Saturday, February 20, 2016


Washington Precinct Caucuses were today, for Republicans anyway, and Steve and I both did our civic bit. Our precinct seems to have more people show up than most, but it was still only about 9 people.  I'll be going to the county convention in a few weeks, with Steve as an alternate. It will be a long day, I'm afraid.  The caucuses don't have much impact on the presidential race, more of a popularity contest, but I didn't hear any declarations for Trump.  About evenly split between Cruz and Rubio, with a few Kasich and one Carson. And a few of us who weren't quite ready to give up on Bush.

I came home to a call from Daniel, and I now have one of the four rounds written completely for the Latin Olympika coming up.  I need to have unstressful quiet time to concentrate on this, which means not on weekends ideally, and not when I'm getting over a cold (ideally). I am writing my test questions from scratch this year, rather than pulling them from internet sources, and that makes me more of a perfectionist in an attempt to get them right. I didn't have the confidence to do that last year, so there's some improvement.  Then I got back into the saddle of doing my Latinstudy lessons.  The moderator of my groups had been ill, and then I had email problems and for a long time no emails were coming through, so I missed at least one week.  But I was able to figure out a way and knock out Bede, Cicero's de amicitia, and Caesar's bello gallico in relatively short order without losing my temper at the computer too much.  So that's progress.  Cicero was lamenting the spiralling descent of the Roman Republic into mob rule with that prescience which does no one any good and no one ever listens to, and then I resurfaced to hear that Trump had won the South Carolina primaries and Bush had dropped out.  So I am lamenting the spiralling descent of the American Republic into anti-intellectual narcissism with that prescience which also does no one any good and gets you unfriended on Facebook.  So here I am.

Quarta found a recipe on Nerdy Nummies for Kung Fu Panda chicken dumplings, which she made tonight and we just finished eating. They were really good, and it was only the second time our dumpling-making press has had any use. Now she is setting up Monopoly for a time-limit game.  We have been playing Safeway Monopoly, I guess that is what made her think of it.

Last night Steve and I watched a fun little indie road-trip movie, Take Me Home.  I made a mistake today on my argyles as I was knitting at the caucuses, and I'm going to try laddering down to fix it sometime this evening.

((LATER))... Tertia won Monopoly by a large margin, more than twice her closest competitor.  She had all four railroads and never went to jail once.  I spent at least 5  tours in jail and had a lot of property but ended up paying out everything to the railroads.  But at least the tycoon visited me in jail. I was able to successfully rework the argyles so they are ready to continue now.  Signing off.

Friday, February 19, 2016

This and That, some Knitting, and a Stash Update

A certain 16-year-old got her first rose from a boy at school for Valentine's day.  Classy! And maybe a bit disconcerting for her mom and dad.  She also has permission from the orthodontist not to wear her retainer during the school day, just evenings and overnight.  This is a little harder than when she had to wear it all the time, because now she's had that taste of freedom, and realizes it's so much easier to talk, sing, and eat without it.  Speaking of singing, her choir participated in the annual district choir concert over a week ago, and it was lovely. I especially liked "Turn the World Around."
 It seems to be either quilting or knitting, not both, for me lately. I started some new socks:
 I finished an old dishcloth:
 And I started some other new socks:
No quilting has happened during this time.  But I decided to update my occasional stash report to reflect the knitting progress:

Stash Report:

Quilting Fabric:
Used this week: 0 yards
Used year to date: 14 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added year to date: 6 yards
Net fabric used year to date: 8 yards

Knitting Yarn:
Used this week: 450 yards (the lime green socks plus the dishcloth)
Used year to date: 450 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added year to date: undetermined (one sweater to be unraveled)
Net yarn used year to date: undetermined but still in the red

In other news, the February crud has struck school and I've been fighting off headache, muscle aches, chills and sore throat all week.  This may be why knitting has had such strong appeal.  Yesterday I went to bed after dinner, listened to an audiobook and knit for awhile before sleeping from about 8:30 until 5:00 this morning.  I am listening to third of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan... the audiobook means I miss a lot but it keeps it moving along for me whether I miss something or not, and I think I am hooked on the story now at last.  I am supposed to be writing Certamen questions for the Latin Olympika we are hosting in 2 weeks... yikes! But that has not been happening very fast this week.  With the current state of my laptop (unable to unplug because of battery and charging port issues) I have been doing more of my writing longhand.  I don't think that makes me more productive, but there is a part of me that enjoys having actual paper and ink notes.  But then there's the clutter problem.

