Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I do not love a short row heel,

partly because I'm so comfortable with the rut I'm in. Working a classic "heel flap" heel is so familiar by now (and also tends to fit me so well), that I generally just launch into it, without considering other options. I don't have to think about it - whereas with a short row, I do. It's not that I don't understand how those other heels to work. It's just that I still have to pay attention to what I'm doing in a more intense way. (Of course, one could argue that this is exactly why I ought to keep working short-row heels until they, too, are second nature. One could argue many things. I may or may not pay attention.)

Part of the dislike, though, comes because I find those wraps so danged difficult to find when it comes time to lift 'em up and knit 'em together with the stitch they've been wrapping. It's an eyesight issue, especially in fine yarn, especially if it is dark or multicolored.

Sometimes, though, you need to stretch a little. Some designs just want a short row heel So I worked this

and by golly it wasn't half bad. I've decided that the most important trick in working a short row heel is to use worsted weight yarn. So much more enjoyable when you can see what you are doing

Of course, this makes for some pretty thick socks, but since this is a Christmas stocking, no problem.

You may ask why I am working on a Christmas stocking on the 30th of December. Lets just say it will be ready for next year, and leave it at that.


On the "getting rid of fifty" front, I'm discovering some of my personal obstacles to shedding stuff. Perhaps this will be spiritual as well as physical endeavor, and exercise in self awareness while I clear out the house.

One of my obstacles is "That's a perfectly good _____ and I might use it some day."

Here (#4) are some perfectly good holiday decorations that I don't really ever have room to display because of all the other perfectly good holiday decorations we have.

Off they go. With a couple of perfectly good napkin rings thrown in for good measure. And a couple more tins I found in the back of a cupboard - they were perfectly good, too.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quick update

We had a nice Christmas. Dearest Daughter arrived home about 5:00 on the 24th and we spent a quiet evening at home with a simple soup and sandwich supper, then a fire in the fireplace, conversation and opening family gifts. The next morning there were "Santa Gifts" and we watched the Geraldine Page version of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory", then in the afternoon we went next door to the Brother-in-Law's for a large dinner, and family conviviality.

Yesterday we had a rather long drive to Illinois (heavy fog) to my brother's house for a visit and to pick up my Mom, who had spent Christmas there. It was good to see the niece and nephew who both seem to have grown 4 inches since last summer. Rain and snow on the trip back. It was good to finally tumble into bed a little past midnight.

Today I wrote my thank-you notes., because if I don't get them written before the gifts are put away (or eaten as the case may be) they tend not to get written at all. Since some of the gifts involved chocolate, this leaves a rather narrow window of opportunity.

I also started in on a sort of New Year's resolution. A little while ago I saw a passing reference on someone's blog (Marie's?) to getting rid of 50 things. This sounded like an excellent idea.

So far I have (1) gathered up one stack of clothes that have been unworn for at least two years.

These are now in a bag bound for St Vinnie's. I am counting this as one thing, because I have so much stuff to eliminate that this won't even scratch the surface.

Also bound for St. Vinnie's is (2) an assortment of tins.

They are cute, potentially useful, and collect dust like crazy (and I also have many more that I have not gotten rid of).

And (3) is a stack of books for trade-in at the Frugal Muse.

Not a very big stack, but I do clear off the bookshelves fairly regularly, because it's the only way I can find room for new acquisitions.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

They say that winter arrives tomorrow

I guess it all depends on your definition of "arrive".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So Much Fun

I'm usually not very good about getting out Christmas cards - a few to immediate family and a couple of old friends - and they are lucky if the cards arrive by Epiphany. But this year I had 17 in the mail, by the first of December to people I have never met in person.

Some folks from the Knitters for Obama group on Ravelry had a card exchange and I decided to join. Boy was it worth it.

It has been so much fun getting a wide variety of cards from all over the country. I just love seeing the different styles people picked/made. Some even had little prizes inside.

This tiny origami heart is so cute!

Thanks Tracy for the nice words about my table cloth. I made it many, many years ago. It seemed to take forever, but won me my only County Fair blue ribbon ever.


And to the rest of you, if making paper snowflakes online hasn't been your thing, check out Tracy's blog for a link to create the fastest (and possibly cheesiest - it's up to you) Christmas sweater ever.

(One way or another, I will provide you with ways to waste time you should be using to wrap presents/bake/take care of your family. If the snowflakes and sweaters aren't enough, check out the "Christmas Hathos" video clips Andrew Sullivan has amassed. You'll have to scroll down though the rest of his postings to get them all. I can't decide on my favorite. Cher? Charo? or possibly this.

