Thursday, January 29, 2009

In the News

What a weird exchange; I've never seen Hardball, but if it's usually like this I guess I'm not missing anything I'd want to watch:

Why do men always have to imagine women they're dealing with as a potential mate? I'm sure this guy would never imagine what it would be like to live with a liberal journalist who is a male if he were to have a similar exchange with a man ...

In the meantime, I'm cleaning up my delicious page - here's the weird news that I've found under blogfodder:

PETA sent a letter to Ben and Jerry's suggesting they use human breast milk in their ice cream instead of cows' milk. This is from last September; I think that I was under the impression I would think of clever comments to accompany the post. I remain speachless.

The kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa continues to have legal problems. This is interesting on so many different levels. If your curiosity is piqued by the story, I suggest you read Postville. I believe Postville was the first book discussed for my current book club (and may be one of the few that everyone read...).

And this just in today, in Tikrit, Iraq, a new statue was unveiled to honor the journalist who threw his shoes at W:

Photograph: Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So What Have You Done?

100 Life Experiences

(Things I've done in pink.)

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I don't think high school counts?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8. Climbed a mountain (actually, it was a volcano)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the crown of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (baby pigs though!)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Been on a safari
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
(actually, it was at an airport)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait drawn
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Visited Rio de Janeiro
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Taken the 5th
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper /been on the news
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Taught myself how to play a musical instrument
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

So what have YOU done?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The End of Christmas (kind of)

I found this on my camera today - forgot I had taken it. I'm sure I've never seen the airport this empty; it's from the Sunday morning we went to pick up Girl-child (when she came home from Chile): Christmas was weird for us this year, as I'm sure I've mentioned. It's the end of January and I still haven't finished going through my cards. I didn't send any out this year. I really don't feel like it any more, but there are a few I'll have to write before the snow melts ...

I did just finish celebrating by exchanging gifts last weekend with a dear friend. Knowing that I'm a map nut, she found a cool mini-globe with Vaugondy's 18th century vision of our planet; he was mapmaker to Louis XIV. It's fun to think that this is the way Louis and company saw the world.

The bamboo cups were also a gift - the globe on one and some of my smaller, harder-to-keep-track-of needles in the other: I have to figure out how to display the globe with this leather map we have in the dining room - something we picked up in Spain on our "honeymoon" waaay back when:And also - can you believe there's more? - this super-cool dish from Northern Clay Center that goes perfectly in my house:
We put it on the comma table:

The 5 ho-rack

You know how you hear things wrong and then even after you learn what was really said you can never get beyond that original misinterpretation? It often happens with children because of their limited vocabulary and I suppose older people when their hearing starts to wear out ....

I have a visual one of those, not from childhood but from a few years ago when I started working at the U and taking the bus. I saw this thing and I couldn't help wondering what in the world they meant by it, envisioning some weird instrument of torture from the Spanish Inquisition on which they could interrogate five (professional) women simultaneously:

Of course, what it really is, is a Show Rack with a weird font used on the initial S. Proof that good graphic design is worth a lot.They're made this way so that seeing the headlines will pique your curiosity and you'll buy the paper. I'm sure the tactic doesn't work anymore; I for one just go online and look at the article if I'm interested.

And that little plaque on the back of the rack with the weird S never ceases to confuse me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Book List

Here's another list: AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales in 2008

  1. Etudes à l'Eau-Forte by Francis Seymour Haden - $17,216: A collection of 25 etchings by Seymour Hayden - 24 of the plates depict the landscape around London, the Thames, Ireland and Wales and the final one is a portrait of Thomas Haden. The text reproduces an article printed in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts by Philippe Burty and contains a catalogue of the etched work of Seymour Haden.

  2. L'Abou Naddara, Journal Arabe Illustre (1878-1884) by James Sanua - $13,000: First edition published in 1878 and signed by author. The complete set of the first eight years of Sahifat Abou Naddara issued in Paris. Sanua was called Ya'qub Rufa'il Sanu in Arabic but was often referred to by his pseudonym, Abu Naddara (‘father of spectacles’).

  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling - $12,874: Rare first edition signed by JK with the dust wrapper panels signed by the cover artist Cliff Wright. The first issue has a misaligned block of text which was corrected in the subsequent issues.

