Thursday, April 30, 2009

She's Back!

Michele Bachmann is back. Yes, that crazy woman from Minnesota who somehow keeps getting elected to the House continues to make bizarre statements. What I really don't understand is why she never has to retract anything.

Take the latest example. She says that she finds it "interesting" that the last swine flu outbreak was also under the administration of a Democrat.


Not only is it beyond comprehension how she thinks they could be linked, it's not true. The last outbreak was in 1976, under Gerald Ford's administration. He was a Republican if I remember correctly. Of course, Jimmy Carter was elected that year, so maybe the connection was ... ?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flora and Fauna on Campus

Being on the "Farm Campus" has its advantages. In the old days, when I worked for the Evil Airline, I used to be greeted with jet fuel fumes in the morning. Now the smell of manure may be wafting through the air when I get off the bus.

In the old days, I worked in a secure building with serpentine razor-wire atop chain-link fences. Now there are flowers:

This may have turned out to be the most valuable piece of real estate on campus; two story accommodations along a sidewalk, with a bench nearby that will soon have crumbs littered beneath it in the afternoons.
The upstairs has a balcony.
And there is a walk-out basement.
Happy spring everybody!

Kitty is Fixing the Printer

I'm sorry, I know I sent this to some of you, but I can't help it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Some say that procrastination is the best way to get things done.

Today was a very rainy Sunday. I did lots on Saturday to ensure that I could clean the house today. I don't clean much. I kind of look at it the way Joan Rivers looks at it ... "I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes - and six months later you have to start all over again!"

So in order to avoid scrubbing and dusting, I went to the hardware store with Boy-child.

We got new thingys for the chairs in the kitchen:

And then I had him pick out buttons from the button box for the eyes of his sock monkey:

And I worked on the funny pieces of the monkey, like the tail and the ears:

Then he was done:

Boy-child was happy:

It's good, after a fiasco, to have finished something that is new and different from what you usually do.

I got a lot done today.

But not the dusting.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Assorted Musings

Girl-child recently joined the Cloud Appreciation Society, which has made me more cognizant of clouds; I've been trying to keep an eye out for good ones:
This is not to say I don't keep my eyes on the ground too - if for no other reason than because if I don't I will fall on my face.

Spring is a good time to look down:

It was so nice out the other day I had dinner on the sidewalk with Susan where we enjoyed good conversation and the entertainment of watching folks pass by. There was also the Jimmy John's delivery car to look at:
A lot of them are from Northern Sun, but this was a new one for me:
Girl-child stopped by the library recently and showed off her newly knitted headband and an octopus finger puppet. Both were made from leftover sock yarn:
Behold the octopus:
Boy-child went with me to visit my mother today which is very good of him. I wish I had taken a photo of his velvety-headed look; his hair is growing in and it's at the soft stage right now. We like to pet his head at the moment.

I am finishing up American Wife and I must say I have mixed feelings about it. I really enjoyed it at first; I liked the characters and many of them reminded me of people I have known, particularly the children of privilege that I knew at Macalester. When it dawned on me that the protagonist was sort of Laura Bush I was kind of upset. I was primarily upset because I liked the characters and I don't want to like them. Then I was upset that I was reacting in that narrow-minded-liberal way of not wanting to like them.

Silly, really, since it's only a novel and W is out of sight. If only Cheney would disappear now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunny Earth Day

Today was a spectacularly sunny spring day. Things are starting to bloom:
I was on the Minneapolis side of campus where I enjoyed seeing the shoe tree:
And the Weismann:
I love the Weisman.

We passed what is left of the bridge that fell into the river:
I've been working on a sock monkey for Boy-child. I am much further than this now but this is the only picture I have (the legs):

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fiberous Weekend

(non-knitters may as well skip this post)

It was kind of a weird week; I'm not sure exactly why.

Perhaps it was the spring weather that threw me off balance. There are flowers blooming:
And birds are singing in the morning; I don't have to turn on my iPod while walking to the bus stop.

There was Knit night on Friday. Girl-child and a friend of hers actually accompanied me to The Yarnery on a Friday night to knit with the ladies. How cool is that? The Knitterly Fish gave Girl-child a bunch of yarn (she just did a little weeding of her stash) and, needless to say, Girl-child was elated. (Yes, my friend The Fish, a pusher and an enabler. That is why we love her).

I rather fell of the wagon at The Yarnery as they're having their annual sale.

P wants some yellow socks for which I found this:
And then Boy-child expressed interest in both purple and fuschia for which I found these:
And, of course, I was on a roll, so I picked up some Pagewood Farms Yukon for myself in a beautiful shade:

Which is really ok, since I finished the Monkey socks recently, and then this week the pair using SoxAppeal. This yarn is made with elastic which makes for a great fabric, but it's not so easy to work with:
The color doesn't show up very well here, but you get the idea.

I also resurrected a pair recently, The Poseidon pattern:
I'm not sure why those went into hibernation for so long, but I really like the look of them.

