Friday, December 18, 2009


I know it isn't even Christmas yet, but I saw a discussion on Ravelry that got me to thinking. I'll definitely go post a list of my own 10 projects in 2010 on my knitting blog, but for the rest of my life... Wait. Does anyone really need resolutions? I mean, you can't improve something that's already perfect, right? ;)

Ok, ok, seriously. There's the normal, "lose 10 lbs, be less than $$$ in debt, start working on my degree" kinds of stuff. And yes, most of that is going on my list.

What are resolutions but little baby goals? A motivational speaker in Highschool once told us (and I happened to be awake for this one!) that we should set goals and keep a list of these goals somewhere visible. I got the same message from a class I took as an adult, and we use goal sheets at work to aid in planning our careers.

Merriam-Webster defines goal as the end toward which effort is directed, but most of the sites that pop into a search for "goal" talk about timelines, and indeed, every experience I've had where goals were mentioned, timelines were also brought up.

In my job, as in most jobs I think, my boss has a list of expectations for me as an employee. After 6 months, we do a check-up to see how things are going, and 6 months after that there's an evaluation. During this process my goal-sheet is also reviewed. My goal-sheet is like, four pages long. It's lengthy, cumbersome, and not generally something I look forward to reviewing or tweaking. Definitely not something I could (or would even want to) post somewhere visible.

I think the S.M.A.R.T goal model is sound. My mother brought this concept up to me the other day, and I checked it out online. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I see that, and my list-loving brain gets all excited. SMART just screams, "make a nice little chart for each goal, and arrange it according to time-line!" I may have to, but then you run into the cumbersome and not-postable problem. Maybe the happy medium is the pretty little chart, periodic review (reminders in my calendar that pop up automatically?), and a very abbreviated list somewhere visible.

So, what to put on this list? This bears thought. And I'm open to suggestions. I'll even welcome the wise-ass comments. Though, "be nicer" is not specific, measurable, or timely, and might not be attainable or realistic. Just sayin'.

Monday, October 5, 2009


  1. It's about like summer in the south east here, just not as muggy. All the heat, but no body to my hair. Muggy has its advantages.
  2. I didn't realize shower stalls came in sizes smaller than the one in my house. They do.
  3. It's REALLY HARD to shave your legs in a shower that small.
  4. Everyone here is really friendly. Like, really.
  5. I didn't really believe all the hype about how dusty it is here. It really is dusty.
  6. Mosquitoes here (like everything else?) are dust-colored, which makes them harder to see both in daylight and at night than the ones back home. Bastards. But so far, I've only seen one fly, and I had heard there would be gajillions, everywhere, all the time.
  7. All in all, it's not as bad as I had expected. So far.

Monday, June 22, 2009

16+ hours of driving in fun bite-size segments! And a dream.

Davey, on a wrestling game:
At first I got the heck beat out of, and Daddy got the heck beat out of, but then I started winning and Uncle Daniel got the heck beat out of.

At Lunch:
Mom: Wow, girl, you're a bottomless pit!
Fi: What's a bottomless pit?
Daddy: People used to say I had a hollow leg.
Fi: A hollow head?
Daddy: Leg.
Fi: Head. Hehehehe

DJ: Mom?
Me: Mmmm?
DJ: Are you sleeping?
Me: ...*sigh*... No.
DJ: Then why are you lying there with your eyes closed?

The CNN moment:
Me: If you kids don't settle down blah blah LAST WARNING!, blah blah blah!
DJ: *insert mouthing off*
Daddy: *pulls to a stop light in downtown Panama City*
Me: *Slam down knitting, unbuckle seatbelt, dive into back seat, pull DJ out of his seat, swat swat, return to seat, straighten hair*
Guy in the Blazer beside us: OMG....
Daddy: This is not my family, this is not my car, that's not my license plate...

Return Trip:
DJ: I want to talk to Mom
Daddy: Mom's asleep. Be quiet and let her rest.
DJ: Well, she's staring at me!
Daddy: No, behind her sunglasses her eyes are closed; she's asleep.
DJ: Stop staring at me, Mom!! Aaaauuugh!!!

