Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Summers in Florida mean regular thunderstorms, and I've mostly gotten used to that. It helps that they frequently blow through in a short period of time; it's far from an all-day thing.

However, one of today's storms seemed to pass right over the building, with a flash of lightning followed almost instantaneously by a BOOM that had me clutching my head in some weird reflexive motion I can't explain at all.

But basically, I felt like this for about an hour after.
Image result for cat on ceiling cartoon
Which of course made me think of this Bugs Bunny episode:
Image result for marvin the martian earth shattering kaboom
Or, if you prefer to see the clip:

Another month or so and it should settle down, which will be a welcome change, I must say.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It Will Wait

I was going to update you on the new knitting project, which is going well so far, but man, right now all I can think about is how sore I am after aqua fit this morning. Ow.

Try again tomorrow.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Of Knitting and Travel

I've hit a repeated snag with the shawl I'm knitting, and given that, when I realized yesterday that I had screwed it up AGAIN*, I was too angry with it to even tink the row back, I think it needs to go into time out for a bit. Not that I'm giving up on it, but I need a cooling-down period.
* I messed it up after knitting group last Thursday; ripped it out and redid those rows, then went on; and still, despite careful focus, effed up again. How did I do the first lace repeat?

Anyway, in a week and a half, I'm taking a weekend trip, and I need to have knitting to bring with me, so better to start something new now, and get it established before I leave, than to keep fighting this one until the last minute, and then have nothing but the sock to bring with me.

I spent some down time today looking for a pattern, trying to decide, going around in circles and getting nowhere (I have a lot of fabulous yarn I want to use, so there isn't one clear use-this-next). Finally, I decided that now might be the time to try Spectra, which I saw and admired at Rhinebeck in 2017.
And then, having picked up a color-changing yarn from the stash, I could not find anything I liked to go with it, which seemed like a problem. However, when I instead picked up the skein of ModeWerk I just got, I immediately found something that I liked with it, so...whew. Bought the pattern, wound the yarn, ready to move forward. Details to come!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

More Kittens!

It really is nice to be able to drop by and play with kittens when I want to.

This blurry photo is a pair who are being bottle-fed. They are teeny! But already bigger than they were last week.
It turns out that it's hard to take a clear photo of a kitten with one hand while your other hand is trying to support the wobbly little thing. At least without getting a great double-chin photo. Which I decline to share. But this isn't too bad.
And her sister, equally wobbly and loud and adorable.
Someone is perfectly comfortable snuggled under the towel, under the cat bed. Of course.
I take it easy with Lollipop, because the first time I tried picking her up, she was NOT into it, and growled in a very disturbing way as she tried to haul herself back into the cage. But she will allow me to pet her, and gently scritch.
She purrs quite a lot.
And it turns out she's a happy drooler. Wash hands!
More paws sticking out, but still not the whole kitten.
One of the litters has ringworm, so you have to put on a lab coat and gloves, and again for each kitten (they're in separate cages), so though I cuddled two of them for quite a while, no photos. But they were very purry and curious and sweet, worth getting all sweaty in the layers for.

And here's the little baby, getting weighed before feeding. She's at 13.1 ounces, well up from the 9 or 10 she was at a week ago.
Keep it up, little girl!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Hard-to-Find Books

I was quite interested to see this story on the annual "Most Searched For Out-of-Print Books" list; as usual, it is mostly full of books I am not interested in personally, but I still find the view into this world of books a fun one. For instance, I worked in a bookstore when the Madonna book came out, and it never once occurred to me that the book having metal covers "means that this book won't rust."

There was one book listed that I do own, and in fact am very fond of: #10, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. It's a series of bookish essays, and very enjoyable too. See if your local library carries it.

Any others on the list that you have? Or that interest you in one way or another? Let me know, give me something to read while I contemplate fixing the knitting I screwed up at the LYS knitting group last night. Sigh...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Back in the Water

After leaving the gym up north before I moved, I wasn't 100% certain I would join one down here, but I decided to, in the end. I mean, they say exercise is good for me, right? Just because I've never seen a positive effect from it doesn't mean it isn't doing something hidden and good for me. (Sigh...) And the one thing it does do is shut up the doctors who ask if I exercise, so there's that.

