Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hearing the same words again.....

I guess it wasn't just me that thought that some of Duh-ya's recent comments about Iran sounded very familiar.

This evening I was listening to Keith Oberman (LOVE that man's commentary!) as he was playing clips of speeches from 2002 (Iraq) and 2007 (Iran).

Please, someone tell me that Congress will not be stupid enough to let him get away with this again!

On another thought, is it truly a coincidence that there was all that chaos in Boston today, right after some of the media pointed out that in the SOTU, Dubya LIED about locating and squashing terror plots in this country. I don't think so! (Okay, I'm a confirmed doubter of my government ... and I have been since November of 1963)

Just wondering if anyone else was seeing any of these things this way....

Recommended Reading/Listening

My husband always likes to listen to the "other side" just to try to figure out what's going on - me, I generally haven't the patience - and I usually wind up agitated and talking at the TV/radio.

Anyhow, on a recent road trip we were listening to the following:

Conservatives without Conscience by John Dean. As you may know, John Dean served in the Nixon White House - he's not a liberal going after the "other" guys. It's an interesting look at the conservative movement.

In knitting news, I'm happy that Project Spectrum is coming along tomorrow :) Hopefully it means I'll be making better progress on my Blue knits :D

Monday, January 29, 2007


Blogger finally let me switch over to the new version, which means that for the first time in a month or so, I'm able to post here again! Which is great, since - much to my surprise - I've been knitting a lot of blue things. Totally unconsciously - or maybe subconsciously? Anyway, I surprised myself. A parade of blue FOs is below, and details of each are (somewhere) on my blog.

These are felted moccasins from the Beverly Galeskas book, in Paton's Classic Wool ("navy," I believe)

Believe it or not, these are another pair in the same pattern, in the same yarn - just a bad picture. They've since been finished off with brown suede slipper bottoms, and look very nice.

Fetching! Had to join the bandwagon, after all. They were made from the leftovers of the same Paton's yarn I used for the slippers.

Melon stitch scarf from Victorian Lace Today, in a baby-blue/teal baby alpaca yarn.

These are I call "peacock socks", out of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn up until the toes, where I ran out of yarn because of the dense eye-of-partridge heel flaps and immense gussets for my husband's flat feet - so the toes were finished with Paton's Kroy in navy. They look very cute on him, actually.

Thanks, all, for this wonderful forum. I've noticed that my politics-induced stress level really has gone down (a bit) since I've had you all to turn to!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

::Waves Hello::

Hi! My name is Life&Times (L&T) and I'm a democrat. I've been a D since before I could vote and have proudly cast my ballot for Ds in every election since I came of age!!!! A friend, who knows I knit and that I'm fiercly leftist, stumbled across this blog and sent the link my way; and I was thrilled! Since the last elections, I've been in a political funk, not really able to articulate my irritation and frustration and not really willing to openly engage in debate. But I've really loved the posts I've seen here since I found ya'll and so I signed up.

Oh, yeah, and I knit too! But I have two confessions on that front: I'm a slow knitter, so I don't keep a long list of projects or a lot of yarn in my stash; and I look TERRIBLE in blue, so I have very little blue yarn! But miracle of miracles, I have TWO projects in the works RIGHT NOW that have BLUE involved! So I'll flash!

I've recently become sock obsessed; this is a pair of French Socks in progress from Knitting Vintage Socks and if you look REALLY closely, you can see the variegation has a small amount of blue mixed in there.

And this project is for my husband; this is the back side of an illusion scarf.

I'm looking forward to knitting and blogging with you all!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Debt self-inflicted --- Oh Really!?

Ok, I just have to rant about this one.

A letter to the editor in yesterday's USA Today, just sent me off the deep end. This guy (from Texas) says "...most of all debt is self-inflicted and the result of very poor money management and other irresponsible behavior..."

Oh really!??!

Tell that to the many, many retired folks that are struggling to live on a FIXED income, while the cost of health care, medicines, groceries, gasoline and heating their homes has done nothing but go up, up, up.

