Wednesday, December 31, 2008

By the way...

Happy holidays! I didn't wish you all a wonderful holiday season before Christmas, so I'm doing it now. From Florida, where it's warm and sunny and not 37 degrees as my webmail tells me it is at home.

I wish Tom could be here with me. He loves the warm weather as much as I do. I'm so glad we met a little over 5 years ago (*cough*yahoopersonals*cough*).

See how much the internets can change one's life? A wonderful husband and new blog friends, unlimited free knitting patterns and access to yarn and books and family and photos. What will they come up with next?

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve tonight. I'll be watching "Wall-E" with the kids while we pig out on M&Ms (at $11.99 a pound from the M&M store; you should see the huge tubes of so many colors and types, but watch out for those levers; they'll roll out a pound of the things in a split second, as we found out yesterday).

This is the life!!!

I tell you, life in Florida certainly beats life in WV in the winter!

Here it is, New Year's Eve, and the kids and I were outside in our bathing suits, soaking up the sun. The neighbor asked if the kids wanted to play with his Slip'n'Slide, then he set it up for them. December 31 and we're outside playing in the sun and water.

Sure, it's "cold" here by Floridians' standards. It's probably in the low 70s, but even B2 (for whom I knit a thick wool hat and scarf because he's always cold if it's under 80) was slippin' and slidin' and having a blast. Okay, B2 was crawlin' and fallin', as A just corrected me.

The grass is green; flowers are blooming; the neighbors are growing papayas and pineapples.

And it's December. And it's warm.

At least, I'm warm.

Four more years, or 4.5, really, till we can move to southern Florida and grow our own flowers and fruits, even in the wintertime. Unless Tom gets a job down there, then just maybe we'll be able to live in the warmth earlier.

Either way, it's in reach now, and there's hope that we can get rid of our winter clothes and live in shorts and t-shirts year-round.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another FO and a goodbye

I'm on a roll!

Tonight I knit a hat for Dad in Claudia's chunky Santa Fe, which is a colorway that is unfortunately no longer available. It was discontinued before I worked for her. It's my favorite of all her colorways, although it's difficult for me to "just pick one".

Still no photos. I am lazy.

The main reason I knit it in chunky for Dad is that he took my aunt's elderly German Shepherd wannabe (Cindy was about 40 pounds and probably not purebred, but she was all Shepherd in her actions and devotion) outside three times a day for ages. No matter the weather, Dad went to Dorothy's house, 2 doors up, and took Cindy outside. Cindy was 14, old for a dog her size, and old for the abuse she went through her first two years.

Cindy was a neighbor's dog, but they didn't care for her well, if at all. Cindy would break free if chained and had a route around the neighborhood. She'd go to kids' houses, say hello, then head on to the next stop. When she had puppies and they reached the appropriate age, she took them to neighbors' houses. My aunt and uncle would call Cindy's owner and say she was out, but Cindy was always roaming. Finally, my aunt, who is a dedicated animal lover (it's in the Jinkins' genes) took Cindy into the house, had her neutered (with her owner's blessing), and kept her.

Cindy was a queen for the next 12 years of her life. She was mild-mannered, ruled the roost with a firm yet just hand, and took attention and love as her due, which she deserved. She was beautiful, a small German Shepherd, and devoted to Dorothy and George. She was the perfect dog for them.

Except when she had to go in the car. Cindy hated being in a car. This was the only time she was at odds with Dorothy and George; they loved to travel, but Cindy. Didn't. She won, of course, as was her due. She gave back so much love that they overlooked that one flaw. The only time they made her get into a car was when she needed to see her doctor.

This morning, Cindy took her last ride. She could no longer hear, could barely see, but she kept going until last night. Dorothy knew it was Cindy's time when Cindy could no longer stand up or go to the bathroom once she and Dad were able to get Cindy outside. So she gave Cindy that final gift, a ride to the Rainbow Bridge.

It's so sad that it had to happen right before Christmas. George passed away just a couple of months ago, and now Cindy. But Dorothy has her cats, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if another lonely, neglected dog comes along and claims a place in her home and heart.

Goodbye, Cindy Cinderella. Look for Roo; he'll show you the ropes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter break,and a cd giveaway

This is one of the biggest reasons that I work in a school. We always have 10 days off at Christmas, and sometimes we have two whole weeks. This is one of those times.

I've been lazing, sleeping late (although not well at night, in spite of--or maybe because of--the ambien), staying up relatively late for the working me, not the nighttime me that I used to be. I actually watched tv--and knit--till 1:30 Saturday night. It was heavenly.

I knit a hat for my nephew for Christmas; plenty of free yarn from Claudia back when I worked there, and it's coming in handy now. Tom would roll his eyes when I'd drag in another bag or two of yarn back then, but see? I'm using it, Tom, sweetie, it's not costing us anything, and I can make nice warm gifts for Christmas. I don't know how the recipients will like their hats and scarves in place of money or a year of XM radio, like in the past, but that's the past, and this is now.

I started a Fingering 55 (merino/silk) scarf in a very simple feather and fan pattern. It's really pretty, very slim, and I hope I don't run out of yarn before the scarf is long enough. I might have to put that one aside for a while as it's taking forever to knit even 12", but I got to about 15" last night. Once I'm motivated enough, I'll take photos and show you what I'm doing. But I'm lazy.

It's cold here, as in COLD 10 degrees. Lily the Heat Whore is in front of the electric heater we keep going in the living room; she even forgets that Zippy is in the room just three feet from her and will roll over on her back, all four feet in the air, and show her fat pink tummy. Zippy spends most of his time in his cardboard box. Tom cut the front down so he can get in easily, put his old pillow in there, and Zippy's happy. It keeps the drafts off him.

Beghera spends most of his time on the bed, cuddled up in the covers, unless Tom is in the living room. Then Beghera is either on his lap or draped over his shoulders.

Chester the Cat is pissed off these days. Several days, coming home from work, I've caught old Chester too close to the road. That's quite a way from the house; we have a long, winding driveway, and old Chester likes to go right down to the road. So now he's a house cat, not allowed outside at all, and he is one pissed cat. We've never seen the othe two cats that close to the road; they rarely go past the bamboo at the bottom of the yard; at least, that's all we've seen. When Lily goes out, she sleeps in the sun on the porch, but today, even though she really was in a hurry to go outside, she was equally hurried to get back in. Like I said, she's a Heat Whore. She used to sleep on the heat vent in the bathroom, but now she has a heater, and shes loving it.

I love this time of year in spite of the cold weather that accompanies it. We don't decorate, partially because Chester the Cat would rapidly undecorate, partially because we're lazy, which bothers A, because every house should be decorated for Christmas, as far as she's concerned. I love seeing holiday decorations, but like I mentioned, I'm lazy, and it's cold, so I'm sitting on the couch trying to stay warm.

For the last few years I've enjoyed the decorations that others have done along the drive home from work. Many people have lights and reindeer and wreaths and all kinds of pretty shiny things in their yards, and I've thoroughly enjoyed them. Some are tasteful, but most are the over-the-top crazy out-of-control type of decorating, and I love those the most. There's a single-wide trailer, rusty and leaning, that's always decorated to the point that I wonder how the thing can stand up under the weight. Their yard is similary overdone, but it's wonderful in an awful way. Or awful in a wonderful way. I wish I could get a photo of it at night, but it's cold, I'm lazy, and I don't know how to photograph it so it would properly display the awesomeness.