As far as I could find out, the only option for what I want near to me was the Y, and since a 10-minute drive (each way) beats a 40- or 50-minute drive (each way), I decided to join there, even though:
  1. It costs exactly twice as much as the gym I went to up north; and
  2. The aqua fit classes are in the mornings, not in the evenings, so I had to tweak my work schedule for it. (I certainly understand why they are, but that doesn't make it more convenient for the working person here.)
The first point is just irritating (I would rather spend the money on yarn, chocolate, books, or any number of other things), but I can afford it, so fine. The convenience is worth the money; how often would I talk myself out of going with a longer drive? I don't know the exact answer, but I would bet on it being non-zero.

For the second, I had to make sure that work was okay with my schedule shift, which it was, so now I'll be starting later on Tuesdays and Thursdays*, and working later all week to make up the time. Which I would mind less if it could be for something more fun, but oh well. Say it together: It's good for me.
*Since those are the days they do aqua fit; MWF they do aqua jogging, zzzz, and the Saturday class is described as high-intensity, an instant turnoff for me.

Anyway, as you may gather, I went to the first class this morning, and it was ... fine. The instructor's style is a little different, but nothing I can't get used to, and it's certainly a workout (she said, touching her bicep and wincing). As long as she doesn't play that song I hate every time, and she said she wouldn't...

The biggest difference between the gyms here and up north is that down here, the pool is outside. Gracious! How strange to me. Add sunblock to the list of things to remember. It does mean that I watched an ibis fly by during class, and a couple of times a dragonfly came and checked us out.

Another difference is that, while most of the facility is recently renovated, the locker rooms are not. Picture a public restroom, with a few stalls and sinks, then add a single shower, and a dozen small, rusty lockers with a bench*, in a space as wide as a hallway.
*Which blocks the lower lockers

The woman who was at the desk when I signed up said that they're planning to renovate those, but don't know when it will be, and added that most people in the swim classes go home to clean up instead, which, yes, I imagine they do! Rather chicken-and-egg, that argument.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Yarn Shopping for a Good Cause, and other knit stuff

I bought some yarn recently, and yes, I bought it because I wanted it, but I also bought it because one of the people behind this line is going through cancer treatment, and that's really going to mess with her plans for working and, you know, earning money for a while, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do a little business with her business. I wanted to mention it in case any of you lovely people are knitters (honestly, I have no idea how many of you are? most, none, somewhere in between?), hadn't heard, and wanted to do a little similar shopping.

So the person is Annie Modesitt, who announced her cancer recently, and the company is ModeKnit Yarn. I got the colorway Sunrise in Glory, and was delighted with it when it came (very quickly). I haven't worked with it yet, of course, but it feels soft yet strong, it smells nicely sheepy, and the colors are very pretty.
In fact, it got me thinking of ordering more, but to do more than a skein or two, you have to have a plan, right? I got to looking at some of the nice tonals together:
The yellow doesn't quite fit in, though, so I'm pondering some more before I order.

Meanwhile, I knit a baby hat! I happened to notice the yarn left over from the baby blanket, and decided to whip out a quick ribbed hat to match. Some crappy photos:

It's one of those things that will look cuter on a baby head than it does by itself, of course.

Earlier, I was following up on my thinking about knitting-related travel by considering picking the Interweave Yarn Fest in late March next year. But on second thought, I'm not sure I'm ready for Colorado weather at that time of year. I mean, highs might be 60, but lows under freezing? Nah, I don't think so. Even if I never leave the hotel. Not yet. I'm down here sweating my ass off and yet still taking great pleasure in the idea of never shoveling snow again.

Maybe Stitches United in Atlanta in May-June? One thing that won't be is cold. Although it's more about general crafting than just knitting, which isn't best suited to me. Well, lots more time to ponder. And wait for places like Knitter's Review to start their 2019 lists.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kitten Time Again

At the cat shelter today, I spent most of my time playing with these two cuties.
They're from a litter of five, and the other three were adopted this week, which is good news of course, but possibly a little confusing for those left behind.
They had a lot of fun going after the teaser toy, as you can see by the  difficulty the camera had in focusing on them as they flew. They did pause once in a while.
Just not for long.
But they're super cute.
This one is a new guy, one of two teeny-tiny ones brought in, estimated three weeks old. The other one was being fed, and I didn't want to wake this one, but hopefully I'll get better pictures another time.
And I did get to hold this lady, who wasn't sure about me, or all the noises in general, but behaved pretty well all the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Progress of the Knit Kind

