Sunday, September 30, 2007


Because my friend Rick says I'm not smiling in any pics and my DH gets worried when I look unhappy here (regardless of how I look in person).
I think this makes me look like I just had oral surgery on my right side, but there it is...

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I've had trouble watching the glee with which the media has gone after Larry Craig. I cannot imagine a life more difficult than one where I (a) felt I couldn't be myself and (b) where I hated what I knew I was in my heart of hearts.

I don't like hypocrisy. I particularly don't like the zeal with which Senator Craig has gone after others who--like him--have had to make difficult choices about how to live with who they really are. And I sincerely wish the world would move past caring about any of this.

In the mean time--I think Scott Simon (par normal) does a lovely job summing it all up.

NPR : Reflections on the Sen. Larry Craig Case

Friday, September 28, 2007

Brenda's Buttons

I'm not the only, nor am I the first, but I still feel compelled to post the buttons I've earned from Camp Cast-on.
So here.
I've been an asshole about my knitting.
I've tried to impress others with my mathematical skills (in knitting).

I've nearly killed muggles by talking about knitting.

I podcast about knitting (and other stuff) at Craftlit.

If at all possible, I drink while knitting.

MacGyver Level I--paper clips, binder clips, hair doodie bobbers as stitch markers.

MacGyver Level II--use of bamboo skewers and pencils as needles.

I am, in fact, working on a book RIGHT NOW
(or, actually, I'm avoiding working on it by blogging on this page).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Environment

I know I've mentioned this before, but my Dad's a geographer. I grew up pH testing dirt for fun. My Dad's area of expertise is desertification--the fact of/process by which deserts around the world are growing...annually.

So, global climate change, blah blah blah...that's not what I'm here to argue.

What I'm here to say is this:
Whether it's our fault or not, can we all agree that using up finite resources

I feel like calling a spade a spade today--and this is a Royal Flush of spades.

If we can agree for a moment, that the climate is changing, well...that would be a good start.

Lots of things are demonstrating this fact. Animal populations are decreasing in some important animals, growing seasons are changing (which directly affect some animals), even the times when Vermont Maple Syrup farmers tap their trees have changed dramatically over the last thirty years.

Okay, if we can agree that those things aren't lies, then we can continue.

We know that things like...burning coal for heat have an effect on the environment. After all, we know that the famous London Fog--thick as pea soup--was actually caused by heavy particulate coal smoke creating an inversion layer over the city that trapped the moisture and created the fog. So we know that our actions can change the environment--even in small ways, even temporarily.

Okay, so if we can agree on that, then we can move on.

We know that since the beginning of the last century our dependence on fossil fuels has increased dramatically. Fossil fuels are finite resources. Dependence on anything that will run out (even decades from now) is foolhardy. New technology will have to replace the current technology--it's not an if, it's a when.

So, why not now?

1) We know that sucking on a tail pipe will kill you
2) We know that we are dumping the stuff that will kill you into the air (which we all have to share) at extraordinary rates
3) We know we're all in this together--it's not a local problem
4) We know in our heart-of-hearts that whether we are causing global climate change or not, that the first three things listed here are true.


Why not try to do something about it.

IF the climate change we are experiencing is natural, then so be it. We'll adapt or we'll die. It's that simple.
If there's even a small chance that WE are the culprits, then the above listed points make it ridiculously plain that we need to at least try to do something about the problem.

Even if we are wrong, the outcome will be a cleaner environment for ourselves, our children, and our children's children.

And I don't buy the "it'll kill business and cost us a fortune" argument.
The auto industry said the same thing about seat belts.
Seat belts have hardly been the downfall of the auto industry.

We are nothing if not an inventive people. Let's have some of the billionaire boys from the Dot Com boom start hosting competitions for the best non-fossil fuel engine. Let's create a reason for kids to learn science. Let's find a way to make it all profitable. Let's start making kits to retrofit houses to rely partially on solar, on wind, use grey water, include cisterns. If those things are cheap and available and save families money--we're all going to be better off!

