Ten on the Tenth, houseguest edition.


Ten Things That Make A Good Houseguest.

  1. Arriving when expected.
  2. Bringing a gift, preferably wine. Or chocolate.
  3. Helping with the extra household work — setting the table, cooking, cleaning up, pitching in as needed.
  4. Sitting around the table after a meal chatting and laughing.
  5. Giving the hosts some private time.
  6. Not minding that my housekeeping is far from immaculate.
  7. Enjoying our pets (or children, depending on the time of life).


Your regular Saturday links will appear tomorrow because today is Ten on the Tenth.



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

FO Friday.


This is my version of  the Shine Wrap by Janina Kallio. I started it in June with the intention of donating it to a fundraiser for my friend Jeff, who ran for state assembly. While mine is not as interesting as this one, I think it turned out pretty well. The amazing thing is that I finished it in  plenty of time for the fundraiser, but procrastination on the blocking phase meant that it was still slightly damp when I delivered it to the fundraiser in early October.

Yarn: Cascade Heritage Solids, the intriguingly named colorway  5604, and SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love sock, colorway Stillwater. I don’t know how much I used of each one; probably one skein or a bit more of the Cascade and about half a skein of the SweetGeorgia. Not much help, I know.
Pattern: Shine Wrap.
Needles: KnitPicks Options US#6.

Here it is in its blocking phase.

The woman who bought it is a knitter, so she appreciated it. She also had gray-white hair and it looked terrific on her. Score!

This is a great pattern. Easy-peasy, just k2tog, yo for the lacy sections and garter for the solids. It would be gorgeous with any number of yarns.

Note: I was appalled to see that I had not posted an FO since December 2015. Time to documents those knits!

Posted in FO, knitting, Scarves | 3 Comments

Holiday letter, first draft.

Dear friends and family,

We find it difficult to get into the traditional festive mood this year, given the outcome of the election. Kathy wrote a first draft of a Christmas letter, but it was far too bitter and full of rage to be publicized, so instead y’all are getting a somewhat abbreviated version of our usual holiday novel.

In bullet form:

  • Against her will, Kathy ran for county board again and lost. Enough of that, she declared, this time for good. (Let it be noted that this loss was not what has inspired her recent mood of bitterness and rage.)
  • Smokey found a really good hired helper in Dale, a local man who has been tremendously useful in year-end yard work, car repairs, car dismantlement, and car disposal. We look forward to his help in the coming year.
  • Andrew is looking forward to finishing his family medicine residency next June. He is planning to work for the Indian Health Service next, tentatively on the Zuni reservation in New Mexico.
  • You can guess what this means for us… road trip!
  • Matthew has accepted a job offer with a sister company in Amsterdam, tentative start date late 2017 or 2018.
  • Kathy was rather teary one afternoon about her son moving so far away until four words popped into her head: Tulip time in Holland!
  • Yes, more opportunity for fun travel!
  • Kathy is looking to cut back on her volunteer activities in 2018. Book group, friends of the library board, humane society board, local Dems steering committee and much other political work, plus rides for the disabled have all combined to cut into her knitting time a bit too much.
  • Smokey is planning to have his knees done in 2017. Let’s all hope it goes better this time than the last time when his heart stopped for eight minutes.
  • Beloved pet Lucy made that last trip to the vet in late May. She was 14 and had had a good life. We will miss her.
  • Ten days later Milady, a joyfully friendly rescue English shepherd, joined our family.

Let’s hope we are all still around next year. Our country has survived a lot, but never with a thin-skinned narcissist with his finger on the nuclear button.

Best to all,
Kathy and Smokey

Believe it or not, this was the mild version of the holiday letter that I wrote in my head. That one started out, All you people who voted for Trump, I hope you are happy now, and went downhill from there. Smokey laughed over the version above and promised to edit it and make it a bit more festive. I told him I wanted some of the bitterness to remain.

Posted in Christmas, Rants, various | 7 Comments


Scattered thought and occurrences.

