Friday, May 27, 2011

In Memoriam

Once again I'd like to remember our beloved who were lost in war. 

The first memorial day was celebrated in 1868 to honor the fallen of the Civil War, union and confederate at Arlington National Cemetary.  After WWI, the honor was changed from those who died in the Civil War to those who gave their lives in any US war. 

At our house, this is a time to remember our family members who have served (and serve) in the US military.  My husband is a veteran of the Air Force, his father served in the Army Air Corps and our nephew is serving in the Army now.  My dad, uncles, brother all served in the Navy.

On our recent trip to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, we got to visit the cemetary there and meet a good number of the solders serving in the Army there.  When we returned home my husband starting digging into the old boxes of pictures and memorabilia that his mother had saved.  We found that his father had received the Service Medal and seven Bronze Stars for his service in both the european and pacific theatres of WWII.

The Seven Bronze stars represent these areas of his service:
  • Normandy
  • France
  • Rhineland
  • Ardennes
  • Central Europe
  • Asiatic-Pacific
  • African-Middle Eastern
The Service Medal is a medal of valor, the criteria for the medal are: "The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy." (Army Regulation 600-8-22). The distinguishing criteria for the award of the Soldier's Medal as per Army Regulation 600-8-22 states that "The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life." It is the highest honor a soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation, held to be equal to or greater than the level which would have justified an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross had the act occurred in combat.

Here is a re-type of the newspaper article:

St. Louisan Wins Soldier's Medal as Heroic Volunteer

Sergt. Harold C. Waite, son of Mrs. Ella Waite, Halliday Avenue, was awarded the Soldier's Medal, as one of four men who volunteered to remove a 2000-pound blockbuster which had fallen from the bomb bay of the "Patty Anne II" as it was being "bombed up" in England, May 28, for an early morning mission.  Announcement of the award was made from a British air base yesterday.

The bomb fell on the ship's tail, its nose resting on the cross beam inside the bomber.  It's fuse started: "If that bomb had exploded it would have destroyed five Flying Fortresses and killed several men," an officer commented.

"By flashlight," Waite wrote his mother,  "the bomb was lifted, the bomber inched back and Lieut. Schneider, the pilot who was caught in the bomber, removed the fuse.  It took 45 minutes and that seemed like as many hours to me..."

This is my salute to the father-in-law I didn't get the opportunity to know, a man truly loved by his family and especially the children he left behind when he died suddenly at the age of 40.

Although you've been gone almost 50 years, your memory lives on.  Rest in peace, father. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Day at the Farm

I had a lovely day visiting the Jacob's reward farm in Parker, Texas.  I learned to hand spin wool on a high-whorl spindle. 

 This is my first encounter with alpacas.  They were smaller than I had thought they'd be.  The lady who runs the farm, Cindy, said they are kind of like cats.  They seem to know how long your arms are and stay just out of reach.  The second from the left decided to get pretty close to me and I would slowly reach for him but alas, he'd move slightly away.

 This is Gale, she came along later to visit and spin.  She took the hose and cooled off their underside.  Then they promptly went to lay in the mud. 
 This is one of the newer members of the farm.  An "accidental" lamb as it were.  There were two actually.  This little guy was certainly not shy.
 Gale had saved this turtle from the road and had brought it to put in the creek.  Apparently she is known for saving turtles.  She has rescued many from the road and taken them to a safer neighborhood.
 This is a great Pyrenees named Ruth.  She is one of the shepherding dogs on the farm.  I was amazed at how gentle and attentive they are.
I don't really have words for this one.  It makes me smile.

Here is me spinning, lol, it actually went quite well.

I had so much fun and Cindy and Gale were the best hosts you could imagine!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Racing Socks

The racing socks have been done for a week but I've been so busy, I didn't have time to blog. 

 My husband and I each wore one on our right foot and Matt Kenseth (#17) won the race.  So these are officially racing socks.  They had a win first time on the foot!

We just got back from El Paso.  The weather was beautiful, a bit windy but the dry breeze had a cooling effect on us.  We had a great visit with our neice, her husband and sister- and brother-in-law.  Had a great time with all of our nephew's army buds at Fort Bliss.  My mother-in-law had passed away several years ago but we still had the ashes at our house.  So it was time to take them to the Fort Bliss cemetary where my husband's father is buried so they could be "together" again. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Whole Molly

Ever since I saw the Molly Weasley sweater, I have wanted it:

I don't know why.  Its obviously meant to be a mass of left over yarn crocheted violently into sleeves that were meant to be used to dust with or something... 

