Friday, September 29, 2006

My kids and the knitting

John called this evening. He sounds good but says he is still not in school and was punished today for falling asleep on duty. Not good. He said he had to do a lot of "exercising" as punishment. I suspect he also got a write up. He said they were told they would start school in late October but still says they will get a break at Christmas time and will be able to come home for about 2 weeks.

Matthew is off at a football game tonight. He doesn't play. I don't even think he watches the game but uses these Friday evening home games as an opportunity to socialize.

Ken's working.

And I'm home watching TV and knitting. I'm finishing up version II of Matt's hat. I'm on the last few rounds of decreases and may actually get it done tonight.

I'm working on sock II of the BBS for soldiers.

I'm also still working on the little red socks. I don't think I will be picking them up tonight, however. I hope to get back to them after I finish Matt's hat. It will be a good mindless project to drag off to places.

I'm also doing a little spinning tonight so I have enough yarn to finish the crazy scarf.

I might, just might, get around to casting on for the lace project tonight.

The cold is much better but I'm still not well and must sleep propped up on a billion pillows and doze with a codeine nightcap. Took my last anti-biotic pill this morning. Hope to be all better by Monday.

Tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary. I suggested that we hit the Virginia State Fair tomorrow but Ken has informed me that he intends to sleep until afternoon and we will go out somewhere tomorrow evening.

Got the new KnitPicks catalog yesterday. There is some yummy stuff in there called Gloss for socks. NOT that I need any more sock yarn but this stuff just looks yummy. And I would hate to not buy some soon and find they discontinued the line later. It's not like yarn or fiber goes bad.

Speaking of which, I'm trying to figure out how I can get my hands on some nice warm yellow fiber, some red fiber and some green. I have teal, white and brown, black and brown, natural merino, solid brown, some pretty maroony stuff... but I just feel like I need a couple of more pounds that I can use in conjunction with something I already have to make a complete project. I probably have enough of brown and white to make a nice scarf. It's really soft and silky fiber. I want to use the maroon to make a pair of mittens or a hat.

In any case, I'm going to the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia at Montpelier on October 7th. Holy Cow that next Saturday! Cool! I'm planning on test driving some spindles there if they have some and I want to pick up some more fiber. Ken, no doubt, will have a hissy fit. I will try to remember to take my camera with me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In and Out

Woke up last night around 3:30 a.m. sucking for air. It was a little scary. I finally started to get some relief from the tightness by stepping outside. Then I came in and managed to wake Ken by demanding to know why he had not awakened me at 11:30 p.m. for my next dose of cough medicine. He said that because I appeared to be sleeping so soundly (albeit sitting up), he didn't want to wake me for it. So, feeling vindictive and miserable at that point, I took the cough medicine and proceeded to sit in bed next to him for the next hour coughing. He slept anyway.

So, since my misery was not getting much company, I came down stairs for an hour until the meds finally kicked in and I was able to go back upstairs, sit propped up on pillows and I slept from 5:30 until 8:00.

I called in sick to work.

My boss knows I don't do this. She said she is worried about me. Told me to go to the doctor.

Ken called the doctor for me and got me an appointment with Bonnie, the nurse practitioner.

Now, I don't like Bonnie and Bonnie doesn't like me. I've been to see her several times over many years. Since I am normally only a visitor to the doctor's office once a year or so and normally only when I have something acute going on (like a pneumonia or gangrene developing in my foot), I don't have time to wait a week to see the doctor. So I end up seeing Bonnie.

Normally I know what is going on with my own body and with the bodies of my children. With the doctor I can walk in with diagnosis ready and get him to confirm it and come home with the necessary prescriptions. If I really haven't a clue what the problem is I prefer my doctor's careful elimination of possible problems over Bonnie's stab in the dark approach.

For instance, when I was chomped on by a tiny seed tick about two and a half years ago; I became deathly ill. My entire body morphed into a swollen red hive covered, fever filled, joint twisted, confused and miserable creature. Bonnie did no blood work, had no explanation for the fever, swelling or confusion but said she thought I had reumetoid arthritis. She sent me home with an anti-inflammitory.

I came back three days later even sicker and waited four hours to see the doctor. He saw in my chart from my previous visit that I had a tick bite two weeks prior. He did a blood test and discovered that I had Lyme Disease and put me on a very high dose, long-term antibiotic and did weekly followups for a month.

