Week Fifteen: Time to Catch a Train

As a friend recently pointed out to me, it was high time I reached out my arm and caught the next train that was passing by. Fortunately for me, it was the calculus train and it was just a few stops ahead of the station at which I disembarked last fall. Allllll aboard for Objective Functions, Antiderivatives, and Integration!

Last week I was able to make a short visit to campus, and I happened to check the office hours of my calculus professor from last semester. I was pleased to find that she was once again teaching Calculus I, but in the mornings this time, and holding a review session on Friday mornings. I showed up last Friday and surprised myself with some of the things I was able to remember how to do. Monday, with her permission, I started sitting in on the class itself, and she used my work on an objective function problem as the example she put under the opaque projector! (I am told by educational personnel more in touch with audio-visual equipment that this is called something else. I am of the age to call it an opaque projector because the device is projecting an image, and the original does not need to be on a transparency.) She just took my whole notebook and stuck it there under the camera. Gosh, I’m glad I wrote neatly. (The radius was 3.04 cm and the height was 12.2 cm. So there.)

All she wants me to do is take the tests with the rest of the class. They just had a test handed back, so it looks as if my ticket has been punched for the rest of the trip. One more regular test and the final exam, and I will be finished with the course. With the opportunity to go to campus every morning and study, go to class, and study some more, I can do my best and have no excuses. And frankly, the material is a bit easier for me now that I’m hearing everything a second time, with some space in between. I will have my afternoons for errands and editing work.

When I’m not editing, I’m reorganizing the house. My middle son turns 9 this weekend, and he wants to have his birthday party at our house. I’m never thrilled about cleaning for cleaning’s sake anyway, but the house is much more disorganized than what cleaning will fix. A huge social deadline may be just what I need to make me finally get our stuff in the right places, and get rid of the stuff we don’t need. Several rooms are already done and they give off a happy vibe now. But there are many more left to go… plus a party to plan, and probably at least one thing to bake. I really should make a list or something.

And starting this weekend, or maybe not, I am a soccer mom. My youngest child is signed up for city rec sports outdoor soccer (yes, indoor soccer is a thing) and they cancelled the first game because the fields still had snow and/or mud on them. The second game is supposed to be this Saturday morning. At 9am. With no coach. It’s been raining all week and the field is underwater, so I’m praying hoping that this one is cancelled too. In the meantime we have already bought him soccer shorts, soccer shoes, soccer socks, soccer shin guards, and a portable soccer goal. UPDATE: Yes, this weekend’s game has also been cancelled. So now it starts the following Saturday morning, with make-up games on a couple of Wednesday nights. Oh, how interesting this will be.

Just to carry along the train theme, here is the video for “Driver 8” by R.E.M.

Published in: on April 11, 2013 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Xtra pictures of the SOMA cube

Well, you did guess that starting a post title with X was going to be tricky, didn’t you? I can’t believe I got this far and nobody commented on it. Almost all the ways through my ABCs, and it’s only mid-July. That degree in English Literature is sure coming in handy!

I got the game pieces assembled, but I need to do a lot of sanding before I can call them done. Right now they’re more like portable splinter dispensers.

The seven SOMA pieces

The seven SOMA pieces

Now, let’s make a cube.















You can also place the last piece differently and make this pretty configuration.

The Crystal

The Crystal

And here are all four cubes, assembled. Sanding is next.

Four cubes

Four cubes

Whew! I don’t know when I’ll get to do the sanding. We have seen a couple of yucky bugs and it’s time to give serious attention to de-cluttering the house so we can have it sprayed.

Knitwise I haven’t done anything with the lace scarf in a few days. I guess I got tired of being so good at un-knitting it. But I have added two stripes to the current Doctor Who Scarf, and Fringed the second Pinstripe TenScarf on the 11th.

Pinstripe TenScarf II, finished

Next to get attention: Casting on for the second Noro sock, or attacking Tyrone. Maybe with scissors.

Search me!

You may have noticed that the blog looks a tiny bit different these days. I guess the housecleaning I’ve had to do lately has rubbed off on my cyberlife, and I finally did some tidying up.

