Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mae West Quotes

When I'm good, I'm good. When I'm bad, I'm very good.

I only like two kinds of men: domestic and foreign.

You're never too old to become younger.

I wrote this story myself, It's all about a girl who lost her reputation, but never missed it.

I've been in more laps than a napkin.

It's hard to be funny when you have to be clean.

When a girl goes wrong men go right after her.

Those who are easily shocked, should be shocked more often.

A man in the house is worth two in the street.

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Good sex is like good Bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

He who hesitates is last.

You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini.

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day -- and another, in case it doesn't rain

She's the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.

Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I've never tried.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

Mae: "How tall are you ?"
Man: "Six foot seven."
Mae: "Well, let's forget about the six foot and talk about the seven inches".

I always say, keep a diary, and some day it'll keep you.

It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then. As long as you don't break any.

You may admire a girl's curves on the first introduction, but the second meeting shows up new angles.

Marriage is a fine institution - but I'm not ready for an institution.

It's not what you do; it's how you do it.

His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.

Question: Ever met a man that could make you happy?
Mae: Several times.

It don't mean a thing if you don't pull a string.

He's so crooked he uses a cork screw for a ruler.

I'm the lady who works at Paramount all day, and Fox all night.

Ringing Out the Old

OK, first of all, you gals have to check this out to believe it. I mean, I thought I had bad PMS, but this is beyond bad. And it's funny. (And a big thank you to Deawn for the link. Sheesh!)

Second, I will be going to the gym today. I'm meeting my friend Richard at the new 24-Hour Fitness on Cass Street. (It's kind of weird that it's only open 8 am to 10 pm, but I suppose that's because it's new and not fully staffed yet.) I'm going to the gym to begin my "Goodbye to Fat."

Third, I will go to my mom's and play some cards, work on a puzzle, or whatever. I'm not sure when. Probably this afternoon.

Fourth, I'm going to knit. I've got a total of three pairs of socks going:
• a pair in Step yarn (first one past the gusset and heading toward the toe);
• the aforementioned lacy socks in ginger-peach (first one past the gusset and heading toward the toe); and
• a pair in StR Henpecked (first one in mid-heelflap).
And those don't count another pair where I have one done and the other not even started.

I've got at least two sweaters on needles:
• one for Trish in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky (still knitting the body); and
• a t-shirt for myself in Shaefer Marjaana (still knitting the body).
And those don't count a cardigan where I have only to finish one sleeve and knit the button bands before I'm done.

I've got a baby blanket started (about half-way done) and I've got several scarves started with various acrylic/washable yarns that will be for charity. Oh, and there are a couple of shawls, too. Ummmm.... is that everything? Maybe I'd better clean out that room....

None of this, of course, take into account that I have enough yarn to knit clothing for an entire third-world country.

However, if I were to stop buying yarn for even a week there would be sheep, alpaca, goats, and ... (where does acrylic yarn come from?) languishing in the fields with impossibly heavy coats because their fleecy fur would no longer be required. They would be overcome by the weight. They would perish as they were grazing, and then the farmers would be required to leave their other chores to attend to the carcasses, which would mean their other chores (such as repairing equipment and tending the crops and other animals) would fall by the wayside, thereby endangering more lives and leading eventually to the starvation of all humankind. This is why we buy yarn, people -- it saves the world!

(OK, obviously I'm still a little woozy from dealing with a migraine all of yesterday.)

Saint Marcy of the Dust Rag came by yesterday. We bribed her ("combat pay" is how I approached the topic) to clean the downstairs bathroom as well. She's quite brave, you know. She didn't even demand a haz-mat suit to deal with it. Anyway, we are all living better thanks to her ministrations.

If I don't check in until later, please accept my best wishes for a safe and joyous New Year's Eve celebration!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Your Daily Zen

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

5. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

6. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

7. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

8. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

9. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

10. It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

11. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments

12. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

13. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

14. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat & drink beer all day.

15. If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

16. Don't squat with your spurs on.

17. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

18. If you drink, don't park; accidents cause people.

19. Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

20. Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

21. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

22. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

23. Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.

24. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

25. Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side & a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

26. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

27. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.

28. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

29. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

30. We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'm Going to Hell....

I just ordered some more of the Schaefer Marjaana yarn - one of Hermione and 2 of Rosa Parks. The Schaefer company has discontinued the yarn, so there are only a few places that have it, and I have taken the last of these two colorways that this shop (Little Knits) had.

If there is a rehab place for yarnaholics, are we allowed to knit there?

La Familia

This photo was taken on Sunday, December 24th. I used Photoshop to get everyone smiling and in the photo.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ginger Peach Socks

This is my first attempt at lacy socks. They are knit on US 2 (two circulars) with the Ginger-Peach dk weight merino wool from Lisa Souza. I have a little mistake in the lace pattern, but I think I'm the only person who really notices it.

Happy Girls!

All of us had a great day today!

Zipper Purse

From Julie at Village Stationery comes this amazing purse made of one very long zipper:

Presents from Offutt Co-Workers

Among the fun gifts from my Offutt co-workers were a Christmas mug, coffee beans, and a special hand lotion from my friend Amy (on the left), and a gift card to Bath & Body Works from Brian and Kathi Rice. Several people brought in bagels from Panera (thank you, Jesse and Valerie); Valerie and Amy got together and made little loaves of fruit cake for everyone (and I never got to taste it because Ed took one taste and claimed the rest for himself!); Jim Miller and his wife gave us a box of my favorite chocolate melt-aways from Baker's Chocolates in Greenwood, Nebraska; and Trish got us Powerball tickets (sorry, girl, but I didn't win anything); and Bill Steitzer and his kids chipped in for a Gift Certificate to String of Purls. Dave, our site manager, brought in cheese and crackers one day, but his best gift is letting us wear blue jeans every day this week (the 26th through the 29th) at the office!

Oh, yeah, Ed got presents, too!

I gave Ed a new Dremel and accessory set. I also gave him a book on uses for duct tape as well as a roll of RED duct tape (seemed to be nice and festive). I'd have included more photos, but this was the only one where he's smiling naturally. (Ed hates to have his photo taken.)

Louise Does it Again!

Home-made candy from Louise at Village Stationery, along with a lovely card with a sentiment written in it that brought tears to my eyes. I'm lucky to have found this place to work!

Charka and the Snowman Candle

Thank you to Peg at Village Stationery for the snowman candle. It's very cool because the whole candle is a snowman and he's already sitting in a pool of "snow" (white wax). Light him up, and he'll melt like it's a sunny day! (Charka was certain it was food I'd opened.)

Mary Z Wants Me to Relax

Mary Z at Village Stationery gave me a pair of stretchy green socks (very fluffy and soft), a nifty ceramic ornament shaped like a candy cane, a bar of snowman soap, and a chocolate-coconut wreath (which I shared with Ed). And, yes, that's Charka lurking in the background.

A Spicy Candle

Maureen at Village Stationery gave me some great cookies (sugar cookies with cream cheese in the mix -- yummy!) and this nifty little candle and globe. The candle has a spicy scent, and the globe for it is glass covered with translucent tissue paper. Very cool!

Frank Lloyd Wright Calendar

Thanks to my good friend Richard for this calendar of Frank Lloyd Wright designs. Ed will probably use this one the most. He's the biggest FLW fan. Now, if only I could get Richard's present finished....! (Yes, that's Charka hiding out behind me. We never knew when she'd feel camera-shy and when she wouldn't.)

Ed Knows the Way to My Heart

Ed knows I like problem-solving games, so he got me a computer game based on one of my favorite television programs, the original CSI.

