Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I have often mentioned that I plan on retiring in 7 years (I'll be 54), but I've never really described what retirement means to me.

Fredda's Comments
Fredda (of Knitting Vault fame) in her comments yesterday, made me realize that I had never really described what I meant by retirement.

One of my brothers has been extremely successful in business, and most likely could have retired years ago (he's under 50 years old). I think he even tried retirement for a while, but realized that few of his friends could join him for a mid-week golf game or stay up all night in the middle of the week playing poker, and that most of his socializing came through his work life. He quickly went back to working.

For me, retirement means not having to work for a living.

I like the work I do, but there are times, like with any job, where it can be very stressful and trying. When I leave this career, it doesn't mean I will never work again. I most likely will, although it won't be a financial requirement that I work. That way, anything I decide to do for pay, will also be something I enjoy. Most probably, it will be fiber-related in some way.

Current Knitting
I completed a total of one more round on the Accidental Shawl.

Not exactly the power-knitting I was hoping to get done, but I fit it in where I can.

Quilting Progress
I know it's difficult to see quilting progress, so I've digitally accentuated the quilting that I've done so far to try and make it a little more obvious.

I may need to get better at digitally enhancing if I want to show any progress at all.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding a knitting/reading related gift for a knitting friend, Cynthia asks, "Any suggestions?"

I don't really have any suggestions for literature with knitting content, although I was glad other readers came up with suggestions. Personally, I would try to start her on a new addiction and give her a beautiful wood drop spindle and some roving, with a beginner spinning book.

Regarding my dislike of James Frey's use of gay-baiting his readership, MOG writes, "And I interpreted the priest incident, not as a gratuitous 'See I hate gays, too' interlude, but more a 'See how awful I was before I came into the light. How can anyone forgive me?'"

I couldn't disagree more. I don't even believe the incident occurred at all as he described it. I have known a lot of lecherous gay men, but none so bold as to continue to be physically insistent at the risk of violence. That priest would have given up after the first attempt. I truly believe the entire story was a slimey plot device that the author made up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Back To Work

Having off two weeks with no travel plans was a nice preview of what I hope retirement is like.

Don't Get Me Wrong
We ate at lots of great restaurants and took a number of interesting day-trips, went to the gym a lot and went shopping for stuff. I can't imagine I could keep up that kind of pace during retirement, but it was a wonderful way to spend two weeks.

Of course, I also knitted, spun and quilted, in addition to filing my Federal, State (2 states for me), and local taxes for Thaddeus and I. Actually, I also had to file my 2004 local taxes, because I never did it last year...so it was a lot of tax filing.

Current Knitting
Despite working on the Accidental Shawl quite a bit, I haven't made a lot of visible progress.

I'm hoping to finish this project by Friday of this week, so I need to put a little muscle into it.

Fiber Distractions
In addition to all the fiber-related activities during vacation, I also did a bit of reading. I finished A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.

I knew all about his lying in the book and as a result, to Oprah, about his criminal record, but I didn't care, as I was enjoying the book a lot (and I usually DESPISE Oprah Book Club books...I think her choices in books suck). But ended up hating the book quite a bit by the end. I'm convinced that his description of beating a priest was a complete lie, or at least the circumstances around it, and I found it offensive that his most shameful act during his addiction seemed to be written as a self-aggrandizing, homophobic, hate-filled ploy to get readers on his side.

For anyone that knows anything about addiction and recovery, this is just another author describing his experiences while still in "self-will run riot" mode.

Highly NOT recommended.

Readers' Questions/Comments
Regarding the pattern stitch for the Accidental Shawl, Marcia asks, "Should there be a k3/p3 within asterisks somewhere?".

Yes, she's exactly right, my pattern instructions were wrong. They should have been:

Cast on a multiple of 9 sts plus 3 (e.g. 12, 21, 30, etc.)
Row 1: * K3, (YO, K2Tog) 3 times, rep from * to last three sts, K3
Row 2: * P3, (YO, P2Tog) 3 times, rep from * to last three sts, P3

Thanks for checking my pattern stitch.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I saw an interview with Sarah Vowell who was promoting her new book and she mocked herself by saying how much she cried when Bush was being sworn in the first time, and how concerned she was that he might ruin the environment or reduce civil rights.

