Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

O is for Out

ABC Along Button

Yellow moth and tuplip tree leafStepping out the door for an early morning dogwalk, I find this beautiful moth on the step with a yellow leaf from the nearby tulip tree.

We leave a flood light on all night. The insect eating birds, especially the Phoebes, have learned to come get breakfast from the bugs the light attracts. This moth was probably injured by a bird, but it's not dead and I gently move it to the front yard before the dogs run out the door.

Later in the day I find wing pieces. The moth did not escape being a bird's breakfast.

Sunrise for a hot hot dayAfter walking out to the back three acres, I aim the camera to the east for a sunrise shot.

Another hot, humid day is predicted. The sunrise is not spectacular and there are no clouds in the hazy sky.

Mist at dawn on a hot muggy dayAiming the camera to the west, the mist is still visible against the trees.

Mama bluebird laying her morning eggWe head down the path with the nest boxes used by bluebirds. Mama bluebird is sitting on her nest and peeks out at us through the hole.

She's hoping we walk by without bothering her because she's in the middle of laying her fourth egg. We click a quick picture and move on.

Rabbit next to a section of tall weedsSee the rabbit? It's right in the center of this picture.

Rabbits freeze in place when they see us coming. They are so well camouflaged that the dogs usually don't spot them as long as the rabbits don't move.

Pappy half heartedly looking for a rabbitThe dogs know the field is full of rabbits. Glory and Pappy delight in trying to find them.

They find a rabbit and head into the tall vegetation after it. The rabbit scoots out the other side and is long gone to safety while Glory and Pappy spend the next ten minutes darting around in the weeds looking for it.

I'd love to know what little Pappy thinks he is going to do with a rabbit should he ever catch one. Or maybe I wouldn't.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Acorn Socks Done and Back to FLAK

Finished acorn lace socksPattern: #324 from The New Knitting Stitch Library by Lesley Stanfield. I call it Acorn Lace.

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Vintage Opal #176

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Done. They fit perfectly and I'm happy with them even though they're not like I imagined when I started knitting them.

If you missed my rant on too much black and upside down acorns, it's here.

Close up of acorn lace stitchesZooming in on the acorn lace and then rotating the picture 180 degrees, the acorns look like this.

It's a lovely lace pattern that I plan to use again someday, only I'll knit it right side up.

FLAK on July 28, 2006Pattern: Follow the Leader Aran by Janet Szabo

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool

Color: Antique Rose

Needles: US #5

Gauge: 22 stitches/4 inches in Moss Stitch

Remember FLAK? Which I set aside for two months because I said it was too hot to knit on it?

I think I lied. Truth is, I feel like knitting on it now and have completed 12 rows in the last 24 hours even though it is too hot and muggy to move without sweating.

Weather forecast is for even hotter weather (mid 90s) the next few days, so maybe it is too hot. I plan to give FLAK a good try though. I'm in the mood for finishing it so I can start the Aran with Set-in Sleeves
in the back of Janet's new book, Aran Sweater Design.

Has anyone else started the set-in sleeve sweater?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

CIC Questions

So many questions on the CIC socks!

I'll do my best to answer with the disclaimer that I am not an expert on CIC, only a lowly knitter bee CIC_Knit List group member.

Jill asked . . .
Why do you tie the pairs together at the toe instead of the cuff? Is one way better than the other?
One way is not better than the other as long as the tie is obvious and easily removed.

I like to admire my cuffs without having them messed up with a tie, so I put the tie on the toes.

Darlene asked . . .
What would be a most basic pattern?
The Mini-Basketweave Toddler Sock Pattern is a basic 28 stitch sock out of worsted weight yarn.

A sock pattern very similar to the mini-sock you knit to learn sock knitting is Quick and Easy Toddler Socks by Sherie at Whimsey Knits.

For a super simple pattern complete with sock knitting tutorial, I highly recommend Yankee Knitter Classic Socks. It has baby, children, and adult socks in fingering weight, sport weight, and worsted weight yarn.

It is so well written that I learned to knit socks from it, including how to use double points and how to kitchener. A treasure I still use for reference.

