me, Mavis

I knit. I garden. I co-manage an eclectic shop. I sometimes work in real estate. I sometimes swing a hammer. I always volunteer in my community. I live in an old house with my nice family of one husband and three beastly cats. I have great friends. These are the things that matter to me, Mavis.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Student of the Week

Do you think all teachers make amazing students? My "A" Student, cute lil Gretchen, came over for a show-and-tell last night. She was all pumped up from working on several new projects after a lengthy self-imposed hiatus.

Early in the summer, she broke her foot after an impromptu barefooted Irish dance on concrete in the park and it put her in a funk. I immediately thought it would mean LOADS of time for knitting, but she couldn't do it.

After we went to the DC Knit Out she was reinvigorated. Capturing her attention was the Nice Knits AIDS Ribbon Scarf and she immediately took to ordering the yarn. In the meantime, she very effortlessly finished a Japanese Lantern scarf that had been thrown aside in disgust during the Time of the Broken Foot.

Since the yarn had not arrived before leaving for a visit to Colorado, she switched gears to a funky bulky knit hat with a cute bow-tie at the crown.

Having great success, she went back for a second hit on the Japanese Lantern scarf in a different colorway:

Now, the long-awaited red ribbon yarn is here and she is working the Aids scarf. There is talk about more cute chunky hats and ... maybe a sweater! I am so proud of my student!

My stuff, alas, is not moving so quickly.

As promised, I started the bobble panel for Mark's afghan:
It was not good. Actually, I think I like the look of the pattern well enough ... though I'm not feeling any rhythm yet ... but the panel is so close to the same width as the orange panel and no I don't like that.

The pattern picture is deceiving and I guess I had it firm in my mind that the white panel would be a good bit wider than the orange panel. So, I will add in several multiples of 4 stitches to the center section and see what happens.

In the meantime, I went back to the E Cardigan sleeve which is progressing at a snail's pace. Boring stockinette is surpassed in mindlessness only by garter stitch

Wally thinks all of this is too much effort. Just hit the catnip, baby and relax yo mind!

Monday, November 28, 2005


Happy Monday after a wacky Holiday weekend!

The Schavis Team spent two very long days - Friday and Saturday - painting the office of our favorite chiropractor and it totally kicked our butts.

DH started the symptoms of a bad cold late day Saturday and was prone from the time we got home late Saturday evening until early this morning. Dutiful Wife that I am, I was forced to stay put near him all day yesterday -- you know, in case he needed anything.

So, since I was too busy to send an entry, I'm first going back to the sky outside my palace window on Friday morning:

What a sight it was and the air was "colder than Blue Hell" as my Mom always says. Not a real pleasant temp for schlepping all the painting equipment to our job. But we pushed ahead -- DH, Jamie and me -- and we finished probably 95% of the job. The 5% problem came from the fact that the paint wouldn't cover in one coat. Oh, we didn't anticipate that glitch. So that put us behind, and then we ran out of paint, and then the local Home Depot couldn't mix the same color as the Home Depot from the next town over -- even though it was a Glidden factory shade from the chart (DUH!) and they also couldn't mix from a scan of the sample (DUH!) -- and so we didn't get finished.

We did cover all the "public" areas so they could open for business today, and we will finish the last bits when we go back for the next phases of the job: Wallpaper removal and repainting the last treatment room, and remodel of the bathroom.

So that brings us up to Sunday. I hear that it was very warm yesterday, but as I said above, I am a Dutiful Wife and did not leave my Darling Husband's side all day (heh, heh).

We (re)watched "Fools Rush In" (LOVE IT!) and another movie that I can't remember, and I worked a stitch or two from time to time.

The project of my affection yesterday was an afghan requested by Texan Nephew No. 2, Mark, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where they call the student fans, "SOBs"

... or at least they do on the web site, from which I snitched this photo.

