Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas (a little late!)

Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope everyone had a good holiday. I got sock number one of my mother's socks finished. I am halfway done with the cuff of sock number 2. Will post a picture soon. When I'm done with that, I have my sister Lora's socks to knit and then I can knit for me!! Hmm, what will I do first? Perhaps knit that lining for the Noro roll brim hat I made last year that's not so warm when it's cold outside?

And once again, the weather forecast is for snow tomorrow. It's for 3-5 inches now. Maybe snowshoeing on Saturday?

My sister Donna (the internet-less one) was highly entertained by the ski masks on the Museum of Kitschy Stitches website on Christmas Day (we were at my other sister's house).

I love Christmas, but I am happy to be home. I don't sleep well in beds that are not my own. Besides that, Jeffy was home alone and I was worried about him. I also got a cold for Christmas that I am fighting off.

I am very sad about what happened to Benazir Bhutto. I really admired her.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Odds 'n ends

Polk Library (where I used to work) had their office party yesterday, which I attended.

I now work in the Music Department and Art Department and I am in charge of both their libraries. One would be enough to be in charge of because they both need major work.

I am the only person working in the Music Department today--everyone else is on vacation. I have locked myself inside the library (with my bosses' permission) because if someone should get any funny ideas, there's no one else around to assist me.

Since no one is paying attention, let the knitting begin! Yippee, it's the last day of work until the New Year. I am only working until 11:45AM and then I'm outta here.

The weather report better change quickly or I'm going to be pissed. We got all this lovely snow and if it rains it's going to melt. I WANT TO SNOWSHOE!

To all my friends reading this, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Yule and Happy Holidays.

I probably won't post until next week some time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tinsel redux

My sister Donna sent me this Christmas card:

This really happens. Enough said.

Welcome to Tinseltown

I just can't leave the Christmas tree alone. Last night I put tinsel on it:

We'll see what the cats do with it. I tried to not put it on the bottom of the tree, just close enough to it so it doesn't look too weird. Churchill was already interested, standing up like a gopher batting at a clump. I think he may have eaten a piece also. Time will tell if he did.... Jeffy just likes looking at it. He's a good boy.
Also, project no. 1 is now done. Knit Night was very productive last night. Witness:

Since the chance of my sister seeing this is extremely remote since she is not connected to the internet, here's a picture of the finished project no. 1. It is the "Waving Lace socks" from Interweave Press' book, "Favorite Socks", knitted in Lorna's Laces sock yarn. Project no. 2 is underway--socks for my mom.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Land of funny hats and other stuff

Here is a picture of the Christmas hat I made last year:

I made this on the bad road to knitting on a Knifty Knitter last year in December. It's made with (forgive me) Red Heart yarn, pailettes and jingle bells. It's not that warm, but it sure is festive!

Part no. 1 of item no. 1 of the Christmas knitting is getting a facelift. I made it a little too big, so un-knitting is taking place. It's actually going pretty good. It think I only have 4 more rows to undo before I can finish it again.

It's 31 degrees outside right now. It better not melt too much snow or this snowshoer is going to be unhappy next week when she actually will have time to snowshoe. Here's a picture of mine and Paulette's Iverson wooden snowshoes that we rarely wear (we wear modern aircraft aluminum snowshoes, which are much lighter in weight):

They were very happy to be out in the snow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New sock yarn!

I just found this on another blog. Noro Kureyon has a sock yarn now!!

An example of Noro Kureyon sock yarn,+Kureyon+Sock+Yarn

Help--it's only a week away!

Oh my, I am almost done with part #2 of item 1 I am knitting for Christmas. Only 12 little stitches need to be joined to one another. Now I just have to start item number 2. I don't know if I'll finish it before Christmas, but I'll try.

Went to a meeting in Madison yesterday and got lots of knitting done during the meeting. Our union Director asked if he was at a Stitch and Bitch meeting. Hey, the guys bitch more than the women-so there!

Churchill feels underrepresented on my blog, so here's a picture of him drinking milk under the tree:

I'm not responsible if my hands suddenly start knitting at work towards the end of the week. They're feeling the pressure...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lock me up

That's it--I'm officially insane. Why, you ask? Well, I was looking at Christmas cards at the store and I didn't find any I liked so far. I was making cards on the computer with a cool snowshoe photo on them that I took for thank you cards and I thought, "Wait a minute, I have a really nice picture I can use for Christmas cards!". They turned out really nice. The drawback is a) I have to print more and stamp them with a snowflake stamp and b) I don't have time for this.