We are going to be putting our home on the market and seriously downsizing in the near future partly because the cost of heating it has DOUBLED in five years ... and we're talking having gone from having it at a comfortable 70 degrees in the winter to a barely tolerable 62 this winter (we tried going lower than that -- down to 58, but we just hurt too much with it that cold all the time).

And I worry about my folks that are facing ever increasing medical costs and wondering every year if the supplimental insurance provided with my dad's pension will still be there.

I'm seriously sick and tired of the republican conservative attitude that basically says "I've got mine, and I'm going to make sure you don't get any"

Okay, now I feel slightly better, so I'm climbing down off my soap box....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Shrub and the Shrubites speak again

Is it me or is this the same 'ol shit rewashed? so I got through most of it but stopped taking notes after the No Child Left Behind lies.

"...the courage to fight it together"? He was talking about the hardships we will be facing in 2007.

"Our citizens don't care what side of the aisle we sit on, just as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done."
Yeah, remember that next time you appoint men like Scooter Libby or Eric Keroack to your throne.

My biggest peeves were the discussion on our current economy and the ever favorite No Child Left Behind Act. After that, I just chatted it up with Charlie, bouncing the highlights off him. He doesn't watch because it gets his blood pressure up and causes the tv's life to be in grave danger.

"This economy is on the move and the only way to keep it that way is not with more government, but with more enterprise."
So says the King who let Haliburton "win" the bid to rebuild Iraq, then turned the other cheek when they were caught stealing from the mouth that fed them.
"We need to balance the federal budget and can do so without raising taxes, though we need a spending discpline in Washington."
Then he said something about no higher taxes, blah blah blah.

I would like to know how we will accomplish not only balancing our federal budget, but paying back the trillions of dollars owed if we never raise taxes? I would also like to know how giving tax cuts to the 1% who don't need it will help the economy, not to mention the nation's poorest individuals/families who struggle everyday to make ends meet?

Oh but he didn't stop there. Of course not, his writers and PR's wouldn't let him.

He mentioned something about "taking on entitlements" such as Social Security, Disability, Medicare/Medicaid, saying "we're not doing a good job"; a) I wasn't aware such things were in the "entitlement" category, b) damn straight we aren't doing a good enough job if millions are still on welfare with millions more waiting their turn and c) what about them there tax cuts for the supremely rich even though they are such a small minority in these United States? Don't those count as "entitlements"?

On to the No Child Left Behind Act where, if the school is failing, parents will have the opportunity to send their kids to schools that aren't.

Has he ever thought about trying to fix the schools that are failing by giving them more money, helping to better their staff and, here's a thought, addressing why the schools are failing? It's not because they aren't trying, it's more a matter of not enough people at the top caring and, most importantly, federal funding that gets snatched away when they can't make the grade. (pun intended)

Oh, here's something that made me laugh. It's paraphrased but it's mostly the right point and he said it when discussing the war in Iraq, why we need to stay the path and so on: "Free people do not create violent and harmful ideologies."

Has he forgotten the US has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world despite a drop in crime? And we carry the most guns (enough to arm every citizen 2 or 3 times over)?

And yes, Bush did ask for a troup increase of 92,000 strong over the next 5 years.

Then he switched to asking for 1.5 billion over 5 years to help fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Remember though, no mentioning condoms could help prevent the disease spread, mmkay?
He did propose a federal payroll tax that would help give every legal citizen access to private health insurance. Ya think he's been talking to Ahnold?

Psst: Isn't it funny that Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney have to sit next to each other? You think they were whispering snide remarks back and forth when the camera wasn't on them?)


On being Blue and Green.....

I haven't seen Al Gore's movie, but I have read the book, and those pictures are very sobering.

We're trying to live "green" here in what I alternately call "poudunkville" and "the state of the american taliban".....

Just about every light bulb in our house is a compact twirly flouresent -- actually I was quite pleased that we can get full spectrum ones for about the same price as the others now, and as an artist that full spectrum light is a real blessing when I'm working on a project.

