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Showing posts from August, 2012

August 31 - Hidden

Live blogging from the Middle of Nowhere

This is what live blogging looks like around here, courtesy of my husband. He kicked himself all day yesterday because his first assessment of the Ryan speech included the words "lying" and "liar." He tossed that one out and replaced it with something more, um, benign. When everyone from the Washington Post to called Ryan a liar, all my husband could do was say that he'd said it first.

But there was no proof. Heh.

Winnie, did you tell your husband he and I had similar true-blue temperaments? Denise, your insight is so valuable and further proof that we need to work as hard as we can to kick the Tea Party out of Congress. And Alison. You bet I'm going to preach it, sister. And you're going to help me see the good side, because you always see the good side. What a gift.

One of my character flaws is the propensity to demonize without looking deeper. Contempt prior to investigation, if you will. Not in all areas of my life, thank goodness. I dov…

August 30 - Card

One-sided political junkie

As political junkies go, I'm right up there with the best of half of them, I suppose.

You see, I can't quite stomach watching the GOP convention. Alison has done a great job of detailing yesterday's events, and I'll thank her publicly for that. Oh, and my husband writes notes and leaves them on the laptop, so I don't miss anything. Last night he wrote that Ryan is pro-Romney and anti-Obama. And Ryan "also went into some detail in describing that he is pro-Ryan." Heh.

(Aside: Back in the old days, knitters got together online in a Yahoo group called the Knitlist. That's how I first "met" Alison. I quit reading the Knitlist a few years ago and lost track of quite a few members who are suddenly popping up as friends of my Democrat Facebook friends. I'm loving this small world, connected by invisible threads.)

When the Washington Post – not exactly a liberal mouthpiece – publishes a fact-checking piece on Ryan's speech, well, that says a…

Can't wait for next week

I'm so sick of GOPRepublicanTeaPartyBS I could SCREAM!

Instead, I'll just breathe in, breathe out and move on. Or Heh.

Hey, thanks for all the comments about being busy. The beginning of a new school year – whether you're in school or have kids in school or, like me, aren't even affected by school – appears to set off the busy season.

I was so busy this morning I couldn't even blog. Who gets their teeth cleaned at 8 a.m.? I do, apparently. My new dentist and his staff are very kind, non-judgmental, never in a hurry and do all they can to make their patients comfortable. This whole denture adventure has been an ordeal, but it hasn't been their fault at all.

Eating is still problematic, but I guess I'll get used to it, eventually. At least that's what they tell me. ("They" includes the dentist, his staff, my Amish neighbors and the internets.)

After the dentist I went to work, and after work I stopped for the mail and LOOK WHAT I GOT…

August 29 - Down

I can't keep up …

The ticker is whizzing by on Facebook, one outrageous story after another being posted by appalled and astonished friends who are making sure all their friends know about the crazy-scary GOP platform. This article hits the highlights. I'm afraid to dig for more.

It's no secret to my friends and family that I use Facebook almost exclusively for political stuff. I write about it here when it's relevant or when it's what I'm doing (hint: More politics to come between now and Election Day), but Facebook is my main political outlet.

(I'm not sure my older granddaughter realized that when she messaged me, saying, "All right, Grandma. We get it. You're a Democrat.")

Some of the best snippets that have scrolled by today are quotes from the finale of HBO's The Newsroom. Including this comment from the Coffee Party:

"It's a sad commentary on the state of the media when some of the best journalism of 2012 consistently comes from works of fiction…

August 28 - Clock

Next up …

I need to start making lists again. How is it that life gets so busy I can't remember everything that needs to be done in my head? Early fall always seems to be a hectic time here in the Middle of Nowhere. I'm almost grateful the deer ate all the tomatoes. I seriously don't have much time for kitchen duties these days.

I've moved my grocery list to my smartphone, which was a brilliant idea. I could never remember to grab the paper list from the front of the refrigerator, but I always have my phone with me. I use an app called Listonic, which categorizes the items for you, lets you save them, offers quick lists and favorite/recent items. It's easy-peasy and works great for grocery shopping.

