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, 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.


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 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:


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.


Marie Post, former subscriber

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

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; scroll down the page to see everything that she's offering. If you go by her page, leave a comment on her blog ( 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 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.


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 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,, 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.