Tomorrow is B2's 5th birthday. Unbelievable. He was a big baby, and he's still big. He's not a little boy any more.

A's 9th birthday is coming up the first week of January. I've taken advantage of my free flights and am going to Orlando on Dec. 30th. I'll be "sick" *cough cough* on January 5th so I can be with my Bunny Baby on her birthday and fly home late that night. Back to work early the next morning, but it'll be worth it.

Hey, anyone want to have some Last Train home and East Nashville musicians Christmas cds? I have three to give away, courtesy of Eric and Mary Ann. The first three people who comment and claim them will be the lucky recipients of one of the cds. I have two Last Train Home's "Holiday Limited" and one "Yuletide from the other side--More Music from East Nashville", with 37 songs from artists including Last Train Home and 36 others. I admit that I haven't heard of most of the artists on this one, but if Eric thinks they're good, then they're good.

And regarding the last two contests: I'll mail the prizes of all three contests by Friday of this week. I promise. You guys have been so patient with my laziness. I appreciate it, and I appreciate that you've stayed around.

And now, I'm going to eat some black bean and corn salsa and knit for a while. After I go to Ravelry and see what hat pattern for chunky yarn, suitable for a man, that I can dig up. I haven't knit with chunky for a while, so I've forgotten how many stitches I cast on, and I can never remember how to decrease at the top so it looks decent.

Wish me luck. I'll be lost for hours, browsing the patterns and groups and people at Ravelry. It's fun!

Friday, December 19, 2008

B2 was right

Caylee was found behind the big tree in the stinky water.

B2's been insisting for the last couple of months that Caylee's been moved, she's not there any more. When the skull was found a week ago, he freaked out. "It's not her! She's gone! It's another kid!" after J explained to him what a skull is. To him, Caylee was a kid, not bones.

He says he can't talk to her. She's gone.

May she now have the opportunity to rest in peace.

You Don't Have to Like Them Both

But I do.

Putting the school's mail in the mailboxes is part of my job, so I get first crack at the mail each day. Rarely is there something for me. But today....

There was a square box with my name on it. I thought, "It's the yarn that I won from the KAL." I was wrong.

It was THIS:

(Please excuse the crappy photo. And that thing on the electric stapler is a Last Train Home hat. I was in a hurry to take the photo and didn't do very well.) (I'm supposed to be working, you know. But it's slow today.)

Eric Brace and his wife, Mary Ann Werner, sent us a box of Red Beet Records (see Last Train Home link) products. Including *trumpet fanfare* their latest offering, "You Don't Have to Like Us Both" by Eric and Peter Cooper. Two of those, as a matter of fact, one autographed for Tom and me, and one to *ahem* give away. We were going to buy it (maybe a couple) at the show in Ashland on the 27th, and it was all I could do to wait. Joan feels the same way. Ask her. She'll tell you.


Along with those (as if that weren't enough), they sent TWO each of "Yuletide from the Other Side--More Music from East Nashville" (you can find all of these at the Last Train Home/Red Beet Records site), Last Train Home's "Holiday Limited", and Fassoux McLean's "Early". I think that we have all of them; all that we don't have will be contest prizes.

Stop laughing at me. I mean it. All of my former contest winners' loot will be mailed out next week. Honest. Really. I hope I can find their addresses.

Anyway, thank you, Eric and Mary Ann. What a nice Christmas present, and we get to share it!!!

Happy dance

Ahhhhh, the last day of school before "winter break". It's two whole weeks this year--this is why I work in a school.

Tom's applying for jobs all over the place. Everything is online now, which helps. He's started applying in Ft. Lauderdale. Let me think about that. Move to Florida several years earlier than we'd planned? Warm sun, warm air instead of no sun and cold air?

I think I could cope.

The cons are

1) My family, and Tom's, are in this area, most in Virginia, some a little farther north, but most here. I'd hate not being able to decide on a whim to visit one of them; it would be a trip instead of a few hours' or a day's visit.

2) I have a good, secure (I hope) job. It's an easy, mindless job. People are happy when their copies are done quickly. I like (most of) the people I work with. I doubt that I'd be able to find another job that's easy, that doesn't involve working with kids (much), and that pays this well for only 10.5 months' work with great breaks throughout the year.

3) Our place is a hunter's paradise. We've trained the deer to come to the house to eat. We drive up the driveway and they run to meet us (after running away), stand in a semicircle around the car while we get out. I hate to think that someone could stand on the front porch and shoot the deer.

Pros:

1) Warm. Sun. Palm trees.

2) Housing prices in the Ft. Lauderdale area are low enough that we might be able to afford something decent.

3) Flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Richmond aren't that expensive, usually. Family lives within 2.5 hours of Richmond.

4) Our daughters live in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

We'll see what comes of it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So much for that.

I gave up. After only one round, I could tell that the mitt was going to be waaayyyy to big for petite Bev. So I frogged that one, too.

A big part of the problem is that I'm trying to use Knitpicks Gloss in black. Black. I cannot see the stitches when I'm unknitting, and one tiny mistake just ruins the pattern. I wanted to use a lighter, neutral color, but I don't have any sock yarn that is light enough, or neutral enough.

So much for mitts for Bev. I quit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Screw it

After 11 rows and three hours, I've given up on the perfect mitts. I simply cannot keep track of the stitches and I'm tired of unknitting.

So on to the Pomotamus mitts! I've cast on. I'll give up in an hour or two.

*sigh*

An old knitting dog CAN learn new tricks

I taught myself to knit about 8 years ago. It was a slow, painful process. I'd cast on, knit a few uneven rows, then put it away for a couple of months. Every time I started again, I'd have to look up how to cast on, because it sure wasn't sticking in my mind.

After a while, though, it clicked. My stitches became nice and even and I could remember how to cast on. I started knitting regularly.

I'm kind of ashamed to say that I never learned the provisional cast on. If a pattern called for it, I'd find another pattern. My brain just couldn't handle trying another way to cast on. The long tail method was what I first learned, and by golly that's good enough for me.

But this past week I found a pattern for wristlets that is so perfect that I have to make them. And, of course, it calls for a provisional cast on. I sighed then googled, found a site, printed it, and sat down to knit.

I could not figure it out. It looked like a foreign language. So I did some more googling, found another non-video site, and tried it again today.

Still couldn't get it. So I sucked it up and went to Youtube. And I found the perfect explanation.

I don't know why I've avoided Youtube and videos this long. Yes, I do know, I'm lying. I hate computer noises. Startup, "you've got mail", that annoying bleep when I do something wrong. So, for years, I've kept the sound turned off. It pains me to even turn it on to listen to music, and I loves me some music. (Last Train Home, Eric Brace, Peter Cooper)

Anyway, I found this video, Crochet Provisional Cast-On, and watched it once. Suddenly it clicked. I picked up my yarn, crochet hook, and dpn and cast on provisionally. And it worked. The first time.


Wow. I feel empowered. I am Woman. Watch me cast on.

Not really. I'm not up to making a video right now. I'd have to turn the computer's sound back on.





My perfect wristlets: They'll have to be added later. IE froze on me.

