Monday, December 31, 2012

When negatives make a positive

I'm making one self indulgent and empowering resolution this year.  I'm not talking about my expanding waist size, or other physical problems I may have.   Last year, my attempts to let go and be a forgiving human being were fairly successful.  Of course I endeavored to forgive just one person, so maybe that's why it worked out so well.  I didn't take on the Universe.  Just one annoying occupant and for the most part, the moment I let her go in my mind, I've barely given her a thought.

This year, my sole resolution is to embrace the word, no.


Usually thought of as something negative, the word, no,  can be a positive if you learn how to use it to your benefit and as a complete sentence.  Can you work today?  No.  How about the next 4 days in a row because I was incredibly shortsighted and didn't plan for a dearth of nurses even though I'm the one who gave them all that time off?  No.  All by itself, it's an answer that requires no further adjectives, verbs or nouns.  Not, no, I'm busy. Or tired. Or sick. Or overwhelmed.  Just, No. I will grant you that the only way it's positive is if I count it as thus.  For instance, months ago, I set my schedule and worked full time ahead of the holiday so I could afford to take the entire week off between Christmas and New Year's Day.  When my boss begged me to work extra this week, I capitulated, allowed myself to be cajoled, and worked an additional 20 hours I'd not planned to work while she went on vacation.  Who's the fool?  Me.  Today I'm exhausted and feel completely empty after a marathon stretch of days triaging the problems of the sick.  Changing from full time to contingent this past year was to benefit me, not others, but I'm allowing myself to feel pressured to say yes all of the  time.  Well, not anymore.  As of this moment forward, if it doesn't fit into my schedule, I will allow myself to say NO to my heart's content.  If this decision is thought to be selfish, well, so be it.  If I don't see to my own well being and sanity, who will?

While I fully realize that this can be perceived as a negative at a time I'm supposed to be positive and looking forward, I kind of think that making time for myself is positive, and learning to use the word, NO,  liberally,  is a good way to start my year.

Happy New Year, my friends.  And if you have any advice on how to say no whilst making it sound like a positive thing, I'm all ears!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Oh, OK, it's really just Leo wrapped in a fake sherpa blanket he got for Christmas.  I thought you'd like to see what goes on around here while I'm hard at work.


Note to self:  Take lessons from the dog.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Recap

Let me sum up...

The food, which nearly cooked itself, was good and the brand new meat thermometer worked very well.  There is a story there, but the overly proud cook who resides in my psyche is still smarting too much from the Thanksgiving turkey fiasco to even discuss that much.  Suffice it to say, I think the new thermometer will preclude the need for therapy.  There was time enough yesterday to lolly-gag and play with Christmas presents throughout the day ( I really appreciated my new dry shampoo and the fact I didn't have to wash my hair before company came).  Wine, good wine, was consumed, but not by anyone in excess (maybe this alone kept people from noticing I had not washed my hair).  No feelings were hurt and no tears were shed, unless you count Leo, who cried because  he was jailed for playing too roughly with a two year old.  It all started over a ball.  Laughter made the rounds of the rooms and I think we all had a really great time.  Even the weather cooperated by depositing enough snow to make it a white Christmas, but not enough to throw a monkey wrench into holiday travels.

Was this my family holiday?  Someone better pinch me to be sure I didn't sleep through Christmas!

I haven't had a great tale of woe on a holiday since Mr. Larger Than Life passed on.  I don't miss the drama, but I've been trying to put my finger on what's different, and I think this is it.  We had ham yesterday, which would have thrilled him up until the moment he discovered it wasn't full of nitrites, processed, smoked, covered in sugary goo or overly salty.  What we did have was fresh, covered in rosemary, garlic and olive oil and went rather well with the sweet and sour cabbage, mashed potatoes and homemade applesauce.  He would have hated that meal.  We consumed it with gusto!

Tonight I'm finally starting that Squares on a Roll workshop at my local yarn store.  I'm beyond excited, but rather realistic, too.  I'm betting the weather will not play nicely and the northern end of that storm will deposit too much snow for even knitters to deal with.  I live within walking distance of the shop, but I know others don't, so we'll have to see what happens.  Just in case, I'm going to spend some time looking for the yarn I put away "in a safe place" for this class.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And Wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"


Thank you for visiting this past year. I treasure the friendships I've made here. Have a wonderful holiday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time! I need time!

That's what Bilbo said to Gollum, and that's what I find myself saying now.  Instead of using three precious hours to even start wrapping holiday gifts, I used it instead to go to the movies with Brian.  I spent three hours forgetting my work and the news I've watched for the past 8 days.  There isn't enough brain bleach in the world to make the things I've dealt with, seen, read and heard go completely away, but three hours was good.  So was the movie.

If you're a purist and find yourself disappointed when the script doesn't match the book, you may be a bit let down, but I wasn't.  I've read these books many times over the years, including The Silmarillion and the index in the back of The Return of the King.  I think parts of both of these were pulled into this tale and it built another story onto the back of The Hobbit.  For those who've never read Tolkien's work, the Lord of the Rings movies will likely make more sense once you've seen all of this series.

That's enough dawdling.  I really must get my butt in gear.  I haven't wrapped, I haven't cleaned and as of this moment, no flour has flown through the kitchen.  What kind of Christmas would it be without homemade cookies?

I hope you're all doing better with time than me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear Gov

I beg you, don't sign that concealed weapons law passed by our outgoing lame duck legislators that would allow concealed weapons in churches, bars and for God's sake, schools.  Surely you don't have to look too far back to see a good enough reason why you should stay your pen. Please, please show a little common sense and a bit of humanity here.


Concerned Michigander

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A new kind of crime

I think there has been a socknapping at my house!

My feet were cold last night so I went to bed wearing wool socks.  Sometime during the night, my feet likely overheated, but only one must have been unbearably hot.  I awakened this morning with one sock on and one sock off and I cannot for the life of me find the sock that was removed.  Where could it be?  The sock had to have help getting off my foot!  It's not on the floor, in the dirty laundry pile or under the covers.  It's gone.  If I weren't a rational woman, I'd consider the sock just walked off on its own or was taken.  While this particular sock isn't a precious hand knit one, it is a nice superwool sock; warm, washable and purple.  One of my favorites.  I won't be able to rest until it's reunited with its mate and back doing its job of keeping my feet warm.

