Techie Talk by Judy @ 12:08 PM
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Yes, I know that’s bad grammar, but we seem to be stuck with it culturally. Don’t you ever wonder who the person is who recorded that little sound bite for AOL, and why they couldn’t say you have mail? But I digress.

Sometimes (usually) I’ve got mail, and sometimes I don’t.

Last Friday my mail was moved from one server to another. Although I’ve been promised that no mail would ever, ever, ever be lost… well… I don’t have a lot of confidence since the last time such a move occurred mail was lost.

So, if you sent me any email last Friday or after and have not heard back from me, please resend. I would hate to think that anyone would feel ignored.

I also pulled the plug on something that I think was causing the blog to load slowly. Hopefully it will be peppier now.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 5:25 PM

Andes Mint
Andes Mint

This is not spring.

When I was young, I could tell that spring was coming when the weather turned decidedly warmer (almost up to freezing). The sky was deep blue, instead of winter white. The snow began to melt. And I swear I could smell the green things in the ground starting to stir. The tease lasted for a week or two, and then suddenly it was spring. Crocus bloomed, and then daffodils. The air was crisp, the breeze warm, and birdsong was everywhere. Rain, if it came, was a gentle shower that soon ended and left the most delicious smell in the world (only sheets dried outside on the line come close).

OK. It was a desert.

But this is the spring that my whole being still expects, and never mind that I have lived in a rain forest for the past 35 years. And although I tell myself every year that I’m not going to get the spring of my youth, I am still vaguely disappointed when it comes gray and soggy, and the daffodils struggle up through the muddy clay. I feel somehow… cheated. Yet geese have returned (I almost hit one that was standing in the middle of the street the other day), birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and so it must be spring.

In the last several days we have had rain, snow, rain, hail, 5 short minutes of sun, rain, snow, hail, etc. According to the northwest forecast that I trust the most, more of the same is promised for the next few days. There have been years when we had snow in April, but those years are very, very rare. We usually don’t even have snow in January, thus my displeasure. Because the calendar tells me it is spring, I will try hard to agree with it.

In keeping with spring, have you seen a yummier, springier yarn? This is Andes Mint from Sharon of Stitchjones. Sharon kindly brought some to the Wednesday night sip-n-stitch. Even though I was a bit late, she had guarded a skein from the ravening hordes, and thus I was able to bring it home with me. During our 5 minutes of sun yesterday, I quickly took a picture. Is this not just the most wonderful color? I’m not sure yet what it will be, but it will be something soon.

As soon as I finish the clown barf stripy socks. I am distracting you from my lack of progress by showing you yarn pr0n. But I do continue to work on them. And I’m hoping that I will get some good solid knitting time in this weekend.

In other news, Phoebe had her first post-treatment checkup and her kidneys are going to need watching. Not good, but not unexpected at her age. She has been doing well, though, and acting OK. We shall see. There is no new #1 Son news. And it’s a good thing. 🙄

Finally, please consider turning out your lights for 1 hour at 8:00 PM tonight. We can all knit in the dark for just a little while!

* those lines on weather maps that show areas having the same barometric pressure so you can see where the storm is – right now, it’s over me

Knitting by Judy @ 10:50 PM

it must be spring
it must be spring

Something happened when I wasn’t looking. I must have been distracted. I was looking down and not up. And I missed it.

It’s spring.

The cherry blossoms are insisting that it’s spring.

Then why, pray tell, was it bad-assed cold a mere 32 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up this morning? That’s a January sort of temperature. There might be, the weatherman tells me, snow down to 500′ tomorrow. That’s my house.

We are not amused.

Look at the poor trees in the picture. Look cold, don’t they? I swear to you that those blossoms are pink. It’s impossible to tell in this photo because the angry white sky and the chill have bleached the color right out..

or maybe not
or maybe not

Here. I’ll show you some petals that had fallen off and drifted against the curb on the sidewalk along with some of last year’s seeds. See? They are pink.

Not 20 minutes after I took these pictures, as I sat in a local coffee shop drinking a cuppa Earl Gray, the heavens opened up and the rain poured down in sheets. I’m glad I stopped to take a couple of snaps because I’m betting that most of the petals are on the ground now — and not in lovely, albeit chilly, pink drifts but in soggy, sodden, brownish masses.

