Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Our beloved Molly is gone.

One of my most beloved heroes, Molly Ivins, died today of breast cancer. She was a force to be reckoned with, with a wit that was matched by no one and a heart as big as all outdoors. She will be greatly missed.

"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."

"Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate."

"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."

"It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America."

"I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults. "

"The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging."

Molly Ivins Quotes

(photos from the Austin American-Statesman)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Sky - a week late . . . .

Saturday, January 27, about 945 am:

I woke up to rain and 44 degrees, and now snow?!?!? Shouldn't that have been here last week? It's snowing really hard right now, but it had lightened up for a while. Unfortunately it's too warm for anything to stick, which is actually just fine with me. After our storm two weeks ago, I'm ready for a break. But I know the farmers and ranchers are grateful for the moisture.

I have to admit, I've been in a bit of a funk since the holidays, and the last couple of days have been awful. I guess part of it is that I'm starting to feel my age and I'm not that old, damnit! Then yesterday an unexpected opportunity was basically dropped in my lap, and it sent me into overload. I'm afraid I ditched a good friend's birthday party to come home, drink beer and cry, and go to bed early. Anyway, if you could send some good, clarifying vibes my way, I'd appreciate it.

I've tried to pick myself up by finally going through all the gardening catalogs I've received lately. It's getting close to time to start some seeds, and I want to try a few new things. I have promised myself that I WILL NOT go overboard this year like I did last year (especially if we have another extra-hot summer), but it's hard to keep that promise when everything looks sooooo appealing (plant porn--who knew?). I did order a grow light thing for my seeds. The ability to concentrate light on your tiny little seedlings can make or break their becoming strong, healthy plants, and I never realized that until I tried to make do without one.

I did treat myself to a few plants this week. I needed something to perk myself up a bit. I bought a few herb plants (because I let all mine die last summer), a pretty croton plant, a couple of african violets, and, god help me, two orchids:

I also bought some cheap clay pots and paints at Michael's, and I'm going to spend part of the day cleaning them up and painting and stenciling them. I also think I'm going to pull in one of the planter boxes from outside and plant some lettuce seeds. It's definitely warm enough right now (they like it cool but not frigid), and if the temp drops, I can just bring the planter into the house.

Have a good Saturday!

Monday, January 22, 2007

From the Oklahoma Knitters Yahoo Group--

It's a boy!!!

(from list member Shelly Harris)

Just a note to let everyone know that Keely (co-owner of Sealed With A Kiss yarn shop in Guthrie) had their little baby boy, Mason Wyatt, on Saturday without any complications.

Mason weighed in at 6 lbs. 11 ozs. and measured 20" long.

Both Mom and baby are doing fine and have arrived home today. The entire family is reported to be absolutely thrilled.

Congratulations, Keely and family!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday Sky - Day 9 of "Winter Storm 2007"

Today, about 930 am CST:

We've not had any precip this morning except a light rain/sleet mix, but just now I'm starting to hear what sounds like heavier sleet falling. After the end-of-the-world predictions of 5-10 inches of snow, now it looks like we may not get much of anything--it's too warm. Even though I'm sick of this weather, I'll still be disappointed--it's so rare here to see a really heavy snowstorm.

So, we're into Day 9 of "Winter Storm 2007," and I'm ready for it to be done. It wouldn't have been so bad if we had gotten 4-6 inches of snow, but when that's all sleet, it's a different story. I don't ever remember weather like this--most schools in the greater OKC area have been closed all week; actually most of the state has been closed all week, except for those of us who have to haul our asses to work no matter what.

Of course, there are pictures:

This was some of the ice that came off the hood of my truck on Tuesday, two days after the ice storm. Note the size--it's at least 4 inches thick, and that's after the heat from the car has melted it somewhat. We pulled ice off our trucks in huge plates because it was so thick that you couldn't break it apart.

We finally got someone to come to the office Tuesday afternoon and clean off the sidewalks and some of the parking lot--

(my friend's hand for scale)

Again, note that everything's in chunks because this is solid ICE, not snow. In fact, it was like cement--you needed a pick-ax to break it up. And when I mean solid, I mean you could drive a car over it and it wouldn't make a dent.

This is in the parking lot--look at how deep this is. I think it's really strange that the ice seemed to take on the parking space marking--weird.

