If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Happy Anniversary

Thirty-one years ago today, T and I got married. We did not have any major plans for today. In fact, we had both planned on working. However, R showed up this morning and said he was going to run the store so we could have the day off. 

I know what you're thinking. And you're absolutely right. He's very thoughtful and his mom taught him right. 

Anyway, we thought we might go down to Brown County and do some hiking. But then, the sky opened up and the deluge began. Seriously. It rained two inches in about half an hour. And then it rained some more. The little pond in front of the elementary school near our house (And seriously, why would you put a pond in front of an elementary school, where the little kids go? It's less than 30 feet from the front door. Seems dangerous.) was swollen to the point that the water was level with the road and with the sidewalk to the school. And all the runoff ditches were filled, pretty much everywhere.

Ok, wait. I want to go back to this pond/school thing. It bothers me. My kids both went to elementary school there. (A long time ago.) Last summer, the school expanded. They added a wing and got rid of the parking lot that was between the front door and the road. They added a small retention pond where the tree lawn was (the patch of grass between the parking lot and the road that the school's message board sign is on). It's not a big pond. If you drove off the road and into it, you'd probably survive it. But a K-5th grader who fell in? I just don't think that's safe.

I also don't understand why there is a pond there. There was never any problem with water run off or flooding. In fact, the school is at the top of a small hill. That pond has to be a design feature. An unsafe design feature.

Anyway. The pond thing bothers me. 

But, at any rate, there was just so much rain that we decided maybe hiking was not in the cards for the day. So, instead, we went to lunch (tacos!) and then home to watch shark shows on Shark Week. 

I know. That is the wild, crazy, glamorous life we lead. Still, it was nice to have the day off and to just spend time together. We purposely avoided talking about business or about any of the day-to-day stressors that tend to monopolize most of our time these days.

Instead, we discussed where we would make our "home base" in an zombie apocalypse, what insane extenuating circumstances would entice us to get into a shark cage in the water, whether yoga pants should be worn outside of yoga class, and whether Jared Leto is going to suck as the Joker.

It was a fun day, really. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Fair Season Is Upon Us

You know I love the fair. It's one of my favorite parts about summer. (My other favorite parts are No Snow, and Gencon.) If I'm honest, though, it's not the fair I love, so much as fair food.

I almost always start off with grilled corn on the cob. (If it's a vegetable, then it's ok, right?) But I was reading an article about this year's "in" fair food.

I'm interested in Fried Lemonade (you had me at "fried") and Fried Buckeyes. I'm not so sure about Fried Oreos, though. Oreos are one of those things that are just fine the way they are. The article says the centers liquefy. I wonder if that is a good thing?

The donut burger is a no. I've seen those for several years, so they're hardly new. I'm just not a huge fan of Krispy Kreme. And I feel like the sandwich would be too messy to eat. There is no place to wash your hands at the fair, folks. Those bathroom faucets don't ever work.

My favorite thing on this list is the deep-fried Superstick--dough, pepperoni, pepperjack cheese. That's like a deep dish pizza, right there. And you know I loves me some pizza.

Our state fair is in August. I will, of course, be posting pictures of every single thing I eat there.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Knitted Summer Jewelry

Remember the Ringbearer Pillow? It's from the book 101 Designer One-Skein Patterns. Well, I still have that book on the side table in my living room from when I knit the Ringbearer Pillow. Don't you judge me. It's not that I was too lazy to put it back on the shelf. It's that I enjoy reading knitting patterns and looking at the pictures of knitted items. I've been thumbing through this book pretty regularly, even though I've had it for years and have been cover to cover through it.

Anyway, one of my favorite patterns from this book is the Scallop-Edge Beaded Necklace. I've made it several times--for myself and for gifts. It's fun and much easier than it looks. And it looks great.