After searching many options, I decided on Berroco's Shades of Blue Blanket pattern, but of course in the UT orange and white. I'm using cast-iron Red Heart Super Saver for durability. The blanket is worked in seven panels of two types, cables and bobbles. I started with a cable panel:

... and a close-up of the cabling:
The pattern calls for a length of 51 inches, but I'm thinking I'm go to at least 60, cuz Markasaurus is a right big boy and I want him to like it. You see this all started with him asking if I thought that Granny might make him another afghan in the UT colors. I broached the subject with her, but found that because of bad eyesight she has "retired." What a shame as she turned out tons of crocheted zig-zag beauties that so many people still treasure. (As a matter of fact, DH spent his sick time under a gigantic black, white and red lovely yeseteday.) Anyway, I asked her if she would be offended if I attempted to fill Mark's order and she gave me the go-ahead. So here I am! Luckily I have a good bit of time before graduation, because ya'll know how fickle I am with my knitting projects. Truly, I'm finding it hard to finish even this first panel because I want to try the white bobble pattern -- I've never done bobbles before!

Tomorrow: a look at my interpretation of bobbles.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another Turkey SAVED!

Welcome to Chez Schavis where we don't eat turkeys any time of the year ... but we do sup with a bunch o' them at Thanksgiving.

Big smiles (with tinsel) from your hosts, me and Darling Husband:
Here, Granny presides over the requisite Spades Game ... "whenever 2 or more Zamaitis's are gathered, Spades must be played" -- it's part of the Rules and we can't deviate, particularly when a Zamaitis of the Texan varietal is present, whereupon Spades must be played with Beer (and lots of it), and it must be viciously competitive with so much trash talkin' and walls start to close in.

Gin and Mike came for dessert only. There was a big mess about Mike's Mom and him going to cook at her house, but no, it meant he'd have to get up early and you just can't stand the family ALL day, so he would cook at his house and bring it up, but NO then the turkey would be all dry and yucky like last year, so forget it and instead we will have a turkey breast, but NO, I don't want a turkey breast, I want a whole turkey, so I'll just cook my own .... and it goes on.

Finally, he did cook at Ginny's, then she dropped The Danial with us and went back, and then she and Mike came for dessert. But not until they went to KMart! Why, "because it's open." See Mike all sweet and smiley, and Ginny just holding back a barbed comment.

And, of course, The Danial. So big he is; no longer a little guy. With a voice all deep and only cracking a tiny bit. He loves to be measured up against the big uns. Here he sizes up DH:

So we all ate and we all drank and everyone played Spades either before or after dinner, or both; and lots of laughing was done and we were all glad to have been together ... and no turkey was consumed. Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

a la The Smashing Pumpkins, this is far different from the malady that has afflicted me these past few days.

Infinite Sadness

For many, this is a typical Holiday dish ... and I have in fact succumbed to it on occasion. This is an early start for me, however.

This is a popular antidote:

Even though I felt a slight bit better late this morning, I thought it best to be prepared, so a run to Barry's Store was in order. Please note: The store was taken over by a cute Korean guy named John several years ago; furthermore, "Barry" never actually owned the store -- it was his Mom -- but that's what Darling Husband still calls it, so I follow suit.

Anyway, after spending about one and a half hours staining a fence in a windy 38 degrees, I did feel slightly better. Maybe it was the fumes? Maybe it was the fact that I couldn't feel my fingers which thereby took my attention elsewhere?

Well, I'm ready if it comes back.

Yes, of course I know that this "antidote" works for a just a short while after which it pluges the patient farther down into the offending state. So what, it's The Holidays!

Just to be sure I was correctly self-medicating, I checked Merriam-Webster:

1 a : an abnormal state attributed to an excess of black bile and characterized
by irascibility or depression b : BLACK BILE c : MELANCHOLIA
2 a : depression of spirits : DEJECTION b : a pensive mood
An Excess of Black Bile?? Well that's new one on me ... but I'm pretty sure Dewar's can take care of that too.

In happier news ...

DH has a second family that lives behind his shop.

"Moms" comes to the porch nearly every morning and evening (sometimes mid-day too if we're home) and demands a meal. Lately, one of his three babes has been coming along as well.

This is "the fluffy one"

There's a second kit that has the same markings, but is short-haired, and a third that is all black and semi-fluffy.

Just what we need.

In knitting news -- I have so many projects planned that I am running hither and yon and working very little on anything. I finished the second side of the E Cardigan, began a sleeve, and have made tiny progress on one secret gift project. I have spent TONS of time googling for patterns for other planned gift projects ... I must focus!

