Friday, November 30, 2007

I Did It! (And I'm feeling mighty smug!)

It is a gray, rainy day here on the island but I have the sun shining in my heart. Because today is November 30, 2007 and I DID IT!

Yeppers - thas' right - 30 posts in 30 days. National Blog Posting Month is over and I have met the goal. I don't even care if I get a prize, I just feel great that I actually accomplished it. (Eden, if you are reading this, please disregard the first part of that sentence, I want my prize!) I'm not particularly fond of any of the "I Did It" participant badges I've seen so far (the Pillsbury Doughboy? WTF??) but the one above wins hands down in the cuteness category. Later tonight, or maybe over the weekend I'll surf around to see if I can find one I like better to place in the sidebar, or maybe I'll get creative and make one. (But don't hold your breath - lately the creative urges have been less about Photoshop, and more about pointy sticks and wool.)

I actually woke up this morning feeling quite smug. Some of that may have been the result of getting the closest thing to a decent night's sleep in a while. But much more of it was probably due to having the foresight to haul the trash cans down to the sidewalk and park my vehicle a few blocks away on Thursday evening before dark. This stroke of brilliance meant that on Friday morning, instead of leaping out of bed before 8am to put out other people's trash (a lifelong ambition) and racing to move my vehicle to the opposite side of the street before the arrival of Tammy The Ticket Lady (who is just way too good at her job), I was able to lie comfortably in my warm bed, listen to the rain, and feel smug.

Just so we're clear, I am quite aware that an excess of smugness may very well be followed by some universe-delivered, gi-normous smack upside the head. And I'm ready. But if the universe could just wait a few weeks and let me wallow in this for a little while, I'd really be quite grateful.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hat Stalking and Other Musings

As wiped as I was yesterday from lack of sleep, you'd think that I'd pass out the minute my head hit the pillow, but such was not the case. I tossed and turned, until the cat snuggled down next to me finally popped her head up as if to say, "Wouldja quit flopping around? I'm sleepin' here!"

Lying there in the dark, I passed the time imagining more hats I'd like to try knitting. Some may be original, but I'm sure plenty are just adaptations of hats I've seen around. I've read other people's tales of following someone down the street in an effort to get a better look at the cables on their sweater, or even taking surreptitious photos of a sweater in a major chain store. (And sometime next week I've got to post about the V-Secret sweater versions that keep popping up in knitting catalogs and magazines.) I've yet to resort to stalking people in malls for their hats, but there are plenty of errr...."inspirations" available.

If you watched the last episode of Bones:

Emily Deschanel's character was wearing a great looking knitted cap. I'm not particularly fond of the color, but I did try long and hard to get a decent shot of the cables!

And when I saw this magazine ad for Coach:

I figured the point of the ad was to draw your attention to the bags, jewelry and belt. I thought the hat was just the stylist's touch, but when I went to the Coach site to see if I could get a better image, I found this:

Oddly enough, I liked it better in the print ad when I couldn't see the crown. I'd pictured it with just the pink, tan, and red stripes, and then continuing with white. So maybe that'll be my version. It's described as a cashmere/wool blend and costs $128. Freaking one hundred and twenty eight fracking dollars. For a knitted cap. Are ya with me here? I was planning to visit a yarn shop on the mainland this weekend after I take an exam. I think I'll take a copy of this picture with me and see what I can rustle up for a somewhat more reasonable price!

Then this afternoon I passed by a local business that had a display of hats next to the door. I suppose I should have tried to get one of those surreptitious photos, but the hats themselves really weren't worthy of the effort. For $15 you can get a very poor quality, machine made hat in your choice of several very unnattractive colors of scratchy, cheesy yarn. I'm not sure they're even worth $5.

So what's the point of all this? I don't really know. It seems to me that if there are just a few people out there willing to spend a great deal of money for a small, simple knitted item - well, that's great - you can take their money an move along. But if you can offer a decent quality product with a reasonable pricetag, such that large amounts of people can actually afford it - doesn't that make more sense?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Night Wimp Out Post #2

I did not sleep last night. There is no logical reason why, it just didn't happen for me. And that is why I can tell you that at 1:30am Pacific Standard Time there were just a little over 200 people online at Ravelry, and 63 of them were in the United States.

But the result of no sleep means that I now feel like death warmed over, crap on a cracker, shit on toast, something the cat dragged in and the dog dragged back out - you pick one, they all fit. So here I go with another Wednesday Night Wimp Out Post.

So I give you:

A cute little bonding moment from last year. I love it because the cat looks like she has a black nose, and actually it's just a smudge of some kind of dirt that just would not come off. Somehow she managed to stick her little pink & white nose into something that stained the fur, so we just waited for it to grow out and wear away over time. Eventually it did.