Darlene asked . . .
I believe the yarn has to be wool? I have only used wool once and that was to felt a purse. If wool is used when it gets washed won't it felt down and not be wearable?
Here's a quote from CIC_Knit List Mom Elizabeth that answers your concerns.
This is not a "wool snob" issue. CIC has asked for at least 60% (they actually prefer at least 75%, and I always use 100%) wool or other animal fiber simply because it's significantly warmer.

It's cold, indoors and outdoors, where these kids live. Imagine an indoor temperature of 45 Fahrenheit (that's about 7 Celsius) in the winter.

If you're worried that wool might shrink:
(1) if you consider the fact that some kids don't even have hot water for baths, it's clear that it won't be used for laundry;
(2) given the price of energy and the poverty of the orphanages, no one's going to put anything in a dryer;
(3) wool is still used quite commonly in Europe, so most people are more familiar with caring for it; and
(4) if all else fails and the socks do shrink, a smaller child will be able to wear them.

Vivian asked . . .
Is it ok if I link your blog to mine?
I love it when like minded bloggers link to Stitches of Violet!

Anastacia asked . . .
Are these all in worsted weight? What type of yarn is the reddish yarn in the same photo (as the green socks)?
I knew I should have written about the yarn used, but I was feeling lazy and wanted to get back to my knitting. Now I will pay the piper and tell all.

If you go back to the post showing the CIC socks, I have added yarn information.

Monday, July 24, 2006

CIC Socks Ready to Mail

Note: This post was updated July 27 to include yarn information. I tried to take the easy way out and skip it, but my readers wouldn't let me get away with being lazy and questions were asked. I'm so pleased that you read my blog and care. Hope the additional comments answer all your yarn questions.

It's the last week of the CIC_Knit List Summer Sock Extravaganza. Seven pair of children's wool socks are washed and ready to mail to the CIC distribution site.

As always, they were quick and fun to knit.

Two pair of CIC socks from Sixth Sense patternFor the first two pair, I used Susan Laurence's Sixth Sense pattern.

The pattern was written for the Six Sock Knitalong. Then Susan, who is a supporter of CIC, generously gave the pattern to the CIC_Knit List for our continued use.

It's a fancy rib pattern, perfect for kids socks.

The blue pair on the left were knit using some leftover Lorna's Laces worsted weight yarn I've had in my stash for years.

The red pair were knit using Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted weight) in Candy Cane Red. I ran out of yarn, so the toes are a combination of sport weight Nature Spun with some fingering weight sock yarn.

Two pair of CIC socksThe orange pair were knit using the basketweave ribbing stitch and Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted weight) in Orange Brandy.

The light green pair were knit using Mossy Ridge, a delightful pattern from CIC_Knit List member Sherie. The yarn is Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted weight) in Celadon.

Three pair of CIC socksYou can guess by now that I like to use variations on a rib for my CIC socks. The ribbing pattern gives the socks more elasticity so they fit a wider range of foot sizes and stay on the kids feet better.

The reddish socks on the left are knit from Anne, a fingering weight yarn with mohair content. The mohair makes them fuzzy and warmer than other fingering weight sock yarns.

Normally I wouldn't use fingering weight yarn for CIC. I knit these socks for myself without checking gauge and they turned out too small. Fortunately there are kids in Eastern Europe who need them, so I don't feel my knitting and yarn are wasted.

The middle socks are knit from more Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted weight) in Orange Brandy.

The green socks on the right use some left over Cascade 220 and the remainder of my Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool (worsted weight) in Celadon.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Sky and Acorn Socks

Dark clouds to the eastThe sky is schizo today.

The sky to the east, north, south, and directly above is dark and looks like it's going to rain.

The National Weather Service calls for partly cloudy with a high near 79 and no rain.

Light clouds to the westOver in the west there is a spot of blue sky and white clouds peeking over the treetops.

Most of our weather comes from the west. We get Chicago weather after it has traveled over Lake Michigan which sometimes makes it weaker, sometimes makes it stronger, and most of the time doesn't change it at all. (That's my impression, not scientific weather fact.)

Sock cuff with acorn lace down the sidesPattern: #324 from The New Knitting Stitch Library by Lesley Stanfield. I call it Acorn Lace.