When I went in because I could not bend my knee after falling on it, Bonnie declared I had bruised it and it would be better in a few days. It wasn't. I went back and the doctor sent me for x-rays and other tests. Turns out I had severe arthritis in the knee which required surgery to get the damaged inside of my knee cleaned up.

All in all, she has mis-diagnosed either me or my kids 10 times in 15 visits.

This time, even though she didn't bother to look in my nose or get a really good look in my throat, she had them do a finger prick and announced that I have sinutitis, prescribed Tussionex (a narcotic cough suppressant), and Azithromycin (a five day broad-based anti-biotic). I suspect that I have brochitus for I have no pain in my sinuses and am not having any problem with congestion in my head. The anti-biotic will help. The cough medicine will not for what I really need is a decongestant. So I will probably not use the cough medicine unless desperate for sleep.

In any case, I'm hoping Bonnie got it right this time. I have a program to run at work that requires me to be there three days this week (and three days out of nearly every week from now until January).

Matt's Hat

In any case, I wasn't at the doctor's office very long but I did get four rows completed on Matt's hat while waiting for blood tests and such.

Considering I screwed up his hat once already (we are giving that small version to Jacob for Yule), he's a little anxious that I will not successfully complete the project for him.

But I'm determined that this kid will have a hat made to his exacting specifictions (no curling, no wild colors, only one thin stripe of taupe colored yarn two inches from the bottom edge in an otherwise all-black cap, with very little edging other than an inch of K1 P1. No holes in the crown and a shaped top (regular decreases to make a kind of star pattern).

I actually like his design. It's actually pretty classic looking although he thinks its "punk". But even in the too-small hat, he looked good in it; so a properly fitted one will look quite sharp on him.

Perhaps he can drum up some hat orders for me. Certainly they are simple enough and doable in a week or less.

Lace and Such

I forced Ken to hold 880 yards of Knit Picks Bare Lace Weight 100% merino 2 ply yarn for me last night while I turned it into a ball. He's actually very good at doing the classic yarn-holding/skein holder job. He turns his arms like a small windmill to allow for smooth off take.

For such a grump about my fiber expenditures, he's been pretty helpful when it comes to doing things like this. I think more than anything he needs to see me doing SOMETHING with the stuff. I think he's afraid it will all end up in storage, unused.

In any case, I'm going to start the Kimono Shawl. The pattern is simple enough for me to manage and I really love the design. I found that I was not ready for the grass pattern I had picked out earlier for an altar cloth but I could do this one.

Who knows it may actually end up being a shawl for me. I'm thinking of using some of my homespun in the brick colors to make the altar cloth. Or I may use some fingerling weight from my stash (the stash that my mom gave me).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rosy Fingered Dawn Shawl Knitting Pattern and Kit

Rosy Fingered Dawn Shawl Knitting Pattern and Kit

This would make an awe inspiring altar clothe I think.

It would also make an awe inspiring elder's shawl...

Currently, it is above my skill level, but it is something to strive for.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Feed a cold

And I have a doozie. But no appetite. I feel like I've been living off a combination of Tylenol, cold tablets and Aleve for a week.

The herbal hot toddies seem to help, too. But I can't have those while I'm a work. Such a shame. It would make work seem much less stressful.

I knew it was going to be a miserable cold when it started because the first thing that happened last Tuesday morning was that I woke up from the pain of a sore throat. When the pain wakes you up, you know it's bad.

The next day the pain in my throat wasn't quite so bad but my nose kept running. Then the coughing started. Today I've had to deal with the tight chest and the sinus headaches to go along with the runny nose, the coughing and the sore throat.

But I think I've reach the peak of this thing. Certainly, over all I don't feel WORSE. And twice today the fever broke just by drinking my tea blend.

The tea blend, in case you are interested, is Astralagus, Golden Seal, Peppermint, and Colts Foot. To the empty cup (before I pour the tea from the pot) I add a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey and a half shot of whiskey. Then I pour in the tea and stir until the honey dissolves. I drink it as warm as I can stand it. Usually, about halfway through consumption of the tea (I sip it), I break out in a sweat and if I take my temperature at that moment I find that my fever has broken.

It sort of reminds of me of a hot flash without the internal heat... just the sweat. Nothing like soaking your clothes while sitting perfecty still. Then I'll get a little chilled.

But I feel better. And a hot shower helps break up the gunk in my sinuses.