Why aren't there solar panels or wind generators on the roofs of the Projects in NYC? Even a small cut in energy sucked off the grid in a city that large would have a huge impact on the economy. And if the power companies were the ones (a) selling and (b) maintaining that equipment, then they wouldn't have to worry about becoming obsolete.

There are lots of ways to make a dent. And even if you don't believe we're causing the climate change, you can't avoid the need/desire for a cleaner environment for our children.

We can not afford to be a short-sighted, adolescent nation any longer.
It's time to grow up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I don't have patterns, but I was pretty certain I'd be able to find some. These are my successes:

Do-It-Yourself Kippot

Basic Knit Kippah

Star-of-David Kippah, and version II

Stars-and-Stripes Kippah

Pretty basic crochet

A pattern from a page with such a horrific background that I (a) couldn't read the pattern until I copied it here, and (b) got a headache.


1 ball #10 size 10 crochet cotton. & size 7 hook.

Start with a little thread circle & crochet 8 sc into it: then pull the thread to close the circle tightly. Mark the first stitch, then work on continuous rounds. rnd1: 2sc in ea sc around. 16sc rnd2; sc in ea sc around rnd3: 2sc in ea sc around rnd4:sc in ea sc around rnd5:*sc in next 2sc, 2sc in next sc* around rnd6: sc in ea sc around rnd7:*sc in next 3 sc, 2sc in next sc* around rnd8: sc in ea sc around Continue till it's the desired size. All even numbered rounds are simply "sc in ea sc around" Odd numbered rounds are increases. with ea round the number of stitches between ea increase grows by one. End by working sl st into next 2sc & then ending off.

How to keep scarves etc on your head

How to make head coverings look stylish

How to tie a Teichel

And then, just because it's so cool and I stumbled on it:
Clapotis hat!


SPS! This time I remembered!

Boys are sleeping, head is stuffy (thanks to a surprise cold) but the day has gone well.

I was asked to teach about 12 kids at the Synagogue how to spin and knit/crochet a kippah or yarmulke. We've got four Sundays to do it in; today was the first. The kids But some of them are shockingly good spinners (two boys, two girls) the rest are going to take some time to work with.

We were able to dye their fiber, but not dry it. So I'm still cooking bags and bags of fiber (which is fine) and will salad spin it tonight...or something.

I was able to get a GORGEOUS California Red fleece from a local source (thank you Melanie!)—a fleece that took second in a NJ competition (and I can see why). Light lanolin, soft crimp, tiny micron count. And she tells me this was a cross breed to produce better meat, then whammo! They noticed it had great fleeces!

The kids weren't freaky at all about getting their hands dirty, or wet, and they loved that they were going to get to dye. It took too long (and not enough room in the dyebath--I should have brought the crockpot too!) so they'll have to wait to see their hand-dyed fiber until the next class. But that's good. Let them live with a little anticipation.

I'm writing different things now, and it's a relief, actually. I needed a break, but I also need an income. This has been a nice change. I'm writing passages now, and occasionally benchmark tests. Compared to the curricular work, it's a breather.

And now, life is pretty much just anticipating going to SOAR, getting into some cool air (though it's been lovely here in the mornings and afternoons), and getting a chance to learn. I'm starting the packing process now, which seems ridiculous, I know, but I don't stress if I just leave a suitcase open for a couple of weeks and randomly think, "Oh, man! I need to take this!" then toss it into the bag. Otherwise I tend to forget too many things.

Sadly, Andrew's birthday falls when I'm at SOAR—and I know he's reading this—so I'm working on something for him while I'm gone.

And that's about it. I've got papers to grade, passages to write, things to pack, fiber to dry (and spin), gifts to knit, and a house I really MUST tidy up before leaving Andrew alone in it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Sad news.
A sorority sister of mine (long story for later) just found out that her husband, the sold breadwinner of her family, has pancreatic cancer.

