Archive for March, 2010

Pesach Wishes

March 30, 2010

To all those who celebrate it,

May you and those you love have a happy, safe, and kosher Pesach.

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This Week’s Potpourri

March 27, 2010

Local wildlife sightings this week:  Came home late one evening, and as I was walking up the path to the building I heard a rustling sound in the bushes in the garden.  It sounded too big to be a cat, so I figured it was probably a dog or a jackal.  I stopped and watched to see if it would emerge.  It emerged, all right, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  Out came this humongous wild boar.  I mean, this thing was huge!  Looked around the yard, then snuffled its way through some different bushes and disappeared.  Wasn’t at all bothered that I was standing there.  Interesting sight to come out of the bushes at you at night…  The next evening I was coming in from my walk and saw a jackal with a hurt paw limp across the sidewalk in front of me and slip through the gate next door.

We’ve finished our shopping for Pesach clothes.  Partner, kidlet and I all bought new shirts/blouses for the Seder Night.  We also chose gifts for the family (we’re going to partner’s niece’s house) and something for all the children.   Kidlet and I pampered ourselves by getting manicures.  I went the whole route, including peeling treatment.  I settled for conservative pearl polish, while kidlet went for tiger stripes. (Or are they zebra stripes?  Oh dear, I can never remember which is which…)

Received two packages this week.  One:  got my Ravelympics 2010 pin!  We made an order for all of the Yarn & Falafel team, so I will be distributing the pins to everyone soon.  So classy.

Second package was a beautiful treat from Danielle in Australia, one of the owners of WOW- Wool on Wheels, a yarn shop in Armidale NSW.   Danielle and I started chatting on Ravelry, and she wanted to send me some 100% Aussie made surprises!  Well, the surprises arrived, and I’m tickled purple.  (I hate pink…)

There’s some lovely Kaalund Yarns lace merino in the colourway Tropical Berries – soooo soft!  Yarn from the Uralla Wool Room – some brown angora/merino blend, and purple NZ wool handdyed at the Wool Room.  And a card all about the Kookaburra – when you open it there’s a recording of the Kookaburra “laugh” – every time I open it the cat comes racing into the room to find and catch the bird!  It’s really hysterical to watch.    Thanks so much, Danielle, and I’m sending you your 100% Israeli package this week!

On the needles:  the CPH sleeves will be blocked today, and I’ll start the hood.  Now the big question is whether I can get it done for Pesach, so kidlet can wear it.  Nothing like a challenge…and just when I have to get Pesach cleaning done…

Gerry over on her blog GerryART is having her very first giveaway – some lovely sock yarn and Wendy D. Johnson’s book  Socks from the Toe Up. Check it out!

Daylight savings time began last night, so when I leave for work I won’t be treated to sights like this one for a while:

Shabbat shalom.

and they called it puppy love….

March 25, 2010

OK, I missed it.  Tuesday was National Puppy Day.      To get the awwwws over with, here we go…

National Puppy Day is March 23 of every year, which only started 4 years ago in 2006.   National Puppy Day was created to educate the public about the practice of puppy mills, and raise awareness of orphaned puppies.

For lots more pictures and stories, plus forums and information regarding just about anything to do with baby dogs, visit the Daily Puppy, for your recommended daily allowance of puppies.

For those wanting to welcome a new puppy into their homes, I can only repeat: please, please, please  Adopt, Don’t Shop!! and don’t help support puppy mills. If you don’t get a pup directly from a breeder, consider getting a puppy from a shelter, or a rescue organization.

In the US,  almost all pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Before you think about getting a pup from a store, ask the pet store employee to show you the paperwork identifying the puppy’s breeder and origins. If he or she refuses to do so or is reluctant to show you the paperwork, consider that a red flag. If you do inspect the paperwork, you may notice that the puppy has been shipped from out of state, often by a “broker” service. These are just a few indications that the store’s dog may have come from a puppy mill. The bottom line is that responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores; they want to meet their puppy buyers in person and do not sell their puppies to the first person who shows up with cash in hand.