I suspect it is the mold in the corn. The farmer who owns the property next to the prison started cutting his corn on Monday. On the drive home, I went through a cloud of dust being blown out of a combine cutting corn. I started coughing but I thought it had passed. Then I woke up in pain on Tuesday.

Table of Condiments

Table of Condiments

Oh dear, it appears my refrigerator will be the next toxic waste research site for the Center for Disease Control if I don't clean it out before all my company arrives for Samhain.

And despite what one dear friend believes, my frig is not really full of food. It's full of condiments. And most of those, according to this chart, are rotten.

County dump.... here I come!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Well, he's made some good points

I don't agree with him completely. But I do think he has some valid points and the US does, too often, become aggressive and assertive about lifestyles different from our own. We do not have the right or even the responsibility to spead capitalism everywhere.

Chavez launches Bush broadside at U.N. - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Changing the Criminal Mind

I've started the new program at work called Victim Impact. I had 31 inmates send me notes asking to participate. I split the pile in two and put 15 in one class and 16 in the other. One did not show up today and one opted not to participate. That leaves me 14 in class on Tuesdays. I'm curious to see if the 16 on Thursday show up and agree to the restrictions.

I do believe that confronting criminal thinking (errors in how they preceive the world) can make changes in how they behave. I think adding to that the impact of the personal in-your-face stories of the victims can make a positive change in how they think. They honestly want to believe they aren't really hurting anyone. And that the overall impact of their criminal behavior is minimal and normal.

The program is part of a grant study. Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and California are participanting. I've very excited about the material. I hope I can convey the same to the inmates. That only two today decided to opt out gives me hope.

Fruit flies and the pursuit of justice

Tonight my dear husband and I are fighting the good fight against an invasion of fruit flies. They have invaded yet again this year. But they are early. This time they invited themselves in via the peck or so of apples I plucked from our apple tree. Unfortunately, my best laid plans to reduce them to applesauce did not happen in a timely fashion and in the process of becoming overly ripe in a basket on my kitchen counter, put off the irresitable scent of cider.

Cider is apparently a fruit fly's favorite beverage and they came in droves. But they got tired of sucking on apple juice and started visiting other parts of the kitchen and house. There is nothing more annoying to me than sitting and knitting on a hat or sock while watching Law and Order on the tube and reaching over to take a sip of wine only to find two or there of the little buggers doing the breast stroke in my glass.

So tonight the overly ripe apples took a trip out the back door to visit the carnivorous hens and I made fruit fly traps.

I snipped a hole in the bottom of a coffee filter (the triangular type) and stuffed it into a small mason jar with about an inch of cider vinegar in the bottom. I secure the coffee filter with a rubber band (saved from a bunch of broccoli). We will change out the jars daily until the population is adequately reduced to something far less annoying.

Hopefully it will only take a couple of days. I made two jars and in the last five minutes both have almost pulled in 50 plus bugs. Later in the fall, when they cut the farm fields we will be battling grain moths and mice.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More crazy yarn pictures

I've pressed on with the crazy yarn scarf project this weekend. Didn't get another thing done other than to rip out my lace altar cloth twice. But now I know what I need and want to do with it and also know I CAN do what I want so I'm prepared this week to work on it further. I DID NOT finish the sock. I didn't even pick it up. I'm very, very bad. Perhaps tonight after work.

In any case, here are more pictures of the crazy yarn scarf. Knitted up, the colors are perhaps not so horrible... that may only be because they are each separated by the black and white stuff.

Here is the crazy yarn scaf posing with a large quartz crystal in the garden. It certainly doesn't need much more energy. Perhaps it is just trying to balance itself.

Here is an extreme closeup that shows the spots where I underspun and where I over spun.

I think it is interesting that the tighter the wool is spun the darker (more concentrated, perhaps) the color becomes. Makes sense when I think about it...

As I mentioned earlier the texture is very nice. The drape (while not completely consistent) is very nice.

I will actually have to spin more of this stuff to complete this project as a scarf, but since it really isn't looking too horrible, I might go ahead and do that.

I have decided that I like the green very much. I just really do not like it with the yellow/orange and red. It would have been best to save it for another project. Oh well, live and learn.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Wow what a difference!

What a difference the knitting makes!

I started knitting the crazy yarn into a scarf. I probably should make it into a hat, or mittens but I really just needed to see it knitted out. I'm using size 3 needles and they are making a nice fabric.

