The Incredible, Merging Blogs

It is with great sadness that I mark the demise of Posterous.com. I thought it was a brilliant blogging platform. If you could send an email, then you could blog.

During my first year in Singapore I started a Posterous blog called Eye of the Beholder.  I loved being able to email photos as blog posts. I even made a few short-lived attempts at Photo 365 challenges. It has been a simple way to document my life here.

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When Posterous announced it would be closing, I tried to find a service that could print that blogs into a book for me. That service is available for other blogging platforms but not this one. I wondered what to do with my blog.

Fortunately, WordPress.com created an importer for Posterous .xml files. This afternoon, I sucked my Eye of the Beholder Posterous blog into this one. Other that a few missing videos and a few sideways photos, it came in cleanly. I am appreciative and impressed.

So, hence forth, this is both a knitting and a daily life blog. You’ve been warned.

A Thing with Feathers…

I first moved overseas in the summer of 2001. With the exception of the 2005-2006 school year, I’ve been overseas ever since. For all of that time, and to an increasing degree, I’ve tried to keep my nationality a secret. When people asked where I was from, I’d say, “I live in Malaysia,” or “I live in Singapore” because I felt my nation did not represent me.

With each passing year of George W. Bush’s presidency, I felt more disenfranchised, more ashamed of my country’s actions at home and especially overseas. I don’t expect that any administration will carry out my policy wishes to a T, but this current administration seems to be diametrically opposed to both my political views and my values. Its policies on the environment, education, and regulating companies, just to name a few, seem to me to be crafted to reward the administration’s friends in the short term while destroying the nation’s infrastructure. It’s foreign policy was a disaster on every front, making the world a less safe place and destroying other nations’ willingness to collaborate with us for a common good. In short, its policies seemed to build upon and strengthen our worst traits, our greediness and our egocentric-ism.

But this is an age of “miracle and wonder.” I was on my lunch break watching elementary kids rush down the halls yelling, “Obama is President!” I watched Senator McCain’s concession speech and was moved to see in it a return of the person I had respected before this campaign.

I was teaching again by the time President-elect Obama gave his acceptance speech. But thanks to YouTube, I was able to watch it in its entirety this morning. I sat here, stroking the cats as tears ran down my face to again hear an administration speaking my values.

– tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

-President-Elect Obama’s acceptance speech

Admittedly, those are just words. More importantly, I heard a politician admit that things are a mess, and the only ways to fix them require hard work, sacrifice and time. I am truly astonished that the American people had the wisdom to hear that and vote for him anyway. As a nation, we have an embarrassing history of avoiding people who speak those truths. Maybe we, as a nation, are finally growing up. Maybe things have gotten bad enough that people are willing to accept some responsibility for the problems and the solutions.

I can only hope. And that is a big step. It’s been a long time since I felt hopeful about our nation. As I see people around the world rejoicing in this election’s results, I feel hope that America has another chance. I feel thankful that the present administration has become so unpopular that people around the world seem willing to consider the possibility that with a change in regime, we may become someone they can tolerate. If we are very fortunate, as a nation we may become someone they can respect.

I do not expect smooth sailing. The nation is a mess. The world economy has crashed into recession. We are embroiled in two wars. He is further fettered by the current administration which seems willing to let him start now, as long as he is willing to make certain concessions. The forces in place to prevent change are strong. They will constantly try to preserve the status quo.

But there is this hope, this thing with feathers that perches in my soul. For the moment, that is enough.

Etsy Purchases and A Chance to Bet

All three of the bags I bought through Etsy have arrived. They are just right. The first to arrive were my It Isn’t Easy Being Green and my Chocolate Raspberry sock bags from the TipsyKnitter. They are just the right size for a pair of socks. The bags are well-made and the lovely. I’m enjoying them. And I am working on projects that go well with the colors of the bags, which is an added benefit.

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A few days later, my bag arrived from White Willow. It is a big bigger and has a handy hook on the side that allows me the clip it to myself when I am knitting while standing on the train. This bag should be big enough for my two-at-a-time projects early on when I have two balls of yarn.

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A lovely watercolor painting arrived from Richard Derwitch’s Etsy store. I smile every time I look at it. He has captured that boneless sweetness of a napping cat. I have it on my desk at work and it makes me peaceful.

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Finally, the week ended with a KO at a Starbucks down on Orchard. Adrianne and Lois lugged all the purchases from our KnitPicks Spree and so I now have 2 hanks of lovely Shimmer yarn. Some day they will be a stole, but for now, I’m happy to look at them, and fondle them.
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At long last, I am on the toes of the brown pair of Garter Rib socks. Now the question is, will I run out of yarn before I run out of sock? Here’s a photo… place your bets!

