Monday, May 30, 2011

An Honest Living

My brother posted pictures of himself and some co-workers on Facebook.  The pictures were just like any other pictures of office hi-jinx except that he and his co-workers were all dressed in camo and carrying very large, scary-looking rifles in virtually every shot.

For the better part of the last 23 years, my brother has been in the Army.  In those 23 years, he's gone to virtually every country that was dangerous for an American to go to, and through luck and good training, has returned unscathed.  By the virtue of longevity, he has now assumed the role of helping younger soldiers stay alive out there--he's currently instructing them in how to dismantle/disable IED's.

You would think that by now, he'd be doing something that would keep him out of harm's way, but I guess that's not his style.  Besides, if not him, then who?

I guess that's what it all boils down to now, isn't it?  If not him, then who?

When I complain about how I think my boss is a scary narcissist, I blissfully forget that at least he's not a scary narcissist with no qualms about shooting me in the head for no other reason than they don't like the geographical region where fate landed me.  Those are the kinds of evil people who's actions garner the response of the United States military.  That's who we're up against.  That's who we're always up against.  Would you assume that role?  Would you take on a bully in a truly dangerous situation?

Soldiers are to be admired not just for their courage, but for the strong sense of right and wrong that compels them to stand up to the scary people.  I've been around that aspect of military mentality my entire life and I can tell you that it is almost completely the same from one soldier to the next.  They may complain about the pay from time to time, or about how a particular officer acts like a jerk, but those honest soldiers who lay it on the line every day, would do it anyway, because it needs to be done.  

My father and all four brothers are/were military.  Growing up, and still today, we hardly give it a thought--of course you serve.  Of course you do.  And that sense of service remains past the time that they are wearing the uniform.  It is in all areas of their lives.  Bottom line: Soldiers are good people.

It's hard to put a price on that kind of employee.  Someone on Wall Street would get paid big bucks to defend their company's way of doing things from a rival's threats.  Our nation only sets aside one day a year to officially recognize their sacrifice, but please, don't feel like you have to refrain from being grateful at other times of the year.  Thanks to them, you have a lot less to worry about every day, and that is priceless.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Stupid Stacks Up

You can almost count on The Crazy escalating in the Spring, can't you?
The things I've witnessed in the last couple of weeks....makes you wonder if it's been a full moom every day.
Rather than talking about stupidity at my office or sheer lunacy at a certain State Representative's office (...talking about you, Tony Cornish...), I'm going to get, well....a little personal.
No, we're not going to talk about my weight--it's not gonna be Oprah-personal, but I will be discussing a couple of local institutions with which one of my children is involved.
I'm not excited about publishing identifiers for my children online, so you can tell that the stupid thing that happened pissed me off.  A lot.  Enough to make me want to name names and write a letter to the editor and such.
My daughter plays fast-pitch softball at Edina schools.  The team she is on is not what I would call a hard-driving, championship winning team--they are just starting out, and honestly, they tend to lose more games than win, but, it's skill building so most of the time they are not discouraged by losses.  If they put in enough work, hopefully they will be the varsity athletes of tomorrow.  Right now, they're not there yet.  It's not a big deal to any of them--softball is fun for them, they enjoy the team time and they enjoy learning new skills.
About a week ago, my daughter's team played a team from Minnetonka, and, frankly, they had their butts handed to them.  They outplayed us, period--better pitching, better fielding, better hitting.
So we lost.
But, like I said, not a big deal to my daughter and her team mates.  Sure it's a disappointment, but....oh well.
After the game, both teams retreated to separate areas in the outfield for post-game wrap-ups with their coaches.  I was not privy to those conversations--well, most of those conversations, anyway. 
At the end of the pep talk, the kids from Edina put their hands together in classic sports huddle style and shouted "Edina!" on the break.  From all the way across the field, in their own huddle behind first base, the coach from Minnetonka had paused for a moment while this happened and was heard to say, in a mocking tone, "Edina!.....Sucks!"
Now, before I go any further, I do want to say that the letter I sent to this woman's boss was incredibly polite.  She should not expect the same courtesy here. 
I don't think it's terribly Mother Hen of me to want to punch her lights out for saying hurtful things to my child, is it?  That's a normal reaction, right?
Anyway...I'll start by saying, simply, "Grow up", and follow that up with a "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Your team played well and they won, and with your single bitchy comment, you erased all of their pride.  You took away their win and put the emphasis on our loss.  So not only are you unsportsmanlike to other teams, you're a thoughtless bitch to your own team, too.
Did you notice how your team reacted to your bitchy comment?  Nervous laughter.  Like, they probably couldn't believe you would say shit like that, either.
High school is an important time.  Kids need good examples, because at that age, literally, it can go either way.  They can grow up to be good and thoughtful people, or.... 
You, lady, are not a good example, and I would appreciate it if you would stay away from children until you are ready to be one.
Now, Representative Cornish--speaking of "not a good example...." (click here to read all about it)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Kitteh Cuteness

Moments like this one help you forget that time he got into your freshly planted windowsill herb garden and spread potting soil footprints all over the kitchen counter top...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

With Apologies To Sally Melville

I don't dislike the knit stitch, or garter stitch, if you prefer. I like it just fine. Hell, Sally wrote an entire, incredibly beautiful, book about it and I loved every article of clothing she produced while using only knit stitches.