Speaking of socks, Sara, who is becoming quite an accomplished knitter, is helping me knit a Christmas stocking for a certain little someone who doesn't have one yet.  It's her first Christmas, so it has to be special.  The cuff is trimmed in a bulky Mountain Colors boucle yarn in the Crazy Woman colorway. Having just cast on a couple of days ago, it's going fairly quickly for us and as I knit around and around and around, I find myself thankful it's designed to be a singleton.  I won't have to knit a pair for the project to be complete.  Second Sock Syndrome is a real disease around my house.  

This is my first weekend off in a month and I have a plan to chill the hell out.  For the last 4 weekends, I've set my alarm for 4:30 AM so I could be at work and raring to go by 6.  Today there was no alarm, well, except for Leo when he heard Isaac barking around 8 this morning, and I got close to an extra 4 hours of precious sleep!  I'm planning on a relatively lazy day where I will run the vacuum,  watch some schmaltzy romantic holiday movies, knit and look for a purple sock.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

On being a winner

Brenda at Days of My Life has honored me with a Readers Appreciation Award.  Now I haven't participated in awards in awhile--I think since Flydragon passed away--but I feel compelled to do so today.

I hope you'll play along, too, by collecting your reward, answering a few questions and passing on the love.

::Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?
     From my lap, of course!  I was musing on this topic just the other day.  I recall the days I was tethered to the electrical outlet and incoming cable.  Wifi has liberated me!  I can write and read from anywhere in and around my home and my iPad and phone let me do it anywhere.  The only problem seems to be putting the laptop down in order to do other important things like work, clean dust bunnies and knit.

My edition of Charlotte's Web, rescued from the jaws of Stinkerbelle McBookeater.  Loved me some Wilbur!
::What books were your childhood favorites?
     Hands down, Charlotte's Web was my favorite book, but so was my first cookbook, a Betty Crocker book for boys and girls.  Rachel, who loves all books, has tried to do serious damage to both.  I don't have the heart to tuck them away for posterity, because having them on display still brings me joy.  I think the cookbook is nearly 50 years old.  I also loved reading A Wrinkle in Time, by, Madeleine L'Engle, but have lost my copy in my travels.

:: Who is your favorite fictional character? 
     I don't really count J.R.R. Tolkien as a childhood favorite as I was already 18 years old when I discovered this magical author.  I can say with authority, that many of his characters touched me deeply.  I even named a cat Tom Bombadil!  I am now presently re-reading The Hobbit for the umpteenth time in preparation for the movie release next week.  I'm up to the part where Gandalf makes the trolls argue for so long that they turn to stone when the sun comes up.  I've read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so many times that I've lost count.  I even read The Simarillion.  I count Gandalf to be one of my very favorite of characters.  Just don't tell me he is fictional!

::Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised at what you’ve found? 
     I've only been surprised by finding my photo and name identifying me as an employee of a medical practice I left in January 2001.  I mean, really, don't they ever clean their digital house?

::Who would play you in a movie of your life?  
      Maybe Cameron Diaz, because if they ever made a movie of my life, I'd want it played by someone with good comedic timing.  Many times in my 55 years, I've felt my life to be one big cosmic joke gone bad.  Humor has been my only saving grace.  I think she'd play that well.  If Ms. Diaz is not available, perhaps they could get Ellen.

Now if I can do this, so can you!  I'm to pass this on to 5 others so they can share a little about themselves. I'm tagging the following readers to see if they can shed light on what gets them fired up behind the covers of a good read.

Sapphire Blue @ workknitstudy does manage to squeeze a little pleasurable reading into her life!

Pam @ Finding Pam leads a very interesting life.  She needs a female comic to play herself, too.

Winifred @ Stopprocrastinating.  Hmm...a woman after my own heart with that title!

Stephanie @ Rowanberrystudio Stephanie is a wonderful knitter, gardener and must have been born with a gene for organizing things.  I love reading her Friday and Saturday blog posts best of all.  The rest aren't too shabby, either.

Rose @ Sand in My Yarn (what a great name for a knitter's blog!)  Rose is an incredibly well read woman.

So, that's it.  I had more to say on this subject than I thought possible.  I hope everyone will give it a shot.  And thanks, Brenda, for asking me to play along.  It was fun.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Getting my priorities straight

Triage is a French word that is used in my profession to determine how care is delivered when resources limit the ability to give that care.  Once monthly on weekends, I'm a triage nurse and I'm really new to this position.  I trained a mere 16 hours over the past 2 weekends to get here.  I get to the office around 6 in the morning, make out assignments for our limited weekend staff, sift through reports that trickle in after 7AM and modify the assignments accordingly.  By the time 8AM rolls around, all the work is doled out, all of the nurses and ancillary staff are busy bees and then the phones go live.  Really, it's like they take on a life of their own.  This weekend I went live and had a partner with me Saturday, but flew solo Sunday.  I. Am. Whipped.

In two days time, my email inbox multiplied from 70 emails to 332.  You do the math; I'm too tired.  The difference represents how many emails I received. I sent about an additional 150 pleas, responses and answers.  There was some begging involved.  I talked to patients, families, doctors, nurses, supervisors, colleagues, social workers and took one call from my husband.  During the few fifteen to thirty minute blocks of time when things weren't ringing, dinging and buzzing, I caught up on charting in two separate programs and updating report.  I worked 22 hours out of 48 and am absolutely beat, but I liked it.  I like to be busy; I just wish I'd had more time to at least pee, eat, brew coffee, walk around the building once or twice to get my blood flowing and I swear I would have sawed off my left hand for 5 minutes of nobody talking.  Silence is undervalued by some.

Today I'm attempting to triage my life and getting nowhere fast.  I did take a shower, which I considered a major accomplishment.  After work on Saturday night, I put up the Christmas tree, and while at work yesterday, Sara decorated.  It's beautiful and I was so grateful to come home to one thing on the to-do list that was done.  There was some tree/mouse turd drama...long story...but that's been remedied.  I may die of Hanta Virus by the first of the year, but I'm going to take my chances!  I love that little Grinch like Christmas tree.  What's a little mouse excrement matter anyhow?

It's foggy and humid here in Detroit.  It's a perfect day to set triaging aside, put my feet up, sip tea and knit.  I can always start the to-do list tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's complicated alright

I wanted a knitting challenge when I selected Mr. Bluejeans as a project.  I also really, really wanted it to be for myself. Last week I got a little worried that it wouldn't fit me, after all.  I mean, after swatching twice, measuring often and a few prayers thrown in that I had it right, it seemed small.  Too small.  Even though it was a top down cardigan, and therefore could be tried on for size, it was at a point that I couldn't do it without risking loss of live stitches (well I could, but I was too lazy to put almost 300 stitches on waste yarn), so I tried it on Sara.