  • (Apropos of this post title) We liberals are gonna feel pretty damned silly when we realize that the only people with guns are the while supremicists.
  • I was almost a part of history, but my schedule didn’t line up with the Wisconsin recount schedule, so I had to tell my county clerk no, I couldn’t help, when she called looking for volunteers.
  • Ditto when the Hillary campaign emailed looking for observers.
  • Damn, I am popular.
  • Pffft. Politics.
  • Ahem.
  • Younger Son emailed a week ago to say he had accepted the offer of the job in Amsterdam, planned start date September 2017.
  • It apparently took a few days to sink in that he would be moving over 4,000 miles and an ocean away.
  • Last Friday the emotions hit, and I was sad and teary for a couple hours, until four little words popped into my head: TULIP TIME IN HOLLAND!
  • No more tears, although there is still some residual sadness.

[digression] A couple few years ago I noticed a plethora — there’s that word that I never get enough chances to use ! — of blog posts  in late summer/early autumn from moms mourning the departure of their baby for college. Usually the departing child was a daughter. I remember doing a blog post ranting about what I saw as whining over-sentimentality. Kids are supposed to leave home at some point. What, you want a 25-yo living in your basement? Get a grip, mom! I am here today to apologize. Of course, we want our kids to leave home eventually; I now realize that such rationality does not preclude mourning their departure. I have now walked the proverbial mile in your moccasins and I am truly sorry for my lack of empathy. [/digression]

[digressionx2] As I was searching the blog for that post I noticed that some of my photos, particularly ones of outdoor scenes, looked rather washed out and overexposed. Do they appear like that on your monitors? or  is it just on mine? Perfectionist minds want to know. [/digressionx2]

Posted in Matthew, Miscellaneous, Photography, Politics, national, Rants, various | 1 Comment

Hungarian Dance #5, Johannes Brahms.

Cleaning my inbox. This link was provided by gayle, many many moons ago. 

Her comment: For some reason, I can picture Smokey building one of these in the garage.  I know he likes music…

Posted in Music, Silliness, YouTube | 3 Comments

Cabling the links.


Sorry, I am not quite nowhere near badass enough to wear this.

The saddest sweater ever.

The bluebird/yarn of happiness.

Got some pink yarn? via soxanne

Why, yes!

Cats in hats.

Guy caught knitting.

Malabrigo tweets!

One solution to the cowl that lefts in a draft.

Posted in LInks knitting | 7 Comments

Win sock yarn for life!

Win Socks for Life! Well, the yarn, you’re on your own after that.


(Vancouver, BC) “To be fair, it’s actually only a 25 year supply, so we can only hope the winner dies early to keep me an honest woman.” – Nikki Smith, VP YarnCanada.ca

After extensive research YarnCanada.ca discovered two key issues which continue to plague the world which we’d like to help bring to an end.

  1. Some people have hobbies other than knitting (idiots)
  2. Other (marginally insane) people buy socks at Costco

“With one final blow we’ll give someone years of knitting and make it so they never need to succumb to Fruit of the Loom again.” – Robert Matherson, YarnCanada.ca

Don’t want to use all the yarn to make socks? That’s okay, no hard feelings.

Yes, some marriages may end as the winner ignores her husband in a multi-year knitting frenzy. But that’s simply a risk we must take. On the other hand, maybe getting non-terrible socks for Christmas could bring families closer together.

The prize will go to whomever can show how their life will most be changed by winning and what you will do with the prize.

Anything could happen:

“I’ll use the yarn to start a knitting business on Etsy!” – Beth C, Winnipegsockforlife-side

“My friends always get together to watch The Bachelor, but goodness it’s boring, now I’ll have something to do to keep me distracted.” – Janet G, Toronto

“Honestly I have no self control. With all that yarn I’ll knit non-stop, stay up for days and miss work. I’ll get fired, not be able to pay rent and get kicked out of my apartment. But… I’d have so many socks!” – Samantha T, Vancouver

“I’ll knit them all up as fast as I can and give them to charity.” – Nicole

Whatever the reason, let us know why knitting is important to you and how a lifetime supply of sock yarn would change your life.


Please note: I am not encouraging any of you to enter. If you do, it will just reduce my chances. So click away to another blog. Right now. Do not even think of entering.

Posted in Contests, Socks, Yarn | 4 Comments

Bolting the chain.


Check for hovertext below…

Scar stories.

Little Drummer Boy Challenge!

Humans are weird.

Attention, English teachers: here is a useful teaching aid.

Rich people’s showers…reimagined.

Perfect for jazz hands!


Mountain lion in Kansas? Wait

Road trip!

Buster the Boxer.

Meet the new head of the DEA.

