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.


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.


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!

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


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.



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.


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.


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.