My sister-in-law (she of the scarf) also has a blog. Every woman among you should go read this post.
Doctors are human beings, and like the rest of us, do not like to talk about bad things. It may be up to us to ask them the hard questions. Like, Can this come back? Exactly what are the chances? What should I watch for?
While Andrew was home for Christmas we watched Season 1 on his laptop. Excellent.
I had clued him in on these books a couple years ago, and he had found somewhere on the web where he could download a pdf of the text. He put them on his iPod Touch and read whenever he had a minute or two to waste -- waiting for an elevator, in the bathroom, wherever.
Last year when A Dance with Dragons, Book 5 of the series, came out I emailed him to let him know. He replied that he already had an autographed copy*, acquired when he went to hear George R.R. Martin speak. Rotten kid, taking advantage of all NYC has to offer.
* "[He'd] already got one, you know." Name that reference.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #271 and 279, about 1/2 skein each. Needle: US#7. Or maybe it was a #6. Or maybe I did the ribbing on #5 and switched to a #6 or a #7 for the stockinette. Anyone? Bueller? Pattern: A pastiche of hat patterns. I wanted a hat that got bigger after the ribbing, sort of a slouch/tan. This is that, if I rearrange the slouch -- which is minimal -- after I put it on.
Now I have a sort-of matched set of hat, scarf, and mittens. They are all Noro, just not all the same Noro.
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Matthew requested another hat for himself, this time in charcoal and 2x2 rib. He specifically said, No cables, no cuff, none of that stuff that is such fun for knitters. Sorry. Mom. He also does not care for the lines formed on the crown by columns of decreases, thus, the 2x2 rib that can hide the decreases. I sent him links to about a dozen different superwash merino DK yarns in charcoal. He chose Tanis Yellow Label, a yarn I had never used nor even heard of before I googled.
As soon as I ordered it I started noticing all the Ravelry projects made from it. Once the yarn arrived and I cast on, I learned why it is so popular. Nice stuff! Soft like merino but still with a bit of woolliness. The color is tonal, and it looks GREAT in ribbing -- very 3-dimensional.
What is that gap in the ribbing, you ask?
I could tell you it is for the unicorn horn at Matthew's hairline, but that would be... a lie.
Most of you already know this but just in case somebody doesn't: when knitting in the round, it is NOT necessary to join immediately after the cast on. That way lies madness twists.
Knit back and forth for a few rows, then join. You can easily see how the knitting should be joined and avoid that dreaded twist. Use the tail from the cast on to sew up the little seam; no one will ever notice when the garment is worn.
In the case of the hat, above, the viewer will be so distracted by the jog in the stripes (does anyone have a good method for avoiding that job when the stripes are only 2 rows tall?) that they will never notice the seam in the ribbing. In the mittens, I defy you to find the seam.
* * * * *
In other breaking news, I tripped over something invisible in my office last night and fell. My can of soda and bowl of popcoarn went flying, and I smacked my hand on a chair. (I know the thing that I tripped on was invisible because after I got up there was nothing there to see.) No huge damage to myself, and Lucy The Wonder Dog was thrilled that I had thrown an entire bowl of popcorn onto the floor for her, instead of the usual few kernels, but the index, middle, and ring fingers of my right hand were very sore. So sore, in fact, that I could not knit.
Wah! It doesn't look bad -- no swelling, no bruising -- but it is sore.
The next day the fingers were still sore but not enough to prevent knitting, only to make it go a bit more slowly. Yay!
We spent Christmas day with Alex and Matthew. It was delightful to see them hosting the gathering of our little family. They had clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the day -- food (tossed salad and pad thai -- yummy! I brought dessert), presents (perfect, every one!), and they even got dressed up. Not Smokey nor I nor Andrew; we were all in jeans, although I did wear a handknit scarflet to dress up my sweater.
There was festive dress.
Smokey always wears his Santa hat when he works on Christmas, and he brought it along. In the photo above, Andrew had just attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to put the hat on an attentive but uncooperative Ser Percival, so he donned St. Nick's chapeau himself.
Matthew had recently shaved his head.
Smokey was delighted to get a calendar from Alex. He has always been a big fan of Xena, Warrior Princess. (He was gobsmacked also to receive an automotive code reader, but that is not a particularly photogenic object, being basically just a black box.)
I got tags for my handknit items (sadly, they had not arrived by Christmas) and an iPod dock and a Mac Magic Mouse.