Now I have to feed her dinner and go to bed. Nighty night.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cables and other learning experiences

When I finished the last roll brim hat I said that while I was still loving the idea of knitting hats, I was just kinda sick of that pattern and needed a little break.

So I did this:

Actually, when placed in my traditionally prime photo location (the middle of my bed between two windows covered with old cheap sheers that filter sunlight perfectly) it doesn't really photograph well. So we'll step outside for a bit:

And this one didn't turn out quite as I expected, but you get the idea along with a different view:

I should mention that this was in fact, my first little venture into the vast world of cables. (Thank you, thank you - you're too kind). I learned quite a bit from this one small project, and I don't just mean how to work a simple cable cross, or a cable decrease.

As usual when working something up for the first time instead of drawing on my dwindling stash of better quality yarn, I used up some of the "charity yarn". This is not a derogatory term. The yarn was given to me, therefore - charity. And I use it up on projects like this and eventually donate the finished items to groups that actually prefer that the items not be wool. (Yes, they do exist.) For the second time - charity. Get it? Good.

Anyway, this particular yarn was not nice. And by not nice - I mean that it fought back. The label proudly declares it to be "100% Acrylic!" and I'd have to agree. I am far from being a yarn snob, I know acrylic has come a long way in the past few years, there are now man-made yarns that are almost indistiguishable from natural fibers. But this ain't one of those. This yarn is older acrylic, and most certainly did not mellow with age. Unlike my beloved Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, it did not slide smoothly across the bamboo needles, it had to be shoved and pulled with every few stitches. It even, well...kinda "squeaked" if you know what I mean. Just as I started, the center of the skein sort of collapsed and barfed out a messy tangle of yarn that had to be dealt with every few rows. Obviously I should have taken that as an omen that this yarn was going to be a troublemaker. (And really, what good can you say about a skein that can't hold its yarn?) But I soldiered on and I am glad that I did not let the crappy yarn get the best of me. And just 'cause it copped such an attitude (and because I am not keeping the hat) I think it's getting a pom-pom on it. So there! Take that!

This project also taught me another unique and special lesson, one that all knitters must learn eventually I suppose. The somewhat painful, and occasionally time-consuming, experience of finding an actual mistake in the pattern. Once a pattern is published in a book, the knitter should be able to trust that it is correct. But that is not so - we know better. This is where the errata section on the author or publisher's web site comes in. There is no guarantee that every single pattern was actually tested and worked up by an actual, real live knitter before the book was put to print. And that seems like such a basic simple part of the process doesn't it? Shoot - you could practically bribe knitters to do it for you with a few extra skeins of yarn and advance copies of the book. And yes, I am aware that as a recovering perfectionist I might be just a tad biased on this subject - but geez - wouldn't you want to be sure it was right before you put it out there on the shelves of bookstores across America, and more importantly, into the hands of knitters around the world?

I'm just sayin'.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pretty...and not

This is pretty:

This is not:

This is pretty:

This is not:

Enough said. Point made.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer. You are through those knitting growing pains and feeling more adventurous. You can follow a standard pattern if it's not too complicated and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've started to experiment with different fibers and you might be eyeing a book with a cool technique you've never tried. Perhaps you prefer to stick to other people's patterns but you are trying to challenge yourself more. Regardless of your preference, you are continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as well you should since your non-knitting friends are probably dropping some serious hints these days.
Take this quiz!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seeing Red

You know, for the title of this post I had thought of venting about one of our local businesses, and something they did that really annoyed me.

But instead I give you:

This incredibly nice thank-you card I received from the OFA for my participation in the Red Scarf Project. That just surprised the heck out of me. I mean, yes, I know the main piece is a rack card, the former Marketing/Graphics me recognizes that. But the little handwritten note on the envelope actually references what I specifically sent, and that makes all the difference. Wow.

And also this:

A package of yarn from Stella. The colors are totally me and just marvelous, you really can't do it justice with a picture, and besides - you know you have to be able to pet it and fondle it to appreciate it properly! This is going to have to snuggle down and get comfy in my stash until my sock knitting skills reach the level to do right by it. Thanks so much! (And way to class up my Ravelry stash!)

And finally:

Today's Saturday Sky - with a parasailer included!

Friday, November 23, 2007

From NaBloPoMo to MyExHeMo

In the next week I plan to:
  • Memorize a big stack of questions and answers about 19th century European Art History
  • Complete chapter 16 of Research Methods in Psychology
  • Complete unit 11 in Statistics

If all of these take place (and I have no reason to think they won't), in one week's time I will end NaBloPoMo and begin MyExHeMo. Known by it's full name - My Exam Hell Month. I'll be happy to share more exciting details as they occur. Should be just one big whoopee fun time!