And I didn't even have the stinking sound on.



P. S. Another reason I like this video so much--"crocheting" is misspelled. Or is it mispelled?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I won!

http://carefreeholiday-ornot-kal.blogspot.com/

The random number generator chose me to win two skeins of Crystal Palace yarns. My first choice is Panda Silk (bamboo, merino, and silk); second choice is Panda Superwash (bamboo, merino, and nylon). Earlier I won a book of sock patterns simply by finishing a project (thanks to the random number generator again).

I have two skeins of Panda Silk in Strawberry Cream; A chose them while we were in Sonora, CA so I can knit her a pair of vacation socks. That's in the very near future. I bought pink glass beads to adorn the cuffs. She's a bead kind of girl.

That's my excitement for today. Pretty good!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Horrors!

While I was in the main office for a few minutes this morning, a woman called about something she'd left at the school over the weekend. She was very upset and I could understand why.

She'd left her knitting bag, full of knitting, at the school, and it hasn't been found.

That would have been enough to panic me, but I later learned that she had an expensive phone with all of her important info programmed into it.

The bag, the knitting, and especially the phone are most likely gone forever.

Why do people take things that don't belong to them? I've had Pepsis taken out of the main office kitchen fridge, and there aren't that many people who use that fridge who drink regular Pepsi. $10 disappeared out of my desk (someone had paid for books that are sold every few weeks in the mailroom), so that means that someone went through MY desk. This room cannot be locked off from the rest of the main office so that no one can come through after hours.

People.

Ha!

I am now a mo-bile blogger.

You can see how busy I am right now. I'm sure the deluge will start any second. XL has already sent a handful of pages to be copied for her students. They'll wait a while.

It makes me feel a little better.
This is a test.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A suggestion

I got an email from MaryAnn Werner, Eric Brace's wife. She suggested that we (anyone who cared about Cross Country radio) start calling and requesting songs and artists that we like, that maybe we can cause a little change that way. I've spent the last hour looking for a phone number for XM radio, but all I can find is their multipurpose "customer care" number. Cross Country used to have its own call in number; I have it programmed in my phone and called often requesting Last Train Home and Peter Cooper songs.

I'm still mourning the loss of Cross Country. I miss hearing Todd Snider, Corb Lund, and others whose names I can't even remember, in addition to Last Train Home and Peter Cooper. I still check Outlaw Country frequently hoping to hear something I like, but now they have loud, obnoxious djs such as Fred Imus (whose claim to fame is that he's Don Imus' brother) and Mojo Nixon, who just yells all the time. Imus has some woman who does nothing but bitch about everything in a whiny, back-country voice (I can picture her; someone who sounds just like her used to be on Hee Haw).

THAT's what Outlaw Country is--Hee Haw for radio, with some obscenities thrown in for good measure. They play George Jones who better belongs on Willie's Place, which is nothing but old country singers.

Oh well. I'll try to find a phone number for Outlaw Country. Meanwhile, I continue my email campaign.

And keep switching stations when something I don't like comes on, just like when I watch tv.

*sigh*

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's official

I have started my weekend, although I don't get off work for another hour.



This morning, our Sup informed us that we'd be getting a survey this morning to copy and distribute to each of our 1325 students. We received our copy at 11:00, the beginning of 3rd block, and were told that it was to be in the students' hands by the end of 3rd block. I copied all of them then went through the roster and divided them into stacks to give each teacher. We were done well before the end of 3rd, but I was a bit anxious about the whole stinking thing.



And yesterday one of the extra-large teachers here, one of the three who send down extra-large copy orders and want them within 15 minutes, sent 7 students down by the end of 2nd block, each with several pages to copy and make transparencies. I do not know what project she's got cooked up for the next week, but after #7, I sent her a (hand-written) note that asked her to please send all copy work down at once, preferably the day before she wanted it; I am copying large quantities of exams and SOL preps and can't stop every ten minutes to make 1-18 copies for some kid who's standing there expecting it RIGHT NOW.



I immediately got a call from Extra-Large (why is it that the most obnoxious people here are the largest?) saying that the kids had misunderstood, she wanted the copies tomorrow or the next day, and she'd send them down at the end of the day. Within 10 minutes, she'd forgotten and sent yet another student to my office with something to be copied RIGHT NOW.



So all of her things were put at the bottom of the stack.



Unfortunately I quickly finished all the other work and had to do HERs anyway.



Enough. I've had enough. The weekend has started.



AAAAANNNNNDDDDDDD.....



XL just sent another student in with maybe 20 sheets to be copied, 28 copies each, and, of course, tranparencies of each. I hate her.



A coach just came in here looking for yesterday's absentee list. I told him I threw away each previous day's list when I put out today's, and it was in the trash. He asked me to look for it.



This is not a tiny trash can. It's four feet high, and I've had a lot of printer mishaps today, such as 300 pages getting jammed because the tray didn't move down as it's supposed to. And lots and lots of confetti from the hole-punchings. And it's now all over the floor, but I found the damn absentee list.



And another coach wanted enlargements of the winter season sports schedule. No matter what I did, it didn't cooperate. I finally got a reasonable facsimile and copied 30 of those.



It's 3:09. Stick a fork in me. I'm DONE.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reply from Sirius/XM

From their so-called Listener Care with my comments in parentheses:

"Dear Ms. Post,

Thank you for contacting XM. We apologize for the delayed response to your email and we understand your concerns as it relates to the changes in our programming.

In response to your email, XM remains committed to broadcasting the best music, sports, news, talk and entertainment so that we continue to provide our subscribers with something to turn them on. (Not interested in sports. Not turned on by your other broadcasting.) Providing you with the best content sometimes mean that we may make changes to channel formats, update on-air personalities or simply move channels around to add even more entertainment choices. (No. You didn't change, update, or move around. You took away the only Americana channel and fired the programming manager. And by being bought by Sirius, you took away our choice in satellite radio companies.)

Please feel free to contact Programming directly at (email address which didn't link correctly) regarding the schedules and programming on XM. We hope that you will continue to find great value across our 170 channels. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly in the future if you have questions or need additional information on XM?s programming. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Centers hours of operation are as follows: Monday - Saturday: 8AM ? 11PM EST Sunday: 8AM - 8PM EST

Thank you, Nadine"

Nadine, I've done what I can by contacting Listener Care, Sal Resendez, and Patrick Reilly. I signed a petition started by Paul Thorn. We've cancelled our subscriptions to XM.

Thanks for nothing, XM Listener Care.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Casting on and actually finishing things!

This has been a pretty productive long weekend for me. After a very nice Thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family, I got out the yarn and started knitting.

Since we're keeping the thermostat lower to save money, I knit myself a pair of fingerless gloves. They really are warm, but I quickly discovered that it's really awkward knitting while wearing them, so they're for reading or using the computer.


They're made of Claudia's Felt Me, don't know the colorway. I'll have to be careful not to felt these simply by using them! They took about half a hank; I'll have to find out how much is in a hank of Felt Me. It's some that I got when I worked for her, some that was thrown out. I can't figure out why; there are no knots or obvious defects in it. The pattern is Wristlets; I found it online and can probably find it again if anyone is interested. They're very simple to make, and they're nice and warm.