Of course, all of this is to distract you, gentle reader, from the fact that there’s no knitting content. I have been knitting. Or at least I’ve been meaning to knit. I’ve made it about 2″ up the ankles of the clown barf stripy socks. Most of the progress has been made here and there while waiting in a line and such.

At night, instead of knitting, I’ve been catching up on my long-neglected blog reading. It’s been wonderful to visit old friends that I haven’t seen for way too long. And tonight I read two bloggers who mentioned doing laundry. And that totally reminded me that I really needed to throw a load in right away. Because otherwise tomorrow I would have to go naked to work. And, it being a rather conservative establishment, that would probably be frowned on. Not to mention cold — especially if it does snow.

Of course, if the snow sticks I could justify working from home tomorrow. But unless it melted pretty darn quick I would miss Wednesday knitting. And I really don’t want to do that since I have promised a little semi-impromptu lesson in Judy’s Magic Cast-on — I swear I’ve been asked, although lack thereof never stops me, and it’s so fun to watch coffee house denizens trying to figure out why a whole group of people are intently watching me wind yarn around needles.

And worst of all, I would miss Sharon of Stitchjones fame and the yummy new colorway in her sock yarn that she is bringing called Andes Mint. Go over to her blog or her Etsy shop and check it out. But if you think you’re going to buy it all up, you’ll have to go through me first!

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 2:09 PM

Last year #1 Son was the proud recipient of a speeding ticket. You should take care of that right away, I suggested. Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll take care of it.

Later, #1 Son received a letter from the Oregon DMV explaining that the state frowns on people who fail to take care of their tickets and tends to suspend or revoke their driving privileges until it’s all cleared up. You really should take care of that, I reminded. Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll take care of it.

Then #1 Son traveled to Brazil for over a month and life went on and I forgot all about it because… it had been taken care of.

Tax time came, and taxes were calculated, and returns were electronically filed. #1 Son received a nice letter from the State Of Oregon (Revenue Division) thanking him for the tax return amount that had been applied to his outstanding account from Multnomah County. Would he please remit the remainder post haste? What’s this about? I asked. I don’t know, Mom. But don’t worry, I’ll get it taken care of.

Fast forward to last Wednesday. It’s 10:30 PM, and I am drowsing knitting in front of the TV, watching a DVR’d episode of Men In Trees. The phone rings.

#1 Son: Mom! My car just got towed! What am I going to do!

I’ve been through this once before. Last year when I was in Miami on business, a call came from #1 Son in Canada asking me to move his car in Portland. It was difficult, since I was diagonally almost as far away across the US from the car as I could possibly get, thus my familiarity with the whole car towing thing. It also pointed out what a small place the world is becoming. But I digress.

Mom (only 1/2 awake and trying to understand what might have happened): Why was your car towed? You have the area parking permit now.

#1 Son: Well… OK… here’s what happened. You know how when you get off the freeway by my house you can only go north and I live south and everyone just does that illegal U-turn? Well… my roommate called to tell me that there were a lot of cops out pulling people over for illegal U-turns. So instead of making a U-turn I crossed two lanes over a solid white line and turned left. [ed.: because apparently an illegal left turn is so much better than an illegal U-turn.] And the cop pulled me over and towed my car.

Mom (still trying to understand): Why did he tow your car?

#1 Son (after long pause): Apparently I’ve been driving on a suspended license. But I really didn’t know that! And he threw me in the back of his car and frisked me and everything! He wouldn’t even let me push my car home even though I could see my house from where I was. What am I going to do?

Mom (trying to remain calm): You will be glad you are not the kind of person to have illegal substances in your car (right?!?!?). You will be happy that you did take care of the lost registration so that this is not being complicated by a charge of driving a stolen vehicle (yes I know it’s not but you are a punk kid and therefore everything you say is suspect). In the morning you will call the state and find out what that outstanding debt is for and this time you will actually get it taken care of. You will then call the City Of Portland and find out how to get your car back. You will then call the court and find out how to take care of your ticket. You will then report back to me. Love you!

