Sunday, December 31, 2006

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and all that.

Some pictures from my tree to hold you over until I recover from all that holiday travel:

(OK. Not just from the tree. These were from my friend the first Christmas she was married.)

This *is* from the tree. Some more below:

(I'm not really sure what Superman is rescuing the garlic from.)

And some pictures of the lake from a couple of weeks ago:

In another few weeks, I'll have pictures of people ice fishing. In the city.

Oh, and my Thanksgiving turkey, which I never got around to posting:

(Please ignore the wrinkled tablecloth.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A sign that I am working at the right place.

I am *scrambling* to get everything finished today before I leave for Christmas, especially since I will not be back in the office until next year. One of my bosses was going to lunch and saw how busy I am and *brought me back a sandwich* because he knew that I would not have time to eat otherwise.

**Edited to Add**

And a brownie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The answer is not 42.

The question is: how many women in a family are too many? The answer is: 5. Too many women. I am not sure which I would give back, though. Still, too many women. Too many crossed signals, too many opinions, too many women. To be fair, if some of them were men, I am not sure that would make it better.

That is all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

In which I encourage charitable giving

There are many ways to knit for charity, and I really can't do enough to encourage them all. Hats, scarves and blankets and shawls for those who are freezing or lost or in need of comfort are always something that will make a small difference in someone else's life. There is another way for knitters in particular to make a difference, though. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a/k/a the Yarn Harlot) organizes Knitters without Borders, a way in which knitters get together to support Doctors without Borders. She has put out a new challenge to the knitters who read her blog.

If you don't knit, you can still give to Doctors without Borders.

(My other favorite charity is the Heifer Project, in case you were wondering.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

An Open Letter to a Certain Elderly Relative

People have lived in the Upper Midwest and dealt with extremely cold weather for years without freezing to death. It is, in fact, possible to warm one's house to a livable temperature even when it is below zero degrees fahrenheit outside. Really. Truly. I realize that you feel that you have a hard time warming your house when it is below forty degrees out, but it is, in fact, possible. Yes, it is very cold. All winter. In the north. No, we do not get lake effect snows, since Minneapolis is hundreds of miles from any of the great lakes. I do not live anywhere near Buffalo or Chicago, so even if those two cities have gotten tons of snow, I may not have gotten any. Every time you talk to me in the winter, it will be colder where I live than where you live. Really. With all due respect, can we get back to discussing the details of your current medication regimen?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's not what you think.

Hee. "Great tits"

Because sometimes I am a twelve-year-old boy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

For your time-wasting pleasure

I haven't updated in a while, and I do have a few blog posts running around in my head. However, I don't have time to actually write them up right now, so here is something brief to keep you entertained.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

And now for something completely different

Enough politics for now. I haven't posted any pictures in a while, so a quick update.

I have been busy with many knitting projects, most of which can't be posted here until after Christmas. I did finish the shawl for my sister's wedding, though:

(My coworker models--I am not sure if my sister wants pictures of herself on my blog)

Here is the shawl with the main section blocked but before I blocked the edging--an amazing difference, eh?:

Here it is blocking on my favorite blocking device, kid's alphabet mats:

Here is a closer look:

And even closer:

The yarn is Alchemy Silken Straw in Winkie's Blue, which is actually a ribbon yarn. The yarn was chosen more for color and sheen than gauge or type, and I designed the shawl to fit the yarn. My sister had a celtic-knot sort of theme going on at the wedding, so I modified celtic knots and celtic keys for the pattern, with a transition from the central motif (which is almost all knots) to the edging (which is all keys). Sis also asked for a rectangular shawl, since she felt that would be easier to wear both at the wedding and at other times. Her wedding colors were deep blue and purple, but you just try to find those colors in early summer (which is when we had to shop for the yarn) not in cotton or mohair (mohair is not a good idea when one is wearing a white dress). We ended up with Winkie's Blue because it is a lovely color that looks like purple or blue depended upon the light. Of course, now the same yarn comes in Dream, which is deep purple. Ah, well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blah, blah, blah, stupid metaphor about a tree's leaves in a strong wind and deep roots.

George Allen just conceded.

The Democrats officially control both houses of Congress.

Addendum: Put the !@#$ football away, George. This is a PRESS CONFERENCE at which you are conceding in a race for US SENATE. Have a little dignity.

Further addenda:

1) From an email from Mater-Eater Lad: "To which I say, Welcome to the real American and the real Virginia, you racist sack of shit.'"

2) From further emails between the two of us:

SWMBO: "God, I hate football. Can you imagine any other sport (soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, hunting, bowling) where a former player would think that it was OK to have a catch at a major news conference?"

MEL: "It'd be pretty funny if a candidate started throwing a bowling ball into the crowd.