So, I'd gotten this single skein of Patons Grace cotton yarn in Wildberry on clearance at Michael's. (You know I can't resist a clearance sale on yarn.) This picture doesn't really do it justice. I would say the color is a little too pink to be coral and a little too coral to be pink. But it reminds me of summer. Summer ice cream. Summer flowers. Or my favorite summertime drink, Strawberry Skyy Lemonade.

I made these two necklaces the other night, while watching TV. One is for M and one is for Bre. M's has silvery-white beads and Bre's has dusty pink beads. The necklaces knit up pretty quickly, but it does take some time to string 178 beads. (It takes even longer when you keep dropping beads.)

This skein is still about 2/3 full, so I may have to do some more of these necklaces. I also have a few of my own patterns I'd like to experiment with. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Scarf Update

I've been working here and there on my treble crochet scarf. Remember that I thought it needed a border? Well, I added a single crochet border around all four sides. I used a smooth worsted, Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Burgundy, because I wanted to accent the flecks of burgundy in this main yarn.

What do you think? Needs something, right? But I don't want to add anything to the sides. It's already wide enough. What about some double crochet scallops?

I still think it needs something. I found a video on YouTube to make this flower. I'm thinking of adding this, with a button underneath. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

On Travel

I have not had a vacation in 6 years. I found this little widget on someone's profile page and thought it would be cool to track all the states I've visited.

visited 32 states (64%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

It's pretty impressive, right? Sadly, most of this travel took place when I was a kid. My grandma lived in Merced, California, and for about 4 or 5 years, we woud travel to visit her in the summer. After that, they moved to Indiana and then to Ohio, so there was no more need to travel like that.

One year, we did take a plane. It was shortly after DB Cooper and maybe shortly after the airports added minimum safety features like a bag x-ray. I remember how mad people were that their bags were being x-rayed. They worried about getting radiation on their clothes. They worried that the security people would see their underwear. But mostly they hated the time they spent waiting in line. Apparently, before that point, you could just walk up and get on the plane. No wonder there were so many hijackings.

Anyway, I was a child and very worried about flying. There were a lot of DC10 crashes that year, too. That contributed to my fear. I white knuckled the whole flight. I'd like to say we didn't fly after that because I was so terrified, but I think it was because it was just cheaper to drive. My dad was self-employed at the time, so he could spare the time to drive across the country and back more than he could spare the money for four plane tickets.

So most of our cross-country trips were in the car. You get to see a lot of the country when you drive through it. In order to make it educational for my brother and me, my mom mapped out different routes each time. So we might go across the northern states on the way out and then the southern states on the way back. And maybe next time we would go right through the center of the country.

I remember I used to pick up some rocks in each state, and some plants if I could get them, to remember the trip. I think, a few times, those plants were thrown away by the California border checkers. But I did have several cacti that I got on these trips that I had for years--one even went to college with me. I don't know what happened to the rocks. I imagine I must have thrown them out at some point. Too bad. I'd like to see them now.

The southeastern states are states I visited as an adult. I also visited some of the western states as an adult, too I guess. We've vacationed in California, Nevada, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri. And my brother used to live in Oklahoma for a while. And, then of course, I've had various business meetings in Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky.

I haven't been to the northeast or the far northwest. That would be interesting, I think. I'd like to see the Cascade Mountains, Niagra Falls, and all the historic places in the colony states. Maybe some day. Hawaii and Alaska are probably out of the question, due to the aforementioned fear of flying.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Animals, Cavemen, The Walking Dead, And Diet

As I get older, I worry about things no one else (probably) worries about as much. Like, losing my mind. I mean, I've already ruined the body, so the mind is really all I have left.

Anyway, I was watching this show on PBS (I mention that--not to be a hipster wannabe--but to add validity to the information.) about bird intelligence. The essence of the show was, basically, we think birds are stupid, but they are actually smart.