But first, Thanksgiving. This afternoon I will start putting together some of the dishes for our feast, and will finish up tomorrow with help from our guests that maybe don't know they will have to work.

Hey, there's no free lunch -- but there is a nice supply of Appletini fixins!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Dear Little Jason turns 18 today. His cute Mom was always so good about writing in an age or a date on the backs of pictures, but somehow this one came through unmarked.

I'm not great at this, but he must have been only 2 or so I'm thinking. This is one of my favorites shots of the birthday boy, and (if I'm right on the age guess) I have had it on display somewhere or other for some 16 years.

They said this poor dumb kitty loved Jason and would come across to the yard when he went out to play.

... even so, it looks quite suspect to an old animal rights activist ... and I guess I've never really felt totally comfortable about it ...

Isabella says,

"Try that crap with me and I'll kick your ass!"

Thanksgiving Hen Party

The Hens visited yesterday. I was so happy to see my Heath looking tip-top after her surgery, but she wasn't quite as perky as her normal self. I'm hoping time will heal all she has been through.

She told us about son Aidan's guinea pigs ... Einstein and Frankenstein -- both females. It is so apparent that little apple Aidan fell extremely close to tree Heather.

Our other recent sick list pal, Quincy, was really in top form:

He ate potato-rice soup, farted heartily, and joyfully attacked the kitties' toys. He looks wonderful and is spirited and carefree. Hurray Q!

We had a fun time eating and talking and eating and visiting our new little rental house.

The Hens consented to a picture at visit's end, but our Heath squawked "I don't want to be on the Internet!" Too bad ... it was the cutest shot of her.

Here's my gals, Heath, Stazi and GG ... along with a non-Hen for comparison:

I discovered again that I really don't know GG, though we have been friends for probably 12 years or so. I was shocked to see her in that cute, cute pink scarf. She tells me she loves pink ... but usually more of the lighter shell tone. I was equally shocked to hear that she is still knitting!

Last year, she picked up on where she had left off as a child many -- I mean just a few short years ago -- on the art of knitting. Unfortunately, she started up with a furry eyelash yarn. Of course, it is nearly impossible to find a lost stitch with that stuff; GG got frustrated, and I thought that was the end of that.

Turns out she was only waiting for cooler weather to return and has rejoined the fold. Unfortunately she didn't bring any of her work to share, but she did donate two unwanted skeins:

Really pretty, huh? But alas the content tag reads "57% Merino Wool, 12% Superkid Mohair ..." Ya'll know -- me, Mavis don't do animal stuff.

Since this was already purchased, I am considering relaxing my objection long enough to knit it up and return it to GG. More on that sometime later.

Our Stazi was a bit subdued it seemed. Only a year ago, her very dear friend, Pat, was nearing the end of her long difficult struggle with a brain tumor. Stazi is often a hard bird to read, but I think it is weighing heavily on her.

On a lighter note, she is probably also bummed out about having to toil on Sunday to unpack and reorganize the law library at which she presides. Having been though the move of a large firm, I can personally attest that it is a nasty business with all the attorneys getting pissy about being put out and most of the admin staff showing their great incompetence. Maybe our meeting gave Staz some gusto!

And so, by the end of our gathering, we had turned a corner. Where previously a meeting of the Hens had coincided with a new Rotten Old Car or Truck Purchase, this time the gavel fell on an eBay SALE for DH. Ahhh, sometimes I love change!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Looky, Looky Here!

I got me some Calmer .... oooh, it's so wonderful ...

I am greedy.

First, I scored on this dark rose ...

... and then I went for the lighter, delicate blush pink.
I love them, both ... can't decide which is better... and it feels SOOO nice. I don't know what they will become just yet, but since I don't anticipate a lot of yarn-eating cable stuff for either, I have enough of each to make just about anything I want!

But wait there's More!

Did I tell you that Yarn Garden was having their Fall Sale?

Now you see where this is going.

