Monday, August 21, 2017

Love Vanity Fair? No, the Other One

I've been going over my bookshelves recently, pulling out more that I can live without having in the house (or paying to move to Florida and put in storage for a while), and I snagged on this one.
It's a beautiful copy of Vanity Fair, by Thackeray, and it was published in 1884. Just 133 years ago. It feels good in the hand, if you know what I mean.
It's not in perfect shape; for instance, the first little section has separated from the binding.
The back binding is slightly cracked, too. 
But overall, it's in remarkably good shape for its age. (133 years!)
The thing is, while I have read it, I don't love the story. I don't want to keep it for what's in it. But I can't stand to throw it into the donate pile; I want it to go right to someone who would love to have it.

Is that you? Let me know!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Knit Details

As I mentioned, I made/am making some baby things, for a friend of a friend. I promised details, so here we go.

I pulled out some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky that I had on hand (stashing for the win), and got hatting. First, the Close Knit Tiny Baby Hat.
(All pictures are before washing.)

It came out pretty cute, I think. I did a bit more I-cord at the top, in order to tie it off that way.

I also wanted to do a ribbed hat, since they're so nice and stretchy for varying sizes of heads, so I cast on a Little Boy Blue Baby Hat in the same yarn. The first version was too big: I could tell about an inch into it, and when I pulled it off the needles, I found I could stretch it over MY head! That was 64 stitches, so I tried again with 44, which worked much better.
In fact, it was perhaps a little on the small side, and not quite as stretchy as I was hoping for. So I cast on for another, with 48 stitches, and on size 9 needles instead of 7s. I like it better, and it gives the parents more flexibility.
Meanwhile, I dug around in my stash for some yarn I remembered having, that I got at Webs a few years back. It was marked way down because of having parted from the labels, but it's a good match for Ella Rae Amity, so I decided it was as close to worsted weight as makes no nevermind, and cast on a Hoodie Baby Blanket. I'm doing in in garter, not stockinette or anything more patterned, just a simple striped blanket.
I like how it's coming out, and am having fun deciding when to switch colors back and forth. I'll have to get more pictures: it's much bigger now, and the "wrong" side is as fun as the front!

Friday, August 18, 2017

I Just Can't

Tomorrow, there is a "Free Speech" rally/thing in Boston, which would normally sound like a good thing, right? but in this case means something like what happened in Charlottesville last weekend. They don't mean what I do by free speech. Nazis. Consider my mind blown.

Which further means that various groups are getting together to counter-protest, and I've been back-and-forthing in my mind all week about going.

The thing is, with all the other marches and rallies I've been to this year (women's, anti-immigration ban, trans rights, science), I've felt like I should go, emphasis on the "felt." I wasn't really able to articulate why, not clearly, even to myself; it just felt in each case like something I wanted to do (even if I didn't want them to be necessary in the first place).

In this case, the emphasis feels different. I feel like maybe I ought to go, or ought to want to go, but ... oh, words are failing me, I hate that. I keep thinking about this, and my thinking doesn't come out any clearer than it did days ago.

It isn't even just that some idiot* could run his car into the crowd**. There's the possibility of violence, and conflict, neither of which I am comfortable with (there's white privilege; I get to decide if I'm comfortable with it). Perhaps it's partly the confusion, the arguments for going (stand up to them) and not going (don't give them the attention they want), even for standing up to them with humor***.
*"Idiot" isn't enough of a word, but I can't come up with one word to encompass that.
**I think Boston is going to be pretty prepared to shut things down. Not saying "it can't happen here," not at all, but still.
***How in the world, in 2017, in the New York Times, is there actually an article headlined "How to Make Fun of Nazis"? How is this reality?

I can't make this coherent. I'm going to put it up as is. Sometimes that's all I can do.

I got an email from the ACLU about tomorrow, and they had this photo at the top.
I put it up on Facebook, and a friend said she had seen one like it in the area, but that it concluded with "WATER IS WET"; I have to get me one of those.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Voices From the Past

Boing Boing shared an old story from the news in 1999, when recordings made in the 1940s had been digitized, so that interviews with people who were once slaves could be heard again.

Amazing, and chilling.

It reminds me of three things. One is of what I wrote about recently, about going to the MFA to see the exhibit of photos from a Nazi ghetto in WWII, and how, well, moving it was to see the photographer and his wife in the video, not just the still photos but the real people, moving.

Second, a video I saw on Facebook recently, showing people walking around England in 1900, and how much more real they seemed, in motion, than still photos can convey.

And third, something that happened to me many years ago, when I lived in Charlotte, and I had one of those NPR driveway moments, sitting in my car to hear the end of a piece. It was part of a series called Lost and Found Sound, and was a recording of a man who had, as a child, heard Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address.

All these years later, I still get chills when I think of it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Seeing the Unexpected

This morning in the shower, I noticed that my new bottle of shampoo needs a translator.
When I bought it, I only read the big print, but see underneath?
That is ... not English.
Polish, maybe? Anyone?

Also unexpected was this display at Petsmart tonight.
I am kind of horribly fascinated to know who would buy pumpkin spice flavored treats for their dog...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


This isn't today's news, it's from last year, but I ran across this world map today and was fascinated by it.

I grew up seeing the standard Mercator map, of course, though I had heard of the Peters (or Gall-Peters) projection map before The West Wing covered it (you should still watch that clip, it's fun). The continents are suddenly all long, right? And weird?

Well, just wait. Look at the AuthaGraph World Map.

Now, I already knew that Greenland was way off in the Mercator, but look at Brazil! Sticking way out of South America!

