Archive for February, 2007
Posted by: Tamara in Uncategorized, tags: mitts/mittens
I finished the Tiffany Mittens last night! I thought if I didn’t finish them before our trip, they would never get done as I fully intend on it being spring when we get home. As the mittens are intended for our VT LFG, she has a good month left to wear them (of course they need to get to her first!).
The above pose was arranged by our own Agent K and it is entitled, “Peace.” Agents J and B just walked by and they said “Oh, a bunny!’ So you may see into it whatever you choose!
Here is a more complete view:
I think I’ve written out all the pertinent project specs in previous posts so if you are interested just click on the Mitt/Mittens category in my sidebar. Just in case you are wondering what the heck I’m thinking, I am completely aware that they are indeed mismatched — fraternal brothers, rather than identical. I am not going losing my mind (though you can debate that amongst yourself if you wish). LFG said, “Cool! I’ll wear them!” and thusly she is now the proud owner of yet another of my finished projects! She has some way, that girl!
We are leaving tomorrow afternoon! I find myself quite perplexed at how a person such as me from a very small town in Connecticut is going to a place that looks like this:
Let’s just hope it is not as scary as Hartford, or I’m going to be in big trouble. This is only a small portion of the map of LA! I was trying to plot out some yarn stores yesterday, but I think the odds that we will get to go to any are very slim as seem to be mostly closed on Sundays and Mondays and we already have Friday and Saturday planned.
Well, I have to run — Happy last day of February!
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We are having ourselves a good old fashioned snow day today! The only thing that could make it more authentic would be Bob Steele’s voice announcing the cancellations in the morning. Do you remember him (if you are not from CT, perhaps you remember someone like him on your own local radio)? Do you remember having to listen to the long list of closings on the radio, waiting excitedly to see if your school district would be announced in the list of cancellations or late openings? If it wasn’t called yet, you would have to wait until the next batch in case your superintendent hadn’t yet phoned into the station. There were none of these Honeywell Instant Alert Messages calling you at 5 a.m. in the morning or sending you an e-mail to read with your morning coffee. Oh, I do miss Bob Steele, and not just him, per se, but the time that he represents. My dad was always the morning person in our house and he would have the hot water ready for hot chocolate milk and oatmeal. We would have to negotiate with him and his newspaper (always read back to front) for some room at the table. And there would be Bob Steele on the radio…
Anyway, moving on… The snow was sure flying here today:
The girls pretty much spent the morning outdoors. Even Agent K made her way outside without a single complaint that she has “nothing to wear.” They are currently getting suited-up for another round of outdoor activity. To make it even better, Mr. Snowy was cooperative today; he and I zoomed through 3 driveways, ours and 2 at my parents (Don’t worry, I only almost got hit by a car once.). I think IHA must have had a good talk with him before he left for CA because Mr. Snowy kept it up really great and today didn’t even rattle any parts loose. Usually he can be good for a bolt falling out that holds on the shoot or the thing that makes him go fast (I have no clue what that is actually called) coming undone. Even though it went well, I will not complain if it is to be our last rendezvous for the year! Spring! Hello? Where are you? I’m ready!
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Everyone asks me, “So, just went do you celebrate your birthday? Do you celebrate February 28 or March 1?” Like I really have to pick just one day. I don’t have a birthday so I just designate the whole month of February as my birthday month. I have little use for March. That is not my month. It really started a few years ago when my sweet and indulgent husband began to bequeath me little gifts over a few days during the end of February. There would be a note and chocolate on the seat of my car one morning and a little gift by the coffee pot the next. A few days quickly turned into “my birthday week” and now, I think, what is a week when I can have a whole month! Does that sound a bit spoiled? Wanting the whole month for myself? What about everyone else who has a birthday every single year without fail? Now that sounds a bit spoiled to me. Who needs one every year anyway? Really – you just have one and then another one rolls around the corner. So please don’t begrudge me my month as it makes me so very happy. It is the little things for us leap day babies, you know.