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Bag Love

I’ve taken the plunge; I’ve made my first Etsy purchase. I’m just beginning to realize what a dangerous place Etsy is…

The object of my desire is this scrumptious sock bag. I’ve been schlepping my traveling socks around in plastic bags which works but isn’t very aesthetically pleasing. Then ennairda bought a really cute bag from a merchant in Etsy which soon had me wanting one for myself. Of course, the design I liked best in the entire shop was the one ennairda bought, so I broadened my search. That lead me to White Willow’s shop and this beauty…

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I can hardly wait for it to arrive. I can see how Etsy could be as addicting as eBay. It is a good thing my holiday is almost over; I need to go back to work so I can earn more money to support my habit. I think my next purchases will be from Ling Glass

Meme1

I’m so behind in my blogging. I’ve been memed twice and haven’t gotten around to responding. Here’s the first one…

These are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Okay, six non-important things/habits/quirks about me.

  1. I like licorice, Butterfingers, and Heath bars but can’t find them here in Singapore.
  2. When I was 13 I broke my ankle sledding (not skiing).
  3. I don’t like strawberry lip balm. Makes me think of Carnation Instant Breakfast drink from the 70’s. Yuck.
  4. Except for some kids movies, I don’t find most movies engaging enough to watch them in the theater. I’d rather rent them and watch them at home so I can knit at the same time.
  5. I used to go ballroom dancing 4-6 nights per week. Now I don’t even remember how!
  6. I am a total failure at other languages. I can’t even speak Bahasa and that is a wonderfully easy language to learn (or so everyone tells me). I forget as soon as I stop practicing. Pathetic!

Okay, now to tag. I tag Louise, Jackie, Ingrid, drbrucepk, Tammy, and Chris.

Another hat and a Bit of Organization

I finished another premmie hat and guess what? It is even smaller than the previous hats. My small stack of hats is starting to look like Russian stacking dolls. It is humbling to realize how irregular my gauge is. I’m working on a fourth hat but don’t think I can finish it in time. However, I’m curious to see where it fits. I think it is going to be slightly bigger than the previous one. Go figure.

The final hat won’t be finished in time because I need to rip it back a bit. I was working in the taxi and I should have quit when it got dark, but it was just too fun to be knitting. Now I get to clean up the mistakes. In any case, I’ll try to snap a photo of all of them before I mail them off this week.

I’ve been trying to organize my knitting supplies. This notebook was the first of my efforts. It isn’t photogenic, but it does hold all my circular needles. I created one page for each size needles. I even made pages for sizes I don’t have, since I cannot easily insert pages into this binder. I labeled each page with both the US and the metric measure of the needles to make it easier to grab what I need for a new pattern.

My next step was to scurry around our home looking for needles. Needles must be pack animals by nature because most of my were gathered in a few locations. As I placed them into the notebook, I came to the realization that I have far more size 2 needles than any one person should probably own. All are circular. Some are addi. Some are Hiya Hiya. Some are Crystal Palace bamboo. Most have 16″ or 24″ lengths. I had no idea I had such a collection.

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I am also looking for plastic bins that fit the bottom shelf of the closet. I think I’ll store my small stash organized by yarn weight. This bin holds all my sock yearn. I have realized I can fit a slightly larger bin into the closet so the next ones I purchase will be larger.

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Until now I’ve stored the yarn in basket drawers, but I’ve seen small moths in our home, so I don’t want to take any more chances. From now on the yarn will be stored in plastic bins that have no holes or gaps. Hopefully the shops across the street will get in just the perfect bins.

How do you store your stash? Does it work for you or are you contemplating a change?

Coming Up for Air

Whew! It’s been an intense start to the school year.  One of those, where you put your head down and just push on through for a month.

Today is the first day in three weeks that I’m not at work.  I had planned to go into work, but by the time I was done working out, grocery shopping, cooking for the first part of the week, doing laundry and washing up, it was 5pm. Oops.

I bought a whole chicken. That doesn’t mean the same thing here as it did in the US. Here the whole chicken did have an empty cavity, but it still had feet and head.  That unnerved me a bit.

Once the bird was prepped, it went into the stock pot where it simmered away for an hour.  Eventually the dark meat went into homemade chicken soup.  Instead of pasta I used the multi-grain mix that’s been in my cupboard for months because the directions are in Mandarin and so I didn’t know how long to cook it.  The light meat will be turned into BBQ chicken pizza on Tuesday.