Praise be!  It was too big on her!  I secretly think she was a little saddened by this as rather than rip and start over, I always finish my mistakes in size anyway and give them to her.  I knew as she modeled for me that I was on the right track.  I forged ahead with the difficult parts.

Pay no attention to the woman in the mirror wearing monkey pajamas.  She's overjoyed the top down cardigan is to a point she can actually try it on herself and she forgot to dress for the occasion.
First came the short rows, and while they're not truly hard, doing them right is important so gaps and wraps don't show on the public side of the piece.  I was so happy this short row technique added length in the back. Mission accomplished with that part of the pattern, I started the directional edge of this cardigan:

Stop knitting with wrong side facing.

Provisionally cast on 54 stitches and find out when you pick them up and knit the first row, you actually need 55 cast on stitches to make it work.  Fudge that last stitch because who wants to do another crochet provisional cast on?

Think about the pattern for a minute or two (ok, really a couple of days) before forging ahead.  Realize it's not as crazy as it sounds because you've knit applied borders before.  Ruby gave me migraines!

Knit the first four rows of the edge and gloat because what looks hard as hell is so damned easy once you let it go and stop over-thinking things.

Read the pattern where it says repeat row 1 through 4 until all of the waiting stitches are gobbled up by the knit two togethers on the right side of the edging.

Read the pattern where it says the edging has 12 rows and the two cabled rows are decidedly different.

Oh, oh.  Pause.  Write the designer and ask which set of directions is correct.  Don't hear back and still itching to knit?

     Read all of the project notes available from the other 26 people who have knit this.
     Come across one reference that this was an issue for her, too.
     Pause again.  Take photos.  Think about it.
     Decide to do rows one through 4 until all the stitches are gobbled up and ignore the rest.

Wish me well.  I think I'm done dragging my feet and will throw knitting caution to the wind.

Monday, November 26, 2012


The dining room table has at last arrived!  It's much smaller than the Last Supper table we've had for decades.  It's also kind of rugged looking.  For the life of me though, I cannot decide on what I should do about a rug. The table is 4 feet in diameter and round, but with the addition of the leaf, which I see us using maybe only a handful of times in a year, it would be oval with dimensions of 6 X 4 feet.

I've been to several design sites that state a round table should have a round rug, roughly 2 feet larger than the size of the table.  I can manage a 6 foot round rug in the space.  I can't manage larger though, because while the wall space is relatively square, the placement of built in cabinetry makes the floor size different.  Some of those sites also state that the rug should be sized for the table when a leaf would be in use (hardly ever) so that all of the chairs fit on the rug.  For that I'd need a rectangular or oval rug that's 8 X 6 and is so hard to find in that size!

What do you think?  Round rug for the way that table will be used 360 days a year, or an 8 x 6 near impossible size to find?  Or square?  Square could work, too, though I do believe there is beauty in symmetry and for that I'd prefer round.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Miracles Happen

This  quilted runner is courtesy of my sister., Mareseatoats, who made this lovely addition to my Thanksgiving table.

Brace yourselves!

Contrary to popular belief, no drama holidays exist! I know this for a fact because we just celebrated one.  Nobody lost their temper and no one cried, though I almost did when I toppled an exquisite bottle of pinot noir that my brother had only just opened to allow it to breathe.  Red wine went everywhere except into my glass.  All was not lost as most of the--now well aerated--wine didn't spill.  What didn't stay in the bottle landed on the floor, walls and curtains.

We have snow in Detroit today.  It's not an enormous amount, but a reminder that it is wintery here now, despite the fact that it was 60 degrees just last Wednesday.  I first noticed what had happened overnight when I peeked out of my wine stained curtains and saw my car was white and not gray.  Leo must know it's snowed because, though it's nearly 10AM, he hasn't gotten out from under the covers yet.  I'm going to take a cue from the dog and make this a day of rest that's peppered with periods of knitting, though the knitting does promise to get dramatic.  I've finished the bodice on my Mr. Bluejeans sweater and will now start the short row shaping.  If I finish that part today, I'll turn the whole thing on it's side and begin knitting the applied cabled part of the sweater.  Knitting sideways...I love Amy Swenson and her patterns.  She has an extraordinary mind.

I hope that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a drama free and relaxing day and weekend, too.  I'm now a believer that miracles do indeed happen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Things to Come Yet

We're waiting for a few things to happen around here.  Today we'll get a delivery of a few pieces of furniture.  One is an entertainment cabinet for the television and its array of electronic gadgets that currently have no home.  We're both sick of the way it looks with wires and boxes hanging everywhere, so we went to Ikea for a solution.  I'm pretty certain that while they will be delivering, they don't set it up.  Screwdrivers and swearing are sure to be a part of what transpires in my home today.

Sometime soon, with really bad timing, we're expecting delivery and installation of the picture window in our living room. Could have definitely timed that one better!  I mean winter is upon us and the temperatures aren't really conducive to having a big gaping hole in the house for a day. What was I thinking?  It's my fault.  I balked and channeled my inner cheapskate when my husband wanted to do it sooner this year, and I made him caulk the window instead.  Then during the dregs of that hurricane that reached us all the way up here, despite the caulk, I could feel a breeze coming through the window that was strong enough to move my hair. We absolutely could not go another winter with this window providing free heat to the neighborhood.

It's a huge window and has sliders on each side that are back-breaking to open.  The new window will have a fixed center window with double hung windows (they slide up and down) on either side.  We really thought the windows in our home were newer, but it's come to light (with the help of our nosy and opinionated neighbor who does not believe in home improvement) what the problem was with the draftiness in this one window:  previous owners had removed it several times to move bulky furniture in and out.

What?  Who does that without properly resealing the window?  Instead of fixing something we don't like, we're replacing it with an energy saving solution.

In the time since I first started writing this, and the Ikea delivery... well, let's just say I've never seen so many small parts in one place.  What?  What was I thinking?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The case for bubble wrap and ear plugs

What a wretched work day here in sunny, but freezing cold Detroit.  If I'd listened to my inner voice, I never would have left the house.  I could have stayed home and worked on my sweater, which doesn't look like much yet, but is getting there.

