean and the way I take care of myself. It's made me feel better, not only for the environment, but physically. My skin looks healthier and I seem to sleep better. 

It's important to take care of yourself and your family. I can help. Young Living Essential Oils are a part of my routine, from cleaning to supplements. And you know what? It's just nice to have a fresh-smelling house! 









Saturday, July 22, 2017

On a Scale of...

...one to about 500... The migraine I woke up with was about a 50 or so. Just enough to be a dull roar, not enough to take the Rx that knocks me out. 

Which was good. It was enough to make me miss a graduation party (bad), but that was because I had to teach a workshop tonight (good). A 2-hour "nap" was a help. So was repeated use of my Young Living Deep Relief roll-on. And Excedrin Migraine. 

I found out that even though I thought I was on the highest dose of Keppra, there's one higher. I don't want to go there - I was going to try to taper off this year. But I'm not sure it's going to end that easily. 

For one thing, the braces and rubber bands don't help - they're putting strain on my head. My teeth still hurt, and my jaw is being pulled. I suppose that's helping increase the headaches. 

I'm hoping that we can stop them at the next appointment. Fingers crossed. I've been faithful in this process. I just want to get them done with. 

I'm not sure what another cause can be. I'm sleeping ok - when Mother Nature isn't throwing a party, which may be the issue. We've had about 4 days of thunderstorms and sleep has not come easily - or stuck around.

So while Hubby went to the graduation party, I picked up this old-home recipe.... a flat Coke and dark chocolate. Don't ask why - just trust me when I tell you that it does help dull the pain. I'm glad that you can buy these tiny cans now - I can only get down a half a can anyway, and I always felt horrible tossing it afterwards. At least, with the tiny cans, I'm only tossing about 4 or 5 ounces, as opposed to tossing 8 or 10 ounces with the larger can or bottle. 

I'm watching the last of "All About Eve" and have the chamomile tea next to me. I'll knit a bit and hopefully unwind the rest of the way. 

Knitting...

So this happened. I'm not sure what that is. I noticed it as I (yay!) finished the gusset. See where the needle is stuck in kind of sideways? It's not meant to do that - I'm only illustrating my problem. It almost looks like a stitch crossed over. This is on the SSK side; and as you may see, I was slipping the 2 stitches purlwise, and I have that loopy thing going on. So I finally got wise and started slipping them knitwise and they "disappeared" as they're supposed to do. 

I'm at about 5" or so on the foot, and it's coming along nicely. I've started a "countdown" of about 15 rows. That should get me to 7" and then I can start decreasing the toe. I know - it's plain vanilla and even I can (as The Slowest Knitter On The Planet) get a pair of those whipped out in about a month or so. This yarn is behaving beautifully. If it wears like it's knitting up, it'll rival my "heart" yarn: Opal! I haven't seen the stunning colorways in the OnLine sock yarn; I've only seen the various "striped" pattern ways, but I haven't seen anything else. 

Then again, I haven't seen much OnLine around here anyway. I see it occasionally at Wool & Co. in St. Charles, but now with their new owners, I'm not sure they'll carry it. They seem to be going the Sweet Georgia route, and a few others that I'm not familiar with. I haven't been out there in a dog's age - they sent out a notice that they're now carrying Brooklyn Tweed, and it's something called a "lifestyle yarn." 

I'm not sure what a "lifestyle yarn" actually is. I know knitting is a kind of lifestyle in and of itself. The ability to make things. The ability to take a pattern and tweak it to fit you. Or to create your own pattern. The plethora of yarns around that will allow you to do anything from knitting with the finest yarn that could pass through a bride's wedding ring to the bulky stuff that's actually a 1" stitch on (what I think look like) "tree trunk" sized needles. 

Some of the other blogs I follow do showcase the "lifestyle" of knitting. Heck, the Yarn Harlot has made a living as a knitter. Me? I can aspire, but I know it's not happening. 

