27 April 2007

The Sherman Short Row Sock: A Pictorial Tour

At Knit Camp last weekend, I gave a little demonstration of the Sherman short row technique for doing a toe up sock, and there were requests for me to write up a little tutorial. There actually is already a tutorial online here, which I found helpful (a link which is not working as I write this, though I remain hopeful), but the pattern was adapted to a top down sock - a generally unnecessary adaptation unless you're doing a very directional stitch pattern, particularly since going top down actually requires 4, instead of 2, wraps and a kitchenered toe at the end.

You should read over both of these resources and maybe print them out for reference, but both are lacking in visuals of some procedures that are not especially intuitive at first. That's where I'm hoping this pictorial/tutorial will come in handy, and I would really appreciate input. I am assuming that this is going to be used by someone who has at least a basic understanding of sock construction and knitting technique, 'cause otherwise we'd be here all damn day.

As I have mentioned on a previous occasion, I have a strong preference for toe up socks. This is because, unlike the original Sherman pattern, I do not have feet that will fit into a medium women's sock and cannot assume that a standard skein of sock yarn will be sufficient. At least with the toe up Sherman design, I only have to alter one of those two aspects. So, as with any sock, determine gauge & the desired circumference to calculate the number, c, of stitches that you will need. If the number is odd, then round up or down to make it an even number (Since I use a set of 5 dpn's, my preference is for a number evenly divisible by 4. This matters less if you're working on two circs or magic loop, unless you're OCD about it like me).

Once you have your number, c, you need to do a provisional cast on of ½c stitches. My preference for this is to do a crochet chain cast on, which is nice, neat and easy to do.


The problem that I encountered initially when attempting this toe, though, is that I came to the end of the encroachments and realized that I was 3 or so stitches shy of my desired number, instead of the one shy I was supposed to be. It finally struck me that I was counting the crochet bumps as my cast on stitches and that I needed first to do a row of knit stitches before launching into the purl row setup.


Note that the needle was turned so that the long end of the crochet chain is on the other side of the needle from the previous photo. This will make it much easier to unzip it and pick up stitches when you have finished the toe cap.

Now, unless your foot size permits you to follow the original pattern verbatim, you will need to come up with your own count, but after the purl setup row, the short rows basically proceed as follows:

Sl1, knit across until one stitch remains on left needle, turn;
Sl1, purl across until one stitch remains on left needle, turn;
Sl1, knit across until two stitches remain on left needle, turn;
Sl1 purl across until two stitches remain on left needle, turn;

And so on until the toe is as narrow as you want it to be (for me this is about half the number of stitches I initially cast on, or ¼c). Now you will start reversing direction and working what the original pattern refers to as "encroachments". Now, I have never seen this word related to knitting terminology, and I'm not sure why it was chosen, but what it means is this: On a purl row, Sl1, then purl across two fewer stitches than were knit on the previous row. You will then purl the encroachment by slipping the next stitch, then pick up the stitch below the next stitch, slip both these stitches back to the left needle and purl them together, like so:


See, really not that bad. Now turn the work, and here is where I follow the recommendation of that second resource (which still isn't working). Instead of knitting the first stitch on the left needle, Sl1 and knit across the same number of stitches that you purled in the previous row then knit the encroachment: slip the next stitch knitwise, lift the stitch below the next stitch, slip both stitches back to left needle, and knit them together through the back loops - a minor variation of SSK, basically. Continue in this fashion, slipping the first stitch of each row.


From this point it should be easy to work your way back around the toe cap. With each row, you will purl or knit one more encroachment stitch until there are no more. The stitches that you are to slip are easy to spot, because the stitch below them was picked up and worked two rows previously, which makes them look they're coming out of an odd tangle instead of a normal stitch. The encroachment stitches are slanted because of the distortion caused by the stitch above being slipped. To illustrate this, I've put the knit and purl sides next to each other for comparison (It's easier to see if you click on the photo to look at a larger version. Or you could just try it for yourself).


