Friday, September 26, 2014


I live in a very small city, pop. about 25,000.  But when the university is in regular session the students add about 25,000 themselves.  This town was never designed to deal with the associated traffic, and especially not students who have their own drawbacks.  For one thing, in the winter the typically slick streets are a hazard because student winter tires are any tire with tread.  For another, all the parking anywhere near the campuses is designated for paid staff and faculty, with very little left for students.  The orientation for new students stresses that there are 2000 parking spaces on campus and 25,000 students, around half of which have a car.  The math isn't hard.  Leave the car at home.  So generally the traffic and parking ease off in the Thanksgiving holidays, when the students go home and leave the car behind when they return.


This summer, which is usually great for getting around by residents, was still a disaster.  There was construction accounting for part of it, paving, etc.  But basically it was just too many people overloading cramped two lane roads.  Probably by the next census the town will have closer to 40,000 permanent residents, many of them staff and faculty.  The city council passed a resolution that forbids heavy trucks in the downtown area (think big tri-axle coal trucks).  Somehow they think the trucks will just disappear, when in reality it means a work-around for the trucks will bring  worse conditions somewhere else.  It's not like the trucks will go 'poof'.

 And so it takes an hour to drive 1 mile at commute hours, which is 3:00 to 6:30 or so.  The three o'clock start is because of the health workers on shifts at all the hospitals and clinics.  The six thirty is accounted for by all the people waiting in traffic for the hour.  It is a mess, every day.  And don't forget the Saturdays when the university has home football games; that adds another 60,000 people to the regular weekend traffic.

Since we are retired, we just try to avoid the 'rush hour' (why do they call it that when no one can move, much less rush?  And it lasts for more than an hour?) .   And if one waits until the game starts, you can get around on game days.  But the side effect is more accidents here all the time now, too.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day.

I knitted a nice chenille scarf yesterday, photo below.  Unfortunately, the diamond pattern knitted into the scarf doesn't show on the 'right' side, only on the purl side.  But it is a nice scarf and easy to do, once I got the hang of it.  It is for two yarns together, which I haven't done before, and was done on my new 260 knitting machine.  I like it.  I'll knit a matching hat soon.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "You do not need a parachute to skydive.  You only need a parachute to skydive twice."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ringing the bell

There is a small bell, like the kind that used to be put on cows, nothing fancy, sitting on my desk here tonight.  When I worked in the electron microscopy room, I hung it on the inside of the door so I would know when someone came in.  Where I worked would be in various locations (it was a 4 room suite, and one was a darkroom) I would get so involved in what I was doing that people would walk in the room when I had no idea there was anybody behind me.  Talk about jumping!  And of course, being in near-total (TOTALLY) darkness and hearing the darkroom door cycle (squeeeeek) tended to get my attention.  Anyway, that's the reason for using the bell.

But now it just sits on my desk, the nines knock it off once in a while, and it reminds me of bittersweet memories.  It was a good job, while it lasted.

DH and I went to a fund raising rally last night for Natalie Tennant, who is running for the U.S. Senate, in the slot left by Sen John Rockefeller who is retiring after 30 years.  She is an impassioned speaker, and has a smooth way of working the crowd.  Right now she is Sec. of State for WV, and would make an excellent senator. But I am doubtful about her chances, as the Repub. candidate is pouring so much money into the campaign.  We will see in November, I guess.  But what was fascinating at the rally was people-watching from the side lines.  Such an odd assortment of people, mildly inebriated, shouting like at a football game at each talking point.  Loud.  I actually stood for over an hour in dress shoes (I would have killed for a chair)  and DIDN't eat anything, even right by the table, yea Weight Watchers, because I ate a light dinner at home before we went.  If we had arrived sooner we might have managed a small table and a chair (!).  I'll see if I can walk later today.  Right now it feels a little iff-y.  Our attendance at this event was the idea of DH, who worked the crowd pretty well himself, even though he is retired now.  It was interesting to watch.  And I actually spoke to TWO people!

I have deliberately not watched the news from Scotland, will they be Scotland the brave, or the foolhardy?  And the idea of allowing 16 and 17 year-olds the vote is sure to make a BIG difference.  I am sure that at 16 I wouldn't have known the names of our senators, rock group yes, senators no.  For certain, this vote has both sides whipped into a frenzy, if the news coverage is anything to go by.  Our family was Welch, a long time ago.  No one will be likely to vote for a Welch candidate who has a name that the newspeople cannot pronounce. Padraig for Patrick isn't too bad, but Afagddu (ah VAG thee) or Blwchfadd (BLOOKH varth) do you see my point?