The area we live in will not recycle anything except newspaper ... no cardboard, no glass, no lawn waste, etc., etc., etc. Believe me, its been a real culture shock after having lived in California for 30 years where we recycled EVERYTHING! We try to reduce and reuse as much as we can.

The most amazing thing here tho', is the reaction I get when I take my cloth bags into the grocery store, the pharmacy, etc. Most of the time I get no hassel, but at one particular store here there is a clerk who seems to think I do this just to give him a bad time. Someone explain to me how its any harder to put the groceries in a cloth bag instead of a plastic one! I'm actually thinking I may need to acquire a few more cloth bags for those shopping outings......perhaps one to carry into the local Joanns or Michaels when I go and buy yarn or fabric!

Can't wait to see what "idiotness" we get from tonight's State of the Union.....I'm sure it will be foder for Letterman's "Great Presidential Speaches" segment!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A quicky

You know what's really neat?

When you're sitting in the waiting room at Social Services and an older man is watching you knit the ribbing of a navy blue hat and asks correctly, "Is that going to be a hat?"

Then he asks, "Are you from here?"

After a brief hesitation, you answer, "Yes."

Then he adds, "People around here don't knit as much as they used to. When you go to Ireland or Europe they knit up a storm but here, it's a shame they don't knit much anymore."

Hah! How cool is that?


Saturday, January 20, 2007

an inconvenient truth

So I finally saw the movie yesterday. I know, I know, I'm probably the last liberal on the planet to see the thing, but anyway, it blew my mind. As a science teacher, the environment is an issue that is close to me anyway (that and creationism, but don't get me started there), but I was truly shocked by the breadth and depth of the information in the movie. That and the personality and obvious deep interest in the subject that Al Gore showed. (Where was that in 2000? Where?) If I was still teaching earth science, I would have totally showed it to all my classes. It makes me want to do more than I'm doing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The promised political content.....

I have to admit first off, that politics was not something I remember much about from my childhood (unlike my DH, who's mother was very politically active, and he followed suit). My parents voted every election as did my grandparents (tho' they were {gasp} Republicans).

I find that I am more interested the older I get. Maybe it has to do with the increasing cost of health insurance, the price of gas at the pump, the wrong headedness of the war, the deteriorating public school system (why must we leave every child behind), etc., etc. Or maybe now that I don't work a day job, I have more time to think about it.

Obama scares me. Now before you all jump on that, let me explain.

He scares me because every time I hear him speak, I hear echos from our murdered past. I hear the echos of Bobby Kennedy. And I am afraid for him, and afraid for what will happen to our country if "they" do it again.....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Revving up

It frustrates me how early the pundits start to make predictions, and I think it happens earlier and earlier every election cycle, kind of like Christmas, but it IS interesting nonetheless to speculate about '08.

I like Obama, but I'm ready for a female President, personally.

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I told my father-in-law once that I didn't care WHO was running, I had never and would never vote for a Republican, and he said that was idiotic! IS that idiotic? Surely I'm not the only one out there who would ALWAYS vote for the Democrat over the Republican, right?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

And here's a little bit of blush

That's what this color reminds me of and it's why I'm knitting it into my version of a prayer shawl for a good friend of mine. I just got the remaining 3 skeins in the mail last week so I'll be able to finish it soon.

It's Cestari 3 ply, 70% cotton, 30% wool in burgundy heather and made right here in Virginia. I LOVE THIS YARN! I love it so much I bought it in purple heather to knit myself a shawl, too. Of course I keep saying I'll keep them when they're done, but someone comes along that usually needs it more than me. When I finish Lady Eleanor though, no one will even be allowed to breathe on it because I'm simple enamored even without having yet finished the first set of squares.



My mom's shawl is almost done. The I-Cord is all I need to get going up the sides to polish it off, but I need to sit at an actual table to do it because it sitting on my lap and me hunched over makes for a very uncomfortable position (so says my back and shoulders).