I've downloaded Evernote, which is probably what I'll use to keep track of all the upcoming projects. I haven't started exploring it yet. One of its main features is that you can sync it across all your devices. Not sure if that's really a feature I need, since th…

August 27 - Tap

Being a Democrat in West Virginia

It's hard, people. Trying to turn this state blue again is a MAJOR effort, probably impossible this election cycle when it comes to the Presidential race. Despite a majority of voters being registered Democrats, by a two-to-one margin, there's a lot of crossover and too many of them stay at home on election day.

Well, except for those who voted for that convicted felon during the primary. I wish they would have stayed home!

The upside to being a Democrat in West Virginia, and in particular being a Democratic woman, is getting to hang out for the weekend with a couple hundred like-minded souls who just can't wear enough blue. Blue shirts, blue hats, blue scarves, blue jewelry, blue, blue, blue, everywhere you looked.

It was fitting that the convention ended on Women's Equality Day, the day the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing a woman's right to vote was ratified. Republicans seem to be hell-bent on sending women back to their kitchens, barefoot a…

August 26 - Dream

August 25 - Fresh

August 24 - Path

August 23 - Pair (Pear)

Comments on comments

Wow, it's early.

Coupla things and then I have to scoot. 

Jen has been eloquently writing about intuitive eating, a plan I haven't learned enough about, but which intrigues me. Taking the focus off food/dieting sounds soooo desirable. I've been dieting for 50 years and I'm pretty tired of it. <smirk>

She also left a comment here a couple days ago about how her dad felt that food didn't taste as good after he began wearing dentures. To show you how intuitive eating is not part of my psyche, my first thought upon reading that was, "Hmmm. If food doesn't taste as good (it doesn't, by the way), then maybe I won't eat as much and then I'll lose weight!"

Clearly I have a long way to go.

Winnie commented yesterday: "What I love about your blog is that you are a no nonsense kind of person, shoot from the hip and are so very real."

I said a big, "Awww" when I read that, loud enough that my husband heard and asked what I was awww…

August 22 - Home

Gotta go to work

I seriously don't know what's been happening to my mornings lately. I used to get up, check my e-mail, open Blogger and write a few paragraphs. I've only missed a few days (thank you, derecho) since I started doing NaBloPoMo. Sometimes my posts are simply placeholders, to keep the streak going. Sometimes I have REAL STUFF to say.

Thanks Jen and Vickie for your supportive comments yesterday. The women at the prison meeting last night were just as nice as they could be, and I ended up talking (not about dentures!) more than I usually do, without feeling embarrassed or awkward.

Eating is another matter entirely, and I have to go to a convention tomorrow through Sunday, which will definitely be awkward. But I bet I learn, as I have from you and as I did last night, that there are more denture-wearers out there than I know about right now.

And I bet it'll all turn out just fine.

Okay, off to work and a little shopping. I don't leave tomorrow until mid-afternoon. Not sur…

August 21 - Cool

Round Two

I was sadly mistaken in thinking that once I actually got dentures, my dental problems would be over.

Oh, no, no, NO, that is not the case at all.

Everything I've read online, everything the dentist told me and everything my Amish neighbors have shared assures me that I will get used to them. I hope they're all right.
It's been less than 24 hours so far, so I suppose I should give it a chance, right? I really don't have a choice.

I'm writing all this for me, more than for you, although I figure someone out there might appreciate an account of the personal experience. You might need to go through this someday – you could get your teeth knocked out in a softball game, for instance – and I feel like I'm doing a public service.

Also, I can't not go through something like this and not write about it. I guess after all these years I've evolved into some kind of diarist.

I feel like I'm gagging all the time. Just as I've read online, there is in incre…

August 20 - Today

Jelly fail. Oh, and TWO winners!

The winners first: MemiNature (first place) and Winnie (second place), send your snail-mail addresses to me at shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com and you can add to your stash. I found eight more balls to add to the fun. Congratulations to you both!

So I made apple jelly yesterday, with a combination of fruit from the farmer's market and the supermarket. I didn't have any apple jelly at all last year, and my trees didn't produce enough this year for a batch. Rather than steal down the road in the dark of night to fight with the deer for the neighbor's apples, I figured I'd just, oh, you know, support the farmer's market and add to the local economy and BUY FRUIT.