And then, the perfect gift for me to use at the office: Noise-cancelling headphones! Yipppeeee!!!

Fun and Yarn from Shari and Mark

Thank you to Shari and Mark for the Wallace and Grommet DVD (Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which we highly recommend), and for the gift card to String of Purls, which helped to purchase the umbrella swift and winder.

An Angel and a Spatula

Thank you to my sister-in-law Deb and my brother James for the spatula (Deb noticed we needed one last time they were here and we needed to serve her wonderful apple pie) and the angel for our tree.

Pistoulet from Denise and Alan

Thank you to my sister Denise and her husband Alan for this lovely entertainment set from the Pfalzgraff Pistoulet collection. (Whole item in the inset.) I love the smily face in the center!

Charka in the Act

Charka wanted to help me unwrap a gift from my sister Marcy, which turned out to be a lovely candle. It's a smokey glass globe into which you put little votive lights.

Greenery from Jodie and Ron

Thank you to my sister Jodie, who put together this greenery to help us decorate for the holidays, and her husband Ron.

Arizona Calendar from Jean and Frank

Thank you to my sister Jean and her husband Frank for the cool calendar with scenes of Arizona.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mason-Dixon Knitting

I finally bought the book. Oh, why did I wait so long? It's magnificent! I can't wait to dig in!

Also, I signed up for the Log Cabin Knitting workshop on Thursday, December 28th, at String of Purls with Kay Gardiner, one of the authors of the book. This is my first official knitting seminar! I'm a goner!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hermione Yarn

OK, I couldn't help myself. I got two skeins of the following Marjaana yarn (Schaeffer yarns) from Little Knits:

I have no idea yet what I'll knit with it. Maybe I'll just look at it for a while...

Why I'm Tired

I went to my workout at the gym (7:00 to 8:00), then stopped at the grocery store for some things I'd need for the week. I arrived home near 9:00 p.m. only to find:

1. Charka had chewed up some pine cones (from a candle decoration), and those were all over the living room floor.

2. Ed had stepped onto the chewed up pine cones several times, so they were not only more broken up but also in a large area.

3. When I went to toss some of the pine cone mess into the garbage bin, it was overflowing, so I pulled out the bag to change it.

4. When I pulled out the bag of garbage, I saw where something had dripped into the bottom of the bin and was making that awful smell which had been permeating the kitchen.

5. While I was trying to clean up the garbage bin, Ed started bringing in the Christmas tree he’d bought, which knocked over a few things.

6. Then the phone rang – it was my sister Marcy who needed to check on several things.

7. Somewhere in there I was able to put a Weight Watcher’s pizza into the microwave so that I could at least have some supper.

8. I was tasked to decorate the tree, which entailed first figuring out which string(s) of lights actually worked. I was on this task because the hospital called to talk with Ed about some concerns they had for his mother (she went into the ER last night with high blood pressure; they got that under control and all was reasonably well until last night when she was quite disoriented).

9. I think I got to eat my Weight Watcher’s pizza while I put the garland onto the tree.

10. Vacuuming commenced once the tree was decorated and all of the boxes were put away.

I was in bed by 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

1 Corinthians 13 — Christmas Version

Someone sent this to me via email, and I really think it's appropriate.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend myriad holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Finally Feeling Better Today

I woke at 1:00 a.m. on Friday, 8 December, and I've pretty much been sick with "the creeping crud" (translated: a gastro-intestinal virus) since then. Today is the first day I have felt semi-human. In fact, tonight I ate a couple of fried (in a non-stick pan) eggs and plain toast without feeling the need to stop halfway through and wretch.

(Judith's Rule: No one over the age of 12 should ever have to vomit.)

I did some knitting while I was recouperating. I'll post photos when I have some. Until then, wash your hands! Wear a face mask! Don't let this terrible stuff happen to you! :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Real News 2006

OK, for those of you who got our silly letter with the Christmas Card, here is “The Real News” that is referred to at the end.

January 2006
At the beginning of the month Judith assumed the duties of printer-in-residence at Village Stationery. This entailed rapidly learning new software (which was so old it runs only on the Windows 98 operating system even though it doesn’t work in the Windows environment) and then advising with the purchase of new software and printer. It was a huge challenge, but it worked out.

In the meantime, Ed was in the final weeks of his holiday-only employment at Barnes & Noble. We made the most of it by buying as much as we could afford on the 30% employee discount (plus the additional 10% Reader’s Advantage discount). Also, Ed’s mom was released from her hospital stay just a few days before New Year’s eve. We got to spend a little bit of time with Ed’s sister Mariayne when she was here to visit over that period of time.

February 2006
Just as his employment with Barnes & Noble was ending, Ed got an interview with CompUSA and was hired, so there was very little gap between ending one part-time job and starting up with the other. He’s one of only two people at that store who is over 50. Most of the employees are in their 20s and 30s, most of them are male, and the majority of them haven’t got the brains of an ant when it comes to simple problem-solving and customer service.

At Judith’s Offutt job, her office had been in an older building that used to be a dormitory at the turn of the 20th century. At mid-month she was moved back to the main building where the majority of her colleagues were housed. It was somewhat akin to moving into a frat house just because everyone is packed into a single, large room and the noise level is higher. It’s a room that doesn’t have a window, so there are problems with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. In the winter months there is cold air coming through a wall at her back, and in the summer months the air conditioning makes it so cold that fingers freeze.

March 2006
Ed’s mom had been in and out of the hospital over the past few months with one problem or another. At the beginning of March she’d been hospitalized again as they tried to get her medications in balance. Once that was done, she was released, but it happened to be on the day that a late-winter snow storm hit. Even Judith’s job at Offutt was closed on account of weather! Ed’s job at CompUSA, however, was still open, so he had to go into work. Judith got Anne home and settled into her apartment, and then the weather cleared up enough the next day. Spring arrived a few weeks later.

It was at the end of March that the furnace died and had to be replaced. In the course of replacing it, the installers pointed out that there was corrosion in a piece of the air conditioning unit and that if the corrosive liquid dripped onto the new furnace it would negate the warranty. Thus, we found ourselves spending about $8,000 on a new furnace AND central air conditioning unit. At least the temperatures outdoors were bearable during this time so that we weren’t freezing overnight!

April 2006
Good friends Jennifer and Mike in Canton, Georgia, flew us to their home for a lovely weekend toward the end of the month. They held a “Spring Fling” party at their home on the Etowah River. About a hundred people attended. Their friend Tracy cooked up a Low Country Boil, which is small red potatoes, corn on the cob, sausages, and shrimp (if I remember correctly) all boiled together. The water is then drained and people help themselves to the feast! They had two pots going – one with regular spices and one with hotter Cajun spices. Their friends also brought in desserts. We ended up drinking wine around a camp fire down by the river as stars lit up the Southern sky. It was a magnificent retreat, and we are most grateful to them and their friends for their hospitality and kindness

May 2006
Ed’s sister came to visit at the end of April / beginning of May and started looking into some assisted living facilities for their mom. She won’t be moving into one soon, but the groundwork needed to be done.

At the end of the month we celebrated 14 years of marriage. We’d been through some challenges over the previous year, but we came through them and learned a little more how to be caring with one another. Every year gets a little better, even if the circumstances of living offer us challenges.

June 2006
Other than attending an art fair at the beginning of this month, we don’t remember much about it. We were working and just trying to get by. Judith’s brother had a major birthday bash toward the end of the month, but we both were too knackered to be able to attend.

