Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sick Day

I'm sort of taking a sick day today. I say 'sort of' because the only time I need to take an 'official' sick day is if I have to cancel class b/c I'm sick. However, I could cancel class for any other reason and not report it as a sick day. What I'm trying to say is--no one keeps tabs on sick days for professors at my school, yet they keep giving me sick days and in the not-to-distant future when I wave goodbye to the campus, never to return again, I guess I get all my unused sick days as pay.

I have almost 175 sick days in the bank.  That's pretty much an entire academic year.

Someone is going to call this a scam one of these days.

Anyway--I have some type of cold thing going on--headache, scratchy sinuses, a bit of a sore throat. I think i slept for 9 hours last night (and I was pretty wiped out, between this sort of cold thing and having several days of insomnia). Tim is back from his quick trip to St. L so it was good to have some things back to a bit of normalcy.

I finished the first sleeve over the weekend:

I think the second sleeve will go quickly since I've already figured out what colors go where. We'll see. I think it looks pretty good from a distance at least!

I also cast on for a second summer top to keep summer stuff moving forward. There is lace on that one so there won't be too much action on that today.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Before and After

I finished the Gravity Shawl yesterday and did a quick block (water bath, no pinning) and it might be OK. It might need a steam block around the edging. You tell me.


I will do the steam block--the edging is quite a bit brighter and I think needs a little extra oomph to stand out.

I have a lot of yarn left from this, so I might do a stranded sock pattern like Spira (although I keep wondering whether I like Spira because it is so cheerful. I need more white sock yarn in the stash).

Yesterday was Tom's Celebration of Life. I was so completely scrambled afterwards. I know I don't do well with death events, so there's that. I just feel helpless. I also keep waiting for that feeling of peace and --I don't know, not closure exactly, just the feeling that I can stop holding my breath. But I didn't feel that (and I do realize this paragraph is all about me and my feelings and that's just WRONG on some level but yeah). I felt just completely wrung out at the end of it. Maybe because it was long--over 2 hours. Maybe because there was a lot of beautiful music and the singer in the band that played--a band that Tom played for--was a complete mess. Maybe it was seeing his three beautiful grown up sons and being so sad that their children wouldn't know Tom. It was just really, really hard.

It was pretty rainy and dark this weekend, and so I spent a lot of time knitting and reading. I even finished the first sleeve of the fair isle sleeve (pictures later). I also finished several books.

  • The Price of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck. This was a memoir by a woman who used to edit French Vogue. It was OK--a bit name droppy and a bit boo hoo Vogue fired me and I have bad choices in men but I persisted.
  • Educated by Tara Westover. This is another memoir that is a 'hot' book because it is a memoir of a woman who grows up with a survivalist family in Idaho. The 'hook' for the book was she goes to Cambridge, and that is what I was most interested in (because England). However, the Cambridge part of the book is in the last 10%, and most of the book is her memoir of her childhood with her fundamentalist Mormon parents who were paranoid about government intervention. This part of the book (that is, most of the book) is really truly ugly. That said, there are several stories she recounts that include footnotes of the recollections of other family members (given she was a young child--under 10--for much) and the recollections of the other family members appear to be quite different. So I'm not sure how much of this is 'real' (and it is a memoir, so there's that) and how much is not truthful. Her 'source' materials were the diaries she kept throughout her life--even though she did not go to school, her mother made sure she could read and write (and that was about it). She is bright, clearly, but I'm not sure how trustworthy this memoir is. And if it was a novel, I would have stopped after the first three chapters. 
  • By the Book--a completely improbably novel about a woman professor who needs to get a book contract to get on the tenure track. She is caught between her former boyfriend, who is now the President of her college (at 39!) and her new boyfriend, a famous writer who may not be what he seems (ok he's not, but that's not a spoiler since his bad character is signaled from the moment he is introduced on the page). I think it is meant to be a homage to Pride and Prejudice--or maybe some other book, since they talk about Jane Eyre constantly--but it is pretty much silly chick lit. Luckily, I needed a mindless book for yesterday's sad afternoon and it fit the bill well.
So that's a catch up from me. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I Like Casting On

And I cannot lie. Why is casting on so intensely satisfying?

Anyway, it has been a hectic and busy week and it continues, and the insomnia is still happening, but I have cast on.

This is a mindless sock:

The yarn was already wound, and there's only about 280 yards of it so I need to keep an eye open to make sure I don't use too much. Fun and bright colors for the win!