You will finish the toe cap on a knit row. Sl1 & knit across to the final encroachment, work it, knit one, place a marker if you need the reference for the beginning of the round, then start unzipping your crochet chain and picking up your cast on stitches. There will be one stitch fewer than your desired final number, so don't forget to make one more when you come back around. And there's your toe cap.


Now knit in stockinette or desired pattern until the foot is around 2.5-3 inches (about 6-8cm) shorter than toe to heel length and begin the heel.

The only difference between the toe and the heel is that the heel has two wrapped stitches to prevent holes from forming at the top. Knit across all the heel stitches, wrap the first stitch on the first instep needle, and turn. Purl back across all the heel stitches, wrap the first instep stitch you come to, and turn. Now proceed exactly as for the toe. Because I have wide toes and a narrow heel, I will work additional short rows at the heel to make a smaller heel cup. This also creates greater width at the instep, which addresses the primary complaint I hear people make about short row heels. Remember, there is no rule that says you have to do the same number of short rows at toe and heel. Make it to fit the intended foot.

Once you have finished all the heel short rows, continue again in the round, picking up the wraps as you come to them and working them with the stitches they wrapped. Again, this should pretty well close any holes that would otherwise tend to form. Then you can continue up the leg and work the cuff as you wish, using a loose, elastic cast off at the top (I really like the one Grumperina describes in this post).

The thing I really like about this short row technique is that once you know how it's supposed to look, it's super easy to do. I'd tried Priscilla Gibson-Roberts's yarnover method and Wendy's generic toe-up, but those p3togtbl just killed me. This method works just as well, is way easier, and it doesn't leave a big ridge on the inside of the short rows. See?


This sock is done in worsted weight yarn, and there's only the tiniest of blips there. Absolutely ingenious.

26 April 2007

The Blame Game

First of all, I blame Ted for making it all look so easy (and lovely). Next, I blame Jenni for making something so freakin' breathtaking that the stitch pattern would stick in my head for months waiting to be let out. And then, of course, I have to blame Barbara Walker, for putting the stitch pattern in her first Treasury in the first place. Most especially, though, I blame Ray for handpainted laceweight so lovely I just could. not. resist.

Why that looks like just about enough for a triangular shawl.


24 April 2007

Knit Camp 2007

There was no posting this past weekend because I wasn't at home. On Friday afternoon, I loaded up this hot redneck...


...and local knitsib Melissa S. and we headed out to meet up with other glbt-knit knitsibs in lovely Bennington, VT, for a long-awaited knit camp.

One of the highlights of the weekend, because many knitsibs were coming from far away, was a Friday road trip to Webs. We got on the road a little too late to meet up with the rest of our group, but we did go and got to see our friend Dena, who is fortunate enough to work there.

Although it was my first visit to this yarn mecca, I managed to show reasonable restraint there, likely because I have very recently bought quite a lot of Cascade 220 from them while it's on clearance. I did, however, have specific plans to get suede soles to finish off the smurf hats felted clogs, which I had felted down the night before so that I could bring them along with me. They had some that were an appropriate size, so now I have something more to wear around the house than my socks (You can see they're already starting to pick up animal hair).


I don't think I can give a blow-by-blow of the weekend, at least not enough to do it justice, but it was about as perfect as could be. The weather was lovely, the company lovelier, and the food excellent. I made good progress on the second sock from the yarn from Scout and got most of the way through this first sock of a pair for Dulaan, which I quickly finished off tonight.


The yarn was some Cleckheaton Country 8 Ply that I got at Webs to demonstrate the Sherman short row technique. The available tutorial/instructions online leave out a few explanatory notes that I intend to expound upon soon. Meantime, here are some photos from the weekend:









On our way out of town Sunday afternoon, we took a short side trip to the Congregationalist church to visit the grave of poet Robert Frost.


While we were there, this stone also caught my attention:


What initially struck me was the use of the Greek key motif as a border, which was not a particularly common element of 18th century gravestones, in my experience. I really love the inscription, though, which appears to be from a popular hymn of the period.

Life has a soft and silver thread
Nor is it drawn too long
Yet when my vaster hopes persuade
I'm willing to be gone.