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Vintage Opal #176

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

This yarn has been sitting in my stash a few years. It came as part of a yarn club kit which obviously I never knit up. This sock is not the pattern in the kit.

The stitch pattern is unnamed in the book. It looks like acorns to me. I've been wanting to knit it down the sides of a pair of brownish socks for several years now.

Although I like the earth tones, there is just a little too much black in this blend for me to think it's gorgeous.

In the kit the yarn is described as "vintage Opal that has been hiding in the warehouse since the first shipment of Opal yarn years ago." It looked like oak colors in the skein. It doesn't look like oak colors when knit. And the feel of the yarn itself is a far cry from the plump, soft Opal distributed now.

I will now humble myself by admitting to a dumb mistake in thinking - or I guess it's more accurate to call it NOT thinking. The acorn pattern in the book is right side up. Since these are cuff down socks the acorns are upside down.

As a result of all this, I'm knitting a pair of upside down acorn socks out of rather stiff feeling yarn with too much black in the blend. While they're acceptable, and even attractive in their own non-acorn way, they are nothing like I expected when I cast on.

The yarn isn't worth frogging to use for something else and the socks are fitting well, so I'm going to finish them and be done with it. Hopefully the yarn will soften up when washed.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Flowers and Berries

Flowers from the field and blackberriesMy Friday morning walk to cut wildflowers in the field without the dogs is becoming a favorite part of my summer week.

This morning's hike had a double purpose. Some of the blackberries have ripened and I wanted to pick enough to make my favorite, yummy Blackberry Bars for breakfast.

Most people consider blackberry bushes to be noxious, invasive weeds. I can understand their point. Blackberry thorns are numerous, long, and sharp. Walking into a patch with exposed skin almost always results in blood, either from a scratch or puncture.

On the other hand, blackberries can hardly be beat for encouraging wildlife and birds. I've even seen a box turtle standing under a berry branch chowing down on their sweet goodness.

Glory eating blackberriesOnly one of my three dogs enjoys the blackberries. Glory has figured out how to be careful and not get her nose punctured while she eats them right off the bush.

She selects the very ripe, sweet ones and leaves the rest.

Untidy Bluebird nestThe bluebirds have been busy building a new nest for a late summer brood.

This is the messiest bluebird nest I've seen in the nest boxes. Either they are tired from the two previous broods or this is a different bluebird pair. Or maybe the dead grass is different this time of year and this is the best they can manage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lilac Moss and Rib Socks Done

Wildfoote lilac socks finishedPattern: My Standard Sock using Moss and Rib Block Stitch from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Little lilac

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

They're done. We're expecting thunderstorms and I wanted to get the final picture up before unplugging my laptop.

And now, just because I'm a boring person when hot and humid, I'm going to go find some yarn and start another pair of socks.

Finding yarn will be easy. Picking the yarn I want to knit up next will be challenging. Maybe I'll flip a coin.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summertime Sky and Socks

Sky on a hot day with hummingbird sitting on the wireWeather forecast is for a hot, humid, miserable week. Since we don't have air-conditioning, DH and I have gone into take it easy and sit in front of the fan mode.

So far - but it's only Monday morning - it's not as hot as was predicted. Living in the woods, we are cooler than those who live in asphalt land. There is even a nice 15 to 20 mph breeze to help evaporate the sweat.

The dogs are getting abbreviated walks in the hot, sunny field. Usually we walk the path three to five times around. For the past few hot days, we've been walking around once and then heading back to the house.

That little spot on the electric wire is a hummingbird. They look so cute when they perch up there just like the big birds.

Wildfoote lilac socks in progressPattern: My Standard Sock using Moss and Rib Block Stitch from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Little lilac

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

I finally pronounce it too hot to work on FLAK or alpaca. Not wanting to start another major project, what better than socks?

This yarn was a January birthday present from a friend.

It occurred to me that she might not understand the stash mentality - that it's just as pleasant to have nice yarn in the stash as it is to knit it. So I picked it for my current sock knit in the hopes it will encourage her to give me more sock yarn next year.

