Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Sky

Purdy, innit?

Today was an absolutely lazy day. I didn't do anything but knit. Ok, and I did 4 loads of laundry, but other than that...

The Rona shawl is creeping along slowly. I'm on round 40--out of 153 rounds total. I knit a repeat on the second Baudelaire, and a few rows on my current charity scarf. That's about it.

I finished listening to Anne of Green Gables on my walkman. I hadn't read that book in quite some time, and I'd forgotten how good it is. I actually went back to the website and downloaded a second version. This version had a single reader for the entire book, whereas the first version had had multiple readers. Along about chapter 19, I ran into a reader I'll call Space Cadet. I just couldn't stand listening to her any more! She was not a professional by any means, but was trying to do voices anyway. She'd made Marilla sound like Flo from the old TV show Alice, Mrs Linde sounded like the Wicked Witch of the West, and Anne herself sounded all breathy and moony. As if that weren't bad enough, rest of the time she was reading, she sounded like she was spaced out on some bad weed or something. It was bad. I just couldn't take it any more! So I downloaded the second version. That reader has a rather harsh voice, but she was way better than a stoned space cadet!

Once I'd finished AOGG, I went back to Librivox and downloaded Pride and Prejudice. I haven't started it yet, but I will.

About our summer project, there are no official sign ups. You can post a picture if you want to, or not if you don't. It isn't a commitment, either. I want this to be laid back and fun for everyone. There is only one rule: pictures must be taken between June 20 and September 22. Everything else is open to your interpretation. If you want to suggest items to add to the list, you can either e-mail them to me at isshinryubearmom@yahoo.com, or leave them in a comment on any post between now and June 19th. I'll have the list up on the 20th.

Football in Europe?

It had been implied a while back that people in Europe know very little about football, and that they care even less. I think this would imply otherwise:

London NFL Game Sells 40,000 Tickets in 90 Minutes

That's a lot of tickets for a continent that doesn't care.


*When reading the entire article, please take careful note of the phrase that says "an overwhelming number of registered ticket requests."

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Project

So now that you're all eagerly awaiting our summer project, here it is. It is just for fun. No contests or prizes in this one. I want everyone to be able to participate. This is an idea I borrowed from a forum on Ravelry--with permission, and a request to post links to y'all's blogs--but not to worry, you don't have to be able to knit or crochet to do this.

What we are going to do is a Photo Scavenger Hunt. We are compiling a list of items on Ravelry, and when it is finished, I will post it here. If you would like to, you can also submit up to 5 things to add to the list. I'll put them all together, then, on June 20, I will post the Master List to my blog. We will have until September 22 to go out and take pictures of the things on the list and post them on your blog. Let's agree not to cheat! The idea is to try to sharpen our photographic skills by going out and finding opportunities to take fantastic photos.

You don't have to find every item on the list, and you don't have to limit yourself to just one picture of each item. If you take 50 pictures or if you only take one, you are still welcome to join in the fun. It’s not a contest - just a fun project and a nice way to see how other photographers interpret the same subjects.

There may also be super-secret bonus weeks with items not on the original list.


I'm excited about this and can't wait to start! Who's with me?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Audio Books

Just a quick note about Librivox. The site provides free audio books that you can download, either to your computer or to your ipod. The books are read and recorded by volunteers across the country. They aren't professional actors or anything. They are just volunteers. Some of them can read well, others cannot. Not only that, but there can be several different readers reading the same book. Imagine my surprise when in Anne Of Green Gables, after hearing the book read by women, a deep booming male voice suddenly appears for a couple of chapters! Still, they are a lot of fun to listen to, and they are free.

Podiobooks is also free. The first book I listened to --Shadowmagic-- was very good. It was fantasy, and read entirely by the author. Although the books are free, there is a Paypal button so that you can make a donation, if you wish to.

There are other sites out there that you can pay to use. I know that at least some of them have professionally recorded audio books. Maybe in the future, I'll look into them. Right now, I've got my ears full with the free ones.

I needed a break from the shawl tonight, so I cast on the second Baudelaire. Finally.

P.S. Are you ready to hear about our summer project? Soon...I promise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Trip To The Zoo

The Memphis Zoo recently re-opened opened their butterfly exhibit. They hadn't had it up in several years, and I'd never been through it. Since I'd taken a vacation day today, we decided to go see it. I must say that I was severely disappointed. It wasn't so much that they had so few butterflies in it. It's still early in the year, after all. What disappointed me was that most of the butterflies had so much damage to their wings that I wondered how they were still alive.