The Christmas knitting will be lucky if I get it all done before Christmas. So much for making the gingerbread curtains for the kitchen. Maybe I'll get that done over my Christmas vacation. At least I'll have them for next Christmas that way.
Did you all see the new Holiday stamps from the US Postal Service? Take a gander:

They're perfect! Knitting stamps! The originals are machine knit, but who cares? They're KNITTING stamps.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun fur-ry tree

I found this on Stitchy McYarnpants website:

Behold the Fun Fur Christmas tree!! Not my taste, but hey, it's something to make with all that old Fun Fur yarn.

Here's the link to the pattern:

I can only take so much

This morning DPNgirl and Paulette were greeted by a 4 foot snow ball in our driveway courtesy of the city snowplows that must have come in the night. The street doesn't seem that much better and our neighbors had no such deposits in their driveways. Needless to say, we were not pleased. Make me late for work much? It made Paulette late to drive to Madison for a meeting. We love snow, but geez, can't the plow drivers pay attention while they are doing their work? What if I had been some little old or disabled person who needed to get out for some reason or for an emergency?

This in no way makes me want to move to a warmer climate, because I love winter. I just don't like the crap that gets deposited in your driveway by the plows.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Has it really been a week?

Oh my, has it really been a week since I posted? Either I have been busy or when I haven't been busy, I fall asleep. Such is life....

I went to Fox River Mall in Appleton on Saturday. NEVER go to any mall on a Saturday in December. I was okay while I was in Younkers. I was finding lots of good present material on sale and I was actually walking around singing with the store music. But then, I left the sanity of Younkers into this:

It doesn't look that bad on the picture--but trust me, it was quite the crowd scene. Suffice it to say I was no longer singing.

St. Nicholas (aka Paulette) brought me some good stuff this year on December 6. I got these lovely sock blockers--oh joy!
Still knitting on the 2nd part of present number 1. I am going to have to do much better if I am to get this knitting done before December 24, only 12 days from now. My, that looks so bad in black and white--12 days! The pressure is on now. I guess I will have to not take any more naps in the evening and forgo any extra partying--except for Knit Night. Anyone in a meeting with me from now on is going to have to put up with me knitting, for I am on a mission.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holy Cow, the snow machine is on!

My goodness, this is the forecast for Oshkosh from the National Weather Service office in Green Bay:

Point Forecast: Oshkosh WI 44.02N -88.53W
7:28 am CST Dec 5, 2007
Forecast Valid: 9am CST Dec 5, 2007-6pm CST Dec 11, 2007

TodayMostlySunnyHi 17°F
TonightPartlyCloudyLo 1°F
ThursdayChanceSnowHi 24°F
ThursdayNightSnowLo 21°F
FridayChanceFlurriesHi 29°F
FridayNightMostlyCloudyLo 7°F
SaturdayChanceSnowHi 23°F
SaturdayNightChanceSnowLo 15°F
SundayChanceSnowHi 25°F

Today: Mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 12 by 5pm. North northwest wind between 9 and 13 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 1. West wind between 5 and 7 mph.

Thursday: A 30 percent chance of snow after noon. Increasing clouds, with a high near 24. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Periods of snow, mainly before 4am. Low around 21. South southwest wind between 10 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 3 inches.

Friday: A chance of flurries before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. West southwest wind between 13 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7.

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23.

Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15.

Sunday: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25.

Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 28.

Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 30.

Where will we put it all? And when can I drive to Fox River Mall in Appleton to get some Christmas shopping done? I guess I'll have a lot of knitting time in between snow shoveling.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


It's snowing again. How lucky can we get? Now I just need to fit in some snowshoeing time. Last year we only managed to get out 3 times in the whole winter because of lack of good snow.

Picture of our house in the snow:

Picture of the iron urn in our backyard decorated for Christmas:

Knitting has been accomplished--a little yesterday and today. At this rate I'll be done with my Christmas knitting by next year.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Leftovers and lots of decorating

It's leftover time. Here's a picture of my turkey and crockpot mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving:

Mmm, nummy.

Our tree is in the house! Here are pictures of the tree after we cut it:

Who is that in the picture on the right hiding next to the tree? And notice we did get some snow for getting the tree. I even used the sled from the tree farm to slide down a hill.

The tree decorated:

Pictures just don't do it justice. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view! We also apologize to Al Gore. We tried to find LED lights for the tree, but there were none out there in multicolored.