The dream at the hotel:
I was trying out to be a private chef for a lady who lived alone. She wanted me to audition Iron Chef-style. She said to make oatmeal. There's not a lot you can do to make that "gourmet." I stirred and stirred, tilting the pot, adding milk, until the consistency was perfect. Now, the flavor. Mint. And Honey. It was delicious. Refreshing and indulgent. Perfect. She loved it.

Roadkill Tour 2009:
Always a unique experience once across state lines.
1 Alligator
1 Opossum
1 Raccoon
1 Un-identifiable
1 Watermellon
2 Turtles
3 squirrels
5 armadillos
9 cantaloupe
Umptyzillion Tires

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitten & book

A week ago on Saturday the 13th, I woke up late to a sick kitten. She was lethargic. Not eating. Shaking. I got her to the emergency vet. They ran all kinds of tests, but everything came up negative. They suspected Feline Leukemia due to her age (5 weeks) and the fact that Mama cat has not only not been spayed, but hasn't had shots, either. I was willing to go along with this, until David pointed out some things. 1) She was the runt, and they do tend to have problems. 2) She had a weird tendency to lick the raised print on any t-shirt. 3) While she was a fine jumper-down, she was never very steady on her feet. 4) After she passed, the ninja-cat (a.k.a. Ginger kitty) stopped being so horrible to all the kittens (maybe she knew something was up from the get-go). All-in-all, I think something went wrong inside her. She was really pretty and very, very sweet. I thought of her as Ursa Minor (mama is Ursa) and Fi called her little tiger.

The hard part for me was trying to keep her alive. I took her home that evening with some gel vitamin supplement and instructions to feed it to her, even if per force. I tried that and some egg-cream mixture, hoping she'd feel like eating. She bit the crap out of me and started seizing and screaming. Her fever must have spiked. That was when I totally lost it. Mom said I needed to calm down before the kids got home. I did. While I was calming down, she passed.

The hard part for the kids was coming to the realization that she was gone. DJ so obviously went through all the stages of grief. It was very clear and, in an intellectual way, an interesting thing to watch. Each stage was clearly defined: Denial (She can't be dead! You mean she's not coming back??), Anger (It's not fair! She didn't DO anything!), Bargaining (I wish I could see her play a little more), Depression - a little strong, I'd go with "sadness" (I MISS the little black kitty), and then acceptance (I miss the little black kitty, but I'm glad we have the other kitties). Fi processed things a little more internally and a bit more calmly.

We buried her on Sunday. The boys cut flowers from the garden to put on her grave. As soon as the kittens are weaned, we'll take mama-cat in for her shots and spay and them in for the same.

On Friday the 12th, Siamese kitty went missing. I think sometimes he gets confused. I didn't even miss him in all the excitement of Saturday. Sunday, we tied a running shirt to the fence as usual when he goes missing. I hate to admit it, but by Tuesday I was thinking awful things. I don't really like that cat - I love him, but I don't like him. He's an ill-behaved and ill-tempered beast. We DO have, like six- I mean, five, other cats. But he is my Siamese buddy. He's gregarious; he'd easily find a new home. He showed up on Tuesday night with a badly mangled tail. I think it's broken in at least one spot, and I swear I can see bone. Chunks of skin are missing. I think either a dog got him by it, or he got it stuck in something like a fan. I'm not sure he has feeling in the tip. I think it may have to be amputated. It's an absess waiting to happen. Yet another vet bill. Well, he was coming up due for shots, too.

Spoilers ahead!! Don't read on, if you don't like spoilers!

Meanwhile, Life of Pi proved an excellent distraction. Wow, is it gory. I have to say that I'm not sure which of the two stories I like better or believe more. I know the mind can do some weird stuff when isolated for a long time.

I could see turning a part of yourself into a tiger as a way of distancing yourself from the atrocities survival forces you to commit. I can also see a tiger never being found in the Mexican jungle. I can see turning the other people into animals to distance the awful things that happen to them from the memories of loved ones, but I can also see a zebra jumping and landing in a boat and an orangutan floating on a ton of bananas. I can imagine a carnivorous island, but one where the trees spit the unedible bits (teeth, etc) out as fruit? Not sure on that. I guess the point of the story is that you may as well believe the animal version. It's nicer in so many ways.

