Thursday, June 30, 2011

So Is That What Happened To Blogger Last Night?

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Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!>

It's as good an explanation as any I guess.

Whatever it was about, Blogger was messed up last night. I first noticed the problem when it stopped doing autosave about an hour into my work on my post. I protected myself by copying the whole HTML and pasting it in my note taking ap, WhizFolder. This often happens but usually it will still publish fine once I click the button. This time it didn't. It returned a 400 error. Then I tried going to 'Edit Posts', to the dashboard, to Blogger help, to my blog itself. All but that last one returned the 400 or the 413 error code. Joystory loaded but there were no edit links and the bar at the top was missing.

So I googled 'blogger down' to see if anyone was talking anywhere about the issue. and found

Here they keep track of reports of sites going down by monitoring twitter, help forums and the reports made by their own visitors. They don't tell you why but there are links to sites that might have that info. The feature I liked the best was this graph depicting the aggregate of the reports from around the globe:

That thick bar on the left shading from green through yellow to red was on the left when I first discovered it about midnight and I was able to see that the problem had begun to develop a couple hours before I began working on my post and was intermittent for a time and then just before I had first tried to publish it became solid and had stayed that way for the hour since.

I gave it another hour, using the time to visit the links that might have info--twitter and help forums--lots of users were registering questions and complaints but no one was answering them.

One odd thing caught my attention though. Some users had found switching browsers or devices to help. But always only briefly. Others had found temporary relief after deleting internet history, cache and cookies. I tried the latter first. No joy. Then I switched from Crome to Explorer and was able to sign in and open the draft. Which was from very early in the composing stages. I hastily grabbed the HTML from Whiz and pasted it in and saved and it took! But when I attempted to publish--no go.

I finally gave up at 1:30 AM almost four hours after I was ready to post. Within minutes after safely saving the draft, I could't keep my eyes open.

I woke just before 8 AM and refreshed and saw the solid thick bar, over 12 hours long by then, had begun to break up in the last half hour. So I tried once more to publish. And failed. But a few minutes later it took.

Tonight it is nearly 3AM and I'm just now about to wrap up Thursday's post. I had planned making it on this theme and was writing it in my head off and on all day but hadn't gotten around to starting it before dinner then after dinner I crashed for three hours. I'd been doing cleaning, organizing and laundry most of the day and was wiped out.

Ed woke me up at 9pm and we still had to make the bed with the clean bedding and fold and put away our clothes and I had to start another load. It was 10 before I could settle down again and then I was faced with the choice of getting my post up by midnight or watching the movie Losing Isaiah which was going to stop streaming on Netflix at midnight. I chose to watch the movie first but before I started it I opened the editor for a new post.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lift by Kelly Corrigan: A Review

Lift by Kelly Corrigan

I found this on the library shelf while looking for something else. It felt more like a miracle than simple luck as it is not much bigger than my hand and could so easily have been lost in the burgeoning lacuna of my vision. But it managed to catch my ailing eye. I suspect it was the butterfly as myself, a sister and a niece all have profound connection to the butterfly and all it symbolizes. At any rate I picked it up and I opened it and read the first several pages and when I found myself laughing out loud--in the library mind you--I knew I needed to just take it home.

It is a letter written by a mother to her young daughters for them to read once they are much older--possibly not until they are grown with children of their own.

The bit that had me laughing out loud? She shares the story of how she herself as a young daughter had gone after a bug on the windshield of the family car by stomping on it from the wrong side of the glass until the pane cracked repeatedly.

The title and the image of the butterfly refer to the theme. Lift is a term used by pilots, hang-gliders, kite fliers, ornithologists and anyone else for whom aerodynamics plays any role. It refers to the updrafts that keep those on the wing aloft. The significance of these updrafts in terms of this essay is the fact they can only exist because of the turbulence caused by the meeting of cool air with the thermals or columns of warm air. The same confluence can as easily create a sink which has yanked many a winged thing out of the sky.

And thus the tears as well as the laughter in this long musing on the meaning of motherhood--the story of her youngest daughter's bout with viral meningitis as a baby, the sudden death of a friend's son, the shame felt after hearing her eldest daughter's teacher describe the child's edgy temper and impatience and realizing this was what she had been modeling for her.

But in spite of all the anxiety, the threat of heartbreak, the messes and minor mishaps, the shamful missteps she tells her girls it was all worth it. She tells them if she were forced to choose between the too fates of cancer and infertility for them she, a two-time cancer survivor, would choose cancer. She tells them so often that 'This (motherhood) was her dream. That they were her dream, they have taken to saying the lines with or for her.

