new books (yay) · new yarn · random · Ravelry · start-itis

Yarny Saturday

I made a trip to the LYS to return a left-over skein of Cashmerino from the beret project and came home with two more skeins of sock yarn (another each of Kureyon and Bearfoot) and a yarn swift/reeling machine, depending on how you classify that. It was a little more expensive than I thought it would be ($58) but Edyie swears by that brand and I’ve been promising I would buy myself one after the last yarn-winding debacle. So, yay.

The purchase of more yarn also prompted an afternoon of cleaning out my office/spare-room closet. Talk about scary, over-stuffed, and disorganized. Eeek. I decided to take the remainder of my binders to work (they’re full of class notes which might see more action in my work office than at home in the closet), decided I really don’t need the extra sewing machine that Mom thought I should keep “just in case your grandmother’s breaks” (ha!, maybe Mom can ask if there’s a charity through the church that could use one), and pitched about three garbage bags full of old boxes, packaging, obsolete computer stuff, and a manual for my twelve-year-old graphing calculator (which, if I could find it, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work anymore). I also made a side-project of cleaning out the bottom of the linen/hall closet (packed with about 800 disposable razors from some idiot company who thought the AXS house in town was a sorority – oops – and left us about 4,000 promotional razors; the girls in the Fraternity divvied up the boxes); the room I gained in there allowed me to relocate the Spot-Bot from the front closet along with all the steam cleaning products from the office closet (and the pet stain-fighting spray bottle which was buried under the pile of razors). As a result of the de-packratting process I actually have empty space on the shelf in my closet and I was able to re-arrange the storage containers to actually make better use of them.

I then sat down to attempt an update to my Ravelry account. Now, Flickr and I still have an ongoing disagreement about whether or not it will upload my photos, but I was able to get most of my open projects into my Ravelry queue, updated my stash of yarn with all my sock yarn (at least the yarn I’ll admit to – I gained back a storage box while cleaning and promptly filled it with the cheap yarn I’m too ashamed to admit I own and can’t find a use for), linked up my projects with my stashed yarn, linked my projects with my blog posts, and updated my knitting book library.

That took a whole pot of Earl Grey. What shall I do with the remainder of the afternoon before I go to work at 6pm (it’s now 4pm)? With a headache….guess I’ll pop a Tylenol, make a salad for dinner, put my reading glasses on and knit. I have several projects I should finish.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I’ll be wallowing in my date with my knitting.

Current book-in-progress: I bought a new book last night – Sex with Queens (hey, the same author wrote Sex with Kings and that was very interesting)
Current knitted item: Hmmmm, what shall I pick – I have red socks, that dratted scarf that I managed to finally make some headway on, a linen evening clutch, and a lacy top….
Current movie obsession: I need to finish John Adams (which is awesome, btw) but I’ve been watching the ITV Sense and Sensibility again
Current iTunes loop: My Chill Tracks Playlist on Shuffle (lots of John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, and Sara Bareilles)

news in review · rant · reflection

A few thoughts on the current news stories

Vaccines and autism – The special court ruled that the evidence overwhelmingly does not support a link between autism and vaccination. Finally. I’m an epidemiologist, if none of you already knew, so I read the original paper for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and the original “study” that “proved” a link between MMR and autism had a sample size of 12; that is laughable for a population-based study. You can’t just dig up 12 patients with autism and incidentally find that they all had the MMR vaccine thus concluding the MMR vaccine caused the autism; that’s bad science – poorly designed and biased. But…in a world where people need causality and want a place to lay blame for the origin of a child’s disease that study that “finding” was the “proof” many parents needed. So began that fight. Someone from NVIC did point out that the court’s ruling will not dissuade many parents who earnestly believe their children are in danger because of the MMR vaccine (and other vaccines as well) and therefore will fight to avoid vaccinating their children. You know what that does? Endangers everyone else’s children. Herd immunity should not be used as an excuse and anyway, you know that thimerosal preservative everyone freaked out about? Well, I’m 30 and had my first measles shot in 1980 and my MMR in 1992 – if thimerosal was going to cause autism it would have caused an explosion of cases in my generation, not the children born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The “Octuplet mom” – NEEDS MENTAL HELP. She has a narcissistic personality if I ever saw one. She had all those children by IVF, put them in mortal danger through a high-order multiples pregnancy (which is frowned upon by the medical establishment), and now wants us to help care for (i.e. pay for) these children all because she was lonely as a child? She doesn’t love those children, she loves herself and the attention she’s getting because of it. A reality show? A website to collect donations? She already collects SSDI for several of her older children to the tune of several thousand dollars a month and she was receiving workers compensation for a back injury sustained while working at a mental institution. Now, she doesn’t deserve threats but she really needs a reality check. She might not consider food stamps and SSDI “welfare” but that is provided by the tax payers, specifically those of California, and they’re going to wind up footing the bill for her children – about 1.5 to 2.5 million dollars. That’s a lot of money going to one person just because she wanted a big family. I call that selfish. Oh, and she’s going to back to school (she already has $50,000 in school loans) and she’s going to rely on *cough*take advantage of*cough* the school’s daycare provider and volunteers to care for the children while she attends school. As I said above, I’m 30 – this woman is 33 (her oldest child is 7, I believe); why IVF was required? Higher-order multiples are extremely rare in pregnancies concieved naturally.