These are my first Wildfoote socks. I love the color and so far the knitting has been pleasant. I'm reserving final judgment until a few wearings and washings have occurred.

Barbara Walker shows four variations on Moss and Rib Block Stitch. All four are attractive and contain plenty of stretch and cling with ribbing in the stitch pattern. Perfect for socks, especially solid color socks and/or socks for men and boys.

If you graph out the stitches, you can easily see the twelve stitch repeat for knitting in the round. Just the right number for 60 or 72 stitch socks.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Shetland Lace Rib Sock Pattern

Shetland Lace Rib Socks knit in Opal UNI-SolidSize: Women’s medium

Yarn: 100g sock/fingering weight.

Needles: 2-24” circulars US 1, 2.5mm.

Note: You can easily switch to double points or Magic Loop if desired. This pattern is written with the instep stitches on one needle and the heel side stitches on the second needle. To knit on double points, simply substitute two double points for the instep and/or two double points for the heel.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette stitch

The socks in the picture are knit with Opal UNI-Solid.

This stitch pattern shows best with a solid or almost solid yarn.

Close up of Shetland lace rib stitch pattern Note on Sizing
Because of the openness of the lace, the 60 stitches around results in approximately the same size sock as a standard 64 stitch sock. If you're concerned about the sock being too tight, you may want to do the top ribbing on #2 needles.

k = knit
p = purl
m1 = make a new stitch by lifting loop between stitches with left needle and knitting into back of loop
slip = slip purlwise unless pattern specifies knitwise
ssk = slip knitwise, slip knitwise, knit two slipped stitches together
k2tog = knit two stitches together
p2tog - purl two stitches together
p2sso = pass two slipped stitches over the knit stitch

Shetland Lace Rib Stitch Pattern close up
(multiple of 10 stitches)
Round 1: k9,p
Round 2: k2,k2tog,yo,k,yo,ssk,k2,p
Round 3: k9,p
Round 4: k,k2tog,yo,k3,yo,ssk,k,p
Round 5: k9,p
Round 6: k,yo,ssk,yo,slip knitwise,slip knitwise,k,p2sso,yo,k2tog,yo,k,p
Round 7: k9,p
Round 8: k3,yo,slip knitwise,slip knitwise,k,p2sso,yo,k3,p

Cast on 60 stitches.
Split stitches between two circular needles, 30 stitches per needle.
Join is the beginning of a round and the left side of sock.

k1,p1 ribbing for 1.5 inches.

Knit Shetland Lace Rib Stitch until cuff measures desired length (usually 7-8 inches), ending after Round 1.

With the heel side facing you, move the left purl stitch onto the instep needle.
You now have 31 stitches on the instep needle and 29 stitches on the heel needle.

Set up Row: (slip 1, knit 1) 7 times, slip 1, m1, (slip 1, Knit 1) 7 times. 30 stitches on needle. Turn.

Row 1: slip 1, purl to end of row. Turn.
Row 2: (slip 1, knit 1) 15 times. Turn.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 17 times. (18 slip rows)

Turn Heel:
Row 1: slip 1, p 16, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 2: slip 1, k5, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 3: slip 1, p6, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 4: slip 1, k7, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 5: slip 1, p8, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 6: slip 1, k9, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 7: slip 1, p10, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 8: slip 1, k11, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 9: slip 1, p12, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 10: slip 1, k13, ssk, k. Turn.
Row 11: slip 1, p14, p2tog, p. Turn.
Row 12: slip 1, k15, ssk, k.

18 stitches left on needle.

Pick up Gusset Stitches:
Pick up 18 stitches along right edge of heel.

Knit across instep using Row 2 of Shetland Lace Rib after reading note below.

Note: There is now an extra purl stitch at the beginning of the instep stitchs. Purl it on each round before knitting the Shetland Lace Stitch pattern.

Pick up 18 stitches along left edge of heel.

Knit a round, ending at center back of heel.

Gusset Decreases:
For gusset decreases, round starts at center of heel needle.

Round 1: knit to last 3 stitches before instep, k2tog, k1, knit Shetland Lace Rib across instep, k, ssk, knit to center of heel needle.
Round 2: knit to instep needle, knit Shetland Lace Rib across instep, knit to center of heel needle.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 31 stitches remain on heel needle.