I'm the yoga teacher who makes her own socks. And that's fine. What's cool about knitting is that you don't have to "do it all." There's so much out there. You can knit your entire life and do nothing but baby stuff. Or nothing but afghans. Or scarves. Or potholders. Or socks. Or sweaters. Or you CAN do all of it. Shawls, purses, bathing suits(!), "soakers" (the equivalent of rubber pants, or for the younger set: those things you put over a cloth diaper to add a layer of protection from baby pee), skirts, cardigans, toys, ties... If you can figure out what to do with two sticks and string? You've got something that will challenge you. It'll be meditative. It'll frustrate the living crap out of you. It'll soothe you. It'll keep you thinking. It'll keep you from eating (trust me - you don't knit and eat at the same time). 

It'll be the calm in the storm of life. It'll be there when it seems like life is falling apart. It'll be there to help you celebrate new life. And honor the past. 

If that's a "lifestyle," then I guess I'm up to my knitting bags in that lifestyle. 

Essential Oils...

So I was blending up something. I love to blend oils. Young Living Essential Oils has some magnificent blends, but I honestly can't figure out why they haven't done one of my favorites: Geranium, Clary Sage and Rose. I started, a long time ago, with just Geranium and Clary Sage. I added the Rose, and found that doing that even enhanced the "calming" properties of the original blend. I put these together with some avocado oil and have been using it as an adjunct to my Deep Relief for my headache. Rose is so calming - so is Geranium. 

When I'm messing with my oils, I do offer them to the dogs - just to see what they react to and how they react to it. Raisa has, so far, barely tolerated Lavender. The rest of them? She pretty much snorts and turns her head. 

Except today. Today, she perked up. Stuck her snout into my hand. Wagged her tail. 

At Rose. 

Of course. 

At the most expensive oil I have. 

Rose has so many properties that are beneficial. It's a high-frequency oil. It's universally known and universally loved. It hints of love, romance, and joy. 

The oil of rose has been used in skin preparations for years. Centuries, in fact. It's in many of the Young Living blends. 

It's always been a favorite of mine. I had a Yoga Nidra class tonight, and I diffused this blend. My students were relaxed and happy - and one of them said to me, "Wow - you brought the best tonight, didn't you?" 

Yes. I did. 

And apparently, even my dog knows it. 

Random Picture...

Today, I had a wake to attend. As I was waiting for a friend to join me, I was looking at the house across the lot from the funeral home. It's a gorgeous place - and had a beautiful garden. 

But then there was this door.

Apparently a door to nowhere? Or is that a door FROM nowhere? 

What was interesting was that the planting along the backside of the house was stunning. The patio (to the left, not in the picture) was small, but nicely kept. The yard had a nice berm near the street, and the lot was pretty large. This door looks like it's to a utility room, or perhaps part of the garage. 

But is it me? Or shouldn't there be a stoop or some steps there? The garden comes right to the threshold. Maybe they don't use the door. But it's an odd placement for sure. 

They're right next to the funeral home, which advertises as "family owned and operated." One may well wonder if that's the family. And I still get a bit perplexed by this door.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bit by Bit and Piece by Piece...

...just about sums up my approach to cleaning the house. 

Yes, I know. It's only Hubby and me. And 3 large hairy beasts (the dogs, a/k/a "The Girls"). And the occasional Kid who comes back. But only for a visit. 

Except now, Kid #2 is moving and is "temporarily storing" some stuff in our already-overflowing basement. 

Kid #1 has already informed me that, upon our demise, he's putting a large dumpster out in the front yard and sticking a "For Sale As Is" sign in the yard. Lest you think he's joking? He's not. And please - don't misunderstand. We're hardly in the category of "hoarders." It's not as clean as my mother or grandmother would want it, but it's not "Let's call the health department" bad. 

So today, after a couple hours at work, I tackled my Aunt Mary's sewing machine, a cabinet model that used to be the table for Arlo the now-dead canary. He moved from Aunt Mary's to the front window daily. So I also did his front window table. I also dusted the bookshelf and rearranged some stuff, dusted pictures, and lit a candle for a friend's daughter who's having surgery. 

The stuff on the sewing machine has been disbursed to various other locations, including the back room. Which, of course, is where Kid #2 is storing MORE of his stuff... (sigh).

Rocks in My Head...

So I went to the gem/rock show this weekend. As I may NOT have mentioned -- in my new job, my office is next to the X-ray room. Now, I'm not superstitious. But I don't want to glow; nor do I want to wear a lead apron all day! 