These are the best pictures I could come up with.


From a photography standpoint, I actually got some better pictures, but those butterflies had too much wing damage to make them any good.

This baby monkey was a big hit, though.

And this little lamb walked right up to me and let me pet it.

Cody and the cockatoo had great fun playing with each other.

Caspian horses, because I like them

The lioness was right up next to the bars. From the boo boo on her ear, I think she and the lion got into a bit of a spat.

I don't know what this cute little antelope is. It's the first time I'd ever seen him.

This photo is not cropped or altered in any way. The Komodo dragon really was that close.

And of course, I had to swing by Hank Of Yarn. It's kind of a play on words, because the owner's name is Henrietta, and she goes by the nickname of Hank. Knitters will get it.


Anyway, I couldn't resist. I got the new Yarn Harlot book, and finally got myself a ball winder. I did indulge myself, since it's so seldom that I get to go to an actual brick and mortar yarn store, that I bought three (well four) hanks of sock yarn. On the left we see some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. They are only 50 g balls, so I had to get two. The name of this colorway is, I kid you not, Buck's Bar. How could I resist?

In the middle resides a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Sugar Maple colorway. I picked it up, told the clerk, "That's bright enough to blind you.....I love it!", and so I bought it.

Lorna's Laces and Cherry Tree Hill are some of the really posh sock yarns I've heard about, but have never tried for myself. I figured I had to try them at least once in my life before going back to my Knit Picks Essential.

Finally, on the far right is LaLa's Knits in a colorway titled "Tale Of Desperaux". Supporting local artisans is always a good excuse to buy something.

The walkman was great company. I listened to the first 8 chapters of Anne Of Green Gables. Then I discovered that somehow chapter 9 had not gotten downloaded. No great tragedy. I just listened to an Agatha Christe Inspector Poirot mystery. When I got home, I downloaded the missing chapter and listened to it while working on my sister's shawl.

The shawl is coming along, but it's slow going. I keep having to tink back because I forgot a YO or left out a knit stitch or something. I got so frustrated at one point that I pulled the needle out and was going to rip the whole thing out. Fortunately, I'd put in a lifeline and so my ripping stopped there. I picked my stitches back up and am soldiering bravely on. It's knit a row, tink two rows, correct a mistake, knit three rows, tink four...etc. I really wish the pattern would have stitch counts at the end of each round. That way I'd know at the end of the round if I'd made a mistake or not and could correct it then and there, instead of discovering it 500 stitches later.

Whew. My sister had better love me forever for this!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Podcasts

Cody has wanted an ipod for quite some time. I was going to get him one for Christmas, but the one he wanted was way expensive. I told him I couldn't get him an ipod and an electric guitar, and asked him which one he would rather have. He chose the guitar.

I never much cared about having an ipod myself. I mean, I didn't need to carry music around with me. I could listen to it on my computer or my stereo. But then....

I started listening to podcasts. First was the Knit Picks Podcast. Then I added Sticks and String. Then came Talkin Cowboys. That was the one that did me in. There was one day last week when I was really really tired, but I really really wanted to listen to Talkin Cowboys. And I though how nice it would be to be able to lay down on my bed and still listen to it. Then I thought, what about when football season starts again and Talkin Cowboys is on every day. I don't know that I'd have time to sit and listen to it every day. It's an hour long show. I began to think that an ipod would be just the ticket, and I did have a little money left from selling my old trailer house. I began to see the benefit in having one.

The next day, when Cody got home from school, I said, "Get in the car. We're going to go get ipods."

"Really?" he said.

"Really", I said.

We got to the store, and looked at the ipods. The good ones were just a little out of our budget. I told Cody so, and he picked out Sony Walkmans.

When we got the sales clerk to get them out for us, she said that they were better than ipods anyway. They hold twice as many songs and are only half the price. Plus, with the ipods, we could only get our music from iTunes. With the walkmans we can get our music from anywhere.

We got home and the first thing I did was download the latest episode of Talkin Cowboys. Once I figured out how to get it onto my walkman, I went and laid down on the bed and listened to it. Since then, I've discovered the world of Podiobooks and Librivox. You can download audiobooks, for free! I've already listened to an entire book Shadowmagic, and have started another--Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot.

