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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And it's done!

I know, a month was a bit of overkill for a single sweater but in reality, it was only about three weeks. You see, I got the actual knitting done the day I returned to work, but I didn't do the seaming until the day after Christmas. Why you may ask? Because I despise sewing in all forms. Quite literally. Just not a fan. My mother did teach me how to sew when I was a kid, and I am able to sew when the need is there, but it lacks any form of enjoyment for me and therefore I do not wish my presence as I seam on my coworkers. So, I finally did the dang sewing, and this is where it lead me.
Whatcha think?

I'm quite proud of the damn thing myself. And now, I am done with the knitting of the poncho shawl, and as soon as it is done blocking and I get that bad boy's seam done, I will have pictures of it as well. I know, you're just waiting with baited breath, aren't you? Self delusion in moderation is really quite good for your mental health I hear. Actually, I am working on writing the pattern out for it. I have the charts for both cables pieces done, but there's those that aren't comfortable with charts so I'm writing out row by row instructions for it as well. Then I plan on writing it to a PDF file and providing it here if anyone is interested in it. Mainly, I'd love to see some other people takes on it since I ran with the basic shape from a pattern that was posted by someone else and did my own thing with the rest. I'm always amazed at a group of knitters creativity.

As for Wyoming, the winter wind that previously teased us with her arrival and gentle blows through our winter scarves, down our necks and past the wind flap of our toughest zippers, has decided to smite us with her gusts that arrived yesterday and done nothing but strengthen in the last day. It has made any outdoor activity such as dog walking somewhat miserable at best with cold deadened skin, to absolutely comical as you try to stay upright in a 55mph gust. If someone had recorded me earlier at the river with the dogs as I was blown across a patch of ice, I would find a way to post it here for your laughs. I know I felt ridiculous as I kept my feet, and I'm sure it looked as equally so.

I hope everyone's Christmas was wonderfully relaxed and you are enjoying a couple days respite before the New Years celebrations begin. Stay Safe Kids.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Joyful Holiday

Please ignore the screeched curses from the kitchen and the banging of pots and pans as I pretend to be calm about tomorrow's dinner. Instead listen to the true intent I hope my voice has as I tell you all to have a wonderful holiday, regardless of whichever holiday you may celebrate with the returning of the sun's light. And I pray that you are more prepared than I am, despite my fervent prayers, wishes and promises to myself that next time, I will do better. I don't think Bob belives me that the quiet mumblings to myself are Christmas Carols like I told him.

This evening as I await the oven to finish it's self cleaning cycle so that my muffins and pecan pies do not smell of burning grease as it smokes from the bottom of the oven, I decided to take a few minutes to send out some holiday cheer. Truly, I hope all your families are happy and safely tucked away into their cozy (northern people) or comfortably air conditioned (southern people) homes enjoying the company of their family and other loved ones. If you're like our family, there's probably already been some raised voices, bruised feelings and other assorted emotional ridiculousness, but hopefully like us you see your way through it all. If Mom is telling you that those mumblings to herself as she scurries about preparing the feast are Christmas carols, just run with it. Better yet, offer to wash the dishes. You'll be the favorite kid for at least an hour. Whatever you do, do not mock her by telling her to calm down. I promise you will realize within 5 seconds that she was in fact calm.

And if, like me, you are feeling harried, let me offer some advice:

1. Remember to breathe.

2. Remember, all bleeding stops.

3. Remember, "There are four kinds of homicide; felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy". Lecherous asshole Uncle Harold, would most likely fall into last two categories but it's hard to be jolly from a jail cell until the court rules with you.

4. Do not pick up that open shift on Friday night because someone called in sick... Your family appreciates your sanity. Especially when said sanity is notably lacking.

5. And for us knitters... Today is not the day to think, "You know, that cabled poncho really needs a slick little blue panel that connects the two ends. What, I can't find a knotwork piece that fits it but this cool metalwork piece can easily be translated to knit work? Well, let me just chart that out, I'm sure it will only take a few minutes to work it all out." Yeah, really not the day for that.

But forgive me for being a bit smug about it's success. Screw pecan pies, I have a nifty blue panel.

At least I didn't decide to attack the seaming of the sweater. Even my sanity has limits, just ask the dogs. They've seen that scary dark edge.

Truly, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So, so close

Two sleeves, check.
Front, check.
Back, check .

Time to sit and seam while working 12 hour night shifts less than a week from Christmas? Bwaaahahahahaha. So sorry, that slipped out.

But, until I can sit down in the quiet to do the dreaded seaming (Sorry, I hate sewing in all forms), I have started this little doozy.
It's a poncho style shawl that I was inspired to design from "illhikers" posting of a lion brand pattern. I love this particular knot, but it feels very Scandinavian to me. Not particularly Celtic. I'm thinking of calling the design the Valkyrie. Whatcha think, cheesy? I promise, it's going to be kind of classy, despite the term "poncho".