Reading these Mommy Memoirs is always bittersweet for me as such had been my dream from the age of seven (if not sooner) on up. But I never did get to live it myself. Instead I filled the hole at various times by collecting baby dolls and Madonna & Child pictures, babysitting, doting on nieces and nephews and gorging on stories featuring children whether print, screen or gossip; whether fiction or true.

As if to emphasize this huge lacuna in my life while my emotions were tenderized by Corrigan's story while I was still at the dinner table our neighbor from across the driveway brought by her new twin granddaughters. I only got to see them through the screen as my MIL wasn't sure how their dog would handle having two adults and two infants swarm in on him. Being the daughter of a twin, having twins was my dream.

It is only eighty-some small pages so is really more of a long essay than a book. I started it over this afternoon and read it practically in one sitting and would have if not for the call to dinner. I read the last ten pages as soon as I could get back to the room.

Anyone who's ever had a child or a mother would find something to savor in this little book.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coffee Stained Rainbow

I'm so close to the finish line on this rainbow whatsit project I can practically taste it. Could that be why my subconscious somehow felt the need to add flavor to it?

This morning I returned to the room with my full mug of coffee and half-and-half planning to settle in to watch a movie while I drank it and then pick up my crochet hook. I was raring to go because I'd lost several hours yesterday when my morning began with a nearly three hour hunt for the crochet hook which finally turned up the fourth time I shook out the wadded up fleece sheet.

I do not have a safe place to set my coffee down so I very seldom do. I make sure when I leave the room to go after it that I can get back into position without setting it down. This morning I'd forgotten to put food in Merlin's bowl and I knew he would be a pest until I did and wanted to drink my morning coffee and watch my movie in peace.


Yes that's my 20 oz coffee mug sitting on top of my netbook!!!!!!

What happened was....

*blush* *hang head* *cringe* the time I had filled the cat bowl and crawled up into position I had entirely forgotten the coffee cup. So I reached for the corner of the netbook and pulled it toward me, lifting a bit as it slid. The cup toppled and fell against my hip which was right beside the folded rainbow panel of my project which lay atop the bag containing six of the 18 separate balls of thread involved in the project.

Coffee splashed against my leg from hip to ankle but I barely noticed as I reached to grab the cup up in one hand and crawl out of bed to shake my PJ leg to cool it. It wasn't until I was standing at the foot of the bed looking back that I realized the rainbow project had been in the line of fire--or should I say gurgle--and as soon as I reached out and touched the folded rainbow I knew it was bad as it was soaked.

Coffee and milk!

I grabbed up the bag and rushed to the kitchen where Ed was on his laptop. After some discussion and examining of all the thread, the panel and the 'bowl' we decided to roll the latter two up in towels and put them under weight--Urm under the mattress I would be sitting on--for an hour or two and then spread them in front of the fan to air dry for another hour or until dry. The balls of thread were set out to air dry immediately.

Ed suggested too that I finish the panel before I wash it as the risk otherwise is that the thread from before the washing will look too different from the thread after. Then there is the fact that some of that thread will have the stain on it as well. Once I'm sure neither the panel nor the bowl need more rows I'll hand wash them and thoroughly air dry them again. I have five stripes or ten rows to do which I hope to have done in the next 48 hours. Then I will see if the bowl needs any more rows added.

None of the balls of thread were seriously soaked. Just splashed a bit. The coffee had apparently run through the rainbow and down the inside of the bag to pool in the bottom where the 'bowl' was folded up awaiting its attachment to the finished rainbow panel.

It wasn't until after I pulled the 'bowl' and rainbow panel out from under the mattress and unwrapped them from the towels that I thought to get pictures. So these were all taken hours after it happened. The cup you see in the picture has been long empty. I had repacked the washed and dried bag. And then unpacked it to spread out the damp items in front of the fan so:

It should be obvious by now that the rainbow whatsit is going to be a tote so I should probably just go ahead and call it that now. When I first started I wasn't sure what I was going to make with the rainbow panel nor how big I would make it.

I have five more stripes to finish the forth iteration of the sixteen colors. Then I believe it will be ready to attach to the bowl which is its bottom. I'm still unsure exactly how I'm finishing off the top section to create a drawstring closing.

Anyone who might have been following this project from the beginning might be wondering what happened to the circlets that showed up in pictures accompanying previous project reports.

I am wondering why I didn't start wondering about them until I was processing the pictures from the photo shoot. They should have been in the bag. If they were they were probably soaked. Did they fall out onto the floor in the kitchen as I pulled stuff out when I showed the damage to Ed? Did the dog eat them or bury them in the yard?

