We took care of our grandson* #2 Son's and BGFE's dog for a week while they are in Louisiana for her grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. Ser Percival The Energetic has been entertaining, to say the least.
He was intent on chewing things when he came -- my sock, Smokey's work glove, my down comforter -- so I bought him a dino bone.
Note the size of the bone; it is longer than my foot.
Percy loves it. Smokey's toes, not so much when they encounters the bone as he walks through the living room. I trip over it, too, but I am always wearing shoes.
Basket of yarn was quickly moved behind a closed door.
He came to us adorned.
Isn't that special?
As I said, he has been entertaining. He wants to play with Lucy, who is ten years his senior. He does the play bow in front of her and sometimes she responds. Mostly she looks askance at this young hooligan and comes over to Smokey for reassurance. We have been encouraging him to -- occasionally -- be calm. Did you know that when you roll a pit bull onto his back -- no easy feat, that -- and stroke his underside, he goes into a trance? Amazing.
He goes into Crazy Percy mode several times a day: he races from one end of the house to the other, does a 180, rinse and repeat ten times interrupted by the occasional play bow in front of Lucy to see if she wants to join in. Which she does not. She was initially annoyed by all this ruckus; now she watches him with bemusement and wonders when her calm and quiet life will return. We stand back, laugh, and envy his energy.
The cats have been scarce since Ser Percy arrived. En Esch, the skittish one, comes out only when I am reading in bed. He peeks over the edge of the bed, sees Percy, and hides until the next night. Hannibal The Fluffball of Doom is not scared of Percy. (Remember, this is the cat that claimed Lucy as His Dog and who regularly walks all over her and washes her face.) He fluffs himself up to twice normal size -- which is pretty darned big -- hisses, and generally acts like the killer he is. Percy barks and even does a play bow, but HtFoD has no interest in play. The standoff lasts a minute or so and always ends with Percy yelping and both of them running away in opposite directions. The yelp sounds like Hannibal gave him a claw in the nose, but Ser P's nose does not appear to have been touched. So far...
First there was this (please excuse crappy iPod photos):
Followed very shortly by this:
As when our boys were young, Smokey is the major disciplinarian.
Nothing works quite as well as The Daddy Voice.
Fun things to know and tell about a pit bull**:
Perhaps like all short-haired dogs, they are hot to the touch. All our other animals have had thick fur coats, thus were well-insulated. Percy is like a hot boulder.
They are hard-bodied. Like I said, a hot boulder. Snuggling him is... interesting.
#2 Son said that his research on pit bulls said that they have little body awareness; pain does not register well. I suppose that is why they make such good fighting dogs.
They have massive heads and equally impressive tongues. When Percy licks me, I know I have been licked. And I need a towel.
It is nearly impossible to get his attention with physical discipline. Whapping him on the nose when his licking gets overwhelming does no good unless I do it so hard that it hurts me. (See "imperious to pain", above.) The Daddy Voice works, though.
It hurts when his tail hits me. And he wags his tail a lot. Now I understand why short-haired, i.e., non-fluffy, dogs usually have their tails cropped. It is self-protection by the owners against bruised legs.
He never smiles. Lucy and Bear smiled a lot, but he never does. He can look serious, intent, or repentant.
* Smokey thinks it is funny to refer to Percy as our grandson. I think it is weird. Funny, but weird.
** According to Wikipedia, there are several different breeds that commonly referred to as pit bulls, among them the Staffordshire terrier.
Last Monday and Tuesday was the annual knitting retreat tax conference, 16 CPE credits paid for by my employer.
As always, there was a lot of this.
But also there was this during lunch the first day.
That is a most excellent a cappella group, Home Free, that in addition to energetic choreographed singing, also played air guitar and air drums and air bass during parts of their songs. I must admit that there were a lot of puzzled looks among the gray-haired set (also among everyone else -- accountants are nothing if not easily puzzled by anything out of the ordinary), even when they were singing Rockin' Robin, which first hit the charts in 1958.
The official t-shirt made a somewhat dubious claim.
There was a bit of humor in the technology update session. I did manage a fair bit of knitting whilst getting myself up to date on technology, individual income tax, generational differences as they relate to CPA firm employees, Social Security, trusts, not-for-profits, and ethics.
Sweater for co-worker's baby shower next week.
One more stripe after the dark red one, and two sleeves. No problem, mon.
(That WIP photo in yesterday's post was taken over a week ago.)
I haven't done a work-in-progress Wednesday in a coon's age. The time has come. Nothing you have not seen here before, but this IS purportedly a knitting blog...