I'm also listening to Anne of Green Gables. Then there is the Agatha Christie Radio Mysteries series.

And I've just barely scratched the surface.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day


"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

--George S. Patton, Jr.

.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

MeMe

I got tagged by Buck to do this meme. The rules are: You must answer the following questions using only pictures or graphics. NO WORDS ALLOWED!!!


1. What is your current relationship status?

2. What is your current mood?

3. What is your favorite band/singer?

4. What is your favorite movie?

5. What kind of pets do you have?

6. Where do you live?

7. Where do you work?

8. Who do you look like?

9. What do you drive?

10. What did you do on Saturday?

11. What did you do on Sunday?


12. What is your favorite network TV Show?

13. Describe Yourself.

14. What is your favorite candy?


I'm tagging Opal, Amy, Dani, Cindy, and Sus. Robin is sort of tagged, but since I know you are on vacation, don't worry about it if you don't want to do it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

And Awayyyy We Go!

I've always wanted to say that.

So, after a week of light blogging, I've got a lot to catch up on. Let's start with our Saturday Sky.

It looked like this most of the day, so Cody and I put our zoo trip on hold. We will go, though. The butterfly exhibit opened today, and I want to see it.

So, what did I do all day? I'll get to that in a minute, but first, I have to show you what came in the mail. Yesterday, I received a box from Knit Picks, and this was in it:

Two sets of Options cables, in 24" and 32" and a set of size 5 tips.

Two sets of DPNs--one in size 5 and one it 2.75 mm, which is my preferred sock needle size.

Gray sock yarn

and orange sock yarn. The actual yarn is a burnt orange. I took this with a flash, so the color is off.

And three hanks of baby alpaca lace weight yarn. This is Alpaca Cloud in Autumn Heather color. The actual color of the yarn is closer to my picture--though darker--than their picture. What am I going to do with this? I'll tell ya in a minute.

Today's mail brought a big honking priority mail box which contained this:

So much for my destashing goals, huh? It's not too bad. Several of these skeins have already been marked for charity knitting, which doesn't count as stash. Besides it was free. Well, it was almost free. I traded it for approximately 9 skeins of Patons Classic Merino, which I wasn't likely to use up any time soon. I'd bought it to knit a sweater, then realized I was out of my mind! It was one of those "What was I thinking?" moments. There's no way it's ever cold enough here, especially as hot natured as I am, for me to ever wear wool. I don't even own a coat, and last winter, I think I put on my jacket maybe twice. So when I bought the stuff, I'd had a brief lapse of common sense.

I worry about my sister. She was always the girly one. I was always the tom boy. I didn't care about clothes or jewelry. I didn't even start wearing makeup until I was 17. I got my ears pierced at 19. And I still only have one hole in each.

But she was the one who spent hours in front of the mirror, fussing over her hair and makeup. She was the one who had to have all of the stylish clothes. She had multiple ear piercings and even a tattoo. When she came to visit me in Italy, a man in the enlisted club came over, kissed her hand and told her she was the most beautiful woman he'd seen in six months. I was always insanely jealous of her. She seemed to have it all.


Her husband has changed her. He no longer allows her to fix her hair. It hangs, straight and flat. He no longer allows her to wear jewelry, except for her wedding ring. He no longer allows her to wear nice clothes. She must wear shapeless ankle length dresses--even at home. He no longer allows her to wear makeup, not even for family portraits.

I know these are all signs of an abusive husband. I know, because I went through the same thing. I don't know that there is any physical abuse going on, but there are other types of abuse. At the very least, he is far too controlling of her.

Of course, he's got her way up there in Alaska, where she has no family to look out for her. I worry about her. I worry even more about my nephews, who are growing up thinking that this is normal.

When I can, I like to slip her pretty things. Her husband can't very well object to a hand knit shawl from her older sister, now can he? Ok, maybe he can, but tough nuts fella.

This is what I'm knitting for my sister now:

It is the Rona Lace shawl pattern from Knit Picks. That's what the Alpaca Cloud yarn and all the new needles are for. This is my first attempt at knitting with lace weight yarn. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Here I Was

all ready to go get into bed when I realized I had not posted today! This getting up at 3:45 is killing me. Fortunately, today was the last day of that. Next week we don't have to be there until 6:00 AM, so I can sleep until 4:45.