Well, I spent another hour at least before and after dinner looking for them. In a panic. They represented 30 to 50 hours of work. They could be tearing up Bruiser's insides like the towel my sister's dog ate had done. All Ed would do was tell me to breathe. I had to sit through dinner still frantic about them.

By the time I got done eating I had decided to go on the theory that they had never been in the bag for some reason. What then? The most likely scenario was that Ed had moved them to some logical (only to him) place when he helped clear my projects off his side of the bed last night. So I made a quick sweep of the likely areas and eventually found them on the floor at the far side of the chest of drawers containing my thread that now serves as my desk.

I try to tell myself how much worse it could have been. The whole cup could have spilled instead of less than a quarter of it. As it would have if there had been no lid. My leg could have been scalded. The spill could have spread to the project in the bag under the rainbow tote project or into the open drawers of the chest.


Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading #31

Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

I haven't participated in this for several months. I hadn't been reading much since Xmas and it was a stark reminder of that failing every time I put together one of these posts which meant looking at what I'd posted the previous week and comparing that to what I actually did.

For the last six months or so I've been crocheting while watching DVD or streaming. The videos gave me my story fix while I wove with my hook row after row on an afghan, bookmarks, shawls and etc.

But in the last week I've read close to 200 pages if not a bit more. I'm hoping this is the beginning of a new trend.

A thousand sisters : my journey of hope into the worst place on earth to be a woman / Lisa J. Shannon ; foreword by Zainab Salbi.

I believe this is the current Word Shaker's Bookclub selection over at Book Journey. I was lucky to get a copy at the library without too long of a wait.

I haven't made much cover-to-cover progress as yet. Only dipped in here and there. A combination of the disturbing subject and difficulty in reading the font deters me from really settling in with it.

Face to face : women writers on faith, mysticism, and awakening / edited by Linda Hogan and Brenda Peterson.

This is one of those books that features excerpts from other works and makes you want to tap out your library (or bank) account acquiring all of them and possibly all of the works by all of the represented writers.

I've only browsed a bit so far.

The Soul is here for its own joy : sacred poems from many cultures / edited by Robert Bly.

I can say pretty much the same for this one which is poems on spiritual themes and from sacred texts of a number of world religions and spiritual traditions.

This and the book above were both one of those serendipitous finds while searching the library catalog for something else.

Lift / Kelly Corrigan

This one I found on the library shelf while looking for something else. I opened it and read the first couple pages and when I found myself laughing out loud--in the library mind you--I knew I needed to just take it home.

It is a kind of letter written by a mother to her young children for them to read once they are much older--possibly not until they are grown with children of their own.

The bit that had me laughing out loud? The young daughter had gone after a bug on the windshield of the family car by stomping on it--from the wrong side of the glass.

The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories by Susi Wyss

In a collection of nine intertwined short stories, each in one of several locals spanning the globe and with a different female point of view character, Wyss weaves a mesmerizing tale illustrating the way in which our lives are as interconnected as the ripples on the lake made by a shower of hail. Or the hair in a woman's braid.

I've read only four of the nine stories so far. I like to read only one in any one day in order to savor the story and let it stand on its own. Wyss uses language and image like a poet so every paragraph needs savoring. After finishing the last story I may turn back to the first and read them all one after the other more like reading a novel in order to catch more of the connections that I don't pick up on the first time through.

I very rarely re-read and even more rarely re-read real soon after finishing a book so my even contemplating this is saying something about this book.

This is a review copy

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

This is a re-read. At least I believe it is. I know I saw the movie made from it years ago and I usually read the book a movie is based on either before or as soon as possible after watching it.

I am re-reading it because a few weeks ago I found its sequel while browsing the library's large print shelves. I'd had no idea it had a sequel and after bringing it home I knew I wanted to re-read Chocolat first.

I've also sent for the movie DVD from Netflix.

I read over a hundred pages in the last several days.

The Girl With No Shadow by Joanee Harris

This is the sequel to Chocolat. I doubt I'll get to it before next Monday though.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Serenity #235

This painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is the embodiment of serenity. Anything I add would be a subtraction.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop June 25-29

I wish I'd known about this Literary Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Leeswammes' sooner so I could have participated as a prize provider and not just a prize seeker. I could have put up one or two bookmarks as prizes. But I'm still going to flog the hop as it looks like great fun. There are over 70 blogs hosting giveaways. The list with the links is on Leeswammes'


Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Ebooks?

