Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: This was old home weekend for me. Through a weird quirk of fate, I got to spend parts of the weekend with three girlfriends of mine from high school. Now, I live about 2 hours or so from the place I grew up, so I don't get this pleasure often. One is Karen, whom I haven't seen in about 17 years. Her eldest son is apparently quite a violinist, and was auditioning at a college a half hour south of us. We arranged to have dinner Friday with the second GF, Gabriele. Gabe lives locally, but we rarely see one another, both busy with family and work. Karen's sons who were along with us were impressed that there were no awkward lags, from reminiscing about It's Academic (a high school quiz program; Karen, a third member and I made the semi-finals) to catching up on all our families.

Saturday we decided on the spur of the moment to get the best burger around at Five Guys, and called our best buds Witt and Gary to come along. They'd eaten, but invited us to drop by afterward. We had a lovely time; we always do.

Sunday evening, Gabe, the DH and I got to see the third GF, Debbie, whom again I haven't seen in about 17 years. She sings with the National Christian Choir, a very talented group who came to perform in a local church. We didn't have much time together, but it was very meaningful to us. Deb and I grew very close our senior year, and the bond remains.

The Bad: I've been having some trouble with my left shoulder for about a year now. I think I initially hurt it lifting something too heavy (probably my purse!) with my arm hyper extended over the front seat to the back. It would feel better, then I would do something to it again. Eventually the pain was a low-grade hum that would occasionally shriek horrifically when I did some odd move, like try to shrug on a jacket. Unfortunately, I tolerate pain too well, so I tend to ignore it. Yes, I know it's dumb. My GP initially thought I'd just strained a muscle, suggested two naproxen sodium twice daily to help. Didn't. So he recommended I see the orthopaedic surgeon he would use himself, and I finally did today.

The Ugly: I have what they've diagnosed as a frozen left shoulder. To fix that, I would have to go under and have it manipulated. But in addition, there is a calcification on the shoulder bone that if left untreated will injure my rotator cuff, already weakened by the fact my shoulder is frozen. So I could put off having that done, but I'd rather have one anesthesia and one incredible amount of pain (insert whimpering here) than do it twice. I will then require, if I understood correctly, about a year's worth of rehab/exercise to try to improve and recover full function. AND if I don't treat the other shoulder with care, I could end up with similar issues there too.

Anyway, surgery will be at some time on the 12th, outpatient. Keep some happy thought for me okay?

And let the first be, "Good drugs!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scottie Fair Isle

The DH just amazed me this time. I asked him to take pictures and he did a wonderful job. No wonder he keeps getting commercial work.

This is the Scottie Fair Isle I mentioned two posts ago. I have to state up front that it was a blast to knit...I couldn't put it down. And then I have to tell you that this is a raw version. I have yet to pick up the provisional cast on and do the liner, then it should be washed and blocked. I couldn't stand to wait that long to show you. :->

The first chart consists of bones framing Scottie profiles separated by hearts. You can tell my tension isn't perfect - I needed to get better about not pulling the floats too tightly. But since this will go over my head, it'll be stretched.

Next the symbol of Scotland, the thistle. Guess where Scotties come from, boys and girls? Liz was so generous, selecting all the colors I love best.

Now we have little wheaties marching toward us. Scotties are black, wheaten, or brindles, which can run a gamut of colors. My mom's brindle, Raffy, looks like tiger stripes when he's clipped. His dad was a reddish wheaten.
More hearts here too, because we love our Scotties! I love the way Liz used the background color to frame their faces. Or, since it was Liz who is Scottish, colour.

Following more bones, we have these Scotties, in the perfect stack position you'll see in dog shows. Note the smaller dogs you can just see above.

This was my only goof other than just not being used to Fair Isle yet. I should have changed from the light green earlier, but I didn't dislike it once I realized, and I hate to frog my knitting! So it's my design variation. Yeah, dat's it.

Bones are our next motif...I love the variations on a theme Liz created. Hope she thinks I did them a bit of justice.

