Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I got the zipper

The green handwoven fabric is a bit too blue, and not at all olive, so it is hard to decide what thread to use for the buttonholes. Nothing at the store looked just right, so I didn't get anything yet. But they had a Rowenta iron for half price - so even though some reviews said it doesn't last long and spits, I bought one and we shall see how it works. I hope it is as steamy and dreamy as the good reviews! I'll let you know. And I'll get a photo just as soon as the buttonholes get done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

what a lovely weekend it was, except . . .

It rained much of the weekend, and we need RAIN! What a nice excuse to stay indoors and knit and sew and cook. I walked to our itty-bitty farmer's market and bought lovely flowers, beets etc. and a large hunk of salmon. My friends came over and I knitted about 4 inches on the rose shrug and we chatted and ate the most lovely artichoke hummus from the market. I then ate the WHOLE piece of salmon, finished off the open bottles of wine, and the cats and I piled up on the bed.

Sunday, I looked at the jacket that needed buttonholes, and decided I needed thread for them. No matter, I took out the skirt pattern and up-sized the skirt - hey, it was from 20 years ago or more - and cut out the lining. I shall stitch up the lining as a "muslin" to check the fit before I cut into the beautiful hand-loomed wool left from the jacket. Note to self to purchase zipper.

The hem had come un-glued again from the washable leather skirt, so I got out my damp press cloth and stitch witchery and ironed up the hem. DAMN! I scorched the leather, even with a press cloth. I know I have done this before. Well, @#$@#! I shall have to cut off the bottom and stitch it up shorter. I love this skirt, I really do, and it was a nice mid-calf length. So, I shall be the proud owner of a beat-up knee length skirt. Whatever. But I shall SEW the hem, not glue it as it was manufactured.

I had lovely veggie soup, with sweet tender beet greens and beans and a carrot from the garden, with a lovely glass or two of a great zin, more knitting, more TV, and I fell asleep before the movie on TV I planned to watch. Such a nice weekend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What was your favorite line in the inaguration speech?

My company planned a large customer gathering for today. Guess the marketing wienies don't do politics. So I showed up at 7:30 and started getting the books laid out for a morning of seminars as I noshed on the fruit (where do they get such big blackberries this time of year)? I told T how much I had hated to get out of the car and turn off the radio. A quick word by her, and CNN was on the big screen. Upstairs, they had CNN on 3 big screens in the lunchroom, and the room was packed. Ninety customers came in and were riveted by the screen images. When we said we needed to start the seminar, I heard a few wistful sighs. When we announced we would stop for the swearing-in and speech, there were vigorous nods. So we did. When they started to swear Obama in, CNN magically appeared, and we all clapped. T and I hugged with tears. When Obama said, "Now is the time for the role of science to resume its rightful place" both T and I cheered, and everyone turned around to look at us. Past time! It will be hard times to come, but we all desperately needed a day of hope and celebration.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A truly gut-wrenching story

This is tragic, so you are excused from reading this if you wish. My parents moved to a small town in Central Illinois over 20 years ago, so of course my mother had to find a new hairdresser. Gail has an extension onto her house, and mother has been going to her all these years. I would go to her too, when I visited, small-town haircuts being cheaper than city ones. We watched the kids grow up, trooping in and out of the beauty shop, they rode with Dad in the main street parades, the boy began having babies and then they married a couple of years ago. The kid never finished much of anything, never held a steady job, got in some trouble. The young wife went to school and worked part time, and the kid watched the 3 children, none of them in first grade. A couple of days before New Year's eve, cops showed up at the door. Gail's son ran to a bedroom, closed the door, and shot himself. He leaves a young wife and 3 youngsters. The only redemption is that some of his organs could be harvested. My heart breaks for Gail. Send prayers and thoughts to her and the widow. Oh, my.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Yesterday at a trade show I ran into a guy who used to work for the competition, but with whom I struck up a friendship since I kept running into him. He now works at a biotech that makes botox for injection. I commented that he must have learned a lot of biology after he went to work for this company, and he said yes, since he spent the first two months reading while waiting for his security clearance to come through. The cultures and toxin purified from Clostridium botulinum is classified as a weapon for mass destruction, and anyone handling high concentrations has to have security clearance. The bacteria are grown in fermenters, but since it sporulates and can become airborne, workers in the room must wear respirators and shower and wash their hair when leaving the room (they had to add an extra shower so they could have staffing flexibility - in case of an accident, everyone would have to shower immediately). There are multiple layers of pass codes and in some cases key locks depending on the amounts of materials in the rooms. An injection uses about 1-10 nanograms and anything over about 10 ng requires the extra security. This is one great big mother of a protein, 150,000 daltons, and the biology is quite fascinating. Proteins this large are a class of chemistry unto themselves. Since it is so big, it doesn't really get absorbed into the blood when injected, it just stays in place and the protease activity inactivates the neurotransmissions of what ever nerves happen to be at the injection site. When ingested, of course, it is absorbed through the gut wall and inactivates any nerves it comes in contact with and you know the rest. I could go on and on, (he did, at some length) but you get the picture. A most interesting conversation!

Friday, January 9, 2009

the other shoe

Life is not fair. Mother told me life is not fair. And so she was right. What now? Termites, both kinds. I have to have the house tented AND soil treated. Take out all the food, all the medications, the birds and cats and us for three days. I have a freezer FULL of food. Turn all the wine upside down (which it should be anyway). Sigh. The shed against the house is damaged, but it is just a shed. The house, at least, has not been damaged. Oy. You think I can get all the poor spiders in the garage to move out for 3 days?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knitting muses

We had the first knitting day at my house Sunday. There were three of us, and two of us had to take it all out and start over, but it was a very good thing, the first of many, we hope. I can't tend 84 stitches without markers. I can apparently only count to 6 without losing stitches. Meanwhile, there were Christmas presents and a sale to tend to . . . (I bought how much yarn???)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

family portrait on a cold January morning

From the top, Fritz the Russian Blue, Tootsie the chocolate point rescue cat, and Louis XIV, another rescue cat who was luckier than his namesake to still be alive. Awww.

Friday, January 2, 2009

happy Friday

ah, the end of my two weeks off. I have avoided working much of the time, and more importantly, avoided thinking of working. I would be happy to not work, but would miss that paycheck. With not NEARLY as much in the brokerage account as last year, that is the stinger. It's been a good two weeks, with friends and neigbors and lots of good food, cookies for breakfast and wonderful wines. I have never had 2 weeks off together since I started working, and usually travel when I take vacation. I love being here with the birdies chirping and the kitties wandering in and out. And, it's almost time for the weekend!