Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Memory

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays as a child.  But not all Halloween memories are pleasant ones.  I'd hesitated on sharing this one with you, but in the end, I decided to go ahead.

The elementary school I attended--along with all my siblings--always put on this big Halloween Carnival every year.  It was held a night or two before Halloween, so we didn't have to choose between the Carnival and Trick-or-Treating, like kids do today.  The Carnival was just as much fun, and I looked forward to going every year.

The year my brother was in second grade, his class was in charge of putting on the haunted house.  Now, back in those days, when we didn't have to be so politically correct all the time, we called them spook houses.  Can't do that any more, but we did back then.

My older brother's class was in charge of the spook house, and my mother had volunteered to be the wicked witch.  Finally, the long anticipated day of the Halloween carnival had arrived.  My mother was in the kitchen boiling spaghetti and peeling grapes.  I was in kindergarten that year, and as there were no kindergartens in the public schools,  I went to a private kindergarten that was held in one of the local churches.  We got off at 11:30, so I was there in the kitchen watching my mother prepare.  I asked her why she was peeling grapes, and she explained that the grapes were supposed to be eyeballs and the spaghetti was supposed to be guts.  I said they didn't look like eyeballs and guts to me.  My mother replied that it would be dark in the spook house, so maybe nobody would notice.  Then she turned around and asked me the one question I never expected to hear.

"You are going to come see me in the spook house, aren't you?"

Now, I'd never been inside a spook house before. I didn't really know what they were all about. All I knew was that there was scary stuff in them. I didn't like scary stuff. I didn't like to be scared, so I told my mother no.

"What??"  my mother exclaimed incredulously.    "You aren't going to come see me in the spook house?  How do you think that's going to make me feel?  What will people think if my own daughter won't come see me in the spook house?"

That night, walking around the carnival with my dad and brother, and my baby sister in the stroller, we came to the entrance of the spook house.  My brother went in without hesitation.  I just stood there.  My dad asked me, "Do you want to go in?"

I didn't, but decided that the *** I would face when I got home that night was scarier than anything that could be in that spook house.  I was wrong.  My little shoulders slumped.  I didn't see that I had much of a choice, so I took a deep breath and slowly, reluctantly, I went in.

The first thing I had to do was crawl down a long tunnel.  I later figured out that it was sheets draped over card tables, but at the time, it was just a dark, scary tunnel.  I heard all sorts of noises, moans, groans, howls, screams, and through the sheets, hands reached out to grab me.  Just as I was crawling out of the end of the tunnel, a werewolf jumped at me, roaring and growling.

This was just too much.  Screaming, I turned around and tried to crawl back up the tunnel, but there were too many people in the way.  They wouldn't move.  They wouldn't let me go back.  In despair, I sat on my heels, just inside the end of the tunnel, and cried.  People continued to crawl past me.  I even heard one boy say, "Somebody's blocking the tunnel," but nobody stopped.

Nobody stopped to comfort a frightened, crying little girl.  The only one trying to reassure me was the werewolf.

"It's OK," he said.  "I'm not going to hurt you.  I"m not really a werewolf.  I'm just somebody's daddy, dressed up in a costume."

He was trying to comfort me, but I was having none of it.  Then I saw, through the end of the tunnel, my mother hurrying towards me, witch costume billowing out behind her.  I felt a brief flash of hope.  I thought for a moment that she was going to make those people move, so I could go back out the entrance.  So I could get out of there.  My hopes were quickly dashed when instead of helping me, she began slapping me.  And slapping me.

And slapping me, and slapping me.

And slapping me.

How long this went on, I don't know.  To my childish mind, it seemed like forever.  Eventually, my mother's rage was sated and she stopped hitting me.  She grabbed me by the wrist and jerked me out of the tunnel.  As she was dragging me over to her witch's table, I looked over at the werewolf, who had retreated to the corner, over by some fake rocks.  He didn't look mean any more.  He just looked sad.

He quickly got over it, though, and was soon back to roaring and jumping at people as they came out of that tunnel.

At the witch's table, I dutifully touched the cold spaghetti, squeezed the peeled grapes, and thought that even in the dark, they didn't look like guts and eyeballs.  I drank my little bathroom cup of witch's brew, which was just Kool-Aid without sugar added to it.  Then I turned, and without looking at another thing, walked out of the spook house. 