The day began with my work cell ringing before my shift even started which is NEVER a good sign.  I was given a complicated mission to see a very angry client to fix mistakes made by others.  I hate being the messenger.  Before I left the house, I tripped on my husband's size 12 clodhopper shoes that were lying unseen in my path and nearly fell.  I was saved by the bookcase that hip checked me.  I knew immediately I'd wrenched my back, but hey, nothing was going to keep me from my mission of receiving a tongue lashing, again for something I didn't do.

Off to work I went with bruises forming.

As I walked from the parking deck of the hospital to the entry door, a big shot doctor with a lead foot was racing up the ramp in his screaming red Viper and nearly mowed me down where I stood with my fancy Danskos frozen in place and a stupid look on my face akin to a deer caught in the headlights.  He missed me by 1 foot.  I about shat my self.  He smirked.

Oh, yeah.  Great day it was shaping up to be...

I picked up the supplies I'd need to fix the problems that had me out so early and went off to spend a solid hour fielding complaints.  I forgot to take my earwax and had to listen to the litany of complaints with naked ears.  How many times can a nurse say she's sorry, especially when it wasn't even her mistake?  I ultimately fixed the problem, but my tales of woe do not end there.  I was almost hit again by a preoccupied driver on his cell phone who failed to stop while I was in the crosswalk at the hospital at the end of my day!


I never should have got out of bed in the first place.  Now that I'm all cozy at home with a dog by my side and my knitting in my lap, I'll be damned if I go back out into that hostile world again today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's been awhile

"Oh pleeze.  We begs more Chris Matthews, no matter how much my hair looks like his!"
With the anxieties of the past few months reaching fever pitch, it's with relief I note that "things" have finally settled down.  Despite my best efforts of avoidance, I was dragged into the entire 24 hour news cycle drama.  In the evenings, I watched what the left was saying while at night I tuned into the comics. For balance, I awakened early in the morning to listen to what the right had to say for themselves.   Between all of this, I was besieged by television & radio advertising, or by pollsters at my door, on my computer and about 4 times a day, on my phone.  While I love our democracy, I find that more and more, I abhor the ugly process.  It is with great joy that I note the political candidates who offended me most with their radical beliefs and expressions and whose quotes were featured in my sidebar for weeks, were voted out of their government positions.  Thank you, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois voters.  It would seem their beliefs mattered and offended all of you, too.  And Florida?  I'm so glad you showed Allen West the door.  I hope he doesn't let it hit him in the behind on the way out.   My hope now is that all of the children in the sandbox can finally learn to play nicely together.  I won't hold my breath for there is sure to be dramaz galore for the next several weeks.

My gmail account, which for months had at least 30 emails a day from politicians begging for money they didn't need, has gone down to a more normal one or two new messages a day, most of which are from knitting sites.

Squares on the Roll.  Separate squares from the same continuous ball of yarn.  Two down, 47 to go!
And speaking of knitting, I've been working on the Squares on the Roll afghan.  I'll be leading that workshop soon and I've been playing with the yarn, needles and various ways to make my decreases mirror one another.  It's been such a long while since I made my sample for the yarn store that I made many mistakes on my first square.  I misread the directions more than once, pulled double points out of my work (which liberated live stitches) twice and generally felt like a rookie knitter.  We'll blame it on the news, OK?  What should have been mindless knitting was anything but.  Today that's all changed.

I've been inspired by a visitor on the oncology unit at the hospital who has worn a different hand knit shawl every day this week.  Each one was more beautiful than the next and each was a work of art.  While I won't be knitting a shawl right now, just as soon as I'm done swatching, I will be casting on for Mr. Bluejeans today.  I'm using the Nashua Creative Focus in Blue Moor Heather.  What's better than knitting something blue in a free Amy Swenson pattern?

I think nothing.

It's good to be back to something that resembles normal.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good

Me thinks some people don't follow baseball and despite the video I posted yesterday, didn't understand my tongue and cheek reference to beards.  For those, I meant no offense and facial hair doesn't really bother me, except to say when its on the faces of San Francisco Giants who swept my home town team in the World Series.  Their beards are a big part of that team's persona.  Even fans get into it and wear fake beards to their games! Maybe if you watch the video, you'll understand it was merely an attempt at humor and a salve for my disappointment.  I had no idea people were so sensitive about beards.  Me?  When it comes to Giants, I now fear the beard!

On to other things.  Family and friends I have along the east coast are safe today and that makes me especially thankful.  Everything else pales in comparison, including losing a few baseball games.  We've had some wind, rain, cold and few downed branches here in Detroit, but nothing to write home about.  Along Lake Huron, fairly far from the Atlantic Ocean, 29 foot waves are being reported.  Yesterday, I saw video of crazy people making the best of the storm and surfing in Chicago on Lake Michigan.  Granted those surfers were clad head to toe in special gear to protect them from the cold, but it still had to be freezing.  It was in Detroit.  I was clad in wool, alpaca and down and I was still cold!


Monday, October 29, 2012

In no particular order

Here are the things that make me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head:

1.  That bitch Sandy.

2.  Beards

3. Politics in general and the latest polls.

4.  Beards

5.  Some schmo hit a city water line and now I may have to go to work at 4PM without a shower.

6.  Beards.

7.  It's cold, windy and cloudy...the perfect day for a long, hot shower.

8.  Giants with Beards.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gift Horse

Against my better judgment, I agreed to work the west side of town tonight until midnight.  I've been dreading my decision ever since.  About an hour ago, I got a phone call that they don't need me after all.


Gift Horse
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I've simultaneously freed up my night, and found yet another reason to stay in my jammies even longer!  It's so exciting.

What will I do with all of this free time? Suddenly, I'm the recipient of a 4 day weekend off! I'd say go to the movies, but Sara and I did that yesterday when we went to see, Argo.  If you haven't seen it and you're looking for an escape from our bitter election season, go!  While it's ever so slightly political (barely so), and you may already know the outcome of this true story, and it serves up a modest dose of (sobering) foreign policy, it's a very well made movie.  I had no idea what had really transpired to get those half dozen Americans out of Tehran in 1979.  I'm sure the ending likely wasn't all that close as the picture seems to infer, it was exciting to watch.  I'm sure if Iranian officials see this movie, the politics of it all will still be pertinent to them.

Since last night, I've been walking around muttering, ARGOf**kyourself.  Mostly I've been saying it to stories on TV about Richard Mourdock.  You have to see the movie to appreciate the line.  Bryan Cranston was great, and John Goodman and Alan Arkin were funny, but Ben Affleck, whom I didn't used to like all that much, was spectacular, both as a director and as an actor.  He's two for two in my book after having seen his last hit, The Town.

