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.