I also started a top--a summer top---that I am sure has a name but it isn't in my Rav library and I don't have the pattern in front of me. It is for summer, it is cotton, and it is in seed stitch which I like but it kind of takes a while.

It is a sleeveless top with a kind of a pointy bottom, does that make any sense? Like a vest? OK i'm going to go look at the name of the pattern. Stay  right there!

OK I'm back. It is a Drops   pattern.
It doesn't have a fancy name but it is a cute little pattern. We'll see how this goes. The yarn is a cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby. Drops patterns are often a bit--sparse?--but we'll see how it goes.

I had a dental appt yesterday and then had a ton of work to do as I'm still in catch-up mode.

Today--there's nothing on the agenda. It is a gift of a day. There will be knitting and reading and probably some degree of straightening up.  Hooray!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Car Knitting

It has been a week of stress and insomnia, and the weekend won't provide too much time for relaxation, but  at least these socks are done!

These have been my car/mindless sock knitting, mostly car knitting though given we've been back and forth to the coast every few weeks. I finished these up on Wednesday when we went over to meet with the builder and the electrician. These are just plain socks with a little wrap around RC or LC to twine it up the leg.

The day at the coast was intense, and we both had trouble sleeping after it (So. Many. Decisions). I hadn't slept well the night before because of weather concerns (it was supposed to snow, and didn't).
Last night I didn't sleep well because Tim got up at 3:45 to go to the airport for a quick trip to St. Louis and I didn't get to sleep til after midnight. I did a wee nap from about 4:30 to 6am and now I am up. Luckily, no stuff where I need to be 'on' today, just a dentist appointment at 9 (yay).

I read "The Bronte Plot" which was kind of cute and not really about the Brontes, it wasn't really chicklit but a bit more serious, about dealing with your ghosts and demons, but you get the guy in the end so there's that.

In other knitting news, I am working on the cuff of the first fair isle sleeve!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Kathy did a QUORA!

*You can be :
naturally thin, naturally athletic, naturally tan.  For your whole life. What do you choose? Naturally athletic. Thin is the second choice.
*I’ll give you a site and you give me one:  Patterns at has an entire page devoted to slipper patterns. I love the free patterns from Purl Soho.
*Have you ever had a music box?Probably. And it probably had a plastic ballerina in it.
*What would you do if someone painted something for you and you didn’t like it? Find a place for it.
*Do you think those Olympic skaters can remember their routines 20 years later when they hear the music?   (Deb, with all your skating time, weigh in on this one please) Yes! I did synchronized swimming when I was 14 and that was more than 45 years ago. I still remember our routine to "March of the Siamese Children" and I start doing it whenever I hear that music!
 *Are you wearing out any of your handknits this winter ? Socks, yes.
*Is there someone you text to often, and rarely speak to ? Yes, my brother Bart.
*Have you ever been bitten by an animal? Yes. Comet (our dog) has chewed on me when she wanted to spur me to action. Does that count?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pomodoro Morning

Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? Basically, it is a timer program for your phone that counts down 25 minutes (where you focus on something), then gives you a five minute break, then goes to the 25 minute thing, then the five minute thing, then the whole things two more times and then you get a 'long break' which was when I took a shower.

I've used it before (on my computer desktop) but not as an iphone program and WOW it worked. I got really, really focused--in fact, by the time I got to my 'long break' I kept working because I was so into the FLOW which happens to be my word of the year.

I did a really focused two hours and that was great! I got a lot of writing done and feel now quasi-caught up from my floundering state before.

Then of course SPSS (statatistics program) decides to be all DRAMATIC and I can't get it started and so am back to bouncing around a gazillion places.

Here is a question: do you like how this looks?

The cowl (Wolkig), not me.

I like it bu I think there's a lot of design in it that can't be seen. And not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, yesterday I spent some time checking the stash for summer weight yarn and checking my Rav library for patterns as well. I need to start on some summer knitting because if I wait til it is warm, nothing will be done. I have already made peace with the fact that the Fair Isle sweater won't see the light of day til next Winter, and that is fine with me.

Back to work! Back to pomodoros!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Farm pics!

Just a few.

I have some video of him where you can see how gorgeous his fleece is! Calypso weighs 75 pounds and he is starting to get a 'grown up' fce!

Marigold is doing well. She is settled in and takes her guard llama job very seriously. However, she no longer completely freaks me out and seems quite willing to let me interact with her flock.

