Tuesday, April 29, 2008

4.29 Bah, humbug!

My drive band on the Lendrum snapped. I'd fix it, except that I've been thinking I should replace it anyway, it's looking a bit yellowed. (Let's see... it's original, I started spinning just after S turned two, S is thirteen now...) Fortunately, I still have the big band for the plying head and I need to do some plying. I hope the new one arrives soon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

4.28 Weekly Reader

I've given up on the 50 Book Challenge this year. It just isn't where my head is. Instead, I've decided to post the weekly list of books I've finished in the past seven days, even if I've read them before. I specify "finished", because sometimes I pick up a book and it takes weeks or months to actually finish it, whereas others are picked up and finished the same day.

With that in mind, this past week's list is:
  1. Clouds of Witnesses / Dorothy Sayers / An excellent favorite
  2. Aunt Dimity's Death / Nancy Atherton / First in a series, it's a charming, easy going mystery
  3. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself / Alan Alda / A good read. Now I'll have to find Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
  4. Killing Time / Linda Howard / Quasi-SF/Romance, a good read, not my favorite of hers.
  5. Trio for the Chair / Rex Stout / I've always liked his shorts best.
And a never-gonna-finish: The Wild Baron / Catherine Coulter - I can go with the willing suspension of disbelief thing, but this one is just pushing me too far - we've had one wild swing too many and I fell off the wagon about halfway through the book.

4.27 Another paper...

My instructor posted the instructions for our "final". It's due during finals week, not before the end of the quarter, but it is, in fact, another paper to write. The format of the paper is much more strictly defined; the content of the paper is much more generally defined (IOW, Huh? what are we supposed to be doing?) and best of all, the desired length of the paper was completely undefined.

When asked to clarify desired minimum/maximum length, the answer is:

10 pages is probably the minimum possible to get the amount of detail desired, maximum is to be 20 pages.

So... We have 22 days to write a 20 page paper. Urph.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

4.26 Purple and green

A bit ago I ordered some fiber from Freyalyn. I ordered one of the Wisteria and one of the Blackberry. Both of them are extremely nice in person.
I split the length of the bump in half, then split each half in fourths before I drafted it out and started spinng. I'm going to make a two ply yarn, going for maximum yardage (at least maximum yardage at the diameter I'm working with). I'm about two thirds done with the Wisteria, and then will move on to the Blackberry.

Friday, April 25, 2008

4.25 RIP

Whenever you move, you leave some stories unfinished behind you; you pick up new stories in mid-write wherever you wind up. Some stories are easy to read - others, for whatever reason, are difficult to pick up in the middle and, unless you have an over-riding reason for prying, you never really know all the bits and pieces.

I do the Girl Scouts with K, J does the soccer with S. We didn't specifically set out to divide up Boys vs Girls, but it works out that way in practice. I was a Girl Scout, I know how they work. I'm not a jock and never have been. J was a jock, although Little League and crosscountry rather than soccer. We've gone with our strengths.

Since I don't do the soccer mom thing very often, I really don't know the parents, don't know the stories, don't know who to ask. I was a trifle startled when S first officially got on the soccer team, two years ago, to start receiving emails about ST. ST had a seizure last night, ST's in the hospital, ST's home again and doing better, we're taking up a collection for goodies for ST. Who's ST? Slowly it started getting pieced together. ST was the younger brother of one of the boys on the team, diagnosed almost four years ago (at seven?) with some form of cancer, either a brain tumor or metatasized to the brain. You see what I mean - we walked in almost halfway through the story - I never have found out exactly what the problem is. People on the periphery don't really remember exactly what the problem is, just It's Bad. It seems rude to query the people at the center of the drama, trying to get the cliff notes version to catch up. It really doesn't matter what the problem is: It's Bad.

ST's birthday was Tuesday. He turned 11. ST passed away on Wednesday morning. After some discussion, it was decided that S's soccer team would attend the calling hours at the funeral home. Most of the boys on the team have been together as a team since they were in first grade - six or seven? ST would have been four at the time. As with most pesty younger brothers, messing around on the sidelines, he would have been mostly beneath the notice of the lordly players. He's been ill for a third of their lives. They gave him encouragement, knew vaguely of his troubles, contributed to gifts for him, watched him in his wheelchair as his disease progressed, sympathized with his older brother when the subject came up.

