Let’s Pretend

Let’s pretend for awhile.  Let’s pretend that France decides it doesn’t like how the US is run.  And so, meaning well, it decides that we should have an election.  Another one.  So we hold the elections under the watchful eye of France.  Then we elect Obama, fair and square.  But this France doesn’t like Obama.  So France doesn’t allow Obama to be the president, and decides that even though we elected him, they are going to choose, because we don’t actually know what we want.  They may even imply that we are too stupid to know what is best for us, even though what we have been doing was working OK for us.  They then send in their military to enforce the person that we didn’t elect.

Years go by, the US gets increasingly difficult to live in.  The government gets increasingly corrupt and France is pulling all the strings.  As civilians it is increasingly difficult to ensure safety for your family.  Civilians don’t like this corruption and are trying to get the US back to normal as best they can, but the only option they have left is to strike out against the corruption.  And those strikes are quelled quickly. Meanwhile homes are being lost, lives are being lost, and everyone is affected by this.

So what is left to do?  Maybe you decide to move.  You and your family, or maybe just you while leaving your family behind for a time, move.  You don’t just move to Canada as many USians love to claim they will do, because Canada has been dealt the same hand.  So you have to move somewhere completely different.  Somewhere where everything is different from what you are familiar with.  Say….Japan.  The culture is different.  The language is different.  The characters used in writing are different.  The foods are different (you love sushi, but it only goes so far).  The major religion is different.  You are so out of your element it hurts.  And you have to live there for years.  You can’t get the foods that are familiar to you.  You can’t speak the language that is familiar to you.  There is nothing that is within your comfort zone, you can’t even express yourself properly because there are pieces of the language that will always be foreign to you no matter how hard you try to learn them.  You try to integrate as best as possible but as much of a home as you have made it, it is not home.  It is not the home of your youth and familiarity.

But the alternative is no good either.  Going home doesn’t work, because even the US is not home.  Home is not what you are familiar with either.  It has been bombed, and your home may not be there, you’ve lost people who are dear to you, your livelihood is not even an option anymore.  France has militarized it and corrupted it and made it unsafe.  People all around your home are also trying to leave.  There are some who stay, deciding to become accustomed to this new reality rather than flee it.

What do you think your greatest desire would be?  Would it not be to have the US revert back to the way it was before all the insanity began?  The way you remember it to be?  A way that was safe and not just “safe?”  After all, you have not really chosen to leave, you were forced to do so.

And then someone from France comes along and says “Most American Japanese think anyone who willingly  stays in the US is an idiot!”  Would this not be the HEIGHT of hubris?  Would this not be the most bold and uneducated statement you have ever heard?  Wouldn’t it make you want to cry?

Happy New Year everyone, please give some thought and prayers to all the displaced people in the world.

Bug and Her Bike

She did get that coveted bike for Christmas, and despite my hurt that I wasn’t the one to get it for her, I was grateful to her grandparents for doing it. She got a bike with training wheels, and it lacked the “princess” theme that I can’t tolerate a whole lot of. She also got a helmet and elbow and knee pads.

The few days she was at her dads were spent riding the bike around the house. She apparently was on it all the time. He deemed it too cold to be outside riding in, but by the time I got home it was in the 40’s so I thought we could be outside. Plus, my old small house is not conducive to bike riding.

We took the bike out and she rode it around our driveway for a bit. But of course this isn’t really enough! So I promised to walk behind her while she rode. That kid rode all over our neighborhood with the happiest look on her face! She rode until we were both tired, she rode until our hands were too numb to feel, she rode until she shivered. And then we went in. The next day, directly after school, we had to repeat the process.

I started out immediately teaching her the things she needs to know while riding around the neighborhood. First I taught her how to use her brakes, because no one had done so yet. Then I taught her how to break at the streets, get off the bike, look both ways, and push the bike across. Now she does it on her own with my supervision only. Teach her the correct way FIRST and then I don’t have to fix bad habits. It is the rule of motorcycle riding and I figure it applies to bike riding and kids too.

I suspect that her bike riding will be good for my health. I don’t seem to have much choice but to take a walk in the evenings now. I DO hope that she will be willing to ride to school sometimes with me walking, in the spring. That would be good for both of us!

