10 Years…in a row!

Wedding_day October 11, 1998 Tom and I were married in our back yard in Seguin, Texas, by the local Justice of the Peace.  Surrounded by our friends and family, it wasn't a flashy affair, but it was a lovely day and we were happy to share it with those we love.  I'd do it all again. 

Retail Therapy – Okay, Wish Therapy

What better way to survive the crashing stock market and the complete abdication of responsibility of our biggest financial institutions than to indulge in a little retail therapy?  Well, 2 days before payday, I can't spend a dime, but here is a great way to window shop for a new bag and hey, they're having a give-away and why not you?  Or me?  I found one I like.

If outdoor equipment is more your style, this weekend is Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo.  That's where I'll be.  ALL weekend.  It's a long weekend but it's a great party that we throw and if you are in Central Texas and have kids, you must come some time during the 2 day event.  Did I mention it's FREE?  Just bring money for food, sunscreen, maybe a hat and a camera cuz you won't believe all the fun stuff there is for your kids to try.  Look for me.  I am still trying to wrangle a Blackberry or iphone in order to twitter the whole event. 

PTA has kept me really busy, but I am hoping to get to Kid N Ewe in November.  Anyone else going?  Maybe we can have a small gathering, I don't think I can handle organizing something big.  I am starting to get some serious sweater fever – need new ones – have yarn, need time.  Now need rest, busy week, this one.

Taken to Task

I really haven't had a lot of time to blog lately.  The busy time of year at work AND I just had to volunteer to be the PTA Fundraising chair this year.  I cannot believe nobody warned me about this.  Ya know how sometimes you don't feel like blogging about knitting in particular, but something happens in the world that motivates you to post something to your blog and that urge is completely overwhelming and maybe not that well thought out?  Has it ever happened to you?  It happened to me.  And honestly I have been too busy to go back and try and make some sense of it all.  Well, then along comes a commenter who gets all bent out of shape about your position on say, Sarah Palin and they go off on you in the comments.  Well, I've been blogging for a while now and found it somewhat remarkable how civil almost ALL of my encounters have been with knitbloggers.  But I guess no community is free from those who think it's okay to come take a shit in your backyard, just because there's no fence around it and after all you have a dog.  Well, it IS my blog and I can say any thing I damn well please that does not cross legal bounderies AND considering how bad a mouth I have in person, I spare my blog visitors most of the time.  But I don't really care if someone who doesn't like my politics says they won't return to my blog again.  It's not like they have really engaged me before.  Or linked to me.  And as far as I know, this was her first visit. 

It's true that i should probably have made my edits to my last post more obvious, but I haven't had time and since I have all but stopped blogging since the spring, I don't have a lot of regular visitors anymore in the first place.  But it's true that the book list I published in the previous post was debunked by Snopes and has been passed all around the internets as a viral hoax, but forget the list – my original sentiment remains steadfast and potent.  If John McCain and Sarah Palin prevail in the upcoming election, we stand to lose more than anyone can imagine.  Have you read The Handmaid's Tale? Well, I can see it happening and all we have to do is be scared enough and gullible enough to pull the lever for the old white man and his idiot cheerleader and do it in the name of god, that's what they're counting on.  Don't like my politics, feel free to use the back button.  I don't have a problem with evangelicals.  I have a problem with anyone who tries to tell me, on my blog, I don't have a right to my opinions, or my voice or my lifestyle or anything else that our constitution guarantees all of us.  Even in a time of war.  Even in a time of financial crisis.  

I read an article the other day which gave me pause.  I had not heard of "White Privalege" before, but my husband had, he is far more widely and better read than I.  The premise to me is awful.  I thought we had come farther, but apparently not and even though I consider myself to be color-blind, I had to admit when I understood it that I had and perhaps still do benefit from it unknowingly.  I felt ashamed and yet, had no idea what to do about it.  Tom says he thinks we won't be past it till the generations who remember the civil rights movement are gone.  Young people do seem to be much more free of prejudice, I observed.  Tom said racism is learned behavior and that since it's not part of our laws anymore or part of our curriculum, the most likely place that kids get racism now is from their families. 