I've been knitting away on the Nurmilintu shawl I mentioned, and have finished the first lace section.
Though the lace isn't really stretched out fully there, I like the way it looks even as is, so three cheers for that. Especially since this yarn does NOT lend itself to ripping out*, so other than a hopefully infrequent "tink back the current row to fix a mistake," I do not plan to rip this pattern out at all. The yarn holds onto itself most tenaciously, so I will make peace with any mistakes as I notice them.
*As I found when I frogged the little samples I had made, or tried to

The fabric is lovely and soft, and it drapes well. It does give off a bit of a fuzzy halo, and will not suit being worn over anything dark, but I can be at peace with that, as well.

Though don't ask me how I like it just as I sneeze when a stray fiber goes up my nose. Nothing's perfect.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Single (If Parenthetical) Sentence

Today wasn't perfect (it's a work day, after all, which means getting up early, for one thing), but I had a pleasant dip in the pool, and after dinner Mum and I walked around the block (just one block, and I wore shoes; my feet are fine [this time]), and I read a good book (The Penderwicks At Last, a satisfying end to the series), and that will do; how about you?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yeah, It Was Good

I didn't mean to leave you hanging about the concert; it's just that it was, although fun, quite exhausting compared to my usual life. I mean, since I moved down here, I'm usually in bed between 8 and 9, rarely after 10, and we got back Thursday night, well, on Friday morning, after 1:30! Just nuts. Lots of driving, lots of being outside in the Florida-in-summer heat, lots of loud music and people everywhere.

But yeah, we had fun.

We were about this far from the stage:
There were screens behind the bank that went between live shots of the band members or the crowd:
And video images:
A few times, confetti flew out:
But happily, not usually on us (see above, re: summer-in-Florida heat, and imagine the sweating, and the paper sticking).

And Mom's head behaved pretty well, and the storm front didn't blow through until the band was just about done anyway, so other than trying to get out of the amphitheater with 19,000 others ... not too bad. Could have been worse, anyway, though that part was pretty chaotic.

I'm still tired, though. Glad it's Saturday night, not Sunday.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Preparing for Tomorrow

I'm taking vacation days Thursday and Friday, so my weekend starts now, which is very pleasant. And the reason I'm taking them is a fun one: my mother and I are driving over to the east coast tomorrow to see Imagine Dragons in concert. I like them, but my mother LOVES them, and when I proposed that we could go, she decided that yes, as long as I was willing to do the prep work, she would love to do that.

As the time has gotten closer, she has been letting more and more excitement show, and I just hope the show is a good one--as it should be! In addition to listening to the new album, she's been watching live performances via YouTube, so she can get an idea what it will be like. However, I think when she finds herself actually there, and in the second row, at that, it will blow her mind. I look forward to it, and I'm bringing my camera.

It would be awfully nice if the fates would throw her a less-than-usual headache day; with her chronic daily headaches, it's no use wishing for a no-headache day, but if it could just be less bad, we'd settle for that. Light a candle, would you?

And I'll report back, sometime after we return and start to recover.

Monday, August 06, 2018


After going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth about what to knit next, I finally snapped out of it today.

I don't usually channel Michael Jackson, but this just popped into my head:
Anyway, I went with the Nurmilintu shawl, using the probably-Diadem-DK yarn, planning to switch to the gold definitely-Diadem-DK yarn for the lace section(s), and possibly the copper as well, depending on how big it gets, and how I like it as it goes.

From here:
To here, tonight.
So silky soft, like petting a kitten.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sunday with Kittens

This morning, I went for a dip in the pool after I read the papers, and floated around looking at the palm trees and marveling at where I was.

Later, it poured rain (must be summer in Florida, we tell ourselves).

It cleared by the time I went to see the kittens again (though it's rumbling, again, as I write this).

"I'm not sure about this ... but it feels nice."
"What is that thing??" (The camera.)
"Was that a noise?"
Nap time.
"Well, we can pose nicely!"

Friday, August 03, 2018

Knitting Indecision

I finished knitting the baby blanket (yay!), so you know what that means: I finally get to start something else! (I was holding myself back from doing so, to make sure I really got the baby blanket done in time.) So many ideas, but now it's time to decide: what's next?

