Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Endless Afghan - The Eighteenth Square

I finally managed to finish another square despite all the homework assignments Kenny has been bringing home from school.

This square was designed by Ann Strong in Olympia, Washington.

It is based on a pattern called "pomegranate" and does resemble the fruit after it has been cut in half.

The side cables are also interesting. It alternates a solid knit cable with a seed stitch cable intertwined with each other to create an unusual look.

Overall, there is a lot of seed stitch throughout the square which gives the square a very pretty and very distinct look. It was also fun to knit.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Liberty Belle

Dan loves vintage airplanes. When we first started dating over 16 years ago, he took me to an airshow to see a Boeing B-17 nicknamed "Sentimental Journey". He happily gave me tour of the plane, explaining all of its history and quirks. Years later, Dan and I had the opportunity to fly in a B-17 called the "Nine-O-Nine" sponsored by the Collins Foundation. The flight, which stretched from Torrance, California to Monterey, California was, and remains, a very special memory for each of us.This week, Dan was excited to learn that another B-17 called "The Liberty Belle" (owned and operated by The Liberty Foundation) was coming to Fresno. He wanted to take Kenny to see this piece of history, and give him the opportunity to tour the inside of the plane. Boeing built 12,731 of these aircraft in the from 1936 to 1945. Today, only 14 are currently airworthy. Operating costs are on the expensive side, running approximately $3000 per hour. As a result, it is a real treat to see a B-17 that can actually fly. (Most of the remaining B-17s are part of ground based museum collections.) Kenny took a picture of his Dad posing by the front wheel.

After Dan explained to Kenny how a prop is different from a jet engine, we were allowed inside the plane.

The plane was nicknamed "The Flying Fortress" due to heavy armament to protect the aircraft during raids in World War II. Before the advent of long-range Fighter escorts, B-17s had only their .50 inch (12.7 mm) caliber machine guns to rely on for defense during the bombing runs over Europe. Because the bombers could not maneuver when attacked by fighters, and during their final run they needed to be flown straight and level, individual aircraft struggled to fend off a direct attack. In the picture above you can see two of the defensive guns and a yellow oxygen cylinder.

Because this B-17 is airworthy, all of the instruments in the cockpit actually work.
Dan in the cockpit area explaining the various instruments and how they work to Kenny.

Kenny discovered his favorite part of the plane. He said that it would be "just great" if he could sit in the nose gunner's area if the plane was in the air because"you can see the whole world from here".
And now Dan and Kenny get the surprise. I had booked them on a flight over Fresno. They attended the pilot's briefing then climbed aboard. The Liberty Belle taxis to the main runway.

Take off!

Kenny got his wish as he sits in the nose of the airplane and watches the world go by underneath his feet.

Kenny took this picture of the propellers over the Sierra Mountain Range.

Kenny took this picture of his Dad at the communications desk in the aircraft. I think Dan looks like he's enjoying himself, don't you?
After 45 minutes in the air, Dan and Kenny returned to the Fresno Air Terminal.

When Kenny and Dan exit the plane, both are all smiles. I was glad they both got to enjoy this bit of history together.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Thought That I had Already Completed 6th Grade.

I have a complaint about 6th grade. Where is it in the teacher's manual that says that homework assignments should take between 2 and 3 hours to complete each night?
Tonight's homework assignment was the following:
1. Review this week's 20 new spelling words. Look up the definition of each word and write it down.
2. Read pages 79-92 in the Literature Book and write a paragraph about storyline. Be sure to include the names and description of the three main characters.
3. Complete problems 12-32 of the Math Workbook.
4. Draw a picture of a flower and label all of the parts, including petals, stamen, pistol, stem.
5. Read about a current event in the newspaper or on-line. Make a copy of the story and bring it to class for discussion.
Now take a look a typical evening schedule in my life:
1. I leave my office between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
2. Drive 20 minutes to Clovis to pick-up Kenny at his great-grandmother's home. Arrive between 5:20 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. Chat with Meme (Kenny's great grandmother) for ten minutes.
3. Drive home. Arrive between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
4. Start dinner while Kenny starts his home work.
5. Eat dinner at 7:00 p.m. usually ending about 30 minutes later. Clear and wash dishes while Kenny starts his home work again.
6. If all goes well, we finish the last assignment between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Kenny helps feed the dogs, takes a shower and gets ready for bed.
7. I now have about 30 minutes free time to try to blog, knit, or read before I take a quick shower and head to bed myself.
I don't remember spending all my evening hours as a 6th grader doing homework. I distinctly remember having time during the evening hours to be with my family --- to have "fun time" with my Mom, Dad, brother and sisters. I know that school work and learning is important but Kenny has already spent the entire day at school (he gets out at 4:00 p.m. because he is in drama) and now spends his entire evening doing homework. It is no wonder kids are sick of school by the time they reach high school!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