Where I am going with all of this is, well, in case you hadn't figured it out yet, I like Obama in the upcoming presidential election.  I think he's the most intelligent candidate we have had in maybe my lifetime.  I think he has tremendous integrity.  I am concerned that White Privilege might cost him the election and it makes me feel angry and helpless.  I am afraid that people can say "he seems sketchy to me" or "what do we really know about him" and get away with that being a sufficient reason to vote for McCain.  At least be honest.  If you want to know Obama, it's easy, read about him, listen to him, but don't act like we don't know this man who has been running for president for 2 damn years.  If you're white, think about your reasons.  Think about your background.  Think about the tapes from your youth, your past.  What really informs your decision?  Reason?  Or something else?  Because we really are overdue for some reason coming from our next president.

Anyone else want to tear me up?  Feel free – I only delete spam.

We need an army of librarians

Update 09/08/08: Snopes weighs in…finally.

Sarah Palin and John McCain must be stopped.  If for no other reason in the whole world than the following list of books she wanted to ban from the library in Wasilla, AK.
Here is the list:

  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L Engle
  • Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Blubber by Judy Blume
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Cujo by Stephen King
  • Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  • Daddy?s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  • Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  • Decameron by Boccaccio
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
  • Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
  • Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Forever by Judy Blume
  • Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
  • Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Have to Go by Robert Munsch
  • Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Impressions edited by Jack Booth
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
  • Lysistrata by Aristophanes
  • More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  • My House by Nikki Giovanni
  • My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
  • Night Chills by Dean Koontz
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  • One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  • Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
  • Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  • Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
  • Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
  • Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Bastard by John Jakes
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
  • The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
  • The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
  • The Living Bible by William C. Bower
  • The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  • The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
  • The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  • The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won?t by Judy Blume
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
  • Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween
  • Symbols by Edna Barth

How many have you read?  Banning books is not okay.  Trying to ban books is not okay.  Firing people because they will not remove books from the library is not okay.  Sarah Palin is not okay.  I don't really care what religious beliefs Sarah Palin or any politician has, but they aren't going to tell me or my kids or the kids in Alaska what they can or cannot read.  Honestly I think John McCain may have lost his freakin' mind. 

And if you've been wondering about that Kilkenny woman, she is for real!

The list of books I got from my aunt, she is a librarian.  She has connections.

ETA – Upon reflection: Should this list prove to be a hoax, and that may take some vetting because there seems to be a bit of difficulty getting straight answers out of some folks in the campaigns, I thought I would just post the definition of censorship as provided by the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom page:

What Is Censorship?

Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.

So, even if the list proves invalid, the record shows she tried to get books banned AND fired the librarian.  That's enough for me.

Back to School

Abby starts second grade today.  She is very excited.  New backpack, new shoes, new school clothes that fit, and she's all set.  We attended an informational meeting yesterday about Girl Scouts – Abby is now a Brownie and I have the disconcerting feeling we just joined a cult.  I was never a Girl Scout when I was young, I was a Camp Fire Girl, now they are Camp Fires USA (gender neutral) and family oriented and the nearest one is 30 miles away.  So we are a Brownie family – oh, and I do mean family. I think it's a good program, and apparently we got a really good leader who keeps the girls very busy.

This week I get to take off for the 100th anniversary of President Johnson's birth. I do so love the Texas-centric holidays we get paid to enjoy, working for the state.  I plan on sewing.  I need to attack a stack of fabric and patterns so that by Thanksgiving I can put away the cutting table that I set up in the kitchen.  If things go well, there will be pictures.

Green_gable I finished the Green Gables over the weekend.  I used leftover Cotton Fleece yarn from the Mommy Snug that I made Kandis when she was pregnant, I grossly overestimated the yardage required for that and I still have a half a skein after completing this sweater.  It's nice yarn, it seems to knit up quickly too.  I know that some have knit this with negative ease, but after ripping sweaters I knit that were too small for me to wear – I just couldn't bring myself to knit this one so snugly, so the sleeves are a bit more open than they ought to be, but I can live with that.  I also had to do a single crochet edge at the top to bring the neckline in and make it more stable.  I don't like the off the shoulder look on me because I am never strapless.  I also made it a bit longer and included the hip shaping.  I really wanted to get in one summertime sweater before the summer was over and I just made it.

Yarn Tourism

Yarn_tourists One of the highlights of a business trip to Fredericksburg, TX was a trip to the local yarn store with three willing fellow employees who are also fiberists.  I had not been to Fredericksburg in a while except for a quick lunch with a group passing through.  It was nice to spend a bit more time there this time even though the bulk of my time was spent in meetings.