Sheila over at Book Journey is asking, "E-reader, yay or nay?" She used to be disgusted by the concept but has recently been won over. She hated the thought of giving up the visceral experience of holding and collecting the physical books but the ability to carry a library worth of books with her on trips away from home has won her over. She is now asking for the thoughts of her readers on the use of them. How they fit into their lifestyle and so forth.

Well I don't have one but I've never been against them and in fact kinda drooled over the first Kindle. I never saw the question as either/or. I didn't see eReaders as a replacement for physical books with bound pages but rather as an augment to the reading lifestyle. I still remember when a similar debate was held over the typewriter vs the word processor.

In a perfect world, or at least as ideal as I can so far imagine, I wouldn't want my netbook and ereader to be two devices. But for the netbook to be as portable as the Kindle or Nook, it would have to be smaller by a third and the battery would have to be 3x or even 4x longer lasting. Since we're talking ideal world, the power source should be as portable as the device--say solar panel?

But that would be the ideal. I can't currently afford an eReader but I've been using my netbook and my laptop before that as an eReader for years. There are millions of pages of fiction in the public domain that can be read online, saved as PDF, copy/pasted to a word processor or saved as HTML pages. I started collecting them the year our libraries lost funding and closed for six months. Now, Kindle has free software for the PC that, once installed, allows Windows to display Kindle books which you can order online. I understand one or more of the other readers do as well. The down side is that there is no whispernet. I see that as minor at the moment although I can imagine once having gotten used to it being annoyed at not having it.

The upside of eReading for me is the ability to control font size. because of my visual impairment regular sized print is now quite difficult for me to read for more than a few minutes which is very frustrating for reading fiction as I never get the chance to loose myself in the story.

Something that would be ideal for me then would be the ability to scan a page with a wand and see it appear on the screen and then be allowed to zoom and scroll. There ought to be a way to do that while still protecting intellectual property analogous to the way we can stream movies without being allowed to store them.

The video above features the new dual touch screen device by Toshiba, one of several on the market now. What I like about the Libretto from what I see in this vid and on a few reviews, is the compact size. It is about halfway between a Blackberry and my netbook though twice as thick as my netbook. I'm only making estimates by eye as I haven't seen the numbers.

One of the things that excites me about this is the potential to hold it in the familiar way of holding a book with each screen having successive pages that can be turned with a touch.

From some of the reviews and the comments on them, I understand there are a number of glitches and bugs to be worked out with this as well as Acer's laptop version. So I wouldn't be in a super rush to buy one. But the concept is a winner in my view as I already love having a single device with so many functions small enough for a medium sized ladies handbag. So I will be watching for them to perfect it.

What my netbook already is for me:

word processor--letters, journaling, essays, poetry....and of course, fiction
game device
photo manager
graphics design
web design
spread sheet
data base
task manager
contact info
social networking
web browsing
web business (in the works)
video watching: DVD, streaming, YouTube, podcast, news, etc
audio books
video phone (if I invest in a microphone and put the software on as the web cam is already there)

hmm seems like I'm leaving something out. But you get the picture.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

I've Got a Knack for Them

doze afteh dinna nap atacks  dey jus swaloz ya hole

But at least this time I had actually earned it. I'd been to the library and browsed the shelves for an hour. Washing my hair before going and then carrying the growing pile of books in my left arm as I browsed and the loaded bag after checkout gave my arms such a workout that holding my soup spoon was a challenge at dinner. My arms felt like something a child had made out of clay.

After dinner I unloaded the book bag and browsed the pages as I got the books and DVD shelved and was contemplating doing a Library Loot post. I went as far as opening a post editor. I don't remember why I set my netbook back over on my desk. I don't even remember doing it. I don't remember laying down. I don't even remember Ed coming to bed.

I woke chilled by the fan at what I first thought must be near dawn since this room has felt like a sauna past 3am the last several nights. But it was not yet 2am.

I suppose calling it a nap is a bit of a misnomer since I had more than 6 hours of sleep. That's better than what I usually call a night's sleep. Though often as not it isn't night when I do.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Said 'Soporific' not 'So Terrific'

it b 2 hot 4 such a boarng storee. why don u jus tun da pagiz round n flap dem at me? dey b moar useful

The heat has wilted me. I have nothing on my mind that doesn't bore me as I try to compose a first sentence.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts on Ice

photo credit: Raymond Gehman

Our summer heat that was months late in arriving has arrived in sudden suffocating sizzle.

I know. I know. It was just a few weeks ago I was whining about the endless drizzle from grey skies.

But is a splash of ice water under blue skies too much to ask?

One can dream.