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nothing much here

And that is why I have failed to do any posting in the last couple days despite this weird inkling that I really needed to post. There was simply nothing of much importance to blog about. No fun little story to share, or some thought I found the need to throw out there. Nada. Nothing. But regardless, here I am at 2am, so let's get started.

I finished the last of the Christmas shopping, and in doing so, the dogs bought me a little something like they do every year. We all need our delusions, please let me have mine. I don't believe in Santa but instead to choose to believe that my dogs are kind hearted beasts that don't constantly think about how to fill their perpetually empty stomachs and where and how frequently to piss; but instead, choose to look for thoughtful gifts for their owner. In this case they replaced by finicky older point and shoot digital camera with a slim little Canon PowerShot ELPH100HS. I thought it being an ELPH was ironic since it was a Christmas gift. It fits in my Rebel's camera bag and is a nice quick little point and shoot for when you don't want to mess with the big camera.

And of course, since they gave me such a wonderful gift, I had to try it out with pictures of them.
Sullivan, Tucker, & the Smudge Cat
Emmitt and Shiela
And, I'm to the sleeves of the Ansley Sweater. I decided to do them both at the same time on a long circular to assure they are the same length. Yeah... I can do socks two at a time but I seemed to have stumped myself good on this one.

First, I found that I forgot to work the second sleeve as required. Then I realized that if I did the sleeves as directed by the pattern, they were going to be huge so I ripped back, re-worked the math and came up with a way to start the cuff smaller and increase to the originally requested number. Except, my math was wrong. So I tried again. Then I forgot to work the second sleeve again. This morning finds me with about 7 inches of two sleeves and dare I say, they seem to be going okay? I'm not going to imply smooth sailing, that would tempt the knitting deities to smite my smarmy ass. So, they're going, soon I hope they will be done and I can start seaming.  Who am I kidding, I hate seaming but I just want the frigg'n sweater done.

I have the next project waiting in the wings. I saw a pattern on another site when someone put out a plea for help on it and it inspired an idea. So of course I had to sit down with a good book, excel, a calculator, and some stash yarn to plot the whole thing out. I'm really excited for it and already have in mind of who to give it to.

And last, but not least on the list to share is tonight's baking. I was informed by the guy that his office is having a holiday potluck and he was planning on taking paper plates and plastic silverware... Excuse me, what? That offended by cooking sensibilities. And, since I have been craving my mom's Christmas pumpkin bread, it just gave me an excuse to whip up a double batch (Gaawwwdddd, I love the new Kitchen-Aid mixer! Just as a side note), have two loaves for me and three dozen muffins with cream cheese frosting (Did I mention that new mixer and my adoration in how well it works?) and some nifty wreath icing.
 Okay, so I'll never be a professional cake decorator, and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, it's time to head back to work, so I hope you all have a great week. Be good, don't smack strange kids in the mall across the back of the head for being as dumb as their parents. Santa, errr, the dogs are watching. Besides, you don't want to damage their remaining firing synapses, God knows they'll survive long enough to breed. They always do.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas Season

Despite the popular opinion, I am not a total scrooge. In fact, We even have a Christmas tree and I set it up today. See?
Now, why today you might ask? Why not sooner? Because I believe all Holidays should have their own time, and Thanksgiving needs to come to a close before I start celebrating Christmas. Yes, that means I do not attend Black Friday events and you will NEVER; and I say that with full security in all that is holy, NEVER see me in line for a midnight opening for the best sale prices.

You may ask me, "Q, what do you have against sale prices?". And I would reply that I have nothing against sale pricing. What I do have an issue with, is that Christmas shopping is supposed to be about finding a gift that means something to the recipient. Not the best deal on the most desired electronic gadget of the year. "Ahhh..." I hear you say as you nod, "You have a problem with consumerism." And there you would be closer to the point. Although, in general I realize that consumerism makes our economy run, and I see my role in the grand role of consumption. But what I see as the issue, is consumerism for consumptions sake. In scrambling to get the best price on the best toys I feel like we've lost site of Christmas; therefore you will hear my fuming when the Christams ads and decorations start going up before Halloween, much less Thanksgiving.