I might knit a bit.  My finger--thanks to liberal use of Arnica--is feeling much better.  Arnica is a miracle healing herb to me that's been effective for strains, sprains and bruises.  I credit the herb for restoring my ability to knit.  There are only a dozen more rows to go on the Icelandic sweater.  Quite frankly, it's really pretty so I'm excited to be closing in on the end of this project.

I'd like to say I'm sorry to my east coast friends.  Frankensandy looks frightening, to say the least.  While I'm grateful to the storm for the reprieve from all things political in the news, it shouldn't be at the expense of people who live up and down the eastern seaboard.  One of the most riveting books I've ever read was Sebastian Junger's, The Perfect Storm.  It looks like Sandy is trying to one up that storm and I hope it isn't as bad as all that.  Stay safe, my friends, and if you're fleeing your coastal homes, don't forget to pack the knitting!

ETA... you may notice I've not mentioned the Detroit Tigers.  I have a good reason for that and if I were in therapy right now, I know my therapist would recommend that I just avoid all discussion about those losses suffered at the hands of Giants.  I have not abandoned hope.  Game 3 is tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Miller Time!

Well, not really.  I know it'll sound like blasphemy to some, but I can't stomach Miller, or Bud, or PBR.  Don't hold it against me.  Tonight, after having my ass handed to me for three days in a row at work (funny how this part time gig is just not the reality I thought it would be), I'm settling in to have a Leine Oktoberfest brew while I watch game one of the World Series.  I used to be a Sam Adams Oktoberfest type of gal, but I've switched loyalties. Since the Giants have already hit a home run and drawn first blood, I fear I'm not long for this game, or this world.  I'll likely be in Slumberland even before my beer is finished.

Work has been, well, crushing.  It wouldn't be half bad if the schedulers could put their heads together, actually speak to one another, and share information.  They've pulled me all over town for two weeks in a row now and I'm a bit fed up with people who cannot listen, read or utilize critical thinking skills.  I've never met a more dysfunctional set of people who all do one job for different territories.  No one speaks to anyone else and each seems to operate in a vacuum.  Hello, people!  Ever heard of team work?

That was a rhetorical question.

And speaking of crushing...while walking through the house while removing my sweater, I extended my left hand with fingers in flexed position, and walked into a wall hand first.  I smashed my left index finger, which while not broken or dislocated, is swollen and bruised and really angry at my klutziness.  Of course it's the finger I use to carry and tension my yarn, so knitting is out for a few days.

Oy.  The Tigers are not looking so great, and the Giants, who should be exhausted, are red hot tonight. We're getting skunked.

A do-over for this day would be nice.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Though shalt not covet your neighbor's pacifier:
Hey little girl, what you got there?
 High crimes and misdemeanors:
Kisses?  Nope.  Attempted robbery is more like it!

No, really little girl, you should give that to me.  I am the expert here in chew toys.
And now I can plainly see that someone besides me is in desperate need of a pedicure.  One more thing for Saturday's to-do list.  Note to self:  find the Dremel.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Today's post is brought to you by the letter P...

..where I share with you the truth about me and my propensity to procrastinate and stay preoccupied.

I've been absent due to being busy this week.  It's been mostly work that has kept me preoccupied, peppered with a debate, getting lost in a good book (thank you John Sandford), dodging political phone calls, decorating for Halloween, finishing Pam's mittens (which will ship today), and watching the Detroit Tigers sweep those Yankees out of Dodge!'s good to have a winning team to watch, and ours has not disappointed!

Elka, the long neglected Icelandic Cardigan
I've also been knitting a bit.  I've wanted to cast on something new for the longest time now, but I figured with a cardigan that was 75% complete, I should finish that before another winter came and went.  Like last winter.  This sweater has languished long enough.  It took me awhile to figure out where I was and when I did, I realized why it went in the basket.  I'd knit the last row with the wrong yarn and instead of addressing that 18 months ago (procrastination), I tossed it in the time out pile.  I've looked at it every single day since then, but had forgotten why I stopped working on it:  too hot, too hard, too scratchy?  No.  It was a mistake I didn't want to fix when I first realized things were wrong, and once I got going again, it took only 15 minutes to make it right.  I also think I'm nervous about the border of this sweater.  It's crocheted, and truth be told, the closer I get to the end, the more I procrastinate in finishing what I started.  I cannot crochet to save my live.  I can fake it with a crochet hook, but I'm not willing to try a pretty border with my skills.

 I've also not been sleeping well at night.  Working day shift does that to me.  My mind races as I lay down and if I do fall asleep, I awaken reluctantly as the alarm rings at 6 AM.  Groggy, I get up and pour the coffee right away--if I've had the foresight to pre-program the pot the night before--and try to chase out the cobwebs.  Not this morning though.  It's my day off, and I awakened at 5:22 AM with an amazing idea:  I am going to pay one of the women at the local yarn store to do the finish work on this cardigan. I can't crochet, but she can and she loves to do finishing work for a little cash in exchange.

I, satisfied with my burst of brilliance, snuggled against Leo and went right back to sleep.

Another problem solved and 3 extra hours of sleep.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pondering the Universe

Like I've got nothing better to do...

1. What is up with all of these male politicians and their loose lips talking about the rape of a woman as though it's no big deal?  First it was Missouri's Todd Akin's moronic comments that in a "legitimate rape," a woman's body can "shut all that down" and prevent conception.  I guess this means that if a woman did get pregnant as a result of the rape, she must have enjoyed her assault in some way and therefore, it's not a "legitimate rape."  Next was Roger Rivard, a state representative in Wisconsin, who regurgitated his father's advice about consensual sex turning into a rape accusation the next morning:  "What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape." So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy.  It may be rape the next morning."

The thing is, these ideas are not exclusive to our religious far right in the States.  Apparently, ignorance knows no boundaries as Spanish politician, Jose Manuel Castelao Bragana, has so clearly demonstrated with his comments this week: "Laws are like women--they are there to be violated."

As a Michigander, why do I care so much about what happens in the Missouri election?  Todd Akin's political aspiration is to be a US Senator.  His frightening beliefs and lack of scientific knowledge will affect me, my daughters and women throughout this nation.  I don't dislike him for his pro life beliefs, but I abhor his ideas about rape. I wonder if spending the night in an emergency room and meeting rape victims could sway his misbegotten ideologies?  If nothing else, maybe it would teach him compassion and perhaps a little science.