There are some rocks and crystals which, because of their properties, do protect against EMF. So I went looking. I bought a few pendants, and I have some to set on my desk. As you can see, I have a nice haul here. I had already had a bunch of tumbled amethyst. But I added a few nice ones to my stash. 

Crystals and stones are used in alternative healing, as meditation devices, and there are even people who "infuse essential oils with the power of crystals." Now, that's a step too far for me. My Young Living Essential Oils are pure enough, thanks!

The Rock Guy said to me, "Oh, there's black tourmaline (I knew that one), and hematite (ditto), and then there's shungite - the hottest thing out of Russia."

You mean aside from Nectarine Nemesis and his kid?? No, seriously - I had heard of the properties of shungite, and I found a few really pretty examples, so I got them. As far as EMF protection, the kyanite is also on the same order and it comes in a couple of different colors. I love black stones, and I love clear quartz. I also found a nice chunk of Iolite, a "water stone." 

I also couldn't pass up the lovely jade rock, nor the tumbled and ever-so-slightly faceted garnet. 

I did buy 2 rough stones for meditation, to put by my little Buddha. So, right in front of Buddha, on the left, is a cluster of citrine. Right - the November birthstone that's usually depicted as (so says Hubby) "urine yellow." It can actually range from nearly clear to a deep brown. This, even though it's hard to see, is a rich orange/rust. He couldn't believe it. And next to that is a rough green opal. 

On either side are the rocks from Lake Michigan. They're similar to the kinds of rocks we'll be painting at the studio for our "Yoga and Peace Rocks" workshop. I got a little bit of a head start on that with a painting project (see below). What I like about one of the rocks here is that, even though you can't see it - on the rock at the farthest left point? There's a heart-shaped lighter area. That was one I spotted right away and couldn't wait to grab it up and bring it home. I don't even care about the geological properties. I just think it's really neat. 

Peace Rocks...

I don't know if you've noticed them in your area, but around here, we're seeing "peace rocks" or "kindness rocks" around the trails. There's a local organization that's coordinating painting dates and you take your rocks home after they've sprayed them - and drop them where you want to. Usually, it's on the trails so someone else can find them and take the word or words to heart. And then they pass them on. 

Naive? Maybe. But it brings a smile to your face, and Heaven knows we can use more of that. And who knows? Kindness ripples. It's gotta start somewhere. 

So in August, we're going to hold a workshop. I'll lead the students in a short yoga practice (just some really basic stretches), a Metta meditation - which is lovingkindness, and then we set up to paint. Renee and Joy will bring both shale-type rocks and river rocks. And some will be pre-painted with a base color, so that all we need to do is use permanent markers and/or paints to write or draw what we want on them. They have a little "short affirmations" book that you can use to draw some quotes from, and obviously - small rocks, so small quotes! 

One of my students says she's already found a rock. She picked it up and placed it somewhere else. 

That's the idea. Simple. Perhaps incredibly naive, given what's going on in the world and especially in this country. But we have to make ourselves more mindful. We have to make ourselves more civil. One representative in Illinois is proposing "National Civility Day."

Oy... Everyone: news flash.... Be a nice human. That should cover it. 

Orchids...

I have twice been given orchid plants. One is in the studio, and it's having a bit of a rough go. I may have to move it, because it might be too warm where it is. This one is the one I had in my old office. I just repotted it today. I had to buy the orchid mix online because all we get around here is the soil - and I prefer to pot them in bark. I stick a couple ice cubes in there about once a week or so, and then we're good to go. I know that some folks put them on a large tray with pea gravel and keep it wet - "constant humidity" they say. In my experience, it doesn't matter one way or the other. It's mostly temperature, remembering to water it and having good growing medium. 

So this one is sitting on Aunt Mary's sewing chest, because the instructions recommended letting it be in a little less light for a few days. We'll see how this goes. But it looks lovely, doesn't it? 