The kitchen in full gingerbread mode:

Jeffy is resting after observing all of the decorating.
He's tired and so are we. Jeffy says that decorating all weekend is exhausting. He also hated the evil cleaning that followed.
It sure was fun putting all those decorations up while it was snowing outside. We had 7 inches by the time it was all done out there. The shoveling--not so fun. But I did get to use my snowshoes in the backyard while I was putting greens in the iron urn in the backyard. Snowshoeing on trails may not be far behind this year. Perhaps we'll even get to go during vacation between Christmas and New Year's! Be still my heart.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh Christmas tree

We are getting our Christmas tree tomorrow. I love going to the cut your own tree farm. Too bad there isn't going to be any "tracking snow" to find our tree in. It's okay, at least it's going to be festively cold outside.

Picture of a portion of our tree last year:

I have one part of a Christmas item finished. Now I have to cast on for the other part.

The Green Bay Packers play the Dallas Cowboys tonight. I happen to be fortunate to live in a part of the state where you can actually see the game without going to a bar. Go Pack Go!!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Knitting did not happen over the weekend. I need to get my butt in gear on the Christmas knitting front.

Shopping did happen--lots of shopping. I love the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Paulette is working on a hooked rug pillow for Thanksgiving:

I was working on a shopping list for tomorrow. On my agenda for tomorrow is pie baking, shopping, and cleaning. Oh, and getting a mocha at Starbucks.
Paula Deen was just on the Food Network deep frying jellied cranberry sauce. This is not on the menu at my house.
If I'm lucky I'll have time to knit--on the weekend.

Jeffy says I should get the camera out of his face now:

Monday, November 19, 2007


Here's an idea for Christmas knitting from "Museum of Kitschy Stitches".

This made me laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair. Not an item I'll be knitting any time soon. For the crocheters out there, the ever popular beer can crocheting is also a featured item.

Check out more ideas at

When life imitates art

Every day I pass this object in the classroom next to my office in the Music Library:

It never fails to entertain me with it's mitten-like quality. In real life, it is a harp in it's case. It waves at me every day when I pass the classroom.

Good work has been done on the Christmas knitting in the past week. I cannot post pictures of the Christmas knitting for obvious reasons--the giftees may see what I am up to.

It's a short week at work this week--woo hoo! First it's Thanksgiving and then the ever popular indoor sporting event of the day after Thanksgiving shopping. Just think of the shopping as exercise to wear off all that food you ate the day before. My tummy is growling thinking of all the gluttony.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A week later...

Well, I have been slow in posting, haven't I? Hey, it's been a busy week. Got the daffodil bulbs planted on Sunday in the front garden. I have tennis elbow from painting the fence in September, so it made it a fun experience planting bulbs. Someday I'll be out of pain. Weirdly enough, knitting doesn't make it hurt any worse. Maybe it's therapy.

Anyhoo, I finished one slipped stitch rib sock:

I started the second one, but I am stopping working on it so that I can work on Christmas knitting. There are 42 knitting days left until Christmas(I read it on the Yarn Harlot). Yikes!

The kitchen is painted and pretty:

Picture of our cake from the big birthday party:

Even Jeffy is happy! He says he'd be much happier if he was outside. He sat in a pile of leaves outside while we were planting the bulbs on Sunday. He was a happy guy. He's going to be 14 on November 24.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's cold out

It sure is chilly outside today--it's currently 38 degrees with a wind chill of 30. I'll think that's warm in January.

Hurray--one of the slipped stitch socks is almost done. I have a church meeting tonight, so not much knitting will be done. However, tomorrow is knit night!

Not much else to say today.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What, it's November now?

Holy Cow, where did October go? I've been really busy--between Paulette's and my party and other things, time just got away from me.

And I am still knitting on the same slipped stitch sock--the first one in the pair! I have not even had time or the will to knit much lately. When I sit down I fall asleep. Having a cold or whatever I have now isn't helping. I have other things I need to knit. Perhaps I will get some done this weekend. There are no major home improvement projects on the schedule for then. All I need to do is switch my summer and winter clothing around on Saturday--oh, and go to the yarn store to get my socks back from the Socktober contest. They probably will demand sunglasses and all sorts of celebrity things when they come back home from being stars on display with a lot of other lovely socks!