The yarn, being singles (if rather inconsistent singles) is really nice to work with. I've just gotten into the first bit of the red but it is amazing to me how the black and white portion has metamorphasaized into this wonderful grey mottled tweedy stuff. I am suddenly wishing I had not "wasted" any of it on this crazy yarn.

But I have about a half pound left, so I will plan to spin it up and use it exclusively for a hat or mittens. It's really nice.

Now that I know how to do the Navajo Ply, I may go so far as to ply it as I spin.

But I have to admit I am really liking the knitting with the singles. They are so soft. The resulting fabric is really nice to touch and has a very nice drape. I know it will pill. But perhaps in a hat...

Now, this is the beginning of an piece of lace for my altar. It's obviously in white and not green and while the needles are the same size recommended in the book, the yarn is lace weight rather than worsted. Still. I think this is going to come out very nice if I have, in fact, counted correctly. The lace "recipe" is from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary. The first one.

I'm getting ready to bind off the toe on my Big Black Sock for Soldiers.

Tomorrow I will cast on for sock #2 in this pair.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Candle spells

Well, I have been burning my green candle atop the folded job description for the position for which I applied last week. I got a notice in the mail yesterday that they have received my application.

The postcard notice is somehow a bit discouraging. But I hold out hope that someone might actually LOOK at the application and discover that even though I live in the middle of nowhere, in a county the State Government has apparently forgotten exists; that I may actually be qualified for something that pays a living wage.

Here's what the postcard says:

"Your application will be evaluated based on the qualifications required for this position. You will be contacted for an interview if you are among those whose background most closely matches these requirements. If you are not contacted for an interview, you are encouraged to apply for future advertised positions."

I guess my main concern is that I would like to be notified if I am NOT considered qualified as then I will know that a letter inviting me to an interview did not somehow get lost in the mail. You know, something either way with some kind of deadline or expected mailing date.

I still think I will be interviewed. I know I'm qualified. I think it will be a matter of HOW qualified I am compared with other folks who apply.

In any case, I'm also applying for another position. This one would involved a drive to Richmond (West side at that), but it pays very well.

Nominated for...

Your guess is as good as mine.

Matthew announced that his classmates have nominated him for something. He just doesn't know what.

"It could be president, or vice president or secretary," he said, "I'm not sure."

Ken asked him how he came to be nominated and we were advised:

"Well, they were doing something with nominations and everybody was kind of talking at once and I just sort of hollared out that someone should nominiate me; and they did."

Perhaps we will find out this evening what kind of politician this kid is going to be.

I see posters in our future.

SFS update

Well, I worked on the Socks for Soldier's sock for quite a while last night -- nearly an hour and as I'm working on the toe and the number of stitches is becoming less... it seems to be going a bit faster... I do anticipate having this sock finished by mid weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Socks for Soldiers Progress

Well, the progress is slow. But there is progress. I am down to the toe on the first sock. I am doing the decreases.

It does seem to be easier on two circulars.

I hope to finish this sock by Sunday.

Then I start on the second in the pair.

By January, they will be winging their way to the Socks for Soldiers headquarters with some toiletry items and a nice label and card. It will be very rewarding to get them off.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Victims and Friends

I'm really not fond of co-incidents like this.

I'm getting ready to teach a pilot program (federal grant study) on Victim Impact to inmates where I work. It's an excellent program and I'm very excited to be teaching it and very honored to have been selected to facilitate it.

Sadly, the material is just a bit closer to home than I would like. A dear friend had her purse stolen from her car earlier this week. She lost her driver's license, her ATM card and her cell phone ( and all the odds and ends in her pocketbook). She cancelled her ATM card and her cell phone and notified DMV that her license had been notified. She also (to her credit) used the system and contact the police department.

Her saga of going to apply for a new license, finding her birth certificate, the feelings of violation, the anger... it's all very upsetting and facinating and frustrating. I want very much to make it all better for her. And I can't.

So I proceed to set up this class with the hope that I will somehow get through to these men who commit these crimes.

I hold out hope.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11: are we really different?

Well, I'm a bit more paranoid about things since 9/11. It's hard to believe it's been 5 years. Yet I find myself with a mentality similar to what my grandparents experienced following The Great Depression. I have become a hoarder. I always have enough canned food on hand that my family can survive a couple of weeks on it. I also have enough food in the deep freezer that we could survive at least a month. I have pasta, rice and dried beans in the pantry.