This is really 2 pots in one. Each are stand-alone, but I noticed that the darker brown plastic one, which has holes in the bottom, fit nicely inside the copper-ish one, which is advertised as an "orchid pot." But with no drain holes. Together, though - they make one very nice container. As I recall, this is a white one. The stalk, though you can't see it, has another shoot on the end of it. We'll see if it blooms again. The one in the studio did re-bloom, so I wonder if it needs fresh bark. I'll be bringing it home and hopefully getting it freshened up. Maybe that'll give it a boost. Need to dig out Orchids for Dummies to see what's going on.

Knitting...

So you see it's a heel, and you see the gusset there. I'm liking it. Just a few more rows till I can just whip along on the foot. 

I haven't done anything with the sweater, which is fine right now. It's going to move along quickly - at least this body section. The sleeves may be interesting, but I don't know. It's been a long, long time since I did sleeves, especially set-in sleeves. These are also 3/4 length. And I'm the queen of short arms - so Heaven only knows what I'll have to do to finagle them. They "bell" out with the lace, so I'd prefer to keep them at the 3/4 length. 

I've been drooling over some shawls and shawlettes. I have some lovely sock yarn - fingering weight - that I really don't want to use for socks. I have a mulberry silk blend that - really -- I do not want to stick in a shoe! It's in an amethyst color-way with shades of blue, so if I do this right, and can find both a simple + complex enough pattern? Beautiful biggish scarf/shawlette thingie. I'd like to find something solid bodied, with a lace edge because I'm afraid that if the yarn flows like I think it will, the lace will muddle the color, or the other way round. It'll be too busy. 

For what I paid for the yarn, I want it to be the star of the show. I have 3 of those skeins (different colors and different dyers) - just so gorgeous that you don't want to make a pair of, let's face it, "disposable" items like socks. 

I also want to do a little "medicine bag" for my other loose stones. I'm going to see if I have more of Sonda's blue/white hand-dyed. I did a hat with that, even though it was fingering-weight (socks). It's a very light hat, and not suitable for heavy winter weather. But it's a nice one for Fall and early winter. I made a mala bag out of some of the leftover, and I think I may have enough for a medicine bag for the stones. 

Reading...

As always, re-reading the classics! So I was griping about Murder on the Church Council. And the ending was not cool. I mean, it made sense. But it was like, read-read-read, story-story-story and then, "Oh my God, we have to END this sucker" and BOOM! Denoument and over. What??

And seriously, as crazy as it may seem, the typos and inconsistencies bothered my enjoyment(?) of the book. 

So in between reading a book on the Episcopal Church, I started re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I want to see how they sanitized the movie. If you read it, Go Set A Watchman, the "missing" Harper Lee book, had Atticus as quite the racist. And that was purportedly the first draft of Mockingbird. And the movie? 

Well, Gregory Peck. Even though he was an incredibly versatile actor, I wonder if he wanted to be best-known for a role in which he was a virulent racist? 


I don't know, but much like Hitchcock's Suspicion - they changed the original ending because Cary Grant couldn't be seen as a villain. The original ending was purported to have had him killing off Joan Fontaine. But the ending was changed by studio bosses. 

I read that Cary Grant REALLY wanted to kill off Joan Fontaine, because he was tired of "always" being the good guy. But the studio didn't want to mess with his pristine reputation as the hero. 

And I don't know - maybe Gregory Peck said, "Let me do this - I have the chops and I need to do it." Maybe - it could happen - he said, "No, let's clean this up a bit." I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe anything either way. It's just a thought because I know that the book is never like the movie. 

But I have a theory. Everyone should re-read the things they read in high school English class, when they've got some living and some years behind them. That's the only way really (unless you were born an English teacher) to really appreciate what you read when you were a teenager. Even if you loved them the first time - read them again. 

You'll have a whole new experience when you do. 

Random Picture...

Where I went for the rock painting project was at a park. I had some time, since I had put the wrong time on my calendar and I was a whole hour early. It was ok - I had a book, though I wish I had brought my knitting! So I read and I sat. Turns out that I was in the wrong section of the park anyway, which I figured out about 10 minutes before it was supposed to start.

I found them. But in the meantime, I got this shot of the little lake there. People were fishing, and some folks were walking around the path. I have no idea what kind of fish are in there, though I suspect perch. 

