Monday, August 27, 2007

Pain threshold

Note to self: in future, wear pants whilst working on laptop.

Laptop vent fan = 1, knee = 0. The marks look faintly Dalek-ian, don't you think?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blog days of summer

I love August on the East Coast. Love love love it. I especially love the end of August, when the heat is intense and the humidity is so great you imagine you can actually see air.

A screened-in porch is absolutely essential in August to protect you from the mosquitos and yellow jackets. This allows you to sit outside without being molested, listening to the cicadas sing and sing and sing and darn it, sing some more because I don't think those cicadas in CANADA heard you.

When Ken Burns made his documentary of the Civil War, it was his use of the cicada sound loop that made me realize he *got* it. Summer has a sound and it is the cicada.

When the heat/humidity is 98/90, sitting is the best possible activity. And maybe because you've had two children your stomach is not as fine and toned as it once was, and pooches out a little when you sit down. That makes a little roll of fat that tends to get kinda sweaty, which leaches through your shirt leaving a little wet line of sweat. And if you look at it from far away and squint you can imagine it might resemble six pack abs but you know it really doesn't?

That's August.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Winners and losers

The results from the fair are in.

I entered eight items this year (I know- crazy!): three hats, two scarves, a small afghan, a sweater, and a belt. The sweater nearly killed me. I was sewing seams two hours before the entry deadline.

I am proud to say that not only did I successfully attempt CABLES and BLOCKING, but the sweater actually fits me. Except for some weird arm shaping. I think I can fix that post-fair.

First, the losers.

Item 1: Knit scarf, in a 2x3 broken rib-type pattern. Prize: honorable mention.

Sorry about the poor detail photo. There's nothing particularly wrong with this scarf, although I admit it's not my best effort.

Item 2: Crochet baby afghan, half-double crochet surrounded by single crochet and a curly border. Prize: fourth place.

The crochet afghan category is highly competitive. I thought the curly edge would catch the judge's attention. It's perfect for little hands to grab on to. Alas, the judges did not agree.

Item 3: Crochet adult hat with celtic border in tapestry crochet. Prize: third place.

Wha? Third? This was the hat I made for my father last Christmas and in my opinion, the most challenging piece for me. This design was incredibly difficult to execute. Third??

Next, the winners.

Item 4: Crochet scarf, overall curly. Prize: second.

(I love how they display the entries under Saran Wrap.)

I was into the curlicues last year. I actually wore this scarf in my passport photo. I look like I'm being strangled by a sea slug.

Item 5: Crochet infant hat. Prize: second.

More curlicues! Brewgal's standard baby hat design.

Item 6: Knit sweater, plain knit with cable arm design. Prize: second.
A step up from last year's shruggigan. Cables attempted! Ha!

Item 7: Crochet belt. Prize: second.
I made this for Little Brewer #2 last year. I entered this on a whim just because there was a category for it. I couldn't tell if there was any competition in this category. Little Brewer #2 was very anxious when I entered this. He was afraid he would not get it back. Not that he ever wears the darn thing.

And finally, Item 8: Child's crochet hat with flower. Prize: first.

I made this the week before the fair. Little Brewer #1 chose the color scheme. I felt it was a winner. Faux hatband with two-tone crochet flower? How could the judges not love it?

In conclusion, I have no idea what the judges like. They typically do not provide comments, so I cannot tell what I did wrong or right. I'm plotting next year's entries. I may attempt a log cabin blanket from Mason-Dixon knitting.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Hot enough for ya?

I love my car. It has all sorts of cool bourgeois functions like heated seats (fabulous!), heated side mirrors (a triumph!), windshield washer fluid that also cleans my headlamps (those tricky Swedes!), and a radio I can control from the steering wheel (luxury!). It also has a thermometer built into the dash. If the temp drops below freezing, the readout is supplemented by a cute little snowflake (danger! snow!).

On days such as today, there should be a small cactus next to the readout. Or perhaps a melting glacier?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Postsecret video

The Postsecret video is up at youtube:

Click here

Friday, August 03, 2007

We're thinking of you MN

I was planning to write something about the Minneapolis bridge today but I couldn't. I mean, really, what can you say? I'm sorry? That makes it sound like I'm apologizing for an event over which I had no control.

My deepest condolences to the people of Minneapolis and Minnesotans everywhere.

I like Minneapolis. It will forever be etched in my memory as "the city that vacuums its sidewalks." Seriously! When visiting Minneapolis many years ago on the way to Duluth, I happened to be up very early. Looking out of my hotel window I could see a fellow carefully pushing an industrial vacuum down the sidewalk. "Wow," I thought to my 12 year old self, "they must really want the city to be clean."

Granted this was many, many years ago, but that's how I've thought of Minneapolis ever since. The city that really wanted to be clean.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Frog and Duck

Sounds like a pub. Brewgal's area could use a pub or two. She misses the Gettysburg Brewing Company something awful. She and Brewguy used to spend almost every Friday and Saturday at the GBC drinking Dave's beer and hanging out with the crew. The love of good beer would bring together both townie and college folk. Darts would be played, mug numbers* would be compared, chit-chat would flow, growlers were filled and carried home.

There was a pool table in the back and no TV. Children were welcome. Lite beer was not.

We met college professors, battlefield guides, construction workers, teachers, tourists, and local craftspeople.

Tourists had a hard time with the place. It was run English pub style, which meant there was no table service and the only beer served was Dave's own. You had to go back to the counter to get your food (lovingly prepared by Gail). And did I mention there was no TV or lite beer?

Eventually Dave got tired of both running the counter and brewing the beer. He sold off the brewing equipment, allowing us to drink the remainder of the beer. We had one last mug club party/wake.

The saddest day was when they carted off the tables and chairs.

Now I live in a county that controls alcohol distribution (there are only two counties in the whole darn country that do this). Number of pubs in my local area = 1, and I don't really want to hang out there. It is mostly a restaurant. The beer isn't brewed there. The wait to be seated on any given day can be as long as 45 minutes.
I'd rather sit on my back porch and drink homebrew, thankyouverymuch.

Back to the Frog and Duck.

We all went to the pool last weekend. Soon after we arrived a boy, attended by a rather large gaggle of other boys, walked past cradling something precious in his hands. His mother was calling after him, "don't put it back in the pool!" Turns out he had caught the cutest little frog. As he turned to reply, his hands opened and the frog escaped. There was much screaming and chasing as the boys attempted to recapture the amphibian. It was finally cornered next to the benches. I believe they put it through a gap in the fence so it could find its way down to the nearby creek.

That was wildlife #1.

About an hour later, I noticed a commotion in the main part of the pool. Little Brewer #2 doesn't swim yet so we keep to the 2-3 foot area. People had formed a moving circle in the pool, a circle that was coming our way.

The circle opened. And a duck swam out.

A female mallard. She calmly swam around the pool, speeding up if anyone tried to get too close to her. If kids started splashing her, she just swam away a little faster.

What was a duck doing in the pool? The chlorine couldn't have been too tasty. There are no plants or other edibles (hopefully) in the pool. Had she been raised by humans? Was she lonely? The thought of this duck having lost her family and being forced to seek out company was heartbreaking.

A few minutes later the lifeguard's whistle blew signalling adult swim. All the kids got out of the pool, leaving only a few adults. The duck swam around for a minute more, then took off, flying away over the fence.

I guess she wasn't yet 16.

* The pub had a mug club. Each person was assigned a number on their mug based on the order in which he or she had signed up for the club. The lower the number, the more "status" you had because that meant you had been around since the beginning. Brewguy and I were numbers 11 and 12, respectively. If you're a former GBC mug clubber reading this, I salute you.