Andrew also got an iPod dock, but I neglected to get a photo. His looks approximately like this:
I had put together a basket containing a couple of beginner's supply kits for Alex. There was a knitter's kit: US#7 Dreamz needles, a ball of dishcloth cotton to learn on, and two skeins of Cascade 220 in soft yellow for a scarf once she has mastered the knit stitch, plus assorted small tools, and a How to Knit pamplet from the The Knitters' Guild of America for when I am not around to help her. The other half of the basket was a beginner's sewing kit -- shears, seam ripper, pins, needles, thread. I have found myself with three sewing machines, and one will be hers. She wants me to teach her to sew and to knit, yay!
Smokey had put together a similar gift for Matthew with assorted tools and gadgets, including a set of lighted jumper cables. Go ahead and laugh, but Matthew was pleased with them; you will wish you had them yourself next time your car will not start on a cold dark night.
Ser Percy's sweater was finally done and presented to Himself.
It fits him pretty well, considering I had no pattern and had very limited access to the actual dog's body for fitting. The next one will be better. Please note Percy's bow tie and Alex's sparkly shoes. It was a very festive day!
* * * * *
I had hoped to finish a pair of fingerless gloves for Alex by Christmas, but it was not to be.
The pattern is Vancouver Fog on Ravelry, the yarn is Knit Picks Andean Dream (alpaca, silk, merino worsted). I bound off the first one tonight and cast on the second. They go very quickly except for the idiot who crosses cables the wrong way and loses track of where she is in the pattern. That does slow them down a mite.
2011 has been a hard year. The Jeep snowplow broke last winter and got stuck at the bottom of an icy hill, leaving us snowbound until spring. The freight elevator we use to ferry packages from the ground floor garage to the second (main) floor stopped working. This has required us to carry every single thing we consume up the stairs. Golly gosh, it is hard enough getting ourselves up the stairs without the added burden of dog food, cat litter, 24-packs of soda, and assorted other groceries.
The water softener caught a virus and threw up. The heat pump compressor vibrated apart. One of the vans misted US Hwy 8 with four quarts of transmission fluid. Countless electronic gadgets – cell phones, cordless phones, the wireless router, and an e-book reader, to name just a few – up and died. The oven thermostat jammed full on, requiring us to cook everything at 800˚.
Like everyone else of advancing age we have been witness to incredible changes in technology. We have seen 78s, 45s, 33s, reel-to-reel, 4-tracks, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, MP3s, MP4s, AM, FM, satellite, and HD radio – and that is just audio. But every new wave brings its share of expense, teething problems, and landfills full of items that were last year’s must-have Christmas presents. Can we interest anyone in several hundred pounds of computers that have hard drives so small they can only load Windows 95? Wireless and cordless phones the size of Maxwell Smart’s shoe, obsolete car stereos, analog televisions, speakers that buzz and hum? How about fifty pounds of a/c adapters from various dead technologies or a vacuum tube oscilloscope?
Given all that trouble with modern technology, can you blame us for wanting to go back to the simpler life of days past? While we were camping in the Black Hills, we had the following family picture taken and pledged ourselves to a simpler life.
That lasted for a couple hours, as we we cooked our dinner over a campfire, used the campground’s rustic outhouses, and pumped our water with a hand pump. But then we wanted a snack before bed, so we fetched the ice cream from the RVs propane freezer/fridge. We played some video games, Smokey watched a DVD, and Kathy read an e-book. Since then we have continued to backslide from everything rustic and natural.
Our troubles were not all technology-based. There was the ice sheet that slid off the garage roof, taking out a deck and a window and bouncing off the hood of a two-week-old car. Total damage: $5,000. There was the pontoon boat that spent the winter in the lake. Tiny cracks in the top of one pontoon allowed water from snowmelt and rain to enter; in the spring we rechristened it Titanic. As far as we know, no lives were lost, and we now have a newer, bigger, and better pontoon boat.
Okay, now that you are all depressed and feeling sorry for us – and maybe secretly glad this all happened us instead of to you – let’s talk about the good stuff, m’kay?
