Tuesday, December 27, 2005

PA interlude

It's been a nice visit here in Pittsburgh. I hadn't been visited my mother-in-law for a couple of years, so this was the first time staying with her as a married couple. In past years, my husband would sleep on the twin bed in his old room and I would stay in his sister's old room. That would have been a little strange this year. Fortunately, in the intervening time, his mother has turned his old room into a guest bedroom, complete with a nice queen bed. This room also has her computer desk, so I'm able to take advantage of that during a quiet moment (like right now).

My husband is down in the garage, helping his sister clean out her car. She is resolving to quit smoking this year, and thinks having a nice fresh car will help reduce the temptation to light up there.

My mother-in-law gave everyone beginner bridge books, so we've been trying to learn how to play. I never picked up that particular card game, although I did play assorted others in college. I'm not that fond of card games with partners, since having someone else depending on me means that I actually have to pay attention to the game. We'll see how it goes. My husband has mentioned wanting to play this game for quite some time, so I'll try to be interested, at least while I'm here.

A couple of people gave us gift cards for Christmas, so my husband, my sister-in-law, and I went shopping this afternoon. My husband spent most of the time napping in a chair with our coats while his sister and I tried on many pairs of pants. It was annoying, but I managed to get two promising pairs of pants out of the ordeal, and my sister-in-law found three pairs of jeans.

It has been a pleasant visit here. Tomorrow afternoon with fly off to Indiana, stage two of the 2005 Holiday Tour. I hope I can fit all this stuff back in my luggage!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Whirlwind Holiday tour.

I am up way too early on a Saturday so we can get to the airport on time. I hate packing, but I think I managed to get my stuff together without going too crazy last night. (My husband may beg to differ on that.)

We're going to visit my husband's family for Christmas itself, and then see my family a few days later and return home after New Year's Day. This is going to be intense.

Anyway, if I don't get a chance to update again for a while (I imagine I'll be able to get online at least once), Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Season's Greetings!

Time to see if I can fit a little more yarn in my suitcase. (I have a gift to finish on the plane.)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hi Matt!

My friend Matt has just discovered that I link to him, although he was a little confused at first. Gee, Matt, I thought I told you about this nickname when we were in grad school.

I find it amusing that he found me via the BlogShares page for his blog, and I found BlogShares while Googling for him. (The BlogShares site showed up on the first page several links below the blog itself.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Howard Tayler on Evolution and Intelligent Design

Howard Tayler wrote:
"I believe that eventually our science will be good enough that we can explain to God how we think He did it, and He'll say 'Great job! You get an A! It would have been an A+, but you left 'Dark Energy' in place as a fudge factor. Now here's a nebula full of hydrogen. Show Me what you can build.' Until then, however, I'm not going to use the book of Genesis as a template for a scientific theory. The answers may be in The Book, but we're expected to show our work. That's the only way that we can enjoy the fruits of DOING the work."
I recommend reading the whole essay. I get tired of people setting up a false dichotomy between science and faith, but am a little too lazy to write about it myself. (That's what linking to other people is for! *grin*)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Shopping near Christmas

We're about to brave the mall (or at least the bookstore attached to it) to buy a few gifts for my husband's family. I'm not much of a shopper to begin with, and near Christmas it is just insane. This past weekend I set foot in the Kmart down the street (I needed a new band for my watch.) and nearly ran right back out again without my purchase. It was somewhat crowded, true, but what really got to me was the general frenzied vibe everyone in the store was giving off. I can't believe some people actually enjoy that sort of shopping.

GeoURL lets us find our neighbors

Of course, it is dependent on other web authors self-reporting their locations as well, but I can get a list of other websites close to me in the real world. I'm not sure if this is particularly useful information, but it was diverting for a few minutes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Family Socks update

I talked to my sister this weekend and confirmed that she got the socks and blanket. She was especially thrilled to hear that everything was machine washable, which is particularly important when you have a infant.

My mom emailed me some more recent photos of my niece. Very cute! She's only six weeks old and already hamming it up for the camera. My new desktop wallpaper features a particularly devious grin. How can a baby look devious? I don't know, but that's how it struck me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hmm, I could knit that...

It's a baby Viking hat! Cute!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Socks on the line

Gee, can you tell I like to knit? I just had to snap a picture of the socks drying. From left to right, my pair of hiking socks (knit from the Country Socks pattern in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks book), my husband's red hiking socks adapted from the same pattern, two pairs of my husbands socks knit from self-striping yarn, three pairs of my socks knit from self-striping yarn, my husband's green hiking socks (What can I say? He likes that pattern.), my blue denim socks, and my favorite pair of green self-striping socks. This isn't even all the hand knit socks we have!

Family Socks

As promised, pictures of last weeks package. Even before my niece was born, I had a idea for a family set of socks. I didn't want them to be exactly the same, so I varied where I started the striping pattern to give them different colored heels. To make it even easier to tell the adult socks apart, I put initials on the heels for my sister and her husband. After scaling down the socks for the baby, I decided that they were probably still too large for an infant and whipped out a coordinating pair of booties. My little niece will be able to match her parents for quite a while. The yarn was all Jawoll sock yarn, I think. There might have been a bit of Blauband in there, too. (My local yarn store keeps them on the same shelf.) The pattern was my own. I found charts for the letters in my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework.