I have never been inside another one, not even the one the church put on when I was a youth.  Not even the one we held at the dojo a few years ago.  Oh, I went in and helped set it up.  I even took pictures.  But when it came time to open it, I left.

I guess there are just some things that once is enough.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Texas Rangers

have WON their very first World Series game, EVER!!!


Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland (R) is congratulated by teammates Bengie Molina and Nelson Cruz (L) after hitting a three RBI home run against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning during Game 3 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)


Go Rangers!

The Texas Longhorns, on the other hand....



Sigh, it's going to be a long season...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hat Making Machine

That's what Sus called me. And yes, I did finish another one.


Since these hats are going to be primarily for men, I unvented a different sort of decrease.  The normal knit 8 stitches, knit two together tends to produce a swirly pattern, I tried something new.  Well, new to me.  This is SSK, knit 16, K2TOG.  I like this decrease.  I may use it more often.  Of course, I like the swirly decrease, too, but manly men might like this one a little better.

I wish I had a head.  I mean a styrofoam wig head.  It would be so much easier to get good hat photos with one of those.  Here we see the new hat being modeled by Rylea.    She's so cooperative. 


It got down into the 30's last night, but I still didn't turn on my heater.  Well, I did, but only for a moment.  I wanted to burn the dust off the coils and get the smoke alarm screeching over with.  Better to do it on a day like today than to have to go through that at 4:30 AM.  I spent the rest of the day knitting and baking cookies for the company picnic tomorrow.

I made chocolate chip and peanut butter.  I tried to use my cookie stamps with the peanut butter ones, but they puffed just a bit too much and so the designs aren't that clear.  I may just take those to Rod on Monday.  Peanut butter is his favorite, and he won't care that the scarecrow looks like it's having an anaphylactic reaction. 

If you plan on carving a Jack-O-Lantern tomorrow, here are some carving tips for you.


Rylea says, "Bring on the cold.  I've got my hat.  I'm ready"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Thoughts Of A Thursday Afternoon

I did something last night that I have never done before in my life.  And what could this first experience for me be? 

I watched a World Series game.

And why would I watch  World Series game when I hadn't ever felt the need to before?  Because the Texas Rangers are playing!

Texas Rangers' pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of game one of the World Series in San Francisco on October 27, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom


I've never been a really big baseball fan.  I mean, it's OK, but I tend to live the old adage:

Baseball is America's pastime, but football is America's passion.


Speaking of, I dare you to watch this video and still question Tony Romo's heart, dedication, and toughness.

I double dare you.   I triple dare you.

I triple dog dare you.

Tonight, I am watching my second ever World Series game.  Why?  Because the Texas Rangers are playing.  I grew up an Astros fan, but where I live now, they mostly show the Cardinals.  I've become a fan by default, but there will always be a spot in my heart for the 'Stros. 

You know, in other sports, when a player gets hurt, you think "Auuugh!  He hurt his knee!"  In football, you think "Whew!  It was only a knee."  Then you think "Auugh!" but first, there is that slight moment of relief that it wasn't something worse.  Like a neck.

Quote of the Week:  If the truth kills a man, let him die.  --Keith Brooking

Did I ever mention that I love that man?

No?

I love that man!

They're predicting down into the 30s tonight.  Could this be the night I finally turn my heater on?  There's just something cozy and comforting about having the heater running.  Once you get past the stench of burnt dust, and the screeching of the smoke alarms, and the ensuing panic of the pets, that is.

I miss the old kind of baseball uniforms, with the knee pants and the stripy sock things.  I do NOT miss the old Denver Broncos uniforms with their stripy sock things.

DENVER - OCTOBER 11:  Wide reciever Jabar Gaffney #10 of the Denver Broncos put a twist on the socks of his throwback uniforms as the Broncos face the New England Patriots  during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 11, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-17 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


Ugh.  Where's the brain bleach?  I'm going to have nightmares, now. 

Sus, you're welcome.  He he he...

.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Game

During the 2008 season, when Tony Romo missed three games with a broken finger, it became obvious that back up quarterback Brad Johnson no longer had what it takes to lead an NFL team.   At the end of that season, he was released, and the Cowboys traded for veteran quarterback Jon Kitna.  Immediately, fans began clamoring for Romo to be benched and Kitna be named starter. 

Be careful what you wish for.