Now, let it also be known that I have enough canning jars on hand (and a turkey fryer and pressure canner) that I could easily can 3/4s of what is in my freezer should we lose power.

I have learned to knit and spin since 9/11. I find it comforting and it helps sooth my stress levels, but i really started knitting to provide my family with clothing should the need arise. The spinning is a direct skill associated with the knitting. Unfortunately, I have not yet convinced my hubby that owning a sheep along with the dogs and chickens would be a good idea.

I also purchased a bicycle. I don't ride the thing, mind you -- although I should for exercise. But I have it and I could ride it if I needed to.

I was thinking the other day about how many rolls to toilet paper I should stock up just in case. The neighbors have a generator and I can get water from them if necessary. While it takes a pump to get water from the well to the house, there is a pressure valve at the well itself that will allow us to draw water if the electricity is off for an extended period of time.

I know how to make soap, candles and quilt. I also know how to butcher a deer. We do not own any firearms but a rifle is on my wish list. Also on my wish list is a propane stove/oven. I also plan to purchase fire bricks to make an oven should we be reduced to useing firewood for cooking.

I don't think we are even close to winning the "war" on terrorism. We are looking at events which will drag out over multiple generations and probably get worse before it gets better. I just feel like I need to be prepared for the worse.

Almost got there

Well, I got nearly everything completed that I felt like HAD to be done, except those darned curtains.

After two days of hauling stuff up and down stairs, stacking boxes and filling trashbags I am so stiff I can hardly move... but the worst of it is finished.

Now I have to get ready for company in October. Time for this house to get a major deep cleaning.

Yuck. Can I just hire a maid?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I knew I should have paid attention in Math class!

This is good information and hopefully will encourage me to knit my gauges like I should.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Honey Do List for ME!

Well, my honey is gone for the weekend and his biggest gripe with me lately is that in his opinion I "don't do anything." I think what actually happens most of the time is that I start something, he doesn't like the way it is going, and jumps in and takes over and thus believes that I do nothing and he does everything.

So, I'm thinking I will accomplish some things while he is gone that will be very noticiable when he gets back. Stuff he hasn't done.

Here's what I hope to do:
  • Remove some of the excess furniture from the small bedroom upstairs.
  • Put away the camping box currently sitting in my living room.
  • Carry all my roving and yarn (except current working projects) upstairs and put away in the closet in the small bedroom.
  • Make a run to the Good Will and get rid of the multiple bags of clothing no one here wears anymore
  • Go to Wal-Mart and buy Matt's school supplies and another bin for my roving
  • Price mattresses at two of the local furniture stores (we need to replace the mattresses on the twin beds)
  • Vaccuum our room and hang the curtains and remove the towels he currently has hung in there for darkness.
Fortunately, Matthew is home and can help me with the heavy stuff.

So here it is Saturday at 9:35 a.m. Do you think I can get even a small portion of that done before he gets home Sunday evening?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Off to the Races

Ken is off to the Richmond International Raceway this weekend to watch the NASCAR races with friends Jay and Bill and Paige.

I've applied for a new job.

And I'm thinking seriously of purchasing more wool. Not sure how to get it past old Eagle Eye... but I'll figure something out.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I camped with Ernesto

Yep, we are thinking of having tee-shirts made. I don't know too many folks who have actually camped through a tropical storm. Frankly, I think we made out better than folks who stayed home.

We had a few branches punch through our main tarp and one put a large divit in the hood of Ken's car but our tents stayed dry. Our main campsite was damp but not running with water (or under water) and we were even able to host High Tea on Friday afternoon including scones, devonshire cream and "bisquits" and a couple of pots of nice British tea.

When we arrived on Thursday it was drizzling, but we quickly set up the rest of camp and wrapped Erin's tent in two layers of tarp. In the end, she did not arrive until Saturday because the roads in and out of the campsite were underwater. But her tent was dry.

We attended a spinning workshop while there and I learned how to do Navaho plying on the spindle which is very cool. The only problem is that I nearly had a full spindle with singles when the fellow taught me how to do it. I'm going to break off the section that is plyed and finish the rest of this yarn and double ply it. But from here on out I will probably use the Navaho method.
We came home to find many branches down and a new leak in the roof. My scotch broom was torn up at the roots and we lost some mimosa trees. But the two remaining pecans survived and all the animals made it through alive.

Florence is now bearing down on us.

I need to get knitting.