First of all, we are both still above the sod (ice!) and in relatively good health, thanks mainly to modern pharmacology. Crestor, Lisinopril, Lovastatin, Cardizem – sometimes our shopping list reads like a Physician’s Desk Reference. Smokey discovered the wonder that is a shot of steroids and anesthetic in the lower back, resulting in three months of feeling downright perky and full of vinegar… right up until he broke a rib in a fall. Kathy had a similar injection in an aching hip that had been keeping her awake at night; success! All of which is not to say we are ready to run any 5K races, but while the shots lasted we were both able to walk, bend, stretch, and lift better than before. We are now on round two – please wish us a continued low-pain existence.
Last December Kathy was told that her pancreas had “an abnormal curve,” and that it required further investigation. When you are older you realize that abnormal is sometimes a code word for cancer, and cancer of the pancreas is often lethal. On Christmas Eve day, however, Kathy received word that her pancreas was just fine, although perhaps a bit funny looking.
Aside: when did we become the old people who talk about their health all the time? Even worse, when did we getOLD? Recently we watched a PBS rock and roll special that featured Peter Noone (of Herman’s Hermits), Davy Jones (of the Monkees), Mitch Ryder (name that group), Gary Lewis (ditto), and several others. Gosh, did they look old!
In 2010 Kathy’s CPA firm did not require her services; in 2011 they realized they cannot get along without her. She is no longer a seasonal CPA; she is now a year-round, part-time employee. Her hours per week vary week-to-week depending on the workload, but net effect is that she is working more total hours. She will run for a third term as county supervisor in April, is on the boards of several community organizations, and volunteers with several others. Drop some money in her Salvation Army bucket at Wal*Mart this season. If you ever want to know what is going on with us during the rest of the year, check out Kathy’s blog at www.kmkat.typepad.com. Although purportedly a knitting blog, it often features whatever she may be thinking about that day. In its five-year history it has had 10,000+ hits.
Last spring Smokey worked a lot during the installation of a new computer system at the hospital. Not just a lot – three consecutive 90-hour weeks. Since then he has only worked one additional shift beyond his scheduled two days per week. His plan is to work about 1,000 hours a year, which would be half time. This Christmas he will don a Santa suit and pass out gifts to the children at the hospital. People think he looks like Santa. “I get that all the time,” he says. “Personally, I think I look like John Travolta.” It has been nice for him to catch up on the aforementioned broken things at home now that he is there more. His car collection shrinks and grows; the latest acquisition is a 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible with 97,000 miles in perfect condition. Craigslist, $2500. (December is a great time to buy a convertible!) The car has been dubbed “Walter” after Walter P. Chrysler, the founder of Chrysler.
Last May we spent a few days in New York City with Andrew. While the highlight of the trip was being with him, we did some other fun things, too: a trip for Kathy to a renowned yarn shop on the Upper West Side, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot in concert, genuine New York-style pizza (see photo at left), and the Sunday gospel brunch at Sylvia’s Soul Food Restaurant at 126th and Lenox in Harlem.
Andrew will finish medical school this spring. When you see him thereafter you can officially ask him, “What’s up, doc?” It will be another four years or so before he will become established in his chosen specialty. Next year he will go to graduate school to get a masters degree in public health; he is currently sending in applications. (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Emory, Tulane – the man thinks big.) The following year he will begin his residency in family medicine. He hopes eventually to work for the US Public Health Service and thereby pay off a large chunk of those annoying medical school loans. We fully expect that, given his love of cold and snow, he will request to be sent somewhere in Alaska.
Matthew and his girlfriend Alexandra got engaged last summer after being together for a year. They traveled to her ancestral home in Baton Rouge twice in 2011, and we understand that Matthew has been found worthy in the eyes of those that matter to Alexandra. She is currently working at Banana Republic in retail sales and plans to start school in cosmetology next year. They plan to marry after she graduates, probably in 2013. We couldn’t be happier to welcome her to our family, especially since she is an excellent cook. She specializes in the Cajun dishes of her ancestors, and they have invited us to their apartment for Christmas dinner.
Last summer they got a dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, one of the breeds more often called a pit bull (but Percy is not at all aggressive). He is still under a year old and has oodles of energy. We dog-sat him while they were in Louisiana last month (he came to us adorned; see photo at right); he spent a week playing with our dog Lucy until they were both exhausted,
Matthew continues to work at the video postproduction firm but is now the resident engineer. He maintains and repairs the electronic gizmos (including the million-dollar whatsit) needed to accomplish the video magic that they do. The job is perfect fit for his talents and temperament. We benefit, too; when our computers or network stop working (see “dead electronics, above”) he is our go-to guy. He continues to be an avid bicyclist. He has one of our cars but uses it mostly to make the 75-mile trip to visit us. He rides his bike to work every day no matter how deep the snow or how low the temperature. Last summer he was part of a 5-man team cyclists that participated in a 24-hour endurance race in Milwaukee. They bested about 200 other teams to come in first. The trip to Milwaukee was fun as well. The team played video games as they coaxed our old conversion van to Milwaukee, as the picture at left shows.