July 2006
Judith set herself to a self-imposed challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. It actually started on June 28th, and she had 50,041 words by July 28th. It is not exactly readable, but it’s written. If she’s still in love with it, she’ll start editing in March 2007. It was hard work and consumed nearly all of her free time, but she’s glad to have done it.

Ed started in work on a huge woodworking project – a bookcase/entertainment center.

August 2006
About all we remember about August was that it couldn’t be over fast enough. It was hot and humid and all-around uncomfortable.

September 2006
We finally had to admit that the mattresses we purchased 14 years earlier (on the event of our wedding) needed to be replaced. Those wire springs poking through from the box springs were just too sharp to be ignored. So, we decided to go with a king-sized bed. We got the mattress, box springs, and a frame. Ed will build a headboard some time later. Judith was able to find sheets through some discount stores, so we’re OK and sleeping much better!

October 2006
Judith’s sister Marcy started coming over on Saturdays to help with some much-needed cleaning. This was initially in preparation of making the house presentable for some guests who were coming over later in the month, but we threw ourselves into it whole-heartedly. Marcy is invaluable when it comes to weeding out long-standing messes and determining what can stay and what should go. She also paces herself very well for the big cleaning jobs such as polishing the silver and crystal. We cleaned several closets, did some long-overdue dusting, and basically threw away a lot of stuff. She even cleaned up Ed’s woodshop! The whole house has been much more pleasant since she started coming over.

We held a small party toward the end of October in which we invited friends over for stew on a cool Sunday evening. It was great having the house slicked up -- no running around at the last minute to make it semi-presentable! We had a lovely time and hope to do it again when our schedules permit.

November 2006
Marcy came over for one last marathon cleaning event on the first weekend of the month so that the house would be ready for the home inspection on the following Monday. We renegotiated our mortgage, so a home inspection was part of the package. The nice thing was that we got a clean and pleasant living area out of the deal! The biggest challenge was that the water heater died that Saturday morning. We got a new one just in time for the home inspection!

Early in the month Judith attended a dinner for the Nebraska chapter of ASTD (American Society of Trainers & Developers) where she had been nominated for a service award. She accepted the position of 2007 Director of Marketing for the group and is anxious to start digging into her responsibilities there.

Both of us started putting in more hours at our retail jobs with the Christmas shopping season coming upon us. Judith sewed a curtain for a doorway in the stationery shop (it was a real treat digging out the sewing machine from beneath the rubble of that room!) so it would be ready for a special open house in honor of the remodeling that was completed only a month earlier.

Marcy came the Saturday before Thanksgiving and helped us to slick up the place once more. Our guests for Thanksgiving Day dinner were Ed's mom (Anne), Judith's mom (Alice), and Marcy. Ed cook the turkey as well as making (take a deep breath): scalloped potatoes, corn pudding, acorn squash, cheddar dinner rolls, a tossed salad, and two sour cream pecan pies. Marcy brought the stuffing/dressing (from a recipe that Judith's mom has made for years) as well as cranberry relish and a pumpkin pie. We were overwhelmed with food. After the mid-day meal, Ed read a book, Judith and Marcy cleaned up the kitchen, and the two moms had a delightful chat in the livingroom. It was one of the few times they were able to have a discussion without having to deal with a lot of ambient noise coming into their hearing aids!

December 2006
Christmas Cards started coming in the day after Thanksgiving. Judith had started on hers in September -- a necessity considering how little time she gets in November and December on account of working so many hours. She mailed out the bulk of her cards just prior to December 1st, then mailed the remaining cards and most packages on December 2nd (the first Saturday of the month). There are still a few to go, but it all will get done.

As of this writing (December 5th), we're planning to get a real Christmas tree to set up in the living room, although it might not happen until next week. Christmas cards continue to arrive along with best wishes and many smiles.

Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah / Glorious Festivus / Joyous Solstice / Cheerful Kwanzaa, and best wishes for all good health and happiness in the new year.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mittens That Rock

This is for a pair of mittens I'm knitting for a friend's 7-year-old son. One skein of StR yarn will make this pair of mittens and much more (and I'll figure out if I'm going to make a hat, a scarf, and/or a pair of socks with what remains of the skein).

US 4.0 dpns
Socks that Rock Heavyweight (Rocktober colorway) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.
Markers (I used three total)
Tapestry needle

M1/K1 = Make one (and knit it), then K the original stitch on the row. To "Make One," use the tip of the right needle to lift up the loop of the stitch in the row just below the tip of the left needle. Place that loop on the left needle and knit through the back. Thus, each "M1/K1" direction results in two stitches worked: an added stitch and the original stitch.

PM = Place Marker

Cable CO = Cable Cast-On. Insert the right needle between the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit. In fact, continue by looping the yarn around the right needle and pulling it through to the front as if to make a knit stitch. The difference is that the loop of yarn pulled through is then placed onto the front of the left needle and becomes the first stitch to be worked from that needle. Therefore, to Cable CO any succeeding stitches, you insert the right needle between this new loop and the next stitch on the left needle and repeat the process. There's a very good description (with photos) at Knitty.

Gauge: 6 st / 1" in St st

Finished Measurements: 6" palm circumference

Cuff (both mittens)
CO: 36 sts. Join in circle (without twisting) and work 1x1 rib for 12 rnds, placing a marker at the beginning.

Base and Thumb Gusset (Left Mitten):
Rnds 13 - 16: K 18, then work moss stitch (K1, P1 on even rows; P1, K1 on odd rows) across rem sts.

Rnd 17: K 16, PM, M1/K1 in next 2 sts, then work moss stitch over rem 18 sts (38 sts total, 4 btw markers)

Rnd 18 and all even numbered rounds through 26: K all sts to 2nd marker, then work moss stitch over rem 18 sts.

Rnds 19, 21, 23, 25 and all odd-numbered rows: K16, sl marker, M1/K1 in next st, K to last st before marker, M1/K1, sl marker, then work moss stitch in rem 18 sts. (Incr 2 sts each rnd. At the end of rnd 25 there should be 12 sts btw markers and 48 sts total)

Divide for the Hand (Left Mitten):
Rnd 27: K 18 sts to 1st marker. Remove marker, slip next 12 sts to holder. Cable CO 2 sts to left needle, then K those two sts. Place marker and work moss stitch over last 18 sts. (36 sts total on needles)

Rnds 28 - 48 (or until the body of the mitten comes to the tip of the smallest finger): K18, then work moss stitch over last 18 sts, slipping markers as you come to them.

Shape Top (Left Mitten):
Arrange sts on three dpns as follows:

Needle 1 - first 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 2 - second 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 3 - 18 moss sts (back of hand)

Rnds 49, 51, 53:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 2: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

Rnds 50, 52, 54: K all sts on Needles 1 and 2, work moss st on Needle 3.

At the end of Rnd 53, there should be 24 sts total on all needles.

Rnds 55, 56, 57:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 2: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

At the end of Rnd 57 there should be 12 sts total on all needles.

Cut a long tail of yarn (about 9") and graft the final sts, or, using a tapestry needle, draw it through all sts and pull tightly to close. Secure the ends and work in the final tail.

Thumb (Both Mittens):
Slip the 12 sts from the holder onto two needles. Join yarn and knit those 12 sts, then PU 4 sts in the open space (where you had cast on 2 more sts) for 16 sts total. PM and knit 9 more rnds.

Rnd 11: K2tog all around (8 sts)

Rnd 12: K2tog all around (4 sts)

Cut yarn leaving a tail. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle, then run it through the remaining 4 sts. Pull tightly to close the hold and secure the end. Work in all tails.