Or if he was an archer, and just started winging arrows at people."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A good day.

This is a good day.

A very good day.

It is not, however, a great day.

There is still much work to be done.

Don't screw it up with stupid mistakes.

My favorite moment from last night.

I was so, so glad to be watching CNN (rather than MSNBC, which I had on in the PIP) sometime after 12 AM Central last night. If I hadn't been, I would have missed the best moment of the night: Jim Webb came out to make what everyone expected to be a I-am-going-to-bed-this-isn't-going-to-be-decided-tonight-speech (just like George Allen had done about an hour previously), and he DECLARED VICTORY.

From Salon at 12:08 AM CST:

With an 1,800-vote lead over Republican Sen. George Allen, Jim Webb just told his
supporters that it's important to respect the Democratic process. But just when it
sounded like he was about to concede that there's still a lot of counting -- and maybe
recounting -- to be done, Webb said: "The votes are in, and we won."

(I am still looking for a video--the reaction of the people in the CNN and MSNBC newrooms was half the fun.)

[Edited it add a clip of the CNN coverage, albeit without the anchor reaction]

Payback's a bitch.

What about a recount, you say?

Last year Virginia had a recount for the State Attorney General race, and the vote totals only changed by 37.


Let's all hope that the election results are as clean this time.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Seriously, though: VOTE.

Via TPM Cafe:

"Just like in 2004, your vote today will affect the lives of every man and woman serving on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. Your choices will determine how long we fight in Iraq, what kind of equipment we have on the ground, and what treatment we receive when we get home.

This week, you can make your voice heard.

Our country is at war. A 60% voter turnout isn't good enough. Please vote today, and remind your friends and family to make it to the polls."

There are other issues. There are other people (like the people of Iraq) who will be affected by the outcome of this election. It is not OK to stay home today.

I saw a 20-foot blow-up bulldog in the back of a truck on the way to work this morning

I am many posts behind regarding knitting and gardens and things that I find amusing, but today I just have time for this:

Please vote today.

Here is a handy voting guide.

(The bulldog was a political ad for state auditor)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The funniest thing I have heard all week.

One of the attorneys with whom I work likes his hairdresser so much that when she left the salon that he normally goes to two months ago, he did a skip trace on her to try to find out what salon she is working at now.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ways to get odd looks in the supermarket (the first in a series)

1. Shop at 10 PM on Sunday, and only buy an apple pie and rat poison.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

No knitter would *ever* throw their needles over a cliff

I don't care what trauma they endured--it just wouldn't happen. And I am impressed with the yardage that she gets out of that last ball of yarn.

I will say that the scarf approached the length of my first scarf, which I never did cast off. When my grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 10, she did just that--she taught me the knit stitch. She did not teach me how to cast on, purl, or cast off. (My grandmother is not exactly known for her patience, so I am a bit surprised that she taught me to knit at all.) She bought me some size 13 needles (Susan Bates, of course), some squeaky chambray-colored acrylic yarn, and cast on a scarf for me. She then showed me how to make a knit stitch. I was to continue the scarf until it was "finished" and then she would cast it off for me. The only problem is that she decided that this scarf should be *gargantuan*. I had about 1000 yards of worsted wool, and by God I was going to use all of it. Remember that this was a scarf for me, and I was 10. I knit about 5 feet of scarf and asked her to cast it off. Not long enough. 6 feet. Still not long enough. 7 feet. Nope. 8 feet. Still no. I still had some yarn left, you see . . . . I finally just put it away and stopped asking. I still have it, on the needles, with the extra yarn. I doubt it would be short enough for a professional basketball player.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Well, I know what I am doing this evening.

But will John S. be outside drumming the Vermonster container for 10% taxes?

All Hail the Federal Republic of Kate!

(I realize that only a couple of the people who read this blog will have any idea what I am talking about.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

The benefits of working for a very small business

It may be hot in Topeka and disgusting in Minneapolis (seriously, I don't think it got any lighter when the sun came up this morning), but when you are less than a week post-major-project on a Friday where two people of a seven-person office are out sick, sometimes your office closes for three hours and the partners take everyone to lunch and a movie. Which is pretty cool.

Friday, September 15, 2006

For Introverted Couples Everywhere.

My husband and I are both introverted--we could be the couple observed in the bookstore in the answer here (registration or watching of short commercial required). We go to the Great Big Barnes And Noble With The Used Book Section at least twice a month and spend a couple of hours reading, drinking tea, and generally not talking. THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL FOR WELL-ADJUSTED INTROVERTS.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Remember Cop Rock?

Now imagine that Cop Rock is being performed by lawyers. At a continuing legal education course.

