Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome Justin Lee!

Grandtad has revealed that he is a boy! At 5 o'clock this morning we each received this photo message on our cell phones. The message was "Meet Justin Lee". He arrived 5 days late, but his Mom and Dad are thrilled that he is here (so are we!) Mom and Baby are doing well.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Still no baby. Poor Kim! She is past her due date.

We spent time with our kids around Christmas, I figured out that we were in the car 30+ hours between Thursday the 20th and Friday the 28th. That does NOT count driving around town either place. That's a lot for this body!

Serena wore her Rogue-ette almost all the time we were there. Did I think to get pictures? Nooo! sigh I have a request in for her to get someone at work to take a picture of her wearing it. If not, then maybe late January...

Tucker was unhappy that no one was playing with him. So he sough solace with his frog.
I knit several more pairs of wristwarmers for my sister, but mailed them off before I got pictures. Hopefully her hands will be warmer! I started one more pair, finished another, but one isn't a color she'll wear happily (I will though!) and the other is driving me nuts right now. As I've whined before, asthma makes knitting difficult some times. While I have been capable of knitting a 2 by 2 rib, I was doing a 4 by 4 (because I like the way it looks and to do something different.) I just couldn't. COULD not. 4 by 5, or 5 by 4... many many times. I finally put it away in disgust.

On the way home, it was snowing and blowing. Howard wasn't using cruise control, to keep better control of the car. At one point we watched the car just ahead of us as it perhaps hit ice or realized it was missing its exit. We don't know. Howard thought the first, I thought the second. Whatever, it started spinning. There was concern that we were going to collide. It seemed to be happening in slow motion. Just when we thought the driver had brought the car under control, a tire dipped over the edge and the car gracefully rolled and landed on its roof! Talk about a heart thumping stretch of time! Howard brought the car to a stop, then backed up to help out as I called 911. (As an aside, I really wish the dispatchers knew mile and exit numbers -- it would make it easier for those of us who aren't reading all the road signs as we go by! That would be me when I'm passenger.) All the time praying for them, for other travelers, for those who stopped and for a safe trip the rest of the way! We were told the people in the car were fine, so took off. It was a subdued pair in the car for the rest of the way. That happened 2 and a half hours from home. Ick! We rejoiced when the road cleared up shortly after we got back into Iowa!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Handel's Hallelujah Chorus

I should be asleep. The alarm is set to go off at 4:30 in the morning, so we can spend some time with the kids before Serena flies out for home. Yet, I'm awake. Drat.

My parents had a reel to reel tape recorder. Dad used it for work before his stroke. It was a massive thing by today's standards, I think each reel was close to 6 inches (15 cm). And heavy. But that was state of the art in those days. After his stroke, he didn't need it. We had pre-recorded tapes for it, I remember some were loaned by others to amuse him after he came home from the hospital, but the selection was...eclectic. The Messiah, Coppelia, western tunes... I think I remember some friends loaned/gave him tapes.

For whatever reason, I commandeered that machine. I needed it to go to sleep. I'd go to sleep listening to Coppelia or to Handel's Messiah. I'm sure I probably only needed one side to go to sleep, I seemed to have fallen asleep before "The Trumpet Shall Sound" for the Messiah, but I'd rouse for that. Wonder if that is why my Mom hates trumpets? She commented one time that they demand (bugle?) her attention.

Anyway, tonight I was thinking about the Messiah and the Hallelujah Chorus. How many times I've heard it or sung it in my life. My first memory of it is with that recording (no, I don't know who made it.) Then there is the memory of the pick-up choir of my high school days. A local religious institution invited anyone who wished to come for the afternoon to practice the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah, to be performed that evening. We all came together, from MANY religious backgrounds, practiced (I'm sure that the sponsoring church's choir had practiced a LOT more) and then put on a performance that evening.

Then in college, the church we belonged to performed the Christmas and Easter portions on alternate years. Complete with brass quintet. I think that is the last time I sang it myself.