It was knit entirely in Debbie Bliss cashmerino. That is a navy blue in between the colors, not black and it's The Rebozo from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle. I love this book and look forward to knitting more shawls from it.

Don't let the folds fool you, this sucker is about 90" long and 60" wide and was knit in about 10 days - that's 321 stitches per row which took 20min (give or take a few) to knit. So just keep in mind this is a long term project because starting at 7pm and knitting until you pretty much fall asleep (for me it was usually around 1:30 or 2am) for 10 days straight not only makes you swear off knitting for a few days, but your hands and legs start hurting.

Of course, I wouldn't have been so rushed if I'd just swallowed my pride and used stitch markers to begin with. But no, I had to find out at the halfway point that I was missing 7 stitches, frogged the whole thing and started over a mere 10days before xmas.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

At long last!

Thanks Emma, for helping me finally get "hooked up" with Knit Blue!

This is the picture of a pretty weak blue stash....and most of it could have been part of Nancy's blog, since she generously shared what she had with me!

This was the latest blue knitting off my needles.

I love my swiffer, but the idea of throwing away the pads was definately not "green", so I knit these two as "test patterns". The idea was to see if it made any difference in the efficiency of picking up dog hair, dirt, etc., between the two patterns. I can report there is not.

These were made mostly of yarn that had previously been a sweater that had stretched out too much to be worn, so I ravelled it out and reused the yarn for these and a number of hot mats (more "green" knitting!)

Now that I'm connected, I'll try to pop in with some political content from time to time!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Favorite Knit

I'm afraid I can't post a picture because I don't have the permission of the knitter, but here is a link to the best knit gift I've seen in a looooong while*: You must go there. You must ogle.

Hint: For Democratic babies everywhere.

Why, yes, I am still working my way through my backlogged bloglines list, however did you know?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

At long last, the Blue Stash!

Well, it's only taken two months for me to finally post pictures of my blue stash. Of course, in that span of time we've had Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and a five-day-long migraine! Just as I was ready to post, this blog moved to the new Blogger and shut me out (I couldn't update my own blog until the other ones I belonged to did their updating). But now, at long last, I present my embarassment of blue riches:

And this doesn't include the teal/turquoise/aqua yarns that I have. I think I'm well into SABLE..."Hi, I'm Nancy, and I'm a yarnaholic."

Monday, January 08, 2007

New Project on the Horizon--hee hee

It's been a while since I have had a chance to post--I only just now updated my own blog. Bad blogger!

But I have a new project in mind, one I have had the materials, but not the fortitude for, for quite some time.

And it is the Icarus shawl from Interweave Knits. I plan to use Knitpicks Alapaca Cloud in Horizon.
Yikes! I have heard this pattern is really not that difficult, but I remain a bit intimidated by it nonetheless.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My 2007 Wish List

Hi everyone, I thought I would start off 2007 by posting my wish list (politically) for the upcoming year:

1. Immediate disengagement from Iraq. $355 billion of OUR money spent (and who knows what percentage of that is lining the pockets of Blackwater, Bechtel, Halliburton, et al); hundreds of thousands (again, who knows the exact number) killed; loss of respect in the eyes of the vast majority of this planet’s other inhabitants. We have gained nothing here. And don’t get me started on Bush’s “surge” plan. Talk about ignoring the wishes of the clear majority of our country’s citizens.

2. Progress towards universal single-payer health coverage. My SO has a seasonal job, with no health care from January through April. I recently was looking up short-term catastrophic health insurance policies, and guess what? They don’t exist! The two reasonably priced ones I found were from really sketchy looking companies. At a respectable company, the cheapest monthly premium was around $150 but that had a $15,000 (!) deductible! A more reasonable deductible of $2,500 had $300+ monthly premiums. Again, this is just for catastrophic insurance in the event of a major health crisis, with no other benefits. And if we don’t purchase it, I shudder to think of the years and years of debt payments we would incur if he does have an accident or something. Here is one of the best articles I’ve read outlining the advantages of a single-payer health care system. Such a system could actually benefit the economy by taking a huge financial burden off employers, who might actually raise wages using the saved money and even expand their total hiring and capital expenditures. Plus, it would give people more of an ability to take other financial risks in their lives, increasing entrepreneurial endeavors and technological breakthroughs.