I looked around on the Internet and found various patterns none of which I think captures the true essence of this thing.  I heard about a book, Charmed Knits-projects for fans of Harry potter that contains a pattern.  I ordered the book and the pattern is, um, not what I expected.  So I think I will, like many others, embark on my own cheap copy of this incredibly ridiculous sweater.

If I really cared about end results, the question would be:  will I wear it out in public or just use it to dust my house?  I think I'll just make it to make (nearly) always.  I have the first few rows worked out of the shoulder. The body is definitely knitted.

I really won't be starting an all out assualt on this yet.  Its just a dream I have and I think of often and ponder...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby Surprise Jacket--JAWS

I started the Baby Surpise Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  So far so good. I've had to write out the instructions by row just to make sure I understand them.  It also gives me something to check off lest I get confused about where I am in the pattern.  So far it looks like the jaws of a shark, put your baby in here, right?  I guess that's the surprise.

Through Row 16

I know I have other stuff to finish....I'll get to it.  I needed to knit something.  I've been crocheting too much. 

I did finish the racing socks except I have to add the "17" to the top. 

I have these done:

Black Cat Hat:

Dishwater Blues:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Amazing Amazon

You know, I really love  Anything I want they have it.  I forget that pretty often though.  So I'll type what I want on the Google search line and I muss and fuss my way around the internet.  There are some truly lousy, pitiful online stores out there.  But then I thinks, "hey, try Amazon!" Low and behold (as they said in Olde Ainglish and the KJV), its there on Amazon, where they know me, they can get to my money with one click, I have a "pay-phrase", my stuff often comes within a day or two with free shipping.  Its like they see me coming and prepare the bait and hook. 

So I've purchased movies, books, yarn, shoes, electronics, food, a yarn ball winder just to name a few things from Amazon. Did you know you can buy spinning wheels from Amazon? I recently ordered and extra large pom-pom maker from Amazon that I couldn't get at any local craft store.  How about that? The only thing they didn't have that I really needed to them to have was Caron-Spa yarn in Purple Rain.

Here is the amazing new yarn ball winder from Amazon (excuse the stuff in the background, "what is all that stuff?", I'll tell you later):

 All open gears, looks dangerous and its kinda loud.

The winding part spins around, gotta watch the hair and what-not (not that I have any what-nots):

It makes pretty nice yarn balls too.  My old one was good but this one is really fast and easy.  I had to hold the yarn with the old one to get a good tension.  This will make larger balls than the old one also.  Well, there is definitely no plastic to break.  The only plastic is the cone and its pretty thick at that.

I still haven't received my pom-pom maker....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Insanity knows no bounds least mine doesn't.  I have 7 open projects.  I cannot believe how close some are to completion but not done yet. 
  1. The racing socks are two inches from the toe.  Just an hour or two and they will be done. 
  2. Another hat, but its actually done, just not photographed and I don't like it all that much and its black, blah, blah, blah. 
  3. Then a diagonal dishcloth, its done but blocking right now.
  4. I still have the two knitted sweaters started at Christmas. This is actually 2 projects but they are in the same project box so I'm not counting the second for now.
  5. I have the free-form capelet that is so nearly done its unbelievable, maybe and hour left to completion.
  6. I went completely insane and started a crochet short sleeved jacket. its about 40% done.  I am quite smitten with it.
  7. A small portion of a crocheted hat which I started only because I wanted to try out the stitching.
Worst of all is I saw this really cool crocheted shawl pattern (one of those free ones on a card in the craft store).  I bought all the stuff except one color they didn't have.  I searched around on the internet for it and it seems to be DISCONTINUED.  That is so annoying. But I guess is kept me from starting something else.  /sigh

So why all the crochet?  It uses way too much yarn.  So pretty though.  I do want to knit.  I'd rather knit actually.  So tomorrow, really, I'm going to finish something and put it on this blah-blah-blog.  Really, time to tuck in my crazy and look like a normal person again.

Oh, yeah, I had to order another yarn ball winder!  I can't believe I've broken another one.  This new one has brass gears though, not plastic like the last two.  I hope it will be as persistent as I am.

So if anyone locates some Caron-Spa in Purple Rain, I'd really appreciate it. I just need one skein.