A lot of the show was devoted to the problem-solving abilities of ravens and crows. Complex problem solving. It was a little eerie (and yes, remember birds kind of creep me out anyway) the way these birds looked at the situation and then determined, "Okay. I need to fly up to this perch to get this short stick. Then I can use the short stick to push the rocks out of these little wooden cages. Then I can take the rocks and put them in this other box so the weight will open the trapdoor bottom and drop the long stick out. Then I can use the long stick to reach the bit of meat in the deeper wooden cage."

I must stress that the birds did not try to reach the meat with the short stick. Nor did they try to get the long stick without getting the rocks. They just took a few seconds to fly and hop around and look at the situation, then they took about 20 seconds to do all of that and get to the meat.

They did another experiement in which the bird had to unlock a series of latches to get at the meat. Ten seconds. In order to show the bird was thinking about this and not just going through a routine, they removed one of the series, making all the steps before that point superfluous. The birds imediately recognized that, and started working the problem after that step.

These are dinosaurs, people. This is what the dinosaurs turned into. And you were suprised those raptors in Jurassic Park could manage a doorknob? Puh-lease.

Right after the animal show, another progam came on. This one was about prehistoric man. And especially about the evolution of modern man's brain. I was in a brain kind of mood, so I watched it, too.

Basically, as hunter/gatherers, according to the show, man had to consume a lot of protein. A lot. It was apparently very hard not to starve to death. And it wasn't until fire that man was able to maximize the benefit of protein. After he learned to cook food, he was able to better process the food and get more nutrients out of it. More protein helped his brain to grow and evolve.

Still, researchers say he had to eat about 4 times as much protein as we do today, just because of all the physical activity his day to day life involved. And, because he lived in a very small society of 3-12 members, he had to know how to do everything. Anything he owned, he had to know how to make. Anything he ate, he had to know how to hunt it, where to find it, and how to cook it. Any situation he was in, he had to know how to treat it.

That's about 180 degrees from modern society, where, if we want something we can buy it. And if we want to eat something, we can just go buy that, too. And if something happens--someone gets sick or hurt, we need to move, or we need something we don't have--there are places and people to take care of that, too. We don't need to know everything. But our ancestors did. And their brains were bigger and more efficient because of that.

Of course, we have a much broader scope of thought in this modern day, albeit the sampler version. We all have some basic concept of science, art, music, medicine, literature, politics, etc. Our ancestors were concerned with day to day life, for the most part.

So that made me think of The Walking Dead. These folks are basically wandering around all over hell and creation, spending a lot of their time and effort trying to find food, shelter, medicine, etc. They don't have a whole lot of need to be thinking of astronomy or iambic pentameter. Just like cavemen. But they aren't eating like cavemen. They're eating old cans of creamed corn and the occasional squirrel. (They have established in the show that the walkers are eating animals, too. So there are not many animals around to eat. Not a lot of protein running around in this world.)

So how is it that Rick and Company can walk around all day on basically no protein? It's been five years since Z-Day. Why aren't they all skeletal-framed and rickety? Why haven't some of them starved to death? Why don't we see people who have starved to death in their failed societies? Why haven't the members of this group lost much of their ability to think logically? They have to be malnourished as hell, right?

For that matter, what is happening to our brains in this day and age? If we know that our brains have gotten smaller with the lack of use and the lack of protein, what happens if you are eating a low protein diet or if you are simply not eating a balanced diet?

Clearly we all function just fine with only 25% of the protein of our ancestors' diet. Our day to day life has changed, though. If we had to hunt/gather like cavemen, that diet would kill us. If something catastrophic happened, like a zombiepocalypse, where the need for more protein (because of a lifestyle change) became necessary, would our bodies make the adaptation right away? And if our bodies were able to somehow adapt, how soon would it take our brains to adapt, as well?

And... if we have the bigger brain of our ancestors and the broader knowledge of modern man, wouldn't that push us forward on the brain evolution track? So would a zombiepocalypse be necessarily bad?

Oh, of course it would be bad. I'm just trying to follow this train to the end of the line. Because, you know, I want to keep my brain active. Use it or lose it, people. Am I right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Who Does Sting Trust?