I love apple jelly. It's beautiful and tasty and fairly easy to make. I've made it successfully and I've had it turn out too runny, as this batch did.

I used liquid pectin, but the recipe was supposed to make eight eight-ounce jars and I ended up with a total of 78 ounces of product. So not …

August 19 - Hole

The party's over

Five p.m. today is the deadline for comments if you'd like to win the fourth and final Summer of Yarn Giveaway. I haven't reduced the size of my stash by much, but every little bit helps, and I'm moving toward a mind-place where I don't really need a lifetime supply of yarn. Not quite there yet, but close.

I was sick yesterday, sick enough to spend the day in bed. Sick enough to sleep most of the day and all night, too. Well, most of the night. At 4 a.m. I was wide awake and hungry. As I write, I'm having a bowl of yogurt with cinnamon, a banana and a little brown sugar. And coffee. I must be feeling better because I never drink coffee when I'm sick.

While I don't feel ill this morning, I also don't feel terribly energetic or motivated to do any of the bazillion things that need to get done around here. I'm kind of sorry the bag-knitting is finished. I still have a sweater on the needles, but I'm not terribly motivated to finish it at the moment…

August 18 - Inside

Yay! The bag is done, done, done!

Cast off last night while watching Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (what an amazing movie), and here's what I had:

Felted things are so messy before they're felted. This is big (more than three feet from the bottom of the bag to the top of the extended handle) and floppy, and I'm not weaving in the ends because once it's been shrunk (shrunken?) I can just snip them off.
I took the earlier, smaller version to the meeting Thursday night and it was suggested we give it to our Secretary of State's tween-aged daughter, who follows her mama (our SOS) everywhere she goes. Great idea!
I just pulled the new bag out of the washer and it's drying over a cardboard box, to help shape it. You'll see the final product tomorrow.
Now to fill it. I'm looking for locally made/produced items that will fit inside. The loot so far: handmade pottery spoon resthandmade goat's milk soaplocally produced music CD to benefit our county humane societybook of essays by local law…

August 17 - Faces

A bit discouraged

I know it's summer and people are busy. I realize re-electing President Obama isn't everyone's cuppa, and his chances of winning West Virginia are zero and none. I get that time is limited and it's important to spend it wisely.

Last night was the monthly meeting of the local Democratic women's club, of which I am the Democratic woman in charge. In June, eight members came. Last month, only five. Last night, seven.

We haven't been able to vote on anything all summer. There are items to vote on and money to disperse. The election is less than three months from now. A handful of members can't be expected to plan and [wo]man fundraisers or events or receptions.

Our next event is a public screening of the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels. I'm going to try to make arrangements for a late September showing. Voter registration ends October 23 and early voting begins October 24, so airing it in September – NEXT MONTH – makes sense.

And apparently, if it is to be, it&#…

August 16 - Food

One of my very favorite subjects! Heh.

Deterring critters

I worked at the garden center yesterday, not by myself, as is usually the case late in the season, but with the owner, moving plants and tidying up benches to get ready to display the mums.

And then it rained, so we ended up not working for very long at all.

Two gardeners can't get together in August without asking, "How's your garden doing?" so I had a chance to wail once again about the deer and the tomatoes and the sweet potatoes. (Today would be a good day to take the shovel out there, the ground is nice and soft after the rain.)

She will be going out of town the end of this month and told me to come! pick! tomatoes! Yay! I should at least be able to get a few more jars in the pantry before the season ends.

Winnie, the spray I use is called Liquid Fence, and it's very effective. I should have been using it every couple of weeks, but it's one of those chores I get lazy about once it starts raining tomatoes. And, honestly, I've never had deer bother toma…

August 15 - Ready

Deer, deer, deer

Here's a link to the deer repellent a friend swears by. If it works for me, I'm buying stock in the company. Heh.

I didn't even go out to the garden yesterday. It's good to know I'm not alone in being the victim of deer damage. There was a little bit last year (okra, sob!), but nothing like this. I feel like pulling up all the stakes, taking down the fence and putting the whole space to bed way early.