I really enjoyed the way the author dealt with religion. He seemed fairly objective, if writing from the stance of an open-minded, non-practising hindu. I just loved the confrontation with his parents, the priest, the mullah and the hindu leader on the walk; such good points were made about non-exclusivity of other faiths.

It does make me wonder which parts of the book were "true" and which were "artistic lisence." I may have to do some research. But not tonight.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Notes

First the quick and dirty:
I'm in the very beginning of Life Of Pi and loving it. I'm surprised at the religiousness, if you will, of the book. For some reason (lack of research? Probably) I hadn't expected to find religion discussed in it, and so far have not been disappointed in what has been said. Maybe it's because after A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius, and its noted lack of anything religious, I had forgotten that some authors actually do speak of faith.

I was listening to NPR this morning and they were discussing the case involving the Supreme Court's decision in favor of a man who charged that he had not been given a fair tribunal. (In summary: Big business runs small business out of business; small business sues; jury awards small business millions; big business appeals; judge, who received millions for his election campain from big business is assigned case and refuses three times to disqualify himself from hearing the case, and finds in favor of big business and un-does the jury's decision; Small business claims he wasn't granted a fair tribunal).

This raises a couple of really basic questions for me. The first question is, Should we, the People elect our judges? Not electing judges means they'd have to be appointed, which could very easily turn (even more) into a good ol' boy system, where the status quo is maintained through the ages (or until a new official is elected), and the doors for corruption are wide open. But if we elect our judges, that allows for the selling off of seats in courts through campaign funding, which we're already seeing. Campaign fundraising has already reached $168 million since 2000. Frankly, this question is still unanswered in my mind.

How can we insulate our judicial system (assuming we're in one of the 39 states in which judges are elected) from lobbyists? It seems to me - as an over-simplification - that if you have an election, the guy with the most campaign dollars is probably going to win. Who gives to campaign funds? People who support the candidate and have a ton of money. This isn't a problem if the candidate is a politician - he'll work (presumably) to give his constituency what it wants. But judges... I mean, fair is fair, right? Regardless of how much money you contributed. But then there's loyalty. If some one gave me a few million, I'd want to keep them happy, too. If we've decided to elect judges (and I think this applies to politicians, too, though I'm not ready to think about that yet), is it fair to cap campaign spending? Or contribution amounts? I think it would be fairest to cap campaign spending at a relatively low amount across the board... but that still allows for plenty of loopholes (support from private organizations, for example). This may read pretty jumbled. It's jumbled in my head, too.

I guess no system, no matter how great, is completely safe from corruption; ours is no exception.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning and Update

I have created a new blog JUST for knitting stuff. Though, I'll most likely mention it in here when I post something there.

So, for those who didn't know or haven't heard, here's the update.

On Wednesday night my folks came to visit from the West coast. We had a lovely visit and on Thursday night we went out to dinner at Rhinehart's Oyster Bar. Everyone loved it, even the kids. We decided that we weren't gorged quite enough and went to The Evil Empire for some dessert. When we got home, the lights were all off. Well, we left in the day time and probably turned them off. But the motion-detector light didn't come on. And there was that funny smell. Kind of like an electrical fire smell. And tons of black smoke billowing out of the laundry room.

My wonderful parents coralled the kids while we sorted out who to call and what to do. Georgia Power turned off the electricity at the meter (but later had to go back and turn it off at the street) and we called an electrician and our home-owner's insurance guys. Every one except for GA Power was great.

The house was built in 1955 and had the original breaker panel and service. It was at 100 amps, which is plenty. If you don't have an electric dryer and a computer and a microwave and a TV and another TV and a stereo and about a bajillion extra lights (even if they are CFLs). The Aluminum wire coming into the house (that's right, Aluminum, not copper) expanded and contracted, becoming loose where it connected to the copper wire at our breaker box. It arced and started an electrical fire that melted large portions of the breaker box, including the main breaker, and the wires going into the box AND coming out of the box.