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Thursday morning… in between meetings, my phone rings…

#1 Son: Hi! I called the state and paid them. They will let Multnomah County know by tomorrow that I’ve paid and Multnomah County will tell DMV so that is taken care of. I called about my car… uh… apparently I have to get a release from the police first before I can get the car back. But I can’t get the release because I’m not the registered owner and I don’t have a valid driver’s license. uh… what do I do now?

Mom: Apparently I will have to go get the release. Can one of your friends drive your car when I go to pick it up? By the way, your car is coming to my house. I will take your friend back to wherever they need to go afterwards.

#1 Son: I talked to Guitar Hero and he can go. Here’s the number of the place where the car is. And here’s Guitar Hero’s number. And here’s the number and address of the place where you get the release. Thanks. I really love you!

So I called Guitar Hero and asked him to be at my work front door at 4:00, and he agreed. I called the Portland Police and learned that people trying to get back cars towed because of a crime have to go to the Asset Forfeiture Unit first. But I could go directly to the Records Division to obtain the release because this was for a violation not a crime.

On my lunch hour (an extended hour, as it turns out), I walked down to the Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct. Once there, I was required to prove who I was and why I was there before I was allowed to ride the elevator up to the Records Division. The waiting room of the RD was tiny and lined on three sides with backless wooden benches. The east side included windows of bullet-proof (I assume) glass with little slits for papers and such to be passed back and forth. I stood briefly trying to get the lay of the land. Take a number, I was told. I did so and sat down against the north wall.

There were three parties ahead of me in line, and they were all friendly and chatty. The woman currently being served was there to get a release for her daughter’s car. It had been towed because her daughter was driving without a license. It seems that her daughter wasn’t old enough to actually get a permit, but she’d only driven a mile or two. (I hesitated to ask why her daughter had a car.)

The couple on the west bench were there to get a car that had been towed. (Do you see a pattern here?) They had been upstairs first to the Asset Forfeiture Unit. They didn’t really want to discuss why. I didn’t really want to know.

The woman on the south bench across from me broke the pattern as she was just there to get a background check so she could rent an apartment. I really hope my drug convictions don’t show up, she said quite seriously. I had no idea how to respond to that except good luck.

It occurred to me that I had left my knitting at work.

I was vastly relieved to have the release in hand and head back to work. At 3:45 PM my phone rang…

Guitar Hero: uh… hi… you know when I talked to you earlier… there was something I sort of forgot… I think my license is unsuspended. I just need to go over to DMV to get it reinstated. But I sort of haven’t done that yet so it’s not really valid… I talked to Drummer Boy and he said he’ll go with you to get #1 Son’s car so I’m going to bring him down and we should be there pretty soon.

Was I being punked? Twilight Zone? Candid Camera? (OK. That shows my age.) I was beginning to think that I was the last person in Oregon with a valid driver’s license.

Drummer Boy went with me the last time I had to get #1 Son’s car out of hock. This, I told him is deja vu all over again. He assured me that he did, indeed, have a valid license. The tow company fortunately had a key, because I do not (which I remembered on the way over there). And #1 Son’s car is back outside my house, taking the place of the car that had taken the place of the truck.

Last night my phone rang…

#1 Son: I think I forgot to tell you that L [ed. his girlfriend] is coming down from Canada and Autistic Youth is playing a couple of shows down in the Bay Area. We should be back I think on Sunday. Or maybe Monday.

Mom: How are you getting down there?

#1 Son: We’re taking Guitar Hero’s van

Mom: Drummer Boy better be doing all the driving

#1 Son (after long, long pause): Yeah. We’ll figure it out. Did you know that I could get my license back as soon as next Wednesday now that everything is taken care of but the new ticket? Isn’t that good news? Love you!

Knitting by Judy @ 8:29 AM

Today it’s Won’t You Wear A Sweater day as part of Pittsburgh’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor 250th birthday celebration.

Today would have been Fred Rodgers’ 80th birthday. For those of you who may not know of Mr. Rogers, he was a gentle soul who hosted the children’s TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood that was filmed in Pittsburgh. Off screen he was a tireless advocate for children. He also testified during the Betamax hearings that let do the Supreme Court ruling that VCRs did not violate copyright.

