Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering the fallen

The origins of Memorial Day (US) are like many old traditions muddied by time. It was originally observed on May 30th when those who had fallen in wars great and small were honored for their duty. The US Government's liking for orderliness moved the official observation to the last Monday of May. It's now considered for some the first holiday of summer.

While many think it is a time for getting out of town to go party after a dull winter (the weekend has the highest percentage of auto accidents due to alcohol according to AAA), let's not forget those who have given their lives in military service. I don't agree with this administration's policies regarding Iraq, but I respect those who have chosen to join the armed forces. For some it's tradition; for others it's a way out of poverty. Some see it as a way of getting money for further education and some have their own reasons unknown to all but themselves. Regardless of the reason, when someone goes out and puts their life on the line to do a job they deserve the respect of those they have left behind.

Here's wishing to you and yours a safe Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What's to say?

There hasn't been much going on that is blogworthy. I'm not cranking out a pair of socks a day or working feverishly on an heirloom. I can't really talk about job doings in detail and I've chosen to not talk about contentious issues. Heavy use of the computer at work has curtailed my knitting, though I'm taking advantage of the long weekend here in the US to put in more rows on the Clapotis. As I tell folks who return from vacation when they ask if anything happened at work no one died, no one was fired, no one quit and no one retired.

I read a lot of knitting blogs, some daily and some occasionally. Some post almost daily, some weekly, some less often than that. Subjects run the gamut. I don't claim to be one of those who is extraordinarily erudite or entertaining and if someone says I am I'll wonder what drugs their taking while I tell them "Thank you." I try to be at least interesting enough for folks to return to just to see what's going on.

I don't generate a lot of comments (I think the most I've generated for one subject was 9), but then I'm not fishing for comments. My blog was conceived with the purpose of posting my knitting pictures and letting folks know how I am. I've had responses indicating that this method gives me an air of conceit: do I think I'm important enough to post my life on the World Wide Web? Perhaps I do. But I don't look at it so much as a promotion as much as a tool to communicate with my circle of friends I've garnered through the Internet. I'm trying to give depth to the two dimensional correspondence of email. It's not as effective as one-to-one contact since it lacks all the nuance of body language. But when you're separated by hundreds and thousands of miles, it's a tool that's available. My counter tells me that I'm being seen, which satisfies me.

Singing for a purpose

June is Pride month in the US and Confluence Chorus devotes a concert for Pride. This year's offering is "Sharing The Pride", which is a joint performance with Jubilate! (pronounced yoo-bi-LA-tay) in Corvallis and Salem Oregon on evenings of June 8th and 9th. This May Oregon passed legislation that adds sexual orientation to the anti-discrimination laws and created domestic partnerships for same sex couples. While the domestic partnership law is being seen as a "separate but equal" law in some circles, I see it as a step forward toward granting same sex couples who are strongly committed to each other the rights and privileges that opposite sex couples currently have. I'm proud to sing for that.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The mighty office killer

One of these appeared under a desk at the office yesterday and caused all sorts of havoc. "Is it a centipede or a millipede?" "What is it?" "I don't care it's under my desk get rid of it get rid of it!!"

It never ceases to amaze me how a small fast-moving creature with lots of legs can turn an adult human being into a terrified bundle of protoplasm. One of the guys tried to find it under the desk but it had skittered away to safety. It reappeared next to a wall nearby, causing havoc all over again. They were going to spray it with hair spray then crush it. I saw it sitting very still and asked for a paper towel. "You're not going to spray it?"

"No. Give me a paper towel."

Paper towel was duly handed over. The centipede didn't move. I bent down and crushed the creature with the towel, making sure I had fully surrounded it. "Okay. It's been taken care of. We can go back to work now."

I'm sure I'll hear from people who think that bugs are creepy. Yep; they are. I don't like cockroaches and I think silverfish are nasty. But it's an old building and you're gonna get bugs. Then there are those who say, "You should have captured it and taken it outside." This wasn't an option. I didn't have a container for it that could hold it until I could get it outside (outside is a good couple minutes walk).

I'm of the school of least disruption. If you find a bug at your desk that's freaking you out, shut up and kill it or quietly tell someone to come over and kill it. Or capture it and show it later. The whole office doesn't need to know about it.

Six Feet Under

I know I'm late in the parade for this but I don't have HBO and it's not being shown on the other channels I can get. I had heard of it and was intrigued but of course had to wait for it to be on DVD to see it. So am I hooked? I've finished Season One and put the rest of the seasons in my Netflix queue to drop in sequence for the next...oh couple of months or so. If you have no idea what to get for me as a gift, a set of "Six Feet Under" would put you in my "People Who Are Worthy Enough to Get Fancy Sweaters" category. One season would be a vest-worth. Two would be an Icelandic type yoke sweater's worth. And the entire series would be a personally designed Fair Isle. And yes boys, David is a hottie. And I want to adopt Clair as the baby sister I can lead down the path to uniqueness.