Base and Thumb Gusset (Right Mitten):
Rnds 13 - 16: Work moss stitch (K1, P1 on even rows; P1, K1 on odd rows) across first 18 sts, PM, then K last 18 sts.

Rnd 17: Work moss stitch over first 18 sts, PM, M1/K1 in next 2 sts, PM, then K rem 16 sts (38 sts total, 4 btw markers)

Rnd 18 and all even numbered rounds through 26: Work moss sts to 1st marker, then K rem sts.

Rnds 19, 21, 23, 25 and all odd-numbered rows: Work moss st over first 18 sts, sl marker, M1/K1 in next st, K to last st before marker, M1/K1, sl marker, then K to end. (Incr 2 sts each rnd. At the end of rnd 25 there should be 12 sts btw markers and 48 sts total)

Divide for the Hand (Right Mitten):
Rnd 27: Work moss st over 18 sts to 1st marker. Remove marker, slip next 12 sts to holder. Cable CO 2 sts to left needle, K those 2 sts, then continue K rem sts (36 total on needles).

Rnds 28 - 48 (or until the body of the mitten comes to the tip of the smallest finger): Work moss st over first 18 sts, then K rem 18 sts, slipping markers as you come to them.

Shape Top (Right Mitten):
Arrange sts on three dpns as follows:

Needle 1 - 18 moss sts (back of hand)
Needle 2 - first 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 3 - second 9 sts (1/2 the palm)

Rnds 49, 51, 53:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

Rnds 50, 52, 54: Work moss sts on Needle 1, then K all sts on Needles 1 and 2.

At the end of Rnd 53, there should be 24 sts total on all needles.

Rnds 55, 56, 57:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

At the end of Rnd 57 there should be 12 sts total on all needles.

Cut a long tail of yarn (about 9") and graft the final sts, or, using a tapestry needle, draw it through all sts and pull tightly to close. Secure the ends and work in the final tail.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Questionnaire

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
I don't do any of the cooking (my husband does), but I do prefer it when we have the dinner at our house. I like setting the table. I like opening up our home to family and friends.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?
Fresh. In the past Ed has ordered up one from Stoysich, but this year he just bought a fresh one at the grocery store.

3. What kind of stuffing?
There is this stuffing that my mom has made all of our lives and I absolutely adore it. It has bread and eggs and celery and God-knows-what-else in it. My sister Marcy made it this year (under mom's supervision). My sisters Jodie and Kathy also know how to make it.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing?
I don't mind the white meat leftover because that makes nice salads and sandwiches, but the rest of it I can live without.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?
With my family, it would definitely be mom's stuffing.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?
What an amusing idea! No, we don't save it, and I'd probably protest if my husband tried anything like that!

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
A week off with pay (and without diminishing the vacation balance), a live-in housekeeper, and a session with a professional massage therapist each day. I have no idea what my husband would require, but that would help me get ready!

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?
Does 7:30 a.m. count as the crack of dawn? Ed starts cooking a day or two prior to Thanksgiving, then he coordinates everything in the morning for cooking. I spend the morning tidying up the house and getting the table ready. I also pick up my mother-in-law. We usually eat at 12:00 noon or thereabouts just because it's what my mom likes.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring?
That's not up to me. However, when we have gone to someone else's home for Thanksgiving, Ed is often requested to bring is sour cream pecan pie and the corn pudding.

11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house?
Lack of appetite.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see?
People we have to our own home are quite a happy bunch. In fact, I can't think of much drama for family gatherings, except for after the fact (we're a passive-aggressive group).

13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu?
Oh, I think I answered that above: my mom's dressing. But, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey and the pumpkin pie as well.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Girl

Here is my happy dog-girl in her favorite chair!

And here is my new yarn from Blue Moon! From left: Rocktober, Henpecked, and Chapman Springs. I can't wait to get started on it!

This is bliss: My dog at peace and my yarn all together in one place. I'm a happy girl today!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Black Friday Story (from 2004)

Greetings from Shopping Hell,
or, Merry Eff-ing Christmas to You, Too, A$$wipe!

In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving (i.e., the fourth Friday of November) is commonly recognized as the official beginning of the Christmas season. Never mind that most retail stores started in October with stocking the shelves with Christmas cards, Christmas lights, Christmas wrapping, Christmas ribbons, Christmas novelties, and — the seasonal holy of holies — the Christmas Singing Trout.

Retailers refer to this day as "Black Friday," not in the sense of recalling the stock market crash of 1929, but rather in the sense of changing the ink in the accounting books from red to black. Retail store owners expect to earn half of their total profits for the year in November and December, and they count on Black Friday to move them into profitability for the year. Consumers in the U.S. spend more than $7 billion on Black Friday.

I'm 45 years old. I've known about Black Friday for the last 25 years or more, and I generally try to avoid the mayhem. But today was different.

It actually started on Thanksgiving Day, which was at my mother's house, which is about a 30 minute drive across town from my humble abode in the entrails of suburbia. We had a lovely mid-day meal, but I started getting some kind of nasty sinus/migraine headache, the kind that can be solved quickly by one shot of a Glock 9mm to the ethmoid sinus (#2 in the photo; #1 are the frontal sinuses and #3 are the maxillary sinuses) otherwise the migraine will last all day.

My husband and I left my mom's house around 3:00 p.m. when it was clear no one in the room owned a handgun of the appropriate calibre (hard to believe of us gun-toting cowboys, isn't it?). Being in a state of reduced sensibilities, I forgot a few things, including my wallet, which had fallen from my knitting bag.

So, after confirming that my wallet was indeed at my mother's home, and confirming that it would be acceptable for me to arrive around 7:00 a.m. in order to retrieve it, I drove to her home early in the morning of Black Friday. It took longer than usual, though, because I had to obey the speed limits owing to the fact that my driver's license was in my wallet and I didn't want to risk being caught with out it. I had a cuppa with dear old mum, then left.

"I know," I said to myself, "I'll run over to Best Buy [electronics and software retail chain] and get the upgrade for my Norton AntiVirus software." Brilliant. I needed to drive across town again and further west to the Oak View Mall, which was my nearest Best Buy location.

Now, my need for the anti-virus software could, indeed, have been fulfilled over the Internet. Except that I had tried that already. After four hours only 50% of the program downloaded, and then my dial-up connection expired. So, I reconnected to the Web, went to the Symantec web site, and I used the appropriate form to request they send the %$#*ing software to me on a CD. I received an automated reply, but no response. That was three weeks earlier. The day before Thanksgiving I searched the Symantec web site for a telephone number to call. There was none. Eventually I was able to do a Google search for "Symantec Telephone," for which I was rewarded with a toll call to their corporate office in Oregon. For my trouble, I received a recorded message which gave me a toll-free number to call that would allow me to connect to someone who could help to sort out this mess.

Or so I thought. I ended up in a hellish labyrinth of touch-tone menu options before I finally got through to a very well-mannered young man for whom English was not his first language. He apologized at every turn, but the most he could do would be to issue a credit to my card and to direct me to a customer service representative who could help me place the order. Except that the customer service representative was the scion of the Wicked Witch of the West. She would not allow me to place an order for an upgrade until I could provide the serial number of my current software (no, she couldn't look this up in a data base). I hung up on her. It would be less trouble to purchase this software from a retailer.