Continue knitting around keeping the 31 instep stitches in the Instep Rib Pattern.

Toe Decreases:
Start on instep needle 2 inches before desired length of sock.

Round 1: (k, ssk, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k) twice, once on instep needle, once on sole needle.
Round 2: knit

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 15 stitches remain on instep needle and 15 stitches remain on sole needle.

Repeat round 1 until 7 stitches remain on each needle.
Kitchener toe and weave in ends.

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2006. To be used for private, non-profit use only.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Thursday, July 13, 2006

N is for Nest

ABC Along Button

Swallow nest with six two-week old hatchlings
Tree Swallow Nest
The tree swallow young are two weeks old, and they are looking like miniature swallows. This picture was taken on the last day I'll be able to open the nest box without the risk of them flying out prematurely.

I've been taking pictures for the past week with no success in getting anything that shows the little birds very well. I can hear them chirping as I approach the nest box, but as soon as I open it they dive down and cover their heads.

At the end of my ring finger is a little swallow peeking out to give me the evil eye. They want me to go away so their parents can bring more food.

Tree swallows like to feather their nest with white feathers. I read about a study showing the more white feathers, the more likely a successful nest. These swallows did a great job with the feathers and it looks like all six hatchlings are healthy and likely to fledge.

Dive bombing swallow parent
The tree swallow parents weren't happy with me being in the nest box. They were both flying in circles dive bombing my head while telling me off with their chatter.

Fritillary on purple clover
Around the nest box were numerous fritillaries flying around. They like the sweet purple clover, one of the many abundant wildflowers in the back three acres.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sky, Smiles, and Shetland Lace

Todays morning skySaturday Sky
There's a popular meme in knitting blog land called Saturday Sky that requests a sky picture each Saturday. I haven't officially joined, but I did find myself outside with a camera this morning taking many sky pictures, of which this is one.

After some much needed rain on Monday, it was a beautiful week in SW Michigan. Not too hot in the daytime and comfortable, cool sleeping weather at night.

Today the sky was blue with a few fluffy clouds. Perfect summer weather.

Sydney and greatgrandma on the sofa smilingLast month Mom and I went to Idaho to visit great-granddaughter/granddaughter Sydney.

It was the first meeting for great-granddaughter and great-grandmother. The results were just as happy as this picture indicates.

Thanks to son John for taking this beautiful picture.

Sock One of the Shetland Lace Rib Sock patternKnitting?
This week I've been knitting CIC toddler socks for the current sock challenge. My goal is six pair by the end of the month. As of this evening, I have only one sock left to knit.

When the CIC sock is done, I'll be going back to the Shetland Lace Rib Sock pattern I'm writing to post on this blog.

The first sock is knit, the pattern is written, and the second sock, the pattern test sock, is on the needles.

No promises on timing. This beautiful weather requires lots of time outdoors in order to sacrifice my blood to the resident mosquitoes and deer flies. I do pledge that the finished pattern will be next on the knitting agenda.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Flowers

Wildflowers from the field with a red day lilyAfter the morning dog walk, I put the dogs back in the house and headed back out to the field for some wildflowers.

(The red day lily isn't a wildflower, but I wasn't trying to be pure.)

I've been thinking of doing this for years and haven't. Why? It was very pleasant except for the deer flies and now I have a pretty little arrangement to look at for a few days.

Lately I've been thinking about something that came up briefly during the trip to Idaho: I have difficulty knowing what I want and/or asking for it.

This is a family trait and can probably be blamed on our easy going, peace loving Swiss nature. Much of the time it makes us agreeable and easy to live with. Other times we are very frustrating to those who love us and would like to know our preference instead of hearing, "I don't care. Whatever you want is fine."

What I've been wondering is this: When I say "I don't care", audibly or by default, is it actually true that I don't care? Or, somewhere deep inside do I really care? Am I thinking that the people who love me should be mind readers? Am I trying to avoid responsibility for a bad outcome if what I ask for doesn't work out?

If I start asking for what I want, assuming I can determine what that is, will my family resent it?