It has been many years since we had a puppy in the house.  My parents raised dogs (boxers), and my dad trained them.  Kidlet has learned to handle and train dogs, and came in 4th (out of 83)  in a competition for young dog handlers.  I miss having dogs,  partner misses having dogs, kidlet misses having dogs…. but with us busy with work and school, a dog, and especially a puppy, would be alone far too much and that wouldn’t be fair.   So we try to visit with dogs (oh, and their owners, too) as much as possible!

Happiness is a warm puppy.  ~Charles M. Schulz

When you feel lousy, puppy therapy is indicated.  ~Sara Paretsky

When was the last time you hugged the pure joy that is a puppy?

Spring has sprung

March 22, 2010

Spring is here!

Spring has come!

The bird is on the wing.

(My, my, how absurd.

I thought the wing was on the bird…)

 

Happy Spring

Knitting in commercials

March 21, 2010

Companies use almost every “hook” they can think of to sell their products.  Knitting has appeared in commercials in various settings from at least the 1950s. 

One of the most memorable was a series of ads in the UK for Shreddies cereal.

This ad was such a success it spawned a whole series of new ones for different flavours of the cereal, including a hilarious commercial in which the nanas go off to knitting camp to train for knitting Shreddies.

Yoplait yoghurt, HP printers, many have had ads that feature knitting.

Bill the alpaca breeder appears for an insurance company in Australia.

Bezeq communications here in Israel had a cute ad with amigurumi figures.

Another communications  company, Vodafone, has an ad with yarn-bombing in Dublin.

But yarn bombing is a whole ‘nother subject, for a whole ‘nother post…

My absolute favourite, however, is a commercial for Natural Gas, discovered by my friend Galia.  I’ve watched it over and over.  It is the epitomy of awesomeness!

So cool.  🙂

What other ads have you seen with knitting?

Rosh Chodesh

March 20, 2010

Rosh Chodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the New Moon. It is considered a minor holiday, akin to the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot.  This is the very first commandment given to the nation as a whole, an indication that the concept of Rosh Chodesh, or the New Moon, is very meaningful.

According to the Talmud (tractate Megillah 22b), women are exempt from work on Rosh Chodesh.  In recent times this has led to the formation of women’s groups to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, and women within Judaism.  

Female-centered Rosh Chodesh observances vary from group to group, but many are centered on small gatherings of women. There is often a particular interest in the Shekinah, considered by the kabbalah to be a feminine aspect of God. These groups engage in a wide variety of activities that center around issues important to Jewish women, depending on the preference of the group’s members.

On every Rosh Hodesh the Women of the Wall – a coalition of Conservative, Orthodox and Reform women in Israel – gather on the women’s side of the Wall for the morning prayer service. This includes women reading from the Torah and wearing tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin, and kippah (skullcap).  And on every Rosh Hodesh, there are violent attempts by seemingly religious men to stop them. In the past this has led to some arrests  –  of the women, not the attackers…

Since its founding in 1989, Women of the Wall has fought a legal battle asserting a right to conduct organized prayer at the Kotel and challenging government and private intervention in its efforts.  There have even been laws proposed that would prohibit women from these prayers and advocating prison time for women who attempt to pray in any way that might offend an orthodox man.  

Jewish groups around the world have organized events and prayer services in solidarity and support of the women’s right to pray at the Wall.  

This past week, chair throwing was the violent act of choice. Rena Magen, one of the participants in the service described it like this:

I thought you would like to see this video of our “c-hair raising” experience at the Kotel this past Tuesday when I went to daven with the Women at the Wall.. it was not even 7:00 am yet (the starting time of the minyan) and we were simply standing around waiting, not even 10 of us.

All of a sudden, chairs started flying at us from the men’s side of the mechitzah, with great force. About 10 total, one after the other, very quickly. It was so outrageous that we hardly had time to be afraid. I am amazed that whoever shot this clip had the presence of mind to do so.