I volunteered to take a current events survey on the phone the other day; I think I was a good subject because I remembered who was head of state of Germany (Angela Merkel) and I think I sounded more knowledgeable than the average American on those videos that sometimes show up on late-night shows about politics and foreign policy. Anyway, the caller thanked me profusely for being her first subject of the evening and even called me "hon", so it was time well-spent.

This sounds like a Randomday post, but I'll try to do that tomorrow.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


President's Day weekend! A long weekend and my grades are all updated.  Peter drove home for the weekend to catch up with friends, and I'll be taking him out to shop for non-perishable high-protein foods because he's on the crew team now and is worried about the cafeteria bills. Tomorrow Grandma is coming over and I have defrosted the spare turkey from Thanksgiving to roast, and made an apple pie.

Last night Steve and I watched Interstellar. It fit the bill of a recent movie (I wasn't really in the mood for An Affair to Remember) in English (Les Choristes and Like Water for Chocolate were both quite good but I didn't really feel up for another foreign language film) that had some blockbuster appeal but that I had missed when it was in the theaters.  Long movie, but emotionally appealing and thought-provoking.  I am almost finished knitting the button band of my Mint Chocolate cardigan, and another movie tonight and I'll get to start the buttonholes.  

Or, I could work on socks.  I took advantage of the rainy afternoon and sleepy vibe to clean out my knitting bags.  I don't think it has been done for 3 years.  I have 4 hibernating projects, not just 3, and if I'm not quite ready to polish them off, at least they are closer to organized.  A sweater, a summer sweater, a skirt, and the aforementioned Mint Chocolate cardigan.  So naturally, with my big knitting bag containing 3 big projects, but with having just finished a pair of socks, I decided to cast on a pair of socks... more argyles.  They will go in my yellow sock bag.  Then I think I need to cast on a second pair of socks for my second sock bag.  Maybe Stashbuster Spirals, or maybe one of the several skeins of sock yarn needing to be used up.  I should also consider picking something on Netflix with several seasons to binge-watch while I knit.

Nothing is quite so energizing as organizing, or so distracting either.  Oh well, the knitting bag is clean.  First time in years.

"May you live in interesting times." Despite being apocryphal and apparently not particularly Chinese, this curse has been on my mind a lot lately, whenever I contemplate the political situation.  I want to blog about politics, but it's just too anxiety-provoking.  So this afternoon, when I heard the stunning news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia, a figurative cloudburst just opened up in my brain.  So let me talk it through.  Say, Obama rushes to nomination the first transgender Muslim Supreme Court nominee, cursing all Republicans as hopeless obstructionists and triangulating his way to a fifth spot on Mt. Rushmore. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, the socialist who feeds the entitlement mentality of the Millennial generation, vastly outstrips Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, but Hillary still claims she is entitled to the nomination because of all the superdelegates pledged to support her as the establishment Democratic candidate.  She happens to be a crook and may be indicted before the convention, but she's still entitled anyway. What if the Supreme Court has to rule on that?  Or the rest of the top-secret emails? Meanwhile, the Republicans are much more democratic; they have no superdelegates to ensure the establishment candidate wins, and Trump, a sock-puppet candidate if ever there was one, who seems to have been spurred to become a Republican by a phone call from Hillary's husband, is promising ever more grandiose walls and spewing ever more vulgar insults, while winnowing down the field of real Republicans, whatever they are.  And the rest of the Republican field? I just don't know them well enough to have an informed opinion on them, because the press has been fixated by the Trump-O-Rama circus for months.  I mean yes, political theater is all very entertaining, but I think as Americans we should value healthy dialogue more than is being typically served up.  And I still think there oughtta be a test.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Yarn-along, and Little Quilt Blocks

