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Archive for January, 2010

Poor Bob!

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I giggled as I approached Haslett Middle School Monday, to teach a computer class. This was what I saw:

unhappybob

Poor Bob!

Knitting as Art: Robyn Love

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Folks who have followed me for a while, know I love “knitting as art.” Thanks to Twitter and KnittingNews, I followed some links and found the home page of Robyn Love.

On Ms. Love’s pages, you might view a water tower cozy, the Knitted Mile, a few other yarn-media pieces and a few pieces which do not include knitting. All are creative and fascinating.

Almost There, a Tentative Sigh

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Just for something new to chat about, I’ll mention that Brian and I sang at Altu’s newly-expanded restaurant last night. Now there is a proper raised stage, and the restaurant has a totally new, relaxed feel. There is plenty of room for large groups now. It feels so lovely, I hope it brings abundant new business to her in these uncertain times.

Back to Geek, Geek, Geek…

The computer transition is almost done. I expect that my next blog post will be typed on that computer rather than this VISTA machine I’ve had just over 3 years. This is such a big deal that I cried when I saw my Africa trip photos on my new computer, with no hassle.

I had three main complaints about the VISTA/Toshiba. (A minor one was that she was ugly to my eyes; remind me that this matters, the next time I think it does not.)

My Ugh List

1. The mouse would go on strike, sometimes for 45 seconds at a time. I would wiggle the mouse back and forth, and that pointer on screen would just sit there. At the same time, I could arrow up/down, page up/down, use keystrokes such as Ctrl-P to do commands like “Print.” The mouse would do whatever it wanted. I’m sure the driver was the problem but 3 years later there is no updated driver on the Toshiba site. Frustrating!

2. There is only one Ctrl key on this keyboard. I am someone who learned computers before there was any mouse. I type very well, and it is easy for me to memorize keystrokes. The previously-mentioned Ctrl-P command to Print, is not do-able with my one left hand, on this machine. I need a left hand for Ctrl and a right hand for P. If I had 2 Ctrl keys it would make the mouse thing less of a bother. I miss that, often.

3. VISTA has far too many security features. It asks you to confirm things you obviously just told it to do. This is not just a delay but an irritation.

I had to set up Adobe InDesign to “Run as Administrator” for it to work consistently. But the roughest one for me was when it told me that I did not have proper permissions/authority to open up the images imported from my XP computer. When I could not open my Africa Trip pictures, it kicked me in the gut.

My  Good-Stuff List

1. I must say there are a few features I like in VISTA. My favorite one is a button in the File/Save and File/Open boxes called “Recent.” I save things in many, many different places on my computer. This lets me see the ones I’ve recently worked upon, without having to navigate all over to get to that folder/document.

2. I also like that the Start Menu can be “stuck” in place if you click (in both VISTA and Win7). For example, Start/All Programs/Microsoft Office… if I click there, I can take my mouse away from the menu and see the list: MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, etc… (in Windows 95/98/ME/XP you had to hold the mouse still, there was no making it sit still and wait).

3. As much as I dislike the layout of the Toshiba keyboard, it has not broken yet. The Ctrl key and the Shift keys sometimes go “crunch” when I press them. However, every key works 3 years later, and not a one has fallen off. I am very hard on keyboards. I type a lot, and I type “hard.” My first (beloved) VAIO laptop, a gift to me over 10 years ago, finally had to be replaced when my backspace and space bar keys fell off, and the keyboard (part alone) cost $400.

4. The Toshiba held up to its reputation as a workhorse machine. I think the only repair I’ve had was to replace a power supply, in 3 years.  I wish they would have put up a driver repair for the mouse problem. Probably I would have lived with the other problems longer, had I not been tempted to scream several times a day when the mouse would go on strike. I was tired of getting angry so often.

Cool statistic: It took ten hours to copy 27 GB of images from my 8-year-old XP machine, to an external USB hard disk drive. It took ONE hour to copy the same images from that same USB external hard drive to the Windows7 machine. Things have improved vastly(hardware *and* software) since the early days of XP. This is a good thing.

Mini-Preview

Maybe once I get settled in a bit on Windows 7, I can report to you all about what I like/dislike about it. There surely will be items on both sides of the fence.

Right now I like that I can see My Documents and Public Documents in the same window. They call this the “Documents Library.” I think this will be handy for those who have public documents they share with others in their network (as I have).

The taskbar is not at all like the ones we have had in Windows since Win95. It looks more like a newer MacIntosh. This will take a small learning curve for me. I wonder how my retiree students will do with it, if they get computers for home that do not match those in my classroom?

Knitting? I Think about it a Lot!

I’m not sure what happened to “Knitting for Myself Month.” There has been a little bit of knitting, all sorts of small objects, some for me and some not.

Little objects fit the bill, as I can take them to wait in line at the PO or a restaurant. My dream projects require home knitting, and that is not happening right now.

But I now see myself going from computer change-over to tax records season. Administrative month, more like it. Maybe knitting needs to wait for February?

Knitting for “My Girl”

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

isabelwarmersI met April, Isabel and Brandi for lunch last week. We exchanged Christmas gifts. I did actually knit this gift… wristwarmers for my 5 yr old friend.

Isabel loves everything I knit for her. Once upon a time, I made her a wrap/half-blanket. I told her I’d knit her a hug. She was not yet 4 years old at the time, but she “got it.” When she does not feel good, she will go curl up snuggling the hug, or wrap up in it.

April, her mommy, tells me that Isabel was trading off the hug and another blanket for nap time at kindergarten. Now she takes only the hug, it’s all she wants. That makes me feel very good.

isabelwarmerswithyarnSo around the same time I made the hug for her, I made some wristwarmers. She loved them. I held two colorful yarns together to make them, but they were a bit small even then.

This fall, she found them, insisted that they fit, shoe-horned them on her feet, and proceeded to wear them to sleep in, she would not take them off. It was time for a new pair. A pair that fit.

So isabelhug25here you see my sweet one wearing her new pair. I used two multicolored yarns together, again. Both are primarily turquoise. One has bits of color that stick up from the surface, the other changes slightly with time.

She loves “blue” which encompasses cobalt to turquoise. I had a lot of turquoise yarn around (to say the least). She likes these.

Above is a photo of her in the new gift. Here below is a not-that-good photo of her “hug.”

So Far, Pretty Good.

Friday, January 8th, 2010

heartfromanna400 The new machine is making me happy, so far.

1. She was inexpensive for a laptop.

2. She weighs just over 3 lb but has a good monitor.

3. She’s much faster than any machine I’ve owned.

4. She’s pretty. The Toshiba always looked machine-clunky-ugly to me.

5. Her keyboard has two Ctrl keys. You can not KNOW how happy that makes me.

6. It took several hours to back up 31,000 images from the Toshiba to the external drive, but less than one hour to “restore” them to the new computer.

Her Name; the Story

An odd happenstance: I always name my computers after strong women. I’ve named them Kate (Katherine Hepburn), Helen (Keller), Martha (Graham, the dancer), Lizzy (my mother, who was also named after her very strong Aunt Lizzy), Isis (the Goddess) and more. So this time, I was starting up the new laptop at Rae’s Yarn Boutique, sitting next to beloved young knitter A. A little distracted?

Somehow when it asked me my desired username (Lynndy) it automatically named the computer after me (Lynndy-MSI). I tried to hit the “back” button which was there, and it did not work. There was no way to rename my computer.

So the strong woman my new computer is named after? Me. (My middle name is Doreen, and I have signed my name with my middle initial since middle school. Therefore, my brother has called me Lynn D., pronounced Lindy or Lynndy, for years. I like it a lot. )

I had better live up to this expectation. Those women are hard acts to follow!

Oh, Yeah…

Back to moving documents. I tell you what, I’m happy so far. Whew!

The photo is of a LARGE heart, about a foot across, knit for me by lovely young A, probably a year or two ago. It is knit at a huge gauge with several yarns held together at once. Love it. It’s hanging on my wall right where I can see it when I am copying documents to the new machine.

A Good Change

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I did it. The last purchase in 2009 was a laptop. I can not believe how prices have come down since I got my last one, about 3 years ago.

The one I’m still using was a first-week Windows VISTA machine and I have never liked it. It cost 3 times more than the new one, and has worse specs.

The only thing really missing in the new, affordable machine,  is a CD/DVD player. However, we have an external one I could use if I should need it. I will need it to install some software and that should be about it. I don’t burn CDs.

So cross your fingers for me, please? I’m in the process of copying well over 100 gigabytes of information between machines. It takes a long time and I need to keep proper focus so that I do not duplicate or miss something.

Uncommon Textiles at Susan Hensel Gallery

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010


Susan Hensel Gallery
SUSAN HENSEL GALLERY PRESENTS

UNCOMMON TEXTILES: two approaches
January 16- February 27, 2010
Rachel Starr Suntop & Sara Christensen Blair
opening reception Jan 16, 7-9pm

uncommontextiles

Susan Hensel Gallery greets the new year with cozy cross stitch and frilly crochet that transgresses the historic boundaries of what is considered “a woman’s work.” Hand made felt and artyarn by Rachel Starr Suntop and unconventional counted cross stitch, piecework and crochet by Sara Christensen Blair explore issues of the body, of geography, and the changing role of the Feminine in society

Please join us in celebrating these two up-and-coming artists!
OPENING RECEPTION -Saturday, January 16, 7-9pm

Susan Hensel Gallery
3441 Cedar Ave S, Minnepolis

Return often. The show runs through February 27.

Hours for Susan Hensel Gallery are Monday 10-5 and by very generous appointment.612 722-2324

Susan Hensel Gallery
3441 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55407
612-722-2324
612-202-9644

A City Sunset

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

A few days ago I went to the grocery store and this was the view from my car in the parking lot. There are man-made intrusions in this view (wires and buildings) but the color is lovely in spite of it all.

citysunsetjan3

I don’t like winter’s cold, and I don’t like snow. Lansing has a lot of total cloudcover, particularly in December. Any day which brings me color or light, is most appreciated.

I thought I would share one of the lovely things of winter. I hope you like it, too.

Wow!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I could spend all day reading and looking at photos, from the Knitted Textile Awards Showcase 2009 (and the links to years 2005-2008 listed at the bottom of the page). Wowie!

These are students in the UK. They are incredibly creative and diverse. I love it. What an uplifting boost! Right when I am cold and merely inspired by the idea of warmth.

This is mostly clothing, although with incredible variety. There are also non-garment items in the mix. Very creative and very inspiring.

I don’t HAVE all day… must nibble a little at a time until I look/process it all. Then I’m sure I could start all over again.

I’ve Been Knitting…

Monday, January 4th, 2010

keyscoinsyarngardenravThe great news? After finishing the Keys & Coins Andean-Style Hat pattern, I have found some time to socialize with folks I love, and knit a bit. Not for work, either… for a change.

Pattern Deliveries: Lansing Area

First, I delivered patterns to Rae’s Yarn Boutique. She will end up with three store samples. For some reason I don’t have current photos of those hats, complete with ear flaps. Will need to get some processed and share them here.

Next, I delivered patterns to Lindsay of Yarn Garden in Charlotte, MI. Her sample has a favorite combination of colors for me.

The solid/Contrast Color is hot green Cascade Cloud 9, a wool-angora blend, two plies in worsted weight. It’s an unusual yarn which I enjoy very much. See photo top right.

keyscoinstbearwebThen, I delivered patterns and a sample to Rob at Threadbear Fiberarts. His sample is very different for me… well, the contrast is a soft turquoise but the multicolored yarn is Kaleidoscope in pinks, apricot, sand, and winter white. It turned out beautifully.

The solid color is Cascade Soft Spun, a yarn I had not used before. It was very compatible with the Kaleidoscope. The hat feels soft and good, as well as looking nice. Photo at left.

After that Business,  Now Pleasure

After all those deliveries, I have allowed myself the pleasure of knitting… for me and loved ones. Wristwarmers lead the list. I have no photos of those yet.

I made some Yak-Wool blend wristwarmers for woodsman Paul.  When I get photos I will tell more stories of this kind and knowledgeable man. The warmers are done but I have not seen him since I finished.

I made turquoise wristwarmers for my beloved 5-yr-old friend, Isabel. She loved the ones I made her 2 years ago. She squeezed her hands into them then, and swore they fit just a few months ago. The new pair is more her color and will fit her a long time. I did get a few photos, not here yet.

Now I’m a few rows from finishing a pair of (turquoise) wristwarmers for myself. I got a free skein of Zealana New Zeeland Possum blend yarn at TNNA and this is a good use for a single skein. (No, not like American Possum… soft and fuzzy and lovely. Yes, I know the whole story.)

Pair #178

AND I just finished my first pair of socks for 2010. They are not fancy at all. My feet are cold this time of year, and I keep wearing through all the bulky footie-slippers I’ve made in previous years. I have one pair of slippers/socks that Diana/Otterwise made me, but the rest of my warm foot gear is in sad repair, almost past darning again.

SO I found one sock in stash, an old First-Time Toe-Up sample from Rae’s shop. Found a small ball of yarn that matched it, but that did not weigh enough to make a second footie.

I knit with the small ball, then unraveled the first sock from the top (luckily it was toe up). I knit two socks alternating between that original yarn and some other wool yarns held together to pair178web match the gauge. I have progress photos which I hope I will have time to share with you. I’m so busy having lunch and tea with friends on this “vacation” that I’m not sitting at the desk with multiple photos…

But here is the end result. Pair #178, finished January 3, 2010.

I started knitting socks in spring of 2001. I’ve made finer socks, but these will accomplish exactly their purpose. WARMTH!!!

Happy Daddy Day!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

My brother called me this morning to wish me a happy “Daddy Day.” What a cool guy my brother is. Cool for a million reasons, but the best one is how lovely he is to get along with, how highly we regard one another.

January 3 was my father’s birthday. He died at age 40, in 1973, but he is still very much in my life. I have his spunk, which he got from Gramma Ruthie (who I talked about here, a few posts back).

Daddy taught me to sing harmony. My life changed that day.

He had been a navigator in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. They grounded his type of plane, and while he was retraining in a different type of plane, the conflict ended.

Dad learned about stars/constellations in part during those Air Force years. I remember that sometimes we would take a blanket out on the front yard (in an area where there were no street lights) and we would lie down and look up, and Daddy would teach us what he could. I remember learning about Orion and the “Seven Sisters” but I retained more about the stories than the shapes in the sky.

But really? I retained a memory that my dad spent time with me to teach what he loved. That is a memory of love and affection.

Daddy was really, really smart. He was also very emotional, at a time when it was not at all vogue for a man to be mushy. He loved us and we knew it. This from a man who grew up in a Norwegian community, where you show love mostly by doing loving acts, than saying it or hugging. I have photos of him with his arm around one or the other of us. We knew.

You know, when someone dies unexpectedly, there is always a chance of regret. Wishing you had said or done something, or not said/done something, is a real issue when there are no more days to connect.

When Daddy died, I knew he loved me and I knew he was clear I loved him. At age 14, there were other things to deal with, but the regret thing escaped me and I am grateful.

I Look Just Like: Mom AND Dad

I am finding it fascinating, that when I visit my Daddy’s family, they are sure I look like him. When I see Mom’s side, they say I look like her. Actually, I look a lot like my Mom’s sister, Ruth, and Mom often accidentally will call me Ruth because of it. Still. Always. I don’t mind.

But when I look at the photos above, I see my ears, eyes, eyebrows… look incredibly like my dad. He was young here, I was in 3rd grade, maybe 4th.

daddymominauguration73web

Then I found this above photo in our family treasures. It was taken in January 1973, and Dad died in June ’73. In this photo, I see how my mouth and jaw, and frame, look like my mom.

eudora2007basketsmHere is a photo of me posing as Eudora, my dance alter-ego. Maybe you can see that jawline and chin that Mom and I (and some other women in her family) share?

(For the record, do you notice in the photo above my parents are wearing pale turquoise? Mom likes the lighter shades we might call Robin’s Egg or Aqua, as well as the bright turquoises I adore. )

The Right Legacy

Daddy was nice to everyone. He was a professor, and thus could call himself “Dr. Troldahl.” He only used it very occasionally when making important phone calls. Status was not important to him, kindness was. He knew he was equal to everyone, and acted on that knowledge.

Daddy thanked those who repaired his car, his refrigerator. He thanked the custodian and was a favorite of the secretarial pool (he knew how to type so he only asked them to work for him when he was in a pickle, and appreciated what the job took to get it done).

He talked to everyone he met. He chatted with those in line at the grocery. Me, too.

Mom did things alone, things without dad, both before and after he died. She could change a tire.

I remember she took us on a trip to visit her sister and our cousins, at a time when Dad stayed home for whatever reason (this was reprehenible to some in our community, to go without her husband, but I am very glad she did it). It was Easter weekend. She spun out on the highway, shoveled us out, and drove away without looking disturbed.

Mom was a strong woman. She had a car when none of the other mommies had one (it was a used gold Corvair, which we called the Putt Putt).

Mom taught, before she married Dad. She had her own income. She went back to teaching when I was in 4th grade.

When Daddy died, we kept our house and our friends and our school. A lot of kids are not that lucky. Mom was determined to keep things as much on an even keel.

I’m proud to look like/ be like them both. I’m proud to be tough in ways they taught me (by example) to be tough.

And I’m glad Dad (first) and Mom (later) learned to hug. Things could be unsteady in that house at times, but the love was a given.

Happy Daddy Day!

A Project Just for Me

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I think of January as a month for knitters to splurge their knitting time/resources on themselves. I have called this “Selfish Knitting Month” in the past. Some folks do not like this phrase.

I do not find that word uncomfortable. If you do, I encourage you to embrace the idea of no-guilt projects, but call it something else. Whatever you call this month, I say take time for yourself, and do not feel guilty.

Pushing through Resistance

It’s funny, today I actually was feeling guilty about wanting to knit at all. There is a lot I can do on my computer right now, from accounting to new patterns to corresponding to those of you who take the time to comment.

I pushed through my “guilts” and listened to my chilly feet. They want warm layers. I don’t have enough outer layers right now. Here is an example… I knit both pairs in 2006. You can see them on my SockTour.

It used to be that every late fall, I would get out fat yarn and knit a few pairs of these low footies of very warm, very thick yarn. I have not done that in a few years.

I find shoes uncomfortable indoors, and slippers often do not breathe well. Outer layers I have made in previous years have been patched so much that they can not be repaired many more times.

A Surprise

Tonight I looked for some thick yarn with which to make a pair of warm slipper socks. Score! I found one completed sock (it had been a sample at Rae’s yarn shop). Inside that sock was a small ball of yarn (the same yarn is shown at right).

The sock weighs just under 25gm. The ball of yarn weighs less. BUT the sock was knit toe up and has over an inch of ribbing at the ankle. So I made a plan.

I will knit a second matching sock until the small ball o’yarn is gone. Then I will unravel the first sock from the top bindoff, until the two socks match.

I will then find some sort of accent yarn from which to create coordinating/contrasting cuffs. Voila!

I think this will work. I am busy knitting, no photos of this project right now. Knit, knit…

A Good Start

Friday, January 1st, 2010

We did start our New Year’s Eve with a potluck and a Contra Dance downtown. However, I really wanted to be home for midnight, just quiet, the two of us.

We had drinks with which to toast the new year:

NewYearToast10

Not Exactly Times Square

For some reason, I am fascinated with watching the ball drop at Times Square. I don’t enjoy television, but if we are home on New Year’s Eve I will turn it on long enough to see the ball drop. (Often I don’t turn it on again for another year, but I digress.)

However, this year none of our three TVs can receive any signal at all. Brian decided he would make a ball drop for me:
NewYearBallDrop10

You get extra points if that photo makes you chuckle because you understand just how geeky that move was. Clue: It did not bounce much at all. More like “clunk.”

We started the year by dancing together without music, in my office; and organic hot chocolate with nutmeg. Now I’m starting the first day with a blog post. I think I’m on a good start.

Other Thoughts

A resolution? Kindness. I wish to remember an intent to be kind always. Boundaries can exist side by side with this intent.

I am a passionate woman with a few too many words. I sometimes blurt out things, and sometimes I inadvertently hurt someone. It happens by accident.

I’m not into “snarky” for entertainment, after growing up in a society where we fought with words rather than fists. I know how much a clever statement can do damage to relationship. And I believe that relationship is the most important thing about being alive.

There are things I said decades ago which I can never take back, and that makes me ache after all those years. I wish to live without creating any more of those regrets.

But this is not a resolution for New Year’s Eve, or for merely one year. It started in my mind and in my heart, before today… and I hope it never ends. I’m imperfect, but a goal is a help.

I appreciate each one of you, everyone who reads this whether you comment or not. Thank you for being a part of my life.