It started with Twitter. I resisted the Facebook “temptation” (why do I need Facebook if I already have a blog?) but I did join Twitter. My account is set up so I need to approve every “follow” request, which should cut down on the spammy stuff. But it’s amusing. I did try to set up a widget here that would show my last five tweets, like on the Yarn Harlot’s blog, but since my account is set to Private it won’t let me broadcast it on my blog. Which makes sense, now that I think about it.

But since I was messing around with WordPress widgets anyway, I did make some other changes.

The Calendar seemed to have disappeared, so I put it back.

The Blogroll got trimmed. I apologize for any hurt feelings — none were intended. But I have not been able to keep up on my blog reading, so I wanted to keep the blogs I go to most frequently. I do have some blogs I need to add, but haven’t made a list of those yet.

I also added a Search widget. Now that I’ve finished a square for Paul Newman’s cause, I wanted to re-read my post about Robert Redford. Bingo! Easy peasy.

I adjusted the Recent Posts section to show the last 5 posts and no more. It was just taking up extra space.

And…. I also added the Category Cloud. That should be fun to play with.

Somewhere in all this, the spam counter got reset. Wonderful Akismet has actually blocked thousands of spam posts (Mary-rk, I’m looking at you), not just 43 or whatever it says now. But gone is gone!!

Knitwise, I did finish my square for the Double H Camp effort. It was supposed to be all red, but I got bored and it turned out like this instead:

Paul Newman square

Don’t worry, Shawn said it was okay to do that.

But now I’m kind of knitted into a corner. With that project done, my other options on the needles are a lace scarf, a Doctor Who Scarf, and a Doctor Who Scarf. I have tagged a few WIPs for the Ravelry WIPs Wrestlemania event, so I’m not starting on those until July 1.

Hello garter stitch my old friend…..

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 8:31 am  Comments (2)  

Running out of yarn

Sorry, I guess I should have asked you to sit down first. I didn’t mean that the world was running out of yarn, or even that I was running out of yarn. But I got eversoclose to finishing a project last night and probably don’t have enough yarn to make it through the bind off. Which I’ve already started.

Pinstripe TenScarf II

I do have some long tails on the project from where I had to join the new skein of yarn. I’m not sure that will be enough to make it, but it won’t hurt.

At any rate, it isn’t a terrible crisis, as I plan to make at least one more of these. And I’m developing a Clever Plan to tweak the pattern ever so slightly so that two skeins of the main color will be enough to make another scarf and finish off this one. The contrast color? I have sufficient. (Famous last words, I know, but I can even prove it with math.)


In non knitting related news, yesterday I took all the kids to a funeral mass for a school dad who passed away last week (on the evening of the last day of school, actually) from brain cancer. Ironically, or maybe hopefully, I don’t know, Connor was one of the kids who sang along in a little choir up front.

The dad was 31 years old and leaves behind three little boys for his young widow to take care of. The oldest will be in second grade this fall. There’s a tuition fund started for them at a local bank, and both parents were from local families, but still this is devastating. I spent most of yesterday just being numb about it, and I’m still not sure what I can do to make anything better. I don’t know the family at all, but at a school as small as ours (about 20 kids per grade through 8th grade) I’ll know them eventually — our kids might be dovetailed in ages.

Knitwise, I have the sideways scarf to finish up, as I described earlier. And I’m also working on a 12 inch miter square for Shawn4Equality’s square drive. I’m almost at the halfway point but can’t remember which decrease is better, a k2tog or an ssk. Please, someone let me know which end of the row I should do a k2tog on to make it come out right. (I don’t like my ssk’s.)

I want to get going on a bunch more knitting (can you believe there are three active scarves on the needles after I finish the sideways one? crazy) but we’re hosting a cookout/open-house thang on Father’s Day and apparently the house needs a little attention.

And next Friday it’s my birthday, and I’d kind of like to cast on a little nice thing for myself that I can finish by then. Any suggestions? Geeky projects welcome.