Last night my mother and my sister, Llamafarmgirl, gave me a fantabulous little birthday party. The girls and I dropped Dave off at the airport yesterday morning (no one puked or anything – I think that is an awesome sign of good things to come!). We came home and cleaned like maniacs (or rather, I cleaned like a maniac and tried to encourage everyone to pitch in and help). We had a little time for some rest and play before we headed next door. Mom and LFG prepared a nifty little dinner of stuffed chicken (of the previously frozen variety), veggies, and salad — just good stuff that everyone likes. And then there was CAKE! Mom bought a cake with purple frosting and palm trees (Tamara means palm tree) on it! There were the cutest little candles that spelled out the words “Happy Birthday” too. There was singing — the little agents know a heck of a lot of birthday songs — and presents too! My mom gave me some spending money for CA (I hope to find some time to plot the LA yarn stores out on my map.). LFG gave me the bamboo fibers shown in the photo above, some GRE vocab practice words (ack!), some hair stuff, some gum for the plane, and some mixed cds. Then we played Whoonu by Cranium which is a really quick and fun game and listened to the “way back weekend” on the radio. All in all, one of my favorite little parties ever!
Llamafarmgirl was inspired to buy me the bamboo fibers for spinning after reading Spinning Spider Jenny’s post, Sunny Bamboo Hanspun & Tips for Spinning Fine Yarn from February 14. Jenny’s yarn is so beautiful. It really looks so much like honey that you just want to pour it over your toast and into your tea. The colors that LFG chose for me have inspired me to join Project Spectrum. I have been toying with joining this for a while, but how could I not with gray and white fibers so lovingly gifted unto me? It seems like this is a very low-stress, low commitment group to join and it covers all varieties of art and craft fields. As to my new bamboo fibers, I don’t know what they want to be yet. I don’t know if I will add to them or color them or just use them individually, but there is something about the grayness that appeals to me. Are they grays that want to be left alone or are they calling out for a pink or a blue or a teal? Perhaps they desire a dash of turquoise…
IHA has left (on a jetplane). There is a strangeness that lurks in a home when someone is missing. There is no studying and no note cards and pencils strewn across every surface. There are no humongous shoes hanging out right in front of the door. There is no one to download the girls favorite podcasts on their mp3 players. There is no one to turn on the blanket to prewarm at night. But it will all be worth it because by next Thursday afternoon he will be back to us, no longer a slave to his bar review materials. All ours once again.
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Posted by: Tamara in life
The “devastating conclusion” to be precise.
This is what the announcer said, “stay tuned for the devastating conclusion of Grey’s Anatomy.” (Dave and I turn to each other, perplexed and say, “she can’t die, the show is freaking named after her for goodness sake…”) (Don’t worry, he didn’t spend his valuable studying time watching TV, he headed off to review his review material.)
The whole show was melancholy and there was a death, but hang on to your hats for the big shocker…Meredith lives!
It was a rather Cliche episode. Meredith has a near-death experience as she struggles to decide if she really even wants to live. While in this state of near death where she can talk to other dead characters from the show, she resolves some internal conflicts, mends fences with her mom, and decides to fight for her life. And as time is about to run out, she lives.
Do you think this is going to be the Jump the Shark episode? It is quite possible. How are they going to recover from this? We get to see if McSteamy can make it through the next 60 days with no sex. Yup, that is our prize!
I know, it sounds like I don’t really like this show, but I do – I’ve watched it from the very first airing of the first episode. Knitcole says that it was ruined by its popularity. That is the catch-22 with me and TV shows. If I like a show very much, one of 2 things happens; it either becomes too popular and becomes cliche and ordinary, or it is critically acclaimed but gets canceled (Once and Again, Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life, Sisters, Joan of Arcadia, (ETA: Jack and Bobby) and the list goes on…). Crime type shows fall into an entirely different category but I don’t really want my entire TV diet to consist of crime fighting. A weeks worth of CSI, Law and Order, NCIS, and Criminal Minds is just too much — I need some drama and comedy and interest in there too.
Was the show preceded by the announcer’s statement, “Stay tuned for the devastating conclusion…” just a ploy to keep us on our toes? I guess they just didn’t want to give anything away.
