June 19, 2012
Emerging from the lair...
6:03 pm edt
It's been a while, hasn't it? It appears my last post was back in March,
and though nothing much has changed, much has happened.
Back in May, I had a glorious 8-day vacation in one of my favorite "destination resort" environments
- Amtrak trains. First the Lakeshore Limited to Chicago, then the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles,
and the Coast Starlight to Seattle. Brief pause for one night in a hotel (largely caused by train schedule
issues), then the Empire Builder to Chicago, and once again the Lakeshore Limited back to Syracuse.
The hotel in Seattle (which shall remain nameless) got quite a lecture from me on checking out, largely
concerning their total lack of understanding of what constitutes "handicap accessibility" in a hotel room. When are
designers going to comprehend that a bigger bathroom with grab bars is not all it takes to be accessible? For
example, this allegedly accessible room did not contain a roll-in shower; the shower was inside the bathtub. How in
tarnation is someone in a wheelchair supposed to bathe in there? The bathroom floor was treacherous when wet - marble
is lovely, but it's slippery!
Because it's currently "fashionable" to have unholy tall beds, this room was equipped with a king that
sat at hip height for me. That height is going to make it exceptionally difficult for someone to transfer from a wheelchair
to the bed. It's also incredibly hard for someone with short stubby legs and mobility challenges to get into the bed.
Hotel people, if you're going to insist on those ridiculously high beds, supply a stepstool in the room!
The bed was so incredibly huge that I could barely walk between the foot of it and the desk console
in the room - there is absolutely no way that a wheelchair could have gotten through that narrow space, nor could one have
gotten alongside the bed to enable the user to transfer to the bed.
One of the reasons I'm not naming the specific hotel is that these issues are fairly common to
most of the supposedly "accessible" hotel rooms I've visited in recent years.
Get it together, folks!
Will I stay in that hotel again? Maybe, maybe not.
On a much more pleasant note, I've been wallowing in Regency England the past couple of Monday
evenings. The Ovation network has been airing the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth
and Jennifer Ehle. It's a magnificent period piece, my alltime favorite interpretation of Austen's novel. Unfortunately,
this television watching seems to be rather incompatible with knitting anything more complex than garter stitch . .
March 12, 2012
The Dangers of New Toys
9:17 pm est
New toys can indeed be dangerous - to the budget, if nothing else. In preparation
for some travels later this spring, I finally succumbed to the lure of the e-reader. The gizmo arrived last week, and
after charging it up, I've been playing with it off and on. The idea of carrying only the one gadget (instead of half
a suitcase full of paper) is quite appealing.
Having what Charlotte MacLeod once described as a "two book a day habit," ensuriing an adequate supply
of reading material for my travels has been a perennial issue for me. In case you've never had to pack large numbers
of books, you need to know that paper is heavy! Being able to carry one small, comparatively
lightweight gadget that includes the texts of bunches of favorite books just makes sense to me.
The potential problem here is that I have a habit of re-reading favorite books by certain authors,
and it would be extremely easy for me to blow a month's rent money on e-texts. Fortunately (I think), many "classic"
texts (i.e., things that are old enough to be out of copyright protection) are available to download for no cost, or for a
very low cost.
What I've downloaded thus far includes Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a compilation of
the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and a collection of
P. G. Wodehouse's tales. These are some of the texts that have been on my "reread shelf" for years, old favorites that
give me great pleasure even though I've read each of them an uncounted number of times.
As time goes on, it's quite likely that additional works by certain authors will be added - especially
those authors who are still producing new works. Since shelf space is getting somewhat crowded at AuntyNin's Place,
it'll be nice to be able to read the new releases without having to find a place to store another hunk of paper.
Babysteps into the modern era . . .
February 29, 2012
12:59 pm est
Here we are again, at a date that only happens once every four years: February
29th. Call it Leap Day, call it Sadie Hawkins Day*, it's back again.
And, of course, since we've had the mildest February I can remember in recent years, Mother Nature picked
today to dump lake effect snow and generalized ickiness on us. A few minutes ago, a group of geese flew by, and they're
just as confused as everyone else - they were headed east, rather than north.