So, before I go, I'm just going to drop a hint. I'm hoping to do a summer activity with all my blog readers. Well, those that want to, since it's totally voluntary. It's not an original idea. I'm swiping it from a message board on Ravelry. It's not involving knitting, but something else that I think you all will enjoy.

Since I'm too tired to be coherent, I'll post more about it later.

Goodnight, all!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And They're Socks!


I finally finished the two at once toe up socks on magic loop. It seems to take so long to do two at once, but once you're done, you're done. No second sock to cast on. The yarn is Lang JaWoll Jacquard. There is no color name. Just a number, but it is 154. The pattern is simple garter rib.

Now, to cast on the second Baudelaire. I'm doing the same thing with these socks that I did with my Yukon leaves. I love the pattern so much that I don't want to finish them! So I'm putting off knitting the second one to make them last longer.

I know I've gotten way behind on my blog reading, and writing. We've been having to go in at 5AM all this week. Those extra two hours gone from my day really makes things seem rushed. At least we've got a long weekend coming up. We're planning a zoo trip Saturday, but I hope to use Sunday and Monday to get caught up with all of y'all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dear Mr. O

I have noticed your increased attentions toward me. Some of our co-workers tell me that you are attempting to flirt with me. I must say, you have some moves that frankly, I haven't seen since I was in first grade. Since you seem to be stuck at 7 years of age, let me give you some tips on how to deal with adult women.

First, just because I glance up as you whiz past me on your forklift at speeds that would make the late great Dale Earnheart proud, that doesn't mean I am "giving you the come-on look." It's a natural reaction when someone is on the verge of being run over. By the same token, your staring at me for the entire length of the aisle that runs next to my machine doesn't warm the cockles of my heart.

Secondly, if I am walking down the aisle, I am going to be looking in the direction I am headed. If you happen to cross the aisle in front of me, that doesn't mean I am looking at you. There is no need to give me the cutesy single-index finger wave.

Thirdly, playing "Shave and a Haircut" on your forklift horn was mildly amusing--if somewhat juvenile--the first time. By the 4,387th time, it is just plain annoying.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is the case, then mockery is the sincerest form of insult. You should learn the difference. Watching you mock me day after day does not make me feel flattered.

Finally, being obnoxious to Prassad will not impress me. You see, I rather like Prassad, and your attempts to make yourself look better in my eyes by belittling him--well, it's going to backfire. Big time.

I hope that you will take these tips to heart. Unfortunately, for you to date someone with your own level of maturity is just not legal. Therefore, you must learn to deal with adults in an adult fashion. Good luck in your efforts to find a wife. I wish you all the best.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stashalong Goals

I've decided to revise my stashalong goals. Not a tremendous change; just a slight one. I've decided to separate my yarn into categories.

The first category will be yarn for charity projects. I'm going to kind of give myself a bit more leeway in this category. Yarn bought or traded specifically to make charity projects will not count against me, provided I knit it all up before buying more. Like, all the yarn Shelly sent me to knit for Scarves From The Heart doesn't count as a strike, but I need to knit it up before buying any more yarn for charity scarves.

The second category is sock yarn. I know, most knitters say that sock yarn doesn't count as stash, but in my stash it does. My goal is to get my sock yarn stash down to 10 pairs worth and keep it around there. I can buy more, but I must knit down to 10 pairs worth before buying more again. Even though, right now, I have more than that, I've decided that for now, for every two pair of socks I knit, I can buy one pairs worth of yarn. So far in 2008, I've knit 3 and 9/10th pairs of socks. That means I can buy 2 pairs worth--once I get that last half inch done and bound off. After this, I must knit 2 pairs to be able to buy more yarn.

The third category is yarn bought to knit gifts with. If I buy yarn with a specific gift in mind, and knit it up promptly, it doesn't count as a strike. If I let it linger, and buy more yarn before knitting the gift, the second purchase will count as a strike.

The final category is everything else. Whatever I decide to knit, I must make a concerted effort to knit from stash. Right now I've got enough yarn in my stash that I shouldn't have to buy any more--not for a while. That shouldn't be too hard since I'm not one to be overcome by yarn fumes.

