Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's A-Pear-ant

Me & My Snack. This is the most fun I had all day yesterday. I had a bad hair day. A really bad hair day. I had such attitude about going to work that when I left the house I forgot to fix my hair. So I went to work with bed head. I guess that's better than forgetting my pants. A little. There was no Boston Legal (although the Bob Woodward special about traumatic brain injury was wonderful). There was so much to do this week I needed to stay late at work and missed my yoga class. Cedar is blooming - sneeze, choke, sneeze. Work is not fun this week. The big acquisition is in the beginning phase of digestion and it's the time when nothing is working quite right. The royalty owners are calling me constantly to tell me how unhappy they are and how satisfied they had been with the previous operators. At length. With shouting. It's deadline time to get the 1099 filings out. Everyone in my department is tired, and there is no good addition to our team in sight. It's warm outside, my bike is back from the shop, and I am inside working working working. No one loves me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms. It's the late winter blahs - the allergies are in full swing but it hasn't been warm enough for me to ride yet - all the pretty days either feature 40 mph wind, or happen mid-week when I am trapped indoors by my bad habit of going to work. The days are getting longer but sunset is still too early for me to get in a ride after work on the days when it might be warm enough. It's time for an official attitude adjustment. I'll be traveling out to Denver in less than a month to hang out with the fam and the break will do me good. In the meantime I'll just have to buck up and keep in mind how fortunate I am compared to 90% of the people on the planet.

There has been crafty goodness, mostly in the form of knitting. I'll wait a bit before posting another progress picture of the shawl. It looks the same as it did on Saturday, except just a little tiny bit longer. Use your imagination. There are socks in progress, of course. With the help of a little car time I am nearly through the heel on the second sock. Nothing fancy, but pretty colors and soothing knitting.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Last night Shana and I hosted the Women's Adventure And Cycling Organization - WAACO. We got together over a love of cycling, and have found that we enjoy each other's company and like to pursue lots of other outdoor activities together. Over coffee one Saturday morning in December while bemoaning the fact that our busy schedules had kept us from seeing each other for weeks, someone had the brilliant idea to do a monthly potluck (I wish I could remember who, but it seems I've got a big hole in my head). On our first potluck we became WAACO. Last night in addition to a yummy Italian dinner we had conversation and laughter, and talked over our plans for which cycling events we want to try to do together this season. Some of our group are doing triathalons or marathons, so coordinating training schedules and attempts to recruit other (victims) participants for favored events was also part of the discussion. More pictures of the event are in my Flickr gallery (link on the sidebar) under WAACOS. Really I did not take many snaps. Aside from not wanting to flash anybody's face off the front of her head, I was having too good a time visiting with my friends.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spring Tornado Frenzy