Tinkerbell and Catalina create an awkward moment for me when kids ask me what they are doing.
Good times!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another catch up

I'm starting to feel back to normal, after getting a good night's sleep after a few nights of middle-of-the-night-waking-up-and-being-sad. I thought I had the insomnia thing kicked for a week or so but not to be. The service for my friend Tom is going to be a week from Sunday at a performance venue--he was a musician in addition to a journalism professor so I'm expecting there to be music and I bet it will be lovely.

So let's catch up?

KNITTING--well, I finished the cowl and it looks--ok. Will do a photo with me with it in the next day or so. I've also made a bit more progress on the sweater:

 Sorry this is all janky. I get so worried about shadows and sleeves that I forget not to drape yarn all over the front.
AND here is the sleeve. It is about 16 inches long so that means another 4 inches or so til the cuff. I've been using  a pattern but winging it on the colors but I think it is turning out pretty well.

READING I haven't had a whole lot of time because I've been reading books for next term's Media Theory class--we're covering Media Ecology ("the medium is the message") and Actor Network Theory and hermaneutics and a lot of things I'm just not that familiar with. So I have to get a handle on those.  But in 'fun' reading, I've read:
  • Knit Your Own Murder which is a cozy by Monica Ferris. These generally aren't that great but I've read them all and I can't stop. I also have plans to try to write my own cozy this summer (can you guess the theme?) so this is kind of 'homework'.
  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. So what if you had a 'condition' that caused you to grow old at a much, much, much slower rate than most people? How would you live your life? That is the premise of this book.  It was pretty good.
  • Mrs.: a Novel by Caitlin Macy. I'm about halfway through this one. I'm not quite sure what it is about but I'll let you know.
MUSIC We went to the symphony where the focus was on Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and an Elgar piece. Can I complain a bit? The program last night had 70 minutes of music yet we were there for 140 minutes. That means there were 70 minutes of non-music stuff. OK not all--there was an encore that was 5 minutes. Between a 20 minute intermission, another 15 minutes of resetting the stage between pieces, and lots of blah blah blah talk, well, that really bothers me. I just want to hear the music, thank you.

ALPACAS Going out to the farm to help with a school group coming to visit.

OH and one last thing! Here is our forecast!

We've had no snow this year so I'm excited! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Getting there

Thank you for your kind posts about my friend Tom's passing. I miss him.

In other news: not much is happening here, knitting wise. I think this is just about done:

I think it will look pretty good when I'm wearing it, and that some of the ruffles will be more obvious.

Other than that, so much seems to be an effort these days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sad goodbye

My colleague Tom died over the weekend. He was with his family in SF, and he just collapsed. Just like that.

He was just a great guy. I was talking to one of my colleagues yesterday and we agreed he is the only faculty member that has never made anyone mad, has never been a pain in the butt, has always done what is best for the school, and always stepped up when someone asked him to. He was a guitar player and was incredibly talented, he was a great writer and editor, and he was one of the best listeners I have ever met.

He was only 70, and I find it hard to get my head around the idea that I'll never see him again.

If there's a rock and roll heaven, they just added a terrific bass player. As one of my colleagues said, rock in peace, Tom.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Knitting, cat, etc

Please note this is not about a knitting cat (that is, a cat that knits). Knitting and cat are two discrete concepts.

Jessie. She is an interesting one.

Like all cats, she has her share of quirks. One of her most interesting quirks has to do with her sense of place. She will pick a place to hang out and then hang out there for weeks and weeks. Then, she'll abandon that place and go pick another place.  Recently, her preferred place is on top of our security system (we have cameras placed around the outside of the house). She'll sit there for hours at a time, tucking all of her feet under her. Yesterday I could have sworn she did not leave this place until the evening, when she came and sat on the ottoman in our little TV room, which is her evening place to sit.

Recently, she has also taken to hiding somewhere in the guest/yarn room (there are lots of places a cat can hide both under the bed and in the closet). I've been in a bit of a panic a few times when I couldn't find her, now I figure she'll come out when she's good and ready. She is not an outdoor cat, and the times she has gone out she has been following Pilot to see where he is going.

She cleans out the dogs' ears.

Anyway, Wolkig is moving along. I tried it on last night and it needs a few more inches. The yarn is busy, but you can start to see some of the 'pleats' here (or maybe you can't. I can because I know what I'm looking for).

Yeah, it kind of looks like a happy and bright blob of color.

Last night we watched "Goodbye Christopher Robin" which was sweet and sad.

It sounds like a lot of you had snow days--I hope you enjoyed them! We are back to winter after some hints of spring--cool and rainy.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Happy Friday!