S wanted to go; his team was going. Mom, have you made a contribution to the gift yet. Mom, don't forget. Mom, have you done this yet. Yes, It's done, I gave your coach the money. Yes, you can go, I'll take you over there, Yes, I know when they're meeting. Yes, they're right, you should wear your nice clothes. Calling hours were from 7 to 9, we were to meet at 7:40. The line was out the door, but we found the team. Almost all of them were there, uncomfortable in their best clothes, solemn with the Occasion, but so grown up in appearance and manners despite the slow pace and lack of amusements they would usually consider de rigeur. It took 45 minutes to wind our way in and upstairs, down the hall, through the maze of chairs setup for sitting and to guide the flow of traffic. The family had set up masses of pictures - ST as an infant, ST at every age since then, ST with his school mates, ST with his family. The boys studied these pictures carefully, silently.

ST's father was greeting each person; what a massive ordeal. He called NT over to see his teammates - it was great to see his face brighten. We spoke a few words, then headed out the door, leaving room for others to go in. The line when we left was as long as when we first got there.

A rite of passage for S: his first funeral-for-a-person-he-knew, however distantly. It follows for him on the footsteps of the deceased family cats, the flushed fish, those smaller events that help one learn how to cope with death and grief. A difficult thing, the other half of life.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

4.24 Eggs!

The local falcons (on camera) have 5 eggs again this year. Occasionally, if you look at just the right time, you can see the eggs as the parents switch places, or as they turn them and get them adjusted just right.

It will be more exciting later in the season after the eggs hatch, but I still like looking in on them every now and then.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4.23 Stripes of a different color

Yesterday was all about the red and white stripes - today's stripes are green and magenta. The tulips in the front window bed are on their way up - I expect those little buds just peeping up with probably be ready to open by the weekend.

I had another interview today - this one was a cattle call screening interview. Ten sets of interviewers, five rooms to work with, and hordes of interviewees being turned off in 30 minute job lots for approximately 20 positions. I think it went pretty well, considering the circumstances, but who knows. The company is one I'd like to work for, so we'll see what happens. I'm still waiting to hear from my first choice - they keep swearing the paperwork is in process, but!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4.22 candy stripe

Before we move on to spring blooms, it's time for one more look at an Amaryllis. This was the second stalk of the last Amaryllis to bloom and it was quite something to see. The weight of it, between morning and evening, caused the bulb to rotate within its pot until the stalk was completely horizontal. I took it off and put it in a vase, and returned the bulb to the upright position. I think it will be able to finish recharging before the leaves die off. I'd like to see if I can get these new bulbs to rebloom next year.

Monday, April 21, 2008

4.21 'vettes

Our neighbors had a few friends over - I'm guessing it might be the local club? It made quite a roar when they all fired up at the same time to file down the street.

4.20 Down again

I could get pretty annoyed with the ISP. We've been yoyoing up and down. I do have my paper uploaded and confirmation received, so I suppose that's something.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

4.19 Home again

We've been gone for a week and are back again. (eta - we got back last night, but by the time I got this entry written, we lost the internet connection. Calling the ISP merely got a canned message - yes we know you don't have any internet, we're working on it.)

K, S and I trundled down to MD to visit my family, J went went to Tucson for a training class. We went to the National Museum of the American Indian, that new section of the Smithsonian that has been recently added, and we went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. My intention had been to go to the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art, but that was the day the Pope was doing his thing so we decided heading for Baltimore was the more sensible thing to do.

Maryland is in late spring - daffodils almost over, forsythia almost over, all the pink trees were in bloom (cherries, plums, crab apples, dogwoods, redbud), almost all the trees were variations of spring green. Pennsylvania was in mid spring when we drove home - daffodils in full bloom, some trees just popping out leaves or flowers, forsythia at its best. Once we drove over the long grade just north of Williamsport in Pennsylvania, we were suddenly in early spring once more. The daffodils are just starting, the hills were still covered in bare trees, the forsythia is just peeping open. When I drove in the driveway, I saw my crocuses are over except for one tiny purple one that was very late. Instead, the tulips are just opening up, and the daylilies are putting up sprouts. Cathy, all four of the babies seem to have made it through the winter!

The grass is green - I'm not in the mood to work on papers and homework.

Friday, April 18, 2008

4.18 Somewhat better

Judicious amounts of massage, ibuprofen, potassium, and stretching do seem to have done the trick. I've a vague ache at the botttom of my foot, the remnants of sore muscles that don't want to be annoyed again. So far I've refrained from annoying them - spending most of the day driving with cruise control in a car with no clutch means that both feet spend the day in relative idleness.