The Cowboys had been struggling all season.  But they'd been working on fixing their problems.  They were going to get them corrected.  And this was going to be the game.  The game where they turned their season around.  This Game.

They'd been struggling with kick off coverage.  This game, they held the Giants to just a 16 yard average on kick off returns.

They'd been struggling with turnovers.  This game, they won the turnover battles, with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, while only giving up two themselves.

They'd been struggling with penalties.  This game, they committed only 5, for a season low 42 yards.  What's more, for the first time all season, they drew fewer flags than their opponent. 

They'd been struggling to score points.  This game, they put up 35, which in most games would be enough to win. 

And the kicker got touchbacks.  And Dez returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown.  And they didn't miss a single field goal.  And they were playing a great game and they were doing everything right and the sun was shining in Dallas once again.


But the bad luck that has been plaguing these Cowboys would soon rear its ugly head again.  Midway through the second quarter, the Cowboys are up 10-7, all 10 points having come off of turnovers.  They have the ball once again, and are driving.  Tony Romo completes a pass to Miles Austin and they pick up a first down.

But when the play is over, one may lay on the ground, writhing in agony, unable to breathe. 

Cowboys stadium fell silent.  Eerily silent.  Deathly silent.

You could have heard a pin drop.


Trainers rush to the injured player's side. Helping him up.  Helping him to the sidelines.

When he tried to return to the game, they grabbed him by his horsecollar and said, "Oh, no you don't." And then, to the sound of 90,000 hearts hitting the floor,  the franchise quarterback left the field, not to return.

Suddenly, fans get their wish.  In one sickening crunch of collarbone, Jon Kitna is now the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback.  In one sickening crunch of collarbone, Super Bowl aspirations go swirling down the drain.

Now the question remains, where do the Cowboys go from here?  To the next game, of course.  That would be this Sunday, against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They'll rally around Kitna.


They'll keep playing.  They'll keep fighting.  They may win.  They may lose.  But they'll play.  One game at a time.

"We've got one game left. One game, that's it," Wade Phillips said. "We've got one game. That's all we are going to... You can talk about 10 games, and this game, and hard schedule and all that. We've got one game. We've got to play that game. We've got to play as hard as we can play. And try to win that ball game, and that's what we are going to do.

This week, this game, right now.

That's it. "

.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do Not

Kick the ball to this guy under any circumstances

On the other hand, DO!

Got lots to talk about, but I just can't seem to get my thoughts together just yet.  More later...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Hats

I was chugging away on my fun fur charity scarf--the turquoise one--


 when I heard something. A faint whisper. I tried to ignore the sound, and kept knitting on the scarf. But it became more intense. It was a persistent whisper, and the time came when I could no longer ignore it....

It was the leftover hat yarn, calling my name.

What could I do?  I set the fun fur aside and cast on a hat.

This one turned out interesting.  I used the same yarn, needles, and pattern as I did for the first one, but it pooled in a totally different way. 


I thought I was making this for myself, but when visiting Shanti's Mom's blog, I saw a plea for more hats.   So I cast on another. 


I tried to get Squeaky to model it for me and got the Death Glare.



The Cowboys don't play until tomorrow night.  Wanna hear something ironic?  Normally, I have to watch the Saints on FOX, because we're so close to New Orleans.  I'm not a Saints fan, and usually I grumble about this.  Today, I would have loved to watch the Saints game, but it was on CBS.  I don't get CBS since the switch to digital.  I need a bigger antenna for that.  Be that as it may, the one time I wanted to watch them, I didn't get to.

And why did I want to watch the Saints?  Because they got smoked by none other than the Cleveland Browns!  In honor of this, I give you something I certainly won't post every week:

A Gratuitous Colt McCoy photo


NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 24: Colt McCoy  of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Now the Saints, the defending Super Bowl champion Saints are 4-3 and third in the division.  I wonder if down in New Orleans, they're calling for Sean Peyton's head?  Drew Brees threw 4 interceptions.  I wonder if down in New Orleans, they're wanting to cut him?   I wonder if they're calling their offensive coordinator an idiot?  Or does that just happen in Dallas?

Remember Wednesday when I was talking about the Cowboys and the disparity in the penalty calling?   Apparently, I'm not the only one who's noticed.  Says Mickey:

The Cowboys have been flagged for 49 penalties, .... That means the  Cowboys are averaging 9.8 penalties a game and have been flagged for more penalties than their opponents in all five games.