I am feuding with the pharmacists that now have my 'scripts after the last pharmacy closed.  I had a script filled there on Sunday, and when I got home I saw that one of them had only 6 pills in it, I was expecting 60.  The doctor has been going on about closely following how many I take (I tend to take fewer), and I thought it was an attempt to get me to call her, which I did, and she was puzzled.  After back and forth, it looks like the pharm. dispensed 6 instead of 60, and now they are in turmoil trying to figure out what went wrong with their system.  It's not without problems (insurance, etc.), and I am grateful it is not for any kind of narcotic.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "Two rules for success in life.  1.  Don't tell everyone everything you know.  2.                       ."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let the good times roll...

Ten things I (or we) did right:

1.  Marrying DH (44 years and counting).
2. Having children (really great ones).
3.  Moving from San Francisco to WV.
4.  Sending the kids to a catholic school (even though we aren't catholic).
5.  Having a yearly mammogram (that found my aggressive cancer quickly).
6.  Buying and keeping special horses (Poco was the best).
7.  Getting my medical technology license.
8.  Living close enough to get to know my aunts amd uncle.
9.  Seeking help when times were dark and seemed hopeless.
10. Encouraging and then helping my parents move here from FL.

There they are, mostly as they occurred, and in no special order.  I hope it doesn't seem like I am bragging,  It is just that I seem blessed with special people around me.  I've had problems, mostly about work near the end of my career, and really bleak times, but an extremely helpful therapist as well as a doctor helped me through those times (and now I feel mostly OK).

What are your good decisions?

Bumper sticker for the day:  "Calm you shall keep and Carry on you must."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Days Gone By

And here is the photo as of 9/19 (the porch is entirely repainted here; all those damn balusters - twice!)

We made the big mistake of painting the porch the same color as the wall behind it.  Now it is half and half until the rain stops and the porch dries.

I was thinking of the mistakes we have made over the years, some big and some not too big (like painting the wrong color).  Here is the list so far:

1.  We didn't buy the empty lot next door when we had the chance.  Now owned by the Paul Bunyan type (see a post a few days back) next door.
2,  Buying a dud pickup truck (why hasn't it been recalled for crappy brakes)?  8800 miles and three brake replacements!
3.  Getting the black kitten at the pound.  She spends her time beating up on the other cats and barfing.
4.  Choosing the wrong major in college,  one which would have given me upward mobility and not one which needed a PhD. to move upward.
5. Not taking my photography or my computer programming seriously.
6.  A regret about the kids.
7.  Not writing my grandmother when I was in college; she died suddenly while I was taking final exams my freshman year.
8.  Going to Bob Jones University, no place for a skeptic there.  They taught me how to lie.
9.  Buying a boat!  The two happiest moments, when you buy the boat, and when you sell it.
10.  Buying a small house (no room for a craft room) !

I think ten are enough, don't you?  'I'll do  "ten things I did right" another day..

Bumper sticker for the day:  "No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery. "

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Cats and dangling string

I've been trying to get some progress made on  the baby blanket I am knitting.  I finished the first panel, and started the middle panel.  Six times.  I knitted up 47 rows before it struck me that I was supposed to connect the edge of the first panel to the second one as the second one is knitted.  So that got frogged.  One time I forgot the ravel cord, that is used to remove the waste yarn.  Frogged.  One time I realized that the ravel cord was the same color as the yarn (red), so it was invisible.  Out it came.  Forgot to cast on (did that twice), oh I hate to even recall all the errors (knot in yarn) that I have made.  It is currently at the point of beginning the second block of the second panel, and I am going to put in a lifeline just in case.... (frogged = ripped out, ribbit, ribbit, etc.)

All the dangling bits of yarn ends are an irresistible lure for the cats ~ as I concentrate on the current row they are trying to make off with the part hanging down by my knees.  I shall have to shut them out tomorrow when I work on  it.   I even must discard all the bits I cut off, as what the result is of cats ingesting said yarn is too awful to contemplate.

We finished covering the porch with the"restore" paint from Lowe's and it looks -- awful.  The color isn't even, it's the wrong color, the surface is very sharp and gritty (the paint has SAND in it) and it will all have to be done again with a regular latex paint.  I am so disappointed.  I thought it would grow on me, but it looks awful even when I am doing  something              like carrying in groceries.  Live and learn,  guess. 

N got one of the horse stalls cleaned/stripped before he gave out.  That isn't a job for a 70 year old, but since DS is working 6 days a week, it seems unfair to expect him to clean the barn on his only day off.  Of course, if he had is own place, he'd be using his day off to do laundry, get groceries, etc. so I strive to remember that when I ask him about the stalls.  The horses got into the paddock we were trying to keep off-limits for this year as we are trying to get the grass to grow back over the big bare parts.  The horses thought they were in heaven, the grass is 12 inches high, but the idea is to let it go to seed and get it even denser when it sprouts. 

For a look at a really beautiful horses, take a look at this short video, and be sure to listen to the music too.  Friesian Horses  are incredibly majestic.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "Logic:   the art of being wrong with confidence."