K wants to try out for The Music Man for this summer's play. She has to have "My White Knight" ready for the tryout next week. So far, K has "Shipoopi", S has "Gary, Indiana" and I have "Lida Rose" as earworms. Or maybe it's the other way around. We seem to be trading them on a regular basis and driving each other nuts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4.16 Ouch!

I stubbed my toe today - not a big deal really, except that somehow, when I did this, I managed to trigger off a charley horse right in the middle of the bottom of my foot. I have had a huge knot in the muscles there ever since. I'm taking bets now: either it will loosen up during the night, or it will completely freeze... Which do you suppose it will be?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4.16 "Things I've learned from knitting"

I picked up a new book today. I'm on page 50, and, as per usual, my stomach muscles hurt. How does she manage to hit the funny bone so accurately?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

4.15 Spindle spinning

I met a young lady yesterday who was fascinated by the spindle spinning I was doing. (More of the green BFL). She asked me questions, she drafted out all of the next bits I had laid out (very nicely too, she's got a good touch), and she got a brief try at Park, Draft, Spin. She was very polite about being bumped by the six year olds who came over to "try", but she would cheerfully have snatched the whole thing out of my hand to go off and do it herself until she got it all figured out.

Maryland Sheep and Wool is the first full weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds. Someday I'll get there, but not until I'm out of school, since that's the last weekend before finals, always.

4.14 Paper delay part 2

Well, we've officially been told our paper has been put off. We have an extra week. He hasn't told the software that yet, so we can't actually give him our papers (topic marked :Closed). We have a few days to start nagging him about that, though.

Monday, April 14, 2008

4.13 Paper delay

Well... let's see. Our instructor gave us instructions to write a research paper. After a while, he gave us instructions to give him everything we had to date (as of 10 days before the paper was due) so he could see if we were headed in the right (write?) direction. Nine days later, we don't yet have any feedback. Am I headed in the right direction? Who knows.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

4.12 Sunny day

I just saw my first bad sunburn of the season.

It never fails - we go through the winter, bundled up to the eyebrows against the cold. Then spring comes and it rains and blows - we stay bundled up (in slightly fewer layers). Then, comes the first really warm day, sunny and bright... And no one puts on sunscreen. Who's bought sunscreen this early in the season anyway? Y'right.

The girl at the checkout counter was glowing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

4.11 Total blank

It's been a rainy day today. The crocuses never opened up at all, just kept their little buds tightly closed. The world was covered with earthworms this morning. It was difficult to walk anywhere outside without stepping on them. The weirdest thing was realizing that about 20 of them had crawled up the garage door - the highest of them was about six feet up. How do they hang on to the side like that? Do they hang on to tiny irregularities in the door surface with their little rings, or does the mucus they secrete glue to them to the door? And why does any earthworm want to climb a door anyway?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4.10 Recital

It's a wonderful thing to see how nicely the scruffy looking teenagers clean up for the recital, suddenly not scruffy teenagers but young men and women, nervous, but poised. And, as each of them performed their solo, it was great to hear, despite nerves and breathiness from nerves, wonderful diction and perfect moments in each performance.

Good job, K.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

4.9 Busy day

1. Dress finished.
2. Paper 3.5 pages out of 8 required.
3. Homework assignment read.
4. Guest room unburied.
5. Groceries bought.
6. Going to bed. G'night.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

4.8 Spring fever

The bees were buzzing 'round the crocuses today. The crows were chasing around in twos. The geese seem to have finished pairing off in all the local ponds. The turkeys woke us up a little before six, with loud noises off in the woods. The peregrine falcons downtown have 5 eggs and reportedly seem to be starting to brood. The weeds are starting to come up. The daylilies (babies and older ones) are starting to green up. The spring peepers are going to town. When I poke a stick in the ground, it still only goes down about 3 inches. It may be spring on top, but it's still winter underneath.

Monday, April 07, 2008

4.7 Zipper in...

Next problem identified. I've been futzing over the band - I've had my suspicions that K had cut the band on the stitching line rather than on the cutting line when she was cutting it out the first time. I've decided that this is in fact what happened - it's about a half inch short on both ends. I've figured out what I'm going to do about it and I think it will actually look better with the fix than it would have otherwise, so I'm not going to fret over it. I think I will take a pin tuck in the armscye to solve a tiny bit of gaposis. It's going to look nice on her.