If you factor out these 49 penalties in five games over the course of a 16-game season, the Cowboys are on pace to set the single-season record for most penalties in franchise history at 156.

Let's consider the flags thrown on the opponents during the Cowboys first five games,....  That would be 21, the fewest opponent penalties in the entire league after six weeks.

Counted up the opponent penalties called when playing the Cowboys and then their penalties called in all other games. As stated, those five teams have averaged 4.2 penalties against the Cowboys. Against their other opponents so far this season, totaling 24 games, they are averaging seven penalties a game, just less than double. Or would that be almost double?


Read the entire article here: Yellow Fever. It's enough to make you go "Hmmm..."

And a bit of good news;  IT'S RAINING!!!!!!

Woo hoo!

  Valentine rain hearts

Saturday, October 23, 2010

But First

a bit of catching up...I woke up Thursday and the alarm hadn't gone off.  Well, it went off, but the radio station was off the air, so it didn't make any noise.  I woke up late.  It was only a few minutes, but it was enough to throw my entire day off kilter.  Thus, I didn't post what I'd intended to post Thursday.  And here it is:


another fun fur charity scarf completed, and another fun fur charity scarf cast on:


Rylea decided to try on her Halloween costume.


Friday was a plant shutdown day, so I didn't have to go to work. I tried to sleep in, but the alarm dog wouldn't allow it. Yes, Rylea, I'm talking about you! Well, when I went to do my grocery shopping, I saw this:


I usually walk right past these things without giving them a second glance, because we all know my reputation with plants. Sigh...I love them, but can't seem to keep them alive. On impulse, I bought this one.   Wanna take bets on how quickly I can kill it? 

This morning I woke up way too early, after I'd stayed up way too late last night. I got so excited about the Rangers going to the World Series, that even after I went to bed, I couldn't get to sleep. I wish cats understood such things.

She's a persistent little bugger, she is. Especially when breakfast is involved.

No matter. The sky was absolutely gorgeous


and Rangers are still going to the World Series!

I spent today dog sitting the neighbor's dog.  They called me yesterday and asked me to keep an eye on him.  He'd gotten hit by a car yesterday, and they had to go out of town today.  They didn't want to leave him alone all day.   Shortly after they left, I went over and got him and just brought him to my house.


Poor sweet baby!  You can see how his back leg is all swollen up.  He had some open wounds, too, so I put some of the leftover medicine I had from when Rylea got hit on them.  I sent the rest back home with him.  The neighbor asked me what I thought about his leg, and I said I thought it might be broken.  If he were mine, I'd have taken him to the vet.  Hopefully, they will go on and take him.  They also brought me a new t-shirt.


And look! The letters are sewn on!


I didn't have an LSU t-shirt.

Speaking of, the unbeaten LSU Tigers faced off against the unbeaten Auburn Tigers.  I don't wanna talk about it.

The struggling Texas Longhorns faced off against the Iowa State Cyclones.  I really don't wanna talk about it.

Sigh, I'm going to bed


to dream of happier days...

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Texas Rangers

ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!








(Photos by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I don't usually get excited about baseball, but this is something to be excited about.  The Rangers are going to the World Series for the first time EVER!!

Woo Hoo!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Thoughts Of A Wednesday Afternoon

First, a clarification.  The excessive celebration penalty was not called on Miles Austin, even though the officials said it was.  The penalty was on Sam Hurd, for an "orchestrated demonstration".  So, apparently leap frogging someone is OK.

(AP Photo/Andy King)

Standing quietly beside him and throwing up a Hook 'Em is not. 

It's still a stupid rule and needs to be loosened up.  If he'd had to play in today's league, Billy White Shoes Johnson would never have become Billy White Shoes Johnson.  Oh, he still would have been a great player, but what is is most widely remembered for would have been illegal.



And you know what?  Fans love that stuff.  Terrell Owens, no matter how you feel about him otherwise, you gotta admit he came up with some great end zone celebrations.  And yes, he was flagged or fined for nearly every one of them.  But they were great fun to watch.  Today's officials just need one giant enema.


Speaking of, if Tom Landry had had to coach in today's NFL with its Veruca Salt fans, he never would have become Tom Landry.  After all, it took him 5 years just to have his first winning season.  Eleven years to win a Super Bowl.  Wade Phillips has only been head coach of the Cowboys three years, and what has he done in those three years?  Just won two division championships.  That third year, they missed the playoffs by one game.  But they had several key players miss significant playing time due to injuries.  You know, guys like Felix Jones, Mat McBriar, Kyle Kosier, oh, and some guy named Romo.