Beyond All Repair
For those of you who don't listen to National Public Radio, Sarah Vowell sometimes narrates stories on a show called "This American Life" and is very funny. She has a very distinctive voice which is both understated and hilariously funny at the same time.

Her woefully inadequate worries at the signing in of this incredibly inept president made me both laugh and cry.

I remember being amazed that Bill Clinton was able to come in and correct many of the dreadful mistakes that were made by both Reagan and Bush I. But I fear the devestation wrought by Bush II and his cronies will never be able to be corrected.

How could we possibly regain the respect of the World community? How could we ever be trusted to not torture "enemy combattants"? How could we ever start to rebuild the poorest communities in this country that have moved to ghetto proportions?

I think of the impending civil war in Iraq right now that the U.S. is largely responsible for. I think of the fact that Hugo Chavez and his Venezuelan oil are the only folks that would offer to sell our poor cheaper heating oil this Winter season. It will take 10 Bill Clintons to clean up this mess.

Yes, beyond all repair, I fear.

Current Knitting
I've continued on with the lace knitting, although, you'll see below that I've been focusing on other fiber-related activity as well.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
Spinning continues to go about as planned. By the time I head back to work early Monday morning, I will have finished the second bobbin of Blueface Leicester singles and I will have made some progress on the third.

I also finally got the quilting supplies I ordered last week, and restarted quilting the pillow.

I've basted together my first "sandwich", and I've marked most of my quilting lines. I've done the majority of the center of the pillow and it's going very well.

First of all, the batting is making a significant difference, and it is MUCHeasier to quilt.

Second, the new needles aren't much better than the regular quilting needles I bought at JoAnn's when I first realized I needed quilting needles instead of "nails".

Finally, starting in the center and working outward is a lot easier as well.

While my middle finger hurts again, I'm already re-forming a callous, and quilting is getting pretty routine and easy.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Yesterday's comments on the management of the ports were some of the most thoughtful, interesting opinions I've read in a long time. Readers added a significant amount of both information and perspective. Thank you all.

Concerning the Accidental Shawl, Jay notes, "Mother of God that is fine and fiddly work... beautiful, but I bet a lot of headache tabs went into the making of that!"

Actually, the pattern stitch is easy and automatic, and this project has been one of the easiest and headacheless projects I've ever designed. It's actually not even that fiddly, it's quite easy and seems to grow much more quickly than other lace projects.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

So Many Poseurs

All these politicians pretending to be doing good things for people, and all they give a shit about is power and getting re-elected (yeah, I know...big surprise).

God, How Tiresome
With all the whining about the Dubai company taking over port management of many of our country's ports, I honestly don't see what the problem is. Lots of other countries have managed or even currently manage our ports. And they're not in charge of the security.

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing folks haranguing the Bush administration, but honestly, aren't they just being xenophobic hypocrites when they say an Arab country can't take over management of our ports??

And then Mr. President himself, assuring the public that a full review has been done, even though he only heard about it when it started getting news play. More bullshit.

And Frist is the biggest poseur and gets my "Poseur of the Week" award for coming out against the port management, and then skulking back to this corner when there's a reaction. Nice backbone.

Thank goodness for the sensible reaction of a real president, Jimmy Carter. Despite his many disagreements with the Bush administration, at least he tells the truth and says he finds nothing wrong with the port management decision.

Now...if there was a secret, illegal deal with Dubai, then it's a completely different issue. That would be "business as usual" with this administration.

New York Visit
Yesterday, Thaddeus and I went into to see a wonderful play, called Jump/Cut, that friend Lisa is involved with.

The play was great, I'm sorry it only runs until later this month. All I can say is that wherever Lisa goes, good theater follows.

Current Knitting
I've gotten some more done on the border of the Accidental Shawl.

As you can see in the picture, I've got two inches of border completed and I have about three more inches to go.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Accidental Shawl, Ann asks, "Would you post the basic lace pattern or pattern name and source?"

The pattern is really quite simple, and I doubt the exact pattern stitch is in any of the Walker books.

Cast on a multiple of 9 sts plus 3 (e.g. 12, 21, 30, etc.)
Row 1: K3, * YO, K2Tog, rep from * to last three sts, K3
Row 2: P3, * YO, P2Tog, rep from * to last three sts, P3

Doing this stitch in the round is a little different. Round 1 would be the same as row 1, whereas round 2 would be K3, * K2Tog, YO to last 3 sts, K3, since the YO comes after the decrease when doing it from the right side, in the round.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Vacation and Taxes

Even with advanced software assistance, filing my taxes each year is getting more and more complex. I'm grateful for the cancelled vacation time to be able to get all my tax papers in order.