I swear I can't get enough of it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snowflake News Flash

OK, the great A-Pazoo (a/k/a my sister), just sent me a link for making paper snowflakes online.

Could be some serious time lost, um utilized creatively, here. It's really fun.

I haven't disappeared,

it's just been a busier than usual week. I subbed for the High School secretary on Thursday and Friday, which meant working at the Library on Wednesday instead of Thursday, plus my regular Saturday morning shift.

My favorite substitute secretary moment was when I picked up the phone and heard, "Hi, did my wife just try to call me?" Uh, I don't know, outgoing calls don't go through the front desk, and so far I don't have a clue who you are so I don't even know who your wife is. Seriously, I just asked who he was, and transferred him to his wife's room. I've decided that just about the most helpful person in the place is the head of the maintenance department, because he generally knows where to find whoever it is I'm trying to locate.
Today we put up the Christmas tree., feels cozy to get that done. We still go for a fresh tree every year, though we no longer go out and cut our own. We've decided that a Balsam is the perfect variety - lots of spaces for ornaments, and the needles are soft enough that they don't scratch up our hands.

And the little village scene went up, too.

Some knitting going on that I can't discuss just yet, and I did whip up a floofy scarf as a gift for a friend who doesn't read this.
Warm, windy and overcast for the last day and a half. Much of the snow is gone. We are supposed to have rain, possibly heavy, later today, than a sharp freeze after that. Fingers crossed here that it doesn't turn into a real ice storm. We'll hope for the best.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Good Morning's Work

I mailed off the holiday packages to my brother's family in IL and my sister's family in MD. Doesn't sound like a big deal - just a trip to the post office. But first I had to shovel out this:

Also scrape about 1/4 inch of ice off all the car windows. Also rake as much snow as possible off the roof. But it wasn't that cold out, and it felt good to get outside and moving. Don't think I've had that much glow in my cheeks since last winter.

Monday, December 08, 2008

OK now I'm totally confused

After this post from Princess Sparkle Pony, I no longer have any clue where I stand on politics, religion or economics. Or maybe I have a clue where I stand, but I'm not sure whether it any longer has much connection with the world around me. My head hurts.

We attended a lovely holiday concert (excellent Puccini - totally dynamite Zion Gospel Choir) in Madison yesterday. I'm going to go lie down and close my eyes and think about that. It will remind me that the term "civilization" may not yet have become completely meaningless.

After that, I think I had better just get back to my knitting.

Post in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Well, "repent" may be too strong a word. "Realize a need for clarification" may be better.

First, thanks to everyone who commented. Lots of food for thought there.

In making my last, hurried, post I didn't mean to imply that I think the automakers should just be handed whatever they ask for, only that I agreed with the author of the WAPO column that in the different responses to Wall Street and Detroit there appears to be a class bias. And I'll admit that my own bias is that it eats at me to think that bank executives are still walking away with huge severance packages while the electricians in Chicago haven't received what their contracts promised. Not saying that I'm right, just that it bothers me. So I support those workers in their efforts to point out the discrepancy.

But the older I get, the more I realize I don't know.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

Why the rush to bail out the financial industry, but not manufacturing? As far as I'm concerned, this column from the Washington Post hits the nail right on the head.

And I'm 100% with the Electrical Workers Union in Chicago (story from The Nation via Yahoo.)

I think I need to go re-read me some Howard Zinn.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Little Bitty

Now this was a quick sock. Worsted weight, 20 sts around. I don't think it took more than an hour. No pattern - I was just winging it. Needless to say, it's meant for a Christmas ornament.

Knocked off a couple of "muppet fur" scarves that have gone off to the shop here in town on consignment. No pics, but they weren't too exciting.

It snowed yesterday, and the sun is out today, so everything looks very bright and crisp - I'm finally wrapping my mind around the fact that we are almost a week into December. I have finished what shopping I am going to do - now to get things wrapped and in the mail.....

kmkat and junior_goddess asked how I found the old home movie in the last post. My neighbor, the one who now lives in the blue house, tipped me off to it. I'm not sure how she found it, will have to ask next time I see her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

OMG! You can see my house from here!

Well, no, actually you can't, because the house wasn't built when the movies was taken.

But you can see the empty lot, graded and ready for construction to start between the house where the action takes place and the next one over. So you can see my next-door-neighbors' houses from here.

This is probably not of the least interest to anyone reading this blog, but I found it oddly exciting.