Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Whither Will I Wander?

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 11:23 pm on Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Last week saw me pondering a change in identity as a blogger, as well as a break from the Blogger system and into the use of WordPress. I even speculated on new names for the blog you are reading right now, since I’ve been feeling that the I Knit Around concept hasn’t really played a part in reality lately.

Both Gryphon and I have been laying the groundwork for change to happen. WordPress has been installed in all the places it needs to be, databases are being set up. Templates are being tweaked, graphics selected.

As to the name of this blog, I finally had an a-ha! moment over the weekend, and came up with the new identity. It also sees me starting to distance myself from the Folkcat nickname that I have used for so long.

The shape of things to come? Crafting Jen. I like the name – it encompasses all crafts, not just one or two. And it has multiple meanings. I am, indeed, a Jen who Crafts. I am also perpetually in the process of Crafting the person known as Jen.

In a decision reached only today, I will also be closing my beading blog – Confessions of a Chantraphile – and combining all its archived posts into Crafting Jen, along with all the old posts from I Knit Around. I had originally thought to keep it separate, but really, I expect Crafting Jen to be a complete, rounded picture of my entire crafting life. With that realization, it suddenly seemed arbitrary and artificial to keep the beadwork off in its own separate plane of existence. Instead, there will now be a category under Crafting Jen called Beads – Confessions of a Chantraphile.

It’s going to take me a little while to get this all set up, as it involves learning PHP for the first time. (I think I need to acquire the for Dummies book on the subject – they’ve always served me well!) Meanwhile, I’ll keep posting here just as I always have. Appropriate links for the new location will be provided as soon as they’re ready for primetime.

I’m really excited about these changes. I like the versatility of the WordPress templates and PHP, and I’ll be free of the Blogger limitations (and outages!).

Dropping the Folkcat identity to go with my real first name feels like an expression of renewed confidence in what I’m doing – no more need to hide behind a mask or fictional character! The entire process feels a little bit like I’m graduating from Blogger High School – and stepping out into the real world of grown up blogging.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

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Why I Don’t Sleep in on Memorial Day; and, K is for Korea

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:33 pm on Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Life in a small town is always special. Just like the big city, there are parades for special occasions and holidays. Only somehow, they are more personal. Perhaps because the half of the town that isn’t watching the parade isn’t in it.

Or, if like us you live right downtown along the parade route, it might be because you have a built-in front row seat.

We only have a couple of parades a year here in Wilton. There is the Children’s Halloween Parade at the end of every October. And then, there is the Memorial Day Parade.

The local American Legion Post is about a block down the road that runs behind Town Hall. Memorial Day parades always form there. The parade has to do a bit of a loop-de-loop in order to manage a Main Street procession before arriving at the town War Memorials. See, the War Memorials are just beyond the north end of Main Street. The Parade procession begins at the north end of the street, just below the memorials, then moves south along Main St. Then they have to get everybody back to the north to the memorials for the services. And then, everyone goes back to the American Legion post for a party.

Our home is located such that the parade passes our house on every possible leg of the trip.

The Parade Begins
First pass: Starting at 9:00 a.m., the parade moves down Maple St. from the American Legion Post, behind Town Hall;

The First Pass
They pass right beneath our living room windows on this leg.

At this time, the band isn’t actually playing full music, but the drums are beating out a marching rhythm every step of the way: rrrrrat-ta-tat! rrrrat-ta-tat! rrrrat-ta-tat-a-ta rrrrat-ta-tat!

Down Main Street
Second pass: They turn south on Main Street. Still effectively right below our windows.

This is when the band begins to play for real. Wilton is lucky in that the band that plays our event is the Temple Town Band, known as “America’s First Town Band”. And they aren’t kidding, folks – they celebrated their 200th birthday in 1999. That means they’ve been in existence since 1799!

After the parade has passed down the length of Main Street, they have to get back to the War Memorials at the north end. So they come back up to Maple Street. Only this time…

Here They Come Again
Third pass: The parade now turns down the other side of our house, so they can go past the library down the block and arrive at the Memorials.

Parade Past the Bedroom
The time is now 9:21 a.m. On the left, you see the Temple Town Band, drums still beating away. On the right, the two lower windows behind Gryphon are my bedroom.

This pass takes them down to the War Memorials, where a service about an hour long takes place. Then, just in case you missed them the first three times, they do a Fourth Pass: another full procession down Main Street.

Wilton at Memorial Day – the parade so great, it has repeats.