I also got this:

The pattern I bought last year -- it's a "Yankee Knitter" for an aran style sweater with twisted rib, seed stitch, cable, wishbone and blackberry stitch. I really dig it and have finally found the yarn that I think will work beautifully. Lovely colonial blue, huh? It's called "Toddler Aran", I'm assuming the "toddler" part is because it's NOT WOOL and so easily washable. That fits me on two fronts. One, ya'll know I don't do wool, and two, I can have less worries about slobbering chocolate or something down the front, cuz it will go right into the washing machine.

Last ... I found this adorable pattern with fat cables and convenient button-up shoulders. (Did I tell ya'll that my sweet niece, Michelle, is expecting a wee one?)

I got enough of the oatmeal shade to make the sweater and hat in the 1-2 year size. I'll be watching for perfect buttons in a unisex theme. I like this sweater enough to hope that it might become a hand-me-down for the 10 or so babes that are surely to follow Michelle and George's first.

So, what am I working on now?

Secret holiday gift stuff that I can't share. Rats!

But soon ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Summer For Breakfast, Winter for Dinner

Here's what AOL says about weather in me,Mavis-ville today:

Wednesday: Showers early with strong thunderstorms developing by the afternoon. High 69F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

Wednesday night: Showers ending early, then partly cloudy overnight. Low near 35F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%

Okay, did anyone notice that temperature change of -- 34 degrees!!!

It's very dramatic outside. We just met backyard pals Jamie and Arbor on the front porch -- the boys in short sleeves, me with bare feet (Arbor too, of course) -- and it was nicely warm except when the big gusts of wind came through, blowing pine needles all over us.

From the forecast, we will be needing to add on layers as the day progresses.

Perhaps I should have seen this coming. Monday afternoon, I looked out the kitchen window to see my first "Snow Bird" of the season. Here's an example:

Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis (Linnaeus)

I was surprised because the weather has been so mild, but I guess he knows better than I. Reminder to self: check the whereabouts of the snow shovels!

There was drama last night too. Here's the view from the hallway looking into my Palace.

This was taken with a flash, so you could see the outline of the loft for context. Imagine how brilliantly bright this was shining into the dark house! I almost wonder if it would be better to forget about adding the pickets to the railing.

Blissfully, I didn't have to get up during the night, but I know from experience that Old Mother Moon would have been framed in the bathroom window around midnight. It's these kinds of things that make me TRULY appreciate an old house. There was certain care given to the siting of a house. For instance, the back of our house -- which faces north -- has no upper windows to allow entrance to the cold wind. Of course, there is also zilch insulation in the walls, so by today's standards we have huge heat loss. Nevertheless, they used to consider working within the confines of nature, as opposed to building in spite of nature.

I guess some still do, but that's probably for the rich folks or those totally off the mainstream, like Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Check them out! This is definitely on my list of lifelong dreams. Ahhhh, to have complete order in a perfectly structured, defined inside space, placed on a wild and free landscape. Dreams..

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Tribute to Companion Animals and The People who Love Them

So beautiful ... these words that follow. You might easily exchange "Cats" or "Bunnies" for "Dogs", but the sentiment is the same. I enjoyed this very much:

When I am Old..

I shall wear Turquoise and soft gray sweatshirts ... and a bandana over my silver hair ..... and I shall spend my Social Security Checks on Sweet Wine and My Dogs ....... and sit in my house on my well-worn chair and listen to my dog's breathing.

I will sneak out in the middle of a warm Summer night and take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow ..... and when people come to call, I will smile and nod as I show them my dogs ... and talk of them and about them ... The Ones so Beloved of the Past and the Ones so Beloved of Today ....

I still will work hard cleaning after them and mopping and feeding them and whispering their names in a soft, loving way .. I will wear the gleaming sweat on my throat, like a jewel. And I will be an embarrassment to all ... and my family ... who have not yet found the peace in being free to have dogs as your Best Friends ....

These friends who always wait, at any hour, for your footfall ... and eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep, to greet you as if you are a God.

With warm eyes full of adoring love and hope that you will stay and hug their big, strong necks...and kiss their dear sweet heads ... and whisper to them of your love and the beautiful pleasure of their very special company ....

I look in the Mirror ..... and see I am getting old .... this is the kind of woman I am...and have always been. Loving dogs is easy, they are part of me, accept me for who I am, my dogs appreciate my presence in their lives ... when I am old this will be important to me ... you will understand when you are old .... & if you have dogs to love too.