For the last fifteen years we had a big, friendly, sweet-natured dog named Bear, a chow/Newfoundland cross. We got her when she was about two, so she had a long life for such a big dog. A conversion table Smokey found online claimed that a 17-year-old large dog was similar in age to a 110-year-old human. She and Andrew had always had a special bond, ever since we first got her and he would take her for a long walk every day after school without being asked. For the last few years Andrew would say a long goodbye to his dog before he returned to New York, wondering if he would see her again. But time after time he would return home to find her waiting for him, tail a-waggin’. Shortly after he left last Christmas she began to shut down; she couldn’t walk very well and slept almost all the time. We took her on that last long ride to the vet in early January. We miss her still.
In the best tradition of the-king-is-dead-long-live-the-king, Smokey has been on the lookout for another dog ever since we lost Bear. It had to be the perfect dog – big, gentle, furry, low-energy, and willing to be cuddled. We may have found her; we just adopted Keesha, another Newfoundland cross, from an animal rescue organization in central Wisconsin. We renamed her Mischa after the little bear mascot of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
We vacationed again in our ancient (1988) Dodge motor home, spending a month camping in Wyoming with a brief break so that Kathy could fly to New York to qualify as a Jeopardy contestant. She passed the tests and audition (again; this is the third time). Now she waits for Alex Trabek to call. While Kathy was in New York Smokey visited his Aunt Ruth and cousins in Laramie, WY. Dear aunt is 93. Look at the picture. Who looks younger?
At the end of the vacation Matthew and Alex met up with us in the Black Hills, and we all spent a long weekend together in a campground near Mt. Rushmore. A good time was had by all: biking and swimming (them), napping (Smokey and Lucy), knitting (Kathy), sightseeing (all of us). The pre-technology portrait was taken in Hill City. We made one more camping trip last summer, a week on the North Shore of Lake Superior. That gave us nearly two months of vacations last summer. This semi-retirement thing ain’t so bad!
Have a great holiday season and an even better 2012!
"We took Times Square today, 15,000 people or something. You know those news tickers they have out front of some of the buildings in Times Square? A great big cheer went up from the crowd when one ran the headline, 'OccupyWall Street protesters take Times Square.' "
He was not among the dozens arrested**, but his friend Claire was. He will cat-sit for her while she is in jail. Claire is such a med student -- emphasis on the student -- that she made herself a bunch of anatomy flash cards and stuffed them in her bra before the police took her so she could study if she ends up in jail for awhile.
*Apparently there were a number of protests on Friday and Saturday. He was among the group that gathered in Wall Street chanting Greed must go!*** or some such before occupying the Brooklyn-bound lanes of the Bridge.
** Unlike 2004, when he was among the 1,200 or so protesters arrested during the Republican National Convention in NYC (his group was protesting WHINSEC) and spent 40+ hours in Guantanamo on the Hudson. That time he called me on a borrowed cell phone from the middle of Broadway at 29th to say he had been arrested and was waiting to be taken away in a police bus. He was one of the last to be allowed leave the bus-garage-turned-into-a-holding-facility and saw the police spreading rugs and carpets over the oil- and grease-stained concrete floor before admitting the media to view the facility where the protesters had been housed. Because he witnessed that he became part of a class action suit against [city of New York? New York Police Department? I forget]. Somewhere I have a photo I found on the Web at the time, of the protesters lying in the middle of Broadway; #1 is lying at the front of the line.
*** In related news, I recently read The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, part of which examines (and finds true) the premise that psychopathology may be a distinct competitive advantage to a captain of industry. Based on that I fear that greed ain't goin' away anytime soon.