So Many Taxing Authorities
Many of you know that I live in Pennsylvania, but I do most of my income-generating work at the client site, where ever they may be located. These days, I've been working up in Albany, New York.

As a result, I have to file a federal return, a New York State return, a Pennsylvania State return and a local township tax return. And, of course, each one has different rules as to what is and what isn't taxed, and each taxing authority is reliant on the other for credits for the the other.

I've completed my Federal, Pennsylvania, New York and local for 2005, and I can't tell you what a relief it is to have that checked off my to-do list.

It's almost as relaxing as a vacation.

Current Knitting
I'm continuing to progress on the Accidental Shawl, and I still really enjoy the pattern and the look.

I've completed about half of the border, and when the fabric isn't being stretched out for a photograph, the ratio of the number of border stitches to center-panel stitches seems pretty good, so that it will block out flat.

Showing progress on spinning pictures is like showing them on the alpaca bedspread/coffin cover project I'm working on.

Even when I've done a shitload of spinning, the results just don't seem impressive in pictures.

I'd like to finish the second bobbin of singles for this wool before I finish vacation, and perhaps even get a little head start on the third and final bobbin, since my progress once I've returned to work won't be anywhere near as substantial.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thank you all for the captions on the sheep picture. I am always surprised by the cleverness of readers.

Concerning Capote, Judy asks "Have you seen 'the glass house' (1972)?"

No, and the last time I was in the video rental place where Thaddeus works, I checked to see if they have it, and they don't. I'll have to check their other store, because NetFlicks is not an option in this household.

Also concerning Capote, Caro asks, "Have you read Capote's "A Christmas Story(Memory)" yet?"

I have. I read it a long time ago, not knowing it was by Capote, and then more recently when it came as part of the short stories with Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Finally, I was glad to read Greg's comments on Western Kansas' reaction to the book, and I'm not at all surprised. I'm too young to really remember Capote, but the recent movie portrays him as a complete asshole. But he sure as hell could write amazingly well.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Queer Sheep

Franklin can draw funny sheep, I have to resort to finding funny pictures on the web.

Captions Anyone?
Franklin also has an amazing way with words, and funny captions for his funny sheep drawings.

I, on the other hand, rely on my readers to come up with clever captions for random pictures I find on the web.

Anyone have any clever captions for me?

Okay, I've undone all of the machine and hand quilting that I worked on the pillows.

As Ann suggested, I've ordered Quilter's Dream Request batting and the John James quilting needles. As soon as they arrive, I'll restart this project.

The one nice part of all this is that I still love looking at these fabrics. Usually with a knitting project that goes on for a while, I get very tired of the color of the yarn. I need to go to Liza's site to see if there are any new fabrics from Kaffe or any of the other amazing fabric artists she carries.

Fortunately, I get to go around the corner and see them in person. If anyone wants an opinion on any of her fabrics, I'd be glad to check them out personally and let you know what I think.

Non-Knitting Activity
I just finished In Cold Blood by Truman Capote this morning.

After seeing one of my favorite actors, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, portray Capote on film, I was inspired to read some of his work. A while ago, I finished Breakfast at Tiffany's and some of Capote's short stories and enjoyed them all very much. In Cold Blood is significantly different than any of them, but the quality of writing is extraordinary. When I read something like this, I always wonder if the author has taken great pains to make ever word and sentence and paragraph perfect, or whether he writes like this effortlessly.

Either way, In Cold Blood is a masterpiece of writing.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding unquilting, JoVE notes, "Remember that your goal was learning and you will realize that you are more than meeting that goal."

This has been my exact philosophy all along, and she's exactly right. I also learned something about myself in the process. Even though I realized that I was running into problems earlier, I considered the machine stitching too much work to undo. But as the project got worse and worse, I had no problem undoing all the machine stitching and the the hand stitching to get back to ground level. The stitch-ripping was almost therapeutic.

JoVE also asks about the Blueface Leicester, "Isn't BFL lovely to spin?"

Yes, it's some of my favorite so far. As nice or nicer than the brown Jacob Select I spun a while back.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Thaddeus!