Social Hosting laws – Should a parent who provides alcohol to teens for a party/gathering/etc. be held liable for what happens? Yes, it is illegal to provide minors with alcohol; the only exception is allowing your own child to have a small drink in the privacy of your own home for say dinner or a celebration. Should a parent be held liable because their stupid kid threw a kegger while the parents were out of town, either obtaining the alcohol through another source or raiding the existing liquor cabinet (in my experience, the alcohol usually comes from an outside source)? Nope, at that point the child decided to do something illegal but the parents will probably have to foot the bill for their child’s stupidity. You can substitute “social host” for parent, here. I’m also a big one for personal responsibility. I’m also a big one for not making alcohol such a taboo; as a younger teen I was allowed to have a small (maybe two fingers worth in a tumbler) glass of wine at dinner if my parents were having wine with dinner or I was allowed to have a sip of beer if Dad was having one. I was taught that having a drink was a social thing and that having a lot of alcohol in one sitting was a really stupid idea. I tested that theory out while in college; yeah, having a lot of alcohol in one go is not the smartest thing ever and I’ve really not ever done it again.

The stimulus package – First off, if the banks are using the previously-allocated bailout money improperly the government should ask for the money back because it was a loan and I think loans can be recalled (I could be wrong). Second, absolutely NONE of those CEOs should even be drawing a salary, nor should any of the other top executives, that exceeds the salary of the lowliest intern; didja hear me? NO bonuses, NO raises, nada, zip. You got us into this mess, so you better start trying to get us out. Third, why don’t we use some of the stimulus money to help people keep their homes? In my opinion, if someone has honestly been trying to keep up with the mortgage payments, then they’re probably not trying to play the system, so the stimulus money should be used to help re-negotiate the mortgage so that it is manageable. Fourth, who gives a crap about doorbells in Mississippi? Get real (gotta love StimulusWatch – I hope someone in Washingon sees it). It gets even better – this is the state where I live and there are only two cities listed who have requested federal stimulus funding. I don’t live in those areas and I pretty much only see the need for the sewer work, flood mitigation, and ADA compliance projects. Library and wireless LAN projects, parks improvements, etc. are not something the federal government should pay for; if the locals want those things then they better pony up the cash.

That idiot Blagojevich (reposted from a Chicago trib blog) – So he’s going to write a tell-all book? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, still snickering. How does someone that juvenile get elected to public office? Wait, don’t answer that.

UI Graduate Students Split from UISG (hopefully that will open without having to register for the DI – Just a bit of local-yokel news and all I can say is about damn time. I did both undergrad and graduate work at the University of Iowa and I can easily say that the UI Student Government is run by undergrads; said undergrads do not want to listen to the Executive Council for Graduate and Professional Students. I can also attest to being pissed that my graduate student fees were going to support activities attended primarily by undergraduates. So, in the next fiscal year GSS will allocate grad student funds and UISG will allocate undergrad student funds.



I have Taylor Swift’s stupid song that goes “It’s a love story” or some such crap stuck in my head. Why???? She’s a terrible singer (who cares what the teenagers and their parents’ money say?), she doesn’t have any breath control – evidenced by the fact that she breathes in the middle of both phrases and words, and the words to that song make absolutely NO SENSE. “You were Romeo, I was the scarlet letter” – how does that make any sense? You want to be a social outcast? Did the lyricisit even think about what he/she was writing? Get out of my head!!!!


But my brain isn’t old!!

Uggghhhh…I forced myself to go to the gym after close at the bookstore (we close at 7pm on Sundays, so I was out of there about 7:30 or so – not as much to pick up because a few of the managers had to do an overnight and rearrange the layout of one zone). Now, I don’t have the lung capacity, at least not yet, to really go nuts at the gym so my plan is to at least put in the time at the gym and gradually build the intensity. So I did the treadmill for 60 minutes (mostly walking, on an incline).

Ow. My knee hates me. Both of them actually hate me, but the right one – the one I had surgery on in high school – hates me more. Oy. When will I accept that parts of me think they’re older than what they actually are? I need to find some ice, some Advil, and have me a yummy salmon salad (the cats vote ditto on the salad, nay on the ice and Advil).

Then maybe a hot bath and a book.