I  made curried chicken salad which we had for dinner (and will eat again tomorrow.) I also made a pumpkin pie.  The pie pan I bought is a bit small. The crust from the Betty Crocker pie crust mix was nothing exciting, but then I don’t usually eat the crust anyhow.  Next time I’ll try an apple pie. May need to get a bigger pie pan first.

I had planned on working on my school laptop tonight, but now I can’t because the technician who installed software on Friday seems to have locked me out of wi-fi access again.  Words Will Be Had about that tomorrow, since that keeps happening.

Tomorrow will be a good day.

  1. My assistant will be back from surgery.  I’ve missed her company.  I’ve also missed her incredible efficiency.  I might be able to go home a bit earlier soon, thanks to her return.
  2. I start teaching.  I’ve had a sub these first two weeks while I did all the set up.  Now I get to dive in with kids.  They’ve been coming up to me in the halls asking why I’m not teaching.  They light up when I tell them I’ll be back this week.  Pretty good feeling for me.

Well, since I’ve got to go to work early thanks to my lack of wi-fi on my work computer, must head to bed.

Quickie Update as I Pack

Busy packing. Leave for Singapore tomorrow. Still haven’t had the half hour I need to finish the class sock.

I did start the first sock from “Socks Soar on Two Circulars”. The yarn is a yummy self-striping superwash wool blend. Great fun watching the stripes appear. I knit it about four inches and am now frogging it because there are too many mistakes. As always, I’m learning much. This project is on bamboo needles in hopes that it makes it through airport security. I could make serious progress if I can knit on the 13 hour flight to Japan and the almost 7 hour flight to Singapore.

No pictures. Instead, you can enjoy the garden photos from my trip to the Clemens and Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud, Minnesota with my parents earlier this month. The gardens, as you can see, were beautiful.

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Munsinger & Clemens Gardens Munsinger & Clemens Gardens
Munsinger & Clemens Gardens Munsinger & Clemens Gardens

Now, back to packing.

Coming Soon…

So much to blog and so little time.  In the next day or so I’ll try to write about…

  • the yarn shops I visited with Louise
  • my first FO!

I’ll post some photos as well. Really.

Still Another Knitout

Louise’s business trip was extended, so I met her down at the Starbucks at Raffles City. She was knitting a lovely, pink baby bib. I frogged the Grace Kelly Scarf (again) so I could start it again on larger needles (because I’m STILL knitting too tightly.)

No one else was able to attend so after a bit of knitting we decided to run errands. We went to Chimes to buy a bracelet a colleague asked her to buy. We found the store but couldn’t figure which of the many pearl bracelets was being requested, so we left with that task incomplete.

Then we wandered around a bit looking for Funan. We received some inaccurate directions from a well-meaning stranger and then increasingly better directions after we headed off the wrong way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the iPod cases I wanted to buy for my music teachers, so we did what all good knitter do… we went and bought yarn.

Yep, we road the MRT one stop back from City Hall to Dhoby Ghat (sp?) and went to Spotlight. I forgot to mention back at the knit out that we first met Louise, we then crossed the street to Spotlight, an Aussie craft store much like Michael’s back home. I almost heard angels sing as I roamed the aisles. I didn’t know Singapore HAD a shop like this. Scads of yarn. Scads of WOOL yarn. Lots of needles. And every other type of craft thing you could want, such as sewing, scrapbooking, etc. I plan to come back here often. And it is even on my MRT line. I don’t even need to switch trains. (This was meant to be.)

Anyway, I was restrained this time. I just bought the needles I needed and a few balls of sock yarn in a color that Kent could wear to work. (I don’t think he’d humor me enough to wear some of the lovely, stripey colorways that are so popular know in sock yarns.)

After that we parted ways. I probably won’t see her again until June when we are both back in the Twin Cities. Funny that I had to come this far away to meet such a great lady. I can hardly wait to have her teach me how to knit socks this summer.

From there I went down to Carre Foure and finally found a scooter in my size. Now I’ll be able to keep up with Kent during our daily dash to work. And I’ll get a good workout. The thing is a blast to ride, and also a good workout, using different muscles than other things I do.

After that I went down to the Apple Store at Wheelock Place and finally found the right types of iPod cases. I bought two different styles so we can see what works best for them.

So, it was a day well-spent, and I still have no photos of knitting because I keep frogging everything. (How long are you allowed to have a knitting blog without an FO before the Knitting Police take away your blogging rights?)