Farewell bright Sun, a short farewell
Till we shall meet again above
In the sweet groves where pleasure dwells
And trees of life bear fruits of love.

19 April 2007

Comfy Sweater in Full - A Little Late

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get around to getting a full-length photo of this sweater. Maybe it's because I've been too busy wearing it, but I finally wore it in to work and had the hospital manager snap a photo of me to show the entire thing. There's a bit of pilling on the sleeves, which I half expected, but nothing that I really dislike about it. It's comfortable and warm, which were my primary motivations for wearing it, and I've had plenty of opportunity to wear it, courtesy of that no good dirty little liar of a groundhog the late arrival of spring this year (only one crocus blooming so far in my south-facing flower bed!). Anyway, here we go:


Virginia Tech Murders

I don't have much to add to this story. It's a tragedy, pure and simple. Yes, it's possible that it could have been averted, but that's a hindsight judgment that does nothing to change what did happen. Salon.com has a couple articles on the incident that I found interesting.

The first is an argument for repealing the Second Amendment. It's not a bad argument, truth be told, though I will admit to being a bit ambivalent about the idea of messing around with the Constitution. I will also admit to being a gun owner, albeit an antique derringer pistol that belonged to my great-grandfather and that I have no intention of ever firing (I don't even know if ammunition could be found for it, though I assume it could with at least some effort). I think it's a safe assumption, though, that there's no way that the Framers foresaw the day when a lone student could walk into a school building with more firepower than an entire regiment of the Continental Army and wreak such destruction in the space of a few minutes.

The second article is actually a collection of pieces from press in other countries, which I think is often helpful to read. Now if only the policymakers would actually read it.

Yesterday, car bombs in Baghdad killed over 180 people, most of whom were doubtlessly trying to go about the business of their day much as the students of Virginia Tech were. And yet even though those apparently coordinated attacks killed over five times as many people and are part of a war that has now claimed over 3300 American lives and the lives of probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, it didn't merit as much attention because we've become numb to the level of that particular horror. And, of course, it happened "over there", which makes it less real to most of us, I think.

It gives one pause.

16 April 2007

La, La, La, La, La, La

Ever wondered what else you could do with that Fiber Trends clog pattern? How about this?


Or my personal favorite:



15 April 2007

Not Much To Say

I finished my taxes and will be getting back considerably more of a refund than I'd anticipated. I should start side businesses and lose money more often. Other than that, there's not much to report from here, so I offer you a little something I saw a while back. For a little bit it was on You Tube, but Comedy Central is pretty aggressive about getting their stuff off of there, so here it is directly from them, but in two parts. I think it's fairly self-explanatory.

14 April 2007

One Down


I could've made the leg longer, I suppose (I certainly have enough yarn), but I'd done the standard leg-as-long-as-foot crew length and was tired of the ribbing, even though I opted for 2x2 so I'd have to move the yarn back and forward less. I am pleased as punch at how nicely this fits. I have read some complaints from other folks about short row heels not fitting quite right, about them being too snug in the instep and the like. These work well on my feet, though, which may have to do with the fact that I did more short rows at the heel to make it fit my narrow heel better. After all, there's no rule that says you have to do as many short rows at heel as at toe, or vice versa.

I also went down from 2.75mm (US2) to 2.25mm (US1) needles for the leg to make it a bit more snug. And for the cast off, I used the one Grumperina describes in this post, which very quickly became my favorite for socks when I was making them for my niece & nephew last fall. All in all, a very pleasing experience, and I think this may become my new favoritest sock pattern.

The other thing I've been working on (in lieu of cleaning off the desk and dealing with my taxes like I'm supposed to be doing) is designing a Fair Isle pattern for my wedding vest. Yeah, I've got over a year to work on this particular project, but if you haven't noticed, I'm slow about these things. Now is when it needs to be planned out and swatched. Because David is planning on having his vest tailored in (most likely) a tonal damask, I went hunting around for damask patterns I could adapt - I wanted something a bit swirly like Eunny Jang's anemoi mittens - and found a likely candidate in a pattern with curly leaves, which I'm doing a bit smaller and with viny tendrils. A bit of work needs to be done on it before I can begin swatching (two possible yarn combinations are en route), but I should have it hashed out within the next week.