On Tuesday late morning, the electricians came back and turned everything on. The power got turned on on Monday sometime after five pm (we had already headed back to Columbia, where our insurance company could afford a hotel. They just didn't want to pay $400 a night for one in town. Go figure.). GA Power would have been out sooner, but some tree got knocked over at the Masters.

So the plumber came out today to fix the drain (wholly unrelated. Yay!!) and sometime real soon I get to call ServPro. I've been putting it off. I'm not sure why. It's just not something I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This is my first pattern ever ever that I ever wrote and I wrote it all by myself. *Grin* So, if you knit, or know how to read a knit pattern, or if you can read English, I'd appreciate your editing skills.

The I’m-Not-Thinking-About-It Scarf

This is a double-sided scarf. Think of it as two scarves on one needle - whenever you knit a stitch in the CC on scarf A, purl the next stitch in the CC for scarf B. The end result is a scarf that has two layers. The outsides of the layers are all knit stitches. Purl sides are inside, as are the strands of yarn from the color pattern. Side B will be a photographic negative of side A. This will work with any two colors and graphic design, so long as there are an odd number of stitches in each color, making the total number of stitches even.

2 skeins wool, Tan
2 skeins wool, Dark Brown
Size US 10 needles, or size needed to obtain gauge*
Cable needle
Tapestry needle
Small piece of cardboard (for fringe)
Size K crochet hook

* Stitches should be a little loose and will tighten after washing garment. I never check gauge.

Cast on 21 stitches of each color on one needle, alternating colors each stitch.

Row 1: Work all stitches K1, P1, holding both strands together. This will mean that all stitches in color A are knitted, and all stitches in color B are purled. This row will establish the Main Color (MC) for each side (MC is always knit).
Strands of yarn should be held together (and worked separately) behind knitted stitches and in front of purled stitches. At the end of each row, twist strands once to create a bound edge.
Row 2: Start row 1 of chart, maintaining 2 stitches on either side of the pattern in the MC of that side. When the color chart calls for a stitch in CC, knit that stitch in the CC and purl the next stitch in the MC for that side (CC for the other side).

All rows should be worked K1, P1.**
Row 3-7: Work rows 2-7 of chart, maintaining 2 sts on either side of the pattern in the MC of that side, working pattern as above.
Repeat rows 8-13 of chart until scarf measures approximately 55 inches, ending with row 13. Begin next repeat at Row 32 of chart.

Work one row after row 33 of chart in the MC for each side.

Binding Off: Knit one stitch onto empty needle (Color A). Move next stitch (Color B) onto cable needle (CN). Knit third stitch onto empty needle and lift first stitch off needle and over third stitch (as in a normal bind off). One stitch of color A should be bound off, leaving one stitch of Color A on the needle, and one stitch of Color B on the CN.
Move the stitch from the CN (Color B) onto the fuller needle and knit it onto the empty needle. Move the next stitch from the fuller needle to the CN (Color A), knit the next stitch (Color B) onto empty needle, lift previous stitch off of needle and over next stitch (as in normal bind-off).
Place stitch on CN (Color A) back onto fuller needle and knit onto the emptier needle. Place next stitch (Color B) onto the CN and knit next stitch (Color A) onto the Bind Off needle. Continue in this manner.

Finishing: Using tapestry needle, weave loose ends into the middle of the scarf and trim.
Using cardboard as a base, wind first one color and then the other around the cardboard and cut, making several 4” lengths of yarn in each color.
Fold one length of each color in half and use crochet hook to pull through one cast-on or bind-off stitch of both layers of scarf, and then to pull ends of length through loop, to make fringe.
Hand wash in luke-warm water with gentle detergent, re-shape and lay flat to dry.

** For example, on row 4 of the chart, the detailed instruction would be, K1 Light, P1 Dark, K1 Light, P1 Dark, K1 Dark, P1 Light, K1 Dark, P1 Light, K1 Light, P1 Dark, K1 Light, P1 Dark, K1 Dark, P1 L, K1 D, P1 L, K1 D, P1 L, K1 L, etc, etc.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Recently, I got an e-mail from KnittingDaily that talked about thrums. I had never even HEARD of thrums.