In knitting news, the other night I added more to the stash in my Ravelry notebook. And before you go look at the new additions, I wish to explain that I did NOT purchase this yarn, it was given to me in a big bag of mixed yarn from someone who was moving. (And it took a lot of guts for me to put it out there.) I've listed it under "will trade/sell" and I REALLY mean that. Like as in I trade you all four jumbo skeins of this for one skein of superwash wool? So that said, I should probably save you the trouble of checking Ravelry:

Okay? 'Nuff said. Let's move along.

I finished yet another hat.

(Wow, deja vu moment - have I said that before?) If this is getting a little tedious to you - imagine what it feels like on my end. I love my hats, I love my hat pattern. But I'll be damned if I can face knitting another one of these without some kind of break or variation. I thought of doing a quick pair of wristies - and I could use them - but I can't get my hands on any decent yarn locally. I still have a couple skeins of the beloved Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride I purchased at the Slipt Stitch, and I really want to them to be hats, but it is so definitely time for a change. I've joined a hat lover's ravelry group and I'm cruising patterns for inspiration. More hat updates soon. ('Cause I just know you are waiting with bated breath!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Magic Scarf grows up

What was just a baby on October 17th:

Has now become a full adult, ready to go forth and impress the world with it's loveliness:

And be modeled by headless women:

Yesterday I finished Crazy Aunt Purl's Magic Scarf and I absolutely love it. I would definitely use this pattern again, and I can easily see how adaptable it is. I showed the work in progress to someone recently and we discussed how the stitch pattern and some bulky pastel yarn could be perfect for whipping up a fast baby blanket. (A useful thing when you live in this town, where the kids almost seem to outnumber the adults, and baby showers happen with amazing frequency. You really want to consider that before you drink the water or sit on the toilet seats. I'm just sayin'.)

One last close-up of the magic:

(Don'tcha wish your scarf was magic like mine? I know you do!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In regione caecorum rex est luscus

Over a year ago, I resigned from a job to take a new one. A short while later I was contacted by someone I knew casually who was interested in obtaining my old job, and offered to take me to dinner as payment for "picking my brains" about the job requirements and necessary skills. I was happy to do so, and actually thought it was quite brilliant and enterprising of her, because while others may have wanted the job, no one else contacted me. In the course of our conversation, we discovered that she would definitely need to improve her computer skills - mostly just word processing and basic spreadsheets. So she set out to do so, getting books and working her way through them on a laptop at home, and then once or twice I met with her to answer her questions, teach her a few shortcuts, and provide whatever help I could. It struck me at the time, how unusual it felt for someone to be turning to me for knowledge, or looking for my expertise on a subject.

After all, who the heck am I? I'm not a computer wizard or anything, never learned any programming, just years of bouncing from one office to another, adapting to a variety of environments, and teaching myself whatever software was available and required to get the job done. You use all Office products? I'm good with that. You only use WordPerfect and Lotus? Okay, I can handle that. You use Quickbooks? Sure. You use what? "New Views"? Okay what the hell ever - I'll roll with it.

But helping her was oddly satisfying, and not from an ego standpoint. Just the idea that I could pass on something I knew to someone else, and that it helped them in some way. (Oh, and by the way - she got the job!)

Flash forward to yesterday, and I am standing in what passes for my LYS. The current owner of the shop purchased it almost a year ago, and as a non-knitter and non-crafter-of-any-kind has certain limitations in her abilities to help customers. (I have to give her points for trying - as she is finally taking a knitting class now and seems to be picking it up quickly and apparently wants to learn.) I happened to walk in the door as someone was asking her a question and her eyes lit on me. "Oh, let's ask Kath - she'll probably know!" In just a moment I am explaining a rib stitch, and demonstrating the difference between 1x1, 2x2, and 3x1 ribbing, etc. Not that I mind - I like talking about knitting and there's precious little opportunity for that outside of my own family. But the idea that someone turns to me for knitting help? Me? With my extensive experience (3 years) in this area? Compared to someone like my mother - with 40+ years of knitting? I suppose it's all relative. (No pun intended!)

Then later in the day I logged into my Ravelry account and found a nice note from Logan, who was having difficulty with adding the ring code, etc. to her blog for Knitting Bloggers. And what she was trying to do was the exact same thing I was when I first started this blog. Which was all of - oh two months ago? The difference between me and Logan is that instead of struggling on alone as I did (with my admittedly genetic predisposition against asking for assistance with anything) she had the guts to just ask someone for help! I'm impressed - and just a tad bit humbled. So along with the notes I already sent her in a Ravelry message, here is the last piece:

img alt="Knitting Bloggers" width="95" src="INSERT IMAGE URL HERE" height="32"/>

(Find the section of the ring code that looks like the blue text above, then where the red text is, past the url to the image.)

I really hope I did help her, and that I didn't actually make things any worse! But if you stuck with this extremely long post to the end, why not just take one more minute to visit Logan and say hello!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Go Grammieknits! 300 posts!