It was a pleasant evening for nearly-August. Actually, it was nippy! At least for us in summer. The breeze ruffled the water, and the willow tree was skimming the surface. 

I didn't see any little fishes breaking the surface, but that's ok. I was more intent on framing a decent shot in the fading light. I only had my phone with me, so this is the best I could do. 










Tuesday, July 11, 2017

OH SNAP!

Yeah, no - that's not the slang version of the word. 

I was eating, and one of the rubber bands on my braces snapped. That wasn't cool. It didn't hurt or anything, but I was worried I'd swallow the blasted thing! And my jaw felt strangely out-of-kilter. So I stuck a new one on, even though I'm changing them tonight when I brush my teeth. 

Speaking of which, I'm having more migraines. And I'm not sure what it is, but Doc says I'm experiencing some strain with the rubber bands as they're pulling my jaws. Since I have TMJ anyway - that makes sense. Now, if I can at least get adjusted enough so that it starts to subside...

How My Garden Grows...

So the wildflowers are, in their 3rd or 4th year, now coming into their own. The "shade" garden is going nuts - lots of brown-eyed Susan, and some pink stuff which I can't recall  
(UPDATE: it's phlox). I mean, I remember planting it, but I can't remember its name. There's also bee balm, columbine (which is done for now), and foxglove in there. 

I saw a Monarch butterfly hanging around, and he enjoyed the flowers. I was really excited, even though the camera was beyond my reach. And the hummingbirds are visiting. So, it's a win. 

And in the "sunny-side" part? I have 2 milkweed plants, something that Hubby swears is a flower and I swear equally vehemently is merely a weed (and yes, there's a big difference between a wildflower and a weed), coneflower, lavender, salvia, gallardia, dill and purple bee balm. The foxglove and poppy are done for now. Oh, and the Prairie Blazing Star is blooming - so it survived its surgery where I split it this year to send half of it to my friend in the UP. I hope hers is thriving... Just now, there was a big old bumblebee on the Blazing Star just kind of gorging himself. Good for him! 

I'm trying to figure out where to plant the milkweed seeds my UP friend gave me. Those will be stuck in there in the late fall, before the first frost. I have to mark the two that we have, so that we get them planted in a similar spot. The ones at the rectory are really tall, so I also have to think about that - this garden does get a northwest cross-wind sometimes; one of the phlox bits is pushed over. So I wonder if I have to stake the taller flowers. 

I'm not staking the weed... 

Looks like a wooly worm!
This is odd... At first, I thought I had a wooly-worm on the flower, but I realized it was the center of the flower that kind of warped. I've never seen that before. Kind of cool, though!

We really have done well with this space, and even need to thin out the Brown-Eyed Susan. I might take some of it out and plant it at the Rectory to cover some of the bare spots in the garden. It'll spread. They seem to be hardy enough to tolerate being dug up now and stuck somewhere else. And the rectory has a nice little garden area right at the front door. It'll look sweet. Especially since it's another maintenance-free(ish) plant. I'll get the hostas from Church Lady Across the Street and by the time we have a new vicar, he or she will have a low-maintenance garden. 

I haven't seen any caterpillars on the dill yet. I need to get some of the heads in the freezer, and some of the fronds, so that we have them for later this year. 

Not to shabby for a shabby garden... Or maybe I call it "shabby-chic" natural landscaping. Now, to get Hubby to get rid of the ENTIRE lawn on the one side. Hmmmm...

Mother Nature's Glory...

On the way home from yoga last Sunday night, I saw this coming out of the studio. I haven't seen a thunderhead like this in a while. 

It just kept building and the way the light was hitting it - it was beautiful! I knew it was a portend of storms later that night (and I was right - about 10:30 or so), but it was still stunning. 

I live in a suburb. We do have farms around us, so there's a lot more "open" than most people appreciate. But there's not as much open as when I was a kid. And there's no where near enough "open" for me right now! So to see this, it was pretty spectacular. 