The party was lots of fun at our house. Having 40 or so people at our little house was interesting--they were in the back yard, in the kitchen, living room, dining room and porch. And they ate almost an entire sheet cake (flavor: hickory nut) and an entire large Nesco roaster of chili. The cats didn't hide too much either. Jefferson got fun poked at him because he is such a large handsome kitty (people don't understand, do they Jeffy?). Churchill slept on Paulette's bed in full view of everyone in the dining room.

My car has been restored to loveliness. Gone are the stone chips and scratches on the bumper--and the owie from it's accident.

I'm still trying to understand that it's November now. The calendar says so, but it's hard to believe. Thanksgiving will be here sooner than we know.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rally time

Pictures from our rally at the state capital:



Our union brothers and sisters vigiling inside the capital building

Our counter rally against the Americans for Prosperity conservative group

Much knitting was accomplished on the bus ride there and back. I am almost done with the leg of the first sock.

Oh, and to the a-hole who left a stupid comment on my blog--I was on personal leave time, so stick it up your hinder. I have to provide library services to whomever comes into the library and help them find the answers to whatever thing they want to find. It's my job and I enjoy doing it for the most part. It's stupid people who think that I don't deserve a raise or health care because I am a public employee who piss me off. I pay taxes as well, so don't think this stuff doesn't affect me or my fellow employees who provide valuable services to the people of Wisconsin. I also could make much more money in the public sector, but I feel useful where I am. We have bargained for the fringe benefits we have and we have voluntarily in a lot of cases taken a smaller raise in exchange for our benefits. Would YOU like to take care of mentally ill people, criminals, plow roads when everyone else is asleep, pick up garbage, provide library services and put up with homeless people in the library and people who use the library as a defacto day care center, supervise private contractors who are always trying to rip off the state, put up with people's dumb comments about how we are less than human because we work for the state, well I could go on and on. Whomever you are (chickens*&% didn't leave your name), I will provide library services to you and your family, no matter how much I disagree with you or detest you because it's what I am paid to do and what I believe in. So stick that where the sun don't shine. I can provide you with a gently used knitting needle to help stick it up there further.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Curtains, screen doors

We've been really busy at our house.

I made new curtains:

My brother in law and I put up a new screen door this weekend:

My brother in law also put in a wall outlet in the porch, but you all know what an outlet looks like. I am loving the wonder of electricity in the porch. Yippee. Thank you so much Dan. You're the best!

No wonder I'm tired. Now all that remains to do before the big 50th birthday party Paulette and I are having is to varnish the new chest of drawers for the bathroom with spar urethane and remove the ugly wallpaper from the kitchen and paint it. Hey, we've got a week and a half. No pressure there.

Knitting time is getting harder to find. I will have plenty of time tomorrow--it's Knit Night and also I am riding on a bus to Madison for a union rally on the state budget. Lots of knitting time there.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Here is a picture of my squished car:

It's lovely, isn't it? I know it doesn't look that bad, but I am tired of driving the duct tape mobile around. It gets fixed on Monday.

What a difference a few days makes in the weather department. I can't believe that on Sunday I had the air conditioner on at home--it was 86 outside. The temperature right now is 47 degrees and I am wearing my winter coat outdoors. Makes me think that I better get my butt in gear for Christmas knitting. It is almost the middle of October--weird!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I am doomed

The title says it all. I finished one of the Embossed Leaves socks. Technically, it's beautiful, at least the knitting part. The problem is, I don't like it in this yarn. You can't see the lace pattern. It also is too big for me. I should have used size one dpns. Bummer. I have another pattern that I think is perfect for this yarn. It's a slipped stitch ribbing sock.

Oh well, it's sock ripping time I guess. Sigh. I'll try it again in a less variegated color.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The mystery solved

Margaret, Paulette and I were the only knitting participants last night. That's okay. Margaret was not actually knitting--she was finishing up a very large embroidery project. Her embroidery is absolutely beautiful--I cannot top her, probably never in my life.

My insurance company has coughed up the money for my car to get fixed. It goes in for fixing October 15-18. It will be all pretty again. I can't wait.

Not much else exciting going on here. My sock is making good progress. It would make better progress if I didn't have so many blankin' meetings after work in the evening. It does cut into one's knitting time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's Wednesday---you know what that means!

Yes, it's the day of Knit Night once more. I love Knit Night. I turned the heel on the first Embossed Leaves sock at lunch and picked up stitches for the arch and sides of the foot. Woo hoo! I mean, who wouldn't love the combo of mocha and knitting and talking to your friends. It's like a small slice of heaven on Earth.