Usually when we have a big storm like this, the temps go up the next day and everything melts off in a day or two, and we're back to normal. Today is Day 9, and most of the streets are still thick with ice. It's gonna take forever to clear off. This was taken on Wednesday. Does it look like it's cleared much? Not really. You'd think we were in North Dakota or something (no offense, please).

I took these last night as I drove through the Hertz parking lot on my way home:

That's a large SUV behind that pile of ice.

These are ice boulders--they were huge! If one of these were to fall on someone, it could really hurt them. In fact, last night I heard a news story about a man who was injured and his car totalled when a huge plate of ice slipped off a roof and landed on his car. I have a feeling that may be pretty commonplace in the next week or so.

The city did a pretty good job on the streets, but it was still slow going, especially on the secondary streets. My apartment's parking lot is like a slushy ice rink this morning, thanks to two days of slightly-above freezing temps. Thursday morning was the worst for getting to work--it was like glass in some areas. Very, very scary, because by that time people were starting to drive like idiots again, and that just made it worse. I was never so glad as when 5 pm Friday came and I could come home and lock the door and not budge for the weekend.

One last photo--funny how you can find art even in the worst of times:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Sky - frozen solid

It's plenty chilly here at Casa Katya today:

I guess we're lucky, because so far today we haven't had any precip, but the Weather Service is still saying freezing rain tonight, although the storms have been downgraded somewhat. We're supposed to get a couple of inches of snow tomorrow. We'll see.

Maggie and I have been totally lazy today. I need to get up and get busy, but I've been at the computer all day. I've become addicted to internet video--no, not that kind, get your minds out of the gutter! I normally watch a Mystery Science Theater 3000 stream from Shoutcast, but today I've been watching old movies on several diffrent "stations." Right now, it's the end of "Plan Nine From Outer Space." I love old movies, even the bad ones.

The mailman just brought me a little present from the Etsy WeeOnes site--a set of Boston Terrier stitch markers, as well as a kitty and a teddy bear with a red heart on his chest. They're so cute and so very tiny--Jillian does beautiful work.

I still don't have anything fibery to show, but I do have these:

I bought an "Origami a Day" calendar for half price, and it's opened a whole can of worms. I do one or two every day or so--it's a nice change of pace, and I have a friend at work who makes origami, so she's checking out my work.

I've also found the ultimate Valentine's Day candy--Hershey's Truffle Kisses, dark chocolate filled with a truffle center. I plan to buy a truck full as soon as I can get out of the parking lot--YUM! I'm having to ration them to keep from eating them all at once.

I guess I need to drag myself away from the computer--Maggie's starting to pout.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Insanity and the end of the world (as we know it)

Yes, I'm posting on a Friday afternoon, from home. My company shut down "at employee's discretion" around noon. This means that only the high-end employees who think they have to be there stayed at work--the rest of us workerbees bolted for the parking lot before they could change their minds. Most of OKC has shut down for the rest of the day and the weekend as well. Hopefully people will take advantage of that and stay home.

The weathermen are saying this could be a "really big" storm similar to the ice storm we had in 2000, when over 170,000 people lost power. Right now the roads aren't absolutely horrible (they aren't great, either), but it's sleeting pretty good, and once the traffic clears off the streets and the temps drop, it will be a solid sheet of ice out there. I'm hoping that since the freezing rain turned to sleet and snow early on that maybe we've missed the worst, but we'll have to see.

People have been prepping for this storm for two days. I waited to go to the grocery store until yesterday after work, and wow, I wished I had gone on Wednesday. I got the last cart when I walked in the door. Thankfully I didn't need a lot, but if I'd gotten there any later, I would have been hard pressed to find milk or bread. I had rock salt on my list, but they were totally out, and apparently their warehouse was out, too. Luckily I still have one bag left from the December storm, and since I don't plan on walking out the door until Monday morning at the earliest, that will have to do. Apparently everyone was out shopping yesterday--this blog from the Oklahoman is pretty funny.

So Maggie and I are holed up for the weekend. I need to do some housework, because the Bug Man is scheduled to be here Tuesday (I have no idea whether or not he'll actually make it). I haven't hardly touched my spinning since New Year's, and I want to knit some (no, the cashmere scarf is not done, and neither are the socks).

But mainly I want to enjoy the cold, gray skies--finally, my kind of weather!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

There are days when I hate being a woman.

Some of you will remember this post, wherein I ranted and raved about the state of large women's fashions these days.

Well, stand back, because I'm ready to let loose again. Consider this Chapter Two.