~Author Unknown

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead

Last night, with DH snoring peacefully beside me, I muttered under my breath about not having a tempting project to work on and channel surfed. I have no interest in anything currently on the needles, and ended up empty-handed after reviewing my stash for inspiration.

So, me and Comcast it was. Click, click, click, through one dumb show after another until ...


Yea, now that's worth watching. How lucky am I but to come into The Wizard of Oz just as Glinda and the Munchkins are questioning Dorothy and Toto. "Did you bring your broomstick?" Ah, that helped my mood.

So, this morning, with a fresh version of the same bad attitude, I finished the "Pretty Pink" cardigan, all the while thinking how good it would feel at the end to sing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead! Yes, that's how I feel about this project alright. It has rightfully tortured me when I didn't pay attention, but there at the end, it wasn't me, I am quite sure, but instead it was the lame pattern, which will soon go up in smoke just like WWOTE and her nastier sister, WWOTW.

Without further complaint, the finished product:

I wish I had followed my own instinct instead of carefully following the pattern, cuz I'm not too keen on the wide neck, nor the funny places in the front ribbing due to some weird short row stuff that didn't seem to make any sense.

However, I do like the overall pattern stitch (which I may use later on a scarf or some such), and I do like the buttons, which I just happened to have in my stash

Put a fork in it, she is done and over with.

I went to The Yarn Garden yesterday with Gretchen to look for a suitable red ribbon yarn for her AIDS scarf. Poor lass settled on some yummy Noro, sucked it up to pay the $12 or so per skein, but then had to find out that the shelf label was wrong and it was actually $30 per skein. Ouch. Yes, back it went.

Look what's blooming in my yard today!

This lovely camellia was a treat from my Mom two years ago. It bloomed in early winter last year, but seems to be ahead of schedule now. Quite a beauty!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fake is Good

Treading lightly on the Earth is important to me. I try to make lifestyle decisions that fit as well as possible in my desire to live gently.

One of these is a vegetarian diet. I regret that I don't always follow a strict vegan diet, but I try to stay close. Never any flesh, nor eggs and milk alone; however I do consumer products that were made with dairy products.

In clothing choices, too, I avoid animal products: no leather, no silk, no wool. I know that the "other options": cotton and other natural plant fibers, as well as man-made fibers, also come with a negative price tag in terms of chemicals used in production and manufacture, but my ethically-researched decision concludes that the "other options" is the better path for me. The author of Fake Sheep sets out an eloquent essay on her own thought process, and much of it jives with mine.

Another reason that wool (in particular) makes no sense for me is the wear factor. It itches. I remember back when I was a youngun' and I had a few hand-me-down wool items that looked great, but TORE ME UP when the heat rose only slightly in my school classroom.

I have recently seen many posts from accomplished knitters that sniff contemptuously at ICKrylic yarns, yet yearn for weather cool enough that they may comfortably wear their lovely wool creations without fear of spontaneous combustion.

As to the ICKrylic factor -- yes, there are some heinous products that feel like twisted grocery bags, but there are also some magnificent products too, like Wool in the Woods "Shaggy" (75% Rayon, 25% Polyester) which feels even better than your childhood memories of a favorite chenille bedspread, or Manos del Uruguay "Cotton Stria" which is softer and lighter than a baby's receiving blanket washed 10,000 times AND is produced organically.

Really though, even those utilitarian budget-priced products serve a good purpose too. Some years ago, my Mom crocheted dozens of small zig-zag afghans for our local animal shelter. They needed to be very sturdy to take the daily washings without shredding and thereby clogging the machines. It was heartwarming indeed to see sweet homeless kittens playing on those brightly colored blankies which also brought smiles to the overworked caretakes that had to clean the cages. It was reported that they "wear like iron, dry very quickly, and don't shred" which would be a potential danger for the kitties.

Although others (those knitters that say ICKrylic) say that their companion pets likewise turn up their noses to all but the finest Merino or Cashmere, I can tell you that my street urchins have no such prejudice. That's Beau in the opening picture on his fake (non)bearskin stretching out those paws in the same joyful nursing knead that he used on his Momma -- and yes, I witnessed it. Wally and Bella both routinely do the same.

