Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pictures of the Billster

Here are pictures of Churchill (aka Billy):

He's such a silly boy. He still is inside boy for now. I miss Jeffy being outside with me while I'm gardening.

On the shawl front, 7 out of 20 repeats are now done. Woo hoo.

Paulette and I are going to take a mini vacation for a couple of days after Mother's Day. One day we will be visiting the yarn stores of the Madison area. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mourn for the dead. Fight for the living.

Today is Workers Memorial Day.

Here's information from the AFL-CIO website:

"Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs. The unions of the AFL-CIO remember these workers on April 28, Workers Memorial Day.

The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. Every year, people in hundreds of communities and at worksites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning."

As an aside, there are folks who openly wonder out loud if unions matter any more. They do. In the past, we are the folks who fought and won for everyone: the eight hour workday; child labor laws; the right to bargain working conditions and wages with employers and the minimum wage law. These gains were not won overnight. Many have fought and died for them. We still struggle with keeping the gains from the past, especially in these tough economic times, while keeping an eye on current and future needs.

As a library worker, I am dedicated to making sure people have the information they need. To read a little history on some early struggles, try reading Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle". Here is a link to labor history:

My union, AFSCME Council 24, recently had DNR union brother , 36 year old Heath Van Handel, die while he was keeping watch on a wildfire from his state owned plane on April 8, 2009, near Marshfield, WI. He died on the job trying to keep the public safe. May he rest in peace.

I end this in solidarity with all of my union brothers and sisters asking you to please keep all those who have died, have been injured or sickened because of work in your thoughts and prayers today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rain-good for the yard, good for the knitting

Well, rain is good for the yard as long as you don't get 10 inches in 4 days, like we did last June.

The yard is looking lovely. I need to take more pictures of it.
My knitting is looking lovely as well. I am now 20% done with my current shawl:

I am glad that April is almost over. It's been way too busy of a month. May looks really tame compared to all the busy-ness of April. I'm tired. I have no more to say now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's nupp-tastic!

I am two rows from the end of the first repeat of 20 on the Queen Silvia shawl. So far, so good. I don't know why folks make a big deal out of doing the nupps. If you work them loosely on the row before you purl them, no big deal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

A quote for Earth Day:

"... do something. Pay your rent for the privilege of living on this beautiful, blue-green, living Earth."

--Dave Foreman

I try to save natural resources as much as I can. I wash my clothes in cold water all the time (with the exception of towels and sheets), I recycle paper, bottles, glass and cans, I reuse paper from other purposes for note paper at work, I use chemicals as little as possible in the garden and try to raise my vegetables organically. I could do better with walking more places, but these days, a trip to the grocery store is a major hike or bike ride away from your house. It annoys me when I am driving down the road and see someone open their car window and throw garbage out of it. I have seen this happen on my street by the factory workers going to work. It's really irritating, especially since I come from an era when there were anti-littering commercials on the TV (remember Woodsy Owl with his "Give a hoot, don't pollute" song?). I am now climbing down from my soapbox.

My yard is celebrating today as well:

Have a Happy Earth Day and please do what you can!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I finished the Swallowtail shawl I started on April 11 yesterday. Yes, that's 9 days later. Here are some pictures:

The day I started the Swallowtail shawl is the day I finished and blocked my Cherry Leaf shawl:

I just started the Queen Silvia shawl from the book, "Knitted Lace of Estonia". I tried the Swallowtail shawl to get experience doing "nupps", the little bobbly things that look like lilies of the valley in the Swallowtail. The Queen Silvia has many, many nupps in the pattern. I don't think that it will be done in 9 days. I am using a silk/merino laceweight blend from Blackberry Ridge in Wisconsin. It is a lovely shade of aqua/minty green.
For those of you who are knitters who read this, the Queen Silvia uses a provisional cast on. Here's my favorite method when it calls for one to crochet a chain and then pick up stitches through the back loops. Much easier than the picking up and there is less chance of getting a strand of the crocheted chain entwined with the first row of knitted stitches, which I have done.
On other subjects, it's raining a cold rain here. At least for now. This morning there were big snowflakes mixed in. The grass and daffodils, hyacinths, lilacs and all my perennials are loving the rain. The front garden is getting quite pretty.
Churchill, inadvertantly on his part, helped me to block my shawl this morning. His blood sugar was heading in a direction it should not go rather quickly. Sigh. And of course, I didn't have any shaved turkey in the house to give him when his blood sugar drops. So, I had to call in to work and then go to the grocery store. I really didn't want to leave him alone, but I had no choice. Paulette had an important meeting at work, so I was on my own until her meeting was done. With Paulette's and my intervention (Paulette gave him a syringe full of Karo syrup before she had to leave), his sugar level only dropped to 93. It was on it's way to badness. While I was home with him this morning, I got the chance to weave in the ends and wash and block my shawl. So all turned out well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Has it been that long?

Last week and this one were really busy. Sorry about the interruption to the blogging.

Anyhoo, Election Day dawned early, as in I got up at 4AM. It was a long day. We were there until 9:30PM. One of my co-workers at the poll sneezed on me and everyone else all day long. She claimed it was allergies, but, you guessed it-she was sick. So I caught her cold. Lovely. I have been sick all week. I am starting to feel better, thanks to massive amounts of ColdEeze, Airborne and Advil. I have to sing the National Anthem at a Congressional District conference tomorrow. I was worried about my voice all week, but I tried singing on my lunch hour at home, and I sound okay. My friend Gordon offered to sing for me and I could lipsync. Good one, Gordon. Think they would notice the voice difference?

Last week was busy. Besides working at the polls on Tuesday, it was Holy Week. So, on Thursday evening, I got my feet washed at church and then I washed the feet of others. Friday I helped decorate the church after Good Friday services. It took a really long time. We started at 3PM, ended at 5PM and then started back up again at 8PM. We then worked until 1AM and we still were not done. I had other stuff to do on Saturday, which included all the stuff I was going to do on Friday as well. Then we went to church for Easter Vigil from 8:15-11:15PM. I got up at 5AM on Easter so that I could drive to Sheboygan to go to church there and visit my family. No wonder I got sick.

In there I managed to finish and block my green shawl. I started a new one. I will post pictures of them soon.

In between all that, it became all springy outside. My daffodils are really blooming now. When I was home at lunch I noticed that the leaves on the lilac bushes are going to come out soon. I saw forsythia blooming in someone else's yard. Ours would be blooming, but the evil bunnies in the yard chewed the heck out of the forsythia bush this winter. I fed them as much as possible, but apparently it wasn't enough.

Still working on Churchill's conversion to leash boy. He is interested in the outside, but I haven't really had time to work with him. Maybe I can teach him how to rake the lawn soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend report

On Saturday I went to Sheboygan to attend my niece Melissa's dance recital for Diane Remy School of Dance. Here's a picture:

The cup she is holding is for jazz dancing. Good job, Melissa!!

I also have made good progress on my shawl this weekend.

You can see my little black helper in the upper right corner of the photo. He wanted to lay on it so badly--but he gets his claws stuck in everything, so he took what he could get. Churchill has developed a new interest in knitting needles and yarn these days. For toys, of course.

Some of you may recognize the border on this shawl. It's the same one from my circular pink shawl that I made last year. I started the one from the book, but I didn't like it, so out it came. When the knitting is done on the left side of the shawl, it gets a thin border of crochet at the top.

Here are some belated pictures from Knit Night:

Okay, you're probably wondering, "Why did the crazy lady take a picture of a chair?" Well, Starbucks got some new furniture while we were knitting there, so of course, I had to take a picture of one of them. It's a really comfy chair.
Not much else going on here. It's a sort of quiet day in the Music Library so far. There have been some folks in here, but not a lot.
Tomorrow I work at the voting polls all day. I get up at 4AM. Yippee. We will be there until at least 9PM. Needless to say, I am not working on Wednesday. Go out and vote!!

New kind of yarn...

Here's a link to a story on about a high school girl who knits her prom dress with duct tape. You can't make this stuff up...