My favorite line:

" There are no CLE seminars like those from the Ethics in Tune program."

Maybe there is a reason for that. Just guessing, here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Airport security

Now, I am going to refrain from much comment on the state of airport security beyond the fact that if I could do something to the plane with water bought after going through security (which you are required to dispose of before boarding the plane), I could probably think of a way to use the water ON the plane for the same purpose (let me also state that I have no idea what I would be able to do with either one). Oh, and also the fact that at Philadelphia International airport at the beginning of the summer they didn't even notice that I was flying on an expired license (the fact *had* been noted on my flight to Philly), while at the end of summer--after the most recent bust regarding liquids--THEY DID NOT CHECK MY ID OR ANYONE ELSE'S IN THE STANDARD SECURITY LINE AT ANY POINT. There was someone checking the first class/international line, but not the standard line. They ran my bag through three times and asked about liquids, but they never checked to see that I was who I said I was.

Oh, and this really entertains me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

That word you keep using . . . .

From this NY Times article about the reintroduction of the VW Rabbit:

"Hence, the company pulled a rabbit, quite literally, out of its hat."

Really? Literally? Considering that this Rabbit is a car, that's got to be one heck of a hat. Did you perhaps mean "pulled a literal Rabbit out of its hat?" It's still not great writing, but all of the words mean what you think they mean.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You know that this is Ben Franklin, right?

Just checking.

(via Fark)

Edited to add: Target took the listing down, but it was a Ben Franklin doll labeled as a Franklin Roosevelt doll, with "presidential quotes."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sometimes the morning just starts off right.

From Salon's War Room:

"CQ Politics has just moved the November outlook for the district once represented by Tom DeLay from "no clear favorite" to "leans Democratic.' "

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tea Cozies

My sister's bridal shower was last weekend. Early on in the planning, she made one request: that it be a Mad Hatter's Tea Party (my sister is a huge Alice in Wonderland fan). All of the bridesmaids took that into account and planned a tea with some Mad Hatter/Alice touches. At some point we all decided that we should have teapots in which to serve the tea. At Ikea, I found the cheapest teapot I have ever seen:

Now, this pot is very functional, but it is also very plain; it looks like a coffee carafe. I immediately suggested that I would use leftover yarn from various projects and make wild cozies for all ten of the pots (yay, using up stash yarn!). This idea was accepted, so I commenced making a basic design using a pi increase for the bottom and then trial and error for the rest. Then one night it occured to me that the pot is kind of shaped like an upside-down top hat. At that point, I realized that it might be fun to make some of the pots characters in a very abstract sort of way. That was also the point at which I totally fell off the stash-using bandwagon.

The cozies were very much a surprise, and my sister reads my blog, so I was not allowed to blog about them before. Here are the best pictures I have of them (some of the pictures are not very clear, and all of the colors are not quite right because I had to use the flash indoors):

The Mad Hatter. The brim ws a bit more ruffled than I had planned, but I thought my other sister's Happy Bunny card was a nice touch.


The March Hare. He only has one ear because the handle represents the other ear, and that's his tail on the bottom.

The White Rabbit. He also only has the one ear and a tail on the bottom, and he has a clock on the bottom.

This represents the Red Queen and all of her cards. It was meant to have card-symbol buttons, but I managed to lose them.

The Cheshire Cat. He was the most abstract, and there was much debate as to whether or not I should outline the teeth; I think he came out very well.

The rest actually *were* random, and I *did* use stash yarn for them (albeit occasionally stash yarn that was leftover from the character cozies):

This one is from the Eighties. The stripes are textures using stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch.

This one used up quite a bit of my leftover Fizz and some leftover alpaca sport. The bottom is more purple than that; the flash washed it out.

One of my sisters said this one reminded her of what Neville Longbottom's grandmother might wear; therefore, it is named "Neville Longbottom's Grandmother."

Last, but not least, this one was meant to be forest-y.

Here are all of the cozy teapots on a table before the shower:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Baby blanket

One of my best friends, L., had a baby girl last December. I met the baby (also L.) in January, and I met her again at the beginning of August:

Isn't she cute?

I decided last year when I found out that L. was pregnant that I should make a baby blanket. I also decided that it should not be a normal baby blanket: it would not be pastel, it would be big enough to use for several years, and it would be in some way Star Wars-themed. L. and her husband C. are huge fans, you see. I decided that illusion knitting would be the way to go, in washable cotton because they live in Florida (the machine-washability is why the edges are not quite even in the pictures--no blocking+machine drying=uneven edges). I had never actually done any illusion knitting, and I had to design it myself, since (unsurprisingly) a pattern of this sort did not exist at all. In fact, I entered the Knitting Olympics with this blanket, and I would have finished it if the plumbing in my basement hadn't exploded.