Yes, Valentine's Day and Thaddeus' birthday fall on the same day. My Valentine lover is 52 today.

Birthday Plans
I woke up today to a perfectly beautiful card that could have been custom made for me and a box of peanut butter chocolates from the local chocolatier.

Thaddeus woke up to a perfectly beautiful card that I had to write a personal note in, because the sentiment wasn't exactly what I would have wanted to say.

Have you ever tried buying a romantic card for a same-sex partner? It's not always that easy.

He also got a nice field jacket that he wanted from L.L. Bean.

It's not as warm as Cancun, but it will have to do.

Current Knitting
Work continues on the Accidental Shawl...but not enough to show in a picture.

Spinning Adventures
With vacation time being enjoyed, I've also had some time to work on the Blueface Leicester roving/spinning.

This may not look like much, but it's TONS compared to what I would have to show if I hadn't had some leisure time to work on this.

It came to me in a dream last night, and then kept me awake for about an hour.

I need to undo all the quilting I've done so far.

Yes, I know it sounds drastic, but here is my rationale.

1. I've been doing a lot of quilting lately and I'm realizing that the batting is way too thick and is causing more and more problems as I proceed.

2. My initial machine stitching in the gutters is awful and has caused issues with the backing and it's looking worse and worse.

3. My initial quilting wasn't very good (this is a minor issue, as my initial attempts were in a place that made the pillow top look kind of folksy, which I like).

4. I think it was JoVE that mentioned that I should quilt from the center, and she is absolutely right. I'm running into more and more problems.

So all-in-all, the next entry will show all the work that I've done to undo the completed quilting.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Accidental Shawl, Jacquie asks, "When you chose the border, did you verify the number of rows versus number of stitches so it blocks flat?"

I did an approximation. I've always been in the school of thought that blocking is an art, not a science. We'll see how good that school of thought is when I actually block it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Weekend Giggles

Did it strike the rest of you as funny that Dick Cheney shot one of his friends in a hunting accident?

Sick Man
I know it was an accident, but I just found the thought of this idiot shooting someone quite funny. I don't hunt, so I'm not sure if this happens quite as often as they say, but at least it wasn't Quayle they were hunting instead of quail. The secondary giggle came from the fact that Cheney's ambulance was right on hand, since they follow him around, and the shot man was able to get immediate medical help.

Remember, guns don't hurt people, Cheney hurts people.

Snow Shoveling Weekend
I spent most of yesterday helping Thaddeus shovel our small driveway. We got about 18 inches of snow, and significant drifts directly on our driveway.

This is the view from my back porch.

Current Knitting
I've made some progress on the Accidental Shawl. I have over an inch of border completed.

Only 4 or 5 more inches to go before I finish this project.

Readers' Comments/Questions
About the Blueface Leicester spinning I've been working on, Marilyn asks, "And by the way, bro, are you planning on Navajo-plying that BF Leicester?"

No, I will be attempting a simple three-bobbin plying. I couldn't imagine hand-plying all this fecking yarn, and I seem to recall one of my books has some information on triple-plying that I will read before doing it.

Regarding the murder trial in Israel, T. notes, "Nice to focus on a rare event in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East." T. then goes on to mention all the things that Israel does right regarding gay rights in Israel.

Another example of how some readers miss the point. My post on "killing for God" had nothing to do with the location. It seems T. might have a little resentment about folks views of Israel.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"I have come to kill in the name of God"

So said Yishai Schlisel on June 30th of last year when he began indiscriminately stabbing people in the gay pride parade that went through Jerusalem.

There Are Civilized People in the Middle East
Fortunately, he was only able to stab three people before he was subdued. More fortunately, none of the stab victims died. Even more fortunately, Mr. Schlisel will be spending the next 12 years in Israeli jail.

Despite all the numerous examples, I find it hard to fathom that anything, especially religious fervor, could incite someone to forget the humanity of another.

Current Knitting
I've completed another couple of rounds on the border of the Accidental Shawl, but any picture of it would look pretty similar to the last two. Perhaps I'll try to get another picture of this shawl tomorrow.

Other Fiber Activity
I finally finished the first bobbin of singles on the Blueface Leicester. If all of the bobbins weigh the same, then I spun 9.5 ounces of singles onto that first bobbin.