Posted in Links | 3 Comments


Andrew age 5

He went from this


to this in a mere 25 years.

A card


Along the way he fished with his little brother,

and recycled Halloween costumes.


Halloween was always a big deal.


I recorded his progress with annual school photos.

He was never much interested in sports, but he ran cross-country in high school
and was an enthusiastic swimmer all summer



I used to have this photo on the wall of my cube at the accounting firm. One day my cube neighbor said, “Oh, is that your daughter?” An understandable mistake.


We put him to work during the summers.


The first of his international travels: Paris with the high school French club.


where he got squirrely and let his friends braid his hair.


Moving into freshman dorm with roommates Tim at left and Adam in front, with miscellaneous sibling and parents scattered about.



Freshman year dormitory; photo taken from Washington Square Park.


Senior year housing, a fifth-floor walk-up in Spanish Harlem (*somebody* didn’t turn in his housing request in time to get NYU-sponsored housing, which just goes to prove that graduating magna cum laude doesn’t guarantee practical intelligence).

101_1375 copy

He did his semester abroad at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This is him with Bondi, the woman whom he worked with to get a volunteer position at an AIDS nursing home while he was there. The pile of bedding and pjs are some of the 100+ pounds that Younger Son and I brought to donate when we visited at the end of his semester; we did a donation drive at the local libraries and high schools.


At the Cape of Good Hope.


He held the sock on NYU graduation day. (Sock OTN was one I was making for his favorite uncle, who went to Canada during the Vietnam war and never returned.)

He has never been afraid to share his anti-war sentiments. Clockwise from top left: lying on the Broadway during a die-in to protest the School of the Americas at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City (he was arrested and spent 40 hours at Guantanamo On The Hudson); his college laptop; article from the Wausau, WI paper about an anti-war rally, January 2003 (I donated the sheet for that sign); another anti-war rally, this one in Central Park, May 2004 (he and his gf are in the outer circle, lower left); he met one his heroes, Amy Goodman, left, and her brother; article from local paper about that same 2003 anti-war rally.
At his request, I gave him an *unusual* haircut before he left for a year as a volunteer teacher in Chiapas.
His students there asked if he wore his hair that way because of his religion
I sent my camera with him to Chiapas. He returned with a LOT of photos of the people there.
He did a presentation at the library about his time there.


He collected some diplomas (huh. I never got a shot of the UMich grad school diploma)…
and some t-shirts.

But mostly he has collect books. This is about half of his current collection. I hadn’t seen him so happy in a long time as when he was able to unpack ALL his books after eight years of living in tiny dorm rooms.

Happy birthday, Elder Son!


Posted in Andrew, Family | 3 Comments

Let’s do some bullets.

  • Younger Son was scheduled to be on a two-week business trip to Italy over Thanksgiving, so we decided to go to Sioux Falls to see Elder Son for the holiday.
  • YS’s trip was postponed, so he went with us.
  • Fun times.
  • We all watched The Adventures of Milo and Otis for nostalgia’s sake. It was a family favorite when the boys were young. We pledged not to mention the many animals that were injured/died during the filming.
  • Famous Dave’s takeout for T’day dinner.
  • My famous enchiladas for dinner Friday night.
  • I watched Particle Fever on Netflix Saturday afternoon. Fascinating! I love physics; if I had a magic wand I would wave it over myself to grant the gift of enough intelligence to be a theoretical physicist. As it was, I barely passed Physics 1 in college.
  • ES’s dog Moose attacked our Milady a couple times, even though she is the gentlest dog in creation. Poor baby spent most of the weekend hiding behind wherever I was sitting.
  • When we got home she toured the house to be sure it was as she left it, then hid under the eaves on the third floor. I had to lure her out with a dog treat.
  • Poor baby.
  • She is recovered now.
  • Lots of knitting time on the drive and in SF. I finished a cowl for the library craft/bake sale this Saturday and knit half a pair of socks as a gift. More on these another day.
  • Email from YS on Monday: he has accepted a job in Amsterdam, targeted start date September 1, 2017. It is with a subsidiary of the company he works for now.
  • He may never move back to the US ::sob::
  • ES is looking at a job with the Indian Health Service on the Zuni reservation in New Mexico starting next summer.
  • Well, I guess we raised those boys with wings, all right.
Posted in Andrew, Milady, Miscellaneous, Misha, Uncategorized | 5 Comments