Starting with the oldest, the Tappan Zee cardigan:
Only a little progress made on this since you last saw it. I have divided for the armholes and knit one front nearly to the bottom of the arm scythe but had to put this aside for the 3 projects below, most of which have a due date.
See what a tight crescent shape it is making? That is the result of the edge shaping -- a 2-stitch garter edge followed immediately on both RS and WS by a double increase. The pattern cautions against knitting the edge stitches too tightly but doesn't bother to explain why. Now I know: imagine a crescent-shaped scarf with one edge so tight the entire thing looks like a ram's horn that has curved around so far it has endangered the ram's brain. I fear I shall need to frog this and reknit with much looser edge stitches. Just glad I figured that out when I had only knit about 4 inches.
Next, the sweater for Ser Percival The Energetic:
Nearly the same progress on this one as the Tappan Zee; I am at the point where I need to divide for the arm leg holes. I have done the necessary math for the placement of the holes (no pattern for this one, just winging it) but haven't actually done the dividing. Given that Ser Percival has a very narrow waist that swells quickly to his impressively massive rib cage, I decided to do the increasing exactly like a top-down raglan seam, i.e., all in one place rather than evenly around the sweater.
You cannot tell from the photo, but the increases in the first couple stripes were done with lifted increases, and that caused the fabric to pucker slightly along the "seam". Then I switched to doing a YO in the non-increase rows and twisting that YO when I came to increase into it in the next row. This resulted in a much smoother fabric. (Duh. Of course it did; a lifted increase gives you no extra yarn for that increase, thus, it pulls in the stitch on either side and causes puckering. (I may have just discovered how to make this long-neglected WIP/UFO hang properly instead of drooping on either side of the line of increases at center front and back.) Percy's sweater is superwash so I was not sure if I could count on blocking to rectify the pucker; in a regular wool yarn it might not have been a problem in the end.)
Last is this little baby sweater for a co-worker's baby shower at the end of the month:
I am using the same pattern as I used for this baby sweater last year but rejiggered for DK weight. The yarn is Valley Superwash DK that I had left over from my own sweater plus the other colors in the same yarn that I bought and rejected. I love the Valley yarn; it is soft and squishy and sproingy and comes out of the washer and dryer looking exactly as it did going in (except, you know, clean). Machine launder-able is important to a new mom, imnsho...
The photo in the photo is the highly adorable Tulip sweater, much beloved of La Harlot; I am doing a similar stripe pattern but without the jigged edge between the stripes. The Tulip is a kit put together by Lettuce Knit in Toronto using Dream in Color worsted weight, a kit not available to me unless I drive to Toronto. (Hint: not gonna happen.) (Oops. I just checked Rav. The pattern isavailable.) I think my DK superwash sweater will be adorable, too. The stripe in progress is actually a dusty rose almost the same as the color in the rayon scarf visible at the left edge of the photo. My camera was not cooperating as well as I thought it should; it absolutely refused to flash for this one, and iPhoto could not correct the color well enough to make it accurate. Use your imagination, please.
btw, if you thought this post was actually a way for me to show off my knitting bags, you are absolutely right :-)
I hate to keep harping on this, but whatever happened to free speech? Sure, The Powers That Be may not like the protesters and their message, but most of said protesters are not hurting anything. They are only trying to have their voices be heard. I have very, very mixed feelings (that I will not go into here) about demonstrations that interrupt the normal flow of daily life. Peaceful demonstrations that just ARE, are another matter.
Last week there was a small meeting at Mozilla to discuss SOPA, the Internet Censorship Bill. It was eerie. The DC groups were practically screaming, "this bill is the worst we've ever seen and we can't stop it" -- while everyone else had barely heard of it. The consensus? We needed to wake people up.Well, yesterday the Internet woke up. *You* woke the internet up.Check out these numbers and screenshots. To everyone who wrote their rep, made calls, posted to Twitter and Facebooks -- and especially to everyone who ran the modal and blacked out their logos, you are courageous and you made history yesterday. You just took the first step to combine the web's largest sites, its strongest communities, its staunchest defenders and billions of users into and unbeatable force for stopping censorship. The scary part? We still might lose. Though growing fast, our coalition still isn't strong enough. The bill is backed by an unholy alliance of Hollywood, its unions, drug companies, and the Chamber of Commerce. They are pouring money into it, and they've been working on this for years. Yesterday, big players like Tumblr, Mozilla, Reddit, BoingBoing, and even 4chan came out strong on our side. Now it's your turn. We've got to dig in and go viral. Can you add a "Stop Censorship" message to your blog, Tumblr, Facebook, or Youtube pages? Click here for the code.
