Saturday, June 30, 2012

Note To Self:

Note to self:  Think up better excuse for big honking bruise on the shin than "I tangled with a cabinet drawer and lost........."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Random Thoughts for Friday

* It shouldn't have, but it honestly surprised me to discover "Heart and Soul" included in a piano songbook.  Is there anyone who has ever even gotten NEAR the piano who didn't learn that one?

*  There's a point in the life of cat owners when waking up to dead rodent gifts stops even registering.

*  For every person actually working on a political campaign, there seem to be about 75 experts who know how it really SHOULD be done.

*  One of the happiest gardening moments I have each year is the moment when I see the squash plant branching out in the "winter-squash" pattern rather than the upright "zucchini plant" one.

*  If one can't remember if one has done all three sets of weights or just too, assuming it was all three is a lot less painful if one guesses wrong. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Zucchini Blues

Now that one of our groups of friends has gotten into music, there are regular music-themed parties.  This weekend we attended a Blues Party.  Because this was just so clever, you have to see the invitation we received:

Your Part
A few good men/women who can do the blues (your terms, your music!).  Can be vocal, rap, harmonica, guitar, you name it!  (Please respond on this so we know who's sing'in/play'in or speak'in)
Perhaps a bit of grits to share and blues appropriate drink. 
Sing'in the blues
1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."
2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like "I got a
good woman with the meanest face in town."
3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: "Got a
good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound."
4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch: You stuck in a ditch, ain't no way out.

Blues Drinks
If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
· bad wine
· bad whiskey or bad bourbon (would elixir qualify?)
· muddy water
· black coffee

Blues Names (if you don't bring one, we'll give you one!)
Make yer own Blues name (starter kit):
· name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
· first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
· last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc

Blues attire: Cotton and wool make good blues clothing. Lycra does not.
Shoes with tassels are not blues shoes. Other dress shoes are, as long as they got holes in 'em from walkin' so far to try
to find that no-good, sorry woman what left you. If you own a pair of Air Jordans, you cannot have the blues


Who could possibly not have fun with this?  I thought I made a delightful Lame Lemon Polk, and am thinking about adding it to the blog as my nickname.  And, in order to be worthy of playing with such fun people, I wrote and performed the "Zucchini Blues," with the aid of Mr. W.C. Handy:


The Zucchini Blues
by Toni Sutton & W.C. Handy

I hate to see garden season come 'round
I hate to see garden season come 'round
'cause it's time to get those seeds in the ground

Feelin' tomorrow like I feel today
Feel tomorrow like I feel today
I'll pack my trowel and my seeds away
Garden season, with your bugs and dirt
work that ground, til my my muscles hurt
'Tweren't for food now that ain't food no more
We'd be buying all our food at the store---the store

Got the zucchini blues just as blue as I can be
That squash and it's friends just keep on pickin' on little ol' me
Or else my grow rate wouldn't be just one in three
Zucchini Blues...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The US Olympic Committee's Hunting of Ravelympics Makes Business Week

One does not tick off 2 million people wielding pointy sticks in the world of social media without getting some notice.  Yesterday, it made Business Week:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-22/why-the-u-dot-s-dot-olympic-committee-cracked-down-on-a-knitting-group

The U.S. Olympic Committee did issue an apology of sorts, though the apology has actually ticked off knitters further.  First, no one in their right mind would believe that a letter which lists actual Ravelympic events AND specifically links to patterns is a "standard" letter.  Second, which every member of Ravelry understands even if the public doesn't, in order to get the list of events and links to projects, someone from USOC actually had to create an account on Ravelry to have access.  This wasn't just some casual form letter.  One can't access Ravelry without an account.  It's free, but one must create a user name and password and join to look up anything on the site.  SO, the U.S. Olympic Committee is so obnoxious about clamping down on anything even resembling the word "Olympic," (which has existed for far longer than the United States has--much less the absurdly zealous U.S. Olympic Committee), that they spend time joining crafting sites in order to spend time sending letters to stop community events from which no one actually profits.  Ravelry is free to users.  The Ravelympic games were created just for fun and no one makes money or pays money to do anything with them.  They weren't even created by Ravelry--it was just something some folks started doing for fun to do something while watching the Olympics.  And THIS is enough of a threat to get investigated by the U.S. Olympic Committee.  Then to ask the knitting community to actually send knitted items TO the athletes that just the day before the USOC statesman had said the knitters were "denigrating" has really just fanned the flames--not extinguished them. 