So, I was just thinking the other day about Sting. (No, not in that way. Not this time at least.) What I was thinking was about how he has legally changed his name to Sting. A lot of celebrities do that, I guess. Madonna. Prince. Cher. That's not a big deal, I suppose. I just wonder how awkward it makes some things.

Like, when Sting goes to the parent/teacher conferences at his kids' school, does the teacher call him Sting? That seems very familiar on a first meeting, doesn't it? But what else would the teacher call him? Mr. Sting? What do Sting's kids' friends call him when they come over? "Thanks for letting us stay the night, St--er, Mister--um, Joe's dad."

Ha! Who cares? You're spending the night with Joe! And Sting!

But seriously, what name is on Sting's mailbox? Who is the junk mail addressed to? Does Sting even get junk mail? (If not, please tell me how you did it, Sting.) What name is on Sting's American Express card? Sting? That's it? Just Sting? Can he do that? Because my credit card won't even let me use an initial.

Does Sting have a credit card in his name? I mean, of course he has credit cards. Everyone has credit cards. What I mean is... I just can't imagine Sting running over to Target to get a stick of Arid Xtra Dry because he ran out. Or ordering one of those green ceramic cookware sets from late night TV. Or purchasing K-Stars for the Kim Kardashian Hollywood Game for his iPhone. Maybe he wouldn't do those things anyway. Maybe that's just me.

But surely Sting buys stuff, right?

He probably has an assistant who runs to Target for him, right? So what name is on the card? Sting's? Or the assistant's? It's awful risky giving your assistant full access to your money. Lots of celebrities have learned that the hard way.

Like Lilo. (Yes, I know. We haven't talked about Lilo in a long time. But she's been boring a pretty good girl lately.) Remember when she got busted for stealing a necklace from a store? She said yes, she did walk out with the jewelry without paying. But she never pays for things. She has assistants who do that. That seems legit to me. I think it's perfectly reasonable for Lindsey to assume that her assistants--whose job it is to take care of these things--would be doing their job.

There's a lot of things you can bust Lilo on, but I think this was a bogus claim. I think either the store wanted some publicity (or maybe Lilo was rude to them and they just wanted some revenge?) or maybe the assistant wasn't doing his/her job. And seriously, if you were not the most honest of assistants (and let me stress that I don't know Lindsey's assistants, so I can't speak to their character. I'm just speaking generally here.), you could easily steal from your boss, who would likely never find out about it.

Say you go into a clothing store and your boss tries on a dress. She likes it and decides to wear it home. Now you are supposed to pay for it, right? But, instead of doing that, you talk to the store manager and say "Hey. My boss really likes this place. Can we work out some kind of deal where you give her a dress every now and then and she tells everyone she got the dress here? Good publicity for your store." The manager either says no and you pay for the dress or they say yes and you pocket the money and tell your boss you paid for it.

Or, maybe your boss has been a shithead to you, so you don't even bother. And then the manager calls the police because your boss didn't pay for something. And then, because your boss has not been a stellar personality lately, with her DUIs and club fights and stuff, some stiff-ass judge decides to make an example of her. (Judge, can't you see? She only hurts herself.)

But we were talking about Sting. And maybe none of this applies. I mean, Sting's probably not the type to go traipsing la-te-da around Beverly Hills, trying on jewelry and expecting his assistants to take care of it. And he's not been a "bad boy" for a while. So no need to be made an example of. He is, in fact, a pretty good example, from what I can tell.

He seems pretty devoted to Trudi and pretty business savvy with his projects. Those projects--plays and documentaries and recordings of Elizabethan-era music played on a freakin' lute--I mean, that's pretty grown up stuff! And he's an environmental and human rights activist. And, I mean absolutely no disrespect by this, Sting, he's a senior citizen for crap's sake!

But still, knowing all of that, I still wonder... What name is on the card that pays for Sting's AARP subscription?

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