I swatched the Fresco yarn, and I like the fabric I came up with*, so that seems promising for some sort of tank (no skinny straps, though; cover the bra straps, please) or sleeveless top. But which pattern? I initially looked at the Drops pattern called 161-14 Ava, and used it for guesstimating how much yarn to buy, but not feeling certain of it, I kept on looking at patterns. I also like the Drops pattern 94-19 Sleeveless jumper, despite the somewhat odd photo**, but ... I'm still not sure. I wish more people had made it, and that the Ava had photos of people of larger size having made it.
*I don't want it to be something I have to wear over a layer, so it needs to not be too loose/lacy/see-through
**I mean, it does look a bit like she's pulling her trousers's an unfortunate belt-flapping-angle thing

Perhaps I will keep looking at patterns; there are so many, even specifying for sport weight yarn, it's hard to believe I can't find one I feel more sure about. I was looking at which patterns are popular on Ravelry right now, and I quite like the look of this sweater, but since it has dropped shoulders, making it sleeveless wouldn't be as easy as just not knitting the sleeves, so I don't know about that one. Maybe Iris? Or perhaps MAiryLin? (You don't have to go look at all of these, I'm just wanting all my ideas in one place. But if you do go look, let me know what you think, or if you have other ideas.)

There's also the free yarn Mom brought me, the Schachenmayr select Tahiti, which is a light fingering, so I looked for patterns in that. Perhaps Marie, if I can figure out if the pattern is available outside Scandinavia. Or ... I'll keep looking, I guess.

Then there's the it-may-all-be-Diadem-DK yarn, which as I mentioned, I am thinking of trying the Nurmilintu shawl with. (I have not [yet, anyway] ordered Diadem fingering, even for purposes of scientific comparison.) Perhaps I should start that, while I am pondering the other ones? Of course, that pattern is meant to be for fingering, so it might take some tweaking to work in DK; less so in  a shawl than a fitted garment*, though, so maybe that's not a concern.
*Fear of Fit, someone at knitting called it last night, and yeah, I have that.

Or ... maybe Project Next will be none of these, but something else altogether.

Decisions, decisions! Good problems to have.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Heavier Reading (in at least one sense of the word)

Today I would like to provide a light review of a book that was literally very heavy, and content-wise somewhat heavy, but that I still recommend.

Back in February, I first heard about Christopher de Hamel via Boing Boing, which shared a video of him with the header: "This medieval manuscript archivist is working his dream job and it shows"; and it certainly does! I was interested enough to get the book out of the library, at a time when I was reading less and less as I prepared for the big move.

The book is a brick, heavy and chock-full of illustrations.
I looked through it and read just enough to see that I would be interested to read the whole thing, in that mythical future time when I had time, so I added it to my list and returned it to the library. Last month, I got it out of the library here, and although my interest in these manuscripts is miles below his, and I did skim a bit here and there, I read most of it, for his sense of humor and perspective as much as for the topic itself.

For instance, when he was planning a trip to Russia to see one manuscript, and he was applying for his travel visa, he considered, since the book in this case was a treatise on armaments and warfare, giving his purpose as "gaining access to government department to inspect manual on armaments and military strategy," but in the end, went with "tourism" instead.

I could also wince for his pain when he took home a pair of cotton gloves given to him at one of the libraries to wear during his examination, treasuring that they were covered in the actual dust and dirt from this actual ancient manuscript, only to have his wife come across them and throw them into the laundry.

Speaking as an editor, I was touched to see, in illustration of a manuscript that was corrected (not recently, but long ago), a note that the corrector had mistakenly not erased, which said, "corrected as far as this" in Latin. Brother! You did that then, too, eh? (I try very hard not to leave in comments I have made to myself on a document. The writer isn't going to understand why there is a comment that simply says, "to here.")

At all events, it isn't something that everyone wants to read, I totally understand that, but if you're at all interested, I encourage you to see if your library carries it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

I Did Not Know That

A few things I've come across recently that I didn't know.

The design of the peace symbol is based on the letter N and D, for nuclear disarmament, in semaphore. I had never even thought about why the symbol is the way it just is, you know?

How Wednesday Addams got her name; so simple, but very cool.

The inventor of cruise control was blind! He was a mechanical engineer, and when riding with a driver whose slow-down/speed-up driving made him feel sick, inspiration hit.

Bless him. I've ridden with people whose driving has made me feel a bit queasy, too.