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ceased production at the end of 2001. At the beginning of every single episode, Mr. Rogers would take off his jacket and put on a sweater. He had a whole closet full of zippered cardigans knit by his mother.

So won’t you wear a sweater?

I think you can.

[ed. 03/22/08 1:32 — I obviously suck for getting the city wrong. Huge apologies to Pittsburgh. And since the correct city is entirely obvious in the video I have no excuse. I can only plead major brain fart. Please forgive me.]

Knitting by Judy @ 12:44 PM

Remember me? I’m the one that used to have time to knit and used to have time to blog. Once upon a time, there were new things to read here more than once a week or so.

I’m taking my life back! ❗

Thank you to all who commiserated with me about my long-long-ago report card. I did get over it eventually. As I tell #1 Son (and repeated just the other day), it is possible to rise above the unfortunate events of your childhood. (No, you don’t have to be late just because your mother always occasionally is. You, as an adult, can learn to do better and be on time!)

My childhood, for the most part, was a reasonably happy one.

The Plan B class has been taken several times and passed several times and the best results handed in. Ahem. Other yearly stuff that means nothing here is now wrapped up and in the hopper, and I should be back to just the normal level of madness.

And I have been knitting.

stripy feet
stripy feet

Look! I’ve turned the heels on the Clown Barf (note to self: find a better name for these) stripy socks.

And I’d like to talk a little bit about colors.

Yes, I know the title says this is going to be about heels. Hang with me, gentle reader, and we’ll get there.

I don’t hate these socks. In fact, as they’re knitting up I think they look just fine. I’m not going to wax rhapsodic over their delights. But they’re OK and I think the intended recipient will like them well enough.

But here’s the thing. I just had to add this yarn to my collection because, in the skein, the colors were so gorgeous and vibrant that it just jumped out at me. Even in the ball, the colors are lovely.

But knitted up? Not so much. The colors combined in the stripes in such a way that they look… muddy. The gorgeous brightness is totally lost.

But look at the heels!

lovely colorful heels
lovely colorful heels

Here. We’ll take a closer look. Pop up both of the pictures so you can really see the difference. Go head. I’ll wait right here.

On the heels, you can see why I fell in love with this yarn. With each color spanning multiple rows, the intense little hits of color really pop.

I want the rest of the socks to look like the heels. I’m resigned. I know it won’t happen. But for the other skein that I have (slightly different colorway but still bright), I’m thinking… entrelac. I do appreciate all of the suggestions for how to fix the color. I think with entrelac, even if the colors shift in the middle of a diamond, those hits of color will really show up.

But we’re talking about color and I really meant to talk about heels.

Nice heels, eh? I’m quite taken with how they look. I should be. I knit the $#@% heels 3 times.

I go through the same process every time I knit short row heels. I say to myself, Self, you are, in some ways, an experienced knitter. At times you are even an advanced knitter. You can conquer that pesky wrap-and-turn! Go for it!

I then proceed to knit standard short row heels with wraps and turns. And I get holes. And the heels gets bumpy and icky inside. And there are little hard bits. And sometimes the wraps show. And there are holes.

I’ve tried multiple ways of doing the wrap. Regular wraps. And YO wraps. And even Japanese short-rows which leave the wrap unwrapped until it’s picked up.

It doesn’t matter. I get holes and icky hard bits, etc.

Eventually I give up, because despite evidence to the contrary I can be taught, and I do Sherman heels. And they always look lovely. And I wonder why I keep putting myself through such grief.

Are there any knitting techniques that you just can’t seem to master?



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Stuff I Gotta Do

Follow The Leader shawl

30%

entrelac wrap

0%

Arabesque shawl

100%

Jubjub Bird Socks

15%

I Mog Di

15%

Peacock Feather Shawl

0%

Honeybee Stole

5%

Irtfa'a Faroese Shawl

0%

Lenore

20%

Fatigues henley sweater

10%

Jade Sapphire Scarf

15%

#1 Son's Blanket

2%

Cotton Bag

1%