When we moved to New York, Serena was a member of the high school choir, which had the Hallelujah Chorus as the finale of the program every year. Anyone who had been a choir member in the past was invited to come up on stage and sing. It was a vibrant, exuberant performance, with friends meeting up since they had graduated. Some had been singing this together for 40 years or more. Most of them tried to get in on time, so they could get to the program. I know we tried to schedule her flights home from college in time so she could get there. Didn't always happen, due to finals schedule, but still...

Now, listening to XM stereo on tv, there have been a couple of playings of the Hallelujah Chorus. And there is still that stillness, that delight in the memories over the years.

Tonight, for some reason, instead of sleeping the Chorus is once again ringing in my head. The worst of it is that I can't remember, is it 3/4 or 4/4 time? Sheesh? Instead of the joy, why is THAT important?

We are waiting the birth of grandtad. Any day now. Whee!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We have spent 16 hours in the car over the last 3 days. Here to Nathan and Kim's, there to the MSP airport and back (to pick Serena up) and then home today. Then we will drive up Christmas Day to have Christmas with the kids, then drive Serena back to the airport, then back up to N & K's. From there, we don't know what we will do -- yet.

It is so frustrating, to get so freaking many political phone calls a day! Good grief! Even though I've committed to a candidate, they call me so many times to make sure I'm still planning to vote for this person. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK! The more you push me, the more irritated I feel. The political commercials are on constantly, the phone calls are ridiculous! Why in the world do we live here?

Still no baby. Poor Kim. She isn't comfortable. Neither of them (she nor Nathan) are sleeping well (surprise, surprise!) The only good thing is that we know that it will, eventually, end. Her blood pressure climbed suddenly, she was put on bed rest yesterday. Hm, good thing she was going to be off work Monday and Tuesady anyway!

With all of the driving time Thursday and today, I did get knitting accomplished. Not Friday, however, as we drove in the dark, and I didn't want to mess up the pattern. It is hard to get the correct number of rows in a Fibonacci sequence when you can't see what you are doing! LOL

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I don't think it is a word but it is exactly what some special people are. Appreciators. I have some appreciators in my life. Right now I'm talking about my knitting life. There are others, in other areas, but this was highlighted TWICE today! TWICE! YAY!

I have knit for my sister off and on for years. I love knitting for her, as she cherishes whatever I've made. To the point that I think she could safely get rid of the vest I knit for her in high school, um, way too many years ago! Unfortunately, that was before I had the idea that I should knit colors that look good on the intended victim, instead of my favorites. She looks good in rose tones, this was rust. Nevertheless, she wore that vest for a long time. Today she asked for wrist warmers in wild colors, because it is so cold in her office. Whee! I'm off to stash dive (and I asked my friend Dianne for extras, because she LOVES wild colors much more than I do.) I'd started a pair of socks for me, but the yarn yelled, "I wanna be wrist warmers!" Okay. I frogged the couple of inches I'd done, and that's what they will be!

Some of the yarn is in a bit of a short supply, so I'm going to knit them in reverse, start at the hand and work down. I suppose some could be Scandinavian pulse warmers....

My "almost daughter" in London UK who visited us several years ago wrote this morning too. The two sweaters I knit earlier in the year for my "granddaughters" are so loved, that the other day the youngest pet hers going in and out of the washing machine (called a wetter by the oldest , isn't that appropriate!) The sweaters (jumpers) aren't impervious to stains (darn it) but they are light colors -- lime green and neon yellow respectively, but the girls love them. That is what is important.

These aren't the only knit appreciators in my life! But I heard from both of them today, and that meant a lot to me.