One, Halloween continues to be my favorite holiday. I love giving sugar packed goodies to other people kids and sending them away as I wave and shut the door on the tantrum that is sure to occur shortly before bed time. And two,I love Thanksgiving. The whole cooking a meal and being thankful for the gift of family to come over and share in it, whether the family is by birth or choosing. On that note this years meal was wonderful despite what the neighbors who witnessed the Kitchen Aid exiting the kitchen window may think or say. It was lovely. I did have the forethought through the red haze of rage to open the window and remove the screen. But dinner was wonderful, and the rage had passed.
And reveling in the joy and thankfulness of the year, is why I purposely wait to put up the Christmas decorations. I feel as though the other holidays get swallowed up by the sheer urge to buy Buy BUY! Which, if it were to give Give GIVE, I would maybe be more into it. But it's not. It's for the sake of buying. I was horrified while watching the news after Black Friday this year and heard all the interviews of the people who were buying for themselves. They were out to get that big screen TV, not to get someone else that big screen. Maybe that's why I decided to make most of this years Christmas gifts. It was quite possibly my subconscious's picketing of the Christmas Consumption Frenzy. And amazingly I got it all done early. I'm not gloating, I swear, I'm still amazed by the sheer fact that I'm not scrambling to knit the last items before running to the post office in the vain hope that my boxes will get home to AK in time.

And to be quite honest, beyond family I don't give many Christmas gifts. I've realized I think in part to the reaction of my disgust to the Christmas Buying Binge, I tend to give my gifts throughout the year. See, I'm actually knitting myself a sweater, and that in itself is amazing. I tend to see patterns or come up with other knitting ideas that strikes me for someone in particular, and never are they expecting the item and very rarely is the item for me. And it's rarely given for a reason other than I want to give it, and I know they'll appreciate it. And that to me is what Christmas is supposed to be. Maybe it's just my way of holding on to what I think the season should be throughout the year. So on that point, I'm not a Scrooge Dammit! Bob might disagree when he heard me cussing about dropping an ornament under the coffee table. I told him all he heard was the Christmas spirit overcoming me, but he was doubtful. Of course he had to clean up the kitchen aid off the front yard before family got here on Thanksgiving to. He's a saint, truly. God help him.

But regardless, the tree went up. Non-traditional topper and all. I even looked at stars for the top again this year, but the more often I put that little bear up there, the more he grows on me.
What's that you said? Plastic Ornaments!?! Why yes, because I have one of these...
Oh wait, let me get the little demon to hold still.
And one of theses...
If one doesn't bat them off, the other's tail knocks them off, and then somebody eats them... So we have plastic. Don't judge me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

That's Right, Who Needs a Reindeer When You Can Have a Moose? Christmas Cookies Alaska Style

Well, to be honest, I wanted a Christmas tree cookie cutter, but no luck. So ended up with a star, a snowflake, and moose. Yeah, you read that right, a moose. Everyone loves a good moose. Oh wait... that's supposed to be everyone loves a good goose. As long as it doesn't come from the dog when your in compromising positions that is.

So, I got Bob's cookies done, and I confirmed it. I still don't like sugar cookies. And just for the record, what crazy SOB that wrote the kitchen-aid cookbook thought that recipe would make 48 cookies? We're they tiny cookies? I got 15. granted, I did make my dough a whole millimeter thicker than called for, but that doesn't strike me as enough to offset those numbers by that much. Crazy.

I had a moment of laughing to myself while in the kitchen while mixing frosting. I had a flashback to Steel Magnolia's where Weezer is serving the bachelor cake. Do you remember the bachelor cake? How could you forge the aardvark cake. And Weezer says to Clairee, "I don't even want to know what you have to do to get gray frosting" or something along those lines. Well, I now know. I was trying to get brown from my little package of 4 basic food colorings.

I got a bit more knitting done too.

Sorry, the lighting was bad. I tried to get a shot to show off that it's a really subtle ribbing. The raglan sleeve decreases are kinda cool. I'm really excited to continue this although I noticed as I got tired, I kept screwing up the stitch repeats. It's from the Queensland Collection Book 9. The patterns title is Ansley. And I know you can't tell from this picture, but the model is rather attractive. It makes refreshing where I'm at in the pattern so much more enjoyable.
Here's the picture for the actual pattern. See, he's just the right amount of scruffy and preppy, but enough about my little knitting crush. And truly, it is a knitting crush, I have stronger feelings for the sweater itself.
 And of course, as I tried to get a good picture, Sullivan was sure I was dying of a need for puppy belly. You know I took a minute to scratch it. Who can resist that? Certainly not I.

Snowy Days – The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Monkey Butt Ugly

It snowed! Yes sir, a good few inches of lovely beautiful white stuff. And I am saying this even after shoveling it, driving with all the other morons (yes, I sometimes fall in that group myself) and walking the dogs in it. But that last doesn’t truly count, because if you’ve ever walked a rambunctious young Great Delay in the snow, you see it as a joy. Even if it’s a cold walk.

Let’s be honest, I just love snow. Nothing makes me think of home more. And yes, I do like the coziness of being inside with a fire roaring and a cup of tea while I watch it drift down and knit on something wonderfully warm for myself, but I also love getting out in it. I got all excited and even waxed the skis last night in hopes of going and playing tomorrow before work. I like walking in it as it drifts down, snowshoeing to my great surprise, and skiing on a quiet wooded trail in the silence that only comes with the downward drift of snow. It’s like it takes the sound down to the ground with it and muffles it in its own soft snowy baffles.