I emailed #1 Son in NYC to see if he felt the earthquake. His reply:
Yeah, we were on the eighth floor of the pediatrics building, and it started swaying back and forth. We all thought of terrorist attacks or some structural problem in the building before we thought of earthquakes. We were in a session where medical students present cases to a friendly attending, and the attending we were with was this very practical (though also very smart) "I'm a mom" sort of pediatrician, and then we just went on with it. But my first year friend told me they were doing CPR training and all had to evacuate the building for no reason, so yeah, Sinai did do its panic routine.
I am a charter member of the apostrophe police, and I currently trying to find out who I need to arrest for this egregious overuse of the little curvy devils.
* * * * *
This year's birthday was quite restrained, but Smokey and I did go out for dinner at a very picturesque location nearby. Tthe menu turned out to be unimaginative, but the food was excellent and the setting was lovely.
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The shawl is slowly coming off the needles, which leads me to the all important question: what to cast on next? Should it be the sweater on the left but done with vertical stripes like the swatch on the right (please turn the swatch 90˚ clockwise in your mind), using the Noro yarns below?
Alex has requested a rugby-style doggie sweater for Percy, her and Matthew's rescued pit bull terrier, and has chosen yarn from my stash:
I am all excited about lace knitting and am considering using some Rowan Calmer I bought on closeout at Webs for a Cece (but I would make it longer and with 3/4 sleeves):
(I am not fond of the color of the Calmer -- color at right side of skein is truest -- and am thinking of overdyeing it. Tea, for a browner tone? Rit, if I wanted dusky blue? Anyone have experience?)
There are a number of other project swimming in my head but I'll stop here.
* * * * *
I picked these wild blackberries three feet outside my front door.
I have two finished scarves, one for me and one for the Red Scarf Project, but you are not going to see them until they are blocked and attractively staged. Instead I will catch you up on other matters.
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The other Olde Tyme Photo, this one of The Young Couple.
* * * * *
Last week Smokey asked me what I had planned for Friday. Nothing, I replied. Good, he said, I need you to drive me to the VA in Minneapolis. He was scheduled for an epidural injection of local anesthetic and steroids into his lower back in hopes of relieving his near-constant pain, and they would not perform the procedure unless he had someone to drive him home afterwards. He was apologetic about commandeering my day (I know you have other things to do) but all I could think was, I'll have to hang around the VA all day. Knitting time!
Such are a knitter's thoughts.
The procedure went fine, no reactions or after effects, and he ended up being the one to drive us back to Wisconsin after all. It has been two days now and he says it is a miracle to be able to stand up and walk pain free. If this hadn't worked, the next step would have been surgery. The pain stems from an old injury suffered when he fell off a ladder in the mid-1980s. X-rays have shown that there are vertebrae in his back that are nowhere near being in a proper lineup. Age, weight, and rheumatoid arthritis have combined in the past few years to make that injury a source of pain that sometimes even Vicodin doesn't touch. He (and I) are hopeful that he can resume a normal active life again: there are cars to be fixed! home repairs to be done! walks to take! trips to be traveled! The effects are temporary and the procedure has to be repeated every X months, but it is sooo much better than the alternative as long as it works.
* * * * *
Last Sunday I worked at the country fair, first at the library Friends booth, then at the booth for the energy fair later this month. It was hot, and as far as I know, there is only one small office in the entire fair park that is air conditioned; I was not in that office. It was very hot. It was very humid. Think Louisiana swamp hot and humid.
I saw this sign in the fair society's office:
It made me smile in spite of my dripping brow.
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Yesterday I helped at a pet adoption event at the local branch of Tractor Supply Company. (Click on that link today -- Sunday, August 7 -- and sign up for a chance to win a year's supply of pet food.) I was at the booth of the county's designated animal shelter (county rep on their board), and they were there as part of Tractor Supply Company's annual P.A.W. -- Pet Appreciation Week. There were two or three other shelters and rescue organizations there as well. We all had a good time visiting each other's animals and, of course, talking to the people who stopped at our display and were interested in pets.
A few extremely poor photos taken with my iPod. This is Lulu, a 1-year-old energetic Boston terrier cross female scheduled to be neutered on Wednesday (shhh, don't tell her):
Meet Wendy, an adorable 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier spayed female:
I do not care for energetic, short-haired dogs -- I want my animals to be calm and furry -- but Wendy was an awfully nice little dog. A couple came by and were as taken with her as I was. They have a special needs child, aged 10, who needs a pet and were seriously considering Wendy. She may have a home soon.