And that’s why I don’t sleep in on Memorial Day. The first May we lived here, we didn’t know about how the parade is handled, or that it happens so early in the day. We still had the bead store, and that Monday was one of our blissful few days off. We had great hopes of sleeping in.

Until about 9:15 or so, when I heard rrrrrat-ta-tat! rrrrat-ta-tat! rrrrat-ta-tat-a-ta rrrrat-ta-tat! right outside my bedroom window. It’s a wonder I didn’t pee the bed, I was so scared. And then, by the time I crawled out of the covers and peered through my blinds, there was a team of large horses pulling a cannon mere feet away from my startled face.

Ever since then, Gryphon and I have, reluctantly, made a point of setting our alarms so that we can be awake by choice before we get drummed out of bed.

It’s not, perhaps, how we’d prefer to spend a day off. But for a holiday like Memorial Day, we don’t mind making this adjustment. We may not often agree with what our country’s leaders choose to do with regards to armed conflict, but Gryphon and I both agree that it’s appropriate to honor those men and women who serve in a very difficult and dangerous profession on behalf of others.

K is for Korea

korea.gif

Which brings me to my “K” in the ABC-A-Long. K is for Korea.

Odd choice, you may be thinking. Well, I don’t know all the details, but I do know that Korea was a formidable influence in my family, even before I was born.

My father, you see, served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. He was injured in combat, and to this day receives a pension based on that injury.

I know little about all this, though, because he has really never talked about it with me, my sister, or my brother. Perhaps he never felt right telling us what happened to him there. I do know that when the TV series M*A*S*H came along, it was at least a season or two before he would let the family watch it. He actually passed through a MASH unit, and the show must have evoked bad memories for him.

He did once open up to my husband, Gryphon. Perhaps because Gryphon was able to share tales of his own father’s experiences as an American POW in a German Stalag. Gryphon has told me bits of what my father had to say, and suffice it to say that, although it was a tale very typical of many soldier’s stories after active combat, it wasn’t an experience that anyone would choose to go through.

What exactly happened isn’t important, though. The fact is, my father served his country in a foreign war, and it affected his life and the life of his own family for years after, in ways I’m not even entirely sure of.

I’m a bit unresolved about how I feel about it all. I sometimes wonder what my father would have been like without these experiences, and therefore, what my own life would be like. I wonder whether it’s right for any nation to ask that sort of sacrifice of their citizens. And I wonder if we’ll ever have a world where it won’t be necessary to do.

So, K is for Korea. I know you changed my father’s life, and therefore mine.

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Nashua Area Knit Groups, May 31 – June 11

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 12:48 pm on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Group Report

I missed out on Thursday Night Knitting Around for the first time last week, due to a mild bronchitis. I’m much better now, though.

Sunday at Borders, the SnB-NH knitters decided would happen outdoors at Greeley Park instead. Sort of a dress rehearsal for our upcoming World Wide Knit in Public Day on June 10th. So they gathered up near the picnic area around 11 a.m., and knit as long as they could stand it. Word is that everyone had a good time!

Seasonal Changes

And that, friends, is why SnB-NH Borders meetings should be verified via e-mail to the group whether anyone will be attending – or where and when they will actually be happening!

For the weeks that the group meets at Panera, I have offered to serve as the “anchor” – the one person who will be there as unfailingly as possible, so no one ever has to wonder if anyone will be around or not. If anyone is able to make the same commitment to the Borders weekends, that could remove any doubt for those planning to come knit there.

To keep informed about any changes, please visit both the EKL or SnB-NH groups on the web, or remember to look at this blog every Tuesday for these calendar listings.

Upcoming Special Event –

World Wide Knit In Public Day, Saturday, June 10th – The SnB-NH group is planning a potluck picnic for the afternoon, 2 – 5 p.m., in Greeley Park in Nashua. This is open to the public, and it’s not necessary to participate in the picnic itself to attend – just bring your knitting and something to sit on!

Please visit the SnB group for more information. To sign up to bring a dish to the picnic, please select “Database” on the side menu at the SnB home page to find the sign-up list.

Add Your Meeting

If you have any knit gatherings planned in the Southern New Hampshire area that are open to the public, and you’d like to see them listed here, just drop me a line at crafty.kitty@yahoo.com with the details. Be sure to include Date, Time, Location, and Contact Info, as well as whether it’s a one-time event or repeats on a regular schedule.

