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Occasional musings on "life, the universe, and everything" from a fiber junkie.

November 27, 2006

Knit Unto Others
It's always relaxing and restorative to visit my pals Frank and Bec, two of the best friends a cranky old lady could possibly have.  At their urging, I spent Thanksgiving with them and their three furfaced roommates.  As usual, the dog refused to believe that he's neither (a) a puppy, nor (b) a lap dog, and I ended up with an enormous furry beast trying to crawl into my lap.  He means well, but he's huge! The cats were about as friendly as cats will allow themselves to be with a visitor, and a grand time was had by all. 
Carole and Margene have once again instigated Knit Unto Others, and I've decided to devote a portion of my knitting time between November 18 and December 1 to this project.  Thus far, I've managed to finish a Baby Surprise Jacket and three pair of mittens for Dulaan, plus a Red Scarf. 
Truth be told,  the baby surprise jacket shouldn't count for Knit Unto Others, as my (admittedly feeble) memory tells me that it was completed before the 18th.   The alert reader will notice that the mittens and jacket are done from the same yarn - a total of three balls of Regia Crazy Stripes was sufficient for both, with a few yards left over. 
The mittens (from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Knitting Patterns) are quite simple, and knit up quickly - I finished a pair during the time I was visiting with my friends for Thanksgiving.  They'll be good for using up odd bits of leftover yarns, thus reducing the stash.   Or at least they would have reduced the stash, had Bec not decided to donate some of her stash to the cause.  Some days that silly stash just refuses to shrink, no matter what you try to do.
10:55 am est

November 22, 2006

What am I thankful for? 
I'll be forever thankful for my little band of quirky friends.  They've been there for me through some horrendously rotten times, and helped me celebrate the good times.   Meeting us as individuals, you'd never guess that we could be such good friends.  A line from the Cathy cartoon sums it up:  "We're not bonded.  We're crazy-glued."
I'm thankful for the comparative ease of my life, especially when I consider that of my great-grandmother, Jane Magee Watts.   Let me tell you her story.
She was born in 1864 in Ballarat, Australia, and raised in a hotel in that wild gold-rush environment.  (Her father was the hotel manager.)  When she married Captain Theodore Thomas Watts of the merchant vessel Sharpshooter in 1891, her family disowned her.  Imagine the audacity of our Jane, a good Catholic, marrying a Protestant!  Tsk! 
Having nowhere else to go, Jane moved into the captain's quarters on board the Sharpshoter and sailed the Pacific trade routes with her husband.  Please note that this was exceptionally unusual at a time when many sailors believed that having women aboard ship was horribly unlucky.  Had Captain Watts not been one of the owners of the ship, it probably wouldn't have been allowed.
During that period (1891-1895), Jane was delivered of three children:  Claude, born in port in Melbourne, Rupert, born at sea, and Zela, born in port in Peru (while there was a revolution going on ashore, yet!). 
En route from Peru to San Francisco with a cargo of ore, the ship was hit by a hurricane off the coast of Central America.  Her steering gear was damaged, just sufficiently that they couldn't steer accurately enough to get into port.  After the storm ended, Sharpshooter drifted off the western coast of Mexico for sixty-three days before being spotted and towed into port by a Mexican coast guard vessel.  They had done the stereotypical "message in a bottle" routine to let the folks ashore know that there was a problem.
Now, when I start thinking that my life is a little rough, I can remind myself of her life, adrift on the ocean for more than two months, with her husband, a crew of eleven sailors who didn't much want her there, and three children under the age of four
I'll take my life, with all its petty annoyances, over that, thank you!
9:31 am est

November 15, 2006

Finished, finally!
Sing hallelujah, it's done!  I no longer have to fight with the splitty, uneven monster yarn known as Karabella Gossamer.  The scarf is done!
This scarf isn't one of the hugely long ones, because that's all the yarn on the ball, but it's done and I never have to try to knit with that stuff again.  The result is beautifully soft and fuzzy, with bursts of sparklies, and I love the look and feel of it, just hate working with the yarn.
Other projects are coming along slowly, but I'm invoking the "two row rule" to make sure all of them get attention.  Of course, for each project completed, my chronic Startits wants me to cast on four more, but thus far I've managed to resist.  Any bets on how long that's going to last? 
*No, that's not a new photo, but a repeat of one from a couple of months ago.  The monitor is still dead.
12:59 pm est

November 14, 2006

Machines Hate People
Every dratted gizmo in the world holds a grudge against the people that make it work for a living.  That's why the formerly smoothly-running software suddenly starts spewing error messages all over your screen, just when you're maniacally trying to meet a deadline.  That's why the car you love suddenly starts making very peculiar noises just before your vacation road trip.
That's why the monitor on my computer at home has suddenly ceased to display anything.
Yes, my dears, that screaming you heard Sunday afternoon was me, attempting to prepare photos for the blog, as the monitor made a clicking noise and went totally dark.  To paraphrase Bones, "It's dead, Nin."  Soooo, until such time as I can scrounge up a new monitor, there's not going to be any eye candy on the blog.  Pity, too, as some of the knitting is shaping up nicely. 
Could be worse, I suppose... at least the house gremlins haven't stolen my knitting needles. 
11:32 am est

November 7, 2006

It's election day again . . .
. . . and, as usual, I find myself thoroughly disgusted with just about every candidate on the ballot.  The campaigns this year have once again included very little discussion of the issues but tons of mud-slinging.  A pox on all their houses!
The more I see of politics, the more I agree with something written nearly 500 years ago.  In his Utopia, Sir Thomas More opined that the very act of seeking public office proved that a person wasn't fit to hold public office.  It's a sentiment that holds up through the centuries.
Having said that, I must, however, also agree with Robert Heinlein, who wrote in one of his works (and I'm too lazy to find the exact citation just now) that whenever you have an opportunity to vote, you should definitely do so.  His reason?  There may not be anyone you particularly want to vote for, but there's bound to be someone you want to vote against.
This sentiment too is just as true today as the day it was written.
Get out there and vote!
9:31 am est

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"Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football." -- Terry Pratchett