As promised, here is the progress on the Kimono Shawl, progress shot and detail. Yes, it does look like boiled ass. Thank you for noticing. This is the nature of lace before blocking. I'm through 14 repeats, and I think the pattern is for twenty-two, ending with 8 rows of garter stitch. I'm working from a copy of the chart, and I don't have the book handy, so I could be wrong. If that is the correct count I'm nearly half done, but I don't think I am that far through my yarn. If Creatures of the Reef is anything to go by, I get a little better mileage than the pattern would suggest, but a single completed lace project does not indicate a great amount of expertise on the matter. I can't tell from the size before blocking. It's from Folk Shawls, chosen for its beauty (which is not visible at this stage) its relative simplicity (it's a 23 row repeat, but the chart is only 10 stitches wide, which makes it tolerable TV knitting), and its lack of knitted-on edging. Next year there will be a shawl with a knitted-on border, but I'm not up to that yet. What I had hoped to learn from this project is how to memorize a lace pattern repeat, and how to read my place in the pattern. So far I have not memorized the pattern, but I only need to glance at the chart once at the start of the row to know how to proceed on and that's working well. I can tell now which row I am on by looking at it. The other thing I have learned is a little bit of how to fix a lace disaster. There is a catastrophic error in one motif on the fifth repeat which took me about an hour and a half to get under control. The fix is not perfect, but I can live with it and I don't think it will be noticeable to anyone who does not know where to look.
Tornado Season has started here - not on the ground, but on the news. Here in Oklahoma city we are blessed with a National Weather Service facility, and some of the best radar and prediction services in the country. Our weather radar is state of the art, and every local TV station is well equipped with competent meteorologists, storm chasers, and every kind of predicative software known to man. We live in Tornado Alley, and severe weather is a simple fact of life. In season everyone automatically notes the weather with an eye to how likely storms will be. Everyone knows the patterns to watch - humidity, quick heat up, tall clouds, still air, wall cloud, wind, thunderstorm, green sky, big hail, still air - HIDE! We have a lot of confidence in our TV meteorologists, and rightly so. The interesting nature of our weather, access to the best equipment, and general admiration of the populace (haha) make for a lot of competition for these positions. We get the best in the country. Very few lives are lost to tornadoes in this area because in addition to being pretty universally prepared, we get excellent warnings. That said, our meteorologists have been driving us mad all week. Because the predictive software has become pretty reliable, the guys have all known that we had a good chance of severe weather this weekend. Yes, we want to know this. BUT - A little while ago there was a nighttime tornado in Florida that had a terrible loss of life. The area that was hit had no tornado siren system, and everyone was sleeping. The first warning they had was that they were flying through the air or their roof was leaving. It was just awful. We had a tornado system go through a few years ago on May 3rd 1999 that produced F5 storms that killed 40 people and destroyed more than 8,000 structures in the Oklahoma City area. This loss of life was actually quite low considering the damage (click on the link, there are many unbelievable pictures) because we had almost 30 minutes warning all along the path of the storm. We also got to hear Gary England say "Oh Shit" on TV, that's when we knew we were in bad trouble! This week, based on the likelihood of storms this weekend we have been bombarded with news stories and "teasers" aimed at terrifying us into staying under our beds with a weather radio stuck to our heads. This is not totally unrealistic - we are anticipating 50 mph winds in the panhandle this afternoon and are very likely to have damaging storms. But - there has been a lot of coverage of the Florida tornadoes and suggesting that anyone who does not have a weather radio is likely to be blown away in their sleep in Oklahoma City. 1) the area most likely to have any kind of storms is on the eastern side of the state - not us. 2) we almost never get tornadoes at night in this state. They are very common in the southeast, including Florida, but our weather systems seldom produce them. Our tornadoes nearly always hit between 5:30 and 9:00 pm. This is a very consistent pattern, and there are specific scientific reasons why this is so. 3) while we do get a lot of tornadoes, most of them are small and while if it hits YOUR house it's awful, the aggregate amount of damage and injury is very small. A tornado went through Edmond Oklahoma at 7:00 pm in 1986 that completely destroyed (literally nothing left but the slab and the plumbing stubouts) about 40 houses and the only injury requiring medical attention was a sprained ankle from searching trough the debris in the dark. I want to be warned and properly prepared, but I do not want be bombarded with useless fear mongering. This is a pattern in all news reporting these days, and I am SICK OF IT. Rant over.
WAACO potluck tonight, cheese shopping this afternoon, and I'm off to the kitchen to produce a ravishing, fattening tiramisu. I'll post pics tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Free at Last

I got such a lucky break today! I was off for Presidents' Day, and the weather was perfect. Aunt Rita was visiting, so I did not go cycling, but we did take our dogs to the dog park. It had been so long since it was warm enough to enjoy it, and although today was breezy, we got up to 70 degrees. The dogs had a wonderful time running around and greeting the other dogs. I was just glad to finally be outdoors without a coat.

I'm sure that spring is finally here. Yes, I know we will have more snow and cold windy days, but the 7 day forecast has every day but 2 at 60 or above, and no morning lows below freezing. We have surely turned to corner. Winters are short here, and in early spring you can forget how truly awful the summer can be. Friday I'll take the road bikes in to Bike Pro for a tune up and and handlebar wrap. The next weekend we'll start the season in style. I've got a copy of Bicycling Magazine's Century Training Program: 100 Days to 100 Miles and I'm ready to go!
No crafty goodness today, but next entry will surely include a progress shot of the Kimono Shawl which will not impress on account of the general slow rate of knitting combined with the fairly unattractive look of unblocked lace. Nevertheless, you'll have to take what you can get. The socks in progress are not much more interesting, and I still have not cast on for Phoebe.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's All About the Tools

I'm ashamed to say I've been planning a clean-a-thon for weeks now. Every weekend I say I'm going to do it, but it gets put off again and yet again. As a child we had these events every week, where the bathroom got its just deserts, the sheets were changed, and dust was banished to wherever it is that dust goes to. Sadly in adulthood I am not so regular with the bathroom cleaning. This makes the bathrooms slowly fester until either they reach a point of crisis or we anticipate company, whichever comes first. This week both crisis points have arrived simultaneously. The bathrooms are looking kind of rough and we are hosting the WAACO's (our cycling/camping/geocaching pals) for a potluck and game night next weekend. While we have hosted impromptu brunches, it would be nice to be orderly and tidy this time. We thought we would have a visit from Shana's mother as well this month, but a combination of poor health and remodeling disappointments are keeping her in Florida for a bit longer. It's also a Spring Cleaning issue because as soon as the weather warms up I am NOT going to start cleaning the house. I am going outside to play, and I won't be willingly spending a weekend cleaning house until October. If the weather holds I am going to get to some windows as well. Aunt Rita will be visiting this weekend, and she likes to do windows, so I'll take advantage of a willing helper.