Knitting Groups for Wed., May 31 to Sunday, June 11

Remember, you can also view these events (and more) at the SnB-NH calendar at Yahoo! Groups.

Please note: where phone numbers are given for “Info”, that is the contact phone for the location, not the knitters organizing the gathering. Since none of these events are officially coordinated by the host sites (except as noted), if you reach someone by phone and ask them about the knitting group, they might not have any clue what you’re talking about.

Wed. May 31

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. June 1 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. June 4 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Wed. June 7 –

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. June 8 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. June 11* –

SnB-Nashua @ Borders Books, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, NH

Info – phone: (603) 888-9300

*Note: Please check messages at the SnB-NH group for updates, and to confirm if anyone will be attending the Borders meeting.

Folkcat’s Plans?

I expect to be at all the events at Panera Bread. As for Borders Sundays, Gryphon and I have started feeling the flea market bug this spring, and instead of driving down to Borders we will probably be spending those afternoons at the Hollis Flea Market. (At least the ones where it doesn’t pour down rain!)

Happy Knitting!

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If This Were an Actual Emergency…

Filed under: Blog Admin — folkcat at 5:08 pm on Monday, May 29, 2006

In other words, this is a test, nothing more. (Read on …)

I’m Getting Sick of Blogger

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:52 am on Sunday, May 28, 2006

This is the second time in a week that I’ve gone in to edit one of my Blogger templates (the first time was for Confessions of a Chantraphile, my beading blog), and found that Blogger had arbitrarily truncated my template.

I mean, literally a large section of the template from somewhere in the middle of the sidebar, and running all the way to the bottom of the blog, was gone. Kaput. Vanished. Gone the way of the passenger pigeons.

Tonight, the problem was with this very blog you’re looking at. My main blog. The template was truncated somewhere in the middle of the sidebar item that posted my most recent Desktop Download image. Everything below that point was lost.

That included my list of links. The link for a Technorati search. My Archives list, for which I had input special code to make it a drop-down menu instead of just a raw list. The list of recent posts. The code for the one or two web rings I had joined (and which, frankly, I can’t remember which ones I was in!). And all the buttons for KALs and other causes.

No, I hadn’t saved a copy of my template code anywhere. Yeah, I know – that was stupid. But for a long, long time there hadn’t been a problem. (Yes, I know that’s not a legitimate excuse for not taking precautions.)

I’ve managed to recover a bit of the code to restore basic function to the sidebar. But it’s not what it’s supposed to be.

Gryphon is looking into WordPress for me, which I’ve heard good things about, but which requires a deeper level of Geekosity than I personally possess. (I’ve got a pretty good dose of Geekitude, mind you. But not enough to keep me from flinching at the instructions I saw for set-up and configuration of WordPress!) I’m hoping his investigation goes well, because it would mean our independence from Blogger – which, sure, has served us fairly well. But there’s no excuse for what happened with my two most important blogs here!

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Who Am I This Time?

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:20 am on Sunday, May 28, 2006

The time has come, the Crafter said,
“To talk of many things.
Of yarn, and rats, and felted knits,
Of fabric, beads, and strings
And why each skein will have a knot,
And whether cats have wings.”

I’m feeling a bit out of focus with the blog these days. It’s called I Knit Around, and there was a reason for it – I went knitting around in different interesting places, and had my picture taken doing so.

It worked well for a while, but now – not so much knitting around is happening. I pretty much stay home with the knitting. I feel a bit like the blog title is, well, misleading.

So I’m feeling like it’s time for a change. Time to re-focus the blog, and have it better reflect what my life is right now. Time for a new name.

But the question is – what? I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I’m not sure about any of them. I think I want to keep looking until something feels right.

Meanwhile, here are the ideas I’ve had so far…

Of Rats and Yarn – (Inspiration – Parody of “Of Mice and Men”.)

Pro: Would reflect the knitting and rat elements.

Con: Ignores the rest of my crafty life.

Making It So – (Inspiration – Star Trek: TNG, from Picard’s frequent order to “Make it so.”)

Pro: Reflects the general nature of my life – that most of what I do is “Making it so,” making my reality closer to what I want it to be.

Con: I’m a Star Trek fan, sure, though not so much as I used to be. I don’t know that I want my blog title suggesting to true fen that this is a Star Trek blog.

Making It Up – (Inspiration – “I’m making it up as I go along.” Common phrase. Obscure Inspiration: the line is also a quote from Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

Pro: Again, reflects the general nature of my life, and this time specifically my crafting. I’m doing what we all do – making it up as we go. And I think there’s little chance of an Indiana Jones fan thinking it’s a fan blog.