Thrums are little tufts of wool knitted into each stitch - it makes a fuzzy lining to whatever you're knitting. Like mittens, especially. Apparently, they started out as little bits of left-over yarn - the last 3 yards from the skein you used for your sweater that you just can't bring yourself to throw away... But it was found that they tended to unravel too badly or split or whatever, so they started using unspun wool.

They recommend you use roving (I'm still not clear on what that is) and caution the reader that thrums are a gateway drug - just a short hop from a little wool in every stitch to spinning that wool into yarn.

I had always said that when I got old enough to retire, I would have a spinning wheel and a giant craft-room, filled with dyed yarns waiting to be wound into balls and half-finished projects and more yarn than any one person could ever hope to use... Maybe I don't have to wait that long...

Anyway, for now, I just need to figure out what roving is and get my hands on some. If there's anyone out there - you know who you are - that can offer hints and advice on buying roving (you can buy it, right? This isn't something I'd have to make, is it?), I'm all grateful ears.

I happen to know some one who is allergic to cold (no kidding, she gets hives if she's in less than 60 degree weather for any length of time) and is moving to Nebraska (!!!!). I'm thinking she needs thrums.

Friday, January 30, 2009

das ist der Auto updaten

So, apparently it was some cable that had broken and caused the EML light to come on. I got really good service, got my car back, and it runs great. The anti-theft thing on my radio thinks I'm a bad-guy, though, and I guessed at the magic code and now have to wait until the radio has been on a full hour (consecutively, I'm thinking, since I just tried it yet again and am SURE it had been on for a total of an hour) before I can try the code a third time.

I'm pretty sure they said it was the stability cable, but I told my car-loving friends, some of whom have re-built engines and they looked at me like I was nuts and made a reference to my warp drive. Whatever that is.

But I have car. Tomorrow I will have tires. Yeah - they sold it to me with two bald tires, and I mean bald. I didn't think to check since... who would sell a car with bald tires?!? Some jackasses, that's who. But at least there is car.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Better Knitting through Bavarische Motor Werks

Part I is for Irony.
So, on Tuesday I complained (loudly) that I've been far too well this season and that I really needed a sick day and my boss asked how my new car was and if I still loved it and mentioned that the dealership I had bought it from (owned by those jackals at Toyota of Augusta) had closed down. Wednesday, I woke up with a sore throat and my first thought was that there was no way any one would believe me if I called in sick... but the thought was still tempting. Today is Thursday. It was 26 degrees outside, according to my car. I started the car and drove the half a block to daughter's school to drop her off late (as usual). Then I pulled onto the street and up the hill. Slowly. Very, very slowly. So, I drove around the long way to my house, hoping that as the engine heated up, it'd move faster. Usually works for me, why not my car?

Things seemed to be moving in the right direction after a little bit, so I took the boy to school. I seemed to have a little more power, but it wasn't liking to shift until about 5,500 rpms and when I floored it, my sweet little 6-cylinder engine roared to a whopping 35 mph. Apparently, the fates agreed that it was time for a day off, so I called the office from the parking lot at the boy's school, and raced (ha!) to the GoodYear (lovely people there).

Part II - Enter Yarn
I sat and knitted for about 45 minutes and then they told me that they could change my oil, but that my transmission was sealed, so they couldn't even check that. I'd have to take it to a transmission shop. They recommended the one about a quarter mile closer to my house than they were. I went.

Part Ay yi yi - Diagnosis
I sat and knitted for another hour and a half while the Aamco people test-drove it and tested the computer and the battery and ran diagnostics. The transmission leaks. Not a lot, but some. It was two quarts low. They topped it off. And the rear end is shot. That's the whine I had been hearing and thought it was just my ears being too sensitive (after all, a car I've made all of three payments on should definitely NOT be making funny noises. So I hadn't been listening for any.). They said it needed to be replaced ASAP (appx $500+, emphasis on the plus). The reason I had no power was that my EML light is on, but burned out, so I couldn't see that it was on. Since the EML light is on, the computer is cutting the power to the engine down to about 30%. Maybe the computer's busted; maybe the sensor for the EML light is busted; maybe there's a blown fuse somewhere in there; or maybe my engine is hosed. They couldn't do more without the special BMW software. They recommended the privately owned shop about two miles down Wheeler Rd from Giuseppe's.