I've been noticing the sky and we of course noticed the full moon on Sunday. It was a "buck moon" - the moon in the month where the male deer are supposed to have finally grown their full rack. I've also heard it referred to as a "blessing moon," so I guess you could go either way. It turned into a lovely creamy gold on the way home, and I was able to pull into the middle of the street (no, I don't live in Mayberry, but it's close!) and snap this through the windshield. I thought it would be really creepy if I just got out of the car. Though the folks on this block are kind of used to me slowing down to snap a full moon. This is a block with some amazing old trees and in the fall? A harvest moon through the bare branches? Yes, I'm stopping. 

At any rate, I was up late with the dogs, and I was knitting (as usual) and thinking about how, lately, I've got time to notice things. I mean, I've always been a bit of a sky-gazer. Love cloud formations. Love to see what the weather is doing. But lately, I do seem to have time to breathe. And it feels good. 

Knitting...

I've turned the heel and I've closed the gusset. Now I'm doing the gusset decrease. Unless you're the Yarn Harlot and prefer matching socks, it gets a little weird with the self-patterning yarns around this spot. The grey and light-grey stripes, as you can see, are much larger, and the white/black, and grey/blue patterned areas are going to be a bit wonky. 

But I don't care. They're usually going to be fraternal-ish when it patterns like this. And it's close enough. 

Actually, with a 7" leg and a foot length of about 9", there's enough yarn to make them match. Maybe one day I'll do that. But at this point, I just want to plow through them and get them done. I may do another star toe. I like that. Though that usually works better with a variegated yarn rather than with this kind of a bold pattern. 

After this, I get back to the Sole-to-Sole sock, to finish that one, and then get back to the sweater. 

Socks are awesome because they're portable. As long as it's a fairly simple pattern, it's great lunch-time knitting and great "wind down from your day" knitting. And you make quick progress, even though sometimes ribbing takes FOR. EVER. For 2" or so. Like the last 2" before you decrease for the toe! (Sock humor - just trust me on this...)


Reading...

And then there's this. I'm going to be snarky now. 

How in the name of Heaven do some people get published? She thanks her proof-readers. Who must've been family. Because I've found a half-dozen errors. And I'm not liking the formatting. 

It's a crime novel. Please. No footnotes. Ever. 

And by the way: Italicize the titles of TV shows -- since your main character is a TV addict, you might've wanted to check that little rule. Or your publishing house editor should have caught it. 

I might need to bring this one to church. I know several folks who'll get a kick out of it. 

I mean, so far, it's engaging, but the mistakes? They're driving me nuts. Maybe this is another reason for me to email these authors and say, "Hey, I'm a totally anal proof-reader and I'd love to make you look 100 times better than what this looks like."

Too much? 








Friday, July 07, 2017

No Outrage?

I know we have lots and lots of big issues to worry about. The Nectarine Nitwit is loose in Poland. Poland is going more and more conservative - which is scary in itself. Paul Ryan has decreed that women "must wear sleeves" because apparently OUR "right to bare arms" is scandalous. 

But where's the Twitterverse outrage? Where are the "shocked" reporters because Melania met the president of Poland and his wife in a (hang on, folks, it's a doozy) SLEEVELESS dress? 

Michelle Obama's (flawless and) bare arms generated comments flying right past misogyny to racist, vile and cruel (ape, anyone?). 

Yet Melania wears a sleeveless dress and everyone is all, "Ohhhhhhhh, Neiman Marcus!"

Oh, and Neiman Marcus... Jeeze. I remember walking through there. Nothing I could afford. I mean, I get it. Jackie O wore Halston (the pillbox hats) and her wedding dress was designed by an African American designer who was told, on the day of the wedding, to go to the service door because she was black... Though Jackie had a serious Givenchy addiction, and JFK wanted her to wear American designers. 

Which Michelle did. And Jackie, too. Not sure about Melania, and frankly, haven't been paying attention. And honestly, I don't particularly like this dress. Maybe without the red thing at her hip? I don't get the purple suede shoes, either. 

I'm just kind of stunned because there's been no huge outcry about the clothing Melania's wearing. 

Maybe they're all just happy she's wearing clothing... 

Jackie Kennedy's Wedding Dress
I'm not "slut-shaming." She made some pretty risque choices, and you know what? It's all fair game. She knew what she was marrying and what she was being bought for. 

I'm news-fatigued. There's so much bad crap going on. There seems like there's not enough rope, and Nectarine can just keep on keepin' on and cozying up to Vlad and we do.... Nothing. 