Right now that's all I have the energy for.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Sleepless in Song's Thrall

A piece of this aria from Puccini's Turandot popped up on an episode of Six Feet Under I watched on DVD today. I'd heard it before in whole or in part in many TV and film scenes and have always been moved by it. Usually to tears or nearly so.

It was hours ago today that I encountered it and even after watching several more episodes plus two movies I couldn't keep it from invading my mind as unfinished tunes often will. So I headed over to YouTube to look for an uninterrupted version. And then ended up listening to several and this one several times.

I don't remember ever consciously knowing which composer or opera it was from before today. I've never watched or listened to an opera all the way through before and I'm feeling culturally stunted by that fact. I've been thinking so off and on for several years and I think it is time I did something about it. So I checked Netflix and found several different performances available on DVD. I'm still dithering over which one to send for. It is disheartening to see that the average member ratings never rise above three stars though. Is that a reflection on Puccini's art, the performances, or the culturally challenged state of Netflix members?


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Serenity #234

Yeah that's about right. I i've been yawning since early afternoon. It's time to do something about it.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Caturday Chores

Today was suppose to be my chores day. Ed and his folks were going to the dirt track this afternoon and I was going to do laundry and clean, sort, organize in our room. Then about the time I expected them to be leaving Ed came to tell me they wouldn't be going as his mom was feeling unwell. I happened to be laying across the bed playing with our Merlin kitty (urm, teasing the sleeping cat) as I waited for them to leave and as Ed left the room I let my head fall on the pillow to try to rethink and re-vision my day.

Next thing I knew Ed was crawling in beside me and it was dark in the room and he said it was after 9...

So my Saturday chores became Saturday snores.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

<--print for sale @ art.coom

Writers, especially we who write fiction, not only do it in private but when the book is published—even if it turns out well, and even if it's well received—it's not apparent from the finished product that we actually know how to do anything. Well, we can tell stories, but everybody tells stories. Everybody's grandmother tells stories.


The widespread conviction that anyone can write a novel is, naturally, cranky-making to those of us who actually write them, but I admit that I can understand its source. A good writer strives to conceal the effort that went into producing a short story or novel. A fireman or a doctor, visibly saving lives, does and should inspire in us an appreciation of the courage and training required. A work of fiction, if it's any good, has precisely the opposite effect. It should seem effortless. It should so infiltrate the reader's consciousness that by its end it should seem not like the long, heroic effort of another person but like an unusually vivid dream the reader has had.

...writers work like demons, suffer greatly, and are also happy, in unmistakable ways, some of the time. If we had no knowledge of happiness, our novels wouldn't sufficiently resemble real life. Some of us are even made a little bit happy, on occasion, by the writing process itself. I mean, really, if there wasn't some sort of enjoyment to be derived, would any of us keep doing it?

For me there are hours, there are even whole days, when I feel good about what I'm doing as I sit at my computer. Here's where the question of happiness gets a little tricky, because if you start feeling like an expert, if you start putting down sentence after sentence the way a baker squeezes rosettes onto a cake, you're in trouble. A writer should always feel like he's in over his head. That's part of what makes good writing compelling—the sense that as readers we're in the company of a writer of vast ambitions, who is always trying to do more than he or she is technically capable of.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Library Loot: June 15 – 21

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Marg has Mr Linky this week

Got to go to the library today. Not just wait for Ed to bring home my requests but actually go and wander the shelves. It's been a couple of months at least. But in order to do so I had to skip sleep this morning and now I'm too out of it to even browse my loot.

The odd shape of the photo is due to having to rotate and crop to get rid of some ugly background.

Oddly, the two items I'm most excited about I can't even put in the snapshot of my loot. I got in queue for them after reading a review and author interview. That was for The Weird Sisters and The Tiger's Wife. I can't remember the author's names and am too tired to look them up but they are both women. It will be awhile before I see them as the queue for one was over fifty already and the other though in the single digits is still long enough I won't see it before the end of summer.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rainbow Whatsit @ 1 Month

The flat navy circle the size of a quarter is now a bowl big enough for a soup bowl cozy. I started working straight up two days or five rows ago and am contemplating at end of each row now if it should be the last.

I discovered yesterday though that I had apparently guestimated wrong and waited too long to start the upward trend which stops the expansion of the circle and am faced with the choice of taking out ten or more rows or adding 32 rows (16 stripes or 1 full iteration) to the rainbow panel. I'm leaning toward the latter as I think larger is better than smaller. I'd been dithering as to whether to do four iterations in the first place.

This means I'll also need to make a fourth of each of the smaller circlets. I haven't finished making them for all the colors yet so for those I had I'll have to make one more and for the last six colors make the whole set of four.