It's brain-twisting, but in a good way.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Little Reality, But Mostly Yarn

I don't think I can bear to go into The Whole Thing With the Nazis right now (Nazis, marching in American streets, I just can't even); my brain is still struggling to process it. In the shower this morning, I realized I was humming People Are People, the lyrics to which did not seem quite so loaded when I first heard it in 1985.

However, before I get to the fluffy topic of the day (fiber! and knitting!), I will share this image here, as I did when I saw it on Facebook. You've heard the expression, "Be the change you want to see in the world"? Well then.
(It turns out the photo was taken in 1985, in Sweden.)

Now, back to Saturday, and the Fiber Revival! Since Mary Ellen and I have gone for a few years now, I finally made a Fiber Revival tag here, so if you click on that label at the bottom, you should be taken to all the posts about it, if you want to revisit past years.

This year, I was afraid that my post would have to start with my disappointment about the weather, since earlier in the week some rain was forecast (in the afternoon! no, in the morning!), but in fact it was dry, and although mostly cloudy, was still so much better than I was expecting that I was quite pleased. I mean, look at it.
Gorgeous weather, no, but surprisingly decent. As always, the key to happiness is low expectations.

As to the near view, well. I mean, really.
It wasn't what I was expecting to get, but it was definitely a can't-put-it-down purchase. And yeah, I know. Blue. You've heard it all from me before. I do buy other colors ... but not as much as blue.

When we arrived, we put our chairs down under a tree and walked along the booths, seeing everything there was, and then each making that one key purchase. Got lunch, and sat down to eat, knit, commune with nature surrounded by knitters and fiber folk, all that good stuff. (You may think you don't see a lot of people knitting in public, but I guarantee you, you see more of them than you do spinners. Lots of people at their spinning wheels is not something I'm used to, either, but I like it.)

At one point, I looked up to see a line at the beer truck; apparently, one of the baseball teams all chose to spend their break the same way.
There weren't any alpacas there this year, sadly, but we did wander along saying hi to the horse, donkey, and other animals near and far.

And a tree that was rather dramatic about a lost limb.
And, that's it for Saturday!

I got a lot of knitting done last week; it helped that I spent the majority of the work week on a task that mostly involved looking at a document, reading through it and not having to do a lot of typing, which goes very well with simple knitting.

For a friend who has a friend having a baby*, I made some hats.
*The list of people for whom I will do this is very limited ... but she's on it!

One like this:
And two like this: they look very similar, but one is slightly larger, and so stretches out more.
And I started a blanket, with yarn I picked up on super-sale some years ago. Stashing for the win!
Details about these will have to wait; I'm out of time!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Are You Familiar with the Term...?

If you want a good example of the concept of a backhand compliment, read the second quote that accompanies this book:
Um, guys? That is not a quote to sell this book. That quote says this book will make you appreciate Jane Austen...Ow.

(No time tonight to cover the Fiber Revival from Saturday, but I'll get to it!)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

So What Is This?

If you didn't know what I was knitting, you might think I was making a sweater from the sleeve up. Or maybe just gauntlets.
Though off my arm, it looks less like those, maybe.
Here, does this help you see?
Baby hat. Pattern here, if you want to see how it will look. May be too small, but coming nicely. Baby knits can be so quick; it's very satisfying.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sun Salute

It's a beautiful day today, and I am proud to say that, even though I don't think this weather is supposed to last, I resisted the idea of looking at the forecast. Why be bothered by it now? Just enjoy what you have while it's here.

So after work, I took knitting and sat outside, basking in the sun for half an hour, peaceful and happy. I have often thought that someone might ask me what I'm doing out there--a camp chair next to the car is what passes for a yard for me--and usually when I'm asked that, it has to do with the knitting. But today I was pondering other answers to that.

  • I'm basking.
  • I'm thinking random thoughts.
  • I'm enjoying the weather.
  • I'm living in the moment.
  • I'm embracing the now.

So many answers that, if someone asks me that question, I may have to reply by asking them, "Can you be more specific?"

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


It's not a bad headache, but I could do without the light-headedness that just came on. I feel like I'm about to tip over. Early to bed tonight, I think. Carlos will be delighted.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Swimsuits, A Year Later

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the swimsuits I had for water aerobics, and I just went back to that post to see if I was forgetting anything. I wrote then:

So here is the full lineup I have available right now; two "it will do" and two "very good" as well as the dress one. That ought to hold me for a while!
And almost a year later, I have (from left to right):
  1. Still "it will do"; not ideal for coverage or support, but eh. It does.
  2. Feels very loose, but it will do.
  3. Still in good shape, but still a dress and therefore not ideal for water aerobics (I wore it yesterday, to test that, and yeah, it can be done, but it isn't ideal. Good support, though!).
  4. Pretty worn, probably will die soon.
  5. Dead and gone, last month.
I have another one in Florida, which I'll ask my mother to bring up when she comes next month, and between them all, it should get me through Christmas. When I can shop for more in Florida!

I can't remember if I mentioned it, but when I saw my doctor a few months ago, I told her about how yes, I was exercising, but seeing no results from it, and she said I should try a different method, if I wanted to. And yeah, I know, but the thing is, what? I already had reasons I wasn't doing other types of exercise (related to pain, hating them, or some combination). And of course, then I sprained my ankle shortly after that, which really put the kibosh on just walking around the neighborhood, etc. For now, I think I'll keep on swimming. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017


Sorry, new books, no time for anything else.
*From Winnie the Pooh? Ring any bells?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Just a Little Bit

Lately I've been better at getting to swimming on Tuesdays than on Thursdays, but this afternoon my ankle started to feel a bit odd--not painful, but just not right, somehow--and I decided I'd better not exert it, so I've been doing dishes and other exciting things here instead of going out.

Carlos was napping, but he just got up, and I can see I will be called away from the computer shortly to fulfill my position as Cat Worshipper in Chief. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.