Wow, Jane is having a contest to celebrate her 300th post! (Thanks to Noricum for the heads up.) And all she wants me to do to enter her contest is to tell her one weird thing about me. Only one? My nearest and dearest are just falling over laughing now, I'm sure.

Or perhaps not, because after all, YOU may think you are weird, but you're MY kind of weird. And if there's enough of us, then we're normal, right?

So what did I tell her? Go see for yourself!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Attack of the "List Moms"

Okay, I didn't post about this when it happened because I was a little irritated (no, scratch that, I was really pissed off) and I didn't want my blog to be a place of endless yammering about petty little annoyances that really don't mean much in the grand scheme of life and the world in general. But something happened today that brought it back to mind, and actually hammered it in a little deeper. So here it goes.

Quite a while back I started subscribing to a yahoo group dedicated to knitting information. Instead of individual emails, I get it in digest form, usually just once a day. I spent a fair amount of time lurking, and then gradually, once in a while, would post a reply to someone's query for info when I had something to contribute. But I had never sent a new post to the list. This went on for many many moons.

Then one day the heavens opened, trumpets sounded (or perhaps it was a Boston Terrier barking?), and a chorus of angels (looking suspiciously like Jess) descended to inform me that I was being invited to join Ravelry. I was incredibly excited and after I realized that all my photos needed to be in Flickr (not any photo host, only Flickr) and how time consuming that would be to set up, I thought it would be a good idea to share that info with others who were still on the waiting list, 'cause wow - I wished I'd known. So to be a helpful little member of the knitting community I sent the following note to the list for posting:

I just recieved my Ravelry invite and signed up this week. (Yippeee!) What I had not realized is that in order to put my photos up they had to be up on Flickr first! Which is fine, I should probably do that anyway, but I thought I'd share this in case anyone else was unaware of it. So if you are still waiting, it's definitely worth your while to linearize your waterfowl and get all your knitting images set up on Flickr now.

What I received in return was:


While this post is tangentially about knitting, as it relates to Ravelry, we ask that all posts be 80% knitting content and the rest can be about other things. Please post about knitting, then about photos on Ravelry.

Mary XXX, co-listmom with Mary XXXXX, Patty XXXXX, Ruth XXXXXXX and Carol XXXXX

Okay, "tangentially"about knitting? 'Scuse me, did someone get the expand-your-vocabulary-toilet-paper for their birthday? Or a book on How To Use Big Words To Sound Snotty Without Hardly Trying? Yes, I know that's a childish reaction, but seriously, I have a fairly broad vocabulary and am quite capable of sounding intelligent, educated, and very well-read when it is appropriate. Emphasis on appropriate, because I don't think an emailed rejection is the place for it. Others may disagree, let 'em.

However, in the last two days the list digests have contained a total of ten (TEN!) postings from Ravelry newbies discussing their favorite features of the site. Not a specific pattern, or a specific yarn, just the features of the site. And that was the only subject of those postings, no other "knitting content" was included.

So - do I try commenting to the list (politely) and see if the "list moms" censor me? Or do I let this post be my vent and walk away? I can't decide.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ravelry Ramblings

I spent some time on Ravelry today, adding in projects and stash. I still have a ways to go, but once I started diving into my stash it was both better and worse than I expected.

Better - in that I don't actually have as much as I thought. In my efforts to keep my finished objects safe from the cat's claws, I had stored some of my early efforts (a poncho, some long skinny scarves, and few other odds and ends) in the same place as the yarn, and taking up valuable real estate in the storage container under my bed.

Worse - in that I am forced to face, in the cold light of day, the fiber follies of my early knitting days. And I may be stretching the use of the word "fiber". I present a prime example:

(polyamide something or other in yellow, pink, and orange variegated with little tufts - yipes!)

When I first learned to knit, I loved all those nifty novelty yarns with their wild color combinations, odd bits of fluff, and strange textures. They made it so easy for me to knit up things that looked fabulous, and as if I had done something really impressive. When it was really the yarn that was doing all the work. But I suppose they had their place, because I think it was partially due to the positive reactions I received from those early projects, that I kept going. And found my way to the bliss of alpaca, mohair, merino, and other marvelous natural fibers.