Mary, the shelter director, with Margo, a beagle cross, and Linda, a volunteer dog walker, with Margo's leash (Linda, I apologize for the less-than-flattering photo, but I was concentrating on the dogs):
Angie, this sweet three-year-old spayed female Pug, went home with her new owner, who had found her on Petfinders and had been telephoning back and forth with the shelter for two weeks to settle the adoption. Yay for Angie (and Charlie, her new brother, a basset)!
* * * * *
And now, if you will excuse me, I need to go sit on the deck and knit. It is finally getting cool enough to be outdoors by choice.
Matthew is part of the 4-man team Spoke Girl riding in a 24-hour bike race in Milwaukee*. They placed 2nd in their class last year; looks like they might win it in 2011! You can keep track of their place here.
As I sat at the computer reading my email this morning I noticed that the sky was getting dark. It kept getting darker. Then the wind started to blow and the black sky started spitting rain. I closed the windows on the windward side of the house and retrieved Lucy The Wonder Dog from her chain outside.
Soon the rain was coming down in bucket and sheets and the wind was blowing at, I estimate, about 300 mph. The oak trees were leaning and tossing and I could not see the lake 75 feet away. Pretty darned impressive. The electricity flickered very slightly a couple of times and I thought I should shut down the computer, but I didn't.
Eventually I went to check that there was no rain coming in on the leeward side -- none, the wide overhanging eaves prevent that -- and noticed that there was a breeze coming in from the 3-season porch. Where there should NOT be a breeze.
You perhaps cannot tell, but there is a window missing there.
This the second time a window has blown out in that porch. I guess combination windows that big are meant to be used with inner sash windows; they are not strong enough by themselves to withstand sustained 50 mph winds. And we thought we were being so clever and economical back in 2001, using just the storms to create a 3-season porch.
Smokey has a lot of Lionel and other model trains neatly stacked on the ping-pong table just visible in the upper left of the second photo. I moved as much as I could out of the reach of the rain, but some of the boxes definitely got damp. Hard to believe, but sometimes the boxes are worth as much to a collector as the train car that came in it. Damn.
This weekend is the county fair. I am glad I am working there tomorrow and not today. I can only imagine how the tents and booths fared in this storm. Same exact thing happened last year, also on the day before I worked. I guess in some strange way I am lucky...
On a more cheerful note, I found this Shopped photo last week, the image manipulation done by #2 Son when he was in high school. (haslp was the screen name he used then, a combination of Half Life, a video game, and Slipknot, a heavy metal group.)
When I showed you the tools that have helped me conquer this first lace project I left out a very important one: the needle.
That is a 40" US#4 Signature circular needle, and it is the finest circ I have ever used. Bar none. The points (medium; you can specify middy (above) or stiletto) are perfect, the joins are smooth and strong, and the cable is as flexible as certain politicians' stance on the issues.
Flexible, man, flexible!
The needle was $40 plus $8 shipping, which is a lot to pay for a knitting needle. I keep reminding myself that, 1, I spend a lot of hours with this tool in my hands, and B, part of the reason it was expensive is that it was made in the US by US employees, subject to FICA and Medicare and FUTA and who knows what else, and probably union members to boot; not Chinese slave labor.
I find myself reciting the pattern as I knit it -- "Yarnover, knit 2 together, knit 5, slip, slip, knit, yarnover..." This helps me keep track of where I am and ensures that I am Paying Attention.
It amuses me greatly to shout in my head, Threeway! whenever I have to do a double decrease.
Don't judge me.
I also forgot to praise the yarn, Dream in Color Baby. Some yarns (Malabrigo, I'm looking at you) are wonderful to touch, like buttah through the fingers. This is not one of those, but it is nicely woolly. The main thing is that It Does Nothing Wrong. It doesn't split, doesn't tangle, doesn't break, has no knots, no vegetable matter. It just does what it is supposed to do and does it perfectly. In all my [actually minor] struggles with this lace, none have been with the yarn.
I was knitting away on the lace today and realized that I was also watching the news and chatting with my husband (!) Quite a change from when I started and could only work on it fully caffeinated, alone, no distractions, no interruptions. I told my husband I Was Da Bomb. We will not speak of those three (3!) yarnovers I missed; that kind of thing also happened under the previously described optimum conditions.
* * * * *
This is how we learned of #2 Son's engagement. Hurrah for electronic communications! That photo was taken in the parking lot of the [something] Cowboy steak house in Custer, WY.