Any thoughts out there? Is this the Jump the Shark episode? What else can happen on this show now? What shows have you loved over the years and still miss? I’d love to hear from you!
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What a whirlwind of a weekend!
This is going to be one of those this and that types posts since most of my chattings are just not related or cohesive in any way.
1.) Usually I save this type of info for last, preferring to talk about something which has an accompanying photo to display at the top of my post, but it is just so exciting I have to get it out first. It is the countdown! T- 5 to when IHA leaves for CA, T-7 to when his test begins, and T – 10 to when we leave to meet him and his test is over! (The scary part is that I also have T- 10 for when I have to decide what I’m going to do with my life before he signs up for school again! My friends and sister are urging me to act quickly so I don’t lose out before he applies to school again or something. So, please, if you have any idea of what I should be when I grow up — let me know! I’m thinking perhaps, this or this or this or this or starting one of these. This is what I used to do – many, many moons ago.)
2.) It is time to start packing! We have a lot of shopping to do. It looks like it is in the 60’s in LA at the time of year and all the spring clothes are in the stores, so we should have some luck finding some nice stuff. I just don’t know what kind of shoes to bring though. We need to dress up for the graduation ceremony, I have a very nice pair of open toe black sandals. Any thoughts on if they would be appropriate?
3.) I’m trying to knit a gift for a friend and all my attempts are just not working out so great. Everything that I make that is intended for her keeps coming out just not the right color, or the right size or not my best work. I was inspired to knit the Santa Cruz hat from February Magknits when I read Mary’s “Detour” post on Dim Sum Knitting. This is a great pattern: really quick to knit (one evening) and gobs of yarn options (perfect for knitting from the stash). I, however, came up with a hat that instead of being grown-up sized as I intended, turned out to be perfectly junior agent sized. (LFG and the little agents are really making out in my attempt to knit for this friend!) I’ll post the hat details on my Finished Projects 2007 page.
4.) The dancing socks for LFG are finished!
5.) There was some KIP-ing this weekend!
6.) One Tiffany is complete. This photo shows the thumb side – it magically blends right in with the hand!
7.) This post is taking FORever to write. Every 3.2 minutes a junior agent arrives to interrupt my train of thought. It must be some sort of conspiracy to keep me from being sane. As Knitcole would say, can you hear my sanity snapping?
8.) The rate of junior agent interruptions is increasing exponentially so, thusly, I need to blow this pop stand. Hope you all have a great day!
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Posted by: Tamara in spinning
Yesterday brought my February package from my Spin to Knit pal!
She spoiled me like crazy!
My Pal is Susie from To Knit, Perchance to Dream. If you go visit her blog you can see that she also has a fabulous Etsy store!
The goodies are: 90 yards of “Pure, Honest White” 3 ply Merinos 125’s and the remaining roving to match (This stuff is so soft that when you touch it you almost can’t feel it.), 24 yards of red SW Corriedale plied with South African Fine wool (This yarn has a cool texture — it has coils. I think that best way to describe it would be to say that it is like hair wraps.), Lindt Chocolate for me, Hershey Kisses for the agents (They said that these are especially good!), scrapbooking stickers (Yes, Crops-a-lot your eyes are not deceiving you — I typed the word scrapbooking!), and last but not least, although it is not pictured because it was cunningly hiding in the bottom of the box, she sent this most marvelous lavender scented hand cream bar called Laura’s Country Body Bar.
Thank you so much Susie! What a treat!
Today starts the beginning of the girls’ mini-February-school-vacation. So, I must get ready to let the games begin!
Have a great day!
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After writing this post on Tuesday, I still had a lot of questions about the Gardasil vaccination. One friend asked, “How do we know it doesn’t cause infertility?” Another asked, “What about the boys?” I still can’t figure out how “they” can really be so sure about its safety and effectiveness when the longest study only lasted 4 years.
I searched through many websites and I finally found an article that looks reputable and answers many questions — it even answered questions that I didn’t know that I had yet. I know it is long, but I really recommend reading it. I’ve read quite a few articles on the web and the facts in this article all seem to jive with other websites.
It is on the Medical Accountability Website and it is called “Not so Miraculous.”