I also joined a few groups on Ravelry. The groups for Zeepo's knitting book, for lovers of Lion Brand yarn, one for Southern California knitters, and one specifically for Stitches West, which I plan on attending in February. That group was very new, and I noticed that they didn't have a banner at the top of the group page, or a button like all the others do. So just for fun I "borrowed" some graphics from the Stitches West site and made a banner:

And a buttton:

And I quite like them. But I may have made a major faux pas in posting a note to the group board about it, instead of just sending a message privately to the group admin/moderator. I did say in the post that I didn't want to step on any toes - so all I can do now is hope for the best I suppose.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday night PLAY time

It is November and we are easily entertained. But it truly is a fun local event, something that is really a community-centered event, not one that the tourists would be interested in, and I think that's part of why I look forward to it. 'Cause after all those spring and summer months, followed by the Jazztrax weekends, this one just us. While I did think to get a picture of the auction in progress:

I was having so much fun that I didn't think of taking a picture of all the great live and silent auction prizes laid out on the tables before the auction started. And I really regret that because there were some really nice items. Aside from an absolutely lovely hand-knit pink baby blanket (ahem), there was a big hand-made wooden blanket chest, framed prints by local photographers, jewelry, and much more. My absolute favorite was a gorgeous purple and gold felted tote, and I really wish I had a shot of that to show. It was a dark purple at the bottom, shading up to more medium, then lighter, and then the gold color started and continued to the top edge. I think the strap was a mix of colors also. I know it doesn't sound like a good color combo - you'll just have to take my word for it.

And the food was good this year, the best it's been in quite awhile. Usually there is a basic salad, some kind of bread, and then a hot main dish. This year the main dish was a yummy lasagna and there were two kinds - one with meat and one without - which made my vegetarian friend quite happy. But the food is really just to get people there right when it starts at 5pm, and to provide some solid food as a base to soak up the alcohol. (What? I didn't mention the no-host cash bar at this event? Well, geez...this is Avalon, of course there's a bar. What are you new here?) The company is great, auction is entertaining, the food is good, but in the end, it's all about this:

The dessert table. (burp).

Oh, and before I sign off, today's Saturday Sky:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Touched by his noodly appendage

So I stagger in from my first social evening out in who the hell knows how long and suddenly realize, "oh crap - I have to blog". This is of course followed by some high quality unladylike language, directed primarily at myself - for having the colossal stupidity to commit myself (commit as in "to an asylum for the gently disturbed") to this NaBloPoMo thing. What was I thinking?

But then, immediately after I signed on to the computer, I could see that a higher power was at work. I am but an instrument of the Noodly Master, and it is my privilege, nay - my honor to share this with you.

According to this article on MSNBC, the American Academy of Religion will be holding their annual meeting this weekend in San Diego. And for the first time - Pasta is on the agenda - not the menu!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

UFO in hibernation

In my apparently never ending task of updating all my projects, stash, etc. into my Ravelry notebook I dug out something that doesn't get to see the light of day too often. In fact, it can honestly be said that this particular project spends more time in hibernation than any member of Ursidae Family.

At a ripe age of 2 years, this is actually my oldest UFO. I originally found the pattern in the 2005 issue of Knit It magazine. It's listed as a men's scarf pattern and as I recall, when I first purchased the yarn and cast on I had some strange idea that I was going to complete this and give it to a man I knew as a Christmas present. (Yes, I liked this man, and yes, I am fully aware of the kiss-of-death element in the gifting of knitted goods to those we have a more-than-friendly interest in - let's discuss that some other time.) Here's the magazine picture that first caught my attention:

(Yes I know he's orange and has a bizarrely freaky smile - focus on the scarf. FOCUS!) The scarf is made from lovely soft alpaca, a joy to knit with. And the cream and greys are the perfect, manly-man, go-with-anything neutral. However, other than a brief middle section of ribbing that runs behind the neck and shoulders, the entire scarf is seed stitch. Two years ago I was a less experienced knitter. I had the necessary skill set, but I truly had no idea that I did not have the fortitude to slog through miles and miles and miles of grey seed stitch. I know myself better now.

I remember in one of the early Cast On episodes, Brenda Dayne referred to a particular item as her knitting penitence - in that it was only what worked on when she had perhaps been a particularly bad knitter. I'm a little unclear on what constitutes "being a bad knitter". Does that mean that you have been selfishly knitting only for yourself, and not for your loved ones or any charitable endeavors? Does it mean that you have been repeatedly, blindly creating scary, fugly bits of knitwear? Does it mean that your LYS keeps your credit card info on file and your cell phone number on speed dial? Or does it mean that you knit in every free moment, ignoring such trivial matters as work, housecleaning, and sleep? (Oh crap! Is that really a bad thing?)

Whether it's for penitence, or from the desperation that arises when no other projects are within reach, this UFO does occasionally come out to get a little fresh air, and a few more rows. It's a bit more than halfway to being finished. But whenever it is finally done - the idea that I would pass on the work of so many months to that man of two years ago? Or any man? Ludicrous. Not happening.

As I said before, I know myself better now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday Night Wimp-Out Post #1

I finally sent my hat pattern in for Zeepo's book project, Knitting for War. I am just incredibly glad to get that off my list - the guilt was weighing on me. But other than that I have very little to comment on today, so I'm going to take a hint from the Sheep's Wednesday Night Bullet Post and launch the first official...