Big Tom

When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year. I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m six I’ll be ninety.
— Steven Wright

Happy Birthday #2 to my little man — my friend Jen calls him Big Tom since he’s been underweight and behind the eight ball for so long. But he is catching up fast. He is such a sweetie and a ham.

Of course, the State of Wisconsin thinks he turned two yesterday. Silly trusting me didn’t bother to double check his birth certificate until after his first birthday, so apparently I need to do some legal filings to get it corrected to his real birth date. I was going to get this done in time to be a birthday present — but I didn’t.

My oldest son has wrong information on his birth certificate, too, oddly enough. Right after he was born, someone said brightly, “Look! Right at nine o’clock!” Everyone in the room turned to look at the clock, which was one of those enormous schoolroom types that you can see from the other end of the hallway. It read 8:50. Sure enough, when the birth certificate came, it said 9:00. That genius was the person responsible for reporting accurate information to the state. Sigh.


Thanks so much to everyone who entered the comment contest. I met a bunch of new (to me) knitters and read a bunch of new (to me) blogs, got a lace washcloth pattern to work on, discovered that there’s a whole blog dedicated to tracking knitting blog contests, and found out a lot more than 10 people read my blog. (Who knew! Well, now I do.)

Congrats to Molly Bee for winning! She has yet to pick her prize package.

I guess now I need to knit, and write about it, and post some !@#$% pictures every once in a while.

And everyone has been so kind not to bring this up, but I haven’t been mentioning much chocolate in the blog lately. I certainly haven’t stopped eating it.

That may change. There’s a local (within walking distance) pizza place that would like to offer desserts, and when I stopped in to tell the owner I was thinking of going to baking school, and would he be interested in my homework, he about flipped. I just bought a new pizzelle maker and will be making some samples for him soon. If that works out, I may be baking at his shop one or two nights a week. So I will have dessert pix to share! If WordPress lets me share them.

I’ve also got the WIS&W afterparty to bake for, and I gave myself a pretty ambitious menu to learn. But I’m one of those people who needs deadlines. Desperately. So blast it, it’s time to get started.

But knitwise… I decided to cast on for the bias square for the Doctor Who afghan. The plan is to collect enough squares for two afghans — the U.S. one auctioned to benefit Doctors Without Borders, and the U.K. one auctioned to benefit a hospice that helped care for David Tennant’s mother when she recently died of cancer. They are easy peasy 4 inch garter stitch bias squares, not even mitered squares (I guess that’s next), made from sock yarn. My first one is more than half done, and my plan is to just keep making them until I run out of leftover sock yarn. NOTE: I am NOT coordinating this effort. It originated in the Who Knits? Ravelry group (come and join us!), and I am just making tiny little squares.

I may start doing this with larger amounts of oddball yarn, too, and just tucking them away until I have enough for an afghan for myself. Maybe I’d better put an explanatory note in with them in case I get hit by a bus and somebody finds this bag of squares and thinks WTF.

Next on the list is starting the second Panda Cotton sock, so I can work two heel flaps right in a row and have a cigarette. I’m figuring it will be Just. That. Exciting. (I’m kidding, folks. I have never smoked anything I was offered.)

Knitwise the other projects are the Red Heart tube scarf, the MCY IHS, and Tyrone (sigh). I will probably knit that lace washcloth before I start any of them! That’s just the kind of knitter I am. I have to have a plan so I can thwart it. 🙂

ETA (edited to add): The Yarn Harlot has just shamed me into putting Tyrone at the top of the list. If anyone can encourage me through the weird first few raglan rows of sleeves-meet-body, please comment with said encouragement. I haven’t touched the sweater since last October, and it’s quite likely I don’t know what I was doing, or what to do next.

Don’t occurrence the yarn!

I had been wondering where all the spammers were. Today I checked the spam bucket and got a delightful surprise — I’m being copied to various other Internet Tubage. Not with credit, mind you, but still. Don’t have time to fight it, so there it is.