I guess the good news is, Illinois has a budget. We have a long, long way to go. There's a lot that needs to be done to make this state a decent state to live in again. I read Tammy Duckworth's post on this and I can cheerfully tell you that I would have no patience with politics. I realize she must have the hide of an elephant because some of the comments are absolutely nasty. 

How can you accuse a US Veteran of not supporting the country? She gave her legs for it. If you're going to say that John McCain supports this country, you have to give Tammy Duckworth her due. If you don't, then you must be a conservative, because they've got one crazy warped lens with which they view the world... 

Saturday Plans...

So Kid #2 and I are not making the annual vacation trip. If we had, I doubt we'd have gone back to Oxford. We might've tried to hunt up Emily Dickinson. Be that as it may, we didn't plan a trip this year. He was going to go to visit Kid #1 or go to Alaska to visit another friend, but since he's decided to move, he's not doing much travel. 

The Dove bite I had this morning is amazingly prophetic... 

We're going to visit Centuries & Sleuths, a phenomenal bookstore...I've been wanting to take him there anyway, and since I'm not teaching tomorrow morning, off we go. It's an independently-owned bookstore I've talked about before. 

They have a number of writing groups who meet there, and many author meet-and-greets. I actually met Sara Paretsky and had a conversation with her! 

You don't get that at Barnes & Noble. At least not in the ones around my town! 

So we'll probably find somewhere to have lunch (where I can chew something?) and see what we can see in the shop. I do need to get the first Grantchester mystery. I have to say, James Runcie can ignore a contraction like William Faulkner can ignore basic punctuation. 

I'll also say that while I like the "Grantchester" series on PBS, I like the more gentle tone of the novels. James Norton is drop-dead handsome, but I like the way Runcie is treating the story line far better. I won't do anything to spoil anyone's enjoyment, but I will tell you to pick up the novels. 

Knitting...


Continues. The sock is coming along. I was kind of "ho-hum" about the color changes, but it's given me a jolt with the blue stripes. Rather reminds me of one of the Chicago Cubs uniform choices. Minus the red accents. Maybe I should've picked up some red yarn and knitted that in every inch or so? 

Anyway, this is coming along ok. I hope to alternate it between the other Sole to Sole sock (to finish that pair) and the sweater. It's going along quite quickly because it's just plain. 

I think I'm liking the 16-row rib. I've never done that. I have actually (I'll confess) skimped on the ribbing because it's so stinking dead-boring, even while it's necessary. I mean, you've gotta hold up the sock, right? 

I've caught up on my 2 main knitting blogs, and I should revisit some of the others, just to see if I'm still interested. The Panopticon, though? I think Franklin has dropped that entirely now that he's busy teaching and writing regularly for Lion Brand Yarns. It's a shame. I loved his blog. 

Star Trek Original...

Just a quickie: What the heck - from this distance in time, what in the world were they thinking with those women's uniforms? I get that they were "advanced" for their time, but crikey. 

Cheeseball story lines, and Kirk always wins, but I'm looking at a woman wearing a "wrap top" that's barely staying on... Just heard one of the male leads say to the female lead, "As a scientist yourself..." -- all the while, the "scientist" is dressed in a butt-skimming blue number with a scoop neck and scoop back. 

It should be about more than the clothes (see the beginning of this blog). But still - women are always judged on their appearance. And it's not usually kindly. 

Random Picture...

Dinner tonight. Pulled pork and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Don't judge. I do the pulled pork myself. And I felt like Kraft Mac & Cheese. It's all "mushy" and the rubber bands are bothering me today for some reason. I double-checked and they're on the correct teeth. 

But all day today, it felt like my teeth weren't "quite right." I'm pretty sure it's because they're actually moving, but it's very disconcerting to feel that during the day, when you're speaking or even when you're not. 

I've also begun (again) "chomping." Today, I woke up with a bit of an achy jaw. So, moving teeth, chomping jaw... Yeah, that's a recipe for an interesting Friday. 

Back to the sock. I'm feeling like at least that's on a roll! 






Thursday, July 06, 2017

Random Ramblings...