New page #1

Up under my title you will see a new page.  Stash Bust 2009.

Seeing as I start January 1, 2009, all totals are 0 right now.

Central Park Hoodie in Dream in Color classy will be the first project of 2009.  I’ve managed to get my WIP’s so under control that I only have 4 WIP’s left.  I will not be listing yarn that is currently in use on my stash bust 2009 page.  I will list yarn on 2008 WIP’s in which that particular ball of  yarn was begun and finished in 2009.  I still have to figure out what to do about partial skeins.

Do you want to know a secret?  I am not entirely sure I will cast on my central park hoodie right on January 1.  Why you might ask?  We all know I am a sucker for knit alongs.  But I am having such fun working on long term WIP’s that I just am not even sure I want to start something new!

Now, if you read that statement correctly you will realize that this shows real growth.  Seriously!  Over the past year it has been my goal to bring down my WIP list to a reasonable level.  It has been tough, I’ve fallen down, but I have finally done it and it is satisfying.

That can only mean one thing.  Surely 2009 can be the year I get my stash under control!  I’ve proven that I CAN do it, now I have to put it into practice.

Lace Surgery

I’ve been working on the icarus shawl for quite some time now.  On and off, since I cast on way back in May.  One of the reasons it is going slow is because the section I am working on is rather repetative and does not fulfill my lace knitting needs.  So in order to fix that little problem, I decided to take it to a knit night with the girls.  Being that we meet for wine and knitting, it is a bit dark and I am usually somewhat distracted.  So on one of those nights, I managed to make a jig where I should have jogged, and then jogged back when I should have jigged, and the resulting mess was not pleasing to the eye.  You see, when you look at the shawl, the long lines (or bones as I call them) need to be perfect.  And I had a broken bone.  It needed surgery.  I knew I couldn’t just leave it be, so of course I put the shawl into a long time out.

Since the holidays were quiet this year, and I was attempting to avoid casting on any new projects until January 1, I decided now was a good time to perform lace surgery.

Below is a picture of the problem, though I am not sure how easy it is to see it.

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Right above my middle knuckles is the jig where there should have been a jog.  At the tips of my fingers is the jog back.  Not ok!  I just didn’t want to see a broken bone in this shawl.

So, I thought I could document the lace surgery in case it would help someone else in the future.  Early in the morning, when it was quiet, I armed myself with my surgical instruments.

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A nice cup of coffee and two dpn’s just a bit smaller than the needles I am using to knit the shawl.

I then locate the problem stitches and drop them off the working needles.  I push the stitches I am not working with WAY BACK on the working needles so that they aren’t going anywhere.

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And then I do something which strikes fear in every knitters heart.  I purposely drop the problem stitches back down to where I no longer have a problem.

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You can see that I have indicated where I need to stop, because I know I don’t want to work any further down than I have to.

I picked up the problem stitches again, taking note of where I was within my pattern.  Have I picked up on a right or wrong side row?  This is critical information.  I started with a right side row, and you can see the yarn overs on either side of  the “bone” stitch.

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Now I have a bunch of threads that need to be worked back into the project one by one.  I start with the one closest to the dpn, making sure that I haven’t mixed them up.

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I then begin to knit that thread into the pattern.  I started with a pattern row, so my next row is a wrong side row, or a row that I would have purled if I was working back and forth.  Seeing as I am working the entire surgery from the front of the project, I need to knit all the  stitches in the next row.

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Once I have incorporated that thread, I move the stitches to the right hand side of the dpn they are now on, and start the next row, a pattern row.  I keep working each row until all the loose threads are worked back into the knitting.

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I then put the surgery stitches back on the project needles and continue with the lace.

This is a picture of a set lace bone

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You can see at some points there are still a few loose lace stitches, which is perfectly normal.  Remember, surgery requires healing.  It isn’t something that happens over night.  These stitches will be stretched during blocking and will most likely be unnoticeable.  If they are noticeable, I can then take a small needle and even out the stitches.

My first…

Pair of socks made out of the coveted and hunted Wollmeise.

Red hot firestarters, the pattern is firestarter by yarnissima.