Thus, I drove out to Oak View Mall (about 30 minutes from my mother's house) and pulled into the parking lot for Best Buy. A sign on the door said that the store had moved to the brand new Village Pointe Mall (no, that's not a misspelling, but a quaint custom among developers to make us think these pre-packaged retail enclaves are unique and exciting), which was at 170th and Dodge Streets. I was at 144th and Industrial Road. It was a mere 5 miles away.

In the meantime, I could weave through the parking lots and harried early-morning shoppers to the Barnes & Noble (book store chain) for a few items I needed there.

No, I couldn't. Unlike every other retail store in the country that opened its doors at 6:00 a.m., Barnes & Noble wouldn't open until its usual hour of 9:00. It was about 7:45.

I crept my car along the gridlock that is the hallmark of this particular location (the planners for this mall were either optimistic or flat-on-their-arses drunk). By now the drive to 170th & Dodge Streets was tantamount to driving all the way to San Francisco. Especially when I hit the road construction.

For those of you not from Omaha, Nebraska, let me explain a few things:

1. Omaha is the largest "city" in the state. It has a population of around 600,000 spread out in a geographic area in which most real cities could easily pack 7.2 million residents and their dogs.

2. There is only one mode of public transportation and that is only the pokey old Metro Area Transit bus system which drives routes that hearken back to a time 20 years ago when this pretentious little hamlet went no further west than 102nd Street.

3. There are only two seasons in Nebraska: Winter and Road Construction. As the former had not yet come upon us, we were entrenched in the latter.

At this writing, nearly every major east-west and north-south thoroughfare in Omaha is under construction, usually at the place where you absolutely need to get through or else you have to drive about five miles out of your way. Thus, a trip that should have lasted only 10 minutes or so ended up being a 30 minute odyssey through single-lane roads, orange hazard cones, and something I'm sure was razor wire. All of these roads were choked with traffic. Apparently everyone was in a hurry to get to Village Pointe Mall because the only parking space I could find was near a building that was still under construction (as was the entrance to this mall).

Best Buy was packed, of course, with all kinds of people who were willing to wait in line to get their whopping 10% discount off of the latest electronic gadget that wasn't tagged with any sort of price in the first place. I located the software section; I located the Norton SystemWorks package. I could not locate the upgrade version. As there were an abundance of sullen teenagers employed for the season, I collared one and asked him to bring out the upgrade version. He perused the shelves

"I guess we don't have that," he said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"We don't stock upgrades."

"Why not?"

"We just have the full program."

"But I only want an upgrade."

"You can buy this program and send for the $30 mail in rebate."

"The upgrade costs less than that."

"With the rebate it's only $39.95."

"So, why don't you sell me this package at the upgrade price, which is $25."

"We don't have the upgrades."

Oh, I so wanted to beat that software box against his pointy little head. I wanted to commit a memorable act of mayhem, the kind that would make the national papers, the kind that would ensure me a feature spot on Jerry Springer's show and then a follow-up on Oprah after I'd gone through rehab.

But I didn't. I took the box and went to look for the checkout.

I'll say this for them: All of the cash registers were populated and working (unlike the one or two tired and bored clerks they usually have on duty). I saw one long line of people snaking through the store.

"Is this the line for the cash registers?" I inquired of a clerk.

"Oh, yes," he replied with seasonal enthusiasm. "The wait is only 35 to 40 minutes."

I threw the box on a shelf and stormed out.

Send me to Iraq: I'm ready to kill.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Free Morning

I have today off from my full-time job (in honor of Veteran's Day), but I still have to work this afternoon at the stationery shop. Oh, I'm beside myself trying to figure out just what I can do with the time I have to myself this morning! I've already worked on Christmas cards (nearly done). I have about 2.5 hours left before I have to be somewhere for an 11:00 a.m. appointment. Can I get some sewing done? Knitting? Start on that book binding project? Wrap presents? Climb Mt. Everest?

So many possibilities and so little time. *sigh* Such is life.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Vocabulary is Still Good

Your Vocabulary Score: A+

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Socks That Rock!

OK, I've given in to temptation. I purchased three skeins of Socks That Rock (heavyweight version). I'll post a photo when I receive them. Oh, I need a zillion more hands to make all of the projects that are in my head!

Another "Ugh" Day

I got only a few hours of sleep again last night. I ate a piece of cheese (about an ounce) before bed to give my body a little fat and protein for sustenance through the night, but I woke up around midnight as hungry as ever and my legs were just burning up! It was so strange! I wanted to put my legs into the refrigerator to cool them off. I decided to boil up some pasta. In fact, I cooked a whole package of chicken tortellini (supposed to serve 5) and ate half of it (the dog got the other half). I also opened up the refrigerator door and just stood in front of it for a while to try to cool off my legs.

This hot leg thing is something that one other of my sisters has experienced. Her doctor said it was a symptom of menopause. Oh, joy.

Last night I started knitting a sweater for my friend Trish, but I pulled it off the needles today before noon because my gauge was all off. I knit a 4" x 4" gauge swatch and came up with 5.5 stitches per inch. Unfortunately, knitting that long section of the back, my actual gauge was more like 4 stitches per inch. That's bad. I have to re-think this or else Trish is going to have a tent instead of a sweater.

I have a workout today at the gym, then a dinner/meeting tonight. I'm not sure I'm going to make it to the latter. I'll hate to miss it, though.

Oh, I really want to sleep right now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Come, Sleep!

Come, Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low; ...

— Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that peace begets:
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at e'en he sets? ...

— John Dowland (1563-1626)

Actually, sleep came quite nicely last night. I feel great today. Amazing what a good night of rest can do for a person!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Second Sleepless Night

Ed worked until 10:00 p.m. last night at CompUSA. I was in bed, but I woke a bit when he arrived home. Then I slept for several hours but woke around 1:30 a.m. because he was still awake and reading (Prince of Tides) an ebook he'd downloaded from the library. Well, it wasn't his reading that kept me awake (the only light came from the screen that displayed the text), but I don't think it helped. Mainly I ached still.

I had a nice, restorative workout at the gym on Monday night, but the length of the day for me (I was awake around 2:30 a.m. yesterday) as well as the wear-and-tear of an afternoon in retail-hell was enough to wipe me out.

The home appraisal went pretty well, I think, but I really hope we don't have to do that ever again! Geez, I hate that! I mean, even though I like my boss at my full-time job, I still hate performance evaluations with her, too! I cringe at the thought of someone assessing me or my home. I always feel like the assessor is really thinking, You think this is good? You're crazy!

Tonight is a night to relax. Tonight I knit, pet the dog, watch television, and then take a sleeping pill (have an Rx that I use when I've a sleepless night or two -- the chamomile tea just isn't cutting it) and get back to normal for Wednesday.

I have Friday off from my full-time job, but I'll be working at the stationery shop in the afternoon again, so I think Friday morning will just be down time and Saturday will be the day I start mucking out the sewing room.

What was it I said before about getting some down time?????

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blame it on the Full Moon

I couldn't sleep last night. I'm not sure why, but it would probably have something to do with the fact that I ache all over from all of the cleaning, and/or with my dread of someone coming over to appraise our home, and/or with just plain not looking forward to going to the office on a Monday morning.

I came to several conclusions throughout the weekend madnes:

(1) I need to pull back from a lot of stuff. No choir, for one. No knitting on Thursday nights for another. If I'm going to write, I need to cut down on some of the outside activities. If I'm going to get some sewing done, I need to cut down on the time I'm away from home. Sitting at home and knitting or sewing is therapeutic for me. It's creative "down time" that lets me relax yet still engage in something fulfilling (as opposed to merely laying down to take a nap).