When I clicked on one of the copies, my post showed up, credited to someone else, on a blog that purported to be about family issues, but really just hosted advertising for digital photography supplies (I think). Looks like they’re doing this to lots of other people, and it was a recent post of mine, so I don’t think it will all be around for very long.

The other post that was pirated was the one in which I taught James how to fingerknit. But it took me a while to figure it out, as it apparently got translated into another language, then mistranslated back into sorta English. Any of my polyglot friends want to take a guess at the middleman tongue? Here’s the end result:

…the inner nonfigurative I managed to designate on was my possess beginner’s anxiety most knitting. His emotion was priceless. “Don’t occurrence the yarn, Jack! Don’t occurrence the yarn!!“ “Mom, Leenie’s completely unraveling the ball of yarn!” “I am SO MAD!!!”

No more for me, thanks, I’m full. 🙂

In knitting news, I finished not one but two secret projects. (I also updated my previous post with more spinning details, so do scroll down.) I mostly battled my computer, which seems to have contracted some sort of virus. It can hold its internet connection for only so long, then loses contact one site at a time until the whole online thang collapses like a house of cards.

Don’t ask me what I’m doing here, anyway. I need to put away clothes and do more laundry and vacuum the floors and clean out my van and PACK. Off to Detroit tomorrow!

Next week: Anthony Bourdain, Top Gear, March Madness, Biggest Loser, and TOP CHEF! And yeah, that book I’m writing. See you Monday.

Published in: on March 14, 2008 at 11:50 am  Comments (5)  

I suppose….

…I ought to post.


Everyone’s been sick, most of us are getting better, I’m knitting (and un-knitting, and re-knitting) things I can’t talk about or display, I’m barely keeping up with reading other people’s blogs, the house is a wreck….

Oh wait. That’s not new.

But one thing that’s new, is that I signed up to take a beginning drop spindling class. This Friday night at the Sow’s Ear. Sure, it’ll take two hours out of my Late Night Knitting time, but I have been told I deserve it, and I believe that.

I’ll use today’s beautiful (and much appreciated) Natural Light to take pictures of my current spindles and fiber stash to share with you all. With any luck, I’ll be posting Yarn Barf pics on Saturday morning.

However, I have been checking Ravelry several times a day. In case you’re not on yet to follow along with the current soap opera in the Yarn forum, I’ll just say this: Friends don’t let friends buy yarn from Mystical Creations.

Published in: on March 4, 2008 at 8:14 am  Comments (4)  

In the pink

Last night I finished the giftknit for my brother. I was so jazzed. I portioned out the knitting on it all day long so I would have just the right amount in the evening. Then, believe it or not, I wove in my ends inmediatamente. Took pictures (still in the camera). Posted on the GeekKnits group in Ravelry.

Today when it was time to take the kids upstairs to the Toy Room for knitting time free play, I took the pink thrift store acrylic and a set of bamboo DPNs to play around with a gauge swatch for mittens. And I found something that works better for me. I usually dread (and put off) casting on for those DPN projects because of the join on the first round of the ribbing, when the stitches aren’t part of a fabric yet. When I’m trying to work out that part, I’m concentrating like it’s brain surgery, and snapping at everybody.

This time I tried the cast-on-in-ribbing trick from the Lily Chin episode of Knitting Gritty, and it was fun and easy. Then I worked back and forth on the DPNs doing 1×1 rib for about an inch, just as if they were single points. When it was time to switch to stockinette, I set up for working in the round, slid one stitch over, knit two together, and away I went (I had mindlessly cast on 17 stitches, so it worked out really well). It produced a split cuff, which, if I can keep this at all, I don’t mind seaming up. It is really just for gauge, so it will most likely be frogged though.

But next time……I might just do this for anything knit in the round with a ribbed edge. It would be a neat trick for gauntlet style gloves, too, and it would mean you could use a pattern that would be tricky to work in the round but easy to knit flat. Linen stitch for example.

Anyway, it’s back to the queue. Puppy Tstocking, Red Scarf, IHS (haven’t managed my repeat schedule lately, so I need to catch up), Tyrone, and whatever else needs to be knitted for Christmas. So naturally my mind is working out which pattern I should follow or modify to make footies from the Waikiki I bought after the horrible trip to the pediatrician.