The police came quite quickly after it was all over and from that moment on there were MANY police guarding us on either side of the mechitzah. We had a nice service after that, complete with the requisite angry incessant shouting from the men and the nasty comments and curses from the women.

The group’s next minyan is Thursday, April 15, Rosh Chodesh Iyar.   Anyone in the area?

Another contest, and slipping as required.

March 18, 2010

Yes, another contest.     This one isn’t mine, though. 

Tasha over in her blog Knitty Knitty Bang Bang is having a contest with some really amazing yarns as prizes.  To participate you need to knit (or crochet) a chemo cap in a child’s size to be donated to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans – she will send you the address.  The contest is in memory of her cousin’s little girl Adrianna who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.  Tasha has plenty of patterns to choose from, or you can choose your own. 

This is not a big knitting project, and it’s worth your time, even if you don’t win one of the fantabulous yarns she’s offering, so please check it out!

In the meantime, the hoodie sleeves are coming along nicely.  Then I needed a project for the train the other day, something small that I could stuff in my bag,  and both the sleeves (working with two balls of yarn at a time) and the shawl were too big.  We should all have such problems.  So, of course I did the only logical thing.  Joined the baana scarf KAL that the Israeli knitter’s group just started – my friend Galia is the designer of the baana, and she’s knitting one up now as well, so we’re all keeping each other company.  The linen stitch used makes a very dense fabric – some in the group have already frogged and begun again with larger needles.  I did have a question about the slipped stitches – assumed that one slips knitwise on the knit rows and purlwise on the purl rows – but asked about it to be sure.  Yael assured me that I’m slipping as required.  Which is always a good thing to know.

I’m lovin this yarn!!!  I’m using Mondial Ciao sock yarn (yes, the same yarn I gave away, but in a different colourway), and the colours are pretty amazing.  Not to mention that it’s wonderfully soft.  I may just have to go buy some more to knit socks with as well. 

This is how the scarf will look eventually (I hope):

Right now, though, I’m off to work on the CPH for kidlet.  I’d like to finish that first.  Priorities.

Geek convention ;)

March 17, 2010

Got to work/visit a trade show in Tel Aviv this week for work.  The 2010 High-tech Technologies trade show, the biggest in Israel.

Visited a lot of booths,  shook a lot of hands, had a lot of people give me their business cards.  Competitors were there, customers were there, suppliers were there.  At our booth we had a demonstration film going on a loop…after the first hour I would gladly have strangled the narrator.  We turned the volume down, which was actually a good thing, as it made potential customers come into the booth to hear it, and we could then sit them down at one of the tables with food and an espresso to talk business.

One of the major perks of a trade show is the freebies – almost all the companies give away little gadgets with their logo, in addition to drinks and munchies.  At the entrance to our booth we had pens to distribute, and sugar-free candies with our logo on the wrapper.  Those who actually sat down with us, exchanged details, etc, got a disk-on-key as well.

Most companies distributed goodies at their booths, although some wandered around giving things away as well.  There were a few of these women tooling around on motorized skateboard thingies giving away information packets and toys…

What the costume has to do with anything at all escapes me, except for the fact that it hides the wheels and motor moving her along.

I didn’t bother collecting balloons or candy.  Balloons  because I didn’t want to travel home on a crowded train shlepping balloons when I had other things to shlep, and also I wasn’t sure I wanted to knit while holding balloons – very iffy logistics there, and candy because with the exception of a few kinds of chocolate I really don’t eat candy.

I made out like a bandit on tote bags and pens.  Tote bags in eight different colours, some with pockets, some with fasteners….very handy as knitting bags.  😉  And a pen supply for the next year, I think.

The mug was also a giveaway, and the other gadgets?   The silver keychain is for supermarket carts, the orange doohickey opens as a brush for cleaning a keyboard, and the white?  Well, that polishes eyeglasses!  Does a good job, too.

