Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

  • Roxanne's socks
  • Brian's Cascade socks
  • Shirley's lacy socks
  • striped Meredith socks
  • striped stranded #1

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Couches Come in Handy

When we moved from Nampa, Idaho to Overland Park, Kansas (by way of Nome, Alaska) we did not bring our much-abused love seat with us. When we first moved to Nampa, one of the dear ladies in Brian's first church had learned that we were (gasp!) getting married without owning anything couch-like, and gave us a slightly-battered but very serviceable love seat.

After three years of life with college students, however, it was starting to look the worse for wear. So instead of carting it 800 miles cross-country, we donated it to Goodwill. Actually, we did that with most of our furniture. It was kind of fitting in a Circle-of-Life sort of way. "From Goodwill you came, to Goodwill you shall return."

This meant that we spent the first six months of living in Kansas without a couch. It was awkward at first to invite friends over to watch movies while sitting on our kitchen chairs, but we got used to it. Then, friends of in-laws of friends of ours decided to get rid of their huge couch, and gave it to us.

Brian's well over six feet tall, and it's very hard to find a couch that he can stretch out full-length on . So we're quite excited about this one. And, best of all, it has a fold-down coffee-table-like attachment in the middle. It has cupholders, but I generally use it for skeining yarn.

I'd wanted a warping board for some time, but have been too lazy to drive to Home Depot, buy lumber, saw it to the desired length, and sand it. So now that I know that the circumference of the pseudo coffee table is 44", I multiply that by the number of wraps in a skein, and divide by 36 to get the number of yards in the skein. It's not pretty, but it works for me.

This particular yarn is some Bonkers superwash merino. I spun it up for socks for Brian's birthday this month.

Here it is drying in the shower:

I got 286 yards out of the 4 ounces of fiber. It was pretty close as to wether or not that would be enough yarn to make full length socks for my husband's size 12 feet, but I managed. I even finished the socks before his birthday, which is quite possibly a first in the history of me giving him birthday gifts.

I even had yarn left over.

To be precise, 75 inches of yarn left over. That was cutting it a bit close--I'll definitely buy an extra batt next time.

And here's a close-up picture of my current mystery project, which I hope to post more about in a week or so. For now, I'll only say that this is what happens when sleep deprivation and Debbie New books collide.

Betrayed by Mapquest!

The other weekend, we decided to take a drive to the Tallgrass Prairie, which is a national park two and a half hours southwest of us. Apparently it has some of the last remaining untouched grassland in the Midwest. We drove, and drove, and drove some more, faithfully following's directions at every turn. We wound up here:

This is the historic courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. Apparently it was built in the 1850s or so, and now it's time for a rennovation. Let's see what it looks like from an angle with less construction fence:

So I did what I do best when I'm lost--try to look cute and helpless (although I think I have better luck with the helpless bit) and ask for directions. Thankfully, small town librarians see all kinds of clueless people, and they were more than happy to help out.

After turning around and backtracking for five miles, we did finally find it. As near as we can figure, Mapquest gave us driving directions to get to the park's post office box.

The park was pretty, but I must confess that I was expecting taller grass.

(Due to the signs from the National Parks Service warning against stepping off the path for fear of rattlesnakes, I have no pictures which show the scale of the grass.) But it comes up to mid-thigh on me, so that's about 24 inches. (60cm, for our metric friends.) I was definitely expecting grass that was taller than I am, or something a bit more dramatic. Still, it was very pretty.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cranky 4th of July!

Growing up, I used to love Independence Day. And I realize that part of that is every child's fascination with fire and explosives and who can resist a holiday which is devoted to them? But Independence Day has always held a special place in my heart.

This year, however, I'm finding it very hard to summon up any enthusiasm for the Fourth of July holiday. I'm really not able to sincerely wish anyone a "Happy Fourth of July!" at the moment.

One of the downsides of working only three days a week (I'm going to duck right now before the stones start coming from everyone who has to work more often than that) and having a flexible schedule is that if you're not careful, you can wind up working considerably more days in a row than you'd intended to. Like in March, when I forgot that calendar months do attach to each other and wound up working the last two days of February followed immediately by the first two days of March. Working that many 12 hours shifts back-to-back-to-back-to-back was exhausting, and is not an experience I wish to repeat.

So I was extra cautious when I "finessed" my schedule to get the 19th through the 26th of June off, without taking any paid time off. This meant that in order to avoid working the last three days of last week and the first three days of this one all in a row, I had to schedule myself for the 3rd and 4th of July. Normally I don't mind working minor holidays--my hospital pays overtime pay for holiday shifts, and I'm always happy about extra money for yarn.

Unfortunately, when I checked the schedule yesterday, I was still the only RN scheduled to work tonight and tomorrow night. I'm really not looking forward to this Independence Day holiday.

But I've got a much more personal reason for why I'm not too thrilled this holiday.

I try not to use this blog as a platform for my political views too often. There are many good political blogs out there, and I see no reason to join their ranks. But at the risk of sounding unpatriotic and "letting the terrorists win," I'm going to indulge my First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

I'm not a fan of the war in Iraq. For a wide variety of reasons, ranging from I think we could spend 400 billion dollars in much more productive ways to some good old-fashioned paranoia about the Patriot Act and the role of government should have in the average citizen's life. But if you had to ask me why I hate the war in Iraq, I'd show you this picture:

Or perhaps this one:

Or perhaps this one, which is the most recent one I have:

This is my little brother, EJ. And I know the fact that he's 22 means that he no longer qualifies as "my baby brother," but I did teach him to tie his shoelaces! He's a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army, and I'm incredibly proud of him.

He called Sunday night with bad news. I've been expecting it for several months, but I still didn't want to hear it. He's "going on a road trip with Uncle Sam to Iraq" again, and he's leaving the 21st. And you'd think that after nearly six years of "The War on Terror" on the nightly news, four years of having him in the Army, and two tours of combat duty, I'd be less worried.

But I'm not. Iraq is not a pretty place right now, and the idea of people shooting at my brother is not one I want to ponder.

After getting wounded last summer, and going through months of grueling rehab, EJ's ecstatic to be able to be serving with "his boys" once more. He told me, "I don't want to be one of those people who lives to be 90 and realizes, "Man, I've never done anything." I want to do something with my life, and I think this is it." And if I believe that God called me into nursing, then I have to believe that God can call my brother into the Army and rejoice with him in finding his purpose. But I really just want him to go there, do what he has to do, and come back safe.

God of All,
Please watch over the troops.
Ours, theirs, everybody's.
Bless them all--I'm not picky.
Give them a boring war.
One without the need for heroism.
Or posthumous medals.
Or brave acts of self-sacrifice.
Make them instruments of Your peace
In spite of their job description.
Give them Your wisdom,
To best know how to mend this broken world.
Please comfort the bereaved
And gather up the fallen in Your loving arms--
Regardless of color, creed, or ideology.
Watch over the troops, Lord.
Until Your children finally
Learn to stop killing each other in Your name.