But Wade Phillips hasn't won a Super Bowl yet, and it doesn't look like he will this year either, so fans want him gone. 

"Don't care how, I want it NOW!"

Wade Phillips is a good coach.  He has to be, or he wouldn't have lasted 33 years as a coach.  Not in this league.  Jason Garrett is a good offensive coordinator.  It's easy for fans to second guess when they have the luxury of hindsight.  Take the Minnesota game.  Marion Barber was 5 for 5 picking up first downs on short yardage situations.  That last time, they passed, and Romo got picked off.  Now, if it had been successful, Garrett would be brilliant, but because it didn't work, he's an idiot.  Give it to Barber.  It's worked before.  They should have just stuck with the run.  On the other hand, if he had tried to run it and Barber had gotten stuffed, Garrett is right back to being an idiot.  He should have called a pass.  They'd run it 5 times already.  The Vikings were expecting it.  He has no imagination.  He's too predictable. Today's fans just need one giant enema. 

Most fans don't know nearly as much as they think they do.  I call it the Madden Effect. 

Games like Madden give fans a false sense of competence.  Fans win at Madden, so they think they know how to coach a professional football team, but they really don't.  My 12 year old (back when he was 12 years old) could win at Madden.  Those games are designed for success.  They are programmed so that you can win them.  If they weren't, nobody would want to buy them.  So, fans win at Madden, and they think real coaching is that simple.  But Madden is not real life, and Fantasy Football is called fantasy for a reason.

You know, as much as I'd hate to sacrifice a season, I'd love to replace the entire coaching staff with a team of these know-it-all Madden playing morons.  Then I'd sit back and watch what an unmitigated disaster that season would turn out to be.

I've got my popcorn ready.

Sharing Popcorn

The Dallas Cowboys are the third most penalized team in the league.  Notice I didn't say that they commit the most penalties.  I said that they are flagged the most (except for two other teams).

The fewest penalties they've had in a game this season is 6.  The most any one of their opponents has had is 5.  Through week 6, the Cowboys average 9.8 penalties for 80.8 yards.  Their opponents have averaged (when playing the Cowboys) 4.2 penalties for 33.8 yards.  And the interesting thing is, in their games in which they weren't playing the Cowboys, their opponents have averaged 8 penalties per game.  The Chicago Bears average 6 penalties per game.  Against the Cowboys, they were flagged twice.  The Titans average 9 penalties per game against other opponents.  Against the Cowboys, they were flagged half that many times.  Four, to be exact.  Did they all of the sudden get that much better?  And then get worse again, because against the Jaguars the next week, they were back up to 8.  It's enough to make you go "hmmmm". 

Don't believe me?  All these stats come from NFL.com.  Check them out for yourself. 

Now, I'm not saying there's some sort of conspiracy or anything like that.  But I do think that we may have a bit of a Pygmalion Effect going on.

That's your vocabulary word for the week.  Pygmalion Effect. 

Whatever the reason, there seems to be a tremendous disparity in the penalty calling, and I can't see that it is all because the Cowboys are committing so many more penalties.  Call it sour grapes, but the numbers don't lie.

Just sayin...

.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten On Tuesday

This week's topic (because for the moment, I seem to have nothing better to blog about) is What Is In Your Freezer. 

If I had posted this about 10 minutes ago, I could have said Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but alas it is no more...

So here goes, 10 things that are in my freezer:

1.  Star shaped ice cubes.  Plus some standard rectangular ones, too.

2.  Two Banquet pot pies.  Mmmm, I love pot pie.

3.  Smart Ones pasta with ricotta and spinach.  I've never tried this, but it sounded good. 

4.  Several servings of leftover chili. 

5.  Beef sausage, which I've been saving for gumbo.  Which I will make as soon as it's cold enough.

6.  Fish sticks.  Yes, minced.  I like minced.

7.   A frozen can of corn.  It makes a great therapy for plantar faciitis.  Just roll the can under your foot.  It acts as both a massager and an anti inflammatory thing.   Ice pack.  Whatever. 