The last charts were small, of course, and have a rows of Scotties coming and going, and one larger Scottie at the top. The white in it is a bit blown out but you can still see him.
I could have finished off with a bobble end, but I'm more a tassle kinda gal (don't go there!) so I did that.
And voila'! A hat any chickie would love. LOL. This was SO MUCH fun! I cannot wait for Liz's workshop to start. Now I'll learn everything I did wrong.
Let's have a hand for my beloved DH...he really outdid himself, didn't he?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winds of Change

The true kickoff for the civil rights movement, the bus boycott, occurred while my mother was pregnant with me. Before I turned three, Birmingham AL was known as "Bombingham." I sat in my second grade classroom and watched the funeral of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sadly, I cannot remember anything more of that great man but his death; I was too young.

Today I watched, and wept, as a man who is three months and two days older than I took the oath of President of the United States. For the first time, someone of my generation, raised in the same era I was, is our leader. This is enough to make anyone, I think, pause and reflect. But of course the larger story is the history that is made today.

Now, naturally, it's history when anyone takes that oath. But often history to us is a far away thing, stuff that happens while we have our attention on the day-to-day of living. Not today. Today over two million people traveled from all over the world just to be in the same city as Barack Obama. Today more people watched worldwide as the inauguration took place than had watch all previously televised inaugurations combined. Today, history is happening in the center of the lives of all of us. It's why I asked my daughter to make sure my five-year-old grandson watched, whether he wanted to or not. Because I know that, someday, he will be thrilled to tell his grandchildren that he saw this moment.

Listening to NPR cover the events on our way in to work, I heard an African-American woman who had traveled a great distance be asked why she felt that she needed to be in Washington D.C. today. She voiced her excitement, and then said something that stuck with me. She said (I paraphrase) that now we can teach our children differently than we had to before. For me, this is the culmination of the changes that began before I was born, and I rejoice.

I heard another man quoted saying that he hoped that, after all this, Obama will be able to live up to the hype. Yes, of course...we all do. But more, I hope we will be able to live up to the challenges his inaugural address has thrown open before all of us.

Can I get an "Amen?"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Look Ma! Two hands!

Yes, most of us do two hands for knitting, but not everyone can do Fair Isle knitting...or colorwork...or stranded knitting. I know the terms are not all interchangable, but I don't completely know what the difference in them is...yet.
I've mentioned Liz Lovick before with admiration and gratitude, and today's no different. After Liz designed a Fair Isle hat just for me to knit, it occurred to me that it would wonderful to ask her to teach her workshop to the EZasPi knitting group. Liz is no stranger to teaching, and has done a Shetland Lace workshop and a Gansey workshop for us before, as well as designing an Orkney Pi for the group.
Knitting will begin on this on January 30th, but if you're interested, I suggest joining the group now to get a list of items you'll want to start gathering. Trust me that Liz is an excellent teacher, and the opportunity to learn FREE from someone of her caliber is incredible. Something my Scots blood couldn't pass up for sure. :-) I hope you'll join us.

Monday, January 12, 2009


A couple in the Midwest found that the courthouse was all booked up for their wedding. So, they chose to get married in a Taco Bell, spending about $200 all told for the ceremony and reception.

When they were asked why they chose, of all places, a Taco Bell, they said, and I quote, that they "had spent a lot of quality time there."

I'm thinking the newlyweds need the definition of 'quality' explained to them.

I'm just sayin'.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fiesta Mittens

"Awesome! You are a sneaky devil, you know that? Here I was reading about them all along and didn't put two and two together...not by a long shot!

I just thought of something... I now have Fiesta Mittens to go with my maraca pen! Shake shake shake! Hot dog it was meant to be!"

What, you may ask, has cause this effusion of exuberance from SuzyG? Since you ask so nicely, I'll tell you. Although her birthday isn't until the end of NEXT month, she got a present from me today. I finished the Fiesta Mittens last night, and being the beneficent goddess that I am, she got them today, while she could get some wear out of them for winter.

