Friday, September 28, 2012

Wisdom From Charles

My friend Charles, has lots of great quotes, many of which aren't suitable to post here on the blog, but one of them brings a lot of comfort in a very Republican/Ayn Rand sort of way.

What Me Worry?
My favorite quote from Charles is, "Never worry about anything that money can fix."

Given that you've made it past one of the biggest worries for many people, which actually IS money, this advice can be very comforting.  So, when I have anxiety over packing for a vacation, that I might have forgotten to pack something, or that my refrigerator might be on the fritz or that the gutters on the house are clogged...I can always take comfort knowing that money will fix all of these things.

Of course, there is always worrying about health or family or Thaddeus, etc. etc. but at least I can have my mind freed up from less troubling things in my life.

Now if I could just get to the point where I had unlimited money, I might find myself with unlimited ability to not worry.

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival Purchases
For such a manageable number of vendors, the percentage of interesting, high-quality, indie vendors at the festival was higher than I expected.  As such, I spent a bit more than I expected I would!

The first booth I saw, was Ball and Skein Yarns...gorgeous hand-dyed, stunningly beautiful yarns...but I couldn't justify purchasing something at the very first booth I came I went all around the entire festival before coming back to buy some.  You'll have to wait until the end of this section to see what I got there!

First up was some spectacular Icelandic wool yarn from Sweet Dreams Farm in a natural silver color.

I usually find Icelandic itchy and scratchy...this is soft and the luster of the yarn makes it actually look silver...totally amazing.

Then I ran into a friend of Kathy Hatori (the amazing natural dyer that gave the class at MFKR on indigo when I was there and the natural dyeing class this year that I envied with my whole heart), the owner of Tidal Yarns

Her yarns were just fantastic, but I opted for this beautiful combination of rovings...she didn't have as much of the antique gold color, so I figured I'd ply these two together.

Next up was Moonlight and Laughter.

Thinking that I was picking up some beautiful silk roving, I was surprised to find out this was actually fiber made out of milk solids...huh?  Yes, and it has the luster and softness of silk and it takes dyes at least as well.

Realizing that I was always losing my orifice hooks when I was working on my spinning, I was shocked to find these hand-turned  hooks were selling for $10!

I bought two!  One in Osage Orange and the other in some other wood that I already forget the name of.

Finally, returning back to Ball and Skein Yarns, I realized I should have bought her yarn right at the start of my tour.  They are fantastic.

This is her "Glissade"...a fingering weight yarn made of 50% Silk and 50% Merino and the colors are...well, you describe it.

Current Knitting
Keep making evolution-speed progress on the Milano blanket.

Interesting that even though I got a chance to hang out with Selma fromWoodstock, I didn't end up knitting a stitch.  I was MUCH more interested in gabbing and getting as much Selma darma as possible.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What It Is To Know Someone

Someone on Facebook commented about meeting someone in real life who you've known for a while on-line, and what it is to "know" someone.

Virtual vs. Actual
French and Spanish (and I'm sure other languages as well), have at least two words that translate to the verb "to know" in English.  Literally, the words would probably equate to "to know" and "to be acquainted with."

I'm thinking, the more general term, "to know" is a bit more useful in defining what it is to get to know someone either in a virtual world, or in real life.

Years ago, when I was working at my first corporate job, I had a phone relationship with one of my co-workers for almost two years before I actually met her.  Since we only dealt with each other on a professional level, I really didn't have a strong sense about who she was, but it was still nice to compare the the imagined persona with the real one when I finally got to meet her.

In this day and age of the internet, social web sites, blogs and on-line communities, it's much easier to get to know a lot more about someone without ever actually having met them.  There are photos and resumes and life-timelines, and updates on a regular basis as to what they're doing in their lives and opinions they have on social issues or politics.

Having had on-line interactions (reading his community postings, personal communications and following him on Facebook and Ravelry, etc.) with Tim Tenclay for years now, I felt as though I had a relationship with him...I know a lot about his family, what he does for exercise, what he does for work, and I was particularly fond of his viewpoints on social issues.  I have been looking for opportunities to meet Tim in person for a number of years now, and I finally got the opportunity this past weekend at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.