You know what I love about you, my blog friends? You are all so creative and talented and BALANCED! I know you all have crummy days and annoying colleagues/family members but you know how to put that aside and focus on what matters. Knitting! Animals! Good food! Good works!
Family that aren't crazy making!

I have to admit, it started as just another Friday here. A few mornings a week (a few=maybe 2) I do about a half hour workout with weights. I generally turn on a TV station that on our Comcast service is in the 900s---it is an Electronic Dance Music channel with no videos, just music. I like it because the beat stays fairly consistent so it is good to work out. And I get a quick pop culture lesson (while the song is playing, there are little 'fun facts' about the song or the artist on the screen). 

Today, I heard a song called "Peanut Butter Jelly" and it was just the happiest song I've heard in a long time. It made me happy to listen to it, and even though I was on the floor doing the Pilates 100 I wanted to get up and dance. And apparently I'm not the only one.

Visualize it!

I miss disco.

Anyway, the Cascade Shawl is coming along.

 Here it is on a black chair. Poor choice. Thank you for tolerating my poor choices (see--NO APOLOGY! as I noted in a previous blog post).

This is a close up of some of the patterning.

AND I'm loving "An American Marriage."

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Catching up

Does it seem like I'm always catching up? It does to me! But finally, all my 'big' obligations for the term (the search and the accreditation visit) are finished (and the term is half-finished too!). Hopefully I'll get some writing time in the next few weeks.

Here's a catch up:

Sunday. SUPER BOWL! Congratulations to the Eagles, what an amazing game. As a former Bostonian, it was hard to watch. And I just heard that Gronk's house was robbed when he was at the Super Bowl. Anyway, I digress. The game was so good that I had to stop knitting on the fair isle sweater after half time since I couldn't focus on both the game and the sweater!

Super Bowl Sunday is also sort of a 'work day' for me as I was taking notes on the ads I wanted to talk about in class (not a great ad day for the Super Bowl).

Monday. ACCREDITATION DAY! We had to go to a 7:30 breakfast and then sit in our offices til 4pm because the accreditors might come by to chat. I did get a lot done, and met with several students, but it was a long and intense day with no fresh air.

Tuesday. ACCREDITATION DAY PART 2! I went in, worked, taught, had two meetings, and that's it!

Reading: I'm now reading three books (must. focus.). "An American Marriage", "By the Book" and "The Price of Illusion". "AAM" is the new hot book (Oprah's book club, etc) that so far is good. "By the Book" is about a faculty member up for tenure whose college president is HER FORMER FIANCE and that would never happen in real life because Presidents don't really grant tenure, do they?, plus it might be too precious. "TPOI" is a memoir by Joan Juliet Buck, who had Quite the Life. She was a Vogue editor and best friends with Anjelica Houston and all kinds of things.

And here is the sweater:

Sunday, February 04, 2018


Wolkig was a hot knitting ticket last summer but I never got on the bandwagon. I'm on it now!

It kind of looks like a mishmash right now but if you click on the pattern link you'll see how it looks when its done. There's just not enough needle to stretch it out right now. Anyway, this is one of the Starry Night yarns that I wound up last weekend.

The pattern is really easy to memorize--it is basically one round repeated over and over. Here's the Knitty link if you'd rather look at it that way.

So knitting wise, I now have:

  • Wolkig: it is about 40% done I imagine.
  • The sweater: going to work on one of the sleeves during the Super Bowl
  • Cascade Shawl: I kind of forgot about this one but I worked on it a bit yesterday
  • Mindless sock
This weekend I read "The Immortalists". This is an interesting novel with a very interesting premise: four young siblings (aged maybe 8-13) hear about a fortune teller who can tell you the date you will die. They seek her out and she tells them. The premise, then, is why do you die when you die?  I am not a big fan of contemplating death but this was very interesting to ponder during the course of reading the book, which is basically divided into four parts with each sibling's stories. It might not be for everyone but you might like it.

We watched "Battle of the Sexes" last night which was fine.

Super Bowl weekend! The Oscars of Advertising! My knitterversary because I taught myself to knit 14 years ago! Pot stickers for dinner! 

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Quick visit

We went to the farm this morning to wish this little guy a happy birthday.

He was very affectionate today, and seemed to want to hang out with Tim a lot!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Crazy making

This week has been nuts, and the start of next week will be nuts too. Sorry for the lack of fascinating updates on my glamorous life.

But, let's look at a few things. First, the sweater:
The sleeve on the right is a bit longer and less woogly looking (technical term) than the sleeve on the left.

And the cowl (and me):

I like the way looping around gives it a kind of woven look.