The thing I don’t care for is driving in the snow. Granted I now live in a town where the snow is a bit less regular, and the temps often keep the streets melted. However; even back home where the snow is an expected event, residents seem to forget from spring to winter what it is, and how one must drive accordingly. Really, it’s not that great of a time span for you to completely forget how to drive safely! So, for all the safety challenged drivers, I have some tips:

1. Slow the hell down. What part of ice doesn’t compute for you? If you are at risk of falling on your butt while walking on it, what makes you think your car won’t have traction issues?

2. Maybe while slowing down, give yourself a little bit of extra room between you and the car in front of you? Yeah, in other words, don’t ride ass, because when you rear end someone who is trying to brake for a stop, you get the ticket. And when driving and observing that others are giving safe breaking distance that does NOT mean that they are supplying you room to swerve through traffic.

3. Slow down for turns. If the road is icy, your car tends to want to move in the direction you’re going, and not respond to sudden changes in direction. It’s called INERTIA. Prepare for it, because it’s really hard to explain to officers how you ran into parked unmoving cars, or worse yet, jumped a curb and hit a building. No matter what you think, you can’t blame it on that thing with the foundation… It’s your fault.

4. Give yourself extra time to get from point A to point B. If you look outside and realize that hey, it’s crappy out for driving, be cautious and give yourself more time. God forbid, cancel something! If you’re in a rush, you’re going to be more inclined to speed.

5. Having Four or All Wheel Drive does NOT mean your car is some unstoppable juggernaut with infallible traction. All it means is that you can make all four wheels spin uncontrollably. And if it’s all wheel drive, it means you can make them all do it at once! No, not nifty, stupid.

6. If you don’t have traction, do not step on the gas. That doesn’t help you gain traction, it just makes your wheels spin faster. That sound of wheels whizzing at great speeds over ice in parking lots is you warning all others within hearing range that you’re stupid. Take your foot off the gas, stop the wheels and try easing forwards or backwards. You’ll have better luck, promise! And for the record, it really sucks when you’re doing that and you either cause your car to slide uncontrollably into something else, or for them to catch on a patch of dry pavement and you lurch forward at God Know’s What speed into something, or someone else. I once saw a pedestrian in a parking lot get creamed by some idiot doing this because they couldn’t correct in time as their car flew forward.

7. And finally (although I’m sure others could add to this list and I urge you to in the comments.), neighborhoods are not the place to joy ride in your big four wheel trucks or any other car. I understand being young and dumb as the gear shift knob. We have all been there, but neighborhoods with their increased foot traffic that is often made up of children and pets are not the place to drift around corners, spin 360’s and participate in other motor vehicle tom foolery. Go out in the boonies where you won’t kill someone’s loved one. Hopefully you’ll just kill yourself. Oh, that was the jaded bitter part of me that’s worked too long in Emergency Medicical Services. Regardless, it’s true.

Just some suggestions mind you. It’s almost Christmas, none of us want to be attending unnecessary funerals or bailing idiot relatives out of jail with the kiddos Christmas present funds. Of course, I’ve been known to leave family members suffering from acute attacks of stupidity in jail.

But, let’s move onto happier subjects, or at least more amusing. I started my morning with one of those, “What the Hell Am I Doing?” moments. You know the ones… Those, “I need more caffeine, anybody in the office know how to start an IV so I can mainline some coffee?!?” moments. I was just going to pour the milk in the bowl when I realized that I had put my cocoa in my cereal bowl, and the cereal in my mug. I just shook my head and mumbled something to the dogs that I swear by the grins and wagging tails were in on it. And yes, I said cocoa. I admit to being a full grown man that prefers good tea or the occasional coca over coffee. In fact, I don’t like coffee at all. I find it horribly bitter, but relax, I don’t hold imbibing in the brew against others. From there I burrowed into my chair and knit on my Ansley sweater

 while watching horribly acted Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies. Before you scowl at my laziness, I went to bed at 2, got up at 5 to feed and give the beasties their first walk before going back to bed for a few hours. I was allowed, it’s my day off. Then we shoveled.
Okay, I shoveled; they knocked all the snow back onto my clean sidewalk and driveway. Little bastards, I told you they were in on the plot from the beginning. Then I stupidly got on the road (told you I was sometimes a moron) and headed out for romp at the river. It was beautiful in its overcast snow flurry splendor.
And here I sit at the Wonder Bar drinking my black and tan and enjoying my fresh artery clogging chips while writing this post. To be honest I’ve been suffering a guilt trip today thinking about how much I’ve slacked on blog posts lately. So I’m using this outing to fill my hankering (read craving here) for beer and chips to sate my guilty conscious. Yes, yes I’m using my dear few readers as an excuse to imbibe. Thank you for being my crutch. I appreciate it!

