Archive for March, 2009

Damn you, Meth addicts

March 19, 2009

I’ve been progressing through the many phases of a fair to midling nasty head cold this last week. Yesterday was the worst day – completely phlegmy and congested. But overall its been a week of interupted nights spent propped up and rhaspy mouth breathing. Yuck. These things happen and it hasn’t slowed me down too much. However, to the extent that it has … I blame meth addicts. Last friday I walked over to the Walgreens near my house to pick up a box of kleenex and a few appropriate medications. I was puzzled however to note the large yellow label on the Nyquil its generic equivalent. And the same notice on the Sudafed box. This is baffling. How can you make sudafed without the pseudophedrine – that’s the active ingredient. And why would you? well that answer is easier – apparently you can grind up the old style of sudafed tablets and turn them into an ingredient in crystal meth or something similarly illicit and dangerous. So to prevent that they’ve made pseudophedrine a prescription only substance and deprived me of my cold medication. And as to the first question – how does sudafed work without the active ingredient for which it was named … it doesn’t. I don’t think its doing a darn thing for me.
So … Damn you, Meth addicts. How dare you deprive me of my night-time congestion relief? I curse you all to a really nasty pit of hell where you can never unclog your sinuses!
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PS. My mother’s priceless reaction to this revelation: ‘Meth, why would anyone want a drug that isso dangerous and it doesn’t even elevate your spirit?” Why indeed.

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New Toy

March 18, 2009

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When I was home earlier this month I hit a favorite but out of the way yarn store near Madison. My mom and I both went crazy over a scarf made up of many little swirling hexagons. She liked the look and I was totally intrigued because I could not figure out how it was made. Usually I can see how most knitting is done these days and, though I may or may not trouble to try it, there isn’t much mystery. This was different. So mom ordered the pattern for the both of us and when KJ came up this weekend she brought it up, along with a ball of mom’s yarn. Its not really my choice of color but I (obviously) found the pattern quite fun.
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They are actually fairly simple to construct, once you know the trick. They’re knit inwards in the round so you start with two double pointed needles and 60 stitches as you would for a sock or a glove, then you reduce till you get to the center. When you have one you pick up 10 stitches for the next one off of it and so forth till you get a long line of them. Then you go back and start again at the beginning and pick up 30 stitches off of three adjacent hexes to do the second row. I haven’t done a third row but I’m starting to run out of yarn now so I may just set it aside as is pretty soon. Since I don’t think its something I would wear. However I am eager to figure out how to incorporate this into other more inventive patterns. Its fun to knit.
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March … in like a lion … and out and in and messing with my head

March 9, 2009

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Seriously I like winter as much as the next person – well I’d guess more than the next person based on my own unscientifically conducted survey of silly soft people who shouldn’t be living in the upper* midwest if they aren’t prepared to hack it. But this is getting ridiculous. I think March is just jerking us around at this point. First its balmy and mud everywhere and then an ice storm. … And then the next day it melts. This is the result of the nasty ice storm I had to drive through to get home from Minneapolis this weekend. The result is very pretty but I was enjoying it a whole lot more in January when it seemed more appropriate. At this point its just making my life difficult. Make up your mind, March!
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Here is a shot taken (at great risk) from the highway as I was driving home yesterday – actually what I wanted to feature here was not the shitty weather but these amazing ice waterfalls coming out of the limestone cliff which have been lasting through all of the inconsistent freeze thaw cycles (probably because they are tucked in under a north facing overhang. Pretty cool though, aren’t they?
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* happy, Malea?

Fun with Grafting

March 5, 2009

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So I’ve been working on this one for a long time. Mom found this roving at a summer farmers market, fell in love, took it home and started spinning. Then she handed it off to me with a request that I turn it into a fabulous and functional gift for her best friend Susan. First I took my sweet time coming up with a design for the stuff and then I got side tracked by a really appalling design mistake – trying to integrate some contrasting teal into the pattern in groovily wavering vertical bands. Around new years it got to the point that I hated it too much to go on. And then we entered the nagging phase in which mom asked about it every week or so and I put her off saying that I was much too busy. A week ago I made a decision and ripped out the groovy stripes – I had just enough of the navy to finish the whole pattern without any supplements. So I dug in and made great strides. I now have a finished body of the sweater – all assembled.
Granted there are a few loose ends to tie up. I’m grafting a garter stitch hem to the back to match the one I started with on the front because the whole pattern was knitted in one direction from front hem up over the shoulders and down to the back. I haven’t yet found a bind off perfect enough to be unnoticeable so I just cast on and started the back hem afresh – now I’m connecting the two pieces. Grafting is one of my favorite parts of knitting; its obsessive and precise but when you’re done you have perfectly joined two, once disparate, pieces of material. No seam, no bulge, not a ripple – a perfect melding of the two. I was working on this graft before work this morning and had to stop in order to have time to make my lunch and get out the door – quite a wrench. I’ll have it finished within 20 minutes of walking in the door tonight. Then I can choose my own adventure: try blocking the sweater or work on the edging for the front/neckline and sleeves. I’m so excited that this is back to being a satisfaction and not a frustration again.
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Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!

March 4, 2009

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I borrowed the family copy of Firefly when I was home last weekend and started watching it again. I was immediately delighted by nearly every aspect. I’m so sorry that fox didn’t know what a good thing it had there. “Curse their sudden but inevitable betrayal!” And especially the way they didn’t even let the full season run as it was meant to and come to a real conclusion. At least Studio 60 (why do I always love the shows that get canceled) had the chance to wrap up their plot arc and leave their fans on an up note. But the line is actually from the show in the pilot episode. The pilot of the good ship Serenity is alone at the helm and amuses himself by playing with model designers. As the t rex turns on the poor steg he cries out …
In my quick web search to find the above image I hit this interesting blog post analyzing Firefly through a Marxist lens. While the author is focusing on things other than my primary interests I did find the comparison between Star Trek, Star Wars and Firefly to be fascinating. I love sci fi and fiction for many reasons but mainly, I think, because they allow an author to pick and choose among the elements of real life, culture and society that we all live with and focus on specific issues. In the same way that a painted portrait can capture a deeper sense of a subject than a photo, I belief that alternate fiction cal bring greater clarity to real life than pure biography or fiction can sometimes manage.
Anyway, I’m so sad it got canned but I’m so glad that I am able to keep it on DVD. Why would you ever watch anything live anymore?
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Old Lamps for New

March 4, 2009

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Except that no one could possibly have a use for this faded, pitted, broken sad old spoon. I seem to have replaced it with the exact same model though. Well I shouldn’t be surprised when the same thing happens to this one in three years of heavy use.
I couldn’t resist it though. I was in Madison this weekend and stopped off at Orange Tree Imports, the font of all things delightful and gadgety for the kitchen. It has also been the source of christmas and birthday presents for my mother sister and I for about as long as I remember. Literally, longer. Mom has OTI purchases that are older than I am. Anyway, I’m a girl on a budget now (Hello, Economic Downturn) so all I got this time was a new slotted spoon for 3.50 to replace my old one but … I’m taking just as much pleasure in it as any other new kitchen toy. And it is so cheerful and shiny next to the old one.