Have I read too many psychology books?

Maybe I'm having an old age crisis because I didn't take time for a mid-life crisis.

Send me flowers. I love them. Not roses. I've never cared for roses.

There. That wasn't so difficult.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

100 Things About Me

Revised and updated July 4, 2015.

  1. I was born in Chicago but moved to Michigan in the second grade and have lived in Michigan ever since.
  2. Bob and I married in 1975 in a magistrate's office wearing matching flannel shirts that I made for the occasion.
  3. In July, 2011, I was widowed after almost 36 years of marriage. It was the first time in my entire life I've lived by myself.
  4. In December, 2012, a friend from the past became my love for the present and future. I met Jay for the first time on my first day of work at the Upjohn Company in 1986. Our cubicles were side by side for about ten years.
  5. I am usually slow to answer questions. I like to think things through. When Jay asked me to marry him, I had already thought it through and answered immediately.
  6. Jay and I got married February 22, 2014. We have been greatly blessed in our senior years with our love for each other.
  7. Jay wore a cowboy hat and bolo at the wedding. He looked great.
  8. The first eight months of our marriage we were unable to live together because of dogs, leases, and the decision to build a condo from scratch.
  9. We had fun building our condo without ever having a fight. October 22, 2014 we moved into our new condo in Oshtemo Township, Michigan. The address is Kalamazoo.
  10. Jay and I are both detail people. We are in the process of establishing new routines for living together.
  11. We have started a cacti collection. The spines are much sharper than I ever guessed.
  12. A six foot cardboard John Wayne stands in our great room guarding the house.
  13. There is always something way more interesting to do than clean house. We have Molly Maid.
  14. For the first time in many many years I am without a dog. I miss my dogs, especially Sunny, but love the freedom to travel on a whim.
  15. In 2003 I lost forty pounds in Weight Watchers. I refuse to admit a few pounds may have rejoined my body because I plan on losing them again soon.
  16. Jay is an excellent cook and I'm not sure there's much hope for the above statement.
  17. I worked as an Information Technology analyst for twenty-four years. In April 2003 Pharmacia, my former employer, was acquired by Pfizer. In January, 2004 I was severed along with hundreds of other ex-Pharmacia employees in SW Michigan.
  18. I am retired.
  19. People who knew me well told me I'd be bored without a job. I haven't been bored yet and don't think it's going to happen.
  20. In the 1980s, I was a COBOL programmer. Cobol will always be my favorite programming language, although I know better than to use it now.
  21. In the 1970s, I went to college part time while my children were growing up.
  22. I have a BS in Biomedical Science with a minor in Chemistry from Western Michigan University.
  23. I never had a job using my major or minor.
  24. My first job out of college was as a computer programmer. I wasn't sure what a computer was. They hired me because I tested super high on a programming aptitude test.
  25. I've always been good at taking tests.
  26. I was always a nerd, but in high school and most of my twentys I tried to not to show it.
  27. I was able to play stupid in high school chemistry because the teacher was boring, but I was never able to resist excelling in math.
  28. My high school math teacher was excellent. She taught me how to think through problems. Thank you Miss Erskine.
  29. I played bass clarinet in the high school band. I was very good technically but not musically talented.
  30. After high school I attended Wright Beauty Academy in Battle Creek and earned a cosmetology license.
  31. While I was in beauty school I smoked a little rhinestone studded pipe. I still love the smell of most pipe tobaccos.
  32. In the 1960s, I worked as a hairdresser, doing beehives and other very solid hair structures.
  33. My fame as a hairdresser came from my ability to create backcombed and hairsprayed dos that would not move for a whole week.
  34. When I was ten, I had a pet painted turtle named Prince Albert Red Rattler. He lived in a large washbin and ate worms. Slurped them up like spagetti. His record was 100 worms in one day.
  35. When it was time to let Prince Albert go hibernate, he was so fat he couldn't close his shell.
  36. My maternal grandparents came to this country from Switzerland when my mother was a baby.
  37. My paternal grandfather was a French Canadian named Gilbert LaFayette Monette. My paternal grandmother was Daughters of the American Revolution material.
  38. My father had a heart attack and died when he was forty-five years old.
  39. My mother taught high school English and humanities. She lived to be 92.
  40. I was present when my first granddaughter was born in 1995. When she was ten minutes old, she grabbed my finger and we've been loving each other ever since.
  41. My daughter is smart, beautiful, and has a sparkling personality. I'm so thankful that she lives in the area so we can see each other often, although we're both busy and we don't see each other often enough.
  42. My son is a genius. He used to do calculus homework during the rests in orchestra practice. He ended up in a hotel/resort industry career because he's also a great people person.
  43. My second granddaughter was born in 2005. She lives 2000 miles away which is very sad for me.