I did make a modification to the sock pattern above. After you turn the heel, the instructions say to CUT THE YARN and reattach it at the top right corner of the heel flap. I thought, what!? Why would you intentionally make a weak spot in one of the hardest wearing parts of a sock? I did not do this. I followed my instincts and continued on in the way that I have done all the rest of my socks--by knitting across the heel stitches, picking up on the side, knitting across the instep pattern, picking up on the other side, etc. It looks just fine!

A big shout out to Jennifer K. in Fort Collins, CO. Miss seeing you--too bad you don't live closer to come to Knit Night.

The knitting mystery continues--will our two new additions to our group come again this evening? We'll know soon.

I got the estimate for the damage to my car. It is pretty expensive as I thought it would be, totalling up to $2558.89. The college kid who hit me still has not returned calls to his insurance company adjustor, whom I talked to the other day on the phone. She asked me what happened since no one else is talking to her. I emailed her a scanned copy of the police report that she said she was waiting for. As I said before, I just want my car fixed. At this point, I don't care what happens to him. He needs to learn to look in his blind spot before whipping his car to the left from the right hand lane. Dumb kids.

This will in no way interfere with my upcoming enjoyment of knitting in just a little over 2 hours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sockland continues

We are still on our little trip to Sockland. Here's the progress on the Embossed Leaves socks:

I'd say they're coming along nicely. I like knitting with the Lucy Neatby yarn. It's not splitty at all, not like some other sock yarns I have used.

The duct tape is still holding up on my car. Still no check from the insurance company. I just want my car fixed! I still need to get outside to take a picture of the damage.

If you all get a chance and you live in Wisconsin, call your legislator and tell them to get a move on with the state budget--oh and tell them to leave the compensation reserve funds alone (where my raise and my fellow state employee raises come from). Mama needs to buy sock yarn. They're talking about that we may experience temporary layoffs if the legislators don't start playing nice. Excuse me, they should be laid off first, since they are the ones causing the problem. Withhold their pay until they finish.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A fast week

Yippee, this very trying week is almost over.

I have my car back--it's only temporarily fixed by the auto body place, with the ever useful duct tape! It matches the silver paint of my car quite nicely. It is tentatively scheduled to be fixed on October 15. I'll put a picture of it on here soon. Why did it have to be this week that someone ran into me? I had so much driving to do and so many other things to do that I did not need the added stress of this on top of all of it. At least I can see an endpoint now. On Wednesday the car rental place swiched my rental from a van to a PT Cruiser--with only 400 miles on it. My niece will be so jealous--she lusts after PT Cruisers. It was fun to drive, but I don't think I want one.

So far so good on the current sock knitting front. Bad news from the shawl yarn front. Iris Fine Yarns had to find another supplier for the Lacey Lamb yarn they are ordering for me. Oh, please, someone just send two balls of black Lacey Lamb to Iris Fine Yarns just for me. I want to start knitting that in the worst way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pain to the last drop (of paint)

The fence of pain is now finished. It's all white and pretty.

My right arm is not so happy. I seem to have developed tendonitis in my arm from the rollering of paint onto the fence. It's been a new adventure in pain combing my hair, brushing my teeth, shaking hands with people at church on Sunday, and spraying on hair spray. It is getting better a little every day. However, knitting seems to be just fine!

On the knitting front, I went on a jaunt on Saturday to Iris Fine Yarns to take my socks there for the contest and also to Yarns By Design. Money changed hands. Like the Yarn Harlot, I succumbed to the shiny newness of the just purchased yarns. I am now knitting a pair of socks from the Interweave Press sock book with Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino sock yarn in the Sugar Maple colorway. It's so fall-y! Not that I didn't like the sparkly yarn, but I was really in the mood for fall colored socks.

The car front remains active. Yesterday on the way to the store, a person decided to turn left from the right hand lane--into my car. I am not happy. It was towed away because part of the wheel well is rubbing on the passenger side front tire. I am also unhappy because I have a lot of driving to do this week and now I had to rent a car. I drive a Chevrolet Cavalier. So of course, by luck of the draw, I get to rent a minivan. Yippee, I feel like I am driving a land yacht. My apologies to those who drive them, but I am used to my little car. I am unhurt, but I mourn for my car. It is at the car place waiting to have an insurance person look at it. At least the other person apologized and had insurance. Look out people of Madison--I will be coming to your city in a large vehicle on Thursday. For the record, the police lady told me that it was totally the other person's fault. Duh.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Once more, it's Friday

It's Friday again aka the gateway to home improvement-land. My goal is to finish staining the fence this weekend so that I can concentrate on cute-ing up the inside of the house.