Wednesday Night Wimp-Out Post

In which I open with a cute cat photo:

And exit quietly, stage left.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just a little knit bit

This is going to be yet another short post because I'm trying to spend a little time each day adding to my Ravelry notebook. The people who say it can suck up your life aren't kidding, and those are probably the ones that already have all their projects, stash, etc., already entered. I'm just barely scratching the surface now.

I noticed this blog is getting a bit more traffic and from my site stats it looks like it's coming from the knitting blogs ring. So if that's what brought you here - thanks! And for you, the latest finished object:

Another hat completed and with it, the final tweaks to the pattern. And as soon as that came off the needles:

Another hat was born.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ummm..anywhere else?

Today I left my friend's office and this just happened to catch my eye:

I don't really have anything to say about it - I leave you to draw your own conclusions!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just one click away from the funny farm

I spent my Saturday night pretty much as you'd expect for a hot, single gal like me - in my plaid jammies on the couch with my Macbook. (Hello HGTV - can't miss that Design Time Saturday night lineup.) Anyway, I spiffed up the blog a bit, adding some buttons and rearranging a few minor things. Even figured out how to add a little text when you rollover the buttons - try it out and let me know what you think. In the process I also learned what NOT to do in Blogger.

When you are setting up an HTML/Javascript widget (such as a button) and you are in the window where you add the actual code, do not, I say DO NOT, click the tab for "Rich Text". If you are foolish enough to wander away from the safety of your familiar html code window for the potentially greener pastures of "Rich Text" you will pay dearly. I know, I know, you might be curious. And what did curiosity kill? Mmhmm - that's what I'm talkin' about. Let me just nip your little flower of curiosity in the bud.

If you click that tab - Madness will ensue and a torrent of unladylike language will spew from your lips. Large quantitites of fortifying alcoholic beverages will be immediately required to medicate this condition.

Yep, that's right. One click will fuck up your code in strange and mysterious ways.

You have been warned.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Only 67% addicted and feelin' fine

For today's Saturday Sky may I present:

Lovely fluffy clouds hanging out over the backside of the island, only visible from Front Street in a few locations.

And while I am not willing to admit that this NaBloPoMo thing is kicking my ass yet, I am willing to occasionally wimp out on any serious post content in favor of a pretty picture (see above) and a fun little widget. Try it out for yourself!

67%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Friday, November 9, 2007

6 Months

Six months ago someone I love chose to take his own life. In six months I have learned a great deal. While suicide is often referred to as a permanent solution to a temporary problem, I have come to understand that he was incapable of seeing the problem as temporary, and that he truly thought he was doing the right thing, not just for himself, but for everyone.

This is what else I've learned in the past six months:

  • Over 30,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
  • Currently, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.

Those are just some of the stats. What they don't tell you is that the loss of a loved one to suicide is very different than any other loss. I can't explain how or why, it just is. If you've experienced it, you know, and if you have not, I pray you never do. What I have also learned is that each person's grief is different, and as individual as their loss. We deal with it in our own way and on our own time - it just takes whatever it takes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007, is National Survivors of Suicide Day. Created by U.S. Senate resolution and always held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, National Survivors of Suicide Day is part of a growing movement towards educating the public about suicide and its aftermath. For more information, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The grey sleepy day

Oh I just have to laugh at myself sometimes. Yesterday I post about imperfection and in the very first sentence I misspelled a word. Did you see it? If not, don't bother scrolling down to look for it - I corrected it about an hour after I posted. But some people may have already seen it, and for those people - - - I meant to do that, really I did!

It was a very grey sleepy day today. It took major effort to get it together and get out to run a few errands, especially when everyone around me was snoozing. Don't believe me? I present Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


See what I mean? If even the damn cats won't get out of bed, what am I supposed to do?

Listen to podcasts and knit apparently. I started another hat:

The grey day made it difficult to get a decent shot of the color, it's "Victorian Pink", in the as always - Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. Eventually I will be done with this hat obsession, there really are other things I want to knit, but it'll be a while so why not get used to it, and get hat happy with me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Importance of Imperfection

It's much harder to find blog fodder when you don't leave the house all day, at some point later this month I'm sure I'll be reduced to conning the cats into doing something cute.

But if I'm not leaving the house, the odds are good that I am getting some schoolwork done. I submitted my last assignment for Art History and got the "A" that I was expecting. (See progress bar for that at 95%!) So tomorrow I'll be making some flashcards out of all the assignments and quizzes. Then I'll spend the next couple weeks memorizing them and take the final exam - hopefully just before Thanksgiving.

And in a day of not leaving the house, knitting also gets done. I finished the blue hat:

Awwww...itdn' it cute? Doncha just wanna take it home and cuddle it? Yeah, whatever - ixnay on the illinesssay - I got the message. But seriously, as much as I like this hat, and it's predecessor, I really wish I had done about an inch more stockinette after the rib, and before decreasing for the crown. Right now it sort of sits on top of my head, very bowler-ish, which is fine but I think that extra inch might give me a better fit. And of course, the joy of knitting for perfectionists is that if something is not exactly right, you can just pull it apart, rip back to where it went wrong, and re-do it. So I could do that, and it really wouldn't be much to fix. But I'm finding myself reluctant to do so.