Now, off to home to bake Bob some Christmas Sugar Cookies since he’s been in DC all week. What the hell? Where did all this bloody Christmas cheer crap come from? Who knew getting all the Christmas knitting finished early would ward of my scrooginess.

Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ugh, and So The Holiday Season Begins

And it was with a bang.

Sorry, I haven't posted until today. I have simply been a bit overwhelmed. I worked until Thursday morning, came home and started the holiday meal. And let's face it, the holiday meal is never as easy as it sounds, is it? Especially when you throw in dietary requirements for a Celiac family member.

I decided that despite having a celiac dinner attendee that I would make yeast rolls. To do this, first the kitchen had to be completely stripped down and cleaned to assure no cross contamination since I am not usually a gluten free cook. Bob took care of the cleaning while I was at work. Then, I make the gluten island. The one place in the kitchen that is allowed to have gluten products. Easy, eh? Well, it could have gone better. I have an older refurbished kitchen aid mixer. It has a couple quirks that I have worked around because I'm just grateful to have the thing on days like this. One of the quirks is it won't go higher than setting number 2 for speed. It never has. Since I also have a Cuisinart Food Processor, I tend to just deal with it until the day I can afford to replace the thing. Well, after I created the gluten island, and started the dough for the rolls a mixing in the mixer, it decided to spontaneously utilize all its speeds, right up to level 10 and blew flour across the kitchen. So there I was, on the first dinner item and already behind schedule as I re-scrubbed the kitchen down.

After the second deep cleaning, I started the crustless pumpkin pie which turned out amazingly well and rich! Definitely a keeper recipe. While that was all a mixing and prepping I had the rice cooking for the wild rice stuffing. Pie in the oven, the giblets got put on the boil, mushrooms and onions sauteed and the turkey stuffed, bagged and baking. Root veggies then were chopped and started roasting for the "mash". I haven't made traditional mashed potato's in years. I instead buy a host of root veggies (i.e.: sweet potato, a couple red potato's, carrots, a yam, turnips, a couple small onions, lots of garlic and whatever else catches my eye) roast them up in olive oil with fresh sprigs of rosemary then run them through the food processor into a mash. Then I got the fresh green beans and cranberries cooked up in the bacon fat before the turkey came out for dinner time as the family arrived. And the last thing I wanted to do was eat. Normally as I prep a large meal I snack as I cook, but that wasn't the case. I was just tired. By the time two o'clock in the afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. I couldn't stop yawning and tracking conversations was about impossible. I truly wanted to tell the family to enjoy dinner and I was going to bed. To bad they probably thought that I was being rude and that they weren't welcome when in fact I they wouldn't have kept me awake if they opened a keg in the next room and stayed past midnight and would have been welcome to stay as long as they wanted as long as they washed the dishes. Regardless I was in bed around 6.

Friday was dedicated to sleeping in and doing nothing. Unfortunately, I was not succesful in the nothing department. Luckily I did little, just not nothing. I didn't even turn on the computer in an attempt to do nothing. But I did get one of the two books I had slated for my knitting hiatus finished! That being something, not nothing...

Saturday of course I had to return to life, but had a great evening with a friend and her family. Thank you Theresa and Aaron for teaching me Euchre. I've always been curious of the game and now I can say I have at least an introductory knowledge.

Today, I decided to turn on the computer and return to life. I have a late in the day dog training session, and I'm sore from our excursion with the dogs on the mountain earlier today. I'll rant about Bob's getting us stuck in the snow in his Toyota and ;then tromping through waist deep snow instead of utilizing either our skis or snow shoes at a later date. Some people...

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving ans some rewarding time with loved ones. Good night.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bbbrrrrr. Isn't it lovely?

Here in Casper we got some lovely snow on Friday and afterwards a cold air mass settled over the area and dropped out temperatures down to zero. To bad I had to work and one of the snow loving beasts has a bum foot that the cold doesn't seem to play well with. But I enjoyed it just the same.

Oh, and this got done.

Now I truly do plan on taking a break form knitting. The wool for my sweater project hasn't arrived yet and I do need to get two books read. So until post Thanksgiving, I am taking a break.

See you around.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Whole Range of Emotions in Under Two Hours

And there wasn't even great personal tragedy to spurn such emotional turmoil.

I feel as though I should start this posting by stating that I had no intentions to post today. This morning while planning my day in the shower I gave a passing thought to booting up and checking emails and coming up with some snappy blog post, but upon review of the clock, and the decided lack of snappy post material (not that this has stopped me in the past, mind you) to fore-go the blog posting for the day.