Along those lines, here is a picture of the Hoosier cabinet Paulette spent her money on for her birthday trip to the antique mall:

The pineapple wallpaper will soon be history, replaced by a lovely coat of soft yellow paint. We did not choose the wallpaper-it was there when we bought the place in May.

I also am going to make curtains from this material that I bought online from Ruby Lane:

Excuse the shiny-ness and tape mark--I was in a hurry and took the picture of the material while it was still in it's package. Hey, I had to get to work.

On the knitting front, I will be taking two pairs of socks up to Appleton to Iris Fine Yarns to display in their sock contest for "Socktober". They will be the "Rainy Day Socks" from MagKnits magazine online knitted from light aqua Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK and the "Seduction socks" from Interweave Press knitted in Panda Cotton in a pastel blue/lavender/pink print.

I am still working on my current pair of socks. Maybe I'll even get some time to work on them this weekend in spite of home improvements!

Happy Autumn Equinox to everyone on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Welcome to Slackerville

Sorry for not posting for almost a week. I have been really busy at work and at home.

Paulette had a birthday last Saturday (9/15):

Paulette wanted to celebrate by (I'm not making this up) mowing the lawn and going to the antique mall. We also went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Chalice. Mmmm, nummy. I caulked the fence while Paulette mowed. She said she felt pretty good after the lawn was finished. It was her first complete lawn mowing since her surgery. The antique mall did damage to her bank account. She bought a small dresser for our bathroom and a Hoosier cabinet for the kitchen. We are redoing the kitchen in a 1920's to 1940's theme.

The fence is being stained little by little. It was a gorgeous day outside yesterday, and Paulette and I took the afternoon off work to begin staining the fence. It gets dark too quickly now to be able to do much after work outside. We used up a whole gallon of white stain on the fence. We got 2 more at Menards after supper. We'll see how much it takes to do the whole fence.

I gave up on knitting the pink sock. I don't know what my problem is, because the pattern is not technically difficult. Five times of starting over is my limit. I wish my yarn would come in for my shawl. It's what I really want to be knitting. Maybe that's my problem.

I began a new sock yesterday. It is the Crystalline Lattice sock (free pattern!) from Crystal Palace yarns. I am using Fortissima Socka Colori Disco in a beautiful teal and gray print with silver metallic yarn in it. I am working on the ribbing now--so far, so good.

Oh, my car is fixed I believe. It has been behaving itself and starting every time.

Today is Wednesday and that means Knit Night tonight! Yippee!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our government is broken

Read this article I found on

"Broken Government"

I never thought that the GOP posed a threat to the well-being of our nation. But these days, I no longer recognize my old party.