The accuracy of how I imagined Tim was WAY more accurate than my impression my co-worker in 1984.  He's a delightfully gentle man, who clearly loves his daughters Sophia and Petra as much as any parent possibly could.

I have to admit, it was actually a bit awkward meeting Tim in you act in accordance with the closeness you have from your on-line correspondance, or do you treat him more like a relatively new acquaintance?  I tried to straddle the fence between the two, but it was still incredible to get to meet such a great guy (and his daughters).

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival
I went from work on Thursday night to check in and have dinner at Easton Mountain (about 45 minutes from where I work). 

On Friday, I went off to guest-co-host The Quest Of Life radio show with my friend (and other co-host), Stephen Sims. 

When I got back to Easton, I was greeted by Jeff, Aaron and Dave, and shortly thereafter, Thaddeus arrived on scene for his debut visit to Easton. 

The following day, we headed over to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival to meet up with Kirk and Matt and Dave (the other Dave!).

We ate a lot, we laughed a LOT and had a wonderful time.  Thaddeus was his ever-helpful self in pointing out photo opportunities.

Such as:
Mennonite boy - hope I didn't steal his soul by taking this photo or anything.
The prettiest couple at the fair

Wigged lady eating ice cream
Sister Mary-Boot-Up-Your-Ass

Here are some other candid shots I took:
Jeff greeting his audience.

Thaddeus and Kirk

Kirk avoiding skin cancer.
Bill looking gorgeous and Dave looking gorgeous too.

One last one of Kirk

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Expanding Queerness

In short, “queer” means infinite possibilities for love, pleasure, and self-expression. To me, that is everything I ever wanted, everything I never dared to want, and more.

Are There Ever Too Many Possibilities?
Asher from Transarchist blog, has a great essay on the definition of "queer."  They aren't my definitions for the word, but I really love how the definition in the blog post are expanded to include expansive possibilities about being who you are.  The expanding definition also seems to add more specificity to the definition at the same time.

What I read in the blog post, and what appealed to me most was the sense of being happy with what you are.

I often say/write/express that there are some things in my life that I would have done differently, given the opportunity.  But honestly, I fear that if I ever could retroactively change life decisions, they might make me someone other than who I am today...and I really like how I turned out.

Latest Gadget
How many of you have seen the Addi Express King Knitting Machine?!?!

Here's a great video of Karin Skacel making a hat that WonderMike posted on Facebook:

It knits both tubular and freakin' cool is that?

Current Knitting
Oh so little knitting this past week.  I have to admit that most of the time I wasn't busy with work and social events, I was passed out in the deepest of sleeps.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Negation As Humor?

Anyone getting kind of tired of the the "...said no one ever!" commentary on Facebook?

Back To A Wayne's World
Doesn't it kind of remind you of the third-grade-level antics of commedians adding "NOT!" to the end of a seemingly complimentary statement:
"Mitt Romney sure is inspirational...NOT!"
Yeah, it wasn't very clever or funny then exept maybe in exaggerated ways as in Wayne's World or Gilda Radner and Bill Murray doing Todd and Lisa.  And even then, it was trying to make the person using it look immature and I'm thinking its latest version is equally as annoying and silly.

Perhaps both of them were funny or clever the first couple of times you read it...when they took you by surprise.  But now it just seems old and cliche, even when you're not necessarily expecting it.

Current Knitting
Despite having a 2 or 3 hour flight to and from Dallas this past weekend, I didn't get a whole lot more done on the Milano Stitch blanket.

In fact, it had about 4 ounces of tomato juice poured on it while en route to Dallas.  The flight attendant handed me a plastic cup of tomato juice for Thaddeus and a small rupture opened up only when I took possession of the cup, pouring a stream of tomato juice all over my pants and the blanket-in-progress in my lap.  Club soda worked well to get it out of my pants, but I will have to wash this blanket carefully when it's finished.

Readers' Comments/Questions
So first ink stains on my shirt, then tomato juice on my pants and knitted blanket.  I'm becoming a regular OxyClean commercial.  I haven't tried any of your hairspray or overdyeing ideas...Thaddeus said he will see if it's salvageable.  I also have started wearing a pocket protector...NOT!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Geek Chic?

