November 25, 2008
Giving Thanks . . .
9:12 am est
Once again, Thanksgiving is
upon us, and while many people are focused on “What’s for Dinner?” or the outcome of the day’s football games, it’s also time to reflect on all the good things in our lives.
Even though I sometimes grumble
and call work an Anglo-Saxon 4-letter word (which it is, but let’s not go there today), I do appreciate having a
job that pays the bills with a little left over for fun and hobbies. It’s also interesting
work, with a nearly-constant stream of new things to learn and new projects to tackle.
The fact that I work with a great team is just icing on the cake.
Having a decent place to live,
with heat that works and walls that keep out the snow can make a big difference to your comfort levels in the winter in Siberiacuse,
er, Syracuse. Trust me, folks, it gets cold
here in the winter, and camping out has never been my favorite way of life.
Hobbies have provided countless
hours of relaxation and stress relief, and it’s wonderful to be able to pursue them whenever the spirit moves me. It’s also a blessing to know that I’m not the only person in the world who is this fascinated by the potential
of playing with sticks and string. The possibilities are nearly endless, though
I do sometimes wonder about why anyone would actually sit down and figure out
how to knit some things, like the scale model of the human digestive tract. In spite of this, I’m constantly inspired by the beautiful things other knitters are
creating. They’re a constant inspiration, not to mention continually adding items
to my “I Wanna Knit That!” list.
What I’m most thankful for,
this year and always, is the little band of amazing people who have been a very important part of my life for most of the
last 20 years. We’ve shared good times and bad, always there for each other through
thick and thin. There’s no telling what would have become of me in recent years
without their love and support. They're the best!
Finally, I’m very thankful
that the doofus who was speeding through campus last Friday night zoomed down the street where he/she/it did, rather than
six inches to the left. As Maxwell Smart might have said, “Missed me by that much!”
Here’s hoping that everyone
who reads this also has good things to celebrate this Thanksgiving season.
November 12, 2008
Where Does the Time Go?
10:38 am est
Three years and three days.
“Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Um. No, it was only three years and three
days ago, right here, that some strange impulse caused me to start blogging about “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” Much has changed in that time period, though much more has remained the same.
Yes, I missed the formal "blogiversary"
date, as blogging from a moving Amtrak train doesn't work well when you've decided to leave the computer at home. So
Knitting still occupies great swaths
of my (limited) leisure time, though nowadays lace makes up the largest amount of it.
For this I “blame” my dear friend Mmario, also known as “The Demon Enabler.”
His designs are spectacular, causing me to cast on far too many for the few hours available. With friends like this, life is very very good. My other close friends also
contribute lots of good times and giggles, all of which keep me perking along nicely.
W*rk is still an Anglo-Saxon four-letter
word, but could be so much worse than it is. I’ve been very fortunate to share
the Systems Cave with a bunch of bright, hardworking, frequently goofy colleagues. Having
such a great team takes much of the sting out of having to spend so much potential knitting time earning a living. And let’s face it, without an income there could be no new yarns to play with, and no home to inhabit
with my ever-growing stash. Now, if only I could persuade my employers to pay me to stay home and knit . . .
Speaking of knitting, the Cashlana socks
are done, and warming my toes even as I type this. The second sock's toe was grafted in the Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago's
Union Station on Sunday afternoon, as I waited for boarding time for my train. As usual, many of my fellow passengers
seemed bewildered about my playing with sticks and string.
Something I've noticed in my travels is that non-knitters
have no clue that a knitter can (and usually does) observe an awful lot of what's going on around her, even
when she appears to be totally focused on her knitting. For those of us who enjoy people-watching, this is an
asset. To the couple on the sofa on Sunday, yes, I did notice you and your ... um ... obvious enjoyment
of one another. So did lots of other people. There was quite a lively discussion of your activities after
you had gone to board your train.
It's been an interesting three years and three days, and
it's quite likely the next howevermany years will continue in similar fashion. Lace will probably continue to absorb
a lot of my knitting time, though cables are beginning to nudge their way back into my plans, and recent news of a dear friend
about to commit motherhood for the first time has me digging through the books of baby patterns. You just never know
what'll happen next, which keeps life interesting.
November 11, 2008
9:18 am est
Rupert King Watts, 1893-1915 (a.k.a. "Great-Uncle Rupert")
Lance Corporal, 1st. Bn, Newfoundland Regiment
Rupert was the son of Captain Theodore Thomas Watts of the cargo ship Sharpshooter and Jane Magee Watts.
Born at sea, aboard ship. Lived in Newfoundland when WWI began, and was among the first 500 men to volunteer when the
Newfoundland Regiment was formed at the beginning of the war. He was with his regiment when it went ashore in Suvla
Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey, in support of the Australian forces embattled there. Less than a week later, he was wounded,
evacuated to an Australian hospital on the island of Lemnos, and died there. His grave is part of the East Mudros Cemetery
on that same island.
It was supposed to have been "the war to end all wars." Sadly, it didn't. Perhaps one day we'll learn to
share this planet peacefully. We can only pray that it will be soon.
November 4, 2008
Finally, it's almost over
9:34 am est
The harangues, the accusations, the mud-slinging, the endless demagoguery ... nearly over. We
just have to survive the final panicky new commercials and the over-zealous campaign workers' shouted appeals as we pass by
on our way to the polling places.
For many years now, I've followed the Lazarus Long philosophy on elections - there may not be anybody
you particularly want to vote for, but there's bound to be someone you want to vote against.
That's a sentiment that holds true as much today as it did nearly forty years ago, when it first appeared in one of Robert
This year is no exception. At all levels from local to national, there are candidates whose stated
policies annoy me sufficiently that I'd vote for a dead squid sooner than that candidate. Sometimes I
wish there was a line on the ballot where I could vote for "None of the Above" to indicate my total disgust with the entire
lot of them. Having such important choices come down to asking "Who's likely to do the least damage while in office?"
is very disheartening.
Still, I will make my way to my polling place today and cast my vote, in spite of not
being overly impressed with most of the candidates on the ballot. Having done so, I will have
bought myself the right to complain about the outcome. Anyone who could vote but won't bother to take the time won't
get much sympathy from me if they aren't happy with the winner(s).
It will be very tempting, though, to write in the name of Dolores Van Hoofen for president.