Good enough for Beau, Wally and Bella; good enough for me, Mavis. Nuff said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

me, Mavis and The Blustery Day

Oh, Fall was a beauty today in my neck of MerryLand!

I worked with DH installing a sliding door in a house with a nice backyard full of trees. The wind was swirling around us all day, and it was enchanting to crunch through the piles of leaves hauling materials and other various crapola back and forth from the Schavismobile. We also watched a cute little band of Robins picking berries from Dogwood trees. Yes, I did manage to do a little work now and then between my bouts of nature gazing.

Back home we can hardly make out the driveway for the great layers of leaves that have fallen from the big trees that grace our property. I'm looking at those last pretty flowers on the Butterfly Bush while thinking that the temps will be in the 30s tonight. This is really the time of change after we enjoyed a recent last hurrah of Indian Summer.

Inside, the Natives are back to normal, I think. Yesterday we had a visit from our wonderful housecall vet, Dr. Mike, and his new assistant, Sarah, but I was really the only one that truly enjoyed the visit.

All three had to submit to the regular exam stuff where he peeked, poked and proded into areas normally off limits, and they each got a shot of Distemper vaccine. Beau and Wally both had an additional needle for the Rabies vaccination. Isabella topped the scales at 13 pounds; Beau at 12 pounds 9 ounces, and Wally at 11 pounds 12 ounces.

All three were pronounced in excellent health ... though it wouldn't hurt 'Bella to lose a bit. I told Dr. Mike that I was somewhat sensitive as we share that particular issue.

I asked about the Canine Influenza mess that had stricken my pal Quincy, and learned that Dr. Mike has seen no activity in his practice. He asked if Quincy was absolutely diagnosed by the Cornell folks, so I got the impression that he thinks there might be some inaccurate diagnoses reported.

In City News, I just received a "resend" of an earlier automatic Council Meeting Agenda. The first Agenda included the swearing-in of the new Council elected Tuesday -- however, the list printed was of the incumbents, two of which were unseated! Oooooh, talk about embarrassing.

On the Knitting front, I have made my peace with the "Pretty Pink" cardigan and it is back on the needles. I'm moving along slowly 'cuz I don't want to be ripping it out again -- or at least not right away.

I've also picked up the "E Cardigan" again and nearly finished the left front. I'll post pictures soon.

Cables are calling me. I've been searching for an afghan pattern and I keep going to the cables. I've been looking at scarf patterns, and I'm going to the cables. I will probably be starting yet another project soon. I'm weak.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beau's Early Morning Exercise

Hi! Beau here for today's post.

I have found a way to multi-task: I keep my youthful figure with daily running and pouncing, while keeping the humans occupied as well.

Before any exercise, one should always stretch thoroughly:

I prefer yoga moves for increased flexibility and agility. This is my patented half-twist:

All limbered up, we are now ready for the CHASE!

Here I take a keen eye to my prey and wait patiently for the human to launch.

LIGHTNING FAST I pounce on the prey and hustle back for lots of adoration from my human servants (they like that part).

Before turning it over, I must pull it out of the carefully formed spiral shape. It makes the human feel important to re-roll it before the next launch.

Next time, I'll show you have to exercise with a partner. Isabella is a particularly easy target!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gut Reactions

Recently I was surprised at my own impressions of 2 very different people.

First: My Fair City will host elections tomorrow for our City Council. I have been pretty involved in the political scene around here and know a good bit about most of the hopefuls. One newcomer (politically) comes from a family with a long history of political service. His mother has for many years served at the state level as did his deceased father. He was born and raised in our city and is endorsed by many people of whom I think highly. Although I don't know this fellow personally, I had good feelings. Until the calls started.

We received a number of pre-recorded messages that were a bit annoying. Then, last week I received a live call from a woman obviously reading (poorly) from a script. She twice stumbled over the pronunciation of our city. Anyone who has any slight attachment to Bowie knows to pronounce to rhyme with WHO instead of HOW.

The only worse error, in my humble opinion, would have been to wreck the candidate's name itself. So, I'm left thinking this guy has more in the way of dollars to pay for hired campaigners than in the way of true local supporters to volunteer to aid his effort. At the local level, resident supporters are imperative, and what I've seen does not sit well with me.

