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I Knit Around

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blue Monday Came on Sunday This Week

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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