With the evil flakes plummeting out of the sky, it's a perfect day to curl up with a huge mug of hot
chocolate and a favorite "comfort read" book, which is what I'm about to do. Somehow, laziness just seems appropriate
for this weather. Knitting will likely resume later, with the current sock or Mmario's "Battle Bread" pattern.
That one's fighting a bit, as I've decided to substitute beads for the nupps he's showing in the chart (I really
dislike knitting nupps). It's going to end up being a little on the huge side,
but I'm liking it so far.
"Battle Bread" is proving to be quite an opinionated piece of lace; it is insisting that it should
become a gift for one of my dear friends. The colors are perfect for her, and there are other, subtler, connections
to this lady as well. Looks like the shawl will win this dispute. Something else will have to become a drape for
my recliner, later on this year.
Don't you just love projects that make demands?
Onward to March...
* If you don't know what this is, go look it up...
February 6, 2012
Victory is sweet!
9:09 am est
Giants 21, Patriots 17.
Need I say more? While both teams played well, my hat's off to the Giants for keeping their heads
together and coming through for their fans. It's taking every bit of self-control I have to resist the impulse to gloat
at a former colleague who always mocked my loyalty to the Giants. Yes, said former colleague is
a diehard Patriots fan. (insert evil grin here)
Around the game, we got to see some ... um ... interesting ... products of the ad agencies' twisted
imaginations. Two that stuck in my mind were the Pepsi commercial with Elton John and the one for "The Voice" with Betty
White. Most of the rest of them just blurred together, which is most definitely not what advertisers
The halftime show went okay; I rather liked the "world peace" spelled out in lights at the end of it.
At least Madonna created a spectacle that was upbeat, rather than pathetic (I'm thinking back on the Stones' embarrassing
performance a few years back when Mick Jagger proved that he's in denial about getting older - that was truly pathetic).
No "wardrobe malfunctions" this year either.
On the knitting front, "Why Not?" is done except for grafting the ends of the edging together, and "Counter
Currents" is growing daily. There's also a sock, a sweater and two other shawls lurking in the active projects tote.
What's truly mind-boggling is the blue sky and sunshine outside my windows - second day in a row!
Apparently Mother Nature has forgotten that it's February; either that, or she's lulling us into a false sense of security
to catch us off our guard with a massive blizzard. Time will tell... but me, I'm betting on the blizzard. Mother
Nature's sense of humor tends to run that way around here.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Monday...
January 27, 2012
Sometimes I wonder...
7:06 pm est
... what goes on in some people's (alleged) minds. For example, if one is
trying to apologize for insulting someone, wouldn't it make sense to read said apology carefully before sending it, to
avoid causing further insult?
Alas, it seems that many folks don't stop to think before they post on the internet; it's almost
as if they've forgotten that there are real people on the other end of the cable. Now, if someone
is trying to get a driver's license, they usually have to take a test to prove that they understand the "rules of the road."
It's a pity there's no license test for internet participation; perhaps if there were, fewer people would make complete
idiots of themselves. Mind you, that's nowhere near certain; look at the way some people (who have presumably passed
drivers' licensing tests) conduct themselves on the roads.
I guess it's true that you can't legislate common sense.
To change to a more pleasant subject, knitting proceeds nicely here at AuntyNin's; Duchess of Fenwick
is complete, awaiting blocking, and Why Not? (also designed by Mmario) is nearly at the end of its infinitely tedious edging.
It should be done around the time the Australian Open finals are ending. I'm really looking forward to the men's final
- Djokovich vs. Nadal promises to be an excellent match.
Once Why Not? is done, it'll be time to make a decision about what to start next. There are three
main contenders (at the moment; this can change as quickly as the Syracuse weather) for "next" on the needles. All are
Mmario patterns; Battle Bread, Maelstrom and Counter Currents. Yarn (and beads for Battle Bread) are already on hand,
plenty of needles available, and all three contenders are running neck-and-neck right now.
Of course, I could just abandon lace knitting for a time and concentrate on tiny garments for a dear
friend's first grandchild. Or I could start that cardigan ... or the cotton summer top ... or more socks ... or ...
or ... or ...
So many projects, only two hands (sigh).