But something happened this evening that has left me unsettled enough to feel I need to put some thoughts down on paper so to speak. I went to the movies. Yep, the movies. I finally had the chance to go and see "The Help". I have yet to get to read the book itself, to be completely honest I for whatever reason have had little desire to read it though it is a topic I have "enjoyed?" reading of. Ugh, that sounds horrible. I have enjoyed many of the books I have read regarding slavery in America and the Civil Rights Movement. As in I appreciate the prose and tempo and the emotional tearing of the books along the subject and I am a firm believer that we mustn't as a people forget our past in order to better approach our futures, but enjoy the actual materials subject matter seems an inappropriate statement.

So, on the note of such literary subjects, I have often read books that can on one page piss me off, and on the next make me laugh with joy. I've partaken between two covers a heart tugging journey between fear, outrage and blinding heartwarming hope. But rarely does a film move me in such a manner. I'm not saying I don't enjoy movies, but audio visually I don't get the same attachment to characters in two hours that I do in the reading of a book. However; "The Help" managed to do this to me. From beginning to end you felt for the characters that were developed through the narrative. In the end I was torn between the rage at our treatment of members of our society, and inspired by the hope and human beauty displayed throughout the film and especially the display of courage at the end.

In the end I was left feeling that we've come so far. But despite that fact, we have so much further yet to go. I wasn't there for the Civil Rights Movement, though at times I wish I were. Maybe more appropriately I hope and pray that if I had been I would have been one of the strong ones that chose to do the right thing. But, I was born to late and grew up in a place somewhat removed from the standard issues of the Movement. I grew up in Alaska. And not only in Alaska, but a very diverse part of the largest city in the state. I went to the "Black" schools from Junior High on. I worked in the "R & B Niche" music store in High School. And despite coming from Alaska, moving to Casper Wyoming which is quite possibly one of the whitest cities in the United States, I feel that I have a more diverse mind set than many.

With all that said, and even though I feel like we as kids were very open minded and accepting I still recognize the simple truth that throughout the country there is a unhealthy dose of racial hate between all groups. I know it's known by the terms prejudice and racism, but lets face it. Under all guises and names, it's simply hate. And to be completely honest, I have no idea what to do about it. That's right, I don't have a single solution to offer. But what I can offer is that though I obviously feel that there is so much further to go, I also have hope that someday we will get there. Or as close to there as us humans can get for we are a forgetful bunch of beasts. That's right, I have Hope. Mainly I hope that I will live the best I can, and when the times call for it, I hope I will make the right choices and live honorably. I hope I will stand for what's right no matter the cost and treasure that which is most holy on this earth. Life. And in the long run, until we are all challenged to make such choices this is the best any of us can do. I know, I know, things are always more complicated than that. It's never as easy as choosing the right thing from the wrong thing. We humans have a nasty habit of muddling up the simply things don't we?

At the end of the movie, it is restated that we should love our enemies. In that Love is our victory. I can tell you that I'm not that good of a person, but I can at least try to not act out of hate, even if I can't find the room for love for my enemies. Maybe doing the right thing can simply be whittling out the choice that wouldn't be acting out of hate? Maybe someday that will be enough. Maybe it won't. But here's hoping that it will.

If you paid attention through this diatribe, I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prairie Beauty

And no, I'm not being sarcastic. I know that if any of you have read my blog before, and no of some of my frustrations, me remarking on the beauty of the area around Casper may seem snide, but truly, I'm being sincere.

This morning I woke to find that we had gotten a dusting of snow the previous night. I got up, and fed the kids before going on a short park romp and crawling back into bed for a couple more hours sleep (Thankfully Bob is back home and can resume his morning duties. I work nights!). Then when I got up for real the second time, we were at the river by eight o'clock. And though I ay have grumbled at the 11 degrees and nippy breeze, I was rewarded by the sights on our second walk of the day. It's amazing how much better that walk feels with the sun over the horizon! Mainly just because of the beauty it showed. The trees and tall prairie grasses were frosted and the ground crusted with a light coating of snow, and the morning light shimmered on it all. Then I noticed the bright flash of blue among the trees and realized the band of blue jays that hangs out at the river is back for the winter. And we saw a couple deer to boot. I still think they aren't sure if Sullivan is a dog or an odd looking deer. Instead of running immediately as I keep the dogs in a heel, they stare fascinated by him. All in all it was a beautiful morning walk and looked something like this.
Photo by Stephen G. Weaver. You can find more of his work at He has beautiful work on there.

Then this afternoon on the way to the bank I was driving along 15th and the long afternoon light highlighted the rolling hills covered in the fall bleached grasses were waving in the wind and I again was struck by the areas beauty and reminded that every place has it's own beauty, even if it's a certain starkness. Granted, I tend to find beauty easier in rural areas than I do more urban settings, but if you know where to look, it typically finds you.