My advice to these men: It's better to remain silent and thought dumb, than to speak and remove all doubt.

2. And along these same keeping women in their place lines, was it really necessary to shoot a 14 year old girl in the head to silence her?  I read today that Pakistan has arrested 38 men for shooting  Malala Yousafzai. Thirty eight?  Thirty eight swaggering violent bullies against one 14 year old girl?  How threatening was she?  I hope they rot in hell for what they've done and I hope the nation of Pakistan can collectively grow some balls and deal with the Taliban.  Talk about making a deal with the devil--that's exactly what Pakistan has done by supporting these despicable thugs.

3. What is up with the exciting baseball playoffs? Usually watching baseball on television is like watching paint dry, but not these post-season playoffs.  I go to bed every night thinking one team has the game and/or the division title in the bag, only to awaken the next morning to find miracles have happened.  Such is the case with the game between the Cardinals and the Nationals last night.  The Cards came from a 6 point deficit to beat the Nationals 9-7 and crown themselves with the NLDS title.  See what I get for going to bed early?

Yes, these are two different yarns, though the colors look the same.

4.  Is my yarn talking to me, and when one door closes, does another automatically open?  Case in point:  remember that Squares on Roll workshop I was supposed to teach?  With limited summer hours, the LYS owner didn't want to host that class in the summer and the whole thing was tabled and sort of forgotten.  I still had my yarn and hadn't yet started knitting the afghan.  Yesterday, I took Sara up to that store to buy her first ever yarn for a project and the store owner brought up the workshop again.  The funny thing is, I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to start knitting those squares.  I even got the yarn out of storage and cast on for the first square.  When I looked at the yarn, I had to laugh, because I'll be damned...those colors in that Zauberball yarn are identical to the colors I chose for Pam's mittens.  Different yarns, same colors.  I do think the yarn is talking!  The workshop is scheduled to start on November 14th.  I'll lead the class every other Wednesday.

See?  If I had gotten that promotion, I wouldn't be able to teach this class.

Sometimes the Universe is completely maddening, frustrating and perplexing and other times, it all comes together and works out for the best.  Now, if we could only get some of these men to shut their traps and change their ways, I think it would be a much better place.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It happens

Sometime yesterday, my best friend emailed me a picture of Justin Verlander, pitcher extraordinaire for the Detroit Tigers.  I think she sent it so I'd stop worrying about the Tigers moving on and free my mind for more pressing things, like how Uncle Joe would do in the debates after my candidate's dismal performance at last week's debacle debate.  Bless her heart.  It worked.  It helped that Joe wasn't too bad, either.

Yes, you did!
I had a hard time watching games 3 and 4 because I worked all week.  There was a choice to make:  stay up late watching a west coast baseball game where the Tigers had a 2 game lead in the series, or get some sleep because I had to get up early.  Sleep won out.  Today I'm off though and with the help of a little caffeine, I stayed awake to watch Verlander shut out the A's last night in game 5 and take the division.  The picture helped, but I'm giving full credit to my lucky Tigers t-shirt.  I didn't wear it for games 3 and 4, but I had it on last night and it'll be ready in time for Saturday's game.

The precious moments I'd miss working full time again.
Tuesday, I found out that the position I'd applied for at work was given to someone with less clinical experience and far less loyalty, but worse, to someone without a lick of common sense.  I didn't talk about it here and I think it was because I was conflicted about even applying for the job. I'm disappointed (mildly), surprised (greatly), sort of insulted by the decision and still stinging from what I experienced during the interview, but I'll survive.  I was asked to apply, which led me to believe they wanted my talent, but I have to be honest here, deep down, I don't think I wanted the position and I am secretly relieved.  Who wants more travel, more responsibility, more headaches, 7 days of night call every month, and more hours for less money?  It's a blessing in disguise and sooner or later, my ego will recover.

Pam's left mitten.  The thumb is done now and so is the cuff of the right mitten.
Besides, I'd have not had enough time to knit anymore if I was working all of those hours.  I don't know about you, but this would have been psychologically disastrous for me.

Shit happens.  Sometimes it happens for a reason and I'm more than willing to say that in this particular case, something or someone bigger than me is looking out for my best interests.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ready to go?

Someone, and I won't mention who, screwed up my schedule today.  I did not want to get up early this morning, but I'd committed to working across town at one of the hospitals today, so get up I did.  At the butt crack of dawn.  I had two cups of coffee, hit the shower and went into the office where I discovered that the person I was working for was not off today.  He's off tomorrow.  This is not my mistake, it's the office who made a mess of my schedule.

Well then, you'd think I could go home and go to bed, but not really.  I drank two strong cups of joe and I'm ready for action.  I went to the pharmacy, bank,  gas station,  grocery store and tried the post office, but they're closed today for the non-holiday holiday.  My bank was open, but my son's was not.  It was an action packed morning and though I'm tired now, my brain is too awake for a lie down, so I thought I'd write a post and fill it full of pictures from the weekend.

Here they are in no particular order.
Health fair semi-action shot:
Nurse Rudee and her best friend, Fannette

Stockinette swatch knit by a new knitter seen below:

Yes, that's Sara knitting.  I don't know why I'm so surprised she took to it like a fish in water, but she did.
Here is proof that sometimes I think too much and not all of my ideas are good ones:
That is the sheep hat soaking in the salad spinner.  I had the bright idea that the spinner would practically wring the hat dry.  It does not.
Mr. Fierce:
He was letting me know that a 4 legged barbarian was walking down the street and he would like a walk, too.  Right that minute!  The actual interpretation was this:
 He looks possessed, no?  I liken the harshness of his voice to hearing fingernails on a blackboard.  I get chills down my spine.

What the butt crack of dawn looks like:
This morning's view through my car window.  Yep.  That would be ice.

2 pair done and one to go.  This pair gave me fits:
Sara's Cloisonne mittens.
And here are the contest winner, Pam's, mittens:
Oh, sure, I know they don't look like mittens, but you'll just have to use your imagination. Apparently I still have a ways to go, Pam.  No worries, with a surprise day off, I plan on getting busy on these.  The body of the mittens will be black and these colors will make up the cuffs.  I think I like them together.

In case you paid no attention, the A's passed through the teeth of the Tigers and despite a good fight and some nail biter innings, lost Game 2.  Here's hoping the Tigers can sweep this series up tomorrow night.  