Did you know that the control group (ie, the study group that received the placebo vaccination) was not given a straight saline solution as is normal protocol, but the base solution of the actual vaccination that contains aluminum? This is important to know because the aluminum solution causes its own background clutter of side effects thusly making the Gardasil’s group side effects not appear to be statistically significant.
Did you know that the studies did not inquire about condom usage? While the pro-vaccination propaganda wants us to believe that condoms do not prevent HPV infection, they are 70% effective. If the subjects in the study used condoms, how does that skew the data?
Did you know that there is still some doubt in the medical community that the HPV causes cancer? Some think that abnormal changes in cervical cells make those cells “more friendly” to HPV, not that the HPV has caused the changes.
Did you know that there were 5 cases of birth defects in women in the Gardasil group who became pregnant shortly after vaccination and 0 in the control group?
And to my friend who asked about fertility, this is what the above linked article had to say: “The longest portion of the study only lasted just under four years. Thus there is no long term data on how it affects the ability to become pregnant (fertility). This is especially concerning because the FDA has approved the vaccine for as young as 9 year old girls. The effect of artificially influencing the immune system during a time of tremendous hormone shifts of puberty is unknown. The package insert specifies that the vaccine has not been tested for altering genes in the patient or her future children (genotoxicity).”
Just to provide one more quote and I think this is the most significant of all:
“U.S. statistics show there are 30 to 40 cervical cancer cases per year per one million women age 9-26, the ages the vaccine was tested on. Gardasil®’s reduction of pre-cancers by 12.2% in the general population would mean that instead of 30 to 40 cases of cancer, there would only be 26 – 35 cancers. So it would take vaccination of a million girls to prevent cancer in 4 to 5 girls. About 37% die from cervical cancer, so that would prevent 1 to 2 deaths. So $360 million in vaccine would prevent 1 to 2 deaths.
However this is all conjecture. In the Merck studies the follow up was too short and the numbers too few to prove prevention of cervical cancer.”
Here is something else to think about. If the vaccination is given to a 10-year-old girl by the time she is 15 there is only a 24% chance she will have had a sexual encounter. That is how long the vaccination has been studied. How will we know she won’t already need a booster shot?
Also — how are they going to do more studies on such young girls in a timely manner to give us more information. Are they going to have to find the 24% of girls who do have sex before age 15 without condoms to measure if the vaccination prevents HPV infection? How do you even get enough data? OK, maybe they don’t have to prove that by age, but still, it does make getting the vaccination sound silly, doesn’t it?
My issues with this vaccination are 2-fold and I think that is why I’m a bit obsessed with it. I’m worried about the safety (and at this point the need) and I’m also worried about the politics. Here is a scary thing to me. I actually agreed with my newspaper! We subscribe to the Waterbury Republican-American, not so much because we agree with its editorial content, but it provides us with the best local news. I usually end up shaking my head when I read the editorials, but I mostly (not completely, you hear) agree with yesterday’s editorial (Wednesday, February 14, page 8A), “Mandate Sends Wrong Message.” Here is the part that I strongly agree with: “But larger issues remain. Executive orders usurp parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children. This is the first vaccine mandate for a disease that isn’t communicable through casual social interaction; once society goes down this road, children could become guinea pigs for all manner of social-science experimentation.”
(All day Tuesday — that was my mantra – “My girls are not going to be guinea pigs. No way.” )
I was a little worried that sort-of almost agreeing with their editorial would mean that I was becoming a Republican, but then I found out that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (whose executive order mandates the vaccination for all 6th grade girls by the fall of 2008) is a Republican and that cleared up my worry. (Don’t worry though, my parents are republicans and I still love them dearly!)
Well, I think that’s it for now! I once again promise to return to knitting and spinning content soon.
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Bet you couldn’t see that title coming, could you!
At this point, I would like to write a quirky little essay about playing Spin the Bottle drawn from my vast experience in my youth. Unfortunately, however, I have no such experiences upon which to wax nostalgic. Alas, my experience with the actual Spin the Bottle game was very limited, late bloomer that I was. I remember one party — perhaps my first real boy/girl party — where there was an attempt at Spin the Bottle but I don’t remember anything especially interesting or exciting about it and certainly there was no kissing for me. (You don’t have to be too sad for me though because I did end up with a super-terrific husband and 3 lovely little agents.)