So, for those of you who feel I bad talk Casper, please remember, even on days where I shake my head at bad drivers, am embarrassed that I felt the need to look presentable to go in public, and over all am amazed by general ignorance/rudeness, I can still be struck dumb by the beauty of frost laden high grass and long morning light.

Oh, and the cheaper vet bills are nice too.

Poor Emmitt, shattered a toe nail yesterday and had to have it cut down to regrow. I swear, these dogs will be the death of me. He unfortunately had to stay with me the rest of the day to assure he wouldn't tear the bandaging off. He passed out and did a good job imitating death. As much as I hate when we have to go through the act of fixing injuries, I do truly enjoy the post anesthesia gorked puppy. To bad Sullivan hasn't required more injury repairs...

And we mustn't forget the knitting. As of yesterday, this is the latest project.

This will probably go on hold (hear that before, eh?), or after it's done there will be a longer break before the next project. I am planning a sweater for me. I have some beautiful yarn on order that I am eagerly awaiting its delivery.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiatus Schmiatus

Yeah, I pretty much suck at knitting hiatus's. I woke up this morning at 0430 and in the effort of trying to keep the noise down after feeding of the masses I cast on this little project. I had to do something! Anyway, this is a baby jacket/sweater kit that I bought from Knit Picks last spring. I figure it can go in the gift drawer for future use when a baby is expected.

Some knitterly friends are hosting a Harry Potter 7 part 2 party tomorrow night and I can't go empty handed either, so this will be my project du jour. And I'm sure my hands will get rest following that party because some books I ordered are in and I will be putting knitting on hold to do some reading.

Now, Happy Veterans day to all the Vets out there that may read this. And more importantly, THANK YOU..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bound Off

And no, we aren't talking about a touch of constipation. My latest project... (I'm imagining a little drum roll here, just work with me, okay?)
I got it done! She's downstairs blocking as I type. Now it's time to go to bed since I still have two more shifts left to my work week. But now I will sleep better knowing my work is done.

The top picture is supposed to be on it's end, but this wonderful interface has once again decided to flip a picture despite it's own formatting no matter what my desires are. Ahhhh... Computers.

This projects ending brings on a little knitting hiatus I'm going to self impose due to some hand problems I've noticed. I think they're just a bit overworked. I have been working them a bit hard as of lately. So, a couple weeks to relax before I figure out what sweater I'm going to knit for myself with what yarn. Just means more dog and gym time for me.

Talk to you all soon. Hope you're doing well,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And so it goes, and goes, and goes, and... you get the picture don't you?


Isn’t it amazing how one always forgets how slow things become when you start from a center out project and approach the outside edge? And by edge, I don’t mean I’m anywhere near the end of this. I’m merely on round 88, with plenty more to go. I just mean I’m getting to the point where I realize that this item isn’t going to be as fast I had hoped. It is a fairly intricate lace item after all. Just because you start on 8 stitches and those first few increase rows are so much fun and golly gee whiz, look at that baby grow! Then reality hits. Reality hit somewhere near round 73. But alas… I will knit on.
Because what else am I really going to do.

In an effort to stay up tonight and flip back over to night shift I went and sat in our local coffee house and knit on this. One of the other things I love doing is people watching. But, in depth people watching and intricate lace knitting don't always mesh well. Just a side note for someone else's possible future benefit.

There I was people watching and screwing my knitting up royally and observed this guy interrupt this young gal who was busy studying. He used the excuse of them having a class at the local college together to start a discussion. At first, I thought he was flirting with her and by her closed off body language I was tempted to say something, but as I watched she relaxed and they continued chatting. And let's just be honest, I'm rude and I eavesdropped. Maybe the screwed up knitting is bad karma due to it? Anyway I kind of took notice of the time as I listened and realized as I fixed another mistake and tuned back in that he had managed in just a few minutes to turn the conversation around to him. Not even on his views of their previous topic of the Chinese economy that they had started on. And then it drug on, and on. 20 minutes later they're, or I should say, he is discussing his plans after he walks away this semester with a degree. He doesn't like the job options that he can now apply for because he'll have to conform to an employer's ideas of professionalism and lose his sense of style and self. He continued in that vein but I got my head stuck around that idea. Ok... yeah I screwed up again and had to pay more attention to my hands than listening to him. By the time I got my mind out of wondering why people seem so worried that their professional lives are going to take over their personal life and sense of self and my knitting back on track, he was going on about how he's probably going to apply to UW to continue his education but he's not sure if his parents will keep paying and his grades aren't quite good enough for a scholarship because his papers don't conform to what his teachers expect. Go where you will with that. I chose at that moment to drop a stitch and in irritation looked up and over at them. By this time she had this look of adoring rapture on her face as she ogled this guy who was spinning this tale of woe regarding his college education and career opportunities battling his need for individuality and self expression. Throw that in with his post teen angst of parents holding the financial reigns and he had this girl almost drooling on his knees.I was afraid I was going to watch her embarrass herself and wondered how I could swoop in and save her. I once really drooled over someone (a story for another day) and if I can spare another that moment of ultimate withering self mortification, I will do so.