For some reason my Halloween post remained in "draft mode". Kenny was disappointed because he was allowed to wear a "cool" costume this year and wanted me to post it for all the knit bloggers out there. He imagined that he would be the talk of his classroom on Halloween as his classmates tried to guess who it was under the mask. Instead, the Drama Coach spotted Kenny as he walked onto campus in his costume and promptly cast him as the "Ghost of Christmas Future" in the school's upcoming production of "A Christmas Carol". Kenny came home and somewhat disgustedly asked me why I didn't tell him he had picked out a "Christmas" costume!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Endless Afghan - The Seventeenth Square

While in Washington I was able to complete two squares for the Afghan I am making.
This is the second of those squares which features an oakleaf and acorns.
The design is featured in the book "The Great American Afghan" and was fitting as the oak leaves were just starting to turn red.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Can't Get Enough of Banana Slugs?

For those residents and visitors to Washington State who can't get enough of Banana Slugs........

You can now own your very own, hand blown glass version!

Dan though it was cute. I'm just not sure what I am going to do with a glass slug.........

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Endless Afghan - The Sixteenth Square

With all the rain, I had time to work on the Great American Aran Afghan. I chose this square designed by Judy Sumner because I like spiders.

It was actually quite fitting for vacation because there were several large Orb Weavers making webs by our front deck which I enjoyed watching while knitting.

Here is a close up of the spider....

And the web with a bug...

And finally the leaves and branches with a "X-O" border. I think this is my favorite square so far.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Home Again

For the past sixteen years, Dan and I have set aside the first week of October to share ten days special time for just ourselves. Although in past years we have used this week to travel extensively, this year we both decided we just wanted to head to Washington State to simply relax. We arrived at Sea Tac airport just as the sun was setting and walked past a sculpture/wall hanging in the main terminal which I think is fascinating.
The centerpiece of art named "Landing" was designed by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter. It is made up of 2800 individual sculptures arrayed in such a way that they form the image of a snow goose landing on a calm lake.Mr. Helmick and Mr. Schechter have individually and collectively completed twelve major public commissions, including major sculptures for the Midway Airport in Chicago, the new international terminal at Philadelphia Airport and the Melvin Price Federal Courthouse in St. Louis, Illinois. Their collaborative work began in 1994 with the creation of Ghostwriter, for the Evanston, Illinois Public Library. They are know for art work which is comprised of thousands of precisely suspended cast metal elements. These small elements then coalesce to become a larger three-dimensional composite form.

The next morning, I opened a box from Jennie the Potter. Inside was a bowl and mug I had ordered last July. The design is features whimsical sheep and a ball of yarn. The pieces are very well done. The colors are vibrant and not the somewhat dull colors my camera phone captured.

But the big excitement was my new loom and accessories from AVL. The Workshop Dobby Loom is AVL's smallest, most transportable, and least expensive computerized dobby loom. I chose a 24 inch loom with 24 harnesses. I chose to have the loom outfitted with sectional beams so I also ordered a warping wheel.

The loom and the box arrived in a series of large, heavy boxes. After locating the instruction sheets, I started the task of assembly. The instructions are easy to follow and I was able to construct the warping wheel and the frame in two days.

While I would have loved to immediately start warping the loom, there is an important component missing --- the computer dobby and shafts. The day before the Loom was to be shipped, AVL contacted me and asked if I would like to become a BETA tester for their latest upgrades. And the best part -- the upgrades would be added at no charge. The only problem was that the dobby would need to be reconfigured and it would not arrive before I left Washington. I took some time to think it over (at least 10 to 15 seconds), then decided to go for the new changes. The dobby will arrive next week.