Next I made a hat for B2. It gets terribly cold in Orlando, you know; if it's below 60, he's freezing. So he gets a hat and a scarf. I finished the hat in one evening. It's made of Claudia's worsted, Deep Blue, and some fingering, possibly Tea Cup, something like that. It's nice and thick, and B2's ears will be warmer during that nasty Orlando winter.




The scarf is Rainy Day Scarf, http://yarndemon.googlepages.com/rainydayscarf. I love the pattern. It's easy to knit while watching tv and it actually looks complicated. It's 4" wide and will be about 4' long when it's finished. I only have maybe one pattern repeat left to knit. It's from Claudia's worsted, Deep Blue,and it's so gorgeous and squishy and warm.

So that's my weekend. Cold, yes, but productive. For once.


Destash!!!

I'm going to put some yarn on eBay this week, some of my Claudia stash. I thought that I'd give you guys a chance at it first.

Claudia's fingering is selling at $13 a hank; boucle around $25 a hank; and sport around $24 a hank. Most of the yarn I want to sell is (fingering and sport) Purple Haze, and Fantasy, which is sport weight. I'll sell the Claudia sport for $10 a hank, 225 yards, 100% merino wool from Louet. If you want to buy a bag of 5 hanks for $50, I'll include Priority Mail postage free.

I'll sell the fingering at $9 a hank, $45 a bag with Priority Mail postage free. This is also 100% merino wool, Louet base, 180 yards per hank.

The one hank of boucle is $10, 162 yards.

As you can imagine, we're scrambling for ways to put gas in the car and food on the table, so I thought I'd give this a try. (Okay, it's not that bad yet, but I don't want to wait till the last minute!)


This one (above) is Claudia's sport weight Purple Haze. The colors are true in this photo, although the flash is a bit bright. I have 1 hank that's this bright (will sell for $9 instead of $10), and there are 10 hanks, 225 yards each, that are a little more muted.

All 10 are from the same dye lot, but one bag of 5 is a little brighter than the second bag. The bags have never been opened. This shows the two bags together. They're not horribly different; any problems with them could most likely be avoided by alternating hanks from the two bags. 100% merino wool base from Louet.


These (above and below) are Claudia's Fantasy sport weight, 5 hanks, never opened.


Then there's Claudia's fingering, Purple Haze, 100% merino from Louet. There's one hank not bagged; it's from the same dye lot, 005, as one of the 5-hank bags. The second bag is dye lot 006, which is a little darker than the first.


This next photo shows the two bags of Purple Haze fingering together, lot 005 on the left, 006 on the right.


Next is one hank of Claudia's large loop boucle in Purple Dot. This is 78% mohair, 13% wool, and 9% nylon. It makes warm, snuggly scarves. 162 yards is enough for a nice scarf.

Last is four hanks of Mango Moon Bali Sky, 150 yards each, 100% recycled viscose, hand-spun in Indonesia, colorway Dawn. It originally sold for $18 a hank; I bought this from my blog friend Tonya a while back and just can't come up with anything to make from it!




I'll sell it for $8 a hank. If you buy all four, I'll pay the postage.

If you just want to buy a hank or two or three or four, we'll figure out the postage, your choice of first class or Priority Mail; you'll pay the postage.

I hope that these are fair prices and that they'll just fly out the door. I promise that I'll mail any that are sold right away, not months later as I am the contest loot!

Uh oh, I hear sleet on the skylights. Crapola. First ice storm of the season. I'm thinking more and more that it's time to move to south Florida!

Thanks for considering helping me destash, and feel free to tell your friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Main office blues

I've been subbing in the main office all week. I hate subbing in the main office. I hate it with a passion. The phone never stops ringing, sometimes 6 lines at once. No one else seems to know how to work the phone system, so I'm it.

Kids come in for meds for everything from a headache to a broken finger to a pain in the chest. Yesterday one had cut her finger to the bone at home and hadn't bothered to go to her doctor or the ER. She wanted a bandaid because the other one was bloody. Of course, the nurse wasn't here, so I told her that I wouldn't do a thing to it other than put a bandaid on over it, and she should go to her doctor as soon as possible. Dumb kids.

I'm so sick of the phone and the kids that I could scream. I've gone home and gone to bed every night by 6. I miss my copiers, I even miss getting paper jams out. I miss changing the fuser and the xerographic module.

They couldn't pay me enough to do this job full-time.

*throws phone through the window*

Another off-site contest

Go to http://choochooknits.blogspot.com/2008/11/pouncingand-contest.html and enter her contest. Mention me so I'll get an extra entry, too! Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dear EXM/Sirius

This is the letter that I wrote yesterday and sent to the people at ExM Radio:

Sirs:

I want to let you know how disappointed my husband and I are with the removal of XCountry, channel 12. We've been subscribers since the spring of 2005 and were so excited about the programming that we gave subscriptions to 8 family members and have continued to pay for them for three years.

I was on vacation for several days last week. When I returned on Nov. 18 and turned on the radio, I was shocked to find that XCountry had become "Outlaw" Country and a trucking themed show was playing awful, awful music, including Roger Miller. (Roger Miller is an "outlaw"?) I was sure that a mistake had been made and that XCountry had been moved to another channel, but I was so, so wrong. It's gone entirely, and my husband and I are saddened and outraged.

We listened to a few other channels, but mostly we listened to XCountry. We discovered so many artists, good ones, that we'd never heard on any other channel, satellite or local. Last Train Home, Peter Cooper, Todd Snider, Chris Knight, Darrell Scott, Scott Miller, and so many others have become our favorites. From what I've heard so far, none of them are being played on "Outlaw" Country. Also, dj patter is just unlistenable on this new-to-XM channel. XCountry had wonderful djs who simply told what the artists or songs were, sometimes what albums they came from, and relevant info. They had great shows recorded at the XM studios, interviews with the singers/bands.

We are so disillusioned with all of XM/Sirius that we've cancelled our subscriptions. That takes effect in January. If XCountry isn't brought back, along with Jessie Scott, by then, that's it for us. I'm even considering buying an iPod even though I dislike Apple products intensely, because there's absolutely nothing on either XM/Sirius or local stations that we can tolerate. I'd rather pay Apple than XM/Sirius; at least we'd have music available that we like, without any of the silly chatter from silly djs.

We loved XM Radio for almost four years. I'm so sorry that Sirius felt it necessary to make the music we love unavailable.

Sincerely,

Marie Post, former subscriber

In case you're interested in shooting off an email yourself, these are the addresses I used:

jon.zellner@xmradio.com

preilly@siriusradio.com

sresendez@siriusradio.com

I doubt that this will make much difference, but I had to try.

There are lots of message boards that are discussing the goings-on at Sirius/XM. Just google and see.

I am so tired today that I can hardly sit upright and talk when the damn phone rings. I'm in the main office all week. People are idiots.

Another blog's contest

I'm going to link to a woman who makes incredible knitting jewelry/neccessities, mostly sterling silver. They're just lovely and not out-of-this-world expensive.

You can see the items at http://www.lesliewind.com/cable.html; scroll down the page to see everything that she's offering. If you go by her page, leave a comment on her blog (http://darcyknottyknitter.blogspot.com/2008/11/introducing-new-designs-from-leslie.html) saying that I sent you. Georgi sent me.