3. A sane and multi-pronged approach towards global warming and energy issues. Let’s stop the questionable efforts at “renewable” energy production that are really just a huge tax credit and public relations opportunity for corporations. A government-supported effort to make serious strides in this country’s overall energy efficiency (which has got to be one of the worst in the world) would be far more beneficial to the environment. For example: increasing auto fuel efficiency standards, increasing investment in public transportation, and tax credits for improvements in energy efficiency both at home and work instead of for increasing power generation capacity. How about a pre-tax flexible spending account similar to the medical ones, but instead for consumer purchases that improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel use (i.e. fluorescent bulbs, new windows, insulation, energy star appliances, bus passes, programmable thermostats, etc.). On a similar topic, I’d also like to see energy deregulation reversed, as they have proven to be a yet another way that money is being taken from the average person and used to line the pockets of the rich.

4. Since 2007 marks a Farm Bill year, let’s try to have the ridiculous amount of money being spent on corn subsidies are reduced. Corn subsidies are one of the root causes of our country’s problems with obesity and general poor health. If we’re going to support farmers, let’s at least make sure that government money is being directed towards the production of healthy foods such as fresh fruits and veggies. This would make healthful food more affordable to all and in the long run would hopefully help reduce our huge medical costs too (see wish #2)!

Anybody else got some 2007 wishes??

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Some of you wanted to see....

I had posted the cartoon of Mary Cheney knitting while expecting and, after a few comments, decided on posting a few more. They're hilarious though and each came from Women's ENews. I'm almost finished with the folk shawl I've been knitting for my mom - I have to learn how to do an I-cord down the sides after I weave in the hundreds of loose ends then I'll be done. yay!!

Not really knitting...

But knitting related.

Over the holidays I made a case for my 5" DPN set. (Please excuse my horrific sewing; I am new to the craft.) Seeing as how it is blue, I thought I would share it with you.

New needle case! New needle case!

And to follow up something not really knitting, I have something not really blue (they're teal; they look more blue in the photo than they really are), which after seeing all the other wristwarmers I decided are probably blue enough to count (since it's really funny that we're all doing the same thing at once), so I figured I'd post them too.

Fetchings and Headband

The pattern is of course Fetching from knitty, here shown with a very not-blue headband I finished around the same time as well as the brand new Ecological Calendar I got at the Discovery Store.

I hope that everyone had/is having some happy holidays and that I'm not spamming too much with things that are not entirely relevant.

'tis the season . . .

. . . for wristwarmers, apparently! I am making a pair of Fetching wristwarmers, as is every other knitter on the planet, it seems. It's just such a pretty pattern. Anyway, mine are a hand-dyed merino from eBay, and it has greens and yellows, and, of course, blues in it, and I just love it. This was my first time trying magic loop, so the first couple of rows are a little messy, but overall, I'm happy with the way they are turning out.

On the current-events end of things, am I the only one feeling a bit conflicted about the execution of Saddam? Of course, he did terrible things, and should certainly be punished, but the stories I hear about people jeering as the rope was around his neck, and the images making the internet rounds . . . it all just doesn't sit right.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Wrist Warmers

(do you like how I hid the fact that I need a manicure?)

My wristwarmers were finished a couple of weeks ago and I just got around to finishing them up. I am unhappy with them (should have gone down a needle size or three) but they'll do the job. In the end, I didn't go w/ a pattern just knit a tube w/ a thumbhole, which is probably the problem--whenever I go off on my own things go horribly awry.
I am very happy with the yarn I used--Knitpicks Essential Solid, in the Gulfstream color. I think I might use it for socks/other crap in the future

Now what shall I knit? Socks? Ok!