I should probably stop calling this a whatxit. When I first started the rainbow panel I didn't know what I was making other than a rainbow filet. I have long settled on the what and it should be looking fairly obvious by now to anyone whose experienced in crochet.

I really need to get this finished before I leave for my three week visit to Longview next month as I don't want to drag all eighteen balls of thread with me. If I can at least finish the rainbow panel and all the circlets I would only need the navy and the Mexican varigated thread to finish it. I have about one month in which to do that. Which wouldn't be a problem if there weren't so many other things I need to get done before I leave.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thank you. Now Pass the Cheeseburger.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Don't let the glib, lighthearted humor fool you. We are so grateful that our Jamie's surgery went well up in Vancouver, WA today. It lasted less than 45 minutes and there were no complications.

There were programming glitches beforehand though. She was told to stop eating at 6PM Monday night and to arrive at the hospital at 6:30AM Tuesday for prep. Then they discovered that a crucial implement was unavailable and they had to send for it at the University hospital across the river in Portland OR. And since that was going to take several hours the doctor bumped his next patient up. That surgery lasted until late afternoon so Jamie didn't get her turn until after 6PM.

That's 24 hours after she'd stopped eating!

She was practically composing odes to cheeseburgers by early afternoon when my sister who was waiting with her called to let me know they were still waiting and that they would be for several more hours.

I had stayed up this morning thinking that the whole thing would be over by noon which would allow me to get four or five hours of sleep before dinner but I gave in to the sandman after the phone call and slept from around three until ten-thirty.

My sister and I had arranged that further communication between us would be conducted via facebook unless something warranted another phone call. So I checked my fb immediately upon waking to find the several messages that came in while I slept: Still waiting---She just went in--She's back and she's fine. No complications. But they're keeping her overnight for observation. Good night.

The last had come in 24 minutes before I checked so I'd just missed my final chance to chat real time. My poor sisters! Jamie who'd been starving for over 24 hours and who'd had only cat naps since Monday morning before going under the anesthesia and Carri who'd left Longview by 5:30 in order to pick Jamie up in Vancouver and get her to the hospital by 6:30 and who still had to make the drive back to Longview!

But after what happened last July (see my archives) this was a cakewalk. And that is why our hearts are light tonight.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Let It Be So

iz holdn prayr vijil  no, reely

My sister-friend Jamie is going into the hospital in the morning for a similar surgery to the one she had last July that resulted in severe complications that kept her in ICU for weeks followed by long rehab. It is supposed to be a simple one day event not even requiring an overnight stay if all goes well. We are praying that this time that will be so.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Serenity #233

Words would just detract from the serene effect of gazing upon this supreme example of nature's joyous abundance.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dirty Rotten Job

dis da bestest fun eba why u calls it durty rottin jawb?

This was race day at the dirt track and the weather was fine so Ed and his folks went and I had my second home alone day of the season. Usually I've had over half a dozen by mid June.

The chore I focused on this time was some reorganizing in our room. It was the first step of a bigger project.

It was bad enough to spend four hours doing it so I'd rather not give a play by play. Suffice it to say it involved a lot of shuffling of boxes and bags from this place to that--to make better use of space, to bring certain boxes within easier reach for sorting in the near future, to put winter clothes and coats in back of closet and to prepare to implement the better hamper system I have in mind that will make laundry easier.

Which last entailed clearing out a bunch of boxes to make the space available which meant having to make space for the boxes elsewhere which meant taking down a shelf tower at the head of the bed which Ed has been bumping his head on for ages and cursing at, which meant making room for those shelves in my desk and closet area which meant taking apart my entire desk and sewing area and putting it back together--AGAIN! That was the first project which I accomplished nearly a month ago the last time the went to the races and kept having to redo over the following week when something wasn't working. Like the desk collapsing under the weight of the stuff on it.

Well it just about broke my heart to take it apart again since it had been working fine for over a week now but I had no choice unless I wanted to give up the shelving. So I substituted the sturdier shelves for the tray table that had been my desk. It's too soon to know if it is going to work out as what it is meant for. I was too exhausted to try it out. After I'd finally cleared away the knee deep pile of stuff I'd shifted to the bed from its previous home, I took a long relaxing shower and collapsed on said bed to watch a DVD but barely got started before they drove in so it went on pause and I eventually turned off the TV.

I could get that DVD out of the TVs player and put it in my netbook player in order to watch with headphones I suppose. But I could also put in a different one or stream off Netflix or...

Maybe sleep.