I've been working on the Rogue sweater for my friend Linda until yesterday (the color of the pic is too dark; the yarn actually looks like this (it's the eighth pic down)). A week of heavy computer work combined with a sticky yarn for knitting took their toll on my right hand, making me take time off from any knitting. It's been difficult to be away from the needles. I have to have something in my hands to stay settled when I'm sitting still. I've been thinking of doing another Clapotis, this time with a summery yarn. I opted for this in color Denim and hope to get another skein or two eventually.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A shawl for Sharon

Sharon of Needlegrrl! asked me if I could help her find a shawl that she could knit but wouldn't make her look like grandma. She's solidly built, not a wisp of a thing, so I had a bit of thinking to do. I asked her for a preferred shape and she said "Triangular." Hmm.

Well, now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm thinking nix the triangle. Every picture I've seen of older women from the turn of the century has a triangular shaped or square folded diagonally in half shawl draped over her. Her Matt would condemn it immediately as grandma (I can just tell, and you don't want to argue with a guy who looks fabulous in a kilt who is also capable of driving American roads with the steering wheel on the right side). So I'm thinking a rectangle would be better. There are many out there. Here are a few examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 . You lace knitters, what would you pick?

Don't look for me in June

June's going to be a very busy month what with Pride doings, chorus concerts, and a family reunion. You'd think that I'd want to take a weekend off to rest. Nah. The weekend of the 24th is this and after four years of missing it either from pure laziness to other events I'm going. I've signed up for a wheel maintenance and plying class on Sunday afternoon, so after spending the morning hunting for bargains I'll sit with Goody Baynes and learn how I can spruce her up and take care of the old biddy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fallen off the wagon

Well, children, your Auntie Duffy has decidedly failed in the Knit From Your Stash 2007. There has been simply too much good stuff out there. What ended up being the final straw was the Origami Cardi by Norah Gaughan in the latest IK. I just kept going back to it when I leafed through the mag, which tells me that I'm going to do it eventually. Of course I considered what would this look like on someone of my shaping (wide, hippy, no boobs) but I think it will be okay. I have wide shoulders to counter the width of my hips so the cardi won't make me look like I have a butt the size of a bus. The angles of the front direct the eye to the cleavage and give the illusion of shaping. So I went yarn shopping.

The pattern calls for Berroco's Love It which when I saw it in person didn't really rev my motor. It's a cotton blend but rather blah. So I searched for a yarn in the same gauge (not an easy task, kids, to find a cotton yarn in the same gauge and there was nothing in my stash). I ended up going with this instead. It will give the cardigan more drape. Also I'm doing the berry stitch borders in a different color than the body. I'm very excited about this one and can't wait to finish the Rogue so that I can start the Cardi. But this pretty much made my Knit From My Stash promise toast.

Aunties Update

One blanket got completed in time for the baby shower on the 7th but no pictures were taken. It had been a very hectic weekend with choir retreat so I forgot. But it will be appreciated by its recipient. My hosts from the retreat donated a couple of grocery bags of Jiffy yarn which is getting hooked into carrier blankets. We're still taking squares; the next shower will be in August.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Daemons and Love

I've read the book this movie was based on, so I was curious as to what their program would create for me as a daemon. I'm very pleased with what it came up for me. What's your daemon?

Choir retreat

During a term the choir goes on a weekend retreat to work on the music of the term and do some bonding. Usually there's a no-talent show where folks perform different things: dance; poetry; skits; songs. This term we decided to go do karaoke at a pizza place in the town we were staying in. For the families who had brought their kids I'm sure they'll be talking about that evening for a while. Some folks did songs on their own and the choir did "True Colors". I chose to do "Me and Mrs Jones." It's a soulful song that speaks of an affair with a married woman. I gave it a special perspective without changing a word.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wild Wednesday

We don't get many thunderstorms around here and usually they're pretty mild compared to some of the storms experienced in Tornado Alley and the Midwest. Today however we got several storms through the area, some with hail the size of marbles. When you're used to baby pea size hail, marble size can be a bit disconcerting. With that storm came winds that blew off a lot of dead flowers and leaves off the trees. The streets were a mess on the way home.

It was nice to come home to a long-expected box from these folks. The Sunday of knitting camp had a trip there where I succumbed to the siren call of the pottery. I came away with a few items but they were going to be too heavy to take with me on the plane, so I had them shipped. So it was a treat to find these all lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap.

A butter ramekin, measuring 1/2 cup.

A cup from the Monroe Salt Works of Maine.

A porcelain dish in turquoise glaze (the flash didn't work this time - sorry), perfect for holding little items like stitch markers and yarn needles.

A heart-shaped baking dish for macaroni and cheese.

The cats were curious of course about the box. Maisie was fascinated with the yards of paper stuffing and had to check it out.