It's kind of sad when the bright spot of your day was getting a new satellite dish installed. I'm not even a TV-watcher, but with no garden chores and a lifetime supply of yarn I can see myself tucking in to movies and DIY programs and sports, oh my. (Live sports is my reality TV.)

Actually the bright spot came last night. Tuesdays are my volunteer-at-the-prison nights and while I rarely feel like going there – too tired, too busy, too whatever – I'm always glad I went. Last night was no exception. The discussion was all about gratitude.

always leave a g…

August 14 - Arrow

Garden fail

This has not been the best garden year here in the Middle of Nowhere. It started out great, full of promise, as most gardens do. Because I was working part-time, it was good that I left much of the space fallow this year. I haven't had time to weed what's there, let alone what could have been there if I'd planted the entire plot.

The strawberries didn't produce much at all – enough for a bowl of cereal, maybe. The birds ate the blackberries, one by one as each little shiny black berry ripened. I finally bought bird netting, but alas – it was too late.

I'm ready for next year, though!

I got a few snow peas and snap peas, enough for a stir-fry or two. And that was great. I'll probably devote more space to early-spring crops next year. (Gardeners never quit figuring out how they can do it better next time. I guess that means we're good learners.)

The big fail is the tomatoes. (If you're a Facebook friend, you already know this story. Apologies.) I noticed …

August 13 - Simple

This one belongs to …

the Anonymous Courtney! Courtney, please e-mail me at shrinkingknitter AT gmail DOT com with your snail-mail address and you're going to have a pile of wool, just in time for fall knitting.

For the final Summer of Yarn Giveaway offering, I'm thinking about the children. This discontinued oldie-but-goodie is perfect for children's sweaters and caps. Fiber content is 61% acrylic, 30% cotton and 9% polyester, so we're not talking about a lux natural fiber here. But it washes beautifully and knits up quickly – 4 stitches to the inch on size 7 or 8 needles. And the knitted fabric is lovely.

I remember one sweater I made out of some red-and-white Cottrica. I joined the seams with a three-needle bind-off on the outside in a solid red, and applied a solid red i-cord trim at the cuffs and all around the outer edge. The buttons were solid red, as well. It was a knockout sweater for my older granddaughter when she was starting pre-school, and so easy for my daughter to care for.


It's good to be grateful.

My husband and I were headed to Abingdon, VA, yesterday to meet friends and wander around the Virginia Highlands Festival. We knew heading out, of course, that the GOP vice-presidential pick was going to be announced. In fact, we already knew who was chosen. I felt very blessed that we had plans for the day, and only had to listen to a tiny bit of the Romney/Ryan Obama-bashing as we listened to NPR.

One of our friends' friends asked if we owned the white car with West Virginia plates with all the Obama bumper stickers on it. It's a blessing to share similar ideals and beliefs with strangers, and for them to know without knowing that we were like-minded souls.

We came home to a freezer full of grass-fed local beef, the bill for it placed atop the freezer. I'm so grateful for good friends with whom I can trust my keys and who return the favor, knowing I'll pay up when I see them next.

Part of yesterday took us down the Virginia Creeper Trail

August 8 - Spoon

Following up on yesterday's coal rant

Vickie, the health issues caused by coal, to which you alluded, anger me the most, especially when it comes to my neighbors. The wife is a two-time cancer survivor. She may still be in treatment, I'm not sure. The list of diseases and conditions affecting coal miners is long and largely preventable.

(Also, are you still blogging? I couldn't find a link to your blog, so I didn't link your name.)

West Virginia's Democratic governor and former-governor-now-Senator are BIG coal supporters, which really means they are big coal OPERATOR/OWNER supporters. The hell with the miners (although they will certainly shed a tear on camera when disaster strikes). Oh, and let's celebrate when an EPA ruling is reversed.

They've already announced they won't be attending the national Democratic convention next month in Charlotte. God forbid it should look like they're supporting their President.

