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Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Which I Snarkily Accuse Another of Snarkiness

I am loathe to give the McCain/Palin ticket any play, but SP's interview w/ Katie Couric made my head want to spin around until it popped off and went flying into orbit. Seriously, when SP licked her finger and held it up to say that Obama sticks his finger in the air to test the political winds before making decisions, I said bad words to my TV. Lots of bad words. I stuck my finger in the air, too, but it was a different one. I gotta give props to Katie, because she was on SP like snot on suede. I have had it with the "aw, shucks, I'll get right back to ya on that one, Katie" folksy crap. (The paraphrasing is mine, but that's what I hear when she speaks.) Our current president was lauded for his folksy, everyman appeal, and look where that's gotten us. I'm not interested in voting for everyman/everywoman. I don't want to have a beer or go on a moose hunt with the president or vice president. (I certainly wouldn't want to go on any kind of hunt with the current vp.) I want someone who is smart, not a smartass.

(Okay, I lied just then. I would totally want to have a beer with Barack Obama. So sue me.)

Now that I know the recipient has gotten her package, I thought I'd post pics of the most recent reverse applique shirt that I made. I donated it to an Obama fundraising raffle on Ravelry and the winner has promised to wear it to a debate party on Friday night.

I am so fired up to go to Iowa to volunteer for the campaign for the four days leading up to the election. I am going to get in my car and head west and I am going to put my Dar Williams cd in and turn the volume up really loud on the chorus. (Yeah, I know the song has nothing to do with a politcal campaign, but there aren't many state names that sound so good sung over and over again.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CSI: Pre-School

There are two adorable little girls in the neighborhood who have spent a good part of the summer decorating the street with sidewalk chalk. Sometimes we open our front door to find toddler graffiti scrawled on the stone staircase that leads to our porch. We've been told that the girls think our steps are really cool (?!), and it has been fun to see their drawings getting more detailed as they get older. Today, I left to have lunch with a friend and was shocked to find that Chicago's Major Crimes Division must have been called to the scene.

It's a bit hard to see, but there are 7 or 8 chalk outlines of the girls, some feet to feet and one set holding hands. It just cracked me up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is September and that means it's Halloween. (I am in the camp that believes it is a season, not just a single day.) I love, love, love Halloween: pumpkins, ghosts, witches, all of it. Okay, not ALL of it. I like it all except the dressing up. I know that sounds strange, but it comes from a very logical place. My mother HATED Halloween because she despised costuming my brother and me. Over the years, her dislike of costumes began to rub off on me, and something I used to enjoy became not-so-much fun. (Don't get me wrong, Mom is a fine person, she just hated Halloween.) The other issue with costuming was weather-related. Growing up in Pennsylvania, it was often cold at the end of October, and Mom, being a sensible, responsible mother, required the wearing of coats when it was cold. As you know, Dorothy Gale did not wear a yellow puffy jacket with blue and red trim when she was skipping off to Oz. The wearing of cold-weather gear messed with my sense of verisimilitude and put a big, fat damper on things. (Chattering teeth probably would have taken the fun out of it, too, but who could tell when one was all hopped-up on a Sugar Daddy and Dum Dum buzz.)

So, anyway, I am deep in the throes of Halloween preparations. There are skeletons, rats, pumpkins, black cats, spiders, and artfully draped pieces of cheesecloth (appropriately tattered) everywhere. (I always have to tell my husband when I have put out the rats so that he doesn't have a heart attack.) I haven't put up any of the crows and ravens, yet, but they're coming.

Halloween is a huge deal in my neighborhood. Many of the houses on the three streets to the east of us do it up big. There are graveyards, webs, giant spiders, and ghosts everywhere. My street, though, is a bit of a downer. When our neighborhood was developed in the early 1900s, it was done in three phases from east to west. The first phase, three streets over, had mostly large, single-family houses. As the construction moved west, more multi-family buildings were incorporated into the plan of each street. Our side of our street was the last part of the development, and is comprised of mostly two-flats, three-flats, and some larger buildings. The other side of the street was not part of the development and has an even higher percentage of multi-unit buildings. Long story short, most of the trick-or-treating takes place on the three streets east where the single-family homes are. Kids are bused in (no, I am not kidding, busloads of kids are dropped off) and they go from house to house loading up. It is wall-to-wall superheroes and princesses over there. I know one house that had over 1000 kids before she ran out of candy. How did she know exactly how many? She is strictly a "one-piece-per-person" candy-giver. (No reaching into the bowl at that house; it's a hold-out-your-bag-and-I'll-drop-it-in operation.) She knew, based on the number of bags she had bought and the number of pieces per bag exactly how many she had. That same year we had seven. No, not 700. Seven. See, the kids don't do the street with multi-family buildings because most people in condos don't answer their bells. Never mind that I sit glumly on my porch, a big bowl of Snickers and M&Ms on my lap, ghost-shaped candles flickering all around me...*sigh*.

All this decorating is cutting into my knitting time, but I have got to get moving. I have a lot of stitches to get in before the end of the year. I finished Mr. Greenjeans.
I'm fairly happy with it, though it isn't as fantabulous as I wanted it to be. I found and (sorta) fixed a mistake. (Nope, it's not a cable issue, and if you find a cable issue, DO NOT TELL ME.) I doubt that you could find the flaw unless you examined the sweater very carefully (yea! for the slubby yarn that aided me in my time of peril), but I know that it is there. I found it after the sweater was washed and blocking, and there was no way I would have been able to get to it without ripping out a massive amount of knitting. My OCD tendencies, however, will not let me forget its presence, and it makes me crazy. (I find myself touching the spot where the problem lies almost constantly. If you ever see me wearing it, you will be able to find the problem because I will practically be pointing to it.)