(2) My various obsessions are getting in the way of a lot of things, not the least of which is my ability to maintain viable relationships with people. When I'm not on my medication (and I had missed it for several days running there), I think I must be hell to be around because I get obsessive and manic and basically out of control as I doubt myself yet plunge ahead with what I believe to be the right action, and thus add to the stress I'm already feeling.

(3) I really hate that I have these personality quirks that are outside of my control. Let's face it: I'll always have anxiety and obsessive and depressive behaviors to some degree. The medication helps to keep it under control so that I can live a fairly normal and productive life, even in the midst of crises. But, oh, I hate that I'm this way. I hate having to take pills to be "normal." I hate that I couldn't be one of the few people at the conference for Adult Children of Normal Parents. I wish it were different, but wishing doesn't make it so, and I hate that, too.

(4) In my pridefulness, I forget that I am not the only one who can give nice things to people. Other people are allowed to give nice things to people. They are even allowed to give nice things to me. I sometimes forget that it is as much an honor to receive a gift as to give one. I sometimes forget that it is as much a kindness to allow someone to give something to you as it is to be able to give something from yourself.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It never rains, but it pours. And then the water heater dies.

Just before Ed went off to work on Saturday morning we both heard water running and couldn't account for it. The dishwasher wasn't running; neither was the washing machine, and neither of us had just flushed a toilet. When we went to the basement we saw hot water running from the water heater. We turned it all off. Ed went to work and I called a plumber.

Do you know how hard it is to get hold of a plumber on a weekend? Even the ones that advertise 24-hour and emergency service weren't answering their phones. I did finally get through to All Points Plumbing. We needed a 40-gallon water heater, but the guy didn't have one on his truck and his suppliers were closed for the weekend, so they told us that if we could go out to Home Depot or Lowe's or Menards or someplace and purchase one, they would install it on Sunday.

We went to the Home Depot near where we live. They advertised same day delivery. In fact, they also advertised same day installation if you got your order in before 2:00 p.m. As it was only 10:30 a.m., I thought we'd get this taken care of right away.

Nope. First, they said it would be an extra $125 to install on the weekend (no indication in any of their advertising of this). Then they said they couldn't install until Monday anyway. Then they said they couldn't deliver today. What a crock of sh*t their promises are! (I'm going to the Nebraska Attorney General web site after this to write in all of the pertinent information. They'll have to make a formal response, which will get their administration into a tizzy for a few days at least. Hee-Hee! Happy freakin' Monday to all of them!)

So, we went back home. I asked a neighbor, Greg, if he'd help us to pick up the water heater presuming Lowe's wouldn't deliver. He said he would probably get called away to his pub (he owns Finnegan's here in Omaha), but he gave me the spare keys to his truck and told me just to make sure I took the corners wide. (I think he's seen my drive before, eh?)

As it turned out Lowe's was great to deal with. The lady I spoke with on the phone checked on delivery and actually apologized because they guy was on his way to Columbus, Nebraska. She said if we could pick it up ourselves it would save about $80 anyway, so that's what we did.

Oh, that was fun driving the big red pickup truck! I had to help my sister Marcy into the cab. Seriously! I had to make a step with my hands so that she could get a let up into that behemoth! And then it was like piloting the QEII! So much give in the steering (compared to my sporty little Grand Am; there's a representative photo above), and it moved as slowly as a caravan of elephants who would rather be napping. But it worked. And I navigated it successfully.

(That's a representative image of Greg's pickup at right. I don't remember the model. I just remember it was red, a four-door extended cab, and it took diesel fuel. Oh, and the wheel wells stood about as tall as my waist.) So we got it home an I offloaded it from the pickup (it's good to be strong) and got the new water heater into the garage. I also returned Greg's truck to his driveway. And I did it all without hitting other cars or buildings (although I have to cop to scraping up against some sandbags at the filling station).

We had all of this accomplished by about 12:30 p.m., at which point Marcy and I started in on cleaning up the downstairs. She cleaned up Ed's workshop while I tackled the "family room" area and the office area. I still ache today.

All of this is so that the house looks presentable for the home appraiser who will be coming tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. The house won't look nearly as nice as I hoped, but it will be as good as I can make it with all of these trials coming my way.

I really lost it when the water heater died. We always seem to be right on the edge of financial ruin, so something like that puts me over the edge. But, as it turns out, I'd been squirreling away money into another account for a while -- something I'd forgotten about until this morning. When I checked it, we had more than enough to cover the $800 for the new water heater and installation.

And now the downstairs is clean, too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Minnie and I are (Semi) Famous in Canada!

When Deawn posted a call for 10" knitted squares for a project in her beloved Montreal, Minnie and I sent in our contributions. Lo and behold, we received a mention on the Montreal Radio Noon program as well as on the web site.

Here's my favorite part: The mis-spellings!

• M. Olsen of Omaha Newbraska!
• Judith Brudnicki of Omaha, Newbraska

Oh, well, they were kind enough to acknowledge our contributions from among all of the others.

PS — Deawn, we miss you, but we know you're happy among your Canadian friends. Many hugs!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marathon Days

Yesterday was quite the marathon. I worked at both of my jobs (for a total of 11 hours paid time) and then went to choir practice for the first time in years. Let's just say I was in bed by 9:00 a.m.

Poor Charka dog felt so lonely that she actually got into bed with us (thank heaven for king-sized beds). In fact, she snuggled up next to me so I could pet her as I was falling asleep. I don't know when she got off the bed, but she was gone by the time I woke this morning.

Today will be somewhat the same. I'm working only my full-time job today, but I have a workout at 4:00 p.m. and then I'm going to knitting until about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. Charka will probably want to be all snuggly again tonight, poor thing.

Ed is being wonderfully supportive as I go through all of this craziness: Writing, knitting, working, exercising, and now singing in a church choir.

By the way, choir was fun last night. It was the first time I'd been singing in choir for about 10 years, I think. I just remember that the last time was at a Methodist church (and I bailed about this time of year because they had scheduled a zillion extra choral events in the month of December), and I think it was in 1997. Anyway, I was quite surprised to learn how much out of practice I was! I used to be able to sight read (notes, rhythms, words) without any effort at all; I used to be able to sing the high notes (the g above the c that is an octave above middle c) as easily as breathing. Oi! What a challenge that was last night!

It won't take long to get it all back, though. My nervous system will recall the discreet adjustments required for changing from note to note, my brain will open up the pathways to the section that parses rhythms, and my throat muscles will loosen up enough to be flexible for reaching the extremes of my range. It's an odd feeling, though, to recall being able to do something but to have the body not cooperate!

The people at First Central Congregational were quite nice. In fact, they were warm without being cloying. On first impressions alone, I was impressed. This seems to be a good group of people to be around.

Now, I should do some writing again...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wait, Wait! I actually wrote today!

I actually got my story started. I only had an hour, but I got a couple of hundred words down on paper. I'll have some time to write before choir tonight. Thank you to my wonderful husband for finding me a cheap laptop!

NaNoWriMo • The First Day

Damn! I can't start writing yet! I've had projects to work on since I arrived at the office, I'll be busy all afternoon at the stationery shop, and then I'm going to my first choir rehearsal tonight at First Central Congregational. I've been writing in my head like crazy. I know how I want this to start and a lot of the background. I want to write! I want to get paid for writing, not for doing this boring stuff!


The suffering of artists is really annoying, isn't it!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bernard Pivot's Ten Questions

These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. It is probably more familiar to many as the question James Lipton asks at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio."