And Georgi, I'll get to the details of the bigass wrap as soon as the phones in this office allow me to do so.

Friday, November 21, 2008

XM Radio officially sucks frog innards

Until Tuesday morning, I loved XM Radio. Unconditionally. While I only listened to a handful of stations, I loved them. Unconditionally.

Wait, I loved one of them unconditionally. The others had too many commercials, and they annoyed the hell out of me. If we have to pay for radio, then I don't want 5 minutes of commercials every 10 minutes.

XCountry, channel 12, was my channel, our channel. Tom and I ran across it three and a half years ago on the way to Myrtle Beach for Kara's wedding. We'd just gotten XM and hadn't learned our way around it yet, but that day we discovered XCountry. We were in love immediately.

I think that the first song to which we really paid attention was "The Boys from Oklahoma (Roll Their Joints All Wrong)" by Cross Canadian Ragweed. Hilarious, and wow, commercial radio (by which I mean those sucky local stations we have) doesn't play anything like that. Then there was "Choctaw Bingo" by James McMurtry and also by, I think, Ray Wilie Hubbard. It starts, "Strap them kids in, give 'em a little bit of benedryl and some cherry coke". We were hooked. We've discovered Last Train Home, Peter Cooper, Robert Earl Keen, Corb Lund, Todd Snider ("B double E double R U N, beer run") and hundreds of others that we never would have heard of if not for XCountry.

And now it's "Outlaw Country", taken over by stinking Sirius radio which bought XM, and I knew there would be trouble, playing Roger Miller (oh come on, he's an outlaw???) and other old crap that could be found on other channels or, even better, on those local stations that play the same shit day in, day out, same time each day.

Examples of shit Outlaw Country plays: "Hammer Down Radio with DJ Rig Rocker 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM". Great, while I'm driving home, just what I want to hear. I loves me some big rig trucking songs. NOT. "Elizabeth Cook's Apron Strings 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM Sassy country singer Elizabeth Cook kicks off your morning from Music City, where she cooks up a scintillating mix of music, recipes and household cleaning tips." I've always wanted recipes and household cleaning tips mixed in with my music. This is considered outlaw??

And this--"Meredith Ochs in Outlaw Country 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Smart, sassy siren-voiced Meredith Ochs brings over a decade of music journalism and radio commentary to your nights in Outlaw Country!" How many sassy singers do we need? And commentary? No thank you.

One thing that we really really liked about XCountry was that there were NO commercials, no commentary, no shit that we used to hear on regular radio between songs or instead of songs. XCountry focused on music. After a set of songs, the dj would say what songs they were, by whom, and that was it. On to more music.

Doesn't this one sound like fun? "Johnny Knoxville & Roger Alan Wade
A hell-raisin' hour of hot pickin', finger sniffin' frog stickin' Outlaw mayhem with "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville and his cousin - musical misfit Roger Alan Wade." Finger sniffin' frog stickin'? Eeeewwwwwww. That pretty much sums up my feelings about Outlaw Country.

The XM Channel Linup (yeah, they can spell) FAQs state that XCountry is now Outlaw Country with the same music as before. So far, all I've heard is Roger Miller and other shit that I wouldn't listen to if all other music had vanished from the face of the earth.

Can you tell that I'm not happy? I'm so upset that I'm considering cancelling our subscriptions to XM (the fact that we can no longer afford to pay for the family's subscriptions does not come into play here. I mean our personal two subscriptions.) Why pay for that shit when I can listen to the sound of my own ears ringing for free?

I don't want classic country. The stations in my area play that ad nauseum. I don't want truckin' country. I don't want Outlaw Country.

I want my XCountry back. And I want it now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

People

People irritate me. Okay, let me clarify that. Uncouth people irritate me.

(Shoot, I might as well be honest. People irritate me.)

I'm in the Orlando airport, which I dearly love. It has free internet access. But people--people are sneezing, open-mouthed, all around me. It drives me nuts. Why can't they cover their mouths?

Same thing happened on the two flights on the way down here last week. Sneezing broke out like an epidemic. I fully expected to have the damn plague by now.

This would be the way to spread it. Scares the crap out of me.

I forgot my Airborne and Coldeeze.

Crap.

Hello from sunny Florida!

Yes, it's sunny and warm (relatively speaking; to someone who lives in WV, it's nice and warm) here, and it's been a wonderful, relaxing time with my family.

It only rained Friday night as we were leaving Disney World--a downpour that started after we got off the monorail to walk to our car. I've never been in such a deluge without a raincoat or something. I just totally freak out when water gets into my eyes; my glasses were wet, water dripping into my eyes, and I can't take that. B2 didn't mind at all; he was standing in the deluge shouting "Over here, guys, it's the tram! Hurry, guys!!!" jumping up and down, totally enjoying the experience.

But we weren't taking the tram, dammit; we had to walk every bit of maybe 1/4 mile to the car. We were all soaked to the bone, squishing in our shoes, but not cold. Can you imagine? It was November 14, 7 p.m., we were soaked, and we weren't cold. It was maybe 75 degrees, and the rain was fairly warm.

It had been sunny and warm all day, a perfect day to play at the Magic Kingdom.

J and I did some Christmas shopping there. Since I won't be here at Christmas, we had our Christmas early, and I got to watch the kids when they got their gifts. Nice for grandma.

It was hot on Saturday, too, with a little rain in the morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon. We played outside and made videos, which I edited (badly; my first experience with Windows Movie Maker) and burned to dvds which we then watched on tv. It was so much fun. The kids had a blast. We did the same on Sunday, which was cooler, but we were still outside and comfortable in our shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.

Today is a little warmer; it was entertaining to watch kids run into school wearing their winter coats, hats, and scarves, while it was maybe 55 degrees, which is a heat wave where I live. This afternoon the air is a little chilly, but the sun is warm and I enjoyed some time outside.

In a few hours I leave for Richmond and will spend the night with Mom and Dad. That means leaving their house at 5 in order to get to work on time, but since I get into Richmond late, it's a better option than driving to Hburg.

I'm so glad that I had this little vacation in the sun with my daughter and her family. Who knows when I'll get down here again, so I made the best of it.



P. S. TJX continues the firings at Tom's former work. People are scared that they'll be next. With good reason, it seems. Merry Christmas, employees, and you're fired. Woo freaking hoo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm off!

Totally off. Really.

I hear there's a soul-sucking cold wave coming through Florida that will turn the place into cold wet and nasty.

I refuse to believe it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I didn't pack last night

Why not wait till the last minute?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back to my usual whining

Cold all weekend. Cold, cold, cold. Not much sun.

Instead of finishing one of the big-ass wraps (I bought beads'n'stuff on Friday), I started another one, this one of Claudia's boucle in the Ink colorway. Let me tell you, Ink it is. My hands are black after knitting for a while, and it doesn't come off easily, either. This better be one stunning wrap, let me tell you.

Close-up of the fabric:

Very pretty, but very much a royal pain. I'd forgotten just how much I hate to knit with boucle. I should have used a bigger needle (I used size 10) and fewer stitches, but this stuff is such a bitch to rip out that I won't even attempt it.