PS: Someone finally fulfilled my wish and produced a plain, black diet and exercise journal that actually looks discreet. Excellent!

food · stuff I read

Tricky, very tricky

This morning I was forced to concede that I still cannot make an omelette, no matter how hard I try. I just can’t get the eggs to set before the bottom burns and then I can’t get it flipped to cook the other side (I can’t stand even remotely “wet” looking eggs). I must need either different/specialized utensils or a better set of cooking genes. So my omelette just looked like a cross between a fried egg and scrambled eggs mixed with whatever I meant to put on the inside. At least it still tasted OK.

I was having a lazy Sunday so after the omelette mess (which I cleaned up right away for once in my life so my kitchen is still clean) the cats and I crawled back into bed – the boys to have a nap and be petted, me to finish Three Bags Full. I’ll post more thoughts later (I have a few friends who are also reading it who might not be done, yet) but suffice to say I think the sheep were brilliant, I love all their names (does anyone know where the word “Mopple” drives from?), and the novel was deliciously funny. A great scene – the flock debates whether or not humans have souls.

On tap for the rest of the day:
– Dusting/organizing/arranging the Hydra that is my office/library
– going to work at 3pm
– taking my gym things so I can go to the gym after work (this is why I’ve joined a gym that is open 24hrs even though I’ve never taken advantage of that)


Such a pretty day!

Nice, bright sunny (and full of melting snow!) – I was able to open up the house today to the delight of the cats. I came back from the co-op to see Chaucer basking in the sun from the porch and laying directly in front of the open door.

If anyone would like to see what it’s like to live in a building with a pack of slobs you are welcome to view the backyard for my building. The melting snow has revealed a disgusting amount of dog poop; the yard looks like a cow pasture.

I got almost everything I needed at the co-op today except sugar – I’m very attached to the bag of white sugar, unchanged since childhood, and it’s not carried at the co-op. I’d meant to hit up Hy-vee today, too, for the items that I don’t buy in organic form but I got called to come in to work at 2pm (full shift for once) instead of 5pm so I had to get what I needed at the co-op.


A slight course adjustment

HP did not consume the evening; instead HP1 played on the TV while I read all the plot synposes for Gilmore Girls on My friend Jackie is going to blog about reading/watching/listening all the cultural references made on the seven seasons of GG and, since I’d never watched the show except for part of a re-run where Rory gets into a car accident, I thought I’d do a little cribbing of season one. I read through all the seasons. I foresee a Netflix run in the future.

I think I’ll go read a book now.

cats · random

Resolution Wrap-up, Week 5.5

Combination of Resolution Confessions for weeks five and six – both sucky due to some sort of cracked-out intestinal complaint. Wish I could say it worked as well as a diet but I only lost water weight and was only interested in eating water, yoghurt (plain), cranberries, dt Coke, and … (wait for it) … peanut butter. Yup. In the midst of a massive peanut butter recall that was one of the only things I could eat and it wouldn’t run straight through me. Ah, good old Skippy. I still have no idea what I had; at some point last week I wished I actually had contracted Salmonella so I could put a name to it and perhaps find some treatment.

Said stomach complaint put the kibosh on both gym time and ballet (with the exception of one class) due to frequent mad dashes to the bathroom. Trust me – trying to hurriedly wriggle out of a sweater, skirt, leotard, and tights when I’m already sweaty is an exercise I particularly try to avoid.

Dad was actually very (very) nice and came down for the second straight weekend, this time to install my new tub doors. Yay! No more sticking to the icky shower curtain liner. The installation went smoothly and the only inhabitants of my house who are disappointed are the cats; they are no longer able to play in the (dry) bathtub but I’m sure it won’t be long before they figure out the way the doors work.

The cats were also doubly disappointed when I replaced the old kitty-cat sucker-upper (a.k.a. vacuum cleaner) with a brand-new one; the old one had the poor taste to spit bits of the insides all over the carpet while trying to vacuum up the metal shavings from the tub door fitting. The new vacuum is a Bissell Lift-Off Pet and it does exactly what it promises – vacuums up all the pet hair. I could make another cat or two with all the fur the vaccum has pulled out of the carpet and upholstery.

I’m now pretty sure Harry Potter is going to consume my evening; I’ve had a hankering to watch/read HP since I finished Melissa Anelli’s Harry, A History this week. It’s a really fun book that looks at the Harry Potter phenomenon from the inside – Anelli is the Webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron fansite and used her journalism and English major skills to lend some legitimacy to the fan base (hey, she got to interview JKR a few times, so it pays off!).

Current book-in-progress: Silas, Three Bags Full (the sheep all have really great names), Mistress of the Monarchy, and (poor me) Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
Current knitted item: Pretty red socks (I’m still pissed at that scarf)
Current movie obsession: Harry Potter
Current iTunes loop: My Classical Playlist on Shuffle