I also just barely got started on the second bobbin. Since I'll be triple-plying this yarn, I've got a lot of work to do on the singles. Fortunately, I'll have some time to spend on this endeavor over the next couple of weeks.

Some of you know that Thaddeus and I usually take a February vacation in Cancun, Mexico. The annual vacation was scheduled to have us travelling there next week. Unfortunately, we were notified at the beginning of the year that the hotel where we stay won't be repaired from the hurricane damage until May.

So, we cancelled our trip to Cancun this year.

Instead, we'll be taking day trips and relaxing around the house for a couple of weeks. We're looking forward to it.

One of the day trips planned is to see a play in New York City, called Jump/Cut. Knitting pal, Lisa, is part of the Women's Project, and helped bring this production to the stage. We'll be going to the Wednesday matinee on the 22nd of this month.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the lousy magazine designs, Marilyn notes, "As long as the yarn companies dictate to the knitting magazines, you're going to keep seeing crap."

I'm glad she mentioned this, because I forgot the how much the influence of yarn-pushers on the bad designs in the magazines. Most of what it seems the yarn stores are selling is the crap that's being shown in the magazines too.

Last time I went shopping for yarn, I was looking for a superwash, DK weight yarn in a vibrant color, like red or purple or even an interesting blue. After looking in four yarn stores, I could easily have bought enough novelty yarn to knit a poncho that would have made up for the missing ozone layer, but I couldn't find enough superwash DK weight yarn to make a baby blanket.

So sad.

Allen's also right...I just shouldn't buy them. If I had even a modicum of self-control, I wouldn't...I promise to stop buying them until they have at least three good designs.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Knit Magazines

Despite a wave of harsh criticism, the major knitting magazines seem to only get worse and worse.

Is The World Crazy?
Carol displayed a rejection letter she got from Interweave Knits magazine for one of her designs on her blog the other day. Knowing Carol personally, and haven seen a lot of her designs, I can't imagine it was worse than the shit they've been publishing.

I could possibly understand that her submission didn't match the "theme" of whatever magazine is in progress right now, but I have to believe they could have fit it in somehow.

Maybe it's just my personal friendship with Carol that makes this hard to believe, but I think it's more than that. From what I've seen published in the knit mags lately, I would think they'd be begging designers for interesting designs.

Cast-On Magazine
Speaking of which, I just picked up the latest copy of Cast-On magazine. About 19 designs for $5.95, as well as a beginner's article on gauge and a more advance article on twisted stitches and cables.

There is only one design that is worth mentioning, and it's a knit and crochet top by Carole Powell called Blush Knitted/Crocheted Top. It's very delicate, has some decent shaping and looks very nice. From a practical perspective, it is lacey and see-through, but still very appealing.

Most of the remaining designs are dreadful, with a few plain boring designs thrown in. Designer Rebecca Sweinhagen has the least offensive and the most offensive designs in the magazine.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Concerning quilting pains, Linda suggests, "One or two of the fingers cut off a household rubber glove should fit a thumb snugly and last way longer than a finger cot. (The index and ring fingers work for me.)'

I like this idea. Thaddeus has a box of gloves that are not quite as thick as Playtex gloves, but should be perfect for this use. And I figure I can get 5 pairs of fingers from one pair of gloves...how perfect.

Blogger Blues

My blog is working fine, now I just need to get my domain working to point to it.

Preaching To The Choir
If you're here, this point is moot, but queerjoe.blogspot.com works fine, while queerjoe.com still has some issues.

Blogger removed any associations to domain names that were set up initially through them, and I'm waiting on instructions on how to re-associate my domain with my blog again.

I've tried doing a re-direct, but it doesn't seem to help yet.

Current Knitting
Four rounds of lace knitting on over 800 stitches can take a little while, so I'm making constant, but slow progress.

Only the half an inch or so below the needle is actually the border. I'm going to have to turbo-charge my knitting to get this one done.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks for all your suggestions on quilting. To be clear, the fingers underneath don't hurt at all. It's the fingers on top that hurt from pulling the needle through.

I totally understand how they call non-quilting needles "nails" since that's what it feels like I've been dragging through the sandwich.

I do have a good thimble, and I like the idea of the finger cots. I'll have to see if I can find me some.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My Fingers Hurt

It's amazing how much damage a little needle can do to my fingers.

Quilting Pains
And I haven't even poked myself with the sharp side at all.