Truly though, I was amazed at this girls desire to believe this load of hooey. Then, he simply stated that he should let her get back to studying and got up and left her starting after him. I wanted to cross the room and tell her she should keep studying, keep her head down and don't worry about guys like him no matter their good looks (He was kind of cute) and worry about her own career warring with her personal identity. And I wanted to tell him that if he had this many issues maybe he should get the job and see if his parents would pay for therapy sessions instead of bleeding all over everyone he has the opportunity too. At least our therapists are paid to listen to us whine, no? Then I got to wondering. Am I cynic? Maybe I read more into all of that than there was. Both his self involved ramblings and her body posture and facial expressions. Perhaps they knew each other more than it appeared. And even as I write this I realize that I may have been right. He may have been full of bullshit and she maybe a sap, but I'm a hypocrite. After all I have a blog for God's sake. Isn't the idea of writing all this crap down for someone else to read and either agree or think I'm full of BS kind of self involved? Okay, so it's completely self involved. Then there's the big question if these are my feelings towards it. Why do I do it?

And the answer? I don't have a clue so I'm going to knit some more. Round 89, here I come you repetitive bitch.

If all else fails, stall answering the question.


I know, I pride myself in having thick Alaskan blood, and this does sound dangerously close to whining about the temperature. I assure you, I will try to keep the whine to a minimum. Because no matter my thoughts on being outdoors, I have the Sullivan Monster who would always prefer to be romping in a good snow or a cool river.

We finally got a real snow. I don't know what the final inches of precipitation were but we ended up with at least 6 inches of the fluffy white stuff. LOVE it. And so does Sullivan. You would think that a dog who will stand and shiver when he quits running like a mad man wouldn't have this fondness for snow, but you'd be wrong. He didn't forget from last winter what that fluffy white stuff was or how much fun it is to run and roll and knock your smaller siblings, even if they are older around in it.

And to be honest, it's not the snow that bugs me. It's the Wind that came up today to blow the snow to Nebraska. Hope you guys enjoy our snow. Sullivan and I will both miss it. It's that wind that slices through any amount of clothing you pile on. It will find it's way around any zipper flap, through all gussets and simply freeze your bum off. It's amazing how cold a stiff breeze can make a balmy 30 degrees feel like. And that is what makes me say Brrrr.

Hope you are all enjoying a good post Halloween sugar buzz. We're off to knit night!

Sorry, I have no Sullivan romping in the snow pics. I value my fingers too much to risk frost bite. Maybe some other day.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sometimes you need to be a bit selfish

And I have been the last couple of days. I knit for me. It's been a while. In fact, it's been about a year. I tend to knit for others. I see a pattern that yeah, I like and find interesting and my fingers itch to play with and see what comes of it. Or something in the back of my mind tickles on an idea for a creation and before I know it, anytime knitting is on my mind I'm messing with the thought. But with it all, I'm normally also thinking about who would like the item. Last year I knit myself a neck muffler that was cabled and dual layered with a lanolin rich wool outer layer and a soft cozy alpaca liner for walking dogs in the Wyoming Wind. Since then, they're has been a single pair of socks that was meant as a warm up to knitting two at a time socks. I figures that way if they were horrible, I wouldn't mind.

But now... I knit something for me that I've been wanting for a bit. Jared Flood's Koolhaas hat. I originally knit one last year with a set of matching fingerless gloves to have as a teaching model for a class. After class was completed they ended up being a Christmas Present for a co-worker. I then made a smaller one for a nephew and have used it a modified version for baby hats a couple times since. But I always wanted one for me.

And here it is. I decided after I was working on a pair of socks and someone mentioned that the yarn matched my eyes that if I had enough remaining for a hat I was going to make myself a hat from it. And I did!

So the last two nights I have been working on this. I thought I had it all completed last night, bound off, wove in my ends and went to the bathroom to check out my handiwork. Then I had that moment. You fellow knitters know the moment. That heart sickening moment that you know you screwed up. I had thought as the hat grew that it was getting too long. I had exceeded 6 inches of hat body and decided to stop at four repeats of the pattern. Me, a big head?!? Well, it would appear so. My ego is bruised deeply. Okay, well perhaps not.

This morning I got up, started the lasagne sauce for tonight's feast and sat to rip out the crown of the hat and re-knit the extra repeat. I'm just thankful hat was all the was required. Now, taking pictures of the back of my own head? That was a bit more challenging. God Bless Duct Tape. I no longer have a functional tripod, so no helpful suggestions guys.