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This is my 20th pair of socks knit this year.  I am going to try for 24 in 2009.  Actually, I have a few fun projects in store.  Stay tuned for a stash down page (in an attempt to keep me honest) which will chronicle just how much yarn I used in 2009.  We have  a central park hoodie knit along starting on January 1, and a month of sock knitting starting February 15.

I’ve been asked to share

And since I cannot show you that I have completed another clue on my mystic waters shawl, the one that has been on the needles since November 2007, because it is FAR too large, I will indeed share my doofy moment.  By the way, I have only 4 clues left.

Now, to begin, we must realize that I drive a car that is 10 yrs old.  It has about 113K miles on it.  4wd subaru.  I’ve had the car forever, it was my first “real” car since the little ford aspire I bought before that counts as a golf cart not a car.  Anyhow, my subie has been with me through thick and thin for the last 9 years and has really done me well.  Now that she is getting a bit older, I worry about her.  Almost constantly.  I am in a state worry that she will die before September 2009 which is the earliest I could possibly afford to get a new car.

Now, as you probably already know, this year has been tough weather wise already.  It has been pretty consistently below 0 F for weeks on end.  And when I lived on the east coast there was a saying “too cold to snow” which the midwest did not get the memo about.  Out here, it snows at -11F with no trouble at all.

Last Thursday night (the night of the bat) we were getting a nasty ice/snow storm.  We got about 2 inches of freezing rain/sleet stuff and then got an inch of snow on top of that.  Everything was frozen solid.  The only way I could get the ice chipped off my car was to leave it running and heating up for half an hour before I started to chip away at it.  It took until Sunday for me to get the 3 inches of ice off the hood of the car and off of the wipers.  Even then, I couldn’t get the ice out of the tensioning system.  Chipping the ice off the car had to be done in shifts, as the wind chill was -26F so I’d go out, chip at the ice, and 3 minutes later have to go in to warm my hands up as I couldn’t feel anything at all.  So this tells you how miserable this year has been thus far weatherwise.

THE STORY (for those of you who want to skip).

The ice/snow storm put a sheet of ice in my driveway which I then had to chip away at on Friday.  Luckily, as I mentioned, my neighbor came by with his snowblower and helped out.  Then at about 10 PM the plow FINALLY made it past our house, dumping another load of ice back into my driveway.  Saturday found me chipping away at a mound of ice at the end of my driveway during yet another snowstorm.  I was miserable, and cold, and annoyed.  That ice was not budging!  So I manage to scrape enough off the top of the mound that I think I can get my 4wd subaru over it and I call it a morning.

Later that day, Bug is supposed to go to a friends house for a sleepover.  She has been really looking forward to it, so I know that not going would have pretty dire consequences.  I get her in the car, and attempt to pull out over the mound of ice at the end of the driveway.  First try I can’t get the back wheels over the mound.  Second try, wheels go over and then SSCCRRAAAAPE.  Ugh, that sounded bad.  So I pull forward into the driveway again and see what damage I’ve done to my car.  I go look at the mound I have scraped, and right in the middle of it I see a splatter of yellow liquid.  Crap, I’ve managed to do some real damage to the underside of the car and I am leaking.  I look under the car, I can’t see anything dripping.  I look under the front of the car.  Nope, no dripping.  What the heck was that all about?

I grab the shovel and scrape away at the ice some more in order to attempt to get the car out without scraping the bottom again.  I am worried about the car and I am sure it will die at any moment, but somehow Bug’s desire to go to her friends wins out.  I get the car out with no further damage.  Now, it is -4F out and I am cold!  I know that if the car dies we are going to be suffering.  So I am concerned.  I get the car to her friends house and deliver her there.  I worry that the car won’t start when I get out.  It does.  I go pick up the buttons for the tangled yoke cardi, and worry that the car won’t start.  It does.  I begin to drive home.

This is when it occurs to me that I had not backed the car up far enough to scrape the bottom of the engine.  Therefore I cannot see how I would have damaged something to make the car drip.  I think about it a little more.  Hm….that spray of yellow liquid…Um….have I just been in a panic over dog pee?

Happy Holidays everyone!