Sometime in the near future I will be choosing the greenest options for house cleaning, but at this point I am enjoying all the toys. My Bucket of Blessings (AKA my cleaning bucket) contains a full complement of Swiffers, Magic Sponges, Magic Reaches, Magic glass cleaners, disposable toilet brushes, and disinfecting wipes for every nameable part of the house. Of course it also contains a variety of toothbrushes, dusters, and rags which are useful, but no fun. Shana loves gadgets, and we try them all. So far the Magic Sponge is my favorite (in its generic form). Although it is a bit spendy, as my Cleaner of Last Resort it hasn't failed to perform yet. The disposable toilet cleaners are pretty good, although not quite a new idea. I seem to remember a product like it in the sixties. It was a good idea then and it's a good one now.
I'm on the way out to a steak dinner - a multiple birthday extravaganza with the Humps. My plan is to post again tomorrow morning with something more fun and photogenic than my housework before heading off to church and lunch with the girls.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Move Along Folks, Nothing to See Here

This has been a week of work of all kinds, and not much to show for it. I've been working on the Parting Ways Socks every day at lunch. It's still pretty slow going. I'm halfway down the heel, but only posing them artfully with a piece of fruit makes them at all interesting to look at. Once I am past the heel it will go a lot quicker as I wil have pattern on only half for sock. The Kimono Shawl continues apace, but since it is only two repeats past the last picture featured here, it's not worth another showing yet. I do have a pair of basic socks nearly half done, but they are not that interesting. I have not yet swatched for my Phoebe sweater, although I have read through the pattern several times and played with the yarn a little. Most of the slavery this week has been of the paid variety, and when I get home I am not breaking any speed or originality records.
I do have some violets blooming in my office this week. Since they bloom off and on all year you'd think that I would become used to seeing it, but they are so pretty that I'm delighted every time. I am thinking that I need to splurge and buy one in another color so I'll have the pleasure of contrast as well.
I went to see a movie last night: The Departed, which was excellent. The cast, script, plot, cinematography, all were wonderful. To be fair I must add that it included graphic and shocking violence. Tonight the entertainment will be a trip to "The Hive" - we are going to see the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets play basketball. The games are a lot more fun than I expected, and very well attended. This is the last season for the Hornets in Oklahoma City, because they are returning to New Orleans full time next year. Rumor has it that we will have the Seattle Supersonics here soon, but so far it's all rumor, partially fueled by the purchase of the Seattle team by a group of Oklahoma City investors. Having the Hornets here has made a big difference in how the pro teams saw Oklahoma City. Now that it's clear we can support an NBA team everyone says we will get one soon.
I'll have my taxes out of the way this weekend, and will be looking forward to spring, kicking off with a Presidents' Day holiday three day weekend next week. It looks like our cold weather will be hanging on through all of next week with some snow in the forecast, but with March just around the corner I am hopeful. I've even seen evidence of grass fires. With fire season starting can tornado season be far behind?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's Still Winter

February has arrived, and we are in the grip of a cold snap. We have had a tiny bit of snow nearly every day this week, and although we have not had accumulation, it has made us feel like winter has us by the neck.

Samantha turned 21 this week. She came down to my office for to have lunch with me and collect her birthday (cash) gift. I am no longer cool enough for dinner, so I coughed up the money for her to go out for her birthday dinner with two friends. They are going to Red Lobster for dinner, and out to a club for a celebratory cocktail. They have a designated driver, which is always a good idea, even if only one drink is in the plans. Alex is taking her out to lunch as his gift. Sam is never happier than when she's going out, even when it's with the fam.
I'm working long hours at work lately. We are short handed and the work load is heavier than usual for a variety of reasons. The view from my office window is about the only thing I see in daylight. That may be one reason why January tends to be kind of depressing. When we get enough daylight that I can walk the dog in the evening and not be in the dark I'll feel more like I have a life outside of the office. It's been hard even to make time for my yoga class. Every time I do go I pay the price for sporadic attendance. It would be easy to give up my class and stop going altogether since I always seem to be starting over at the same level, but so far I am not giving up. Of course the up side is overtime pay. That's always welcome, even if the extra work is not.

I am knitting almost every day, but there is not really anything that looks like much. The Parting Ways sock is benefiting from being my lunch time knitting (when I have time to take a lunch), but at less than one inch per day it's hardly growing before my very eyes. I am working every evening on the Kimono Shawl, but It is only one and 1/2 repeats past where it was for the last picture, so a new picture would be no great thrill for anyone but me. Other crafty goodness is in short supply.
I've done a little maintenance on the blog this week - check out the counter on the sidebar for a little bit of encouragement. I wish George W. Bush peace and serenity and a good retirement. I wish it could happen for him TODAY. All of the excitement about the 2008 presidential race makes it easy to think he'll be gone soon, but we've still got a long way to go. He may be an irrelevant lame duck, but he can (and will) still do a lot of damage before he's finished.