1. What is your favorite word? Yes.

2. What is your least favorite word? Can't.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Possibilities.

4. What turns you off? Rant Radio.

5. What is your favorite curse word/phrase? "Oh, for unlawful carnal knowledge!"

6. What sound or noise do you love? Rain falling.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Babies/Children screaming/crying.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Orchestral conductor.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Dentist.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "I'm so glad to see you!"

Happy Hallowe'en

People have been sending emails of pets in a variety of costumes. This is one of my favorites:

I took off yesterday from my full-time job in order to run some errands and have a little date with my husband. Ever since we'd met, one of our favorite dates is going out for breakfast. Anyway, the next few months are going to have both of us crazy on account of it being the beginning of retail hell (a.k.a., Christmas shopping season), so it was nice to have a little quiet time together. I also got my annual car registration taken care of, got the car cleaned inside and out, and mailed some packages.

The wind came up sharp and strong yesterday. What started out as a warm day ended up cold and windy — typical for the end of October in this part of the USA, and just in time to make Hallowe'en a little creepier.

I'm having misgivings about doing NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, but I'll do it if for no other reason than to get more exercise in letting go of perfectionism. I remember a high-school English composition teacher, as we started a section on writing, told us that the first stuff we'd write would be crap, and that after we'd finished writing about teddy bears and toddlers and such like we'd start writing some really good stuff. Well, maybe this is just a way to get some of the crap out of me.

Last night's workout at the gym was magnificent. I think it was partly because I didn't wear myself out with housework over the weekend. And I think it was also because I'm still happy for my friends.

Really happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Believe in Love

They were true love, written in stone;
They were never alone,
They were never that far apart.

— James Taylor, "Never Die Young"

A couple of friends are falling in love with each other and I'm so happy about it that I can hardly sit still.

I believe in love. I believe in good things happening to people. I believe these things need to be encouraged and celebrated at every opportunity. I believe we need to help these things happen whenever we can, especially because it often costs very little to bring someone a little happiness.

The Christmas season is coming up. It's my favorite season for so many reasons, not the least of which is that people are generally a little bit kinder to one another as they go about their business. In a time when the weather is turning colder and arriving safely — by car or by foot — is a crap shoot when everything is icy, this little bit more kindness helps all of us get through.

And those people who are in love are the best of all: They are so optimistic that even a snowstorm is just another opportunity to snuggle up together.

My husband and I are long past the "new love" stage, but we're still in love. We don't always feel it — real life gets in the way and it's hard to feel particularly romantic when you're changing the cat litter or shoveling snow or dealing with the overflowing garbage bin — but feeling it isn't always necessary when you know it's still there, just like drawing breath. When you know it's there, you don't worry about when you'll feel it next.

For all of my friends, married and not married, I pray for such great love in their lives that they never before imagined they could be so happy. And I pray it lasts forever.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Housework Today

After four straight weekends of intensive cleaning, I've taken a much-needed break. I ran some errands, did some knitting, and took a huge nap because I was so knackered. I also worked on getting Christmas cards done.

Tomorrow I'll walk with Richard, then work at the stationery shop. And then I have to clean the cat litter and .... maybe I'll do a little bit of laundry, we'll see.

NaNoWriMo starts in just a few days. I've had some good ideas, but I've not started sketching characters yet. We'll see what I can do. It's going to be an extra challenge because (1) it's a busy season for retail workers and (2) I don't have the story as firmly in mind as I did the last one.

Well, that's fine. It's not about being perfect. It's about writing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

48 Things You Might Already Know About Me

1. FIRST NAME? Judith

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I'm aware of. My birth name is actually Judy and I think there was a time people said I was named for Judy Garland (the Wizard of Oz film came out the year I was born, I think), but that's never been verified.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Um.....I think it was a couple of weekends ago when I was feeling sorry for myself.




7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Only if the blog counts.



10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Honey-nut Cheerios.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I know I am strong.


14. SHOE SIZE? US 9 1/2 Wide

15. RED OR PINK? Red


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Roger & Caroline in England.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Slate blue mock-T, light blue cotton sweater, cotton slacks that incorporate both of those colors in a micro-weave, and dark brown shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A Lean Cuisine Panini (Chicken, Mushroom, Spinach)

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? People in my office talking.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I would be a magical crayon that turns whatever color I feel like at the moment.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? My husband's cooking.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Louise at the stationery shop.


26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU GOT THIS FROM? I lifted it from Jen's blog, so, yes, I do.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Usually anything cold.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? I like watching women's gymnastics and figure skating.

29. EYE COLOR? Green/Brown gradient.

30. HAT SIZE? I don't know.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Just about anything that isn't good for me.




37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Apple pie.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen, London: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd.



43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Thunderstorms, music I like, the sound of a friend's voice on the phone, my black cat purring, and sometimes I like how quiet it is after a snowstorm.


45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? London, Edinburgh, or Paris -- which is further east of here?

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I leg press 540 lbs.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Denison, Iowa

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Borrowed from Jen's blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Personal DNA

Unfortunately, the code for this didn't post so I had to screenprint the image and upload it. I don't think it's a particularly accurate portrait of my personality, but it'll do for now.

If you want to take the assessment yourself, go to Personal DNA.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

4 Things

Thanks to Titanium Rose for putting this one up. It'll make a fun post for today.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Cashier at a restaurant
2. Secretary
3. Traffic Assistant (referring to a job at an ad agency, not Dept. of Roads)
4. Graphic Artist

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Sense & Sensibility
2. Little Women
3. Pride & Prejudice (mini-series)
4. Casasblanca

Four places I have lived:
1. Defiance, Iowa
2. London, England
3. Olympia, Washington
4. Omaha, Nebraska

Four television shows I love to watch:
1. CSI - the original one
2. House
3. Studio 60 on Sunset Strip
4. Law & Order - the original one

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Dublin, Ireland
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
3. Spring Green, Wisconsin
4. Seattle, Washington

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Flat-Iron Steak
2. Texas Beef Brisket from Famous Dave's
3. Vegetable Samosas
4. Nearly anything deep fried, or with dark chocolate, or with apples, or .... you get the idea.

Four websites I visit daily:
4. My friends' blogs

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. England
2. In bed
3. Santa Fe
4. Wherever my friends are.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Random Name

Your Elf Name Is...

Dixie Tinsel Toes

Housework is a Pain

My sister Marcy came over again to help me clean house this weekend. Actually, what we're doing is taking a concentrated approach to certain areas that have been too long neglected. This past weekend I asked her to sort out and rearrange a corner display cupboard (something that was built into the dining room with the rest of the house), a place where I'd always placed pretty things I didn't use often but never really arranged so that the items inside were pleasing to view. Marcy, of course, did it magnificently. She washed all of the items, polished silver, and rearranged it all so that it looks beautiful.

I cleaned out the bottom of the china hutch Ed built, rearranged all of the items in the buffet he built, and redistributed items from an older buffet (it's sitting in the entry way of the house at the moment) to those items Ed built that are now in the kitchen/dining area. I also finished up work on the guest room closet. And that doesn't count having cleaned up all of the dishes (and got the dishwasher running again) and sweeping the floors prior to Marcy's arrival.

All of the Christmas gifts (I start shopping early) are stacked in one closet and are waiting to be wrapped. We separated out some boxes of Ed's stuff that are now moved downstairs to where his big desk is. I still need to straighten up the items remaining in the guest room so that it actually looks like a guest room instead of another storage facility.

It's exhausting work, the constant twisting, turning, moving, lifting up, bringing down, refolding, reshuffling, rethinking. Last weekend was all about throwing things away (we did a little this weekend, too, but not as much as last weekend). This weekend was about polishing and rearranging.