I also made a little hat with earflaps with some of the yarn I had left from the shower this summer. The earflaps tend to curl a bit, so I'm not sure how well it will actually fit. The pattern was adapted from an adult version I found in an old issue of Knitter's magazine.

Everything is displayed on a big garter-stitch square baby blanket/shawl/whatever knit from a bit skein of a synthetic boucle yarn that I impulse-bought at Joann's Fabric. I can't remember what it was called, just that it was a Joann's brand. Sensations? Rainbow Boucle? Whatever it was, anything more complicated than garter stitch would have been pretty much wasted on it.

Socks for Mom

I made this pair of socks using Cascade Fixation yarn and a pattern from Interweave Knits. The cables in the ribbing don't show up very well in the picture, but otherwise I'm fairly satisfied with them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


We woke up to snow this morning. It was rather exciting since we don't get it down in the valley very often. Oddly enough, it felt warmer today than it had for several days before. The snow was pretty much gone except for in the shadows by lunchtime (I haven't gone out and looked since then).

I'm all alone in my office now. My former officemate transferred to another department and his stuff was finally moved this week. Now I'll actually have to go down the hall to find a lunch companion. Of course, with the way they've been moving us out of the building, I may have to resort to email before long.

On Saturday, I finally mailed the package that has been sitting in my living room for weeks now. My sibling should be receiving a family set of socks soon. In fact, the Postal Service claims they tried to deliver it and left a notice (fun with confirmation numbers and the postal service website. Did you know that Google also works?). Considering that the address was a post office box, I guess that means they'll be able to get it the next time they go down there for their mail. I took some pictures before mailing it, so I'll try to remember to post those soon.

I'm still at the office, using work equipment for personal purposes. :) As soon as I get home, my husband and I are going out for Indian food. Mmm... Indian food...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I can't breathe

My husband and I were cooking a recipe tonight that involved toasting some spices to bring out the flavour. A word of advice: Don't inhale the fumes released by toasting red pepper flakes. They'll get into your throat and lungs and make you cough, sneeze, and wheeze for a long time. Coughing without inhaling properly will make you light-headed. If the recipe suggests turning on the exhaust fan, do not breathe deeply. You will regret it.

Sad news

My mother called today and told me that my cousin has died from a heart attack. He was only thirty-four years old. It's a shock. He has a wife and a young son. He seemed quite healthy when I saw him last summer at the family reunion. So young to die. His family has been through a lot. His father died this year, as well. I really don't know what to think. After Mom told me this morning, I spent a good while just being held by my husband. It wasn't as if I was exceptionally close to my cousin, but he was always there at big family gatherings. I remember this past year people joking about his son being a little "Mini-Me" for him. I never would have expected him to die so young. If anyone in his family were to die, I would have expected his brother in the military serving overseas, not him. Why did he die so young? He isn't that much older than me. I remember playing with him and his younger brother when I was a kid.

When Mom left a message this morning saying she had soon bad news, I was fearing that my grandmother, or my great-aunt, or my father, or possibly even my little niece had something happen. I didn't expect a cousin to be struck down in the prime of his life. I really don't know what to think about this.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amazing Knitting

Debbie New's work is mind-boggling. I've seen her knit boat in the back of A Gathering of Lace and it is clearly not a lone impressive project. I am going to have to read her book, Unexpected Knitting a soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

I found both the site linked above and the site from my previous entry in this blog entry on geek knitting. Of course, I ran across that site while googling for a cabled alphabet pattern, which I fear does not exist on the web. I know that [info]dragoncrafter has done some cabled runes, so I might resort to asking if she has done a standard alphabet as well. If not, her tutorial on designing cabled trees may provide me with enough guidance to chart my own. Of course, I could always just give up and make letters with seed stitch or some other texture, but that wouldn't be nearly as challenging.

By the way, both Debbie New and Horst Schultz (the guy who designed that block pattern) have books available at Schoolhouse Press.

Anybody out there read German?

I think I can figure out what is going on in this clever tumbling block pattern, but it would be nice to be able to read the text. I was vaguely contemplating something similar recently, and now I have some pictures to inspire me. I'm thinking it would be great for a stash-busting afghan.

The buzz is back!

I actually went to the meeting this morning without any caffeine, but by early afternoon I gave in and had a Diet Pepsi. At least I have proven I can still go without it for a while.

I think I've figured out why my current task at work is annoying me so. Much of what I do involves thinking about the problem at a fairly high level, possibly while taking a walk, and then implementing the solution I have devised. Lately, I'm working on a script to extract information from database tables and reconfigure it into a more hierarchical structure. This requires enough thought that I can't just automate it, but it isn't really mentally challenging, so I find my mind wandering and I get distracted by things I wouldn't notice if I were deep in a code fugue. I'm just going to have to force myself to slog through it, no matter how tedious and painful I find it to be. *sigh*