4.6 Progress!

Lengthening the slit for the zipper on K's new dress definitely helped. Once it went on over the boobs, it was obvious that it was going to be fine. She's been worried that the blue for the fabric was too blue, that the skirt was going to be too tight, that it wasn't going to look good, that... It's going to look fine. A decision was made about the drape which was to go down the front - it's out. The fabric she picked for the contrast color is not drape-y enough and it just makes her look odd. I got the zipper halfway in yesterday (I'm doing it by hand - it just seemed the right thing to do), I'll finish tacking down the bust band at the back, and then we can see if the gaposis at the armpit is still a problem. I'll let the dress hang for a day or more before I hem it up, so that we can see if the lining is going to sag, since I'd rather not hem it twice.

The reading for the paper is coming along - it isn't due until next week Monday, so I'm still on schedule for that.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

4.5 Progress?

I got the bodice (mostly) and the skirt (mostly) done for K's dress today. I tried the bodice on her this evening - it seems to be ok. The skirt ? not so much so. The zipper slit doesn't go down far enough - the skirt won't go on either from the top or the bottom. The next question is - once it does go on, will it be too tight? Or exactly right? It's hard to tell when you can't squeeze it on over either the butt or the boobs. I think it's going to be too tight, which means we have more of a problem than just how far down the zipper goes.

Friday, April 04, 2008

4.4 Rainy day

Today gave us lovely spring rain, a fine steady drizzle that went on pretty much all day. As evening came one, it turned to fog as the temperature dropped, and for a while we couldn't see across the street. An hour later than that, the temperature has dropped even more and the fog is gone.
K's dress for her recital is cut out and the black trim pieces have been edged. Tomorrow I'll see about putting the blue dress together, and if I get the lining put together on Sunday, there will only the assembly, zipper, and hem to do. That and my paper will occupy this weekend; not much else is going to get done, I'm afraid.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

4.3 crocuses

If I had taken this picture yesterday, you would only have seen yellow. The blue ones popped up today. The speed at which crocuses do their thing always amazes me.

In random happenings today:
The temperature went from 22 F this morning to 58 F this afternoon. A nice day for wandering around the campus and getting paperwork done.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and as I walked in, an older couple (in their 80s perhaps?) were checking out Mart Carts (those grocery store provided scooters with grocery baskets mounted at the front end. This isn't too unusual, except that one doesn't usually see people checking out his-n-hers carts. I wouldn't have thought anything about it except that when I was in the meat dept. I had to pause to let the gentleman pass - he was swimming upstream of the planned traffic flow. Then, when I got to the deli counter, he passed me again, swimming upstream once more. He still didn't have anything in his basket. When I got to the milk section, here he came again, still unladen, still headed upstream. He passed me one more time, and then I swung down an intermediate aisle and didn't see him again until I was leaving the store. He was parking the cart. I watched, sort of bemused, as he walked out of the store (just fine, no apparent difficulty with walking, although it isn't always obvious), went and got the car, and met his wife at the curb where he helped her off her cart and into the car, loaded the groceries she'd bought, then went and parked her cart for her.
If he were 17 you know they wouldn't let him pass the time riding laps around the store, but he seemed to have enjoyed it.

I finished my intermediate milestone for my 8 page research paper and handed it in tonight. Tomorrow I'll continue with the readings. Oh boy!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

4.2 Procrastination

I finished knitting on K's Rogue. All it needs now is finishing.
I have a single sleeve of J's Oberstdorf done, but need to find where the pattern got put. I have the last section of a shawl to knit, but need to find the pattern for that. I have an 8 page paper to write, in-laws coming next week (i.e. housework that needs doing) and a trip to plan for. I had an interview today for a job that would be interesting.
A trip to the LYS holding a moving sale yielded a book I've wanted for a while, yarn that will look good on my nephew B, and a pattern to be knitted in variations of garter stitch. I can knit this, not exactly with my eyes closed, but certainly while reading papers for my research for that aforementioned 8 page paper. This is in striking contrast to any of the aforementioned knitting projects in progress.

A new project.

4.1 April Fools

The only individual in the close family who adores April Fool's day, and who spends a great deal of time thinking up pranks to pull, is suffering from a cold. For the first time in some years, there were no jokes, no little oddities. His jokes are never malicious, but they can be somewhat annoying.

I have to say I missed them this year.

A snarking sneeze and cough from S are not the same.