Friday, January 30, 2009

New playlist

I love these days when it's cold enough to keep my door shut and turn up the music.

I'm listening to "YDHtLTB" on my computer at work. It's got some beautiful songs on it. "I Know a Bird" and "Down to the Well" are absolutely haunting. Eric and Peter's voices blend so beautifully and so well.

This article sums it up well. (I'm afraid they'll come after me if I just copy and paste it.) (Scroll down waaayyy down past the ads.)

It didn't occur to me, until I got to work this morning and no one was here, that perhaps it was too dark for 7:20. Sure enough, it was 6:20. A.M. In the morning. And I didn't even realize it, although the clock in the car said 6:20. I just figured it was wrong. Last night when I reset the alarm (after getting up two hours later yesterday due to school's delayed start), I reset the time, too. I was wide awake, though, so I didn't curse (for a change) and got my morning's work done before anyone else got here. Yeah, I'm that busy today.

Now it's caught up with me, an hour before school ends, and I've got to wait till 3:30 to leave.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Bis and Elaine are the winners of "You Don't Have to Like Them Both". Please email me your mailing info at rita knits at g mail dot com. I'll get them in the mail--really--honestly--truly.

I hear that there are videos of Last Train Home and Peter Cooper and Eric Brace on YouTube, but I can't link to them from work. Stoopid rules. No YouTube, no myspace, no facebook, no flickr, no Raverly (reason for that one: dating, personals. It's a freaking yarn/patterns group!).

Betty said that SHE listened to the guys. This was a major sacrifice for her, what with the steel pedal guitar and country stuff. But I really appreciate that she tried.

If you're in the area, on February 14, Eric and Peter will be at Ashland Coffee and Tea. Great for a Valentine's Day date! Tom and I will be there, and Joan and Scott will mostly likely go, too. Join us; we'll be sitting right in front of the stage.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Contest--"You Don't Have to Like Them Both"

I have two copies of the cd, both personally--and personably--signed by Eric Brace and Peter Cooper. Want one? (No, Joan, you already have one.)

Comment by midnight EST tomorrow night (Tuesday). I'll choose the winners by pulling them out of a hat, or if there are a lot of entries, by random number generator.

And I'll mail them. Really. I promise. The others, too. Within the next week, sooner if I can get my ass moving.

Trust me, you'll love them both!

It was 11 hours coming home

And I'm wiped out. I'm definitely not as young as I used to be. Why, only ten years ago I could drive three hours to a concert, get three hours of sleep and go to work. I can't do that any more.

Joan's boss gave her today off so she wouldn't have to come home and go to work a few hours later. Slacker.

Tom and I got home at 11, and in spite of half an ambien, it was almost midnight when I went to sleep. I was five minutes late to work this morning, and I'm a zombie today.

But it was worth it! The show was great, Peter and Eric and Mary Ann were all so nice, and it was fun to be at the release party for their cd. The Station Inn is a tiny old club; some of the seats are from Earl Scrugg's (I think) old tour bus. The place is full of posters for old bluegrass shows, lots of personality and flavor. (Except the food. Microwave nachos and pizza just don't cut it, but we gamely ate them anyway, since that's what was available. Maybe the bbq was better......)

We really lucked out with the hotel I found at I've gotten a couple of not the best options that way, but this one was in our price range ($64, a "last-minute" special), and we didn't know the city at all, so we decided to try that one. It turned out to be the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, a pretty nice place and usually much more expensive, and in a good neighborhood. Some medical school was having its Cadaver Ball there that night (I'm not kidding about that, either.) and there was a convention. When asked what convention it was, initials were muttered, then the guy came clean with "Amway". Good grief.

After checking out Sunday morning, we toured the city by car, with both back windows down and Joan and me hanging out with our cameras. Being immediately marked as tourists doesn't bother us. We saw enough to know that we want to go back some time when we can spend a few days and it's warm enough to go outside.

But maybe we'll fly next time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two time zones in one day

We left home at 6:30 this morning for a little trip.

We met my sister Joan and her husband and headed off to a show.

Two weeks Ten hours later, we arrived in Nashville. After marveling how much longer it stays light here, I got a sneaking suspicion that maybe we were no longer in the Eastern time zone.

After a little google search, we discovered that was correct. Oh well, it gave us an extra hour to get lost find The Station Inn.

Oddly, we took a wrong turn and found the place immediately. (This never happens. Ever. We always get lost.)

We drove for 10 hours so we could attend the cd release show for Eric Brace and Peter Cooper's "You Don't Have to Like Them Both". Mom calls us "groupies". We call us "fun".