  4. Specimens of British minerals selected from the cabinet of Philip Rashleigh by Philip Rashleigh - $12,754: Cornish landowner Philip Rashleigh formed one of the most outstanding early collections of mineral specimens (housed in the Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro) and this work describes his best specimens.

  5. The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia by David Roberts - $12,360: First American edition from 1855 including 250 lithographed plates with historical descriptions from George Croly and William Brockedon.

  6. The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid by Euclid - $11,750: Charles Wittingham of the Chiswick Press published this edition of Euclid’s works on Euclidean geometry in 1847. Written and designed to simplify Euclid's propositions, this remarkable example of Victorian printing has been described as one of the oddest and most beautiful books of the 19th century.

  7. Autographed Letter by Edward Lear - $11,491: A two-page illustrated autograph letter by the nonsense poet Edward Lear, most renowned for writing The Owl and the Pussycat, dated 9th September 1867. The letter contains a detailed self-caricature sketch showing Lear with outstretched limbs, as well as a comedic request to visit the recipient.

  8. Grimms Fairy Tales by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm - $11,388: A first edition, first issue copy of these famous fairy tales, including 22 etched plates by George Cruikshank. It is housed in a clamshell box.

  9. Peter Beard Collector's Edition by Peter Beard - $10,808: Published by Tashen in 2006, this is one of a limited number of collector’s copies signed by the renowned photographer.

  10. Biblia Latina Printed by Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt - $10,807: Printed in 1484, these bibles were the first to use the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to improve the common Latin Vulgate bible text. The first ‘Fontibus Ex Graecis’ Biblia Latina was published 1479 by Amerbach and was named after the first line of three distichs (couplets) that were included in the texts. Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt used Amerbach’s revised second edition for this Biblia Latina.

Friday, January 23, 2009

When Not Knitting, Reading

Found this during lunch:
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

(thanks to Cursing Mama for the find)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ok, I had a feeling that something was going on at the clinic today, and I know that Roe v Wade is a January thing, but I didn't go up the block to find out what the flashing lights were about this morning. I stayed at the bus stop. Call me a coward.

It turns out that somebody rammed his SUV into the doors of the clinic a few times around 7:30 this morning. He was chanting and praying while waiting for the police to arrest him.

But, always trying to find the glass half full, I noticed that in this article which covered activities at the State Capitol as well as at the clinic on Ford Parkway, Norm Coleman was referred to as former Senator Norm Coleman.

Yes, they said former.

I wonder if they'll change it?

(thanks, Susan, for filling me in on the neighborhood news)


From the Associated Press:

Jan 21st, 2009 Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Jan. 12-18. Listings include the week's ranking, with viewership for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses. An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation.

1. (X) AFC Championship: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, CBS, 40.65 million viewers.
2. (1) "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 30.42 million viewers.
3. (1) "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 30.32 million viewers.
4. (X) AFC Championship postgame show, CBS, 25.44 million viewers.
5. (4) "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 24.25 million viewers.
6. (5) "NCIS," CBS, 18.62 million viewers.
7. (8) "The Mentalist," CBS, 18.07 million viewers.
8. (12) "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 17.10 million viewers.
9. (X) "The Mentalist" (Sunday), CBS, 16.39 million viewers.
10. (15) "CSI: Miami," CBS, 15.83 million viewers.
11. (X) "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (8 p.m. Thursday), CBS, 15.52 million viewers.
12. (11) "Criminal Minds," CBS, 13.78 million viewers.
13. (20) "Eleventh Hour," CBS, 13.16 million viewers.
14. (12) "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m. Thursday), ABC, 13.10 million viewers.
15. (9) "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 13.08 million viewers.
16. (14) "CSI: NY," CBS, 12.67 million viewers.
17. (18) "Without a Trace," CBS, 12.42 million viewers.
18. (17) "24," Fox, 12.31 million viewers.
19. (35) "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.81 million viewers.
20. (35) "How I Met Your Mother," CBS, 11.76 million viewers.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is a unit of News Corp.; NBC is owned by General Electric Co.
This comes on the heels of Harlot's calendar - today's entry says that when people tell her they wished they had time to knit she wants to ask them what they watched on TV last night.