Looking back, I guess I haven't really changed my goals. Just clarified them a bit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Things I've Learned

since I moved to Mississippi:

1. You shouldn't eat the very end of a banana--the stem end--because there is an amoeba that lives right there on the tip.

2. The moon makes light. Don't you see it shining in the sky at night?

3. Viruses and Bacteria didn't exist in Jesus' day. They didn't come into existence until people began using fertilizer on their gardens.

4. Fever blisters are caused by a virus that lives at the base of your spine, down by your tailbone. It hides there until you get a cold. Then it runs out from its hiding place in your spine all the way to your lip where it makes a sore.

5. Whether or not you get fever blisters depends on how old you were when you got the chicken pox. If you got them before age 3, you get fever blisters. If you got them after age 3, you don't. Or else it's the other way around.

6. You can have black clouds and white clouds in the same sky:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Book Review

Photographers seem to be a stingy lot. They don't seem to want to share anything. If I were to post on a knitting forum or a snake forum something like this:

Hello, I'm a fairly new knitter (or snake keeper) and want to improve my skills. Are there any books that you would recommend for me to read?

within just a few days, you would have dozens of responses recommending scores of books. I posted the above question on a photography forum, and in the last 2 1/2 months, I've received one, yes one, count em one book recommendation--and it took a month before someone posted that! I promptly went to Amazon.com and bought the book she recommended, and have not regretted it one moment!

The book was Understand Exposure by Bryan Peterson. This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to improve his photography skills. The information provided is invaluable, and Mr. Peterson's writing style is very easy to read. He does give some technical information, but does it in a way that the hobby photographer can understand. He writes as if he were standing beside you giving you tips and advice. He also includes exercises, so that you can put into practice what you have just learned.

The book is generously illustrated with examples of some of the photographer's own best work, and he describes each photograph, not just with the aperture and shutter speed settings, but also tells the reader what his thought processes were and what he was trying to achieve by taking the photo.

I've mentioned before how I hate doing all the fiddly stuff you have to do on the computer once you've taken your photos. How it comes out of the camera is how you get it. I think I found a kindred spirit in Mr. Peterson. Towards the end of the introduction, he says

Whether you shoot film or digital, we can all agree on one thing: there's always photo-imaging software to help us out when we blow it, right? Yes, but please make it your goal to use photo-imaging software only as your last resort! Do you really enjoy spending all of your leisure time at the computer correcting bad exposures? Learning how to make the correct exposure in-camera will save you lots of time, and who couldn't use more time?

Now, that is a man after my own heart.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

Eye candy Friday this week is flowers.

Honeysuckle:

Weeds with yellow flowers:

Me:

Ok, so I'm not a flower. That was one of the pictures I took when trying to get a shot for my Summer in Mississippi post. I debated for a long time which picture I wanted to use. I looked sweatier in this one, but I really liked the crop of the one I eventually chose to use. My third choice was a compromise between this one and the one I used, but it was rejected pretty quickly.
I hope you've enjoyed this trip down photograph lane. Meaningful posts coming soon...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rylea's Trick



Cody wanted to teach her to do this, and it looks like he succeeded!

We have rank testing in karate tonight. Everyone below the rank of brown belt will be testing. I know I haven't posted much about karate lately, but hopefully I can get back to that soon. Typing hurts the sprained wrist, hence the brevity of posts lately.

Only four more days of school, then my baby will be in high school.

Brain Cells

Because I could use a few more!


They also have other microbes, including some popular STDs. Who knew they would be so cute to cause such misery?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Conversations With Cody

"Mom, what does PhD stand for?"

"Piled Higher and Deeper."

"Huh?"

"Well you get your B.S first. You know what B.S stands for."

"Yeah. Bull shhhhhh."

"Then you get your M.S. which means More of the Same. And finally, your PhD--Piled Higher and Deeper."

"That's funny! ....

I didn't know you could tell a joke."
.
.

It's Wednesday

and it's time for a knitting update. Here is the most recent charity scarf I finished:

It is a simple garter stitch scarf in Moda Dea Cheri. That takes care of almost all of the novelty yarn Shelly sent me. Good thing, too. I was getting kind of tired of garter stitch. Next I cast on a One Row Scarf:


The yarn is Plymouth Encore Colorspun in #7990. No color name, just a number. It's not a very good photo, but is shades of pinks. A better picture will be forthcoming, I promise.

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