Stonehill_inside Stonehill_outside Stonehill Spinning is nice little shop – I love the architecture, but that was always one of my favorite things about the town.  They have a nice variety of yarns without too much novelty yarn.  There's a rug hooking room in the back.  The prices were reasonable.  I was able to buy two skeins of sock yarn I have not purchased before.  We all got something.

I had a free afternoon one day to drive around and photograph all the houses I have lived in in Fredericksburg, except for the trailer, the entire trailer park is gone now.  That shouldn't be a big surprise, the town has changed tremendously since I lived there in the early 80's.  But the business's all still close up early at night which is hard on folks that like to stay up late and party in the pool. Who knew that biologists and fisheries management folks could be so rowdy? 

This summer has been a little harsh. Some of the things I've had to deal with have been a serious drought, husband's kidney stone surgery, plumbing challenges, too many commitments.  This weekend rain is expected, Tom is feeling better, I fixed the big plumbing problem and some of my obligations have been lessened – so I am looking forward to the beginning of the new school year – even though I am the new PTA fundraising chair – and I am even going to brave the Tax Free Weekend to get Abby some new school clothes.  Things are starting to look better from here.  Tom is still looking for a teaching position, but he'll find one.

Bamboo Neckdown_cardi I'll close with my most recent FO's, and there is, as usual, more on the needles.  I have missed the blogging, but life or something just kept getting in the way.  I finished the Neckdown Summer Cardigan from Pure & Simple and a pair of socks in Regia Bamboo – my first bamboo project.

If by some chance you plan on attending SXSWi 2009, the panel picker is up and Stephen submitted a panel that will likely be of interest to crafters – and marketers – please vote for it and show them that crafters are a force to be reckoned with.


Finished on Saturday night.  I even found vintage button, but they don't match – but the colors and size were right.  It's VERY comfortable.  I am happy with it.  I have already cut out the pattern for the next one.  It's a kitchy little print from the 50's and I only had 3 yards of 36 inch wide fabric so I have to choose my pattern carefully.  More about that later. 

I am still knitting.  I finished a scarf I've been working on a while – it's the Magic Scarf from Laurie Perry's book, Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair.  I lifted the pattern stitch, basically a basketweave stitch and made it wider and probably longer than Laurie did.  I used the skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in brown I got months ago.  I had very little left over – so 8 bucks worth of wool can go a ways.  It's really soft too.  AND it would work for a guy. 

So far our summer has been pretty oppressive, and it's only been a couple of days since the beginning of summer, but the last 33 days of record-breaking Spring Temperatures has been relentless and, at least where we are, rainless.  My garden has all but dried up and I am having to water every night when I get home and we are losing oak trees – big ones and I think our well has gone dry.  We only use it for irrigation, but we kind of count on it so it's been a little more inconvenient having to use water we pay for.  The cicada's are starting to bust out of their casings, and I snapped a shot of one on our porch the other morning.  I alway find the process of metamorphosis a little amazing.  I also kinda like cicadas.

Stay cool!

A Day Off and a Flickr Meme

100_2357 Today is Juneteenth, so I have the day off. Slept till 7am and hiked the local state park before noon. Now we are safely home in the AC and I am planning to sew. In the park we saw this amazing family of Pileated woodpeckers tearing up a dead tree. They were large and unfazed by our presence. Bark was flying everywhere. I could not tell if one was a juvenile or not, they seemed the same size. Maybe these are the FLDS of the bird world since I don't think woodpeckers are gregarious. I don't have a good long lense on this point and shoot camera, but you can see two red heads and the profile of the third bird on the tree. Very cool birds!

100_2368 I have cut out a vintage dress pattern using vintage cotton fabric. The pattern is from about the mid-40's during the war I think. Those patterns always seem to have a distinctively solemn tone in the drawings on the envelope. 100_2369 The pattern is unprinted – just tissue paper cut to shape and some perforations to indicate where to put gathers and zippers (or "non-separable slide fastener" as the pattern says). Other than that, the construction is pretty much the same as modern patterns. I am using silk organza for interfacing and this dress has a self or matching fabric-covered belt with buckle and eyelets and all. I bought some hat buckram for stiffening the belt so that it is more authentic. It used to be sold on a roll in fabric stores in several belt widths when fabric covered belts were more widely popular. I did not find buttons yet that I thought worked with the fabric, so I might make covered buttons, still thinking about it. If I am lucky, I will finish this before the weekend.

I created Flickr mosaic for the Flickr Meme that's been going around. If you are interested in the image sources, you can check my Flickr page


Happy Juneteenth Y'all!