In one way, I think the deplorable behavior of USOC will put an end to the Ravelympics, but not because of the Cease and Desist letter.  Personally, I have a lot of fun with the knitting games, but I would prefer them to no longer have any remote connection with the Olympic games.  Our games are about fun and team spirit and community, and the behavior of USOC has permanently given me a bad taste of the "real" Olympic games.  The event-formerly-known-as-Ravelympics deserves better, and frankly, the United States Olympic Committee could learn a lot from OUR event. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ravelympics - U.S. Olympic Committee Says Knitting "Denigrates" Olympic Games

You've all heard me mention the Ravelympics, which I honestly care more about than the actual Olympics themselves, but the idea was always that knitters did events to coincide WITH the Olympics in order to watch them.   Well not this year.  Today the owners of Ravelry received a "cease and desist" letter saying the name had to be changed because knitting "denigrates" their athletes.  Yeah--and using athletes to hawk products like McDonalds and Dow Chemical is standing up to the noble ideas of fair play.  Technically, it's more like prostitution--just the legal variety.  I can certainly see how knitting would sully THAT.

So, the nearly 2 million members of Ravelry are furious.  I'm technically boycotting the games--though since I never watched them in the first place, it will be hard to notice.  BUT, in the age of social media, I think they're in for a bit of a firestorm.  The first news release is up already: 

http://gawker.com/5920036/us-olympics-committee-is-mad-at-knitting-olympics-for-denigrating-real-athletes

And, since it irritates them so much for the fine "sold-to-the-highest-bidder-no-matter-what-they-sell" Olympic games:

RavelympicsRavelympicsRavelympicsRavelympicsRavelympicsRavelympics

And now, since I can't do the noble thing of selling my knitting time to the nearest environment-harming, obesity-creating company with millions, I'll just have to take my disrespectful hobby outside and knit.  Maybe I'll work on a charity project.   THAT certainly will have nothing to do with the spirit of the United States Olympic Committee.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

12 Flowers

One of my "12 12s" for the year is to plant 12 different flowers.  I'm not counting the daisies,

which I planted a couple years ago and couldn't kill now if I tried.  They're rather smelly and they attract aphids, but there's still a lot to be said for flowers that grow with no help from me.

I've tried growing violas from seed several times, and they don't like me.  But,
(purple things on the bottom left) they seem to be surviving nicely in a pot where I put them as plants.  So, that's 1.  Then the petunias (2), the carnations (upper right) are number 3 as I added a second type of carnation to see if it helped with the scraggly can't-grow-upright single carnation I have been getting.  They grew and they're upright...but they don't smell nearly as nice as the vertically-challenged one.  So I may look for a third variety to add.

This is something called Linaria,
these are stocks,
bachelor buttons,
and if you can see it poking out from underneath the big squash plant and the little squash plant that is growing about 6 inches from where I put the seeds,
those lily-pad looking leaves are nasturtium, which are EVERYWHERE because they are supposed to repel squash bugs.  Unfortunately, I don't think they'll be able to help me with my real squash problem (never getting what I actually plant), but at least whatever I get should survive the summer.  Please let them not all turn out to be zucchini.......

So that's 7.  I bought marigolds (they refuse to grow from seed no matter what I do with them), planted several types of zinnias, cosmos (in an area where it's okay if they colonize), cleome, phlox (which the cats already got), heliotrope (cats), forget-me-nots (didn't grow), and 2 others which I have already forgotten because they didn't grow.  So I planted MORE than 12, but might actually get 12 to survive.  That would be very exciting.  I didn't make that the goal because I just didn't know if I could get 12 different flowers to survive the cats and my own black thumb.  If this keeps up, maybe next year I'll attempt a rose...........

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Radical" Feminist Nuns Trying to Protect the Poor


By now, I think most of us have heard about the group of nuns who are touring America to speak out against the Republican's Ryan Budget, which proposes severe cuts to social programs.  The nuns, shockingly, believe helping the poor is the Christian thing to do, and have been criticized by the Vatican for being "radical feminists." Amazing.   Wouldn't that make Jesus a radical feminist as well?  I'm not a religious person, but he did say an awful lot about helping the poor and that sort of thing--the Socialist.  I can think of no image I enjoy more than a group of nuns on a bus tour:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/06/nuns-group-plans-bus-trip-to-protest-the-ryan-budget/

Sister Simone Campbell has even appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Nation, and held her own quite nicely:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/415112/june-11-2012/radical-feminist-nuns---simone-campbell

You can learn more about Nuns on the Bus at their website:  http://nunsonthebus.com/

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ahem.............

Yesterday: live bird turned loose in the house
Today: dead mouse found bundled up in lace scarf laid out to dry
Tomorrow: kitty backyard privileges totally revoked............

Friday, June 8, 2012

Next Up....

Since I haven't yet killed the last 2 houseplants I bought, I am feeling positively giddy in the green-thumb department, and picked up this today:

(though I, unlike my photo editor, have the sense to keep the plant right-side up).  Wandering Jew is actually my favorite houseplant, but I killed the last one rather quickly, and was a bit hesitant to try again, but I have cleaned up our back bedroom enough to be able to have a plant hanging in front of the window there, so I have high hopes for this one.  I had to Google this, because I wasn't sure if it was still called a "Wandering Jew" or not, or if that was considered racially insensitive, but it does still seem to go by that name.  That makes sense--if you wander around in the desert for 40 years, people are going to talk.  Could you imagine?