And there's still a lot to do. We haven't even gotten to the downstairs yet.

Good heavens, I ache still.

I did laundry yesterday in addition to taking a walk with my friend Richard at Zorinsky Lake (90 minutes). I also worked on some knitting, but it was more of pulling things apart than of putting them together.

Even if it doesn't all get done, I'm glad for what's being done. The knitting is a welcome respite from doing the housework. And Marcy is a great help in all of it. She is funny and resourceful and full of energy. I can appreciate that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

City of Dreams

I had a dream early this morning in which my husband and I were in London. We were on some sort of tour because we were with a group of people and being told where to be at what time, etc., so that we didn't miss out on the events planned. Ed had taken up with a kindred soul, so he and his friend were out on the streets and looking at any number of things. I remember passing them in a store that sold soaps and cleansers -- the posh kind where you pay $5 for a simple bar of soap. My friend Miriam was there. She and I went to a bakery and tried a few samples of things, then she disappeared to a lower level.

As I was walking around this ancient and modern city in my dreams, I was thinking that I had a few days left so I'd really like to just put in a call to my friends Roger and Caroline in Ivinghoe and spend the next few days with them.

Even away from home, I prefer the company of friends who greet you warmly as if you're family.

And then I woke up because my husband was snoring. Oh well.....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another No-brainer for Me

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Inertia - It's a Killer

If I stand still too long in one place I run the risk of growing roots and becoming a tree. Which wouldn't be so bad, really, when you think about how much trees give to us by merely being. (They neither sow nor spin, if you know what I mean.) They provide shade, a place for birds to nest, and oxygen for the all of us. When they pass from this present life, they can be carved up into wood for building, and the pulp can be used for making paper; what's left over can be turned into mulch to help other trees grow.

People, on the other hand, become worm food.

For some of them, it happens before they die.

I've got several projects going, and not just the ones on my knitting needles. One of the biggest projects is myself, and I can't seem to make a lot of headway on that one. I struggle with my attitude about dieting, and in the struggle is the inertia.

Well, I suppose the mental/emotional grappling could be called some sort of movement, but I seem to cover the same ground every time, and it feels like I'm standing still. When I've got the energy and/or will to move forward, something comes up that knocks me off the path. Somehow it seems unimportant to worry about food intake when my husband is depressed or the water heater is threatening to die or the cat litter needs to be changed or whatever else comes up.

I'm overwhelmed with responsibilities and commitments, yet getting rid of some of them is frightening because I'm afraid I'll become inert.

Or maybe I'll just be left with myself, and that's what's really scaring me.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tired Girl

It has been a crazy week -- busy, busy, busy, and then a few curve-balls were thrown. My sister Marcy came over today and helped me with some cleaning. She's utterly amazing at that stuff. Also, a work colleague came by and took possession of the sailboat Ed made many years ago. I'm so glad we finally have that thing out of the house!

But I'm pooped. In fact, I'm ready to go to bed again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I've done it now! I've signed up for the National Novel Writing Month for November 2006. I'm out of my mind, I know, but it must be done.

Now, as for what I'll write? Oh, I don't know. I think it should involve flying monkeys, though.

I think that was supposed to be "Sumo" ...

Your Japanese Name Is...

Sumi Yamada

I'm not speeding. I'm qualifying.

You Should Try Adventure Racing

Not only do you have the extreme attitude
You've the extreme endurance for an adventure race!

Monday, October 02, 2006

First Monday in October

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, Ed!

Happy birthday, also, to my wonderful new sister-in-law, Deb!

I won't reveal their ages, but I can reveal that both are young and vibrant! (OK, Deb is more vibrant than Ed, but he's working on it, OK?)

Thanks today to my sister Marcy who helped me to muck out the back room where the cats hang out. She even brought the haz-mat gloves and masks!

Cats around the globe are singing our praises.

Leaves are beginning to turn, although the trees are still mostly green. I saw a bit of red on the sugar maples on our street. It was cool yesterday morning for my weekly walk with Richard, but this morning was quite warm. It's going to be a wild ride, weather-wise, as usual. It's Autumn, lovely autumn, my favorite season for color!

50th Street, near Blondo, in Omaha
(29 Oct 2004)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

For the Record...

I'd posted this on a thread in the Lime & Violet bulletin board. It was deleted because, in their opinion, it was launching a personal attack. If you read all of the posts in that particular thread (the ones aimed at me especially), then you'll see that they didn't delete the posts that were a personal attack on me or my character.

For the Record: I am not now, nor have I ever been an employee of String of Purls.

For the Record: My posts were not at the behest of the String of Purls management; rather, they were my own views and motivated by a desire to challenge actions and perceptions.

For the Record: I did not create an account on the LnV BB for the purpose of "starting a fight" (as I was accused via email of doing). I did it for the purpose of challenging actions and perceptions.

For the Record: I have not been able to post anything further on that BB. I don't know why, but my account has been disabled. It has not been deleted, because that would have removed all of my posts, and Eliza said that she felt my point of view was "valuable." I have emailed Eliza to ask why my account has been disabled, but I haven't had a response yet; however, I can't get to that email account until Monday, so it's possible there is a response that I just haven't been able to get to.

10/02/2006 Update: I received an email from Eliza on Friday after I'd left the office. Poor thing has a severe injury which required serious medication, so all she could do was give a short reply. Here's wishing her a speedy recovery!

For the Record, here is my original post on that site:

I've read this [thread] from page one and it's distressing in so many ways.

First of all, if there was a problem with the people in the shop, why didn't you address the problem with those people? I mean, I can understand being upset and not being able to talk about it right away, but the fact of the matter is that problems don't get resolved until you deal directly with the people involved.

Second, I've shown up in that yarn shop in all manner of clothing (good and bad), no makeup, and my hair looking like its been through a blender. The only time I noticed slow service was when the people working in the shop were busy with other customers. In all the time I've been in that shop I've never seen anyone treated disrespectfully no matter how he/she was dressed, no matter how many children he/she brought along, and no matter how much or how little he/she purchased. From my own experience, I seriously doubt anyone had a problem with the mother being tattooed.

Third, I have worked in retail shops and I do a lot of shopping in all manner of stores. Here's a few things I've observed about parents and their children:

1. Nearly all parents believe their children aren't a bother.

2. Most parents have no clue what their children are doing, and worse ...

3. Most parents don't seem to care that their children are running around like the place is a playground, molesting the inventory, or screaming for attention.

Just because you didn't think the baby was a bother that night doesn't mean other people in the store (other paying customers, too) didn't have their teeth on edge. Just because you as a mother or a friend wrote it off as a little bit of fussing doesn't mean everyone else should take it that way.

And I'm saying this as someone who has been around a LOT of children and shopping in a lot of places. (Get yourself stuck on a five-hour airplane ride with just one fussy baby in a seat near you and then see how well your family values hold up.)

I understand that there are times when the parent must bring the child along. It's good for the children to get out and learn appropriate behavior for any number of environments. But the parent bears the responsibility for the child's behavior. More than likely the baby needed to be in a quiet environment in order to sleep, so being around a bunch of noisy knitters wasn't the best solution.

I hope the locals are willing to engage in a dialog with the owner to work out their conflict. It would be a shame if the Thursday night group disbanded over a huge misunderstanding of intentions and perceptions. Ideally, you all would get this resolved AND there would be a way for some of the local spinners to sell their items through that store. I can't think of a better partnership than for a good yarn shop to get together with the spinners in that area.