I have watched Grey's Anatomy a few times. That's it. Bones is on tonight; I watch that. I haven't even heard of some of them. What kind of a geek does that make me?

Perhaps the scariest part, though, is looking at the who owns what at the bottom. GE?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, We Did!

I tried to take a picture of the sunrise this morning, but it wasn't a good morning for it.

It's still a good day, though, and a new dawn.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow is the Best Insulation

Now, there are many people in the Northern latitudes who will tell others that snow is a good insulator. Many people (feckless people from the tropics, mostly) will laugh at this.

I beg to differ.

P's car has been huddled under a blanket of snow for five or six weeks now - I can't really remember. I should have been baby-ing it before I left and I should have paid it attention as soon as I got back, but I didn't. I had other things to do. I had important things to do, like knit and read and watch movies and hide in my warm house when the windchills dipped to dangerously low levels.

He's coming back this week.

This is what it looked like when I went out to the alley this afternoon:
Now many people may wonder, why dig out his car for him? Why not let him do it himself? I answer: What is he going to do if his car is not available? He'll be looking to drive mine. This is a bad week to loan out my car. I have Knitters' Guild and Book Club and Very Important Activities this week for which I will need my car.

I was more than a little worried that it wouldn't start. My first try, in fact, it made no noise at all. Nothing. Nada. Then I remembered a little quirky thing about this car: You have to have the clutch engaged for it to start. I put my foot on the clutch, turned the key, and voila! Car running.

Nice car. Sweet little Saturn. It now looks like this:

The whole scene reminded me of a phone call I had, many years ago, when I was working for the evil airline, and I had a Saturn executive on the line. He was very nice. I wish I knew his name, so that I could send him a note and tell him that our little '92 Saturn started up right away in Minnesota in January after a long period of neglect.

In the meantime, chili was cooking with peppers that were on special at the grocery store. They were so pretty in the pan, I just had to take their picture:

Boy-child and I dropped Girl-child off at the dorm today (wow - no wonder she wants to go back to school, it was a regular screaming love fest when the elevator door opened, her buddies were so glad to see her). After that, we went to the library to get some info on the fall of Carthage and the Punic Wars (no, I'm not kidding). He has a history project to do.

In the lobby there was an F-bomb:
This is the close up:

Art with a sense of humor.

How fantastic is that?

Wooly Brain

I'm not really sure what to think of this; it's both fascinating and weird:

Psychiatrist Dr Karen Norberg, of National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, spent a year knitting an anatomically correct replica of the human brain.
For the full article click here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quiz Time!

Your Friendship Style is Philosophical

You take every friendship you have seriously.

You've thought a lot about what it means to be a good friend, and you hold yourself to your standard.

In return, you expect your friends to be loyal, honest, and real. You're somewhat picky about who you're friends with.

Fighting with your friends bothers you more than most people. You can't stop replaying arguments over and over in your head.

You and an Empathetic Friend: Try to understand one another. You approach life very differently, but you're willing to listen to one another.

You and a Gregarious Friend: Are a better match than expected. You understand and appreciate your Gregarious Friend's energy.

You and an Independent Friend: Get along pretty well, but you can't help but think your Independent Friend needs to learn better manners!

You and another Philosophical Friend: Are friends for life. You can get lost in your intense, interesting conversations... and maybe even change the world together!

And The Fish Person brings up an interesting question: What to put up when the Bush countdown is over.


Friday, January 16, 2009

No Pants Subway Day

Thanks to ColorMeKatie for the video of the No Pants Subway Ride:

Some of the reactions are priceless - mostly it makes me cold!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Book and Movie Musings


My library doesn't have it, so I guess we'll have to order it.

And the book I checked out of the library today: Knitting Art: 150 innovative works from 18 contemporary artists. If you haven't had a chance to look at it, go find yourself a copy. It's amazing. Kind of reminds me of the art project Girl-child did in high school of a knitted bowl made of twisty-ties, but on a Walker Art Center level. I know that they have this book at LYS and Borders in the Twin Cities, as well as many libraries, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

I'm still reading Midnight's Children for book club. I doubt I'll be done in time for the discussion, but in my group that's not important. I do like it a lot; can't really figure out why I never read it before, given that I've read many of his books.