Have a great Monday, everyone.  I'm off to make a pot of stew and cast on Pam's mittens.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My dogs are barking

Yesterday was quite the day at the men's health fair and while I'm bone tired today, I feel great satisfaction that I helped do something good.  Hundreds of men--nearly 1,000 of them--showed up at Ford Field to take advantage of the free health assessments, advice and services.  The busiest vendor booths seemed to be the vision and dental screenings and chair massages.   There were long line ups for all of those stations.  The mental health screening station was also very busy doing assessments and private sessions with a therapist. I know for a fact that their therapist was very literally a life saver yesterday.  The people staffing the vital signs station were, too, when they assessed a man in hypertensive crisis and sent him to the emergency room.  In all likelihood, many more will be helped when their lab work comes back identifying more men who need medical help.

Good was done and that helps make my feet, which walked about 10 miles on cement, hurt a lot less.

It's cold in Detroit today.  It was cold last night, too, when the Tigers beat Oakland in game 1 of the ALDS series last night.  It was a good game, but very sad to watch the A's, 
Pat Neshek, pitch.  I don't know how he had it in him do it after the sudden death of his newborn son this week and the announcers talked about little else when he was on the mound.  The entire team wore black patches with his son's initials on their uniforms.  Talk about tugging the heart strings!  What a terrible thing to happen to brand new parents. I didn't know who to root for and the whole thing almost made me feel guilty that Detroit won.  I hope, really hope, he isn't pitching again today.  If he is, I might have to watch the game with sound turned off and blinders on.  Maybe I could watch only when the Tigers are pitching and I therefore wouldn't need to see Pat Neshek.

As I write this, I take note that the dog is burrowed under two blankets and the furnace has just kicked on.  It's definitely a day to wear wool, knit with wool and cover all my wool with more wool. I hope Leo will share his blankets.

Go Tigers! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

All work and no play

I haven't been able to play all week and the effect has been to turn me into a cranky person.  I haven't watched a single movie or done one thing that's provided relaxation, and that includes knitting.  The one time I did sit down to knit Sara's mittens, I made a mistake that led to ripping out an entire cuff and the mess that made is still sitting in a heap in the corner of the room.  I did, however, teach Sara how to cast on and have fixed a few of her newbie knitter boo-boos, but however enjoyable teaching someone to knit may be, that's not really knitting for me.

I plan to remedy that today.  The only work I plan to do is throw a stew into a pot for dinner and then I'm going to knit.  I won't make the bed, pay the bills, shop, cook or clean.  In fact, I may stay in my pajamas all day long.  It's cold, overcast and a rather blah looking day, so maybe that's a good plan. Tomorrow, I'm working a men's health screening event that's free for the public, but I don't consider volunteering my skills to be work.  That's the kind of thing that fills the spiritual gas tank.  We're expecting at least 1,000 uninsured men to take advantage of this event.   Can you imagine?  We live in a country where there are still some people that cannot get even a basic health evaluation and so their issues go unattended.  I fully expect that it's possible my heart may get broken a bit by the things I see and hear.

On Thursdays, Sara babysits for her best friend and Rylan comes here to spend the day.  I'm usually around to spell Sara, but worked for 10 hours yesterday away from home.  It wasn't so bad when Rylan napped all day, but apparently those days are quickly coming to an end.  I think she plans on skipping the whole crawling thing and will likely graduate to walking soon.  She is 6 1/2 months old and was 4 weeks early.  I will venture to say being early didn't hold her back at all.  She loves Mr. Leo and he is smitten with her, too.  I'm pretty sure he'll be ecstatic when she starts eating real food and leaving crumbs all over the place.

The last time Rylan was over, Leo, who has a really frightening voice, barked loudly at her and made her cry.  Since then, Rylan has perfected her own squawk and gave it back to him yesterday.  Loudly.  According to Sara, this startled Leo, who tucked his nubbin of a tail as best he could and, frightened, ran out of the room.  I wish I hadn't been so hard at work that I missed that comical event.

Incidentally, Rachel was here yesterday, too.  She spent a lot of time petting Rylan's fuzzy little head.  I'm sorry I missed that, too.  Next week, I promise to cut myself some slack.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Totally at random & a winner

Though Comerica Park was only 2/3 full on Thursday, I find it hard to believe that all the people attending a mid-afternoon weekday baseball game had the day off work.  I'm quite certain more than 1 of them was playing hooky.  Lots of kids were there, too, and I highly doubt it was a teacher inservice day, but who can blame them?  It was the last home game of the regular season and it was a glorious day for a ball game.   It was magical to watch Doug Fister pitch a game in which he set a new American League RecordThe Tigers did not disappoint and pulled a rabbit out the hat in the bottom of the 9th inning to save Doug's game.   I did not get to knit because while I had my remembered my knitting, I forgot the extra needle.  Duh.  That's OK, I was happy watching history get made.

I finally shook off my laziness and put some effort into my job this week.  In a no good deed goes unpunished sort of way, I've had my behind handed to me.  Late Friday afternoon, the triage nurse, who--praise be--is finally back to work, called and begged me to go see a patient in Detroit.  She was so desperate and pathetic, I caved.  The patient's home was in a rebuilt neighborhood near the river and was on a canal.  It was a beautiful setting, but the drive there was sad.  Most of the old homes are gone and either rebuilt homes have replaced them, or vacant lots take up the space where families used to live in modest Craftsman style homes.  The factories surrounding are seldom in use, but are instead abandoned, full of graffiti and scar the landscape horribly.  It bothers me that those businesses are allowed to make their fortunes and then close, abandoning the buildings and leaving the financially strapped city to figure it all out.  Who knows, I'm sure plenty of them left toxic substances behind, too.  Try as I may, I never see a city that can match Detroit in the scorched earth landscape type of way.

The above really bothered me.  So much so, that while stopped at a light, I scribbled 'scorched earth' on a notepad.  I got to thinking about those factories as soon as I got on the freeway ramp of my nightmares.  It's southbound Interstate 75 to the on ramp of eastbound Interstate 94.  I've had night terrors that I've driven off that ramp and soared through the sky right toward the bread factory that used to be there.  More than once I've awakened in a cold sweat from that dream right before impact. The building is of course still there, abandoned and full of graffiti, which is why I got to thinking about that in the first place.  I really need to give that hamster in my brain a break!