The forecast was for lots and lots of rain so it was time to settle down and knit. More to come.....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Law Enforcement, They Call it a Clue......

The city of Fresno is bisected by State Highway 99. This busy thoroughfare, which stretches nearly 300 miles through the central valley of California, is a well traveled route to many of the small towns and villages located between Sacramento and Bakersfield.

My husband, Dan, often travels on Highway 99 during his work as a detective with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department. When he is on duty, Dan wears street clothes and drives an "unmarked" car. By "unmarked", I mean the car is plain white. It does not have a light bar mounted on it roof, nor is it painted with the distinctive green stripe and big gold star, like the cars in the patrol division.

It does not mean that it is difficult to figure out it is a cop car of some kind.

THE CLUES:Clue No. One -- The car has a "California Exempt" license plate. Also note the bracket surrounding said license plate which advertises "Fresno Sheriff's Dept. Recruitment" with a phone number.

Clue No. Two -- The car has been assigned a number and sports two bumper stickers. One bumper sticker asks if the person reading is an organ donor and the other is a D.A.R.E. sticker to keep kids off of drugs.

Clue No. Three -- Two guns (a shotgun and an assault rifle) in their brackets are easily visible through the rear window. Also visible is the cage protecting the driver from a violent passenger.
Clue No. Four -- The car is a white Ford Crown Victoria with the model name "police interceptor" clearly visible on both sides of the car.

Clue No. Five -- The car has a steady red light beacon (required for a traffic stop in California) mounted on the driver's side door and a spotlight on the passenger door which are folded forward when not in use. Also visible on the dash is the top of the mounted notebooks and other equipment required by the Sheriff's Department.


Dan is traveling north on Highway 99 in the "fast" lane. Traffic is moving at a good clip with most cars moving along at approximately 70 m.p.h. (The speed limit is 65 m.p.h. along this stretch of the road). Glancing into his rear view mirror, Dan sees a gray BMW rapidly closing in on his bumper. The driver is obviously in a hurry and rapidly closes the gap between his car and Dan's Crown Victoria.

The BMW pushes its nose to within five feet of Dan's rear bumper and begins tailgating. Now, at this point, one might think that the impatient driver would begin to notice those aforementioned clues we talked about. But noooo, he appears to be oblivious to them. After tailgating for about a half mile, he then begins to flash is headlights at Dan, a signal that Dan should get out of his way.

His curiosity thoroughly piqued, Dan decides to pull to the middle lane and let the driver through. As soon as he is clear of the fast lane, the BMW blows by him at approximately 85 m.p.h. and accelerates away. As Dan watches, he begins to weave in and out of the fast lane, passing slower cars, then careening back into the fast lane.

Now, you have to understand Dan. He hates, and I mean HATES, to write traffic tickets. In fact, in the 16 years I have known him, the number of speeding tickets he had issued could have been counted on one hand.....until now.

Dan sped up and began to pace. When the GPS unit on his dash reached 110 m.p.h., he had had enough and hit the red lights. It took three more miles before the driver of the speeding BMW noticed that he was being red-lighted and finally pulled over.

As Dan walked up, the driver confidently told him that he couldn't be given a ticket because Dan was not in a "real" police car and he obviously wasn't a "real" cop!

Wait until he get to court and discovers he will owe a "real" fine of $721.

Friday, September 21, 2007


There is a huge downside to Ravelry.

I started cataloging all of my stash and decided it would be easier if I had it all in one place.

Now, my husband Dan has never, ever, ever seen the sheer size my stash.......
He stood in shocked silence as he looked first at the piles of bright colored yarns waiting to be photographed.......

then slowly turned and looked at bags and bins stuffed full of twenty years of accumulated yarn acquisition.....
.........and finally ended with the stacks of roving waiting to be spun into yarn .

Poor Dan. He looks a bit shell shocked -- you know, that deer caught in the headlights look?

Which leads me to the question ---- Should I tell him that there is yet still more yarn in Washington?