  44. Starting when I was in my late teens, I dyed my brown hair red. When I was fifty-five I let it grow out natural. It's about ninety percent white now.
  45. I'm very nearsighted. I've been wearing glasses since I was ten.
  46. I resent spending time on the daily routine things: taking a shower, brushing my teeth, blow drying my hair, doing the dishes - but I do them.
  47. I don't wear makeup anymore except some lipstick when I remember to put it on.
  48. I've always purchased practical cars. Right now I drive a 2015 carbide gray Subaru Legacy.
  49. For me, the fun thing about knitting is to try different stitch patterns.
  50. I very seldom follow a knitting pattern without at least one change. Often I just wing it.
  51. I haven't been knitting much the last three years, but I have kept all my knitting supplies in case the urge and time to indulge return.
  52. I used to be an excellent seamstress but I haven't had a sewing machine in the last twenty years. Occasionally I get the urge to sew but it passes quickly.
  53. I've always loved watching the birds and the wildlife.
  54. I love embroidery, brocade, and lace - seeing it, not doing it.
  55. I am the oldest of four children.
  56. My three siblings are all very unique and gifted. I'm the boring member of the family.
  57. If you are a brass player, you probably know about my brother, Dave Monette, maker of Monette trumpets.
  58. My three siblings all think SW Michigan is a good place to be "from".
  59. I'm the only sibling who has stayed in SW Michigan and I'm not sorry. I like it here.
  60. In the summer of 2008 at age 63 I signed up at a music school to take trumpet lessons. Playing brass was something I always wanted to learn. After two years I faced facts and crossed it off my list of life goals. But I'm not sorry I tried.
  61. I hardly ever go to movies.
  62. The last twenty years I've made a point of studying the Bible. I believe it's the key to the meaning of life.
  63. I believe we are here on earth to learn and grow. The lessons we're here to learn are the ones that are hard for us to grasp - the mistakes we make over and over and over.
  64. I am a Christian. In 2015 I joined Jay's church, the Oakland Drive Christian Church in Portage, Michigan.
  65. I like to be around friendly, positive people.
  66. My favorite kind of humor makes fun of life.
  67. I'm an introvert. A strong Meyers-Briggs ISTJ.
  68. I hate speaking in public but I can do it when I need to.
  69. When I took Dale Carnegie training I won several awards for my short talks.
    Most of the people in my Dale Carnegie class felt the class was life changing. I didn't feel that it changed me at all. I'm still wondering if I missed something important - but I don't think so.
  70. I hate shopping.
  71. I buy most of my clothes online. My favorite outfit is jeans and a seasonally appropriate top. My favorite shoes are New Balance.
  72. For ten years in the 1990s I made stone jewelry and sold it at craft shows. It started out fun but got to be a chore, so I quit.
  73. I have promised myself I will never again take something I like to do and try to make it profitable. It takes all the pleasure out of it when you have to do it to deadlines.
  74. I am less and less of a perfectionist as I get older and learn how little it really matters.
  75. My favorite color has changed through the years, but I've always had red in my wardrobe.
  76. My favorite color right now is coral. I married Jay wearing a coral dress.
  77. I think Tennessee Ernie Ford sings hymns like God Himself might sound. I got through a stressful project at work once by listening to Tennessee Ernie sing hymns.
  78. I am always apprehensive about driving through the car wash.
  79. I could - and sometimes do - waste time playing Spider Solitare and Words With Friends.
  80. I'm the second of four generations with the middle name Louise. We all have different first names.
  81. Mom was Margarete Louise. I am Marguerite Louise with daughter Heather Louise and granddaughter Kimberly Louise.
  82. I got the French spelling of Marguerite because my maiden name, Monette, is French.
  83. If I had a second daughter, I was going to name her Phoebe. I love the sound of the name.
  84. For twenty-three years I had a bluebird trail of four nest boxes. They got used by bluebirds and tree swallows.
  85. Every programmer I know is either a calendar person or a map person. I'm a calendar person.
  86. I hate to hear people sniffle.
  87. Before I turned thirty I was very thin. Sometimes I was even way too thin to look good.
  88. I wanted both my children very much. When I was pregnant, I would laugh with delight when I had morning sickness.
  89. My favorite deserts are sugar cream pie and cheesecake.
  90. I enjoy quiet.
  91. I like to enjoy my friends one or two at a time, not in groups.
  92. I don't enjoy talking on the phone.
  93. I'm not good at keeping in touch with old friends but I think about them sometimes.
  94. My sense of direction is not functional. Love my GPS and use it often, even on familiar routes.
  95. I'm a chocolate snob. I only like European chocolate without all the extra wax and preservatives.
  96. I love butterscotch and caramel.
  97. I get impatient with people who say they want to do something but won't try to do it.
  98. I've worked as a geriatric nurses aide and as an aide in a home for the profoundly retarded during a time in my life when I was thinking of going into medicine.
  99. I've never worked retail and I've never been a waitress. Hope I never have to do either of those jobs.
  100. Now that I'm 70 years old, I doubt I'll ever be employed again. That's fine with me. I'm busy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How Sweet It Is