Last week there was a small meeting at Mozilla to discuss SOPA, the Internet Censorship Bill.
It was eerie. The DC groups were practically screaming, "this bill is the worst we've ever seen and we can't stop it" -- while everyone else had barely heard of it. The consensus? We needed to wake people up.
Well, yesterday the Internet woke up. *You* woke the internet up.
To everyone who wrote their rep, made calls, posted to Twitter and Facebooks -- and especially to everyone who ran the modal and blacked out their logos, you are courageous and you made history yesterday. You just took the first step to combine the web's largest sites, its strongest communities, its staunchest defenders and billions of users into and unbeatable force for stopping censorship.
The scary part? We still might lose. Though growing fast, our coalition still isn't strong enough.
The bill is backed by an unholy alliance of Hollywood, its unions, drug companies, and the Chamber of Commerce. They are pouring money into it, and they've been working on this for years. Yesterday, big players like Tumblr, Mozilla, Reddit, BoingBoing, and even 4chan came out strong on our side. Now it's your turn. We've got to dig in and go viral.
If you ran "Stop Censorship" or the "Contact Congress" splash on your page yesterday, we humbly ask you to keep it running until this bill is dead, and to find more people who can. We understand if you can't, but the bill is just as bad as it was yesterday -- so we've got to ask.
Yesterday was amazing. There will be more, we promise.
Fight for the Future
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Speaking of censorship, here is a Salon article about saving some of the 5,000 books confiscated by the NYPD. (Was confiscating the books censorship? Discuss among yourselves.)
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Edited to highlight CarrieK's comment from below: "Those would be bills: S 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 -A bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes and H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act."
You can send your support or opposition to S 968 to your senators and representatives here, and your support or opposition to HR 3261 to your US representative here.
Email from #1 Son at 4:16 this morning (emphasis mine):
From what I can gather from talking to people barricaded off a block from Zuccotti and what I've read since getting home, hundreds and hundreds of cops came and massed around 1 a.m. They moved into the park and physically cut it off from the outside world. They arrested people and then made them stand and watch while they destroyed the encampment and threw all the tents into dumpsters. They tear gassed the kitchen. They trashed the library and threw five thousand books in the garbage. They beat and arrested New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez. They attacked peaceful demonstrators with a sound cannon. The cops wore riot gear which would protect them from hypothetical assault, though the only violence and coercion in sight was their own. Afterwards they sawed down trees and brought bulldozers into the park. I've never seen so many cops. I asked one if any crime had been committed and got no answer. I told him that I'd seen no crime committed, that all I'd seen were Americans exercising their First Amendment rights, and he agreed and then kept following orders. They were so confident of the rightness of their cause that they attacked in the dead of night and confined reporters to a press pen.
Yes, Zuccotti Park was messy. Democracy can be messy.
Only a police state (or maybe Denmark or the Netherlands, neither of which is a police state) is completely tidy.
Occupy Berlin, London, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Knoxville, Orlando, Melbourne, Dame Steet (Dublin), Montreal, Vancouver, Beursplein (Netherlands). Iowa City, Des Moines, Seattle, Los Angeles, Riverside (CA), Cedar Falls (IA), Santa Fe, La Crosse (WI), Las Vegas, Occupay Together (San Diego), Fort Lauderdale, Occupy Plaza Mayor (Madrid), Detroit, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, St. Louis. (I got that list of cities at CNN.)
Gee, do you think there might be a groundswell here?
Of course the police moved in and cleared out the protesters in so many cities. Leaving them there was a constant reminder of the failure of Wall Street and Washington and the regulators who were supposed to protect us.
New York (CNN) -- A New York judge issued an order Tuesday morning allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return to Zuccotti Park, just hours after scores of police in riot gear ordered them out and tore down their tents...
The order from New York Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings allows protesters to bring tents and other equipment back into the privately-owned park where the now-global Occupy movement began...
City officials had intended to allow protests to resume at the park, but said they would not allow demonstrators to set up tents or camp. The park will remain closed until officials sort out the legal situation, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said...
The operation to clear the park began around 1 a.m., according to Bloomberg...
Police in riot gear then moved into the park, evicting hundreds of protesters...
Continuing concerns about public health and safety and the impact of the protests on nearby businesses, as well as the rights of others to use the park, prompted city officials to dismantle the camp...
The air was thick with smoke, which some protesters said was from tear gas that officers lobbed. thers said officers took thousands of books from the camp's makeshift library and tossed them in Dumpsters...