"Sarah, David--what a surprise!  Really--we were expecting you in 1972...." 

These things get noticed............besides, it's a wonderful plant.  And I say this in spite of the fact that the odds are quite high that I will be killing the poor thing...........

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You Have to See This

The sewing room shelves are finished:
The upper shelves with the arches have lights, and the long shelf is to hopefully allow me to get the ENTIRE fabric stash back into the sewing room. 

Let the cleaning begin!!!

A Little Reading

I've fallen a bit behind on my reading goals in the past couple months, but thanks to having to slow down because of my back, I'm catching up a bit.  I don't often do book reviews here, but I have been reading a lot of interesting stuff lately, so it seemed a good topic for the day.

The Cat Who Came In From The Cold by Deric Longden
     I ran across this in the library yesterday, and was slightly hesitant at first because the success of Marley & Me (which I didn't like and couldn't make it through) has created a flurry of pet-themed books, but this one predates all of that, and--since I am behind--had the merciful quality of being short.  And it was delightful.  I was laughing aloud by page 7, and finished it before going to sleep.  Short, delightful, and definitely a fun book for anyone who has had a cat.  And, a nice break after:

Luckiest Man:  The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig
   Having lost 2 friends to Lou Gehrig's disease, I knew how the book would end, am not a fan of spectator sports, and have only seen one baseball game in my entire life - and I was still riveted to this darn book, and Mr. Eig owes me for the hours of sleep I lost staying up to read his book.  Thankfully, it wasn't so heavily about baseball that someone like me wouldn't understand it, though I did finally learn what RBI means.  Obviously, a really sad book, but a tremendous read, all the same

The Big Burn:  Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan
   At one of my appointments, my gynecologist recommended that I read The Big Burn.  (I know that sounds odd, but what else are you going to talk about if not books or something ordinary?)  I wrote it down as it did sound interesting--it's about a huge forest fire in Idaho back in 1910.  Then I found out the full title included the phrase "saved America," which moved it to the "no way am I reading that" list.  It has been my experience that the term "nonfiction" has come to be pretty loosely applied to some very bad books in the past few years.  Anything making gigantic claims usually has meant that the author might have truly done research, but then chose to present a whoppingly-biased account which should be moved into a whole new category:  so-completely-slanted-that-it-belongs-on-Fox-News.  A fire saving America?  Not likely.  But then another friend (on Goodreads--I love that site) also raved about it, so I caved and grudgingly borrowed it from the library as an audio book, since I require much less of a book I can listen to than one I physically read.  Thankfully, the book was wonderful--and it's pretty obvious that whoever came up with that silly name was in a marketing department and hadn't really read the book.  Mr. Egan deserved much better.  It's an especially interesting read to an Idahoan, because some of the crooked land issues from that era are now (in my understanding) causing a new ruckus and some federal investigations.  It was also really interesting to read because the political machinations could have been written about today.  Teddy Roosevelt put a huge amount of land--in Idaho among other places--into federal reserves, and it's still an issue in Idaho 100 years later.  If there's a way to make money, it usually has a big lobby behind it giving money to politicians, and that has never changed.  Having land set aside that one can't harvest timber on or graze cattle on or in any other way make money on has chapped generations of Idaho companies, and there have certainly been loopholes throughout the years.  I'm not against making money, but it does seem like we are pretty lousy land stewards sometimes.  Does having a tiny portion of the U.S. safe from economic influence really cause anyone harm?  Luckily for the future generations of Idahoans, some of the land in Idaho is so inaccessible that nothing can ever be done to it, but much of this book could have been written about the political wrangling today. 
     The book also talks about the start of the Forest Service, and in this era of Republicans screaming about the "welfare" state, it's a good reminder of why we have some of the programs and laws we have.  The Forest Service was underfunded, understaffed, and when one of the biggest fires ever broke out, many of them lost the rangers died fighting it, and hundreds were maimed or injured.  Know how much of their medical bills the U.S. picked up for those hurt in the line of duty?  Not one blasted cent.  Hospitals actually STOPPED TREATMENT for one ranger because he didn't have money.  The early Forest Service men were paid lousy wages, seriously understaffed, went broke if they were injured, had no safety equipment, and often died.  And we could easily get back to such a state if we don't start learning from our own history.  Sad.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Note To Self

Note to self:  Just appreciate that Theo's rodent gift is DEAD this time......and try not to focus on the fact that he's flipping it up in the air and almost hit me with it twice...............

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Not Ready

It's June 1, and my garden isn't in.  I'm not even ready for it to BE in.  Because of the interruption to normal life (a.k.a. the back injury) that happened at the very tail end of canning season, it actually feels like I have just gone from gardening season to a really long and not overly restful nap to gardening season.  How do people ever survive in climates without winter?  Year-round gardening would do me in entirely.

The New Additions

Shortly after moving, we had to put our oldest cat down, so we have adopted 2 new kittens to keep Theo company: Mostly Theo is not thr...