I know that SuzyG reads my blog...I hear her at the front desk, snorting at my wit and pondering my wisdom (yes, I hear that too...the wheels in her head need a spot o'oil.). So I've been deliberately vague about for whom I had decided I was making these. About half-way through the second one, I decided I liked this pattern enough to knit it again, so I could give this set away. SuzyG was not only the next birthday on my horizon, but she gave me some lovely gifts for mine. Since she's a knitter too, I knew she'd appreciate the effort that went into them, so I was willing to give 'em up, even if they aren't perfect. They are my first foray into colorwork, or stranded knitting, and as such, I'm pretty pleased. Now I'm moving on to the Fair Isle hat that Liz Lovick designed for me!

There are those who will NEVER get another knitted gift from me. Have I ever mentioned my mother referring to the Hemlock Ring throw I made her as her 'giant doily?' Nope. She gets nothing handmade again unless it's food. THAT she would appreciate. My sister, OTOH, loved her Icarus shawl, or at least acted like it. She remains in my good knitting graces.
One interesting note: the first mitten was knit on dpns, the second using Magic Loop. The second is a tad snugger, not enough to really change gauge, but neater looking. The dpns, while I like knitting with them, were just so darn fiddly. I think I will knit my Fair Isle with Magic Loop too, using dpns when the stitches get very few, if then. And lest I forget, a big thank you to the DH for the mittens picture. I didn't have my digital, so he took them up to the studio and, rather than the quick shot I expected, did that lovely layout. He gets a kiss. :-*

Oh, and for the record, it's true. I am a sneaky devil. Busted.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I'm a fairly reserved person. I flatter myself that I'm intelligent enough to talk to anyone who can talk to me, but I'm lousy at drawing people out. Most of all, I am NOT a touchy-feely kinda gal. I remember when I first started college, eons ago. I went from Maryland to Mississippi, to what was then an all-women's school. I was shy, and a bit scared...so shy I didn't ask anyone where to find the campus laundry to pick up the duffel bag I needed to procure for laundry services. I just made other arrangements. That gives you an idea.

So when I went to my first meal at the campus cafeteria, I was stunned. All these young women who were returning after the summer were exclaiming, screeching and hugging all over the place! This was definitely not my style. I grew to deeply love the school, and made a niche for myself during my three semesters there before the first not-so-DH got assigned to England and I had to leave. But I still wasn't a big person for the over-emoting that was very popular there.

Years later, I'm still not. I hug very dear and/or very old friends, and some family. The DH and my offspring. That's about it. I do not call anyone by terms of endearment unless they are in those categories, either, or they are elementary school aged. Nope, no 'hons' out of me, even if I did grow up outside Baltimore (no, I don't say Balmer, either). I won't refer to you as sweetie, or sugar, or any other sticky things. Even if I know you.

So please tell me why it is that people who've never seen me before in their lives call ME all kinds of pet names? Waitresses call me darlin'. Drive-thru attendants call me honey. Store clerks, even in fairly upmarket shops throw in a few 'loves' too. And not once, but over and over, like a nervous tic. One of the most bizarre was a patient when I worked in the behavioral health field, an elderly man who kept calling me 'little girl' and got most offended when I pointed out that, given that I was in my late 30s, I really didn't care for being called that. Well, okay, he was a patient there for a reason.

I do not like it. It sets my back up. I'm definitely not so formal that I expect to be called Mrs. XXX, or even Ma'am , but I don't want to go to the other extreme either. I do not like the implied intimacy, or at times, the condescension of these endearments. I'm not sure if they think the uber-friendliness will get them a bigger tip, or a larger sale, but I'm here to tell you....uh-uh. I do like the custom with which I was raised, where children call their elders Miss (or Ms.) or Mr. First Name. It's respectful, but it's not cloying, and I still do it on rare occasions for someone much older than I. Not that there's that many of those around any more.

And lest you think it's just my regular snarkiness, the DH feels the same way. He is the sweetest, kindest man the good Lord ever planted on this planet (think Mr. Rogers on a glucose drip) and he doesn't want to be dumplin'-ed or snookie-ookumed any more than I. We save our pet names for when they have meaning.

Oh!...and don't call me Shirley! :-)