8.  Mushrooms, just waiting to be fried

9.  Vacuum sealed sausage ball mix.  I'm the only one that ever eats them anyway.

10.  Dead mice.  These are for the snakes.  They are sealed in plastic bags.  It's OK, really. 

And that's just a sampling of a few things that are in my freezer.  I'll bet if I really dig, I can find some quite interesting things, but no, we won't go there. 

Thank you.

That is all. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Shocking Confession

I have a confession to make.

I know some of you will be shocked, and others will just sit silent in stunned disbelief, but I must unburden myself of this terrible secret.  I must confess.

I don't like bell peppers.



There, I said it.  I don't like bell peppers.

I never have.  For most of my life, I believed that there was something inherently wrong in this.  This may trace back to a conversation I had with an older relative, back when I was bout 7 or 8.

"I don't like bell peppers," I said.

"You don't like bell peppers?!?!" this older relative exclaimed, staring at me in horror as if I'd suddenly grown a second head or sprouted a third eye.

"What's wrong with you????"

After that, I began to take notice.  It seemed to me that everyone else liked bell peppers.  At least, everyone in my family did.  Everyone but me.  My mother even remarked, "I can't believe you don't like bell peppers." 


 For years, I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn't like bell peppers.  I was ashamed.  Embarrassed to admit that I didn't like bell peppers.  I even went so far as to tell people that I was allergic to bell peppers, so I wouldn't have to admit the humiliating fact that I was defective.  So that I wouldn't have to risk hearing the inevitable question, "What's wrong with you?"

Because I didn't like bell peppers.



It wasn't until I was well into my 30s that I finally was able to admit out loud to a living person that I didn't like bell peppers.  For the first time since that verbal slap I received when I was a child, I actually stated out loud that I didn't like bell peppers.

And you know what?  There was no shock.  There was no horror.  There was just acceptance.  It was OK. 

And I began to think that maybe there wasn't something wrong with me.  That I'm not somehow defective because I don't like bell peppers.


And I found the most wonderful freedom.

So, here I am to say it again.  I don't like bell peppers.


And you know what?  There's nothing wrong with that.

.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Is Getting Hard

coming up with original, catchy titles.  Dang, I just realized that next month it will be 5 years that I have been blogging.  That's amazing.  I don't usually stick with things that long.  Except for knitting.  That is the only thing I've done for longer than just a few years.  But then, I'd wanted to learn to knit for as long as I remember.  As a child--I was about 5 or 6, I once asked my mother if she could teach me to knit, but she didn't know how.  She said it was too hard, and that I should just learn to crochet.  My grandma knew how to knit, but she'd had a massive stroke when I was three, and it affected her speech center.  It was difficult for her to communicate.  Still, I suggested to my mother that maybe Grandma could teach me, and she freaked out. 

"No, no, no!" she said.  "You can't ask Grandma!  It might make her sad that she can't knit any more."

In retrospect, I wish I had asked.  I think Grandma would have found a way to teach me, once she saw that I was interested.  But at the time, I was too young (and too afraid) to defy my mother like that.  So, dutifully I learned to crochet, but I didn't really enjoy it all that much. 

After I was grown, when I'd already gotten out of the Navy, I was at my dad's house.  I was in the back yard, talking to my dad's next door neighbor over the fence.  Somehow, during the course of the conversation, I mentioned to her that I'd always wanted to learn to knit.  She said, "I've got a learn to knit kit that I'll give you, but knitting is too hard.  You're better off sticking with crochet." 

In retrospect, I wish I'd taken her up on the offer, but at the time, I didn't really feel comfortable taking things from people.

Finally, when I was 30, I was in Wal-Mart and saw a Boye I Taught Myself Knitting kit.  I said to myself, "Self, You've always wanted to learn to knit.  This time, we're going to do it."  I bought the kit.  And took it home.  And tried to learn to knit.

It was hard.  My fingers wouldn't work right.  I couldn't make that yarn pull through the loop.  Discouraged, I stuffed the needles and yarn into the bottom of the craft drawer. 

Two years later, I was cleaning out my craft stuff and found that kit again.  I started to put it into the garage sale box, but I said to myself, "Self, you've wanted to do this your whole life.  You need to give it one more try before you give up on your dream."

So I gave it one more shot.  This time, it just clicked.  My fingers worked right.  The yarn pulled through.  My tension was spot on from the beginning.  It was a miracle!  OK, maybe not a miracle, but I was knitting.  My dream was realized, and I haven't looked back.