Con: Very common phrase which most people won’t connect the phrase with a crafty interpretation.

I just realized that it’s o’dark:early, and I should probably post this and go to bed. It’s going to take some time for me to grasp what my new Blogly identity should be. Meantime, if anyone has any comments or suggestions, I’ll be glad to listen!

P.S. – oh, yes – I’m feeling rather better. I’ve only taken cough syrup once today, and I think I’m getting enough of a throat tickle again now that I’m going to take a dose before bed. But the cough is definitely improving!

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He Loves Me

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:06 pm on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Many thanks to those who sent their healing thoughts via comments. It’s nice to know there are folks out there who care how I’m feeling.

As for that, I can report that I’m at least no worse than yesterday. I’m not spending my whole day coughing – it comes in surprise bursts of great intensity, which is the real issue. I go along for a few hours just fine, then suddenly start choking on, well, nothing. My eyes tear up, my throat gets raw, I have to stop in my tracks as my entire body gets involved in the coughing. Once I can get past it, I’m exhausted.

Which is why I decided this morning not to go to Knitting Around tonight. If that happened while I was driving, I’d likely wind up in a ditch somewhere. Much better to stay home. In case anyone was thinking of going, Bea and Anne will be there at Panera without me, knitting and talking and laughing. So, go. Have enough fun for me, too.

Meanwhile, I had yet another reminder today that some parts of my life are pretty good.

Thursday is Gryphon’s payday, and so it’s an errand and shopping day, too. I usually combine a lot of that with the trip to Panera, stopping at Target and PetSmart on the way there, then stopping at the 24-hour supermarket on the way home.

If we don’t want me driving, however, all that needs alternate arrangements. So we were making plans for Gryphon to get out to do grocery shopping before he had to go to work.

Here’s the special part. While I was considering if I wanted to go along with him to the supermarket (since I wouldn’t be driving, after all) so that I could get out of the house a little on this nice, warm, sunny day, Gryphon said, “Do you want to go to The Woolery and get your needles?”

Do I want to go get my knitting needles? The 60 inch Addi Turbos that I need for my Log Cabin blanket? Heck, yeah! I had been thinking of asking if we could go there, but had decided not to, since it would take up extra time. And here Gryphon goes and voluntarily offers to take me there.

I think he loves me.

I’m a lucky girl.

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Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:22 pm on Wednesday, May 24, 2006

*koff* bronchitis *koff*

I’m actually a Sunday’s Child. (But the child that’s born on the Sabbath Day, is blithe and bonny, good and gay – yeah, right! Always made my family laugh.) But today’s got just enough woe in it to make me feel like I might have been born on a Wednesday.

Hoarse voice, throat feels thick, dry, unproductive cough that exhausts me…I’ve been here before, and it looks like I’m here again. Only thing for it is to rest as much as I can, take regular doses of cough syrup, and plentiful amounts of medicinal teas – Gypsy Cold Care, Breathe Easy, Throat Coat, and Herbatussin are all in the rotation.

Blogging may take a hit as I do simpler or fewer posts to accommodate my temporarily reduced endurance.

I’m knitting, but only on the simple, easy on the brain Log Cabin Blanket. It looks a lot like last time, only bigger.

If I’m not doing much better tomorrow, I may have to pass on my weekly Thursday Night Knitting Around at Panera. Mostly because I don’t want one of these coughing fits to hit me when I’m driving.

It should go on without me, however – I think we can assume that Bea and Anne will get there. I’ll do what I can to make it so, at least. (Anne, if you read this, drop me e-mail letting me know if it’s okay to give Bea your number, ‘kay?)

In another update, Gryphon was able to open the burnt-out TiVo box today, and identified the problem. The only sign of damage anywhere inside was a tiny, blast-looking crater on top of the modem chip. Which explains why the television, lamp, and DVD player on the same circuit were all safe, and the TiVo was fried – the TiVo was the only thing plugged into a phone line. And apparently, that’s where the power surge came into the house from the lightning blast.

The good news is, when it’s replaced it will be with a Series 2 TiVo, which doesn’t use a phone line – you plug it into your high-speed internet connection.

All our power strips in play at the moment have surge protection built in. But they don’t have plugs to protect the phone line as well. It’s not an issue for the most part – I think the TiVo was the only thing other than the phone itself that used the phone lines – but you can bet we’re now considering how we can upgrade the strips to allow that option.