And somehow I ended up with this green sock - I'm already to the heel flap (how did that happen? Am I knitting in my sleep?):
Today was Yarnover. I volunteered for check-in, which was fun if a bit early. Then we had Lily Chin for a keynote speaker and then I had a fantastic class with Margaret Fisher, called Seven Things that can Make or Break a Sweater. Although I learned a lot, I wasn't inspired enough to muster the courage to look at The Cardigan since I got home. I am a coward, I admit it.

I did pick up a little souvenir from Jennie the Potter:
I will mention that The Fish watched me throughout these purchases; she was able to abstain all weekend and enjoy my purchases vicariously. Did I mention that she's an enabler?

My only disappointment is that I didn't get to visit properly with The Kat what with the volunteering and the fact that I was late to lunch and all. We'll have to do it another time...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Girl Who Went Away

For April book club we read The Girls Who Went Away. We don't usually read such heavy stuff, but Susan was inspired and we thought it seemed like a good idea and so it ended up on the list.

Then last month I discovered that someone I know otherwise, we'll call her Frida, was a girl-who-went-away in the 1960s. When I found this out I nearly fell off my chair. So I invited her to talk with my book club and she graciously agreed.

Book club was last night. Only two people came. Makes me think it was more than people could take on a warm spring evening.

Anyway, the four of us talked about the book and Frida told her story and we discussed how awful it was that there was such a stigma and so many were basically forced to give their babies up for adoption and how unfair that the young men were off the hook and the girls who didn't get pregnant were considered innocent and really, there was so much behind it all and it was all so horrible.

I think the worst part though, is that so many of the women were not allowed or unable to talk about what they went through. Secrets make a bad situation worse, I think, almost without fail. This particular secret was so personal, too.

I could go on forever, I suppose, but I won't. It was sad. At the same time it is inspiring to know how strong the human spirit can be.

Thank you, Frida.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Your result for Which Supreme Court Justice Are You Test...

You are Justice John Paul Stevens

You agreed with Stevens 68% of the time.

John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He joined the Supreme Court in 1975 and is the oldest member of the Court. He was appointed to the Court by Republican President Gerald Ford. Although Stevens is widely considered to be on the liberal side of the court, Ford praised Stevens in 2005: "He is serving his nation well, with dignity, intellect and without partisan political concerns." He is also the only current Justice to have served under three Chief Justices (Warren E. Burger, William Rehnquist, and John G. Roberts).

Early in his tenure on the Supreme Court Stevens had a moderate voting record. He voted to reinstate capital punishment in the United States and opposed the racial quota system program at issue in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. But on the more conservative Rehnquist Court, Stevens tended to side with the more liberal-leaning Justices on issues such as abortion rights, gay rights and federalism. His Segal-Cover score, a measure of the perceived liberalism/conservatism of Court members when they joined the Court, places him squarely in the ideological center of the Court. A 2003 statistical analysis of Supreme Court voting patterns, however, found Stevens the most liberal member of the Court.

Stevens' jurisprudence has usually been characterized as idiosyncratic. Stevens, unlike most justices, usually writes the first drafts of his opinions himself and reviews petitions for certiorari within his chambers instead of having his law clerks participate as part of the cert pool. He is not an originalist (such as fellow Justice Antonin Scalia) nor a pragmatist (such as Judge Richard Posner), nor does he pronounce himself a cautious liberal (such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg). He has been considered part of the liberal bloc of the court since the mid-1980s, though he publicly called himself a judicial conservative in 2007.Stevens was once an impassioned critic of affirmative action, voting in 1978 to invalidate the racial quota system program at issue in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. He also dissented in 1980's Fullilove v. Klutznick, which upheld a minority set-aside program. He shifted his position over the years and voted to uphold the affirmative action program at the University of Michigan Law School challenged in 2003's Grutter v. Bollinger.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stayin' Alive


Maria D’Antuono knitted to stay alive in the rubble
Wednesday April 8,2009
By Nikki Barr for

A 98-year-old woman who survived the L’Aquila earthquake in Italy managed to stay alive in the rubble by knitting.

Maria D’Antuono told rescue workers she spent the 30 hours she was trapped knitting to keep herself busy. Ms D’Antuono was buried under her bed when her stone home collapsed during the quake in the village of Tempera. But she was determind to stay alive and told reporters she spent the hours “doing crochet”. Officials said she was in a good condition. The happy news comes as the death toll for the quake reached a staggering 260. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the dead included 16 children, while nine bodies still had to be identified.Berlusconi said that L’Aquila Bishop Giuseppe Molinari would hold a funeral service for the victims on Friday.

She spent 30 hours trapped beneath her collapsed home

Officials say 28,000 people have been left homeless by the quake that struck Monday.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Spring

Spring in Minnesota is a time of contrasts. Take, for instance, the fact that the local drug store was selling windshield-wiper fluid and watering cans in the "seasonal" aisle:
We were looking for sidewalk chalk for Girl-child's Easter basket; that was something I used to do, was put sidewalk chalk and bubbles in their baskets. Unfortunately, the drugstore was out of sidewalk chalk.