It seems a bit soon for me but somehow still tempting.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

"Creativity isn't far away, or outside of you. It's an inner movement, a heart-shift, a joy making its way out of your throat or hands or feet. So go for it. No one's watching. The payoff is magnificent."
— Margo Jefferson


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bobbled Bamboo Bookmark

This is the crocheted bookmark that has been giving me fits this week. I'm not working from a pattern but rather making it up as I go by combining stitches I recently learned: the bobble, the quadruple crochet, the extended single and the trinity.

I messed up on the count so many times and had to take out portions repeatedly to the point that I probably made the equivalent in stitches of three if not four of these. The main cause of the problems was having set it aside after the pink center row was put in to return to the rainbow watsit project for over five days as I learned tow work in the round. The result was forgetting the precise count and the fact that I'd left 2 empty chains between each bobble. Thus on the second bobble row I ended up with over 30 bobbles where there was supposed to be 22.

While trying to diagnose that problem I discovered I'd messed up the count in the single crochet row between the bobble row and the pink quadruple row, which of course had messed up the count for the quadruple row and added to the confusion as I put in the second bobble row. I had reached the final five stitches of the last blue row before I discovered I had a serious problem. And then had to take it out all the way to the final bobble on the second row.

This was worked the long way and I started with a chain of 77 in the blue, added a row of extended single then a row of bobbles made of four double crochet with two chains separating them and two double crochet begining and ending the row. The bobble row was followed by a row of single crochet to which the middle pink row of quadruple crochet was added. Then back to blue and in reverse: single, bobble, extended single. And finally the pink border using the trinity stitch.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Pan's Labyrinth

I watched Pan't Labyrinth this evening and am still reeling. The soundtrack is haunting as is the story. I love the lullaby:

Make no mistake, though a child is the protagonist this is not a children's movie. It is rated R for a reason.

The theme is dark but in the end not rooted in despair but quite its opposite. I can't say much more without giving mega spoilers.

I may have to watch it again before I send it back to Netflix. It's spoken language is Spanish and I had to keep my eye on the English subtitles and quite frequently pause in order to finish reading or backtrack to see something in the scene I missed.

I wish my two years of high school Spanish had weathered better so I could enjoy this story as it's creator intended.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Currently Kieth

I'm counting down.

I've made no secret of my fondness for Keith Olbermann's show and how upset I was when he got into that kurfuffle with MSNBC which I essentially stopped watching after that. By essentially I mean I still download Rachel's pods and sometimes actually watch them. And I get Ed's newsletter and occasionally follow a link to watch a video a day or three or more after it aired.

But enough on all that. There have been enough words wasted on that whole mishmash.

Meanwhile, tonight, I'm counting and recounting stitches as I put back in the several rows I had to pull out of a bookmark I'm crocheting after discovering, while working the last row, that it wasn't laying flat because one side had 34 of what the other side had 22. I'm still not sure how I managed that. I gave up trying to diagnose it precisely after my eyes started crossing as I tried to count the stitches in the rows behind the row I was working on looking for the exact place the mistake began. I finally decided it would be quicker to take it out and put it back in taking care to count and keep my eyes on the work not the TV. To be sure I took out the original mistake, I took it all the way back to the end of row two. I was almost to the end of row 7 and about to begin the border when I discovered there was a problem.


Monday, June 06, 2011

No Matter How Much

No matrz hao mush ai want stay wake 4 u ai jus cant oblij

Something about staring at the screen is making my eyes shy.

Or maybe I've just dissed Mr Sandman once too many and he's taking his revenge.



Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday Serenity #232

Almond Blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh 1890

I've always loved this painting by Van Gogh. I'd like to do it in cross stitch or needlepoint. Petit point to be specific--18 plus stitches to the inch. I'd aim for 22 to 15 if I could choose. But I've never seen it in a kit so I guess I'll have to use one of those applications that can make needlepoint charts from a photo.

someday. I should finish at least a half dozen of the projects I have going already first though.

Shouldn't I?


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Getting a Rounded Education

My focus with the crochet the last few days has been learning to work in the round. I need to make a big flat circle for the rainbow whatsit I'm making and I kept ending up with bowl shapes or ruffled edges. I learned that the principle is to increase the stitches in each row by the number of stitches in the innermost circle. And there is an algorithm--you add an extra stitch every nth stitch where n is the number of the row you are working on. Thus on row 2 you work two stitches in every other stitch of row 1 and in row 10 you work 2 stitches in every 10th stitch of row 9 and every stitch in between gets the usual 1 stitch.