Just manipulating the needle to do a quilting stitch motion has been somewhat difficult. I blame it on a few things:

- Being new to this activity, my fingers just aren't used to it
- My batting is way too thick, next time I'll know
- Even though I purchased quilting needles, I lost them somewhere and had to use a regular sewing needle.

I'm not sure how much the last piece will affect my hurting fingers, but I'll buy some more quilting needles tonight and find out if they make a difference this coming weekend.

Quilting Progress
Since I didn't know how good or bad my quilting abilities would be, I figured I'd start on a part of the quilt that was easiest and I didn't care how it came out. I started on the colored block border, making primitive echo "squares" inside each one.

My quilting started out terribly, and got better and better. My straight lines started getting straighter and my stitches started getting closer and closer. I did find it easier to quilt without the hoop, and I'd still have to get significantly better if I wanted to show the underside of the quilt. Thankfully, as a pillow, no one will see the mess I've made, and I didn't have to anchor each square.

A little bit more of a closeup.

I've finished about two thirds of the blocks on the first pillow. This might take a while. I also watched a show on Amish quilts this past weekend which let me see some of the Amish and Mennonite women quilting correctly.

Blog Issues
Blogger has been having some hardware problems that are supposed to be resolved tonight. If you access this blog using queerjoe.com, you might get a blank screen with the word "ok" on it. Accessing via queerjoe.blogspot.com should bring it up correctly.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I Had a Dream

I hate to use such a famous quote of such import, but I really did have a dream last night that I actually remember...which is amazing for me, and the dream did have civil rights aspects to it.

My Subconcious Fears
I was walking into a mall holding a small book of daily meditations and an even smaller plastic-coated calendar/planner. I was going into the mall through one of the lesser-used back entrances, which brought me by the security station, which was currently staffed by three loafing, uniformed security staff.

One broke off from the pack and came out of the corral of an office to ask me where I was headed. I told him I was going to one of the stores, and he reached to take my book and scheduler, and told me I was coming with him. I refused, but he took my handheld items anyway and told me to meet him in the administrative offices across the mall, but he let me go to my car first to think about it. I tried to argue, and it really started to piss him off that I was questioning his authority. I took it one step further by telling him that the way he should have approached this situation was...but I got no further when he barked some orders.

I went and sat in my car for a few minutes, and then went back in to get back my possessions, but the dream ended before I re-confronted the security guard.

I woke of with a sense of having been treated completely unfairly, and wanting justice.

Upon waking, Thaddeus turned on news radio, whereby I learned they had just extended the Patriot Act for five more weeks. My sense of having been treated completely unfairly, and wanting justice increased significantly.

Yes, I had a dream.

Current Knitting
I've completed two rounds of the border, but I'm pretty certain I will have to finish at least fifty rounds to get it to the proportions I'm looking for.

I'll try to get a decent picture of the border and how it's attached to the center panel, but I don't hold out much hope.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Reader Valerie read a comment of mine on Carol's blog regarding dyeing self-striping yarn. She replied via e-mail with, "If you're interested in trying some self-striping dyeing, there's a great tutorial here:


She's absolutely right when she says, "It's the first one I've been able to understand, though I haven't tried it yet. Somehow, finding 18 feet of space or so in a Brooklyn apartment is challenging."

Thanks again for the link.

Concerning the infant mortality rate in this country, Bluebell notes, "I work in health care and one of the biggest reasons our infant mortality rate is so high is b/c many women will NOT come in for pre-natal care; they don't see the importance of it (culturally and medically)."

You left out the core reason they don't think it's important, because they're never taught the importance. This country has such contradictory ideas on illegal aliens where it would appear that infant mortality rates is one of their ways of combatting it somehow.

Nancy asks, "Have you read Jimmy Carter's lastest book? The title is Our Endangered Values"

No, I haven't, but I'm going to ask my friend who gets me books he think I'll like to get it for me. Thanks for the recommendation. I love Jimmy Carter.

Ann asks, "Joe - you do have a hoop for that quilting, don't you? A nice wooden hoop or q-snap type frame. Because you aren't trying to do this in hand are you???"

I was postponing quilting until I purchased some things.

It includes a hoop, some fabric marking tools, a quilting template that I thought would work well, some threading tools and three different kinds of thimbles (and of course quilting thread).