Oddly enough, when I think about it, I'd almost rather just knit another one from scratch. Call me crazy if you want (I do mean that, crazy and me are old friends, it won't hurt us to get re-acquainted from time to time) but I like knitting these hats up, they work up fairly quickly, until they hit the dpns in the final stretch they are quite portable, and thankfully - there is no sudden world shortage of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. (You'd tell me if heard a nasty rumor like that? Right? You wouldn't just buy it all up and hog it in your own stash, would you?) So really, why not just knit another one, and if it fits better, give this one away to someone else with a small head?

The other thing that ocurred to me is that, well...I'm actually a Perfectionist in Recovery. (Hi, my name is Kath and I'm a Perfectionist.) I've long since admitted to having a problem, being powerless, and spent quality time 12-steppin' my way to where I am now. Do I really want to risk a slip? It's hard to give up trying to be perfect all the time and it's even harder sometimes for people around you to accept. I tell people, "I used to be Perfect, and now I just settle for Damn Good." And learning to let go of something, and just let it be imperfect, is a big part of the process.

So this little blue hat isn't perfect. Maybe it's just fine as it is. Maybe it's a good hat, but it's just meant for someone else? Maybe it's better to just accept imperfections, and instead of seeing them as flaws, just look at them as the special qualities that make up a unique individual.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Three Good Things

I was working on a little home repair project today and it wasn't going as I expected so I was in a bit of a funk. I headed down to the hardware store for advice and supplies and as I walked past a row of display windows, one caught my eye:

Something about a little flash of pale pink in the corner seemed oddly familiar:

1) Yup! The baby blanket I knitted for the annual pre-school auction was included in the display advertising the event. And whoever put together the window was even thoughtful enough to drape the blanket so the little tag with my name on it was showing. How sweet!

2) I got an email from Stella, telling me that her random number generator had selected me as the winner of some yummy looking yarn. It's going to be a challenge deciding what to make with it, but I'm certainly not going to let it disappear into the depths of the stash. This will have to go to something good.

3) A friend called me this evening and asked me to dinner. Instead of nuking something out the freezer and fending off the cat while I ate it, I had a decent glass of wine, tasty food, and good company. Dinner was followed by a brrrrrisk walk, so I'll be ready to turn in early tonight.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bird Buffet

This lovely harvest-themed display brought to you by one of our local business owners:

Very nice hay bale, punkins, assorted colorful squash and ears of corn. (Corn! Did you say corn?!?) While I appreciate the efforts of our local merchants to provide attractive seasonal decor, perhaps some thought might have gone towards creating something that would not attract the flying rats we call pigeons? Such as, oh I don't know, not including bird food? (A.K.A. corn) There were a few of these displays scattered around a small marketplace area, and from what I could see, all but one was just covered in fat, hungry pigeons, going to town on the sudden buffet.

The one that the dratted birds were ignoring? Welllll.....not too long ago two people were taking a dog for a walk one night. And, you know.....perhaps these two people were so busy talking, that maybe, just maybe, they weren't giving the dog their complete undivided attention. So, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that the aforementioned dog might have done something unfortunate in (or perhaps to?) an unfortunate place.

Which now might be considered a public service.
Who knew?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Between midnight and dawn

Phone calls between midnight and dawn are bad. This is a generally accepted premise. Whether the call is an over-liquored ex with an axe to grind, or the local P.D. with an update on the whereabouts of your child, or any one of a dozen or more possible scenarios, usually nothing good comes from a phone call at that time.

So the other night (morning?) when I woke to a ringing phone, I came completely awake. Wide awake and peering at the clock on the night table to see the time is 4:10am. The answering machine clicked on and I lay in bed, dread mounting as it cycled through my outgoing message and finally, an unfamiliar male voice spoke,

"Hi, just wanted to let you know that I love you, goodbye."

I lay awake for a while afterwards - wondering about the sequence of events that led to a most unusual misdial. The likelihood of someone scrambling a phone number so badly as to call into the wrong time zone. Or the possibility that someone in my immediate area was supposed to get that message at such an odd hour, and what reception if would get.

I woke up the next morning and any possibility of it being a dream was washed away by the evidence on my answering machine. As a matter of fact, it's still there now. But before anyone else called me on that line, I did have the presence of mind to try the *69 feature, the one that's supposed to ring back whoever called you last. Because - I thought this person needed to know that their sentiments had gone astray. But it wouldn't go through. Why? A blocked number? A payphone? I don't know.