1.  When you have an idea for a blog, you should blog. Don't assume you'll remember it. Because you won't. 

2.  I wrote a song in my head at 4 a.m. this morning. I don't write songs...For some reason I thought I'd remember THAT too. 

3.  I haven't. 

4.  Could the US be any more embarrassed? The Nectarine Nitwit just said, in POLAND, for God's sake, that it must've been "tough" to be invaded by the Soviets and Germany. Oh good grief! And they're apparently having to pay crowds to show up for him. Because, you know...tiny hands, large ego.

5.  Illinois...The Board of Elections says it's taking a "long, slow" look at the demand from the Fraud Fruitcakes. Oops - I mean the "commission" to look for "fraud" because, you know...tiny hands, large ego. They finally got the letter because the "commission" sent it to the wrong department. We've flooded Springfield with our very strong suggestions that they tell the "commission" to go jump in the lake.

6.  Illinois, #2...the legislature has voted to increase taxes. No surprise. The governor has sworn that this is a "2x4 in the face." Madigan needs to lay down and actually die - he's been in power 30+ years, and kinda reminds me of a zombie. Rauner needs to understand that, until and unless Madigan lays down and dies, he (Rauner) isn't going to get what he wants. The state has taken one small step to avoid being the first in the nation to have "junk bond" status. Lucky us. Jailing governors and being broke...it's a legacy of sorts. I think the taxes suck, but if you look at the taxes around us? We're just about on par with neighbor Indiana - who also told the "commission" (see above) to take a hike. Yes, there's a better solution. No, I don't have a clue what it is. Yes, we've dug our own hole here. No, I have no idea how to get out of it. Yes, I'd like to leave the state. No, I probably won't. 

7. Back to reading Faulkner. I just can't get on with "It Can't Happen Here." That one is by Sinclair Lewis, and I've been plowing through it since January. And I just can't. I really. Just. Can't. If you wonder why, pick it up. Sinclair Lewis is amazingly relevant. Berzelius Windrip reminds me of someone. Someone Nectarine. Read the parts about the 15 promises. If it doesn't send a chill up your spine, then you're either a member of "the base" who'll believe the swill coming from the un-drained DC swamp, or -- you're dead. Or - you may be very wealthy and above the fray we mere mortals have to deal with. Either way. Check your pulse and your privilege. 

8. The vanilla sock is coming along. It's great to have a mindless knitting project. I was jacking with my sister, who has to go to a shower (neither of us are much on baby showers, and particularly the games - we love to give the mommies the gifts, but we'd rather skip the whole "let's taste and identify the baby food" stuff). I don't have to go because I haven't been invited. And I'm not heartbroken. And I'm tickled that I don't have to crank out baby knitting. So I can concentrate on the socks and the sweater. And maybe crank out a few washcloths this summer. I'm still trying to get through some of the stash, and these projects will help. 

9. I have at least one more sweater I want to try. It's a plain, more of a t-shirt thing. It's a cotton-silk blend yarn, and I have a lovely chocolate brown for it. That will be nice - it's where the seams are "showing" as an element of the design. I started it a while ago in a beautiful grass-green, but I "outgrew" the size (I got heavier). I'll have to pull out the green one and see what it looks like - maybe now I can actually fit in it. If I remember, the green one is about 2/3 done! I set it aside when I gained the weight. 

10. Hubby got a bumper for the "heart phone." When we got it, we did get the gorilla glass, but there wasn't any kind of case available, and I have the heart monitor on the back, so I couldn't put an Otterbox or anything on it. Well, I dropped it one too many times, and the gorilla glass did its job. It shattered, not the screen! Hubby did find a bumper made for this model, and I can still do all the stuff with it. And still record the daily EKGs. Everything's fine. I'm just making sure it stays that way. It's cute and it's such a bright red that even I should be able to find it at the bottom of one of my more bottom-less purses! It's a small phone, and it tends to disappear in the nether regions of whatever bag I'm currently carrying. 

11. I switched to a slightly smaller purse. Let's see how this works! It'll fit my Kindle, but not my knitting. But I needed to lighten the load. How did I imagine I actually needed all of that stuff? And how am I going to function now that I'm not carrying it?