So, as to Impression No. 1, my good feelings arrived second-hand, but my personal gut instinct will prevail: I will not vote for this candidate.

For my next tale, today I worked with DH on a job involving a sliding patio door which was scheduled for delivery to the job site.

When the truck arrived, out popped two young black men, dressed in baggy black shorts, wearing long tiny braids under those stretchy black shiny caps. My impression was that they looked like 'hoods and would probably be unfriendly or downright rude to a 40-something white woman.

Then the driver looked up and returned my smile. He had braces! I started laughing and pointing while he did the same. It was priceless. We had a nice chat about how to cope, me being only one week into the process, while he just started year three! He said he ate lots of jello and pudding in the beginning, and again every time he gets a tightening.

So, there you go. Impression 2 started as a negative, but was also second-hand, being driven by stereotype. Looking with my gut reaction to this friendly and well-spoken young man left me with a totally positive impression.

Two completely different occasions that challenged my reaction.

Just a little insight into the things that give me pause. And a reminder to myself that it's okay to gather information from others, but to think on my own.

A Private Note to My Awesome Nephew Jason: I wish I could reprint our IM session here ... you are such a kooky, genuine, and delightful guy. Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Gosh, it's pretty out today! COLOR is everywhere as all the trees try to outshine one another. I saw a lovely swallowtail butterfly flitting about and it really disturbed me. I know it was balmy today (at least 65 degrees), but darn it gets cold at night! AND, it is November afterall. Shouldn't that little fellow be sailing along down south?

I was able to spend some time in my garden (just cleaning up and such) and I feel renewed! I came across several caterpillar types -- a furry black and sable roly-poly under my potting bench, and then DH found a very plump big bright green guy under the Willow Oak. He was moving right along a a good clip, but we couldn't tell toward what.

I used to feel bittersweet, at best, but usually melancholy, and sometimes slightly depressed, at the first hints of Fall. It seemed like a time of ending and dying. I can't say why my attitude has changed, but I find that I now look at this seasonal change as a time of rest and renewal. Much easier to take, for sure, but it also tugs at me to hibernate and renew myself. That's difficult to do if you need to venture forth to make some dough.

Tomorrow is supposed to be equally, if not MORE groovy, weatherwise. So I'm hoping to be outside in the thick of it as much as possible. We bought cute little Alberta Spruces to put in the urns that flank our front steps. The current resident Mums are looking a bit tired, and I'd like to switch them out. It would be good to get them settled in the ground somewhere soon so that they can be ready to sleep over the winter and burst out mightily next spring. Those sprinkled around our yard now had a hard summer, but are blooming beautifully in spite of it.

In knitting news: After my tantrum about the "Pretty Pink" cardigan, I started on a secret gift project last night and had good success. I have confirmation from a helper who is very chic and stylish that it a keeper. So, I will continue on. Soon, it will sit in a heap just like the Cable 8 Top since I know I have loads of time to do the washing/blocking/etc. before Christmas. Ohhhh, procrastination is bad.

Today is Friday Night Pizza and I will probably have to decline. I'm still on the soft stuff, but it's getting better every day. I had chick peas today without too much discomfort. Since I broke down from the "I can tough this out" attitude and started partaking of the brace wax ----- ohhhhhhh, brace wax ......... the great big sore lumpy pockets on my cheeks are smooth again. Now the worst part is the cleaning after eating A N Y T H I N G -- did you get that? ANYTHING!

Damnation, this is an ordeal. The brush must held at eleventeen different angles to get around and under and over all the hardware, and to floss? Well there's a daunting task! Threading through and back and ..... blah, blah, blah. My only hope is that I will lose a few pounds solely because I will skip snacks as I hate to brush and floss. Please, keep me on this path!

Isabella says "Have a laid-back weekend"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I M Wee Todd Did

I M Sofa King We Todd Did

Remember that nice picture of the "Pretty Pink" cardigan with all the pieces joined up on one needle, ready for the raglan top?

Here is is today:

Nice jumbled mess, no?

Apparently Crazy Aunt Purl is having trouble with her current project too. She's writing to a doctor -- that being Doogie Howser -- asking for advice.