I’m going off to brew another cup of tea now. I’ll post again when I’m up to it. *koff*

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Nashua Area Knit Groups, May 23 – June 4

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:34 pm on Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Group Report

SnB at Panera was a lot of fun. Luckily, we had a break in the weather – during arrivals and departures, at least – so I think folks managed to stay dry!

Seasonal Changes

For the time being, SnB-NH Borders meetings should be verified via e-mail to the group whether anyone will be attending.

For the weeks that the group meets at Panera, I have offered to serve as the “anchor” – the one person who will be there as unfailingly as possible, so no one ever has to wonder if anyone will be around or not. If anyone is able to make the same commitment to the Borders weekends, that could remove any doubt for those planning to come knit there.

To keep informed about any changes, please visit both the EKL or SnB-NH groups on the web, or remember to look at this blog every Tuesday for these calendar listings.

Upcoming Special Event –

World Wide Knit In Public Day, Saturday, June 10th – The SnB-NH group is planning a potluck picnic for the afternoon, 2 – 5 p.m., in Greeley Park in Nashua. This is open to the public, and it’s not necessary to participate in the picnic itself to attend – just bring your knitting and something to sit on!

Please visit the SnB group for more information. To sign up to bring a dish to the picnic, please select “Database” on the side menu at the SnB home page to find the sign-up list.

Add Your Meeting

If you have any knit gatherings planned in the Southern New Hampshire area that are open to the public, and you’d like to see them listed here, just drop me a line at crafty.kitty@yahoo.com with the details. Be sure to include Date, Time, Location, and Contact Info, as well as whether it’s a one-time event or repeats on a regular schedule.

Knitting Groups for Wed., May 23 to Sunday, June 4

Remember, you can also view these events (and more) at the SnB-NH calendar at Yahoo! Groups.

Please note: where phone numbers are given for “Info”, that is the contact phone for the location, not the knitters organizing the gathering. Since none of these events are officially coordinated by the host sites (except as noted), if you reach someone by phone and ask them about the knitting group, they might not have any clue what you’re talking about.

Wed. May 24 –

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. May 25 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. May 28* –

SnB-Nashua @ Borders Books, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, NH

Info – phone: (603) 888-9300

*Note: Please check messages at the SnB-NH group for updates, and to confirm if anyone will be attending the Borders meeting.

Wed. May 31

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. June 1 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. June 4 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Folkcat’s Plans?

I expect to be at all the events at Panera Bread. As for Borders Sundays, Gryphon and I have started feeling the flea market bug this spring, and instead of driving down to Borders we will probably be spending those afternoons at the Hollis Flea Market. (At least the ones where it doesn’t pour down rain!)

Happy Knitting!

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Blue Monday Came on Sunday This Week

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:31 pm on Monday, May 22, 2006

I am getting so sick of the weather around here. Never mind the almost endless rain. Never mind the bursts of sunshine just long enough to get you outdoors where you can be deluged again with, yes, more rain.

On Sunday, the weather made it personal.

Gryphon and I had picked up our friend Anne and we’d all gone to the SnB-NH Knitting at Panera for the afternoon. A good time was, as usual, had by all, and we once again barely noticed that 5 o’clock had come around. Time to go!

The sun was shining as we packed up. We drove back to Milford, dropped Anne off at her place, and headed for Wilton. Dark gray skies over our destination gave us some hesitation, but, well, that’s where home was, so we kept going.

By the time we got there, we had seen some lightning, the wind was whipping every loose object around, and the skies had opened up and were pouring buckets down on the world.We gladly got ourselves indoors, and listened in that horrified fascination to the sounds of the deluge outdoors.

A short while later, there was a flash of lightning that I saw in every window of the house – and we have windows facing all four sides. The boom-crack of the thunder came right upon it – that one must have been close!

Gryphon and I came together in the kitchen to comment and boggle together at it. He mentioned that he’d heard not only the thunder, but a snap! of some kind as well. But we didn’t think anything more of it at the time – we just thought it was a relic of the strike hitting something very, very close.

Later Sunday night, we headed to bed as usual. I turned on the television in the bedroom, and then noticed something odd about my TiVo box.

Tivo Eye
Are You There, Hal?

True afficionados will know what’s wrong with this picture. Those little rivet-looking things are actually LED’s that display the function of the box. If all is well and your TiVo is working properly, the one on the left marked RECEIVING will be glowing green. If your TiVo is recording a program, the one on the right will be red.