This Valentine’s Day proves to be a whole different story on playing Spin the Bottle. I have to say that the crafty version is much more satisfying!
40 yards of EcoSpun yarn:
Fiber: EcoSpun – 100% Pure Recycled Soda Bottles from Little Barn Inc, purchased at Rhinebeck. Staple length is about 1.5 inches.
Fiber prep: Carded to remove some of the clumps
Spinning: Using my Kromski wheel I spun 2 bobbins of singles mostly using a modified long draw (as if I were spinning cotton) and then plied them together to make a 2 ply balanced novelty yarn.
Project notes: EcoSpun is made from recycled soda bottles. Even though there appears to be what one would think of crimp in the fibers, it has absolutely no elasticity. The fibers are much stronger than cotton and easier to spin. The resulting yarn is very, um.. can I use the word… limp? It makes up for its limpness in its softness and color. It is pure as the driven snow. I chose to spin this with some slumps and lumps and bumps to try to keep some of the softness of the fibers. I tried spinning it finer and with more twist, but it lost a lot of its character and was a bit hard (plasticy???). I’m sending this yarn off to my Spin to Knit Pal, but I have some left on my bobbin that I will andean ply and swatch.
Still yet to learn: How to set the twist. I think I am just going to wash it with a drop of dishwashing soap, rinse, and dry. I also do not know how to dye soda bottle fibers. Do they need an acid dye? A fiber reactive dye? A completely different dye altogether? Does anyone know? One of the websites that sells EcoSpun fabric stated that the fibers are colorfast, but that is all that I saw. I will keep some sample around for testing…
So that is pretty much the story on the soft white stuff inside today. The stuff on the outside, however, isn’t quite as entertaining! We had 5 inches of hard packed sleet. So hard that it caused quite the fight to erupt between me and Mr. Snowy:
Well, the picture is not that great, but what it shows is that I could not get Mr. Snowy to cooperate with me. He would only skim the surface and not go down to the level of the driveway. Needless to say, I had to hang my head in shame and turn him over to IHA. I guess he needed to be dominated tonight. I wonder if I crack the whip with Mr. Snowy tomorrow, will I get him to do my parent’s driveway tomorrow? Fortunately, they don’t have to go anywhere so we have time to figure it out.
If you are wondering how the snow day went with the little agents, it had its ups and downs. We gave them Webkinz for V-day presents and that kept them very happy until shortly after lunch. Agent K is not very good at staying home all day and entertaining herself so after awhile she gets a bit persnickety, but after the afternoon bickerings were over they went out to play a bit and things mostly quieted down. I don’t know yet if they will have school tomorrow or not. Perhaps it will be a delayed opening? If they don’t have school, they won’t have to go back until next Wednesday. We have a lot of shopping to do for our trip this weekend. T – 14, by the way! Whoo hoo!
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Posted by: Tamara in spinning
We have a snow day today, yet we have no snow. Just sleet. Sleet and freezing rain. Freezing rain and sleet.
While the weather outside if frightful, the weather inside is delightful! Today I am spinning (while listening to the new Cast On). What am I spinning? I am spinning EcoSpun 100% Pure Recycled Soda Bottles from Little Barn. This stuff is really soft, like the “silk” from a milkweed pod. It also has crimp! How cool is that?
On the left are the fibers before carding. On the right are the fibers that I carded that I am going to spin. I did a little sampling and the resulting yarn seems like it is going to be just as soft as the fibers. If you spin without the carding, the yarn is very textured and rather like novelty yarn, but I decided that I want something a little more “in control” and I’m carding most of the crimp out. I think the yarn will still have some texture, just not as much.
If it comes out nice, I’ll be sure to post later. If I don’t like it, however, you may never see it again or I may post it as a “what not to do post” — I just seem to be having too many of those lately! I hope that it does come out nice because I hope to be able to send it to my Spin to Knit pal…
Anyway, I better get to my wheel!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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