(If you're a guy, be forewarned--there will be talk of "panties" and "bras.")

So my collective bosses gave me a gift certificate for the mall down the road from our office. I'm not a big mall person, but over the last few days I've realized that it was time to give it up and go buy some underwear. My drawers had holes on top of holes, and it's definitely time--it's been several years since I've bought any new ones.

So at lunch today my friend S and I went to the mall to the popular "large women's store," which I will not name because I don't want a letter from some attorney. But just think about any large mall, and there's probably one of these stores there.

The store was having an underwear sale--buy 3 panties and get 3 free, or buy 2 bras and get 2 free--basically everything was half price. I figured I could use my gift certificate and still have some money left to spent across the aisle at Bath and Body Works (which is a whole other rant, but I won't go there today).

Boy, was I wrong.

All I wanted was plain, cotton underwear--you know, everyday stuff. I have plenty of fancy things that I don't wear much anymore because comfort rules over fashion, and besides, no one sees them but me, so what's the point?

S wanted some bras and thought she'd get some undies, too, so we decided to share the special--we'd both get what we needed and then we'd each pay for half.

I needed panties and a couple of bras, so I paid for most of the panties--12 pair (remember, buy 3, get 3 free), and S bought 6 panties and 4 bras (buy 2, get 2 free). Other than 2 pair of "novelty" cotton panties and 1 print cotton panty, everything was plain--nothing fancy or lacy, just plain cotton. The bras were plain, basic bras--no lace, etc.

My 12 panties, had I paid regular price for them (remember--cotton and nothing fancy)--total before-sale cost--


Even after the sale, my final cost was $90.49.

S paid a little over $93.00 for six panties and four bras--I'm guessing her before-sale price was around $185. The two plain bras she bought for me would have cost over $50 at regular price.

That means that 18 plain cotton panties and 4 sateen bras normally cost almost $350.

Do they just not GET IT? How the hell can you be a middle-class person these days and afford anything? With the costs for haircare, makeup, underwear, clothing, and shoes these days, a woman could be dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and still have spent $500 on her appearance--and that's just casual wear!

This particular store used to have pretty fair women's clothing, but now the only thing I ever buy there is underwear and jeans--everything else is a piece of crap that costs least 90% more than it's worth. I remember 20 years ago being able to walk into this store and drop $350 dollars and walk out with two or three shopping bags full of nice clothes, jeans, underwear, and pantyhose. Obviously those days are long gone.

The only reason this store can get away with charging $16.50 for a pair of cotton panties is because they're pretty much the only retailer I know that carries beautiful, fashionable, sexy underwear and lingerie for large-sized women. And who doesn't want to wear more than just plain old tidy-whities every once in a while? But $158 for plain, cotton, everyday underwear? Come on!

Oh, and a warning--I guess their designers have decided that all large women need at least three-quarters of an inch of padding in their bras regardless of their bust size. Some of their bras were so large and "molded" that you could wear one of the cups as an army helmet. They looked like something designed by the Department of Homeland Security as a safety device.

So I spent my entire gift card plus money of my own for panties and bras. I hope my bosses don't ask what I bought (hee).

I guess the next time I need underwear, I'll need a cosigner and collateral.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

FO #2 of 2007--whoo-hoo!!!

Yarn - Cherry Tree Hill Jumbo Loop Mohair, colorway "Champlain Sunset," 1 skein (185 yards, and I used all but about 7 inches!)
Pattern - based on "Windsong Lacy Scarves" found at Yarn Market
Size 15 needles, cast on 17 stitches, knit instead of purling stitches in pattern (because I hate purling)

And just because I can, another closeup of this gorgeous yarn:

I would love to have had two skeins of this to make a wider shawl in this same pattern. I've been looking for something lacy to use with some high-dollar specialty yarn I've been eyeing for two years--maybe this is the one.

So it's January 2nd and I have two FOs so far--if only I could keep up this pace. Next up is the cashmere scarf--maybe by the first of next week? We'll see . . . .

Monday, January 01, 2007

It's done, it's done, it's done!!!

See me do the happy dance--it's done!

It's definitely not perfect, but it's pretty darn cute. I would have liked to have done a little more with it--zigzag stitch around the letters, etc., but I was afraid I'd mess it up--I'm still trying to get past the learning curve with my sewing machine. But anyway, it's done, so at least I can give it to my friend tomorrow and not feel quite so bad about missing Christmas. It's a good thing she's really understanding.