I've got a few pairs of socks going, and I am casting on a Cat Bordhi pattern for a bag to hold my Denise needles. No sooner did I order the yarn for that project than I found out about the new Denise organizer which immediately my must-have item from the current issue of Knitty. Oh, well, the organizer will go into the bag. I am also planning to make a vest (waving my big, fat, geek flag here) sporting the Obama campaign logo. I am going to go to Iowa to work the final Get Out the Vote push, and I wanted to have something special to wear while I am there. I feel so strongly about this election, and I've convinced myself that if I have enough Obama-wear, there is no way he can lose. (I guess I'm kind of into dressing up after all.)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Stitches Midwest

It has just been a big, yarn-y blur around here. Last weekend was Stitches, and I did a semi-immersion, taking just two classes (though one was all-day), and shopping a bit here and there. No fashion show, no student fashion show.

I cannot say enough positive things about the new location in Schaumburg. (Take note as I am about to rave about a suburb.) The new convention center/hotel is lovely. While I didn't stay at the hotel (I cheaped out and Hotwired for the two non-consecutive nights I was going to be there and ended up with great deals at two decent places), I heard that the rooms were gorgeous, and the public spaces were fab. The decor was modern and beautiful. You could have picked that hotel up from the giant parking lot in which it is situated, plopped it down in any big city, and it would look like the chic, upscale property it is. (I even suggested that--gasp--the husband and I go out there some night for a little getaway, it's that nice.) I had dinner and drinks one evening in Gather, the bar upstairs. It is open, light, friendly, had fantastic food, and was so much more delicious and less expensive than any meal I have ever had in a hotel bar/restaurant. I was shocked. Now, I'd like to try their steakhouse, which, I believe, is called Sam & Harry's.

The convention center itself was fine. (It's a big, huge room with cement floors and fluorescent lights, a typical scenario.) The food was less expensive and better than is common in these places (I had a grilled veggie wrap w/ boursin cheese that wasn't bad as compared to the dried-out pizza featured in Rosemont.) Also, there were tons of restrooms, so there was never any line. (Some things are disproportionately important to me.)

My classes were spindle spinning with Mereike Saarnit and an all-day sockitecture class with Cat Bordhi. I've heard some grumbling about the spinning class over on Ravelry, but it met my expectations. Cat's class was, as all of her classes are, inspirational. It was similar to the one I had with her at Sock Camp, but it got to go a bit father since we had 6 hours. And she just keeps finding new ways to do things that make our knitting so much better. This time it was a new way to make our decreases look neater. She is so generous with her knowledge. I find her to be remarkable.

What's also remarkable is that I am going to be spending five days with her in October! My husband had secretly been emailing with her about her knitting retreat in Friday Harbor (on her home island), and I am going! My friend, Liz, and I had spent one day at Friday Harbor on our way to Sock Camp, and it is a gorgeous place. We went to Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, shopped in the stores downtown, had drinks and dinner at the waterfront, had breakfast at a charming local hang-out, etc. Now I get to go for five days to see the things I missed, which hopefully will include some aquatic wildlife, the lavender farm, more alpacas, the camel that I have heard lives on the island, etc. Plus, five days of learning from Cat. Do I not have the nicest husband ever?!

(An alpaca, not a picture of my husband, btw.)

Getting there is going to be fun. I was already flying home to Chicago from Alabama (I'll be there for the Kentuck Festival) on the 20th. Thank goodness for Southwest, and I was able to change my flight (and keep the full value of the ticket) so that I will be flying from Birmingham to Nashville where I change planes for one bound to Seattle, and my bags will be checked through. I'll pick up a car there and stay in the city (at a cool hotel in the U district called the Hotel Deca), and I will drive to Anacortes to the ferry the next morning. I bought a separate, one-way ticket home. It worked out great. Then, when I get back home the 26th, I will have a few days to rest up before I ship out to Iowa to help the Obama campaign Nov. 1-4. (I have volunteered but have yet to get an assignment, so that is still a bit up in the air, but I'll be damned if I will sit idly by without doing all I can--besides writing checks--to see the election conclude the way I hope it will.)

Michigan Part II

It has now been so long since my first post about MI that I no longer remember what else I had to say. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A couple of evenings, I hung out with Jennie the Potter and Dawn (Jennie's "roadie" for this show), both of whom I'd met on the SeaSocks cruise. I love, love, love Jennie's work. I added one of her new yarn bowls to my pottery collection. It was great to see both of them again.

  • I also got to spend time with Chris of Briar Rose and her daughter, Amy, who was helping at the booth. She is a nice as her yarns are gorgeous, and she graciously offered to have 6 of us piled into her RV so that we could watch Michael Phelps win gold #7. Seriously, if you believe that spirit and intentions transfer to the thing someone makes as she is working on it, you cannot do better than to get some Briar Rose.

  • I acquired mostly roving and top on this trip, and I have plenty of fun new stuff to spin. I also got two itty, bitty Bosworth spindles (20% off!) and a new Kundert spindle for the collection.

All in all, a fun trip, though perhaps a day too long. I missed my boys (the tall, human one, and the four-footed, fuzzy ones), and I missed my shower. (It isn't the most glam bathroom on the block, but at least it is mosquito-free!)

It was home for a few days, then off to...