Yup – my bedroom TiVo unit, My First TiVo, my 30-hr Series 1 Tivo that I’ve had for six years. It got fried by that lightning strike.

The television, the $38 DVD player, and the cheap lamp that were all plugged into the same power strip were spared. But my TiVo was killed.

To the average, TiVo-less person, this may seem silly to be upset about. But to those who have seen the joys of a TiVo in their life – you will understand that a television fan like myself has just found their world turned sideways.

The good news is, since acquiring an 80-hour Series 2 TiVo last year, this is actually my secondary unit. The 80-hr in the living room catches my primary shows, this one picks up programming that coincides or overlaps. What I call my Second Track of programming.

So, there usually isn’t as much first-run prime time programming stored in this unit. And I usually get it watched pretty quickly.

But this unit got fried before Sunday night’s programs, and I missed the season finale episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy that it would have recorded for me. If I’d known before bedtime (around midnight) that it had happened, I could have used my VCR instead. But I’d had no reason to check on this.

*sigh* We are now faced with figuring out how to afford a new Tivo box so we can restore my full video functionality. The good news there is, Tivo has new monthly service plans that include a box, with free shipping. The bad news is, we still need to find the money to pay for the monthly fee, and they want the first month up front.

Meantime, we’ve put a second VCR back into service, so I can still get the programs I want to see. Good thing, too – tonight, the season finales of CSI: Miami, Medium, and Alias are all on opposite each other. Ack! It’s still not as convenient for viewing as the TiVo is, but it gets me by for now.

Knitting Around – and Around, and Around

The death of My First TiVo only helped to emphasize the general dissatisfaction I’ve been feeling. I’m having one of those times where you can’t quite feel that anything you do is good enough or quick enough to serve the purpose needed – or even the right choice for what you should be working on.

This may be part of why I can’t let go of working on the Mason-Dixon Log Cabin Queen-size Blanket project. My other 11 projects have no deadlines, so they can sit by the side. But I feel compelled to keep this one going as a solo, at least for the moment.

Log Cabin Blanket Progress
MDK Log Cabin – Progress Shot

It’s paying off. By the time I finish the current round of strips, this should be about 30 inches on a side. Which will mean about one-ninth finished. (The goal is 90 inches on a side.) I’m going to need that size 6 60-inch Addi Turbo pretty soon, I’m afraid – another drain on the budget.

The colors show rather better in this picture, too. I took the opportunity of today’s burst of sunshine to go out in the yard and lay the blanket on the hedge.

Blue Monday Turns a Happy Green

While I was out there, I found something else to brighten my day:

Sweet Pea Sprouts
Sweet Pea Sprouts!

The sweet peas that we planted along a bare section of chain-link fence around three weeks ago have finally started showing themselves. I don’t blame them for delaying their entrance. Since we planted them, they’ve endured cold nights and torrential downpours. I was afraid they’d been frozen and drowned to death. So I’m really, really glad to see them now.

And then, in the mail today was a little package from Maize. She celebrated her 45th birthday last week by giving away presents to 45 people who wrote in, and I was one of the lucky ones!

Maize makes lovely charms from recycled silver. The birthday giveaway charm was this cute little cupcake on a round medallion, hanging from a cellphone dangle. Here I show it atop the darling muslin drawstring bag that Maize packed it in. And if you look closely in the back, you’ll see that it’s already adorning my cellphone.

Maize's Birthday Charm
Cellphone Charm and Gift Bag

The other part of the gift was a mix CD of live U2 performances, hand picked and put together by Maize herself. The CD sleeve was even handmade, stitched from craft paper on a sewing machine and decorated with her own label. And of course, Maize included a sweet little handmade card in a handmade envelope.

U2 Live Mix CD
Live Music from U2

U2 has been a favorite of mine for decades, ever since the days of their first albums: Boy, War, and October. If you ever have a chance to see the video of U2: Live at Red Rocks, you owe it to yourself to have the experience. They are amazing live, and Red Rocks was a wonderful performance of their earlier, pre-Joshua Tree work.

I have to confess that I haven’t followed anyone’s current music for, oh, over a decade. The CD that Maize sent is more recent U2 than I’m familiar with – I basically lost track of their work around the Joshua Tree days. But they’re every bit as good as what I remember, and I am grateful to Maize for bringing me back to the U2 fold.

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