Part I.V. - A shot in the arm
The cool part is that we were supposed to get together for lunch at noon at Giuseppe's, which happened to be between me and the next repair shop on the list). I got done at Aamco at 1130 and made it at the same time as my coworkers. I had a ginormous calzone straight from heaven followed by Tiramisu to die for. It really is the best in town, so far.

Part V - Vaiting und vaiting
I got lost, got found (I am the person for whom GPS was invented), grabbed knitting and headed for the assistance desk at the privately owned shop on Wheeler. They only take appointments. I have one for Monday morning. I'll drop the car off Sunday night. *sigh* But my scarf is about 12" long now (9" longer than it was) and I'm really sure not to be late tomorrow... Because I'll be carpooling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Year's Justifications and Some Geekery

Yup - hasn't even been a whole month and already I'm... well... it's not broken per se. More like bent. There I was, trying (for the umteenth time) to help my daughter learn how to crochet (see the Emergency Knitting post a few posts back on why I knit). There I was with some cheap acrylic in a shimmery cream (I'm thinking this was something slightly nicer than the [Color] [Organ] brand) and a pretty purple crochet hook. And a generous friend's borrowed ginormous book of crochet stitches that has really good pictures in the front showing you the basics (ooh! I need that book!).

So, I showed her how to make a chain and we worked together for a little bit - she on her shimmery purple acrylic and turquoise hook and me in the cream acrylic and purple hook. Long enough that I ended up with a 9" chain - perfect for a Warm Up America square (9" x 7"). And there was this perfect little stitch that used nothing I wasn't at least a little familiar with in crochet. So far, it's 9" x 3.5" and lovely.

... No, I did not first finish two of the many projects I already had on the needles... It's crochet!! It's not on the needles! It doesn't count! Mostly. Besides, it's for a Good Cause. And it's not like I ran out and bought more yarn for this one. In fact, I'm doing even more good by using up some of that Gawdawful acrylic that's taking up room in my stash (did I mention my resolution to not buy any more cheap acrylic? At least not for many, many years. Maybe someday when I need to crank out an afghan or something.).

On a brighter (read: less guilt-ridden) note, I discovered free podcasts. There are oodles of them! There are ones from NPR (Ooh! Science Friday!) and American Public Media (Ooh! The Writer's Almanac!) and even on knitting (Ooh! Pointy Sticks!)!

Not tooooo terribly long ago, I was introduced by a good friend to the TED Talks. From what I can tell, it's an annual conference in Monterey, CA (WHY?!? did I not know about this when I was there?!?) the premise of which seems to be, "Let's get some really smart people to talk about some stuff." My introduction to these was via YouTube - a talk by a chick who definitely pegs the geekometer. And guess what? There's a PodCast of that, too!! Oh, joyous day!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Arrgh!, or, New Year's Resolutions

I have never, in my life frogged out anything more than once and started over. I'm lazy, and will sacrifice a wrong stitch here and there for not repeating the last hour's-worth of work... Until this Vine Lace Baby Hat pattern. The first time I did this pattern, I read through it once, grabbed some yarn, got out some dpns and did it. Just like that. Being that it's lace on dpns, there were times I'd have to go back and frog out nearly a needle's stitches (27 per needle x 3 needles), but not more than that. It took maybe 8 hours total. This time around, I'm (so far) on attempt number four. Arrgh! Which brings me to New Year's Resolutions.

Not that I generally make any. Oh, yeah, there's the constant, "Maybe I should organize this place!" and, "I should work out more, stress less, aim to be happier, kinder, etc." But those don't really count.

1) This year, I will frog when necessary. Really.
2) I will make guage swatches for the things that need them. (I never have before. Ever. ...but I'm thinking that it counts a lot more for sweaters than for ponchos).
3) I will take my knitting with me and be caught KIPing. (Ooh! Shopping trip for a purse big enough to contain a small knitting project? I think so...)
4) Regardelss of demands for charity projects and gifts, I will whittle my current projects down until I only have two projects on the needles. And keep it that way.