I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. I finished the blanket in February and sent it off without taking pictures because at the time I didn't have a digital camera. When I was in Florida at the beginning of the month I remedied that oversight:

The yarn is Tahki Cotton Classic in red and dark grey.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My favorite Explainer ever.

Slate's explainer is usually interesting. This is my favorite, ever. The actual question is: "What's the proper way to transport a snake on a plane?"

More posts coming--I have been mostly out of town for three weeks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Open Letter to All College Students and Recent Grads Contemplating Their First Real Office-Job Experience

When you are first hired, no matter where you went to school or what your grades and internships were like, you will have to do grunt work. Grunt work is how employers weed the bad employees out from the good employees. If you do the grunt work correctly, you will be given more interesting work. If you do not do the grunt work correctly, you will have proven that you are not as smart as you think you are because you cannot even do grunt work correctly.

You should also listen to people when they introduce themselves, and not call the HR director by the wrong name even after you are corrected. This is especially crucial in a small business where you really are expected to learn each person's name.

If you are hired at a 5-week, 4-hour-a-day job to do filing, you will probably file the entire time. This should not be a surprise to you. If you do it well at a small business, you will earn a good references. References and contacts are amazing currency in the adult world.

If you decide that you cannot be bothered to do this low-key, 4-hour-a-day job with free beverages, snacks and unlimited breaks after less than two weeks on the job, you should have the balls to walk into HR and quit. Chances are if you have this sort of attitude problem they will not be overly unhappy to see you go (since it is unlikely that you will have done any of your work correctly--trust me on this one), so it will be an almost pain-free experience, and you will have acted *sort of* like a grown-up by quitting in person. You should *not* quit by email, addressed to the entire business but misspelling the HR director's email address because you still haven't gotten the name right.

Finally, if you do wimp out and act like a child and quit by email, you should try to avoid sounding like a complete jackass when you do so, especially when copying the partners in the business who have far-reaching contacts throughout your chosen field.*

*For example:

Hello [name of business]ans,

Just writing to let you all know that today was my last day in the office.
No need to be reaching for the tissues, all's well.

I originally came aboard just to help get the office caught up on some filing. Not that filing can ever be completely conquered, but I think we're close to being up to date now.

More important to me is the need to make positive contributions to the lives of others when and where I can. Filing is not where I should be. I know it sounds like a load of naive college-aged ideals, but I am fortunate enough to be allowed to live them out. I need to take advantage of the time that I have and focus my energies on what I hold to be important.

Please don't take this as a denigration of [name of business], but rather as a recognition of a hasty decision on my part. It was an interesting and informative experience, albeit a brief one, and I wish you all the best.

Here's to fulfillment, however you choose to find it,

[name of complete jackass who will never get very far in life and who, for all of his "college-aged ideals," is really just a spoiled child who can't be bothered to do anything that might be inconvenient or boring, including making any "positive contributions to the lives of others," and who mostly "focuses his energies" on hiking with his friends and not showering]**

**My personal favorite line: "Filing is not where I should be." Because, you know, for other people filing is a *vocation*. Also, there were 3 weeks of four-hour days left on this job, with one day that he had already taken off. That's 56 hours of boring but easy work and a non-bridge-burning departure. How spoiled is this kid?***

***Also: "I need to take advantage of the time that I have and focus my energies on what I hold to be important." Is he dying of cancer? This kid is, tops, 22.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I do not think this means what they think it means.

From's "The Fix":

"Tori Spelling's reportedly pregnant with freshly minted husband Dean McDermott. (Life & Style)"

Friday, July 14, 2006

This is the most unintentionally funny thing I have seen all day.

From this article:

"We just did it to be [male prides], really," Stone said

So, do you think he said "dicks"? Because that is my guess, and substituting "male prides" for "dicks" is hilarious. It sounds like the kind of thing that someone's grandmother would say, like calling jeans "dungarees."

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Today I accidentally had so much caffeine that I am starting to run into things. I wasn't even tired, but I had:

Vanilla frappucino (the kind in the glass bottle from the supermarket)
Pot of Earl Grey tea
4 diet Mountain Dews
Vanilla frappucino.

I realized that I had a problem when I couldn't finish the second frappucino. Why did I have so much caffeine? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I am going to go run and run and run at the gym now, because I am having trouble sitting still.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


My parents sent me this as an early Christmas present:

It's a cloche; you make round loaves in it:

This particular loaf is rye. It is almost gone now; Mater-Eater-Lad and I have been eating fresh bread toast with loads of butter for a few days now. I highly recommend getting one for yourself.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekly garden update





Super close-up (note that you can actually see the holes in the landscaping fabric):

Bell peppers:

More substantive posts soon!