Did I mention I watched The Duchess the other night? I read that book some years ago; don't remember the book quite that way, but I guess the movie makers wanted to focus on the more tragic aspects of her life (loveless marriage, self-sacrifice for her children, the usual stuff). Boy-child makes fun of me 'cause I like period pieces ... what can I say? I like historical fiction too (sorry Susan). I also watched, at Boy's suggestion, Dogma by Kevin Smith. I'm not real big on Kevin Smith movies, but this one was fun. I'm sure the fact that it makes fun of religion has nothing to do with the fact that I liked it ;-)

Not sure what I'll do tonight - I've started on the second season of West Wing again so I can get some knitting done but maybe I can dig up a nineteenth century story about some visionary woman ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Cold Is It?

It's so cold I am home this morning waiting for a delivery of a medication that can not freeze.

Today there is a risk that it will freeze if left on the doorstep.

It is so cold that I went out and bought a new pair of boots last night.
They have super-heavy-duty soles so that maybe now I will wipe out less.
And they lace up so I can wear any type of sock with them and they'll fit.
The mall is amazingly empty on a night when there are wind chill advisories.

I found these in the clearance room at DSW.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Really, I Was Kidding

Ok folks, I guess a few people were taking me seriously about the results of the New Years Resolutions Quiz? Do you see underneath where I wrote (ok, maybe I exaggerate a little...)? Yes, that means that I played with it until I got a ridiculous amount of resolutions (all but you should take a trip and you should quit smoking) and put that on the post.

That's what I meant by exaggerate.

Anyway, I got the first installment of my Unexpected Gift Certificate (UGC) gift today in the mail. Behold, I can keep my place in a pattern chart in style now - pink on brown paisleys for heaven's sake, who could ask for more?Of course, there is more since the other thing I ordered with the UGC is backordered because it's so awesome EVERYBODY wants one. Keep posted for updates here.

It was especially appropriate that it arrived today since I had just sent the first installment of the thank you for the UGC in the form of cookies this morning (see below).

And speaking of charts, I have progressed to the second front panel of the Must Have Cardigan, which means that soon I will have only the sleeves left ... and then I can find out how to put it together and whether or not it fits anyone. These are the pieces: And this shows the texture a little bit better:
Wow have I learned a lot from making this sweater. I really, really like the texture. It's been fun to work on and I am no longer afraid of charts.

Wrapping up the Weekend

My assessment of the Golden Globes last night: dresses in neutral colors are all the rage; foofy, feminine and princessy is in. Drew Barrymore needs a new hairdresser. Maggie Gyllenhaal needs a new dress. Pierce Brosnan has a normal wife. No one can beat out a (tragically) dead man. I must see Slumdog Millionaire.

I did go to see Doubt over the weekend. My take on it was not the same as others around me, even though I expected we would react similarly. Anyone else have an opinion on it? Were you more sympathetic to one side or the other? How much doubt did it leave you with in the end?

In the meantime, and in preparation for the bitter cold expected to hit us this week, I bought a flowering plant:
Small compensation when compared with where I was ten days ago, but it will have to do.

And in a fit of devious domesticity, I made cookies.
I normally bake only during the holidays, but special circumstances required I make an exception. They turned out ok.

Also over the weekend, I managed to get through the mail that accumulated while we were gone, which was no small thing.

I made a couple of observations about snowmen too ... 1) Why would anyone buy a nylon blow-up snowman for the yard when there is snow available in the yard to make a real one? and, 2) Why do people let their dogs pee on snowmen? We have a lot of people go by the house on the way to the river and folks, if the dog pees on the boulevard trees that's one thing, but you let your dogs pee on the neighbor kids' snowmen and that is simply not acceptable.

Looking back, it was a great weekend with lots of girlfriend catch-up time; nothing to complain about there.

Except maybe it was a little short.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reality Check

The election is over, vacation is over, nothing has really changed in spite of all that relaxation beside the pool ... the elation over the fact that the W era is almost over is waning ... the economy is still a shambles, the country is still at war.