I had a doctor appointment today and we spent some time talking about what I should weigh. Dr. V's conclusion: I'm in the upper range of acceptable and shouldn't be concerned about my weight as long as I'm not gaining.

Doctor V is a small woman in her thirties. I have confidence that she isn't going to encourage extra pounds. Therefore I've removed the weight loss rabbit from the sidebar.

According to a news item in the Washington Post:
Obesity is strongly linked with depression and other mood disorders.

Whether obesity might cause these problems or is the result of them is not certain, and the research does not provide an answer, but there are theories to support both arguments.
My theory - it's not the obesity that is making people depressed, it's the unhealthy types of food they are eating that creates the depression.

In my study of one (me), I have proven over and over again that when I eat sugar I want more sugar. And, when I eat a bit more than a little sugar I get the blahs. Sometimes I get depressed.

When I stop eating sugar, my mood improves.

It takes about three days to de-sugar my system. I start feeling better after a day. Once the three days are past the sugar craving is gone, fruit tastes sweet, and most pastries and candy taste too sweet to be pleasant.

There is a wide range of human biochemistry. What works for me may not work for you. But, if you've never tried fasting from sugar, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Things

John and Sydney in the front windowI love this picture of son John and granddaughter Sydney from my recent trip to Idaho. It's my new desktop.

Of all the impressive things my son has done in his life, I am most proud of him for being a loving, involved Daddy to his daughter.

Granddaughter Sydney loves to sit in the front window and wave when people come and go and watch for the dog across the street and yell "do, do!" repeatedly when she sees it.

She also likes to have her picture taken.

Ten day old bluebirds in nest boxThis is the second brood of bluebirds in this nest box this summer. The first nesting fledged five and it appears the second nesting is going to do the same.

It was overcast yesterday so I was able to get this picture without interfering shadows. The hatchlings are about ten days old.

Tiger liliesAbout a decade ago I planted a patch of Tiger Lilies. They didn't do well and I finally ripped them out and replaced them with daylilies.

Part of a Tiger Lily bulb remained in the ground and I didn't have the heart to weed it out.

Every year it sprouts up and puts on a glorious display of tiger color. Every year I think about moving it somewhere else, but I don't.

It seems to be happy where it is and it makes me smile.

The dogs are sleeping today after a fitful night of fireworks and thunderstorms.

Hopefully everyone will use up their noisy 4th of July stash tonight and the dogs can resume their normal nighttime sleeping pattern by Wednesday.

Wishing all Americans a pleasant holiday today.