I hope you have appreciators in many aspects of YOUR life!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

3 and a bit days of knitting

I couldn't let that last bit of yarn go to waste! Really I couldn't! I knit the mitts first, then, because there was so much yarn left, I started the Moebius. I got near to the end of the yarn, and put a slip knot in it about 4 times the width of the scarf (because of the ribbing.) I had about 6 inches of yarn left over at the end. Sweater pics will come after Serena tries it on next week. I'll try to get pics of the mitts on a body, as they do look nice.
Have you ever noticed that yarn sometimes does NOT want to be something? I was knitting on the Moebius last night using a different stitch pattern. It just didn't go well. I finally frogged it and started over. It went so quickly at that point.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


We are in that period of life that is so interesting. We are waiting. Every time the phone rings, we think, "Is it the baby?" Posts from them indicate how tired they are, and the baby isn't even here yet! Oh dear. New life is on its way. It is almost here. What a promise for the future!

Unfortunately, the phone is ringing a lot these days. You see, we are in one of the first election states. One memorable day I received 5 phone calls for political surveys PLUS 7 for political ads. I don't know about you, but I hang up on robo calls. Thanks but no thanks. I don't find it impressive that someone with a "name" has recorded a message and it is going out to several thousand people at once. I don't care. Click. I admit I have a weakness for political surveys. I want my voice heard. But there really is a limit. It has gotten to the point that I can frequently tell the politcal bias of the group who is sponsoring the poll. We're not supposed to notice that it is slanted toward one person/group?

Oops. I was just working on my yarn spreadsheet. Must keep myself honest. To realize that one of the times I added yarns, I managed to foul up my total ounces line. I don't know how. Not sure I WANT to know how. sigh But that means I have almost 200 less ounces than I thought I did. Um, that is quite a mistake! Over 12 pounds. I am not saying that I'm running out of yarn any time soon. Far from it. But still, there is a wonder about that error.

By the way, the wristwarmers are finished. Well, one still needs the ends sewn in. But effectively finished. Whee!

Remember my whine yesterday about the yarn for the last sweater that seemed to have gone missing. Well, I checked my actual stash (against the spreadsheet) for my yarn (purchased for me at the same time/place.) Hm, spreadsheet said 20 skeins. Actual stash was 12. I am going to take it that I did the same with Serena's. somehow. Must have been the day the spreadsheet went bad. grin That is a 1.3 pound difference there alone...

Friday, December 14, 2007


The sweater is done! In time to hand it off to the intended victim next week! I had just a bit of yarn left over (that I can find) and am in the process of making a set of wristwarmers. No pattern, just playing. Serena (said intended victim) said she doesn't need wristwarmers, so I will just have to wear them around here! Such a shame, as it is COLD in this house right now! LOL We still have power, but there are a lot of drafts.

As I said, the yarn left over "that I can find." I have a yarn database. I try to be accurate with it. There are things that slip through the cracks, it may be off by a few skeins, but not by much. So I wrote down that I'd brought 15 skeins (26.25 oz or 250 grams) of this yarn home from Serena's to knit this sweater up. I'd bought it a couple of years ago from New Zealand. The sweater weighs 1 pound .5 ounces or 468 grams. There would be a little more used, the ends that were trimmed and thrown away. That is 9+ skeins. I have the rest of the + skein and one more at hand (hence the wristwarmers.) BUT WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE OTHER 4 SKEINS! I've hit the exasperation level by now. If I'd had them, I probably would have saved them to make something else toasty. But it didn't feel as if I had enough to make much, and thought "a-ha, wristwarmers!" Didn't want to waste this uber-warm yarn! I have searched the house. I asked Serena if she remembered how many skeins she had, her helpful response "a box full." True, when I sent them to her I squished them all in a small box. But that doesn't really give me an accurate count, now does it?

Does anyone else have this happen? Sheesh!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


There was a car accident last night. 4 high school boys were in the car. Two of them died. This is a small town. It has hit hard. Howard spent the morning at the high school as one of the volunteer grief counselors. Today 2 families are facing the Christmas holidays with their hearts breaking. Their friends are having to come to grips with the painful reality.