I think that walking out into this in the morning instead of seeing a jacaranda tree may have something to do with the depression that has set in:

And although I've cleaned up a lot, there's still plenty of stuff piled up that has to be dealt with at the office:
Yes, it's a blurry picture. I think maybe I hadn't had enough coffee yet when I snapped the shot.

So what should we do to brighten our day? Make the winter shorter?

Make resolutions, of course! By the time we realize there's no hope of achieving the resolutions, the weather will be good and we won't care any more!

Thanks to Cursing Mama for the link:

You Should Make 6 Resolutions

Lose Weight

Save Money

Get a Better Job

Get Fit

Drink Less Alcohol

Reduce Stress Overall

(ok, maybe I exaggerate a little...)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

News and Views

Minneapolis (and I'm assuming St.Paul can be included since the Twin Cities are really one metro area) has made the top of the Most Literate Cities list.

I love this kind of news.

In the Minnesota Senate race Norm Coleman has now decided that speed is not the first objective - remember on Nov. 6th when AP reported Coleman as saying (regarding the cost of a recount),
It's up to him whether such a step is worth the tax dollars it will take to conduct," Coleman said, telling reporters he would "step back" if he were in Franken's position.


And if you want to read somethig REALLY depressing, take a look at this article in Salon regarding the W Legacy.

On a brighter note, I've finished Boy-child's glittens (he wears them every day!), I've started working on the second sock of a pair for P (I put them away last month 'cause he wouldn't be needing them but suddenly he may need them rather soon), and I started a new pair for a secret, seditious gift with a yummy yarn...

And from Harlot's page-a-day calendar today, one of my favorite words explained:
The term "Luddite" is used to describe a person who is opposed to new technology, mechanization, or industrialization, as in "he doesn't even use e-mail - he's such a Luddite." It's named after Ned Ludd, an English knitter who lost his cool in 1779 and smashed two knitting machines that he felt threatened his livelihood. He was so opposed to knitting becoming a mechanical process that his name is now synonymous with resistance to progress.
Who knew? I use the term luddite in a most unfriendly fashion in the library and now it turns out Mr. Ludd was a knitter...

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Sad Tale from 32,000 Feet

I'd been cruising along on the knitting during my vacation ... I finished a pair of socks which are to be a late Christmas gift and the glittens were in need of the mitteny hoods only - easy peasy for bus/airport/inflight work ...

Never become smug or complacent. Disaster is bound to strike.

So there I was working on the final bits of the second glitten at 32,000 feet, oh so happy that I was going to have a second FO from my trip when suddenly, a needle broke.

No problem, right? I can finish with four needles ... Boy-child was asleep next to me and the movie was bad so the glittens would prevail!

Then another needle broke. Really. Granted, I was using cheap plastic needles, but who knew? Was I especially tense due to travel? Taking out the frustrations of my vacation being over on the needles? Are the cheap plasic variety weakened by a pressurized cabin?

So this is how far I got: How sad was that? Luckily, I had tucked away a skein of chunky Lamb's Pride in my carry-on just in case I had time to make a hat for Boy-child, which I did: And I did have the finished socks, even though they were going to live with someone else. I thought the wool socks looked particularly nice pool-side:
Needless to say, the first stop I made when I left the house yesterday to grocery shop was The Yarnery for a replacement set of needles - bamboo this time.

The mail gets delivered today and I imagine it will take me all week to get through it, but I hope to finish the glittens anyway. After all, I'll need a break from the mail.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Parting Shots

Happy New Year

I think I mentioned that we went to the coast for New Year's Eve. It's a different world on the coast, and of course, New Year's Eve comes with its own issues. I've never been big on celebrating this particular holiday, but we enjoyed the change in scenery.

There's a long walk and lots of beach between La Serena and Coquimbo with tons of restaurants, condos and hotels.
They have tsunami evacuation route signs which I don't believe I'd ever seen before; I haven't been here since the 2004 tsunami.
Sunsets are quite spectacular on the Pacific coast:
My pictures are not very good, but the fireworks were ... we could see three sets of fireworks from our hotel balcony.
Next morning always looks very different. There were lots of young people still out and about when we went down for breakfast; their day was just finishing up and ours just starting.

The beach in the morning can be a very cloudy. This year's start was no exception. It gives you time to think.