CNN could not confirm those accounts, as police kept journalists a block and a half away from the park during the raid. However, CNN was able to obtain footage of piles of clothing, tents and tarps made by police as they cleaned out the park.
Jeremy Baratta, a 32-year-old Army veteran, called the health concerns that authorities cited a pretext.
"It was fairly clean," he said of the park. "No urine or fecal matter. There weren't things strewn about."
Many of the protestors reassembled at Foley Park near City Hall.
It is deja vu back to the 60s all over again. Did the protests of the 60s end the Vietnam war? Did they even cause it to end sooner than it might have? Who knows?
But did those protests change our country? Yes, indeed they did.
Will that happen again? Who knows?
I for one am looking forward to seeing what happens next...
(I am a little disjointed this morning -- can you tell? Between worrying about #1 Son and attempting to write a speech for the county board meeting tonight, all while attending the annual 2-day tax conference, my brain is spread thin...)
You have probably seen references (I first typed "reverences", which may be appropriate in this case) to Wovember. I cannot decide if this is a British thing or if it is world-wide, but really, who cares? It is a chance to celebrate a wonderful fiber*.
A few facts cheerfully stolencheerfully lifted gleaned from Wovember.com:
Unlike nylon, rayon and other man-made fibers, wool is a renewable and natural resource.
There are 1,000,000,000,000 sheep in our world, or approximately 1 sheep for every 6 people.
China and Australia are the top wool-producing countries in the world, tied at 302,000 tons each (that is 604 million pounds!).
One last factoid:
As far as their reputation for stupidity is concerned it turns out that sheep are not half so dumb as we have always assumed. Recent experiments have shown that sheep are really quite bright. They have the ability to recognise their shepherds and each other. Nor do sheep have a short attention span. It was proved that sheep could remember the faces of their shepherds and other sheep amongst whom they had lived for up to two years. Some sheep have also learned to roll across cattle grids on their backs and new measures may have to be taken in order to keep them penned in because it has also been shown that they can teach each other this naughty trick.
Do go to Wovember.com and look around. They have lots more information about wool and sheep, plus an abundance of sheepie photos.
* A fiber that, tragically, I have some trouble wearing. Unless it is very nice merino, it itches. And unless the indoor temperature is somewhere south of 66˚ F, one that is too warm for this post-menepausal woman. But I persevere in my knitting of it...
Carole asked for the recipe for the chicken and rice that ended up as a cinder. I am nothing if not compliant. It is a very easy recipe and one that is infinitely variable and tolerant of being held in a warm* oven until your family arrives.
On Thursday I put a chicken and rice dish in the oven at 4:15 at 325˚, then returned to my office for the second half of a four-hour virtual classroom training session on gift tax and generation-skipping transfer tax issues. (Don't you wish you were me?)
I noticed a burning smell but remembered how dirty the oven is and thought about how maybe a french fry or two had fallen off the cookie sheet to the bottom of the oven when we were reheating them earlier this week.
The smell worsened.
At 6:20 when the class was over I went to check on dinner. The recipe calls for it to cook for 2-1/2 hours covered, then uncovered for another half hour.
The house was full of smoke, and more was streaming out around the oven door.
I opened the oven and flames burst out.
I closed the oven.
Opened the oven again.
I turned off the oven and opened a couple windows, hoping that the strong winds that had been blowing earlier would air out the house. No wind now that I needed it, of course, but the open windows did help some.
I found a squirt bottle in the laundry room, emptied it of its non-H2O contents, and filled it with water.
This time when I opened the oven and the flames erupted I put them out with the squirt bottle.
All this time I was trying to figure out what had happened. My best guess was that when Smokey had taken a package of English muffins from the freezer as he had mentioned earlier, he had put them in the oven to defrost in a pet-proof space; somehow I had not noticed them when I put in the chicken.
Eventually I was able to remove the pan from the oven -- it was very, very much lighter than when I had put it in -- and see what remained of our dinner.
The scorched top foil told me that the upper element, the one that comes on when the oven is preheating and was supposed to turn off when I turned the knob from preheat to cook, had stayed on for the entire two hours. (Yes, I did switch the knob from preheat to cook -- I checked.)
That total charcoaling of the rice and liquids at the bottom of the pan told me that the lower element had stayed on for the entire two hours, too. Good grief.