Thus, we come to this:  


The charity scarf after one hank of yarn.   It measures 14", so I'm thinking three hanks will make a nice length of scarf.  I'm still working on the Fun Fur scarf, too, but it pretty much looks the same.  Just a wee bit longer.

Rylea sure knows how to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just What You've Been Waiting For

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath, and here it is. I cast on the first of the Dardo yarn this morning.


Sharp eyed readers with good memories might recognize this pattern. Yep, it's the ubiquitous One Row Scarf.  I know the pattern doesn't show up that well in that photo, so you'll just have to trust me.  That's what it is.  I've knit several of these before, but it's such a good yet simple pattern that I keep coming back to it.

And since these take just a bit more time, I also cast on another Fun Fur scarf.


And I watched football.  Lots of football.  OK, only three games, but that counts as a lot, doesn't it?  It was the weekend of the upset, I tell you.  Unranked Texas handed #5 Nebraska their first loss of the seasonUnranked Mississippi State handed #22 Florida their third loss in a row.  And here's the shocker, #18 Wisconsin knocked #1 Ohio State out of that #1 spot 31-18. Both LSU and Auburn remain unbeaten, setting up a good match for next week when they face each other.

In between all this knitting and football watching, I finally got my fall decorations out and put them up. 


I hit a bit of an impasse when I got here.


The junk and I stared at each other for a good long while, but in the end, I persevered. Now this cabinet looks lovely and fall-y...ish. Whatever.


I took some Benadryl, hoping it would help me sleep a little better tonight.  I can't remember the last time I slept the night through.  Seems I wake up every hour or two.  If that doesn't work, I may have to resort to The Green Elixer of Death.  Otherwise known as Nyquil. 

Squeaky says, "I notice you still aren't knitting anything for me."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eye Candy Friday

Literally, candy.


A sure sign of fall, when the Kisses start coming out in autumnal colors. Of course, I had to eat the silver wrapped ones straight away, so they wouldn't mess up the color scheme. 


And the only bit of real fall color we have right now. The tallow trees have started to turn. The sweet gum shouldn't be far behind.  The oak and elm are still green as can be.

OK, I'm sensing a theme here.  Wanna guess what it is?


Yep, red.  All this yarn arrived today, sent by Kristen.  This is Dardo, um, I guess that's it.  That's the only name I see on the label.  Ten hanks, plus all this loose yarn. 


I ought to get a lot of charity scarves outta this. And that's where it'll all go: Scarves From The Heart.  Speaking of, it's not red, but I did get another Fun Fur scarf finished. 


Now I can cast on the new yarn guilt free.

Finally, I'd like to apologize for the pedantic plodding of my posts here these last few months.  I know they've been rather dull, and I don't blame my readership for skulking off into the abyss of lurkdom.  Or for abandoning the blog altogether.  Maybe I'm getting old.  Maybe I'm watching too much TV.  I don't know, but my brain just doesn't seem to be functioning as well.  I never was one of these bloggers who could draw thousands of hits per day.  Heck, I've never been one of these people who had hundreds of friends.  I believe my upbringing may have had a lot to do with that.  Social interaction was not encouraged--at least not for me.

I took one of those internet quizzes a few weeks back.  I know, I know...but this one was interesting.  It measured my score on the autism spectrum.  The normal score for females is 15.  Anything above 32 was considered autistic.  My score was 27.

I've never had a lot of friends, and as a child I was painfully shy.  That may be why I didn't have a lot of friends.  I can remember walking down the halls in high school.  People I'd known since first grade would walk by and say, "Hi, Becky" and I'd panic, not knowing what I should say back.   Even as I got older and overcame this, I still never really was able to connect.  Oh, I try to be nice to everyone I meet.  I don't always succeed, but I do try.

Still, there's always been that something missing.  That emotional chasm between me and everyone else.  As I got older, and learned more about Autism, I noticed that many of the characteristics ascribed to autistic persons also described me.  I began to wonder if all my life, I'd been an undiagnosed autistic.  Hey, it's possible.  My allergies to eggs and oranges went undiagnosed until I was in my 40s, though the symptoms were there throughout my childhood.  Now, I'm not trying to diagnose myself.  I'm not qualified.  But between my own observations, and the quiz score, I am beginning to wonder.  Even if I were, what could they do about it at my age?