I've got to come up with something to use to close them. I just don't like the big buttonhole and haven't had any luck finding suitable buttons, anyway. Even at etsy.com or ebay. I need 2.5" ones, and on those sites, "big" means 1.5".

I have to pack tonight; FLORIDA Wednesday night! Late Wednesday night! Just a carry-on! Horrors!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Up and down

A little while ago I took a drive across town. My former boss is sick and at home, so I offered to take her calendar and laptop to her. It was a great opportunity for me to get out and feel some sunshine.

It's 75 degrees! Real Indian Summer. I even dragged her trash can and recycle bin up her (steep) driveway because it felt so good to be outside.

When I'm in my office, I can't tell if it's night or day, rainy or sunny; it's just flourescent lights, two copy machines, a fan, and an Ionic Breeze with Germicidal Protection. (No. I don't think it keeps the germs from making their way to me, but somehow it feels right.)

It was so great to get outside for a while; I felt like I was playing hookey. I called my daughter and chatted with her on my way across town, and that was nice, too.

Down--gas prices. Mostly $1.99, but I saw one station that was selling unleaded for $1.95. Isn't it sad that it's so exciting when gas falls under $2??? I guess that staycations are responsible for a lot of the price drop.

Whatever. It's all good.

P. S. I have to brag. A is in the 3rd grade, is reading at a 4.6 grade level, and is making all A's. She's in the top 3rd grade class (of either 6 or 8 classes of 3rd graders) and at the top of her class. This is after all the trouble at her old school, where she tested well but J was told that A was in the "lowest 4" readers in her class. From kindergarten through 2nd grade, she was consistently in the lowest classes until January when suddenly her grades shot up; the teachers cited "maturity". Uh uh. I'm convinced that it was that school's way of dealing with Florida's rating system. It was an A+ school, and they needed to have kids improving drastically each year to keep their rating.

Her new school was a D, then a C, and now it's a B. They try harder. When they saw A's transcript from her former school, they told J that A would be in the top class. A told me last week that her school has SmartBoards and she loves them; she said that it's so much easier to learn things with cool SmartBoards. She said, "My old school spent so much money on making the school building look good. My new school spends money to help make the kids smarter."

Pretty good assessment for an 8-year-old.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

No easy way to say it. Tom has lost his job. TJX's Loss Prevention (from the home base in Massachusetts) swooped in yesterday and grilled him for 3.5 hours, accusing him of stealing scrap metal, tens of thousands of dollars worth. Of course he didn't do it. He refused to sign any papers that they tried to force him to sign, because he said that what they wanted him to say was WRONG.

What he did do was sell some scrap metal because the price was up, and he took the $200 and had a pizza party for his employees. Company policy is that the scrap metal is to be hauled away at the company's expense. He didn't follow company policy.

He hasn't been officially notified yet; yesterday they took his badge and keys and suspended him pending "investigation". But tonight he went into his stock options account to sell any options he has before they fired him, and it's all gone.

They couldn't even fire him to his face. Some of his employees have called and are very angry that he was railroaded this way.

He spent today arranging for his Porsche to be sold (I hope it sells quickly; we were counting on that for part of our retirement funds) and went to the Virginia Employment Commission to see about possible jobs. There are two that he plans to apply for. He has four weeks of vacation; he should be paid for this week and all of the vacation.

He's gone to bed; he says he's depressed, but he says that I can't be. I told him that I already am depressed, so no go there!

Since we still have two free Airtran trips each, and probably won't be going to Cancun in the spring or CA in the summer, I told him that he should just take off and go see his daughter in Ft. Lauderdale. The sun and warm weather will do him good, and so will spending time with her. He said that he probably will. He still wants me to go to Orlando next week since it's a free trip and already arranged; it would cost about $100 to change it. Better save that, huh?

Crap. Crap crap crapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

If nothing turns up here, we just might sell the place and head to Florida earlier than we'd planned. My retirement would be a lot lower, but I'd have to get a job anyway. Maybe we could both work at Disney World!!! Woohoo! He loves Disney!

Tom is the most honorable, honest man I've known (other than Dad), and this shouldn't be happening to him. Oddly enough, his former boss (plant manager) quit suddenly in June and was told to take his four weeks of vacation and not come back. He's now working as a teaching assistant in one of the new city schools; says he wants to become a teacher. Tom always thought it was odd the way he left and took such a cut in pay, with a kid still in school, maybe two, and now we think that the same thing happened to him. Tom won't call him, though; men.

This is the same place (TJX is the company that owns TJ Maxx and Marshall's stores) that fired a woman because she had an accident right in front of the building on her way to work, she was out of vacation, personal, and sick leave. She left the accident, ran into the building to clock in, ran back out to her car, got a ticket for leaving the scene of the accident and was fired for leaving the building after clocking in. Doesn't matter what the circumstances are. Company policy.

I'm calling for a nationwide boycott of all TJX properties. You're on notice, TJX. You won't be getting my Christmas shopping money this year, hahahahaha. It has nothing to do with the fact that I won't have any Christmas shopping money or that our income has suddenly become less than 2/3 of what it was yesterday, either.

I can play dirty, too.

Life sucks today

Please pray that it's better tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election boss, B2 Chronicles

My boy worked hard to get Barack Obama elected. When J picked B2 up after preschool on Monday, he told her that they'd had an election and everyone voted for Obama because he'd told them to. J asked the teacher if it was true that the "election" was so one-sided, and the teacher said yes, not one kid had voted for McCain.

And when she went into the voting booth at the "real" voting place, B2 loudly told her that she was to vote for Barack Obama, because Obama was going to live in the White House. J told me that they hadn't discussed politics at home much, but B2 absorbed it somewhere, possibly from his Weekly Reader at preschool, and he was going to make sure that everyone within his reach would vote his way.

B2, Election Bully.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Looking ahead

Monday, November 03, 2008

Huntin' season again

Here it is again, already. This time of year, the boy deer leave the herds and band together to hunt for girl deer, with the bigger, stronger boy deer getting the prettiest girls. Molly disappeared about a month ago; he was bigger than Shorty and either left to join the boys or otherwise left us. I hope he joined the big boys.

Last night the big girls and the babies came for dinner without Shorty, who's usually the first one in line, along with little Kelly. I happened to glance out the side window and saw this:

He doesn't look real, does he? I swear he looks like one of those fake deer that hunters put in their yards for target practice. He's been glimpsed by us before, but we never got a good look at him. I doubted that I'd actually seen him at all, just dreamed him.

But there he was, watching the girls eat. He walked carefully around the front yard, which made the girls very nervous. He didn't seem uncomfortable at all, but he wouldn't come up to eat with the rest of the group.

He stood behind the tree and sniffed the air.

Then the smallest of the babies followed him away from the herd. This baby is very skittish all the time, so I couldn't believe that she'd leave her mommy to follow this big unknown daddy deer. Her mommy was perturbed, but not perturbed enough to stop eating, just stamped and snorted a bit.



A bit later, Shorty and another male (one we haven't seen before) showed up.


I hope they all stay close by.

Inspiration and wips

This is the inspiration for my big-ass wrap. It's 100% cotton, while mine are 100% merino (because that's what I have on hand). I'm ready to look for buttons and beads to finish the two I've knit so far. After these two, I'm not going to knit a buttonhole; I'll find broaches or scarf pins or short knitting needles to close them. I've decided that my next one will be of Claudia's boucle in Ink. Ooooooh, elegant!