So this stove, which was brand-new when this house was built in 1976 (see? harvest gold?), may be on its last -- or very nearly its last -- legs. I bought a new stove when we remodeled, but the remodeling has been stalled for several years and the stove sits in the garage, waiting its turn. Removing the old one and installing the new one -- and the gas line it will require -- is more than we necessarily wanted to tackle this week. Or this month. Or maybe this year.
Underneath that quarter-inch of pure charcoal was a bit of edible meat that Smokey was happy to try. He likes his chicken overcooked and dried out -- although not necessarily this much.
Needless to say, we went out for dinner. After all that smoke the only thing I could think of eating was barbecue. So I did.
We got snow (see yesterday's post for the evidence).
And on Tuesday Smokey went to check on the pontoon boat and motor he bought, sight unseen, a month or so ago. (Ours was partially but fatally sunk when one of the pontoons sprung an unreachable leak after spending last winter in the lake.)
What, doesn't everyone buy their boats in the fall?
Not only did it snow last night, but it is cold and very windy out there.
Summer/autumn = gone. Winter = now. (Of course, it is mid-November in n.w. Wisconsin, so what did I expect -- sunshine and palms?)
On the bright side, that means that this little thing OTN:
will be very welcome. It is a dog sweater for Ser Percival The Energetic, who has a very, very short coat and a naked pink underside. Poor baby needs a sweater.
Anything still green in the woods in November (except conifers) is an exotic. This is a Tartarian honeysuckle that was here when we bought the place and that I have intended to remove for... a long time.
10 Things I Do To Care For Myself When I Have a Cold.
The most important thing I do happens before I am sick with a cold. At the very first tiny hint -- a scratch in the throat, a tickle in the sinuses -- I start taking vitamin C. 100mg every hour, 500mg or 1000mg whenever I think of it -- dosage depends on what strength of vitamin C I have on hand. This works for me and has worked for nearly 15 years. I know that double-blind studies have debunked it; don't care. It works for me.
These next two are from my nurse husband.
Force fluids. This will help flush toxins from the body. It won't make the cold go away -- nothing will do that -- but it relieves the general malaise.
Take aspirin or acetominophen. Same effect as #2, above.
Now it gets difficult. Given #1, I have had very few colds in the past 15 years, only the ones that snuck up on me when I didn't have vitamin C available.
Go to bed and stay there until I feel good enough to be up. Go back to bed as soon as I feel tired.
Have a large box of tissues and wastebasket handy at all times. Puffs are easier on the nose than Kleenex; tissues with lotion are best of all.
Eat ice cream. That makes anything better.
Drink lots of hot tea. Ditto.
Okay, I'm outta here...
One more thing: if you take care of the cold it will last a week. If not, you are stuck with it for seven days.
Mary Lou says she cannot comment on my blog. She has tried both Firefox and Explorer and neither works. (Based on that I am pretty sure she is on a PC, as MS has not supported IE for Mac in several years.) I use Chrome on a Mac so I am not much help to her.
Anyone else having problems? Ideas? You can get my email address by clicking on "About" near the top of the right-hand sidebar and hovering over the "Email Me" link.
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In that same vein, I have changed my primary email account from Yahoo to Gmail. Yahoo finally gave me one too many error messages a couple weeks ago. Straw, camel's back, etc.
If you comment here your comment will go to the new gmail account. If you have me in your address book, please update.
Thank you for your support.
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Smokey bought me/us a new printer/scanner for our anniversary last month. We finally set it up last week, only to discover the computer and the new hardware would not talk to each other. Frustration followed.
This weekend Matthew The TechnoGeek Genius was here so I asked him to fix it. He spent about 30 seconds, only to come back to me and say it was working fine without him doing anything. I told him to print something from Word to be sure (that was what I had tried to do unsuccessfully). It worked fine FOR HIM.
Yay! and Grrrr! I hate when that happens -- it makes me feel so stoopid, just like when I have struggled with something, usually electrical, and Smokey does EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS I DID and it works perfectly for him. Yay! and Grrr!
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The new printer is an HP, and I salute that company for their packaging. Inside the carton were zero plastic bags. The printer itself was encased in a large, lightweight black reuseable tote bag labeled Ecosolutions; the cord and cartridges were in a small zipper bag of the same material. Tragically, they still used styrofoam blocks to hold the printer in place in the carton.
If this was a marketing ploy on HP's part, it is working. I have told everyone I know about it, including all six of you ;-)
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Smokey just told me that it is deer season in MN. All you Minnesotans, break out your blaze orange immediately: there are people out there WITH GUNS!
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Now, as a reward for wading through the above, I give you a couple screen shots I found in my blog folder. Can't remember if I posted them before so I'll do it now.