Me? Do I consider just working past and no one will notice? Well yes, I did. But I had a dose of arrogance (I had recently been reading The Knitting Goddess) and decided that I was much too accomplished to settle for non-perfection.

So did I consider waiting and asking someone else for advice? Yes, I did that too. DH said, "Ah, you can't even see it, just move on." But Noooo, I just take another trip to the Frog Pond. Yep, I ripped back about 6 rows of the 12 I had completed.

Then, I couldn't seem to get the YO stitches back on the needles. Finally, I sucked down a strong cuppa Joe and battled it out.

With all the stitches back on, I realized that I had not ripped back far enough and my blindingly obvious mistakes were still there.

So, in a fit of childish rage, I stuffed the whole shebang in the basket and stomped off.

That last rant was probably my best move. Now I'm going to let it sit until I'm

  1. somewhat more sane
  2. sans feline help
  3. with sufficient time to hunker down and do it, OR
  4. until cute little elves sneak in after midnight and finish it up all nice and neat thank you very much

Do you think there's some "Dumb Ass Wave" being pumped out by the Administration that is affecting helpless knitters everywhere?

Well, the Goddess may be immune ... so maybe it's just for certain of us ... like maybe those that have built in antenna teeth.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Jig is Up, the Jinx is on

Even though I tried to to internalize and keep my damn positive, perky proud comments to myself, I still got nailed. I regret every little "oh this isn't so bad" thought that I entertained yesterday.

These damn braces hurt. The big ole hooks on the upper molars, in particular, have drawn out puffy sore pouches on the inside of both cheeks, and three teeth hurt even if my tongue touches them.

The worst of it is that I can't ease my sorrows with food ... that is unless the food is something that I can just kind of mash with my tongue against the roof of my mouth. Anything coming any closer to "chewing" is not possible -- not only because it HURTS, dammit, but because some teeth hit against brackets, and some brackets hit against brackets, and I keep thinking of a poor sweet pony with a metal bit shoved in its tender mouth.

Oh yeah, we're in full swing now with a pity party for one!

On a happier note ... I lunched with Valerie today, recently back from 3 1/2 weeks of volunteering with the Red Cross in Baton Rouge at the headquarters housed in a vacant WalMart. What a tale! She worked 12 to 14 hour days, starting usually at 4:00 a.m. as she was coordinating the debit card project and had to have it all in line daily to distribute to the other centers.

When she finally got to quit after a looooong day, it was back to a church hall where she joined 149 other volunteers on cots set 24 inches apart. Oh yeah, there was one shower for all the women --- AND she estimates that the male/female ratio was 40/60. So that means there was one shower for 90 women.

Please note that any tone of unpleasantness is coming from me AND MY SORE MOUTH, and not from Val who was a real trouper and feels great about what she did. She told me several times that she was housed, and worked, in very nice conditions far better than many who went into the hardest hit areas.

I am so proud of, and in awe of, my pal. She came back here exhausted, but had to dig right in and catch up on her business (she is a self-employed tax/accounting guru). Although she had planned ahead to make sure her clients were in good shape, after nearly 4 weeks, there was a lot to do, and deadlines to make. I was pleased that she included me in her busy schedule.

I'm not a total Nasty Nellie yet.

I can still find joy in the changing season.

This is a view from under the canopy of the gorgeous Sugar Maple in my front yard.
  • Yankee Knitter Designs "Aran Sweater" in Sirdar Supersoft Toddler Aran "Hyacinth"
  • Mark's "UT Afghan" in Red Heart Super Saver Carrot and White
  • COMPLETED! "Aran Rose" in Rowan Calmer "Powder Puff" (details in the Gallery soon!)

  • The Things I Get Into
  • Vegan Lunchbox

  • VEG WEB - YUM!
  • Customized T-Shirts at!

  • Previous | Next

    Previous | Next

    Email me!

    A Rainy Day with My Main Squeeze
    "Doggie Bag" becomes a Sweet Purse
    Off on an Adventure!
    School Daze?
    Knitting Knews
    Coming Up for Air
    Aran Rose is Done!

    Powered by Blogger

    Subscribe with Bloglines
    Dell Coupon Codes
    Web Counter