The show was excellent, as always, and we met Tom T. Hall. Last Train Home sings one of his songs ("I Flew Over Our House Last Night"), and Eric and Peter sang it tonight.

Tomorrow is the long long drive home, but it was worth it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Uh Oh

At 3:45 p.m. yesterday, my subscription to XM Radio expired. With no warning (other than us not renewing it or something like that). Bang, no satellite radio. Which means, basically, no radio, because the local FM station was playing the same songs it played when I last listened 5 years ago.

This leaves us with a dilemma. Do we suck it up and reup, or stick with our guns and stay expired?

To my dismay, I'm finding that I need XM.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Disaster averted

Oddly enough (or maybe not), Mr. Copy Tech Guy hadn't heard a word about a nationwide toner shortage. I called him early this morning to see if he could score me some toner.

An hour later, bless his heart, he showed up with two bottles of toner. Since I managed to score one bottle from the guidance department, I'm sitting pretty for a week or two.

Mr. CTG said that his manager hadn't heard anything about a shortage so he's looking into it. Maybe it's just for our particular copiers. Maybe it'll just go away.

Maybe I'll have to borrow Joan's flying monkeys.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So it seems that there's this national toner shortage.

At least, Xerox is having one.

They never send enough toner. I'm always having to call and request more, even though I send in our copy counts every freaking month. Every month I get an email that I'll have more toner by the 22nd of the month, and I'm always out before that and have to call for more.

Today is the freaking 22nd. No toner arrived. I put the last bottle in one of the copiers day before yesterday and one copier is totally out. Yesterday was the first day of the second semester, so this is not a good time for there to be a toner shortage.

So I called Xerox to request more, and fast. And I was told that there is none. In any of their warehouses. And they don't know when there'll be any.

Since keeping my job depends on there being enough demand for copies (and being able to meet that demand in a timely fashion), I freaked. Then I called the middle school to see if we could borrow some.

And they have plenty. Plenty. Xerox won't send me enough to keep us going, yet in a time of toner famine, they have plenty.

Thank God.

*UPDATE* Their toner bottle didn't fit my machines. *sigh*

Contest at knithappens!

Yes, I still need to mail out my contest winners. I will.

This one is giving away "four handknit washcloths, two skeins of Sugar and Creme in purple and pink, one rose petal candle, a box of sweethearts, one handmade fob for your scissors so you can tell there yours. this is made out of real amethyst chips and has a heart charm at the bottom. I made this myself. As seen below one skein of malabrigo yarn 850 yards of lace weight yarn in the color cinnamon.check out hand painted yarn for all your malabrigo. they are great! and good prices too." I ended up copying and pasting; there's so much that she's giving away! Check out her scissors fob; it's beautiful.

To top it off, she's giving away a handmade Valentine's card.

So, go enter and tell her that I sent you. Turtle sent me--thank you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weighty matters

Way back in April I swore that I would lose 30 pounds by New Year's Eve.

I almost did it.

I managed to lose 25 pounds without much deprivation or angst. And without exercising.

(I know that I should exercise. I'd lose more weight and it would probably be better distributed than it is now.) As it is, my face is a little thinner and my boobs are a little smaller (thank goodness, since now I can wear some blouses that had been straining at the buttons), and my nonexsistent waist drops my pants waistband to my hips. Pants that I bought last spring, right before my swearing, are too big. The pants that I've been wearing all along are looser in the waist and hips, but not by much. So where did that 25 pounds go?

Not that I want to find it, mind you. I'd just like to know how I look almost as big as I did 8 months ago but I weigh less.

So I'm swearing again. By Jan. 1, 2010, I'll weigh 30 pounds less than I do now. Then I'll weigh just about what I should weigh ideally.

How did I lose weight? Instead of eating whenever I thought of it or out of habit (when I'm reading, when I'm watching tv) (when I'm breathing), I asked myself if I was really hungry, or was it just habit? Somehow that made it easier. I also limited buttered popcorn, my absolute favorite snack, to weekends only. On holidays and special occasions (like eating out) I didn't worry about what I ate; I enjoyed myself. I love m&ms, so I limit myself to a small handful each evening. Once they're gone, that's it for the night.

So. We'll see where I am in 11.5 months. I plan to weigh about 140 pounds. Let's see if I can do it.

My hair is shorter than my Dad's

It was zero this morning. Zero. ZERO. Enough, huh?

So guess what I did Monday night?

And I like it! Now I have a real reason to knit lots of hats and learn all kinds of new things. (For example, weekend before last I learned to cable. I'd been putting that off forever because it seemed too hard. But it isn't, and I did it without a cable needle.)

Why did I cut off all my hair?