But what I do know is that someone, somewhere out there, loves you. And last night he called to tell you so.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The sky's the limit

I don't know what's up with me and the sudden "joining" impulses, I don't think I'm usually such a joiner but last week I signed up for:

It seemed like a fun thing to do, and we really do have some spectacular skies sometimes, I thought it would be fun to share them with people who live in other parts of the world, and probably have very different looking skies on the same day. So this morning I got up remembering that I needed to get a good sky photo.

Unfortunately, while very pleasant temperature-wise, today was one of those hazy days where the sky is really nothing to write home about, nothing special, and certainly nowhere near the spectacular display of fluffy cottonball clouds we had a week ago, when I was motivated to jump on this particular bandwagon. It's actually so hazy that not only can you not see the mainland at all, but at certain points in the day you couldn't even see the horizon. Big whoop-di-doo for my first official Saturday Sky pic, right?

But then it ocurred to me, that what I take for granted, might actually be interesting to someone else. That if you don't live in a place where you can see the ocean meet the sky, it might never occur to you that they could completely blend until there was no line between. So here it is:

And truly, there is ocean on the bottom edge of that photo. I went back outside later in the day and took a different shot. In this one you can see the shading in the water.

Lest you think I joined the Saturday Sky ring just to improve my chances of making it through NaBloPoMo (will somebody puh-leeze tell me how to pronounce that so it doesn't sound dirty?), I will swear on the FSM's noodly appendage that I signed up for the ring last weekend. And I just heard of NaBloPoMo on November 1st in David's post on the Sweater Project.

But here's a piece of that fabulous inspirational sky from last weekend, and a funky plant my friend showed me the night before:

Now that's worth sharing!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Knitting news and nattering

In knitting news, I've started another hat:

I'm using the same pattern as the yellow hat(which I happen to be wearing right now - very fetching with my striped jammies) but I think before I start the ribbing I might try decreasing by a few more stitches than last time, just to make it a little more snug on my pointy little head.

It looks like my pattern for this hat might be going into a book someone is putting together right now. Which means that I have to come up with a name for it, something a tad more interesting than The-Perfect-Roll-Brim-Hat-To-Fit-My-Pointy-Little-Head. I've got one in mind that'll do, but it ain't fabulous so I'm open to suggestions. Anyone???

I also have to come up with some sort of little bio and intro/funny anecdote for this pattern and that has me really perplexed. I think if I just sit down and focus I can come up with the bio, but the rest? I'm stumped. Open to suggestions on that too!

The scarf I started to match the yellow hat is coming along nicely - I work on it periodically when it just happens to be closer to hand, or when the hat of the moment has transitioned to dpn's, because I'm still not adept at those to stuff them in my back pack and take 'em to go. And I am not foolish enough to leave the house without knitting.

I was reading the Yarn Harlot's post today and when someone asked how she was able to get so much knitting done she mentioned that she knits while she walks. Which is an interesting idea - and I'm wondering how many other people do that? And how? It just seems a tad tricky to me. I have knit while standing in line at the bank - but you couldn't really compare that to walking, as there really wasn't any forward movement. (I do mean that.) I've been thinking about how to get more knitting done, but I'm not sure that's the answer for me.

I have no issues whatsoever about knitting in public - anytime, anywhere. I have noticed that people with me occasionally have issues. I had one friend who started to flip out the first time I turned up to meet her at a local bar and had my knitting with me (she recognized the bag I often use). She said, "you can't knit in a BAR!" To which I calmly replied, "why not?" I also pointed out that knitting has the ability to both entertain and calm me (although not always at the same time) and that as a smoker she periodically had to step outside to indulge in the habit that calms her, leaving me to entertain myself! She eventually got over it, got used to it, and even the bartender would occasionally check to see what I was working on. (Side note here: this all took place during the ever so memorable Knitting Olympics and nuthin' stopped me from knitting in those weeks. And yes, I took a gold medal.)

Last summer I was listening to a band on the outside patio of a local restaurant with a group of friends. I was not knitting, (only because I was trying to eat nachos), but a friend saw the knitting in my open backpack and commented err...rather negatively. Like that she was afraid I was about to take it out of my backpack where people would see it. It actually made me wonder if perhaps she would be embarassed? Now this same friend has sat with me on the boat coming back to the island and of course I knit pretty much non-stop from the time we push back until we dock in Avalon. She didn't seem to have any "issues" then so now I have to ask? Is it a matter of location?

I mean, to a knitter the places and times that could not be improved by knitting are few and far between. But for a non-knitter? Does it seem somehow - inappropriate? rude? embarassing? What is it, I really want to know.

As for the friend from last summer - obviously she requires a little education so I will be (ahem) "whipping it out" in her presence at every available opportunity. We'll see if that makes a difference or not.

As for my goal of getting more knitting done - I think ending this post here and logging off the computer would be a good start!