And now maybe I can see about this desk before I head off to bed.

13 April 2007


I've been awfully tired the last couple of days, and I'm not sure why. Wednesday was understandable. I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 6:30AM to go to a continuing education event in New Hampshire and only got about 6 hours sleep after being up for about 34 hours before. It was a good day, though, as the speaker was a friend from school whom I hadn't seen for probably ten years. On top of that, one of classmates - who I didn't realize lives less than an hour from me and whom I also hadn't seen in nearly 3 years - was also there, so it was kind of a mini-reunion.

And there was knitting ! I took along my sock-in-progress and started knitting away when the lights went down to help keep myself awake. Then I looked over and saw the woman sitting next to me was also knitting (a poncho, on a very nice wool/acrylic blend that had been gifted to her). Then later I noticed a woman on the other side of the room was knitting (a pink sock on two circs for her daughter - I asked during a break).

Today kind of defies explanation, though. I slept pretty solidly for nearly 12 hours, which one would think would be sufficient to recover, but I still woke up feeling rather zombie-ish. This evening we went to see Karen - the laughing sweater model who can be seen here modeling some of David's 2007 line (scroll down a bit) - in what I believe she said is her second public performance with her four-woman acoustic band, and I was using David as a pillow for most of the show (not a reflection on the music, though it was kind of soothing).

Anyway, aside from the sock, which is very near to completion...


...it's been a fairly unproductive week off so far. This is not good, as the major item I need to get done this week are my tax returns. I put the basics into TurboTax some time ago, but with all the alpaca stuff (both owning them myself and treating those of other people) it gets a bit more complicated, and it's all that complicated mess that I need to haul out and get sorted. At least I know that I didn't make any money at any of it, but it still needs to be documented. First, though, I need to deal with this:


After I've gotten more sleep.

10 April 2007

A Letter

I've been mulling this letter over in my head for a while and finally put it all down and sent it to my congressional representatives.

I, like most people, remember very well the morning of September 11, 2001. I had worked the night before and had awoken and learned of the attacks about an hour after they occurred. Along with much of the world, I spent most of that day watching in shock, though not in disbelief, at the horror that had unfolded and weeping for the innocent lives that had been lost. Having paid a modicum of attention to the forces behind the steady rise in radical Islam and the resulting attacks against the US during the previous decade - the World Trade Center in 1993, US embassies in Kenya & Tanzania in 1998, and the USS Cole in 2000 - it had seemed likely to me for some time before that there would eventually be a major attack carried out on US soil. The only thing that shocked me was the scale of that attack.

Similarly, I anticipated and saw the jingoistic nationalism that arose as a result of the attacks and which was promoted and encouraged by the Bush administration. And while I certainly saw the rationale for going to war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, I had reservations about the commitment of a President who had previously dismissed the idea of nation-building to prosecuting that war effectively and engaging fully in the effort that would be necessary to establish a truly functional democracy in a country that had known only war - war the US had a hand in promoting - for a generation.

These fears, of course, were to be borne out - first as we failed to deliver the level of aid that the President had pledged to Afghanistan, then as the drumbeats of war started to lead us away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq. I watched for over a year as the Bush administration built its case to start a second war before completing the tasks we had taken on in the first. And although any reasonably critical analysis of the President's case for going to Iraq showed it to be little more than gross propaganda, if not outright lies, I watched as the Congress basically gave him carte blanche to proceed with what was almost certain to be a monumental misadventure.

For most of the past four years, I have watched Congress give this President a blank check to drag us deeper and deeper into this war - every day losing more American lives and every day losing more ground in Afghanistan, where we once actually stood a chance of doing some good. At every misstep, the Bush administration has offered us shifting rationales, more lies, and now outright defiance with regards to a war that has cost us in lives (currently nearly 3300 American service personnel - not to mention tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives, and over 24,000 American servicepersons wounded), in money that could have been used domestically for our common good, and in our honor and standing before the rest of the world. It is beyond time for this to stop.