Still with me?  Finding Pam?  Random Number Generator selected your comment and you are the winner of a pair of Cloisonne mittens.  Just let me know your favorite colors, what size you'd like them to be and I'll get right to work on them!  I promise, your fingers will be toasty warm this winter.  Congratulations.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I like a good contest, don't you?

Last week I happened to be lucky enough to reply the fastest to an email sent out by the human resource department at work and I won a pair of tickets to today's Tiger game.

The Tigers are finally in first place in the AL standings and this is my first regular season game today, though I've watched plenty of them on television.  My son, who will likely be moving across country for work soon, will be going with me.

I'll be the one knitting mittens in the upper box behind the catcher.  This pair is for Sara.  If you want a pair for yourself, make sure to leave a response on my last post to be included in the contest.  I'll knit them in your favorite colors if you're the lucky winner.

OK, it's late.  I have to shower, find my Tiger's t-shirt and get going.  Have a great day, and if you watch the game, look for the knitter in the stands.  I hope I don't spill any beer on my mittens.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One down. Several to go.

If you're wondering what I'm getting you for Christmas, wonder no more.  Those of you on the list are getting these mittens in a wide array of colors.  Let this be the autumn I bust through all of those bits of colorful leftover worsted weight wool that I own.  I knew in my heart that yarn would come in handy and I wasn't wrong to let those tiny balls take up space.  The bits were too small to knit much of anything, but I was loathe to discard them.  And look!  They're perfect for this project.

The first pair is going to my boss who has resigned to move to a city on the west side of the state where she'll reside in a snow belt.  She'll still work for one of our subsidiaries, and still in hospice, so all is not lost.  Now she'll have toasty fingers to look forward to this winter.  She's going to need these where she is going.

The private side of the mitten and a bit of fancy smocking.

Now for the technical details.  This is not fancy color work here--more a sleight of hand.  Only one color at a time is worked.  Several rows are knit in a single color and the 4th row in a separate color.  Every so often, a fancy stitch is done in place of a regular knit stitch and voila!  It's smocked.  No entrelac involved, Knitty.  I can't be more detailed because the pattern is not free, but rest assured, the pattern designer is detailed enough.

I had to use a smaller needle (US 5) for the cuff or it would have been too large.  I used a US 6 for the hand and thumb.  I didn't carry those colors up from the bottom.  It's much easier to use what you need, snip the end and weave it in as you go (bonus is no weaving at the end).  I did carry the black yarn throughout the cuff as it's used every 4th row.

Any worsted weight yarn will work here and I likely used a mix of either Cascade 220, Stonehedge Shepherd's Wool and for sure Berroca Vintage.

The best thing?  I cast on Friday, fiddled a bit, ripped twice and finished them off (a whole pair) today.  I think if I put my mind to it, I could knit a pair in a day, but then I would likely come to hate knitting them if I did that to myself.

Since I'm feeling so good about this little project, leave a comment for a chance to own them yourself.  I'll do a drawing Saturday and one lucky winner will get a pair of these (in her favorite colors) to ward of winter's chill.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Futility and the cure

I have been knitting like gangbusters lately, and despite a very poorly written pattern, I've completed one shawl that gave me fits.  I'm still so annoyed by it, I haven't been able to do more than cast off and throw it in a pile.  I hate it, though I'm almost certain that given a fair amount vicious manipulation with blocking wires, pins and moisture, it'll all work out just fine.  First I have to get past the hard feelings.  The pattern was going well until I got to the lace decreases, where it all came apart.  None of the numbers added up and none of the lace decreases were on the chart. Significant fudging was involved in the end.  Why I didn't just rip the damn thing out when I butted up against the errors is beyond me, but I persevered, did the clever short row shaping--which looks a little cockeyed to me--and finally cast off last week.  Yeah, hate is likely a mild verb to describe how I really feel about this pattern and the heap of lace sitting in the corner.

There will be no linking to that pattern from hell.

You're welcome.

Moving right along, I cast on The Yarn Harlot's CloisoneĆ© mittens.  I've owned the pattern since she first published, but until now I had not made them.  I have an enormous amount of colorful worsted weight yarn ends though (which is perfect for these) and thought the time right for something simple.  Except in my post-shawl mental state, it wasn't.  Simple.  The color work technique with this pattern was new to me, and my first attempt looked ridiculous, but I persevered with that, too.  Who would think that K4B meant to knit only one stitch into the 4th stitch below and not to knit 4 stitches in a row like that?  Only someone who had just finished FIGHTING with a poorly written pattern, that's who. I ripped out my first attempt, accepted there would be a learning curve and cast back on.  Things went much smoother the second time. When I finally reached a point I could try the fledgling mitten on, I realized I was off on gauge.  Really off.  At that rate, had I kept going, those mittens would have fit Andre the Giant. I ripped the second attempt out and cast back on again using smaller needles and I'm happy to report, third time's a charm.  This, no surprise here considering the source, is a superbly written pattern as long as you don't read too much into what you see on the page.  No need, really.

Knitting these mittens from this pattern is like a soothing balm after the battle of the shawl.  Now that I've got the hang of things, they're so much fun to make.  I hope all of my friends and relatives will be happy with their Christmas gifts this year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to bleach your brain pictorial

Going cold turkey from the news wasn't as hard as I thought it would be this weekend, but to be completely honest, I had a little relapse today and in between the rooms I cleaned, I may have watched both Meet the Press and Face the Nation.  If I'd had a better plan for today, it wouldn't have happened.  Yesterday I filled the time up with beautiful things.

Like giant misshapen pumpkins.

And bizarre looking hay bale sculptures.

There were sweet baby goats, pigs, cows, geese and chicks.

And a witch that cackled in a familiar voice, threatening all the while to "get you and your little dog, too."

I don't think the witch wrote this.  Instead  a plane etched an M in the sky high above The Big House before the game.   Photo courtesy of my son who has tickets for all of the home games this year.  Of course he does.

Knitting is always therapeutic and there was plenty of leftover yarn from the Porcupine Blanket, so I quickly knocked out a Sheep Hat, also from 60 Quick Baby Knits.
Sheep Hat backside.
It's so damned cute.  I hope the mom of this baby sends me a picture of her daughter modeling this.  While it was quick, trinity stitch IS a pain the behind.  I hope she likes it.  I'm trying to figure out how to adapt this to adult size.  I do believe I know one or two big people who would love to own this hat.   Hopefully someone on Ravelry has already done the math.

And that, my friends, is how you bleach a brain when it's been overloaded by all that would have me hiding under the blankets.  I think it was a success.