I am slowly catching up on blog reading, where catching up = reading the blogs in my Google Reader Must Read folder and hitting Mark as read on all the rest. Or maybe it is the other way around, I'm not sure. The heat and humidity here are playing havoc with my brain.
I need to walk down the stairs, out the front door, into the mini-mini-motorhome and retrieve the bag of dirty clothes so I can do the laundry. Because I am wearing my last clean pair of underwear. (Knew you wanted to know.) But I have been procrastinating on that task for 5 hours so far and there are no indications that it it going to happen soon. Heat and humidity, you know...
In the meantime I am catching up on blog reading. Because that is the most important thing to do right now.
Not grocery shopping.
Not unpacking the m-m-mh.
Not clearing the wild raspberry bushes that have taken over Lucy The Wonder Dog's poop yard.*
* * * * *
In knitting news, I now understand in a visceral way why people like knitting lace. It.Is.Addicting. As I emailed to BGFE earlier today, once I got into the flow of knitting the lace shawl it became like a good crossword puzzle or a particularly complex tax return: a challenge, but one that I knew I could work through.
I find myself scrutinizing things on Ravelry that involve lace. Scary, I know.
* * * * *
One teeny-tiny bit of news: #2 Son and BGFE are engaged (!)
We were notified by an email from #2 Son last Friday. I saw the subject line -- "I'm engaged" -- and burst out with something dignified like, Holy sh!t! Matthew's engaged! Smokey and I couldn't be happier for the two of them. They are so obviously delighted together and good with each other. They say they won't be tieing the knot for a couple of years, though, until she is through school.
The happy family group, pre-engagement, in Hill City, SD:
* Lucy cannot even get into it at present. Smokey has had to take her down the stairs and out the front door to the other side of the house, and that is not easy when one has rheumatoid arthritis and incipient heat stroke.
So I was having breakfast with #2 Son and BGFE* and they excitedly told me about the yarn they had seen on their way to the diner on their bikes. That reminded me that today was InternationalYarnBombingDay. Nothing would do but that I took a detour on my way from the diner to Wisconsin to check out the reported yarn bomb.
It was awesome.
This is a pedestrian bridge over I-35W at 40th Street in Minneapolis.
But not in New York. On Friday we met up with Andrew when he got off work.
Andrew is eating pizza we brought him, left over from our own snack. He actually looks vaguely like a doctor.
Mt. Sinai stands right across Fifth Avenue from Central Park. The green area behind the wall, Andrew told us, used to be called The Sandpit because that is essentially what it was. Earlier this year, or maybe last year, the city landscaped the area and re-sodded it and now it is a lovely place.
Friday night, Ramblin' Jack Elliot at the Rubin Museum, a museum of Himalayan art. Yeah, now there's a connection. No photos, not allowed. Concert was a little shy of 1.5 hours; he sang six songs and talked a lot. Jack is 79 years old and has 79 years worth of stories to tell. That's why he is called Ramblin' Jack. A little online research before the concert informed us that, although he is a folk/western/country singer, he is a surgeon's son from Brooklyn who ran away from home at 15 to join the rodeo.
On Saturday we saw where Andrew lives.
No photos of the interior or his apartment. Imagine a 15'x18' kitchen/living room/dining room with two tiny bedrooms and a bath on either side. Now imagine that there are always four 20-something males living there and that none of them has a minute to spare on domesticity because they are either studying or working about 26 hours a day. Not squalor but not neatnik heaven, either.
We trucked on down to Chinatown to do a little touristy sight-seeing with one stop along the way. Andrew wanted to show us something but wouldn't tell us what it was.
I may have mentioned my favorite movie here once or twice. This shop is in the Village about a block south of Washington Square.
I got myself a t-shirt, which I cannot show you because it is in the wash. But you can see it here.
While in Chinatown we got a little hungry and found a likely spot to refresh ourselves.
Happily, they also had English menus.
LIke his parents, Andrew is an adventurous eater and likes to order something he has never had before. On this occasion he ordered an appetizer of jellyfish and pigs' knuckles. The waiter, a tiny Chinese man, looked at him sternly and waggled his hands in a "No, no!" gesture. Jellyfish no good, he said. Andrew had fried won tons instead.
Saturday night we ate dinner in an Italian restaurant with six of Andrew's friends from medical school. I suffered a tragic case of camnesia so that event must remain unrecorded.