I have my first knitting finish of 2016 to report... a pair of socks I've been working on since about October, for myself:
Lime Green for Me  from Kertzer On Your Toes yarn I found at Tuesday Morning.
 They fit perfectly and I'll wear them tomorrow.  I finally started the button bands on my Mint Chocolate cardigan, and after that there are 2 other long-term hibernation knitting projects I need to whip into shape.  I'm sharing this to Ginny's Yarn-Along.  And I have been reading things too...most recently I finished the second of the historical mysteries by David Wishart, Germanicus (the first was Ovid, and I have checked out the third, Sejanus).  The detective, Marcus Corvinus, is a clever and witty guy with a complicated family life and unhealthy levels of curiosity; imagine Lord Peter Wimsey time-warped back to I, Claudius, with perhaps too strong a penchant for the Falernian and for ticking off the empress Livia. For historical authenticity the books are very believable, except for Corvinus' very un-Roman tendency to use 4-letter Anglo-Saxon invective. If I keep up with these I may just finally figure out the Julio-Claudian family tree.
 There hasn't been too much quilt progress in the last 2 weeks; I think I know what I need to do for the borders of Allietare, but haven't done it yet.  I have been dabbling with the 365 challenge and the above are the February blocks I've completed so far.  But I draw the line at 1/2" finished size triangles like the below block for Feb. 3 called for, so I upsized it to 6" instead of 3":
I like the lost ships much better if they don't make me insane, and as a bonus, this block could take up the space of 4 days' blocks that I might decide not to do.  I am reserving judgement on this challenge but I have always enjoyed making a variety of patchwork blocks.  I'm just not going to do miniatures right now.  You can see my design wall with the rainbow string stars.  I am still cogitating on how to set them with the big one in the center.  I need to make time to take my machine in for servicing, too.  Its timing is all off and the feed dogs are not in sync with the stitching action, or something.  I've been giving it a workout recently!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Randomday, with Violets

 It may be only barely into February, but we have flowers in our backyard!  The violets are really pretty.
 Under the apple trees, it's like a carpet of them, and they smell beautiful.  Tertia and I picked a few.
On the camellia tree, one single bloom is starting.  Steve had to hold it for me at camera level.
And the crocuses are looking perky in the sunshine. Daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are on tap for the months to come.  We may get a lot of rain, but I do like the early spring weather.

This past week involved lots of grading and data entry, and some writing, but probably not enough. Saturdays find me tired and completely unambitious, and today was no exception.  Steve is looking for a movie to watch on Netflix and I might do a bit of knitting or sewing. I'm getting close to finishing my first knitting project in months, a pair of socks. In a lovely spring green.  Just in time for the season.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Allietare and Other Quilt Progress

Amongst the end-of-term teacher stress and exam grading, (you can see above what happens when I walk away from it for a few minutes) I found some time to work on quilts this week.  Allietare is seamed together, the center part with all the blocks, and I just have to determine the fabrics I'll use in the borders.
We had scattered sun a few times on Saturday. This was one of those times.
I think I've said this, but I really love the mix of colors in this quilt. And I've seen a lot of different color combinations, and it really seems to look good in any color combo.  Check out some of the other Allietare quilts at Bonnie's linkup.  Some people already have theirs quilted and bound! 
This above is my current top contender for the narrow inner (gold) and wider outer (red) borders.  The red is one that didn't work out for my Country Stars quilt, and I'd be glad for it to find a home in this quilt.  I also have enough of that really light, subtle gray for either an inner border or the binding.
Not quite so sure about this lighter yellow (the same one I used on the narrow border in Grand Illusion, ironically)...
 The only black fabric I have that there would be enough of is this yardage... but I think it has too much brown in it and would take away from some of the liveliness of the colors.
And then this.  I really am leaning more to the red.  But let me know if you have any opinions on the matter.  It should come together relatively fast once I make the decision.
And of course, I have a charming helper! She's there right now.
I have the rest of the January blocks finished for the 365 challenge.  I love making a variety of sampler blocks, but I'm not completely convinced about the 3" size of these.  We'll see if I can come back and catch up on February's blocks after this week of teacher work is done.

Here is the one finish I have for the year:

It's a simple flannel baby quilt.  4.5" squares, with a 2" border, backed with another piece of flannel but no batting.  This makes it an ideal weight for swaddling a baby, or for a toddler to drag around and wrap up in. I sewed it around the border with right sides together, leaving just enough space to flip it right side out and then topstitch around the edge.  This avoids having to bind it, and it really doesn't require much more than utilitarian quilting along a few ditches.  I have enough flannel squares for at least 4 more of these, but maybe without the border.  My mother-in-law made several of this basic kind for my kids, and it's really a nice, cozy gift to have on hand.  And will use up some fabric I no longer want to keep in my sewing room.
I'm also linking up to Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday and
Stash Report:

Quilting Fabric:
Used this week: 2 yards for the baby quilt.  Maybe next week I'll have the Allietare top done!
Used year to date: 14 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added year to date: 3 yards (+ 1 sheet)
Net fabric used year to date: 11 yards

Knitting yarn:
Used this week: 0 yards
Used year to date: 0 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added year to date: undetermined amount from sweater (from Goodwill) that needs to be unraveled
Net yarn used year to date: 0 yards