Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cozy Knitting

There hasn't been a lot of knitting content in here lately, but trust me, I've been knitting. It's all that's keeping your Goddess Yarn Hussy in the semi-sane state to which she pretends. Well, that and some pretty obsessive Mahjong playing. Not the real game, unfortunately. Those of you who think the tile matching game going by that name online is the real thing are truly missing out. I know of no one locally who plays, and it's a tragedy. I learned in the OWC (Officer's Wives Club...the only reason I joined!) and I miss playing the challenging game that it is.

Anyway, knitting. I'm plugging away slowly on my Orkney Pi. This is a fabulous design written with the attention to detail for which Liz Lovick is famous. It's a KAL on the EZasPi list you see at the bottom of the page. But being me, I have to have something simple to switch off knitting - or as my friend Olivia puts it, I am "two-timing my Pi." LOL Olivia is a good friend, in spite of the fact that she looks like the lovely Ann Miller and she lusts after the DH. Since I can't blame her for either her looks or her excellent taste, we remain friends.

My something simple to knit ended up being a tea cozy. I have a wee pot at the studio, but in spite of the fact that it only holds two mugs worth of tea, it was getting cold way before I could finish drinking the first mug. Most tea cozies are too big for this pot, so I figured I'd take some leftover yarn and make one. I couldn't find a design I liked though. After living in England, I knew the best tea cozies cover the whole pot. Those letting the spout peek out just let all the heat out too. So I designed my own, inexpertly, on the fly. I cast on 80 stitches in the round, using some leftover wool in the Waterfall colorway from Furryarns. I knew I didn't have enough for the whole cozy, so I alternated with some of Elann's basic wool in cream that I had left over from the pinwheel sweater I did for my niece. The cast on edge curled as I knew it would, and so I finished with a crocheted eyelet edging that curls just enough to lie on the table, almost like a doily is under the pot.

I'm delighted with the silly little thing. The Waterfall colorway is so pretty, and it's a wonderful match for the pot. Best of all, being wool, even without a lining or any batting, it keeps the tea warm as can be until I can drink it all down. I love this little pot too; it has a diffuser so I use any kind of tea with it.

Now that that's done, I'm two-timing my Pi with what are only my second pair of socks. I use the Queen Kahuna book; it's wonderful for a visual learner like me, and since it's toe-up (although cuff down is shown too), I can try on the socks as I go. Good fitting socks are important to me, since I'm diabetic, and this is a wonderful way to be sure I have a good fit. I may do something interesting with the cuff, or I may not. The Austermann Step Fair Isle yarn I got from Yarns and Threads does lovely patterning on it's own, so I may not want to mess with that. Input is welcome. This yarn has aloe and jojoba built in and feels marvelously springy. And kudos to Nancy who shipped me this...she refunded excess shipping charges. VERY nice customer service in this day and age, so your Goddess is happy to recommend her. Plus this yarn is currently 20% off. I got it in Plum, which may have sold out, but there are lots of other shades.

My enabling done for the day, I'm going to go read. See my book list below to see what I'm delving into!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Knees Together

I am the eldest of four children, not counting the half-sister born after I had my two daughters. I don't not count her in my life, you understand, but I obviously didn't grow up with her, so I don't include her for the purposes of this discussion. I doubt she reads this anyway, but if she does...she's my sister. Nuff said.

Disclaimers aside, I know what it is to be a member of a large family. So does the DH...his family is the mirror image of mine, even down to the split level houses we grew up in. My memories of childhood were of doing with what we had. Dad was a teacher, Mom a cop. Essential jobs that serve the public, which, as we all know, means they didn't make much of anything. Money was tight, always, probably more so than I knew at the time. We often wore hand-me-downs, and were glad to get them. I occasionally didn't like not being able to buy stuff that my friends did, but for the most part, I didn't feel deprived. My parents were proud in the good sense, and taught us to value what we wanted, and to work for it. Yes, I know I sound like an old fart. Tough.