And these are my plain old vanilla socks made of Claudia's Buckeye merino fingering. I just love the deep dark red in this yarn.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Long time no post

What happened here? I've been remiss.

I actually blocked one of the big-ass wraps and it came out so nicely. I love the drape. I still need to do the finishing work and find buttons, and I want to get some glass beads and do some simple embroidery on the ends of the wrap. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I picked up the socks I'm working on and finished one of them and started the second. Yesterday while giving the SAT, I finished a good bit of the leg. I'm looking forward to wearing these deep red and grey socks. They're plain vanilla socks, and right now, that's what I need.

We've had three beautiful days here in the mountains. It's been 65-70 degrees, sunny, with a bit of a breeze that didn't feel chilly till the sun went behind some big old clouds today. I've thoroughly enjoyed the more pleasant weather.

And I won a prize! I joined a knitalong, http://carefreeholiday-ornot-kal.blogspot.com/, and by sending in photos of the big-ass wrap in progress and finished, I won a book of sock patterns! So cool.

After I finish talking to A (who's off inventing a game for us to play over the phone; I've got to get that webcam working), I'll try to remember to take photos of my socks and the blocked wrap. You may need to remind me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Makes me wonder about the future of our country

when a univeristy student makes a statement like this:

" 'What am I gonna remember in 10 years - that I saw Barack Obama or that I failed the test?' asked *******, another senior nursing major who skipped class to make sure she would get a spot inside the Convo."

Please God, don't let her become a nurse. We don't need nurses who are so sure they're going to fail a test that they don't even go to class.

Okay, this was probably taken out of context and possibly said in jest, but that's what our local paper has as the subheading of this article.

My new favorite ad

Oh NOOOOO!!!

*groan*

--Light snow fall is expected across the highlands through the nighttime hours. Most of the accumulating snow will be on western facing slopes in the higher elevations. Expected accumulations during the day Tuesday are one to two inches with an additional one to three forecast overnight.--

My ONE politically-oriented post

I'm just trying to stay out of the way.

Obama is coming to our small city this afternoon, and the school is in a delirium of "can I call my mom to see if I can leave school to see Obama?" Finally an announcement was made that NO ONE is allowed to use the phone in the attendance office to call for permission to leave the school (which leaves it wide open for school-wide use of forbidden cell phones and sudden illnesses).

The announcement of the visit was made on Sunday, and the town has been nuts since then. I believe that the last presidential candidate visited here in 1860. People camped overnight on the JMU campus, hoping to get inside the Convocation Center and claim one of the 8000 seats. This will be interesting; let's see, there are at least 10,000 JMU students, about 40,000 city residents, and a few hundred city school teachers and students all vying for a glimpse.

I'm going down to the attendance office to see how insane it all is. I bet that half of the kids in the school are trying to leave.

UPDATE: That was interesting. Many students decided that they had the right to leave school without parental permission because a presidential candidate is speaking nearby. Mayhem ensued. Many of the students became quite verbally abusive to staff and administration. An announcement was made that no more students would be allowed to leave school for any reason other than illness (and suddenly many kids were ill) and no calls from parents would be entertained in that regard. Some parents stormed in and were also verbally abusive to staff and administration as a result of this.

Last I heard, at least half of our 1300+ kids had signed out or stayed out all day. At noon, it was said that there was a line of potential attendees snaking out a mile from the Convo Center. It's 46 degrees and windy. I just heard that people are parking at K-Mart, which is a good two miles away, and having to walk from there.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Woohoo!!!

Both. Copiers. Are. Fixed!!! And. Working. At. Once!

*sigh*

Only three hours' work on the "bad" one. The "good" one had a paper folded accordian-style in the side of the fuser. I think that's what it's called, anyway. And I took that thing out on Friday, but I looked inside the copier, not on the side of the fuser.

So. They're both working. I'm pretty much caught up on all the copying, except for the three textbooks that I'm supposed to copy.

Hmmm. No professional development days about copyright infringement. Yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Has anyone used Skype

or another video calling thingy? Bitsy has a webcam that I want to use to visit my grandkids.

Speaking of which, I have a trip booked to Orlando in about 3 weeks! Five days in the warmth of Florida. I'd have been happy with two or three full days there, but thanks to Airtran's booking procedures, my free trip wasn't available on the dates I wanted, so I took what was available. I need some warm sun and some grandkids' loving.

Woohoo for getting a free trip to Florida!!!

State of the copiers, part 3,567,432


*sigh*

Yeah, it's time to update the state of the copy room and my brain.

Yesterday, while I was working in the main office while the secretary was on her lunch break, someone tried to make copies on the remaining working copier. It jammed. She took the thing apart and pulled out all the paper she could find, but it still insisted that there was a jam in 3 and 4.

I took the damned (literally) thing apart but I couldn't find any shred of wadded paper. This happened the first week of school and it took the copy tech guy an hour to take the machine apart (more than I know how to do, or want to know) and find that one little corner of fan-folded paper that caused the whole thing to self-destruct. I suspect that's what's happened again, so I called Xerox yet again, and Alma assured me (see, I remembered to write down her name this time) that Tech Guy would call within an hour to set up an appointment.

He didn't call. Wanna bet that Xerox will have no record of this call?

The crapout of the "good" copier pretty much shut down the school. Monday's copies haven't been made.

I have Tech Guy's personal cell-phone number (he gave me his card and said to call if I need toner and Xerox doesn't follow through, which happened last week) and will call him Monday morning at 7 a.m. when I get to work.

Bitsy

This is my new laptop, Bitsy. She's so cute!

I'm having a blast learning about her. She can do so many cool things.

Her screen can swivel and become a tablet for browsing the internet or writing in Journal. I tried to import a file from Journal to show how she can store files in my handwriting or convert them to text., but it wouldn't work, so for now, here's a sample of the text-recognition practice program, which will eventually be able to read my handwriting and convert it to text.

Maybe.
This was one of the sample sentences the program gave me. I swear I am not making this up. Perhaps HP should google famous knitters and see how wrong they are.

Her screen is 12.1" and she weighs about 5 pounds. I carry her in a neoprene case in my book bag.

It only took an hour (!) on the phone with a guy with an intense accent to get her hooked up to our wireless network, then she was ready to go. I've used her in town while waiting for Tom, and I'm looking forward to using Bitsy in airports, hotels, and anywhere else in the world I go.

Maybe Cancun in the spring? We have two free roundtrips each (Tom and me, not Bitsy; she travels free) that have to be used by the end of July, so we're thinking of going to CA for two weeks this summer and maybe Cancun. Airtran conveniently added Cancun as one of their destinations in the last month or so, and we just might take advantage of it. Their airfare for spring break week (mine) is about $800 each round trip, so that would be a big savings.

So. I have my new laptop, Itsy Bitsy, and she's raring to go places and enjoy new experiences with me. I love my new baby.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Safety first

This just came in my email from an administrator.

"If you are putting any sharp objects, broken glass, metal or anything that could cause injury in the trash cans, (including but not limited to conventional and nuclear weapons) custodians are requesting that you please label or tape a small warning sign to the trash can. Thank you."

It's nice to have someone looking out for us.