West Virginia's registered Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, but…

August 10 - Ring

What we're up against

//Political rant ahead.//

The couple who lives in this house are obviously Republicans who have drunk the "Friends of Coal" Kool-aid. The wife drives a big SUV with a sticker on the back window that says "This vehicle paid for by mountaintop removal." I cringe whenever I see it. I have the same visceral reaction to that sticker as I do toward Confederate flags.

There are a lot of Confederate flags around here, even though West Virginia went with the Union in the Civil War. As a border state, loyalties were mixed, particularly in southeastern West Virginia.

The Friends of Coal have erected billboards on our major highways delineating Obama's No Job Zone and, of course, West Virginia is right there. But you know what? West Virginia has been a no-job zone for decades. Young people grow up and leave because there's no place to work. My dad, who would have been 82 this year, left southern Ohio (similar demographics) 60 years ago to find work in Columbus, and nev…

August 9 - Messy

Don't forget about the yarn giveaway!

I know the description I wrote made it sound a little, um, less than appealing. But it's truly a beautiful neutral with a lot of depth that will go with just about anything. And 10 (TEN!) skeins! C'mon!

But maybe you're saving up all your comments for Sunday. We can talk about the final Olympic event, the men's marathon, which happens Sunday morning. My last chance to get inspired.

(My husband and I were talking with a friend last night and I mentioned the marathon might be off my bucket list and he said – and I quote – "it is if I have anything to say about it." I felt like a child! And I told him so, too. Might have been the best thing he ever could have said about marathoning. Hmmm.)

The Obama-blue bag is all knitted up, now I just have to felt it. Then comes the really fun part – filling it with locally made goodies and decorating the outside with campaign buttons. I knew all that swag from the state convention would come in handy!

The state women's c…

August 8 - Glasses

Oh, the trauma

Okay, I'm awfulizing, but yesterday was horrible!

Not the part where you left comments pointing me to your favorite blogs. (And thanks, Denise, for your very kind words about mine, that was a treat to read in an otherwise helluva day.)

The Great Denture Adventure continues. Yesterday I actually got to try the fit of the new appliance. Five minutes later I was in tears. And I was still in tears half an hour later when I got home. And … well, you get the idea.

If your genetics have already predisposed you to eventually needing dentures, do everything you can right now to overcome it. I'm sure I could have done more, but seriously, I've known this day was coming for a long time. Probably since my first visit to a periodontist more than 25 years ago.

Suffice it to say the fit was so not right that the dentist had to take another bite impression and we're tacking an extra week onto the whole process. I get another "try-in" next week and then they'll make the p…

July 7 - 8:00

These are a few of my favorite blogs

In no particular order, and for lots of different reasons:

Reticulated Writer
Better After
Woulda Coulda Shoulda
Walden Effect
Eat, Live, Run
Perfect in our Imperfections

As I scroll through my Google Reader feed, these are the blogs I click on right away. I'm so greedy, I can't wait to read what these folks have written first. Don't get me wrong: All the blogs in my feed are worthy, or they wouldn't be there. But there's something about these – history, inspiration, good writing, wonderful examples, useful information – that makes me can't wait to read them.

How about you? Who can you not wait to read? Tell me in a comment (and if you're not interested in winning 10 skeins of Icelandic wool, mention that so I don't throw your name in the hat).

August 6 - Writing

Up for grabs this week

Who's in the mood for some wool? Yes, I realize it's August and in the United States (which is where this giveaway is limited to) it's freaking HOT right now, so who in their right mind could possibly be in the mood for wool?

Well, knitters generally are hungry for wool, no matter what time of year it is. If it's cold outside you can cuddle up under your in-progress sweater or afghan. And if it's hot? You can make mittens, caps, bags, tea cozies – any number of smaller items and accessories are perfect wool-in-summer knitting.

(Notice how I left out scarves? If you love knitting scarves, you go for it. I, for one, find them incredibly boring to make.)

Anyhoo ... this week you have the opportunity to win TEN labeled skeins of Icelandic wool, made by Alafoss Ltd. of Reykjavik, Iceland (THE Icelandic authority). This is vintage stuff, but it's been stored in my cedar-lined, pet-free yarn closet ever since I bought it.