The current Congress has a real opportunity to provide some long-overdue balance to this President's power, and it is imperative that it do so. I applaud recent efforts by both houses to place time limits on our engagement in Iraq. It should be clear to anyone by now that the President has neither the will nor the desire to leave this disastrous path, and Congress should not allow him to continue along it. Although he has promised to veto any legislation such as the bills recently passed in both houses which create timelines for our withdrawal from Iraq, I strongly urge you to vote to override any veto. Come what may, we need to remove our forces from Iraq, finish the job we started five-and-a-half years ago in Afghanistan, and set about trying to heal the damage this President has been allowed to do to our country, both at home and abroad.

08 April 2007

Easter Socks

Last night I finished these:

Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Colorway: Ruby River
Pattern: Widdershins, Generic Version

And promptly cast on this:

Yarn: Sportweight Superwash/Nylon from Scout's Swag, Colorway: Cerrillos Mine
Pattern: Toe-up Sock using Sherman short rows

Happy Easter, everyone!

06 April 2007

I Had to Go and Get Cocky

I'll admit it. I've been feeling a bit smug the past few days about not being sick on my birthday this year. And then I realized that I haven't had my usual winter of one cold after another.

So naturally, I got walloped good with one last night and the snot factory kicked into overdrive. I'm being kept in a relatively functional state by 24 hour Sudafed (for which I had to sign over my eternal soul and give blood, urine, and DNA samples so that Big Brother can save me from turning it into meth in my bathtub).

All I can say is, it's a good thing those TV cameras came around a couple days ago, 'cause I am not fit for mass consumption at the moment. Now if only the crazy drunks would just stop calling.

05 April 2007

April Showers?

This was the view from our front door this afternoon:


I actually don't mind these April snowstorms so much, as they generally melt off quickly. The latest snow I've ever seen was on April 28, 1994, when I was living in St. Paul. It was 6" of heavy wet snow and absolutely lovely, and it was almost all gone by the next day. This one is supposed to linger a little longer than that, but it'll be gone soon enough.

And when I trekked down the hill to check the mail, there was a package containing this:


Sock yarn from Scout! This is a superwash/nylon sportweight that Scout just got, spun exclusively for her, and I'm the very first one to get some all dyed up ("cerrillos mine" colorway). Thanks, Scout! All I can say is mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, soft. Now I have to finish up that Bearfoot sock to free up my needles.

A Brief Plug

David has been bugging me to mention this, and I keep forgetting, but he and the artists' co-op he belongs to signed on as underwriters for his favorite local radio station. WXGR is a non-profit, non-commercial station, and since they're a low signal station (meaning they have a very limited range), most of their listeners are web-based. They specialize in electronic/trance/world music, so if that's within the scope of your musical interests, give them a listen. And maybe consider donating, so that David will have something to listen to while he works.

04 April 2007

À Vos Aiguilles!

I stopped by the post office before I headed to work this evening to pick up the Tricot Machine CD, since they required my signature to release it.

I love, love, love it.

Here are the lyrics for the first track - Introduction au Tricot Machine:

Savez-vous tricoter?
À vos aiguilles!

À l'endroit/À l'envers
Tricoter sur le gros nerf

À l'envers/À l'endroit
Une maille à la fois

À l'endroit/À l'envers
Une maille de travers

À l'envers/À l'endroit

Anyone care to give a translation? I get the gist of it, but I don't know that I could do it justice. Lee Ann? Spiff? The rest of the tracks don't have knitting references that I noticed, but the music is really wonderful. And as Lee Ann mentioned, très quebecois.

This Just In

I've been interviewed tonight by two of the local stations about that animal abandonment case I mentioned the other day. I believe one is going to air this evening; I'm not sure about the other one. Anyway, there are brief items about the case here & here. The owner of the animals is being charged with felony animal abuse, which will hopefully lead to a long sentence.