When I had my kids, I firmly believed in zero population growth, and still do. The people who can least provide for their children in this world, in terms of material goods and education, are the ones who often have the most children. I chose to have two children. I was lucky. I could have kids, carry them myself, they were healthy. And my then-husband and I could afford to raise them. I do understand that some folks have a lot of kids for reasons of faith, but even most religions allow you to work not to conceive. For others, birth control can usually be obtained for free and works pretty well (though not so great when my parents were trying it in the sixties!). But my beliefs aside, it's up to you how many kids you have. Just don't try to make your choice my burden.

Today I went to pick up some artifical plants. A lady wanted to be rid of them, put them on Freecycle. She made a point that she wouldn't take a picture of them because of her five kids. I thought they'd make good studio props, and told her I would be happy to have them. She was sick of them and happy to have them gone. All should be good, right? Right. Until. I went out to get them, and she said how tired of them she was, and I said they'd have a good home in our studio. She perked up immediately. She knew who we were when I said the studio name, asked where we were now, and she starts bleating, "Discounts! Discounts would be good! Five kids!" She sticks her head in the open hatchback to yell this stuff at the DH, who is seated behind the wheel. I was in equal parts dumbfounded and furious.

Why do people today think we should fund their family? My parents never did. I cannot tell you the number of times people ask us for a price break because they have a lot of rug rats. They have XX number of kids in dance, or playing soccer, and want us to discount their pictures because of the sheer volume of their family. Really? How did your choice to breed like rabbits and overpopulate the planet become MY problem? Do you ask McDonald's to sell you discount hamburgers to feed your tribe? Does Carter's have to give you cheaper baby clothes? And by the way, did the mortgage company give you a discount on your big McMansion (sure a lot bigger than MY house)? Have you considered buying less rather than expecting me to give your greedy self preferential treatment because you decided to have a horde?

Do my bills suddenly become less because you didn't keep those knees together, lady?

See? Mother really DID know best.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

But I Won't Do That.

I believe I've mentioned before that when your Goddess feels particularly snarky, she - um - critiques TV commercials. Loudly. At the screen.

My current object of wrath is NutraSystem commercials. Now, for the record, your Goddess is a Goddess of abundance. Nothing wraith-like about me, nope nope nope. I have lost, in the months since August, about 16% of my body weight, but trust me when I tell you there is still ample to be shaved off. Okay, chopped off with a hatchet might be a more accurate metaphor, but you get my drift.

So, weight-loss plans naturally have interest for me, although yes, I do know most are a crock, but I am sick unto death with NutraSystem. Apparently the demographic for CNN's morning news is fat....especially old, fat, former jocks and/or bimbettes. (One assumes that being one does not preclude being the other.) Now, my apologies to Marie Osmond, whom I really kinda admire, and whose ad is definitely more tasteful than others.

But when I first started noticing these, it was a Dan Marino showing himself back at his playing weight. All well and good. Then some of his friends joined in, including one who tells us with a big foolish grin on his face that his wife says he's not "as disgusting anymore." Really? Don't you mean your EXwife???? Are we supposed to think that's funny?

Then Don Shula and his wife do their bit for the Silver program. Coach is okay, but wife Marianne cannot deliver a line to save her life. Her arch delivery of "Not anymore, honey!" makes my teeth cringe.

Add now Tony Orlando, who's had two hits in his life - what the heck is an "Old Woak Tree" anyway? - also for the Silver program. Annoying, but not dreadful. But who is the skank that is in several of these now? They refer to her as a "Hollywood Personality" but all I can think is she must have left it there!

First she starts out with her before picture, which was a bit plump. She kicks it away, saying "You'll never see me like that again!" only we do, you dummy, every time the commercial plays! Besides, that picture was by no means as repelling as the scrawny self she displays in the bikini photo that follows. As an aside, why is it that every time I see one of those shots, the women are wearing tortuous high heels that they are walking out of...can they not get any to fit??