I sometimes feel as though I've embraced my inner geek fully.

But Then...
...something happens where I realize I may still feel a little bit like that gawky high schooler who was fortunate to be able to run fast and avoid much bullying.

I work with a women who is the perfect sit-com mom...she's smart, sassy, has a great suburban mom look and is funny as hell.  Especially when her humor has a certain sharpness to it.

Yesterday, I had a pen explode in my shirt pocket.  It made quite a mess, and hoping to be able to salvage the shirt, I tried soaking the Rorschach test in cool water to see if I could make it unnoticeable.

As you can see, it wasn't unnoticeable.

Trying to leave the men's room and slip unnoticed into my cubicle, and stay there quietly for the remainder of the day, my project boss and Ms. Sassy Sit-Com noticed me and asked what happened.  When I related my pen explosion story, Ms. Sassy asked, "Shouldn't you be wearing a pocket protector?"

I guess she's not as funny when the sharpness is pointed at you.

Current Knitting
I've done a few more 8-row repeats on the Milano Blanket.

You'll note I used the orange sock yarn from my latest sock leftover.  I have to admit, that while it pops perhaps a bit too much, I still love it and and I think a  couple well-placed stripes of it will balance the blanket beautifully.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Tired of politics?  Work cramping your style?  Family making you nuts?  Even if none of these are true, there is a Men's Fiber Escape planned for the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd in Upstate New York

Men's Fiber Escape - Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival
In Greenwich, NY (which is the hometown of Easton Mountain), there is a two-day fiber festival called the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival (not to be confused with the Norther Adirondack Fiber Festival).

A number of us are planning on doing a “Men’s Fiber Escape” associated with this event in case anyone is interested.

Easton Mountain has a limited number of beds for Friday, September 21 and Satuday September 22nd.

Currently, I know Jeff, Dave, Aaron and I will be there (all of us will be staying at Easton that weekend), and my partner Thaddeus will be joining us for his first time at Easton Mountain.

Anyone interested in joining us and staying at Easton and joining in the fiber fun, can call Easton for reservations at 518-692-8023 or 800-553-8235 and schedule a “personal retreat” day.

Current Knitting
With the completion of the nice, portable sock project, I've resumed working on the ever-growing Milano stitch blanket.  I've added a few pattern repeats since the last blog photo, so I figured a new photo might look a little different.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor of Love

Having worked in Human Resources and Human Resource Systems for my entire career, I have to admit to having a lot of disdain for unions in my past...however...

We Need Unions Now More Than Ever!
Unions originally started to allow workers to come together and have some leverage with their employer when negotiating fair working conditions, salaries and as unions started to get more and more influential, they were able to get benefits for employees.

For a number of years, employers, in general, were doing a decent job of treating their employees well, and in large part, unions started to be less and less necessary.  More so, unions seemed to have more of a disruptive influence to business and started to work more toward self-preservation than supporting employees in their collective bargaining with the employer.

Now that CEO's and Wall Street are all about sucking every dollar from businesses, even if it might mean the demise of a business or even the total economy, unions are going to be more and more necessary to help fight for workers.

Hard to know the answer to the greedy and power-hungry...whether it's CEO greediness or union management greediness.

Hope you had a great Labor Day (even if you're not in the States)!

Current Knitting
I was able to finish a project.  Yes, the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Socks for People That Fucking HATE Pink are finished!

I love how these socks came out.  Someone asked if I had a pattern for these socks and I don't.  I can say, they're knit on US1 needles (2.25 mm) on a total of 68 stitches.  They're toe-up, using the figure-eight cast-on, starting with 24 stitches and increasing up to 68.  The heel was designed on the needles based on a description of Wendy Johnson's heel (or so I was told), and the stitch pattern is from the Basic Sock pattern from The Knitting Man(ual) by Kristin Spurkland.  Her stitch pattern is a 9 stitch repeat, so I had to take out 4 stitches to make it fit the 68 stitches.

Barb suggested some ways of having the socks stay up better, but I would much rather have them slouch a bit, and if Thaddeus doesn't want that, then I will wear (okay, so it was just a grin!).