1) That nasty dark brown was still hanging on the ends.

2) I needed a haircut anyway.

3) Tom has been asking to clipper my hair for years. He likes women with really short hair, so I finally said okay, big boy, show me what you've got.

4) It feels so good. I don't have to comb or brush it. When I wash it, it dries almost immediately without any effort on my part. I don't have to style it.

I sent this photo to A, who wouldn't comment on my hair at all. B2 looked at it and said, "her eyes are red!" (And the red-eye corrector didn't help a bit.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stupid lung stuff

For the first time ever, prednisone did me no good.

My lung function test was the worst ever, which is saying a lot. At the same time, it means nothing to me, because I don't feel like it's bad. I'm not short of breath. I can climb stairs without gasping.

But I can't have my allergy shots until it's better.

So it's back on the testing/specialist/more money treadmill.


I'm seeing a lot of google searches for things relating to XM/Sirius' new programming, and a lot of it is along the lines of "XM Outlaw Country sucks", and I agree with the sentiment.

Another one that's being searched is Elizabeth's Cook's apron strings show. Her show seems to be only on Friday mornings as I drive to work (yeah, it's all about me), so I hear part of it. She plays decent music most of the time and even talks about the music a bit, but she talks too much. She talks about the weather, what she's doing this weekend, "what are y'all doing this weekend?", and other stuff that I really don't need or want to hear at 6:30 in the morning, thankyouverymuch.

Ms. Cook, if you happen to read this or hear about it, please, less talk and more music. That's why I listen to the radio. If I want talk, there are plenty of talk channels I can switch to. But I want music, just music, and no talk that early in the morning.

Or any time of day, for that matter.

Thank you.

--an XM Cross Country listener who is hoping that "Outlaw" Country will become less "Outlaw" and more music

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We freezed

This was yesterday morning. Last night was -10.

This morning the pipes were frozen.

Tom managed to get them thawed, so we're in business.

Heh. I said "business".

I need these, but I'm too freaking cold to knit them.

Friday, January 16, 2009


It's clearing up, and it's still doesn't hurt. Never did. It feels kind of odd. My allergist called it "conjuctivitis", but it doesn't itch.

He also insists that I have asthma and that my only symptom is the cough, even though I "passed" the methacholine challenge. He says he's had one or two other patients who passed it and still had asthma. So he

**Alert to Betty**

prescribed this:

and I have to go back on Tuesday. If my lung test is improved, then I have asthma, he says, and I either have to give up my allergy shots or take Symbicort, which I refused to take after last visit because ads say it can cause "death".

Death. It can cause death.

He says that it has to advertise that because one person died from uncontrolled asthma by taking the drug. I say, that if I have asthma and it causes my cough, then it's uncontrolled.


But. I have 5 days' worth of prednisone. I hope it doesn't make me hungry all the time. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. I hope it gives me energy. Sometimes it does.

Hmmmm, did my last course of prednisone make my depression worse, or did it get better? I need to keep track of these things. I don't remember exactly when I last took it, but my mood took a huge nosedive in September. I feel great now, have since December sometime. Unusual for me, since this is usually my worst time of year. Odd, that.

But I'll take it over the alternative.


SNAFUBB So. My work computer has a virus and it has to be left off all day. If you get an email from me or anyone claiming to be a Hallmark ecard, do not open it or click on any links. I don't send ecards. I think I'll turn the useless thing on and just listen to music..... Crap. I can't even do that. Tech Goddess says no.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm still here

And, in spite of the way it looks, still fine.

(Don't know what caused that.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

AirTran is my new BFF

After watching and hearing a bunch of kids run around, scream, throw balls against the window of the airport, and cough, I asked if I could use my $50 in vouchers to upgrade to business class. The woman said that I couldn't use them to upgrade; they had to be called in. I thanked her and said that I'd spent the night at Disney World with my grandkids and couldn't put it on my card, and


Upgraded me for free.

I love Airtran.


Here I am in the MCO terminal, and it's past time for my flight to leave. Conflicting reports have it due to bad weather in the DC area (where the plane is leaving) or a mechanical problem. Rumor also has it that the same AirTran flight last night was delayed due to smoke in the cabin.

I don't want to leave the warmth of Florida, but I don't want to spend the time in the airport waiting for the plane to get here.

As it was, we would have probably gotten to Betty's house around 1 a.m.; now it'll be closer to 3. I haven't slept much in the past couple of nights, so I'm ready to sleep NOW. And I have to be at work tomorrow morning at 7:30.

Wouldn't you know it, I left my regular phone charger in my book bag at home, and I forgot to charge the phone in the car today, and it's almost dead. Tom is already at Mom and Dad's house waiting for my flight to get in. And, there are no electric receptacles in sight and the laptop battery won't last much longer.