I met my next door neighbor on Ravelry!

Okay, the truth is, she lives 2 doors down rather than next door, but still, how amazing is that?  I got a message on Ravelry one day and the sender said, "I've been admiring your knitting and noticed that you live in Cedar Creek, we might be neighbors."  Well, once I emailed her back where I lived, we began to narrow down exactly where we lived in relation to one another and low and behold, she is only about 200 feet away!  And we arranged to meet one day at my house and Anna is absolutely delightful, though apparently blogless (for now).  I love her sense of humor and they have cats.  She's of my generation and has lived here almost as long as we have.  She works in Austin too and also works for a government, hers is Travis County. This Saturday I am dragging her to The Knitting Nest for the morning meet-up.  It's WWKIP Day on Saturday and there are several things planned in town, the big one being at the state capitol downtown, but our weather has been pretty hatefully hot and dry lately so we don't think we will make it to that, but we'll be there in spirit.  I can't believe I had to meet my neighbor via an international online community, but I am really glad that there is a way for us to find one another. (Note to self: Ravelry Tip Jar)  Anyone else find someone in their neighborhood through Ravelry?

Reaching This weekend, the grand-boy is coming for his first sleepover at the grandparents house!  I am excited and I hope Kandis and Rob have fun on their night out.  Here is a photo of Cooper (Rob holding him) reaching for Grandma – do you know how great that feels?  Yep, now if I can just get him to call me something – I don't care what, just so he means 'me'.  Boy, grandma's sure can be selfish.

I am trying out a new commenting system here on the blog, so feel free to comment, even if you don't have much to say 'cept what a cute grand-boy I have. And if you're local, I hope to see you this Saturday.

ETA: The comment experiment was a dysmal failure.  But I still like and encourage comments.  Let's see if I set it back in order properly.

Sweet Caroline

Wcaroline My late friend, Caroline, arrived yesterday.  I knew she was coming.  I got a call from a friend of hers that I met the last time I saw her.  Caroline died on December 7th last year in Colorado. Her memorial service was May 17th, the day we left for Vermont for my Father-in-law's memorial – he died on New Year's Eve.  I had planned to make Caroline's send-off in Ouray until the plans were made for Tom's Dad.  I hated to miss hers.  But yesterday the package arrived; a program from her Memorial Celebration, a collection of her poems, a DVD she made about planning her own funeral while she was fighting cancer with every cell of her body, and a small double-bagged ziplock bag, wrapped in bubble wrap containing a gray-white powder, a small bit of the cremated remains of my childhood friend, entrusted to me to scatter or hold however I thought appropriate.  What a gift.  I think it says something about my friend that she so literally shared of herself.  She was a gift.  She absolutely lit up a room with her enthusiasm. 

For now, I will find a nice box to keep her in.  I don't know where to take her, our childhood camp is not really an option anymore.  I could take her to the Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County, which is the last place I saw her alive.  It was a wonderful day.  We hiked Enchanted Rock, as far as she could go, lunched in Fredericksburg and dropped in on the Bamberger's for an impromptu tour and spent the rest of the day.  It was beautiful and such fun.  She was on mega doses of steroids and had tons of energy, but she had pain from a radiation burn that affected her ability to get around.  She was positively manic and we had a blast.  She didn't sleep much on the steroids, there was too much she wanted to do – too many people she wanted to reconnect with.  I can't believe I let 30 years of my life go by without Caroline in it and I am so grateful that she found me again before she left the world.  It was Caroline who took me to my first concert, John Prine and Steve Goodman at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas.  I was 14, she was 16 so she could drive.  To this day I am a die-hard John Prine fan.  Caroline was in the car when I got my first ticket for speeding, 90 in a 70 on our way to camp the first weekend in May, I was 16.  I was so scared – it ruined the entire weekend for me because I dreaded facing my parents with the news.  I still remember it like yesterday.  I have yet to watch her dvd.  One day.

Frank_socks The summer is upon us in a big way, the temps are way too high for the season – we still have a month before the start of summer and we are closing in on triple digits.  The garden is rebelling.  I may get nothing until fall.  I am aching to buy an above ground pool so I can teach Abby to swim this year, but really can't afford it yet.  Abby's last day of school is today and we are making plans for her to have a fun summer.  There have been promises of a brief trip to the coast sometime.  Oh, and I made a pair of socks.  For my friend Frank who I have teased with my praise of the handknit sock.