If you’re wondering what I got done from my big fantasy list yesterday, the answer is….

Uh….nothing, really. Why do you ask?

Published in: on October 31, 2007 at 10:07 am  Comments (3)  

While the big dog is away

Mr. Beth is on a business trip all week long in Las Vegas, and I have Big Plans. In fact, every time he has a long trip like this one, I’m almost as bad as on New Year’s with the Impossible Resolutions.

Allow me to do a little brainstorming about what I consider to be on my plate:

Fix the dining room table.
Clear out the remaining packing boxes.
Dye many many skeins of yarn.
Finish at least two knitting projects.
Practice at the spindle(s) and/or wheel until I can make glorious yarn.
Put a quilt in the frame and get it tied and bound.
Make the house clean enough to be proud to show it to my visiting parents, who arrive Saturday.
Keep the laundry moving.
Keep the kitchen neat and clean.
Get all the clothes put away.
Work on quilts I want to finish by Christmas.
Get box springs for the two twin beds upstairs.
Get the insurance claim started on the ruined roof (now fixed).
Pay the bills.
Optimize my blog photos.
Upload pre-Ravelry pictures to Flickr.
Document my current projects.
Cast on for Yet Another Secret Project.
Toilet train the three-year-old (“The Defiant One”).
Dehair the rest of the llama fiber.
Work on the book I’m planning to self-publish next year.

If I keep this up, I’ll barely have time to replace the CV joint in the minivan, pick up all the maple leaves by hand, and trim the lawn with the nail clippers. Oh yes, keep in mind I have maybe three hours all to myself to work on these things, IF the kids go to sleep as planned.

Does anybody else do this? I am so hoping everyone else does this.

Excuse me, it’s time for a beer.

(Oh yeah, the fast-track project is so close to done I made myself stop knitting on it to prolong it for one more day, and I did more on Red Scarf. Even if Cathy-Cate couldn’t come by to see what I did with her old yarn. So there.)

Spam of the Day

I haven’t done this in a while, but this one made me laugh out loud when I saw it at the top of the Spam Bucket. Carefully edited to (hopefully) avoid attracting more of the same.

Free @n@l se% with sp@nking story!

Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 8:38 pm  Comments (4)  

Panicking, I mean packing

Doctor’s appointment? Check. Tommy’s OK and gaining weight again.

Kennel? Check.

Last-minute grocery shopping? Check, plus the fall issue of Interweave Knits. Though, the 8 year old called me on it — “What knitting project did you finish?” I told him I didn’t have time to look at it today anyway.

Now: pack the bags, wash the dishes, bake the cookies, put away the extra clothes, clean the house for the showing, and I think that’s it. Oh yeah, put the kids in the van.

Last night: rewound a skein of BSJ wool, but didn’t cast on. Realized this morning I should have cast on. Worked on a wee tiny giftknit. Knitted on Tyrone. Watched the last Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. Maybe it was because Tom was awake and crying then and I couldn’t hear every word, but I was left disappointed and sort of forlorn. So I popped in the next Remington Steele episode, which turned out to have curious and strong parallels to a time in my life I don’t really want to rehash. (Lots of good eye candy, though. I even rewatched a scene. Whew!)

I had to sit quietly and finish the wee giftknit to get myself to where I could sleep. Life is curious.

Back to our regularly scheduled panic. Where is a HHGTTG when you need one? 🙂

Irish Fest free promo: Get in free on Sunday by going to the Mass and bringing a canned good donation. After Mass (including singing by the Irish Fest Mass Choir [name may be mangled, sorry], of which my MIL is a member) you are free to go to the rest of Irish Fest. Have a Harp. Buy a harp. Dance to harp music.

Have a good ol’ Irish time and I’ll see you by the curraghs. Bring your knitting. (I was going to write “represent!” in Irish Gaelic but upon a cursory inspection of the Gaelic tongue, I will leave that to the scholars.)