One experience surprised and disappointed me.  There were lots of trade journals and magazines represented, as well as major business and economic publications.  When I approached the booth for one of the latter, the young woman began her spiel about a special offer for trade show participants, a discount on subscriptions, bla bla bla, and showed me just some of their specialized journals…some for this group, some for that….she told me they also have a special magazine for women in high tech.  When I asked to see it, since she had stacks of samples of all the others, she said that she didn’t have any with her, because they had assumed that most trade show participants would be male.  I raised my eyebrows, looked at her, and quietly said “Well, that was a fatal mistake, now, wasn’t it?”   She looked back at me, and just as quietly answered “Yes, it was a fatal mistake, and I wish I had had a say in the matter.”  After a moment she turned and started her spiel with some other people standing there…she understood quite well that she wasn’t going to get any of my money.           Stereotypes and discrimination live on.

The whole place was pretty packed.  By the end of the day we were all tired, there were fewer people but the noise level was just as high, after some booths had been distributing glasses of beer all day.    I headed for the train and the ride home with my loot.  The following day there was an organised busload of people from work who went to the trade show together, so I had a quieter work environment!

‘Twas an interesting day, a nice break from routine, and I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow passenger on the train home about knitting.

And the winner is ….

March 16, 2010

It’s here!  Welcome to my 100th blog post!   After several false starts at blogging, it has finally started to flow. 

A fantastic response to my contest – there were 200 entries!  (Of course, if you posted more than once, you got your name in there more than once…)

We mixed them and mixed them…

And out came a winner!

And the sock yarn now belongs to….    

Camille!

I will be sending an email to Camille to get an address.  🙂

I’ll also be getting in touch with a few more people, because there were some who commented a lot over the past 10 posts,  and I want to send a little thank you to them as well!  Not yarn, but a little something. 

I do apologise for dragging this out the past couple of days… life has been rather hectic!  I’ll be elaborating in future posts…

I truly want to thank everyone who came and commented, I’ve really enjoyed reading what you’ve written, you’ve made my 100th post something very special!  I’ve heard from old friends, and made some new ones, and I hope you continue to visit my blog!

So, grab a drink

scarf some munchies

and

with me!

Saturday night at home.

March 14, 2010

post # 99  !!!

‘Twas a relatively quiet evening at home.  I was mostly knitting (CPH sleeves) while reading an ebook on my computer (The Cart Before the Corpse, by Carolyn McSparren).  Kidlet was in her room at her computer.  I took a break from reading and popped over to facebook to play a game or two of Bingo.  I see kidlet write in her facebook status “You can’t count on anybody.”  I quickly typed a comment that “You can always count on your mother.”   A minute goes by then explodes a bellow from her room “MOM!!!”   She dashes out,  sputtering “How could you do that, how dare you, that’s so embarrassing!”  I laughed and told her she can always delete it.  She said she already had, but who knows who had seen it.  She demanded I never do something like that again then disappeared back into her room.  I continued to chuckle all night.   Am I mean?

On the flip side, the cat is exhibiting an annoying new habit.  She has figured out how to open doors, and goes around the flat opening any door that’s closed.  I usually keep her dry food in a bucket in the kitchen cupboard, but last week there was a sale on the huge bag so that’s what I bought….it’s too much to fit in the bucket, so I put the bag with the extra in my room and closed the door.  Exactly.  I came home to find the door open, the bag ripped, and dry cat food all over my bedroom floor.  The bag is now in my closet – the cat hasn’t yet figured out keys.

This is also a problem when I’m blocking my knitting…I can’t keep anything out, because kitteh likes to pull out the blocking pins and sleep in the middle of the resulting mess, so I usually put the blocking work in my room.  And close the door.  Um…right.  And the blocking board doesn’t fit in the closet.

What is it about blocking knitting that acts as a kitteh magnet anyway?  I’ve seen it again and again.  Cats who totally ignore the knitting process up until then will insist on claiming the blocking work as their one and only spot to park.  Can this phenomenon please be investigated?

This is it!  Last chance, the next post will announce the winner of the sock yarn!!!