We did get $10 food/beverage vouchers, but we ate a big late lunch at Disney World, so I won't be eating again tonight. Luckily it can be used in other airports at other times. We also got $25 vouchers toward travel; that makes $50 I've gotten in the last 7 months.

Hmmmm, it might be worth that $50 plus $19 to fly business class tonight......

Sunday, January 04, 2009


This is the cat bed that I knit for A's kitten, Marie. I knit it of Claudia's Chunky in the Pink Dot colorway and edged it with pink fake fur yarn. (Kitty Pi pattern, available on Ravelry.) I took this photo of B2 wearing it to show the size it was before felting.


So how'd that turn out, you ask? Notsogreat. As a matter of fact, it did not felt at all. Not one little bit. I put it through 45 minutes of agitation in extremely hot water, and it didn't shrink at all. This is 100% merino, and I've never come across merino that wouldn't felt. (My $100 Oven Mitt is testimony of that all-wool-felts axiom. And it was 50% silk, too.) Even after 15 minutes on high heat in the dryer, it hadn't felted a bit.

This is the first of Claudia's yarn that I've tried to felt. I'm glad that I didn't buy that 3 hanks of Chunky. I could possibly unravel it and try to use it for something else, but the hot water didn't do anything for the color. The blues ran and it's not the prettiest shade anymore.

I've got some odds and ends of her Felt Me in my stash; I guess I'll try to felt that and see what happens.

But I bet that if I went to the trouble to use that Chunky yarn to knit something really time-consuming and accidentally washed it in warm water, it'd felt. Right away.

Just like that $100 Oven Mitt.

For Liz

My youngest niece, Liz, has had an occasional visitor at night for 15 years. That's when they moved into an old house and evidentally inherited the resident ghost.

Liz slept in the little room in the attic (it really was a room; she didn't just have to sleep in the attic). Occasionally she'd wake up and see an old man scowling at her. After her initial fright, she kind of got used to it.

Now she's grown up and on her own, but her ghost still is following her.

One of her clients suddenly asked her if she had lived in an old house. Yeesssss. She asked if Liz had ever sensed a presence there, a malevolent presence. Liz felt that the ghost disapproved of her, so, yes again. The woman is a psychic; she asked if she could go to the house. She felt that the presence bore ill will toward Liz.

Joan, Liz' mom, asked me to ask B2 if Liz' ghost was a Red Visitor, as B2 used to call the bad ghosts that visited him. So, after showing B2 photos of our family's Christmas celebration at Joan's house, I asked him.

He was really interested in the colors of the rooms and everything that was contained in them. He asked a lot of questions. Then I showed him photos of Liz in the living room of the house and asked him about Liz' ghost; was he a bad ghost? Did the ghost want to hurt Liz?

B2 looked at her for a long, quiet moment, then emphatically said, "No. It's a good ghost. He won't hurt her."

So there you go, Liz, it's okay. B2 says so.

Livin' the suite life

Do you recognize this landmark?

That's where we are tonight. The kids and I. Well, J & M are here to play for a while, but they're going home to take care of the cats (Rex the Bulemic Cat and Marie).

B2 has always wanted to stay at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, but it's a pretty expensive place to stay, especially if you happen to live nearby. But J was able to get a really good rate tonight, so here we are.

This is the place that the monorail runs through. B2's entire life has been dedicated to monorails and All Things Disney, so he's a happy little boy. He and J are at the Magic Kingdom while A, M, and I relax in the room.

We even went swimming tonight. (Not that I'm bragging or anything, but it's warm here.) (Okay. I'm bragging.)

At 12:24 a.m., A will be 9 years old (going on 15). She doesn't have to go back to school until Tuesday, lucky girl. I'm supposed to go back to work tomorrow, but, um, I'm *delicate cough* sick *cough*, so I'll fly home tomorrow night and go back on Tuesday. Let me tell you, that's going to be a dunking in cold water after being warm for a few days (and nights) and staying up most of the night and sleeping till noon or later.

I guess that this'll have to hold me till I get back down here. The earliest it can possibly be is the first week of April, spring break, so I'm resigned to a long, cold winter in West By God Virginia.

Friday, January 02, 2009

What we've been doing

Watching tv (B2 said he was a box):

Playing with Rex:

Drinking cooca on New Year's Eve:

It was chilly that night, remember? I mean, I bet it was in the low 50s.

Today it's warm and sunny with just a light breeze. I put on my old-lady bathing suit and lay in the sun while the kids played.

Rough life, isn't it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!