Then the follow up commercial with her that really sent me over the edge. Ms. Skank (must be respecful, here) wearing clothes twenty years too young for her, claims that she's a sports nut, and now that she's lost weight, she can catch a football again, which is tossed to her with all the deadly force of a Nerf ball. Then she smirks at the camera and actually has the nerve to say, "How many girls can do that!" AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

First, she's decidedly NOT a girl. Second, any girl with two arms can do that, you stupid sexist pig! What is WRONG with women that they feel free to demean their sisters? Now, I understand she didn't write the ad copy, and that she's doing it for money, or free meals. And I will admit, I am very fond of money my own dignified self. But there's not enough money in the world for me to try to act like I'm twenty again when I'm obviously not, brainless (ditto) or to put down the capabilities of my fellow women. She should be ashamed. Yes, I know it's a small thing in the scheme of life. But it matters to me. I contend, in a John Donne-ish manner, that diminishing one of us diminishes us all. If you are a woman, or love one, it should matter to you too.

And as a quick PS...who on God's green earth thought that a good name for a drug would be Aciphex - pronounced, I kid you not, Ass Effects. Look for a rant on drug commercials in the near future.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Week that Was

It's been a busy week. Last Saturday, we loaded the UHaul - twice, as it turned out - and moved to the new studio. It looked like a cyclone had hit! But the DH and I spent Sunday getting the reception area cleared out and setting up the computers, so when Tuesday came and we opened, we looked ready. We replaced most of the images on the walls with our own, and they looked wonderful under the new lighting. We could never have done it without the help of family and friends/employees, and we are deeply grateful. One guy, Silent Steve, we'd never even met before, but he came along in the wake of our daughter and SIL.

After our first week, we're already feeling very at-home in the studio. We're reaching for light switches on the right side of the door, and remembering to turn off the copier before we leave. We don't have Karate Kids yelping next door, and the DH is still drooling over his camera room. It has come together so well that we both have the feeling it was meant to be.

So Monday, we needed a break, and had promised to take our adorable and bright grandson, Cameron, to see Horton Hears a Who. I loved the story as a kid, and am a fan of the cast, so I felt sure I'd have a good time. But the fun wasn't the the movie, but Camo. As soon as we got him in the handoff from his mom at noon, and started down the road, he informed us he was hungry. There wasn't time before the show to get a meal, so I told him we'd have popcorn at the movie. I was sternly informed that, "Popcorn is a snack, not a meal. Chicken nuggets and fry-fries are a meal." I, ladies and gentlemen, had been TOLD. However, Camo did manage to deal with the popcorn he was purchased by his Poppa. Sorry for the lousy quality; cell phones are NOT what we usually work with for portraiture. Anyway, after the show, he got his definition of a meal. :-)

I have found in life that for every yin there is a yang. There is balance in the universe, however we humans try to screw with that. So for all this good news, there is a counterweight.

Last year, my father-in-law, Bill, was diagnosed with a very rare, extremely aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel Cell. He underwent chemo, and all the scans showed that against all odds, he'd won his fight. Even the areas where it had spread were gone. We all drew a breath of relief. But a follow-on scan saw something in his colon which further investigation proved to be a cancerous polyp. Surgery was planned.

We got a call midweek from the DH's older brother. He told us Bill had been taken to the ER, very disoriented. At first it was thought that it was a glitch with his Parkinson's meds, but it turned out to be much worse. A CT scan showed four discrete lesions on his brain. He's having trouble feeding himself, and controlling other functions as well. It has to be hell on a man I've always seen as so dignified.

Radiation is planned. I assume the colon surgery is on hold, but we haven't heard yet. I'd like to ask for your prayers for the man who raised my wonderful husband, and inspired him to become a photographer. Prayers for his wife of 51 years, who has loved this man since she was 11. And for their four children, because I don't think any of us are grown up when it comes to facing the loss of a parent.