Inevitably, memories of the school bus accident while we lived in Oklahoma surfaced. Luckily that time no one died. It was the last day of school before the Christmas holidays. Many families had all of their children on that bus (even smaller town -- elementary through high school students rode the same bus.) Howard was one of the first ones on the scene. The first I heard about it was a frantic phone call from a father who had all 3 of his children on the bus. He hoped that someone had called Howard to alert him, and so he would be able to find out WHERE the accident was, so he could go to his kids. He had been given strange directions (the crash was so many miles east and so many miles west of town instead of north. Can't get there from here. But we didn't know at the time to substitute north for west.) Funny, I think of the accident, and I immediately see Serena's Christmas dress that I was making. I was pressing in the hem when I took the call. I can see the ironing board, the dress, and the feeling of horror. Mentally naming the children that were probably on that bus.

Things like this do happen. But we would all much rather that it didn't happen to anyone, but especially not to those we know. All we can do is be there for those who have been affected. And pray.

Monday, December 10, 2007

When the stitches go bad...

I was knitting away on the collar. Paying very special attention to those cable crossings that had been wrongly turned earlier. Really I was. About 12 rows in to tonight's episode of knitting, I realized, every freaking one of the center cables in tonight's knitting was done incorrectly! Part of me was in absolute shock. Part was horrified. The rest? Resigned. The sweater is no longer going to have a collar as I had planned it before. At this point I'm knitting a rolled edge to match the sleeves and hem, and this sucker is done!

Later (much later) I will figure out a way to show myself how the cables are supposed to go. Bur obviously not tonight.

I am now going to whimper off into the sunset.

One of those days

I made a commitment to myself today that I'd knit at least 10 rows this evening. Then I cut my finger while slicing bread. Can't tell if the bleeding has stopped yet, until it does I'm not going to even try. Knitting may be a moot point. I'll see. It is the tip of the left index, I don't use the tip foe knitting except on the cable rows. Wonder if I can come up with a work-around! I can tell you honestly that my typing is atrocious! Amazing how many letters use that finger!

Have you ever noticed how important something that is seldom noticed becomes when it is incapacitated or gone? As soon as you give/throw something away that hasn't been used in several years, it becomes vital. I don't understand. Same with yarn. Pass it on because it won't be knit up -- ever, and BANG! sigh

I've noticed as things become more uncertain, my knitting is doing the same. grumble

I've been pondering the new-born baby hat (knit for newborns at the hospital where I still volunteer, despite the fact that we moved away 4 years ago) that I knit while in the emergency room with my dad. According to information on the web, it is very difficult to kill the disease spores for what he had. Finally came to the conclusion to throw out the hat and the yarn (there was enough for one more hat.) I also gave the needles, stitch markers and row counter a good chlorine bleach bath. The stitch markers and row counter hadn't been used for the hat, but were in the same knitting bag. The bag was also swabbed out. Maybe overkill. I'd rather be safe than cause harm to a baby.

Update on the finger, new bandage because I bled through the other one, and yes, I can knit. Slowly at the cable crosses, but that finger is used to tension, not move the stitches.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Great Stash-Down

I've been thinking of shopping my stash for some time, and joined a group on Ravelry. Karin MT started it, and it has become vastly popular. Some are shopping only from their stash, others are working on a zero growth goal -- however much comes in, an equal part must go out. Right now I'm working toward the stash only, with the exception to be yarn for baby things. We'll see how long it actually lasts. There is so much laceweight there, I think the only way to use it all up is to strand many together until I reach the desired weight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


47 minutes of playing human jack-hammer today and I managed to break the ice and clear the walk for less than half. I had to give up when the wheezing and sore muscles won. More tomorrow. I am trying to remind myself that I am doing good things for my body by all the work. I suspect tomorrow I'm also going to be saying something on the order of "Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, OW!" LOL It is probably still 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Serena!

Happy Birthday Serena! The best daughter we could ask for!

Her birthday present today? Notice that her truck was totalled. She was told that the frame is shaped like a banana. The thing we are all trying to remember: She was NOT hurt!

On the sweater front, intended victim looked at the picture on the blog and "kind of likes the way it looks, so don't fix it." Whew! I have to admit it has been in time out since I noticed the error.