03 April 2007

Birthday Recap

It was really a very mellow day, in a good sort of way. I got up around 2 something, which is not an unusual getting up time for me (I was still kind of tired after 10 hours' sleep, though, so I'm thinking I need to cut back the Requip dose a bit). I walked downstairs to find David with balloons in his hand and a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face. He'd slipped out while I was sleeping to get me a card, some dark chocolate, balloons and a cake, and I surprised him rather than the other way around. Tolo was pretty pleased with the balloons, too.


My inbox was full of birthday wishes. Thank you all (and a special thank you to Scout, who put a rush on some new sportweight sock yarn to me. I can hardly wait!). I did a whole lot of nothing for a few hours until I had to get ready to head to Portland, where my folks met up with us to take us to dinner. Since they're less familiar with Portland than I am and since they hadn't seen the new clinic, we met up there, where I gave them the tour and where the staff had cooked me up an extra special confection.


Then we went out to eat at the Sebago Brewing Company, since I'd never tried their beers before and was in the mood. I had the Hefeweizen with appetizers and the Boathouse Brown Ale with my wild mushroom ravioli and would recommend either. Yum. Then we all had some of the lemon creme & white chocolate cake that David had bought. Yum, again. Then we all headed home.

Non-Birthday Goodies

Today's mail brought a package from Schoolhouse Press containing this book:

This is part of the wedding planning, of course, as it's a given that I have to wear handknit kilt hose with my kilt (which is yet to be made, but will be in a Baird Modern tartan). I have a 1 pound cone of DK superwash that is destined for this purpose, which should give me plenty to practice with to sort out the design I want.

I'm also awaiting some shade cards from Two Swans Yarns for the Jamieson's Spindrift. I already have shade cards for the Jamieson & Smith yarns, but I want to knit a Fair Isle vest in mostly undyed wool with some accent colors that reflect the colors of the kilt tartan, and the Spindrift will allow me to do that all in one weight of yarn. It also looks as though I may find better color matches, and I like that Jamieson's processes their wool right in Shetland, instead of shipping it to a mill in England like J & S. My Shetland forebears were fishers and crofters, which means they struggled to scrape by while the fruits of their labors got shipped off to Scotland and England and made other people wealthy, so if more of my money as a consumer stays on the islands, I see it a bit as paying back their legacy.

02 April 2007

A Southward Jaunt

What does it say about me that with an entire afternoon in Boston, this is the only photo I managed to take (On Dartmouth at Newbury, in case you were wondering)?


I feel I must point out, though, that David encouraged me to take this one. Is it any wonder I love him?

The trip wasn't all about dead things, though. I did manage to complete the heel on Sock #2 that I've been working on. Gusset finished just as we arrived at South Station, heel turned while we waited for the return bus, and heel completed just before we arrived back at the bus station in Portsmouth, which is pretty much exactly what I expected to accomplish.


I need to get this finished up quickly, as there will soon be sportweight sock yarn from Scout here that will be just begging to be made into socks.

We also made a visit to Woolcott & Co. while we were in Cambridge. Unfortunately, Sean wasn't working (as he had commented, though I kind of figured that would be the case), so we still have not managed to meet in person. I did, however, leave with a skein of Schaefer Yarns Lola and two skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - one green, one brown.

Of course, the shop staff all thought I was getting the Silky Wool to make a tam, as Sean has so recently done, but I actually got it to go with some other I've had for some time with the intent of making a scarf. I have some leftover grey Silky Tweed from this project and some Silky Wool in red & blue, but I've been concerned that it would end up just a bit too red & blue, so the green and brown should tone it down nicely.

As for the GLBT wedding expo thing that was our initial reason for making the trip, it was small and pretty much what I expected. Which is to say, I can't say I was disappointed because I wasn't really expecting much to begin with. It was good, though, to talk to some of the vendors and get a few ideas - not to mention to figure out how much we can save by not hiring them.