I don't have to tell you what this means, right?

He is undergoing chemo, but their insurance sitatuion is tenuous. He's a freelance writer.

PLEASE, check out their auction. Friends, family, strangers, are all donating things for them to auction to support the family in this horrible time.

If you see something you like, please bid. If you'd like to donate something or some service, please contact me at MamaOKnits [at] gmail [dot] com.

And thank you for your understanding. I wouldn't come to you like this if it weren't serious.


And my maiden name was Hutchinson. They don't know me from Ordover.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Obligatory 9/11 Post

Read here
and here
and then of course, here.
Leadership kids who "ran" from the building—all helped to safety by the kindness of strangers.

And the southern view you didn't see on the news.
O, I just HAVE To respond to the coward who anonymously left the comment below that "911 was an inside job.There were no planes,as none of the kids mention the sound of a 767 at 800 feet on full power."
_I_ mention it, dolt. I'm the only one who was in the room who had anything to compare the sound to (WWII movie missile sounds--my kids didn't watch movies like that) the kids, quite frankly, were too busy thinking they were going to die to try to find a parallel.
If you weren't there then leave off with your idiotic comments or learn to listen. There is no one who could create a conspiracy big enough to convince all of NYC to lie. Really. We're a bunch of loud mouths and we call it like we see it. It's just not possible to shut us all up or stop us from saying what we saw.
Or better yet, instead of chickening out and leaving ghost flames on the blogs of innocent folk, go talk to the guys who were working construction in Jersey who watched the second plane plow into the South Tower, knowing damn well what was going to happen when they saw it bank over Staten Island. White as sheets, they were, and still shaking hours later.
But I'm sure they were planted for my benefit.
I'm sure the plane's engine on the building of my school (Yes, I saw it. Yes, I know what a plane's engine looks like) was a plant too.
Hell, I'll bet you think it was Mosad.
Oh, how I wish to be alone in a room with people like you and about seven of my students.
THAT would be a inside job.

Part Deux:
To my Anonymous poster—thank you for coming back. I actually respect that quite a bit. Usually Folks-Who-Flame don't bother.
I'm so, SO sorry because I've clearly left you with the misperception that I support the "genocidal Bush regime". This is not true. In fact, it was rather telling to watch the numbers from the 2000 and 2004 elections roll in. While the NYC has been voting Republican since Giuliani ran (and NYC is notoriously NOT a Republican town) NYC rabidly voted against Bush.
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who was in or around 9/11 who trusts that man.
I'm well aware that what we've been exporting to other countries has not best and our brightest.
And as for serial numbers—not being a professional conspiracy theorist I just went my five senses and inductive—see plane #2 go into the building then see a plane engine on our roof. Maybe not more than circumstantial evidence for you, but since our elevators and stairwells were kinda small, and there were no cranes in the vicinity...yeah. I believe those were planes going in.
Do I think that absolves Bush?
Do I think he wanted to go into Iraq long before 9/11.
But I also think Mohammad Atta et al flew planes at civilian targets that morning, not Bush.
There's lots of room in the world for dumb people to make lousy choices.

Monday, September 10, 2007

hand spun!

Baby Jessica's sweater begins. . .

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Life, don't talk to me about life...

Life is both boring and terrifying all at once.

There's no work at work, so I'm not going to make enough this month to pay the bills.

At all.

Then there's the boring part. I have a lot of "stuff" to do, but most of my time is so fractured with teaching Thing 1, running around with Things 1 and 2, now teaching (which, when I'm taking the bus is a godsend of unadulterated time), and then...the stuff I do to myself (spinning, knitting, podcasting).

I'm trying, in the middle of all that, to find time to write--for publication--and that's what's got me right now. I need more than 15 minutes here or there, or an hour at night when I'm wiped out, to get the articles done and the book draft done.

Blah blah blah.
Bitch bitch bitch...

And in the middle of it all, I know I'm one of the luckiest people on the planet.

Sunday, September 02, 2007