When you want a bowl shape you don't increase and when you want it to ripple or ruffle you increase the increases.

I was so fascinated by a picture of interlocked circlets I had to figure out how to make them without a pattern and then once I had, I knew they must be incorporated into the rainbow whatsit. That is what is pictured, the bare beginning of something that will be part of the rainbow whatsit. But I've already imagined dozens of other uses for the concept and in all the colors and color combos known. Belts, headbands, bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces, earrings (much smaller circles) Xmas tree decor, party decor, pull cord, purse or tote handle.

I also had to 'invent' a new stitch for those circlets. I needed it to be taller than a double but the simple triple was too flimsy. After experimenting with several combinations I settled on what i call the 1-2-3 stitch. I wrap the thread twice around the hook before inserting hook in center space and pulling working thread through. This puts 4 loops on the hook. Then I yarn over and pull through 1 loop, YO and pull through 2 loops and finally YO and pull through all 3 of the remaining loops. 1,2,3. Those three loops on top give the stitch a stiff upper lip that stablizes the shape almost as much as the thread wrapped around the center chained loop.

The principle I've established is two stitches per chain in the center loop. But I've not made any other sizes yet. These ones have a center loop of 22 chains with 44 1-2-3 stitches. I have in mind to try an 11 chain loop with 22 half-double stitches around. Note that a smaller loop would likely need a shorter stitch than the larger loop.

I've also pictured these circlets interlocked in a grid to make rectangle objects: bags, book covers, scarves, placemats, chair back protectors, wall hanging.... Maybe even an afghan? Now that would be a lot of circlets!

Though I was mostly looking for help on the flat circle for the rainbow whatsit project I've spotted a lot of round crochet projects that have taken my fancy besides the cirlets. Snowflakes had already captured me a few weeks ago though I've yet only worked the one. But I've seen flowers, mandalas, wheels, ovals, coasters and yes, doilies! I did not expect to be into doilies since I am not a doily person when it comes to interior decor. First, I'm not fond of busy decor. But mostly because It was my job to dust as a child and I did not care for having to remove and replace the doilies under the vases and nicknack's. Plus I've never really been into lacy. But some of the doilies I've seen online this week are so lovely. Enchanting even. I expect it is the fact that they are in a sense, mandalas, which have had a role in every culture and religious tradition known and which Jung speculated had some relation to mental wellbeing.

What are the snowflakes if not mini-doilies? Or is it the other way around--what are doilies if not representations of the snowflake?

The one thing about working in the round though is all the counting involved. It is not compatible with working and watching a movie. It might even be iffy with listening to audio books while stitching. But remove those 'distractions' there is still my propensity to daydream.

In my attempts at working that navy blue circle I've lost count of the number of times I've had to pull out whole rows because I lost count of the stitches.


Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

Amédée Varin - L'Empire des légumes 4>

I tell aspiring writers to read poetry, which I think for them is often the literary equivalent of being told to eat Brussels sprouts. They're none too enthusiastic. But what a shame if a writer doesn't at least try to find poems that speak to him or her. Poets manage to get into a couplet what i struggle to achieve in an entier book.

Acknoledgements in Brutal Telling


Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Difference that Makes a Difference: Quote

There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors with no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare reason and generalize, using labors of the fact collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, and predict. Their best illuminations come from above through the skylight.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 - 1894)


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Rainbow Whatsit @ 17 Days

I'm continuing to call this a whatsit even though I now have a solid plan for it. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it is fun to be a bit mysterious. Hint This is the first non-flat piece I've attempted and only the second that wasn't some form of rectangle. The one snowflake being the first item I worked in the round.

Working in the round is still very new and awkward for me and I'm having a great struggle with the second section of this project. As you can see the round piece has curled where it is supposed to lay flat. This is the eighth or ninth attempt and I've only passed this number of rounds once before. I'm going to have to take it out again and I think I'm going to have to research online for help on what I'm doing wrong before I make another atempt.

I began the bobble row on the edge that has no tails just so I could get it in the picture. I'm using the thread color called Mexican, a variegated that contains all the primary and secondary colors. I used a five quadruple crochet in each space. I'm considering taking it out and trying six quads per space.

As you can see I've got a huge task in tail tucking in store. With three iterations of the 16 color pattern and 2 tails per stripe that gives me 16X2X3=96

I have a very bad track record for tucking tails. It is not my favorit thing about crochet. But I am so anxious to see this project complete maybe I will be more dedicated to that end than usual.

The last several large projects I worked on were all gifts for someone else. This one is a gift for me. Again, poor record in finishing things I make for myself. Maybe this time will be different.


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