Just to clarify, this is my 38th birthday. I am now in my middle-late-30's - next year will be the late-late-30's. Technically speaking, my 38th year will not be complete until 11:35PM Eastern Time Monday night. But despite being the timespan of a sitcom away from being an April 3rd birth, I have had to endure a lifetime of, "Born a day late, weren't you?" Because, yeah, nobody's ever said that to me before. At least I'm likely to age more slowly than most of the people who said that - a distinct advantage of not looking your age.

Anyway, we will be meeting my parents in Portland and going out for dinner, which will be a lot of fun. Despite the fact that we only live 2½ hours drive from each other, I don't see nearly enough of my folks. They're good people, and I feel very fortunate to have had them as my parents.

And a note to JJ: If you drop by here again, feel free to drop me an e-mail at mel dot vassey at gmail dot com. Since you're at Davis, I'm sure you know my friends Karl & Michael. Do be sure to tell them I said hello.

01 April 2007

Hey, What Happened to Saturday?

Actually, Saturday was pretty much shot as of about 4:30PM on Friday. I left work Thursday morning with one patient in the hospital and returned Friday to a madhouse. And it all went downhill from there. As if the heavy caseload weren't enough, the news services started announcing that the FDA is doing testing on pet foods from another contract producer in the big pet food recall.

As you might imagine, this ratcheted up the general hysteria and our poor receptionist was nearly in tears trying to keep up with all the phone calls from panicked people who decided that we must have some special insider knowledge. Because we manufacture the foods ourselves in our spare time, of course. One woman called at least three times because she didn't want to believe that her cat's food hasn't yet been affected by the recall. No problems with her cat, mind you, just trying to get a head start on whipping herself into a frenzy. Because it's not like we have actual sick animals to take care of or anything (FWIW, so far we've seen three cats that probably were food-related cases - no deaths yet, but certainly life-threatening illness).

Then at 2AM, animal control from a nearby town brought us 5 dogs and a cat from an abandonment case they'd discovered that evening - pet hoarders who abandoned the farm when the couple split up. The lone surviving cat appears to have survived by cannibalizing the cats who died. The dogs were scared, thirsty, hungry, and all looked like hell, but appeared to need TLC more than anything. There are many times when my job gives me reason to hate people, and this is definitely in the top 2 or 3.

Then to top it all off, a major surgical case came in right as my shift was ending and the waiting room was once again filling up and the phones once again started ringing off the hook, so I stayed on a few hours extra to keep my replacement from having a huge backlog once he got out of surgery. With a lot of caffeine and a nap at the halfway point, I finally made it home around 1PM, then to bed just before 4.

Sunny Days

The weather has been quite nice this past week, and although the dry air of the last few days has been murder on my hands and lips, it's dried up the mud nicely (just in time for rain, according to the weather forecast). I'm not the only one who's been enjoying the spring weather. Rosa loves being able to nap in the yard again.


She's not so thrilled about having her naps disturbed, though.

And although last night was a bust for knitting, I've been able to get a bit more done tonight on the second sock to the one I started way back in December as my holiday travel sock.


I'm halfway through the gusset increases, so I hope to be able to get the heel completed by the time we get home tomorrow from Boston. We're going to be making a day trip down to go to a GLBT wedding expo. It doesn't look like it's going to be a huge affair, but we wanted to see if we could get any ideas for the wedding. I'm also hoping that we'll have time to stop in at Woolcott & Co. while we're in the neighborhood.

Then Monday is my birthday, and I actually have the day off. Last year I was scheduled to work on my birthday but I got out of it by getting the flu. Not recommended, really. Scout is making me think maybe it's a 37th birthday thing, but Cate wasn't sick as a dog for hers last fall, so perhaps it's only a problem for us Arieses. Anyway, I think my parents may come down or meet us in Portland for dinner to celebrate, which should be quite nice.

I Thought 2008 Wasn't Until Next Year

There's been some debate going on in the comments at Joe's blog this week. I've really stayed out of it, largely because it's too damn early to really start adequately assessing the candidates. I have been reading Glenn Greenwald's blog on Salon, though, and today's post articulates and puts a voice quite nicely to why I've felt a real unease about Hillary's candidacy. After all, what good does it do us to perpetuate a system that doesn't really work for the people the way it should?