The color is nothing like the photo, and I apo…

This week's winner is …


(And if you click through to her blog, be sure to scroll down and read her take on the chicken wars. If I'd weighed in on that subject – and I wanted to, but thought better of it – she says what I wanted to say, only with much less emotion. Suffice it to say I have gay family members and family members who supported CFA Appreciation Day. Blech.)

Anyway, congratulations to Karen! If you will e-mail me at shrinking knitter AT gmail DOT com with your snail-mail address, I'll pop your yarn in the mail.

If you didn't win and you really wanted to, stay tuned for more goodies coming up later today. I kind of dropped the ball on searching the stash yesterday to come up with this week's offer, but will get it together before the end of the day.

Now to answer a couple questions:
I missed watching President Obama's address to BlogHer'12. I'm not much for watching videos online, I'm not sure why. I am going to go back and watch Usain Bolt's gold-medal…

Sliding back to normal

The house is quiet and Hershey is missing her little buddy. Me, too! They all arrived safely back home yesterday afternoon, and I will have to admit I was pretty tired last night.

So what's going on already this morning? The women's marathon at the London Olympics! As I type, they have about an hour to go. I can't imagine running 26.2 miles in two-plus hours. Actually I can't imagine running 26.2 miles at all. I've all but crossed it off my bucket list, not because it's completed, but because it's something I'm never going to accomplish.

However. My motto has always been "never say never," so I'm not calling it a total fail. Yet.

Two of the three American women are still in the lead pack; the injured Davila started but had to drop out. It's raining, raining, raining in London, but I bet the runners are only dimly aware of the weather. The streets are lined with cheering crowds and yes, it definitely is inspiring!

There's been a loc…

August 5 - Logo

August 4 - Somewhere you sat

Yesterday's news

(When I started typing a title for today's post, I was reminded of a song I included on a mix CD for my journalist son. There wasn't really any "news" yesterday.)

But I guess I should explain yesterday's title, eh? The weird combination of letters and symbols apparently represents a question mark when I blog from my phone. I had very little time to myself yesterday, but wanted to keep the NaBloPoMo streak for August going.

I'm very proud of myself for not quitting NaBloPoMo after I broke the starting-in-November streak in July during the electrical outage, by the way. I think picking it up again in August proves I don't have an OCD bone in my body.

Have been thoroughly enjoying hanging out with family. Everyone's sleeping except me and the dog.

Our littlest guest has been enjoying as much outdoor time as she can get, and especially enjoys using the garden clippers to harvest basil and flowers. I had her cut a bloom for last night's dinner centerpi…

August 3 - Coin

August 2 - One

Loving the feeling ...

A couple of semi-related things have occurred to me lately, and I'd love it if I could remember them a little more often.

I love it when my house is clean and tidy and neat and every thing that has a place is in it. I've had a box of old books sitting in a corner of my bedroom for, literally, months. It's gone now, and it makes me happy to look at that empty corner every time I go in that room.

On a similar note, because I'm not able to eat as well as I did before my summer trauma, I love it when, at the end of the day, I've eaten lightly and only at mealtimes.

It's still a major hassle to eat just about anything, although I'm getting better. (I've had a donut, something I rarely eat, ever, but it was a personal challenge. Heh.) But I've managed to continue the pattern from the first week, when I was still in major pain, of eating at mealtimes only and then eating only a little bit. It doesn't take as long as it first did to finish a meal, but I…

August 1 - Outside

About that floor

When I said yesterday I had an acre of floor to clean, I hope you know I was kidding. It's really only about two hundredths of an acre. And I let the Roomba do two of the carpeted rooms. That left two hallways, two baths, a bedroom and the main kitchen/living/dining area for me to do.

I'm not done yet.

All of it has been vacuumed, but none of it has been mopped. I also bought a product that brings your laminate floors back to life! and I think that's what's so discouraging. I have to mop, and then I have to move all the furniture and apply this product and I. Don't. Wanna.

So I'm not gonna. Apply the finishing product, that is, I'll definitely mop.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, we're having guests. It's the only time my home is spic-and-span clean, in tip-top shape, everything dusted and polished and decluttered all at the same time. (Please tell me I'm not the only one. Do you sort-of clean regularly, but wait until company com…