As the children have moved up in the world, so have their gifts, and this year each received a book and a movie in with the jelly beans. Boy-child and I just watched his new movie, The Iron Giant, which was lots of fun; I hadn't seen it in ages.

Easter is a time for renewal, which is hard to remember when you're going to the nursing home and visiting your mom, but it was relatively fun this week as the kids went with me and we took her to Dairy Queen. My mom loves Peanut Buster Parfaits. Boy-child was fascinated by Gudren, a woman in the Memory Care unit, who seems to have forgotten her English today. We found out that she was speaking Swedish; it must come and go for her still, because I know I've heard her speaking English before. I do wonder if the Somalis, Central Americans and Mexicans think about the possibility of their own mental demise, and their possible loss of English, in the future. I wonder if anyone will still know their languages when they get old; Lord knows there are precious few who speak Swedish around here these days.

I found a new knitting magazine recently that comes out of the U.K. They had an article on Spanish yarn shops, which makes me want to go to Madrid in the fall. The only drawback is that the shops are Spanish style, which we experienced in Chile, and we know that didn't get us far last December. I still think it would be a future field trip worth investigating.

To bring me back in the springy mood, I just take a look at the lovely hostess gift I received today. These remind me of how much fun I have planting on Mothers' Day weekend, and how much I enjoy flower season:
Thanks, Sue!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Week in Review

So did you know that Trinity Church on Wall Street is offering the Stations of the Cross online and ... are you ready ... they are Twittering the Passion of Christ ...

I am not joking; I do not have the imagination to make this stuff up.

My question for The Church is, if you can modernize to the point of Tweeting the Passion, then why can you not modernize in other ways?

Also in weird news ... no surprise here ... Michelle Bachmann has declared that green jobs result in job loss and that the Obama administration is going to cost the middle class dearly.

Really, Michelle Bachmann is just a font of weird news; everything she says is bizzare. She had a rally in St. Cloud the other day that was about half supporters and half hecklers.

I will never understand how she got re-elected.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Denver Part Two

This is the lovely gift I received when I arrived in Denver - crocheted with sock yarn, no less:
I pretty much finished the Wisterious Monkey socks in flight yesterday (ok, I grafted the toe after I got home):

I arrived home to find that Boy-child had shaved his head again, in honor of the soon-to-be-warm-weather:
I think it was a bit premature.


I went to Denver yesterday to have lunch with my friend The Gypsy.

Denver tries to be friendly, even when they're telling you you can't get in (thanks, rck, for showing me that)

The airport is kind of weird. On the one hand, it's really nice and modern but, unfortunately, it's in the middle of nowhere. At first I thought Cirque du Soleil was in town. Then I thought maybe it was a Christo art installation.

But I guess it's trying to look like the mountains. It was kind of cloudy and the mountains rather far so it was hard to capture the snowy tops. Anyway, we had a lot of fun visiting and she'll be here in May. She crocheted me a scarf and I knit her one ... I guess we're still on the same wave length, even when we're not in school together.

I'm not sure how she managed to escape without me having a picture taken of us, but she did :(

Scarf and knitting pictures to follow.

In the meantime, they've scrubbed MSP clean of NWA signs - when you get off the train and go to the tram, the signs tell you what airlines service the Twin Cities; Northwest is not on the list.

In fact, you have to get really close to see the Northwest name:
They haven't repainted all the planes yet, but they will. In the meantime, the jetways show Delta and the planes are NWA:

This is where NWA's counter used to be in Denver:
I'm understanding better what my friends from Republic felt like back in 1986. I wouldn't say I'm sentimental about it, but it will take some getting used to, no doubt about it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just Call Me Horton

Your result for The Which Dr. Seuss Book Are You Test...

Horton Hears a Who

You scored 24% Grinchification 53% Cathatitude 81% Loraxity 53% Hoponpoppiness

You are: Horton Hears a Who!

Horton Hears a Who! is a story about an elephant with a good heart and an activist ethic. Like Horton, you're a very nice person, and you're very observant about the world around you. You are more likely to get involved with political or activist causes. You also tend to be more whimsical and creative than down to earth.

The lower your Grinchification score, the nicer you are.

The higher your Cathatitude/Hoponpoppiness score, the more whimsical and creative you are.

The higher your Loraxity score, the more concerned you are with the world around you, politics and activism.

Other Categories

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! The Lorax The Cat in The Hat Green Eggs and Ham Oh, The Places You'll Go Hop on Pop If I Ran the Zoo How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Butter Battle Book Yertle The Turtle Fox in Socks

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April Showers

It was a beautiful drive down River Road this morning.
The wee ones next door even squeezed out what was probably the last snowman of the season.
It's all gone now.