I watched a documentary once in which an adult autistic person was interviewed.  She said that if she had the choice, she would choose to be autistic.  She would not trade the clarity of thought that autism brings for anything.  Boy, I would. To be able to connect.  To feel human.  To have friends.  To love, and more importantly, to be loved. Yeah, I'd trade anything for that.  Anything

In a heartbeat.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Random Thoughts Of A Thursday Evening

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People need to get off of Marc Colombo's back.



(AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
Sure, he got flagged for an excessive celebration penalty.  We can discuss at a later date whether that call was even warranted or not.  Still, he got flagged.  As a result, they had to kick off from their own 15 yard line instead of the 30.  No matter.  The cannon that is David Buehler's right leg still put that ball on the Titan's own 15 yard line, between the numbers and the sideline.  It's not Marc Colombo's fault that they allowed a 73 yard kick off return.  Put that one squarely on special teams. 

Speaking of special teams, you know you've got a problem when your leading tackler is *ahem* the kicker.


(AP Photo/Mike Fuentes)
Brett Favre has the longest game streak of anyone int he NFL.  He has started 289 consecutive games, 313 if you count playoff appearances.  He has played through all sorts of injuries and inconveniences, including a broken thumb.  Yet this bastion of durablity is considering sitting out the next game.  That would be the one against the Cowboys.  Why?  He says it's because he's got a sore elbow.



Hmmm, the man who has endured everything is going to sit out a game because of a sore elbow?  Or could it be that he remembers the fury of Keith Brooking after the last time these two teams met.  You know, the one in which Favre ran up the score on a team that was already soundly beaten.  No, that didn't set well with Brooking, or the rest of the Dallas defense for that matter.  Favre is walking into this game with a gigantic target on his back.  And on his front.  And on his top.  And his bottom.  It's enough to make a 41 year old quarterback want to call in sick.

Come to think of it, David Buehler is no ordinary kicker.  He's the one who smoked cornerback DeAngelo Smith in a footrace during training camp their rookie year.  Probably cost Smith his job, too.  Buehler also played linebacker in college.  He knows how to tackle.  And he's not afraid to do it, either.  It was Buehler who saved the touchdown on that 73 yard kick off return. 

Come to think of it, Favre is no ordinary quarterback.  He's a grandpa.  The first one to play in the NFL. But he needs to shave. Some men can pull off the stubbled look.  Tony Romo handles it nicely.



But Brett Favre just looks like he needs to wash his face.
 



So does Tom Brady.  Or did, back when he was trying to sport the stubbled look. 

Speaking of Tom Brady, did you hear?  The king of stupid looking hair himself had the nerve to make fun of Tom Brady's mop top.  Uh, that would be Justin Beiber.




Yeah, like he's got room to talk.

What is this world coming to?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WIP Parade


Let's have a parade! Bark 'n' Knit is hosting a parade over on her blog. What kind of parade? A WIP parade!  And it's a contest, too.  You can get all the details over on her blog.  Before we begin, let me just say that most of my WIPs have been set aside for charity knitting.  Between the Sailor Hats, and the cancer scarves, I haven't worked on much else lately.  But that's OK.  I enjoy doing things for other people.   OK, are you ready?

And away we go...

1.  Conwy Socks, from Knitting On The Road by Nancy Bush 


2. Pixie Dust Socks: The pattern is Bubble Wrap.  Yeah, these have fallen by the wayside.  They aren't hard, I'm just not feeling the love for this yarn.  It is Knit Picks Imagination, and it is very loosely spun.  It's totally not right for socks, but I've already finished one, so I'm determined to finish the pair.



3.  Anniversary Mystery Shawl 10: The mojo for this one has gone on vacation, so I'm just going to let it marinate for a while.



4.  Orkney Pi Shawl:  I really like this pattern so far.  The repeats are fairly short, making it easy to remember.  I don't have to keep looking at the chart while I knit.  Just one thing, though, the charts are difficult to follow and have some errors.  However, the written instructions are clear and so far, error free.


5.  Fruit of The Vine Scarf:  It's moving right along. 


6. Friendship Blankie:


7.  Family Blankie: Ignore the hideous stain on my carpet.  The cat threw up and it took several scrubbings to get the stain completely out.



8.  Fun Fur Charity scarf: This one's taking up most of my time right now. 


And that's my WIPs.

Be sure and head on over to check out the contest, too.

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