I just had other plans for this yarn.

It is probably the softest, most luxurious yarn I have ever owned--100% Suri alpaca, shaved, cleaned and spun by hand by a lovely person right here in Minnesota--so I started off with visions of laci-ness, grabbed a pattern and got busy.

It was going so well until I realized that I was accidentally adding stitches up one side and the scarf was twice as wide at one end than it was at the other.



Begin again. 


Fourth attempt in, and a dozen other projects completed, I decide to let the yarn speak for itself. 

Yes, it's garter stitch. 

Worse yet, it's a garter stitch scarf.

Don't get me wrong--it is an incredibly soft and luxurious garter stitch scarf.  It's so soft and nice, in fact, that even a seasoned knitter couldn't possibly be put off by the beginner-ness of this garter stitch scarf. 


Sure, "garter stitch scarf" is what you make before you know how to read a pattern, or purl for that matter, but....this is different. 

Isn't it?

Am I sure this the appropriate thing to do with 25 bucks worth of lovingly hand-crafted yarn?

No, I am not.

Luckily, it is going to be given away, so as long as the person is good at feigning excitement at the time she receives it, I will be able to use the usual mind tricks to convince myself that it is getting near constant use in her possession. 

Truth is, I have to give it away.  Let's face it, if it stayed here, I would just keep ripping it apart and starting over again until there was nothing left but bits of alpaca fuzz.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Only In Small Doses

Most lace, which requires much more thought than I care to give, I can only do in small this little jobby.

It is going to be a headband.

Oh,  by the way, did I mention I'm growing my hair out?  It should only be truly ugly for the duration of the summer, so I'm developing a series of hats and other head coverings to make it disappear during the awkward stage.

Happy Anniversary.....Jerk

Just a year ago today, I picked up the kids from school and drove to Faribault to meet a little boy named "Tiny".

He was an absolute mad man from the very start, which worked out well when we changed his name to Napoleon.

Yeah, yeah...I should't generalize with the "jerk" commentary...he's not really like that all the time. Sometimes, like after he has spent literally five minutes compulsively scratching at the side of the litter box because he just can't seem to get that poo covered to his liking, I feel a little bad for him.

Then, when he steps out of the box and announces with a fearsome wail that he has, in fact, finished both pooping and scratching, you sort of want the celebrate right along with him--maybe like you would if you were to potty train a toddler.

On more than a dozen occasions, he has brazenly approached the yarn bowl, looking for a toy. He'll pick up a ball in his mouth and with a devilish glance at me, try to walk away. There are only 756,398,915 special playthings in the toybox, you know...a guy gets bored.

Because he is much more young and agile than his brother, none of their wrestling matches are fair. This fact does not, however, prevent him from starting them. That's the jerk part. The rest of the time, though, he's as sweet as any other adolescent boy you would ever meet.

In time, he'll be less distracted and want to hang out more (right now, he'll voluntarily sit with a with a person for just a little while before it's back to play time) but I doubt he'll ever lose his taste for yarn. I might worry if he did.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Don't Know Anyone Who Doesn't Need This

Sure, maybe some don't know they need it, but...10% Camel!

10% Camel! Come on! Of course I bought it.

Anyway...Shepherd's Harvest was fun. Lots of alpaca yarn, but sadly none of the beasts showed up in person for a photo op, so you get a picture of yarn instead.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Get A Job!

I have been on a quest to rid myself of the little balls of Yarn Without Jobs.  

Those lazy freeloaders!

They sit around, taking up space, and generally being jerks about it because they are not big enough to do any heavy lifting on a real project.

I decided to recruit them to be "extras", and am powering through a few pairs of slippers to clean out the inventory.

In all honesty, I don't actually know how to make slippers, though I can recite a sock recipe even before I've had my coffee, so what I'm calling "slippers" is actually a sock formula, only knit with acrylic worsted weight on an almost-too-small needle to make a stiffer, and crazy durable fabric.

The picture above is a toe-up Sockipper, 2nd of a pair, made in what has been my favorite color combo for the last few years, dark brown and torquoise.  

I swear, this is the last dark brown and torquoise yarn in the house.


Of course, this sets me up to buy more dark brown and torquoise yarn...but I'm thinking of switching to orange as my new weird obsession. Who's with me?

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi