Friday, August 31, 2007


It was on this day in 1886 that the Big Quake of '86 occurred in Charleston, SC. There's a nice write-up at the History Channel's website.

I have to wonder what went through their minds...only 21 years since the end of the Civil War, and the folks here weren't exactly living it up. Economic conditions in Charleston never really began to recover until WWII (see, I told you it was an important time!). So then this huge quake hits. It must have been bewildering, to say the least. And destructive. They estimate the number of chimneys that fell to be around 14,000. When you think about the fact that these chimneys weren't just recreational, but vital to cooking and heating, you get an idea of the mess they were in. You can still see evidence of that long ago quake in areas around Charleston--among them ruins of grand houses that were damaged beyond their ability (financial or otherwise) to repair.

I wonder if anyone blamed the US government for the quake, for not warning the residents fast enough, for racial profiling (or it could have been regional profiling in this case), or for moving too slowly in supplying assistance. I wonder if, on the subsequent anniversaries of the quake, the survivors joined together to criticize the current administration and reaffirm their status as victims. Or did they rather give thanks for being alive, continue to rebuild, and look to the future? I wonder if they could have foreseen what Charleston is now and how the lack of wherewithal that plagued the area for so long has helped contribute to Charleston's status as an historical treasure of old homes, old buildings and quaint cobblestone streets. (Somehow I doubt it! I think they probably hated those cobblestone streets as much as I do!)

So that's your history lesson for today. Now go knit something!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Swing, batter!

Another WWII poster, this one in honor of Ted Williams, born on this day in 1918.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Summer Re-runs

It's hot, folks, and August is just about wearing me out! So, instead of expending any actual or implied energy on a new post today, I'm going to re-run one of my very first posts, Palmetto Time. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

For you, Puggy...
I have made you a (tongue-in-cheek, of course!) permission slip. Whenever you think you need it, just print it out, forge a good signature for the bottom and refer to it when those nasty old chores loom. Enjoy!

Permission to knit

Permission to knit

This is to certify that _________________ has permission to knit, in all its varied forms, for as long as he/she deems necessary. This may or may not result in un-done housework and/or un-run errands. That’s just the way it goes.

For the purpose of this permission slip, “knitting” refers to, implies, and includes the following: shopping for knitting supplies, looking for or developing patterns, blogging about knitting, reading about knitting, oh, and actually knitting.

The undersigned in no way incurs any responsibility/liability/remuneration for being the undersigned.



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Today's Quote

Today's quote comes from Birthday Boy Ray Bradbury, one of the few living writers I read as a kid. His imagination, creativity, and style are amazing. The autodidactic nature of his education has always been an inspiration to me.

He said: "I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it. "

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mitered bag, ready for action

Here's Tulip helping with the pre-join layout. I think she likes it!
Then came acres of garter stitch for the gusset and bottom. I did a Fibonacci stripey pattern, which turned out good but was so very tedious in process.

And here's SuperCraftyDancerGirl cutting out lining. If it weren't for her, well, let's just say, lining, what lining?!? And we put in two pockets. BECAUSE WE CAN!! If Mommy had had more patience, there would be more pockets, but this was becoming a l-o-n-g project by then, especially after all that 45" of gusset...

Clarence thinks he was the inspiration for the color scheme. I let him think that.

I had intended originally to have a more structured construction, but once I put the gusset on, I really liked the shape it gave it. The benefit of making it up as you go along!

Once I had started the project (aka total obsession), I found a felted bag with miters and a stripey gusset in the book Bags: A Knitter's Dozen. That's where I got the idea for the border around the top. And of course the miters I used are Mason-Dixon, all the way.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to transfer my knitting to my fabulous new knitted miter bag!

Monday, August 20, 2007

On predatory invertebrates...

Today we named a spider. What? You don't NAME spiders at your house?? Well, normally we don't either, but when a spider is a spider like Raoul, ya just gotta give him a name. Here's what I can NOT tell you about Raoul: his species, his ancestry, whether he should have had a more feminine name, or anything even faintly entomological about him.

Here's what I CAN tell you about him:
1)He's a survivor--when Da Hubby went out one night last week to rid us of the plague of enormous, web-spinning invaders, he left one since we insisted they eat mosquitoes.
2)He's quite large. Not NFL player large, more like varsity offensive lineman large.
3)He's industrious--starting with nothing, he can have a full web spun overnight.
4)He's got a sense of humor--he sometimes spins his web across the porch so that we walk right through it when going from the front door to the car.
5)He's got a name: Raoul. It's what Tulip the cat says sometimes, and somehow she gave the winning entry in the name the spider contest. Go figure.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

At least it's cooler there...

You're Vermont!

Making mountains out of molehills is your specialty. Then you sell
tickets for people to ski down the slippery slopes of said molehills. What you lack in
elevation you make up for in syrupy sweetness to those around you. It has been noted that
perhaps you are too likely to stick to others, and thus become a nuisance to those you
hoped to sweeten. In your wardrobe at home, you have more than just great

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wind and War

Greetings from beyond the wind tunnel! I had the carpet guy (aka Da Hubby) deep clean the carpets, and now every fan is on HIGH and I feel like I'm in Chicago during the windy season. Or in the Dust Bowl without the dust! The incessant blowing is starting to get to me!

Good news, though. While catching the last few minutes of History Detectives the other night, I found out what I'm going to be doing in September. Ken Burns, that poetic purveyor of delicious documentary, has hit one of my own personal fanatic buttons. From the press release:

"THE WAR...The seven-part documentary series, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective by following the fortunes of so-called ordinary men and women who get caught up in the greatest cataclysm in human history."

Starting in mid-September, South Carolina's PBS stations will be broadcasting a whole lovely array of related programming, culminating with The War beginning Sunday, Sept. 23. Anyone else notice the fabulous coincidence of that being the first day of Autumn? Love it! Or there's always the option of catching a screening somewhere around the state--my personal favorite choice being aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. I don't know, though. I tend to cry when I'm on the Yorktown, so it might be hard to actually see the movie! Yes, WWII history means that much to me. And I'm a big crybaby anyway! The kids think I cry during movies, etc, just to embarrass them, but it's just not true. But I digress.

What a great opportunity to start a scarf for a WWII veteran (probably my very own Papa, a Marine Raider who served in the Pacific). And I'll need to lay in a good supply of tissues! Thank you, Ken Burns!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who's on first??

The following exchange took place a few weeks ago, before the trade which brought Teixeira to Atlanta and re-arranged the line-up.

My 6yo Braves fanatic: Mama, do you know who bats after Chipper?
Me: Is it Andruw?
Braves fanatic: Yeah, do you know who bats after him?
Me (trying to do something like, cook): Umm...Francouer?
Braves fanatic (surely going somewhere with this line of questioning): Yeah. Do you know who bats after him?
Braves fanatic: Me neither, I can't remember his name....but the one after that?
Me: No, baby, I don't know.
Braves fanatic: Aww come on, Mom, it's your favorite Braves player!
Me: Oh, McCann!
Braves fanatic: Right!

And that was it! Was this some sort of test that little boys give their moms? Did I pass? Am I cool? I don't know the answer to that but I do know that I'm extremely glad of one thing: He hasn't asked me "who bats when" since the line-up got changed. Don't tell him this, but I haven't been paying as much attention!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Good Thing About Summer

Well, Clarence (the tomato-eating cat) is perennial, but those tomatoes!! The cukes!! Awesome stuff! I'm choosing to focus on the good stuff right now, since we our heat index is something like 116 degrees. Ugh. Good tomato weather, though :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm glad he's influential!

quoting from The Wall Street Journal, 7-15-07:

J├╝rgen Habermas
, influential German intellectual, member of the originally Marxist Frankfurt School of philosophy and self-described "methodical atheist," has revised his view that modernization inevitably leads to secularization. In a 2004 book, "Time of Transitions," he hailed Christianity as the bedrock of Western values:
"Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Friday, August 03, 2007

One good thing about summer

Sure, there may be other good things about summer, but it's August in South Carolina and I've yet to come up with a good answer to, "Mommy, why did God make mosquitoes?"

So I give you, the Crepe Myrtle:

When we were in the throes of house hunting, my daughter, then aged 6, decided she wanted a pink tree. If you doubt that God listens to adorable 6 year old girls, just take a gander at our lovely pink tree. I'd like to say we added the Spanish moss for southern charm, but this ain't no movie set, and we spend lots of time trying to keep the moss OUT of the tree!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I can't say I wasn't does say in plain English, right there on page 106 of Mason-Dixon Knitting "Miters are one of the most addictive of knitting pleasures." But I just assumed it meant addictive as in, "Oh, that's fun to knit, I think I'll casually make 20 or 30 as gifts." You know, normal addictive knitting. Maybe that's where I miss it. Truly addictive knitting must not be normal.

I am obsessed by these miters. I started one with leftover dish cloth cotton (ok, it's sorta my favorite yarn anyway) just to see how it was done. The colors, striping into that square, it just blew me away. So now I've been to every possible local outlet for cotton yarn, in desperate search of this teal color...but to no avail! Why is this an issue? Because I MUST MAKE A BAG out of these miters!!!! I've dropped all other knitting projects in a dejected heap to do this thing that I MUST DO. It's like I no longer have the power to make a decision about what I'm going to knit. I've started squeezing knitting time into little snippets of time that really aren't that ideal for knitting. As if I didn't haul the knitting around a lot as it is!

Even just thinking about mitering and the resultant planned bag have distracted me to the point of doing things I don't normally put the detergent and water in the washer, but not the laundry; forget to cook meals; and, here's my favorite: be an idiot at a fast food drive-thru. There I was, salivating at the thought of a Schlotzsky's original (hold the onion), pulling up to the drive-thru. Oh, good, there's another car, that gives me time to peruse the menu, just in case I get really crazy and decide to order something different, which I haven't done since 1988. Nah, I'll stick with the Original. And I'll just knit a few rows of this miter while I wait my turn.

Huh, what? Oh. My.

How long HAVE I been sitting here, at the speaker and menu, while the poor guy inside has been waiting for me to order???? I didn't SEE the speaker. But it makes sense that they would put it right next to the menu, right? Golly. Give order, drive forward, pretend not to be so stupid I don't know how a fast-food joint works. Play it cool. Oh, wait, hide the knitting!

The benefit of the compulsive mitering is that maybe it'll be like a summer storm---violent, noisy, intense, but over soon---and I can return to my normal (there's that word again) life. Or I could start making blankets...the Mitered Square Blanket on pages 108-109 only takes 80 squares! I can DO that!!