Update: I emailed Mr. Administrator and asked if we can bring nuclear weapons to school. His reply:

"Only for personal protection...."

It's Friday. We have to entertain ourselves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A good story

If one of my sisters will email me with the story of the tile cleaner, I'd be most obliged. I can't read the label in the photo or remember the "attributes" of the stuff, and I don't have one of my own. *pout*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Woohoo!

I've got my new laptop and it's up and running--at least, as much as it can be after one hour on the phone with Verizon tech support to get it to recognize our wireless modem.

More tomorrow, if I have the energy. Time to eat dinner!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apology

I apologize for not checking my comments and answering them. It was a busy weekend and now I'm off (ha!) to Richmond for an eye appointment. I'll be back tomorrow morning.

Gotta check the copier, which is churning out its poor guts, and get out of here!

Wrap progress

I finished the first big-ass wrap on Friday afternoon and cast on another. Photos below. The first one has a doggie head.





The second one is nearing the halfway point. Same yarn, 3 or 4 stitches less for a more petite lady. I love knitting with this yarn and the fact that it's just plain mindless knitting.

I guess that I'm a process knitter. I'm not nearly as interested in the finished project as I am in knitting it.

State of the copier yet again



This one was suggested by the copy tech guy. He's coming back later today or tomorrow morning to resume the exorcism.

Friday, October 17, 2008

No record

Xerox has "no record" of the service call I made yesterday. No. record.

They do now.

Cousins

Our cousin Jean came to the funeral on Tuesday. We saw her at her sister's motel in NC back in June, but other than that, we usually don't get together except at funerals. It's time to change that.


Jean, Joan, Betty, and me.

I'm not that fat. Really. It's a bad angle. The lighting was wrong. I was wearing a flowy silk overshirt that makes me look fat.

.

.

.

Riggghhhhhttttt.

Deedee, HELP!

*sigh*

Yesterday was sort of a catch-up day here at work. It was parent-teacher conference day, so the teachers didn't come in till 11:30. The morning was nice and quiet, but....

*sigh*

The copying was going alone fine, if a bit slow. I don't know if the overused copier is worn out from constant use or what the problem is, but it was copying. Until....... this happened.


The page on the right is the way it's supposed to be. But when I hit the "interrupt" button for a quick job needed right away, the.. the... thing on the left came out. Totally black. Tried again. Happened again. Took it off interrupt and it worked fine.

Later, I tried an interrupt job again. The same thing happened. Back to regular jobs and it copied the way it's supposed to.

Until. The regular jobs started spitting out totally black copies. Over and over and over.

I cancelled the thirty-some jobs that were pending. Really I just deleted a few, figured it was all a mess anyway, and turned the copier off, then unplugged it. I waited a good minute then plugged it back in and turned it on. It worked fine.

I still called Mr. Tech Guy who hasn't been by to see the deceased copier in over two weeks. I was told he'd call back within an hour to make an appointment to come by. He usually calls within a few minutes, but it's 22 hours since then and he still hasn't called.

I think he's avoiding me.

Update

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"He walked in joy"

George's funeral really was a celebration of his life. It was emotional, but a good kind, not the sobbing-and-snorting kind that Joan and I can get into so easily. Tears flowed but they flowed softly and gently.

The minister personalized the service so beautifully. I've been to too many funerals where the minister didn't really know the person, but this one did. He emphasized George's sense of humor, his love for his family, and our love for him. One line he said has stayed with me.

"He walked in joy."

That describes George so well. He was so full of joy and he shared it with us all. He was always laughing and telling jokes, one-liners that were so cute. We girls adored him, and we always will.

Cousins and an aunt that we rarely see came to the funeral and to the house afterward, and we had such a good time together. Our family is full of good humor and laughter so it was an afternoon of celebration of our lives and George's and Dorothy's, too. The two of them have brought so much love and joy to us.

Family is a precious thing, and I'm so thankful for mine!

Explaining

A few posts down I left one entitled "What do you think of this?" The title is a link to something that might be a very good idea for me. I can't do math, so it really might cut down on late-night posting.

http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/new-in-labs-stop-sending-mail-you-later.html

By default it's set to work from like midnight to 6 a.m., but it can be changed once you add it to your gmail and blogger. I think I'll be enabling it.

I may never be allowed to post again at night if I have to solve math problems under a time limit.

Contest alert!

Not mine this time but from another blog: http://blog.knitting2together.com/ Once again, I apologize for not having my linky cheat sheet. I had the cds with me yesterday, but they're heavy to carry and I left them at home this morning. Crap.

So anyway, this lady is on a trip and wants you to guess how many photos she'll take with her new camera.

About my contest winners: I'll get the prizes out. I promise. I'm a terrible procrastinator. I actually picked up Courtney's prize last night and hugged it and smelled it (Downy fabric softener; Claudia uses it and it reminds me of her drying room with all those gorgeous hanks of yarn drying. I have to go visit.) and then put it back down because I was too tired to do anything about it. I'm so sorry, guys.

A note about the Peter Cooper Mission Door cd: It's incredible. Joan and I are listening to it every chance we get. She keeps it in her car; we listened to it on the way to and from George's funeral and burial. Last Thursday night at home I turned it up really loud and listened to it for hours. (Tom had gone to pick up Donna in Baltimore, so I had the house to myself.) Usually when I'm alone I don't turn on the tv or music; after being around kids and copiers making noise all day, I just want peace and quiet at night, but that night I needed good loud music. I'd taken the truck to work that day and listened to Mission Door on the way in and home; it's about a cd's worth ride each way, and it was heavenly to have. The car doesn't have a cd player; it only has a cassette deck that's broken. And the truck is more comfortable and well-appointed than the old car. If we keep that car another two years, I'm going to have to put a new XM radio with cd player in it. Right now we have XM stuck on the dash and wired into the radio (since the tape deck broke; reception is much better through the tape deck than through FM reception) and it's ugly and in the way, but it's better than not having XM.

So, anyway, Peter Cooper = good. I'm looking forward to the cd he and Eric Brace from Last Train Home have finished and are releasing soon. I'm sure that'll show up in a contest as soon as I can get it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

State of the copier



Going on five weeks now. Got any ideas for the next "face"?

Wedding

Tom's nephew got married on Saturday. It was held on a bluff overlooking the Shenandoah River, North Fork, next to the groom's house.


It was a perfect day for an outdoors wedding, about 75 degrees and a beautiful view.






The bride and groom's son escorted their special attendant, Deja.





Ryder wasn't asleep; he was enjoying his cake.



As treats they had little bags of Reese's Pieces; Tom got a little bored.



A family reunion on a happy occasion, and a beautiful wedding.

Driving along the backroads of West Virginia

We came upon this domicile.

(Enlarge for full effect.)

The dog couldn't be bothered to drop his chew toy (at least, I hope that's what it was), but he was very vocal. He's got some very valuable turf to protect.

And I bet that car ain't used on no farm, neither.

I'm jealous. We ain't got no camper trailer.

Little traitor

Zippy is a velcro dog, usually either on my lap or at my feet. If I go to the bathroom, Zippy is sitting right there demanding attention.

But last week Tom's daughter came up for a visit, and what does Zippy do?



Fat and sassy






No cracks about dinner, please. I get touchy about that.