By John W. Dean

Sep. 11, 2007

In almost four decades of involvement in national politics, much of them as a card-carrying Republican, I was never concerned that the GOP posed a threat to the well-being of our nation. Indeed, the idea would never have occurred to me, for in my experience the system took care of excesses, as it certainly did in the case of the president for whom I worked. But in recent years the system has changed, and is no longer self-correcting. Most of that change has come from Republicans, and much of it is based on their remarkably confrontational attitude, an attitude that has clearly worked for them. For example, I cannot imagine any Democratic president keeping cabinet officers as Bush has done with his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, men whom both Democrats and Republicans judged to be incompetent. Evidence that the system has changed is also apparent when a president can deliberately and openly violate the law -- as, for example, simply brushing aside serious statutory prohibitions against torture and electronic surveillance -- without any serious consequences. Similarly, but on a lesser scale, Alberto Gonzales faced no consequences when he politicized the Department of Justice as never before, allowing his aides to violate the prohibitions regarding hiring career civil servants based on their party affiliation, and then gave false public statements and testimony about the matter. When the Senate sought to pass a resolution expressing "no confidence" in the attorney general, the Republicans blocked it with a filibuster. The fact that Bush's Justice Department has become yet another political instrument should give Americans pause. This body was created by Congress to represent the interests of the people of the United States, not the Republican Party, but since the system of law no longer takes account when officials act outside the law (not to mention the Constitution), Republicans do so and get away with it.
In the past the White House (whether occupied by Republicans or Democrats) placed tight restrictions on who could contact the Department of Justice regarding pending business. It was typically limited to only the president, the vice president, the White House chief of staff and White House counsel, who were authorized to speak with the attorney general, the deputy attorney general or the top assistant and associate attorneys general. However, in the Bush White House no less than a startling 471 White House aides are authorized to speak with 30 senior Justice Department officials. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Bush administration has made the Justice Department a political extension of the White House in the area of law enforcement, which is unprecedented and seriously dilutes the credibility of the government when it goes to court. It will take years to depoliticize the Justice Department, and countless nonpolitical career attorneys -- including some of the most experienced and able men and women ever to serve in the department -- have left because of the way Bush's people run it. Ironically, when Republicans find Democratic officials with even a toe across the line, they raise unmitigated hell for that official. But when a Republican official crosses the line, Republicans close ranks around the miscreant, as they have done with the former chief of staff to the vice president, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
Libby, a sophisticated Washington attorney, leaked Valerie Plame Wilson's covert CIA identity. Libby had leaked her name as part of the effort to discredit Valerie Wilson's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, who had traveled to Niger to determine for the CIA if Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium -- a claim that would be made by the Bush White House. When Ambassador Wilson wrote a New York Times op-ed putting the lie to that claim, Scooter Libby led the attack against him, notwithstanding the fact that he was telling the truth. One of his tactics was to claim that Wilson's wife, a covert CIA operative, had sent him on a boondoggle. Libby, as Cheney's national security adviser, was quite familiar with the potentially dire circumstances of leaking the identity of a covert agent. When special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald (the U.S. Attorney in Chicago) was appointed to investigate, Libby lied to the FBI and then to the grand jury about how he had learned of Valerie Wilson's CIA connection, claiming a newsman had told him, when, in fact, he had been told by the vice president. Although Special Counsel Fitzgerald found no criminal statute had been violated in leaking Valerie Wilson's name, he indicted and convicted Scooter Libby for false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice. Even before federal judge Reggie Walton (a Bush appointee) sentenced Libby to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, Republicans were demanding that Bush pardon him.
Republicans have offered an array of explanation and justifications for a Libby pardon, but when one cuts through the smoke, what they are really arguing is that one of their own should not be punished criminally. It is an absurd position. Conservatives once claimed they stood for law and order, and that no person was above the law, but their words belie their true beliefs as expressed in their actions. Frankly, I hoped that Bush would pardon Libby, as it would have served as a particularly egregious and conspicuous example of the Republican double standard -- the authoritarian's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. Voters understand hypocrisy, and another solid abuse of process (and power) could only help the Democrats get back into the White House.
Having watched the GOP's evolution as it embraced the radicalism of authoritarian conservatism, slowly ceding control to its most strident faction, the authoritarian conservatives, I can no longer recognize the party. These new conservative leaders have not only sought to turn back the clock, but to return to a time before the Enlightenment when there were no clocks. As former vice president Al Gore nicely stated it, the Republicans have undertaken an "assault on reason." Indeed, they have rejected their own reasoned philosophy by ignoring conservatism's teachings -- based on well-documented history -- about the dangers of concentrations of power. They have done so by focusing on the presidency as the institution in which they wish to concentrate the enormous powers of the federal government. Nixon led the way, and Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II learned from his mistakes. Nixon scowled as he scolded and secretly investigated his opponents in the name of national security; his GOP successors have smiled and reassured Americans they are operating to protect them as they have proceeded to convert the American presidency into an elective monarchy, with its own high council, which was once known as the federal judiciary.
Fortunately, the power of the authoritarian conservatism that has so dominated the Bush/Cheney presidency is waning, although it is not likely there will ever be less than about one in four Americans who will follow such authoritarian leadership without question. For authoritarian conservatism to win another presidential contest, its candidate would have to attract independent voters in addition to their hardcore base. But polling of independents reveals that they have largely become disgusted with the Republicans, and lean heavily toward the Democrats. In surveying all of the Republican contenders for the GOP nomination, I have found that to the man, they all are far more authoritarian than even the most authoritarian of the Democrats. This raises the almost certain likelihood that, regardless of how great a distance any of these GOP candidates might attempt to place between himself and the Bush/Cheney presidency during a general election campaign, in fact, if elected he is going to continue in the vein that has already caused this nation so much trouble. (There is no doubt that the GOP will select an authoritarian standard-bearer, because these are the people who are most active in the primaries and the most devoted workers in the general election. It is almost impossible for a non-authoritarian to win the Republican nomination, as the party is now structured.)
As I was writing this closing section an old friend from the Nixon White House called. Now retired, he is a lifelong Republican who told me that he voted for Bush and Cheney twice, because he knows them both personally. He asked how my new book was coming, and when I told him the title, he remarked, "I'll say the government's broken." After we discussed it, he asked how I planned to end the book, since the election was still a good distance away. I told him I was contemplating ending midsentence and immediately fading to black -- the way HBO did in the final episode of the Sopranos, but that I would settle for a nice quote from him, on the record. He explained that he constantly has to bite his tongue, and the reason he does not speak out more is because one of his sons is in an important (nonpolitical) government post, and we both know that Republicans will seek revenge wherever they can find it. How about an off-the-record comment? I asked. That he agreed to.
"Just tell your readers that you have a source who knows a lot about the Republican party from long experience, that he knows all the key movers and shakers, and he has a bit of advice: People should not vote for any Republican, because they're dangerous, dishonest and self-serving. While I once believed that Governor George Wallace had it right, that there was not a dime's worth of difference in the parties; that is not longer true. I have come to realize the Democrats really do care about people who most need help from government; Republicans care most about those who will only get richer because of government help. The government is truly broken, particularly in dealing with national security, and another four years, and heaven forbid not eight years, under the Republicans, and our grandchildren will have to build a new government, because the one we have will be unrecognizable and unworkable."
These comments summed up our current situation -- and our possible future -- as eloquently as anything I could have wished.

-- By John W. Dean

I couldn't have said it better.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's too much pressure!

Oh my. If I want to enter my pink socks into the "Socktober" contest at Iris Fine Yarns, I better get serious about knitting. The deadline is in about 3 weeks. It doesn't help that I am on the 4th re-creation of the first pink sock in the pair. At this rate, I'll be done next year at this time. The pressure is on now. No one call me on the phone, I need to knit!

The fence construction is finished. I finished framing the lattice piece out and attached it to the fence yesterday. Yippee. All that needs to be done now is caulking and then staining it white. One of these days I'll get real picturey and take pictures of the fence of pain. Can't tonight--it's raining.

Of course, now, when I have the time to sit outside and enjoy the fence, it supposed to be chilly for the whole week. Sigh. I can't win.

Everybody keep my mom and sister in your thoughts. They had to have one of their kitties put down on Saturday. Rest in peace, sweet Abby Rose. We will always love you.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Once again, it's Friday

Hey, it's Friday already. What do you know! And (knock on wood) my car has behaved itself all week long.

I have ripped the pink sock apart 3 times now. I don't know what my problem is. It's not a hard pattern. I won't let it beat me. I'm going to cast it on again.

I will take pictures of the new furniture soon and post them here. I got Paulette a lovely large new chair for her birthday, one of those with the big footstools. She really likes it. I got myself a new recliner.

It's supposed to be nice this weekend and it's starting to freak me out a little that autumn is coming soon. I want to try and get started on staining the fence white before it snows. Gotta cut the grass and do my part of the housecleaning first.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I get to knit!

Hey, it's Wednesday again--what do you know!? Wednesday means Knit Night!! I did get to knit 2 rows on my sock yesterday. I was very tired last evening--it was all I could do to change my sheets and do two loads of laundry before I laid down on the couch and fell asleep.

Ellen, my friend who just had a baby, just loved her baby sweater that I knit. I did not take a picture of it, bad me. It's made out of Plymouth "Oh My" yarn in pale yellow. It's so soft and smooshy. Here's the picture from the pattern:
I made the version without the hood. I did not make the hat.

Monday, September 3, 2007

It's the day to celebrate labor!

Happy Labor Day to all my union friends out there from the Winnebago County Labor Council secretary. One more Labor Day picnic is now history.

Me at the Labor Day picnic. I was standing in for treasurer Paulette taking the money for the food.

My car misbehaved on Saturday morning as well. $453 later I had a new starter. All seems to be well now--so far it has started every time. It should--after about $1200 has been put into it in one week. Now I have to drive it a while to get a return on my large investment.

Of course, no knitting has been done this weekend. Next week looks good so far.

More pictures from the picnic:

Paulette and Joan selling raffle tickets and giving free books to the kids

One of the "chefs", Larry, dances to the music of the band. The debate Chez Sara and Paulette is whether Larry is holding a weiner in his hand or not. You decide.