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Archive for February, 2008

FASC

February 29th, 2008 Comments off

From my window, I see both the front lawn and flags flying

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Audio

Higher Authority by Stephen White.

Arches&Doors

The free standing gate, and the walk leading up to FASC.
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and am off in the morning kind of early.

-Holly

Categories: military Tags:

The sky is falling

February 28th, 2008 Comments off

Or, the ceiling. You see, there was an earthquake here in the UK back a day or so ago that was reported to be 5,3 on the Richter Scale.

Can’t prove it by me, I never woke up. But this morning there was a bit of a problem in the one of the halls here at FASC. Or, more than a slit bit of a problem for those who have offices along this hall.

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The earthquake is being blamed. One of the guys and I think it is just water damage that got extensive enough to make things come down. Otherwise it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that this portion of the ceiling would decide to fall down where other places with long standing cracks held up.

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meanwhile, I am avoiding walking the hall directly over this location just in case the hole wants to widen.

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Socks

Have a good start on the second sock of pair #49 using Komet – the SKL Pattern for Jan 08. I really like it and will probably use it for another pair. It has just the right amount of patterned and plain areas while being extremely easy to memorize.
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I could finish this sock tonight, but came home after making a drop off run. Let me just say that taking the wrong exit out a round-about cost me almost an hour and many miles on a 15 minute journey.

-Holly

Categories: military, socks Tags:

Ghost

February 27th, 2008 Comments off

It has not been a short while, no, it has been since I first moved into this house. The windows and doors are always quiet in the room where I am sitting and the doors still. Somewhere else, usually on another floor there a bumps and thumps.

If there is a stormy wind outside, I can easily imagine the panes rattling in their tracks. The blustery air catching the edge of the door. After all, this is an old house and there are air leaks everywhere.

But on the nights where there is no breeze, I still hear noises in the house. Items don’t seem to be where I left them. It couldn’t possibly be that I forgot where I placed something. Like those two pairs of jeans that seemed to be lost for a week, appearing like magic in the airing cupboard when I was giving a friend the house tour. Me? Why would I have carefully set out two pairs of jeans to dry….

Oh, right.

Never mind. Can anyone tell me why the ghost is not finishing up my knitting? Doing some vacuuming or washing up the dishes?

Leaving out milk and cookies for Brownies didn’t work – so I was hopeful that the ghost might be of use.

No luck there either. I must have watched too many TV Serials while knitting.

Socks

The finished Rose Socks –
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With the left and right
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and then there is the first Tencil Sock. I really dont’ like the way the top turned out, so it is on to a different pattern for the top of the second sock.

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Vest

I mentioned that it was done? And that it might look a little bit better on me than on the chair. Usual disclaimers about photos taken in dark rooms with mirrors.
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The pattern detail looks like this – and the front bands are a broken rib that is knit as part of the garment.

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Since I actually have some nice slatted shelves in the airing cupboard – aka the boiler room – I am going to see how it fast blocked garments will dry.

-Holly

Categories: home, Knitting, Prose, socks Tags:

Packages!

February 26th, 2008 Comments off

After a few hours in the office (and proving to a number of people that I really do have a husband), it was time to drop him off at Heathrow for his flight back to Germany.

Not even 96 hours on the ground. Phooey.

Since I was already 1/2 way to RAF Croughton, I went the rest of the way to pick up mail. This was good, as I had three packages in the mail. Ok, two mailing envelopes and a box, but that counts as three as far as I am concerned.

Stash

From the Loopy Ewe, I had ordered some roving and some sock yarn (SKP2008 coming up)

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and some wonderful colour combinations from Crazy4Dyeing (including one she did just for me) to increase my choices of sock colours. Ordered in two batches, each took only a week to get here. Now, since I only go to the post office every couple of weeks, it was double the fun.
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Vest

My red vest is done
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and just needs some blocking.

Socks

As are the Rose bamboo socks making pair #48 for the 52 pair plunge challenge
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knit on 2,00 mm needles over 60 stitches I will get closeups of each sock tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have pulled some pink/blue tencil/merino yarn out for pair #49.

Audio Books

After dropping off five audio books as donations to the library, I checked out Flight Lessons – Patricia Gaffney and Salmon of Doubt – Douglas Adams. I decided to load them onto the MP3 Player for my trip back to Germany this weekend and started Into the Storm – Suzanne Brockman. I also picked up two TV Series on DvD – Dead Like Me and Ghost Whisperer. The first was all right – and very familiar if you have survived teen agers. The second I never made it through the pilot. Boring and worse acting than the other shows it mimics.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, socks Tags:

Tate Modern

February 25th, 2008 Comments off

If there is something you really don’t want to do – never give your partner free reign in picking activities. It is not just that I don’t really care for modern art, it is rather that I detest most of which passes for art in several of the schools of painting. It is not art to me, it is ugly and needs explanation.

‘Fraid I have always been of the opinion that if a painted work, or a sculpture needs a long, written explanation of what it is; of what the artist intended, then it isn’t art. Art should be able to stand on its own, to convey a message with in the medium that is being used. Each of us is free to add our own experiences to the interpretation.

And then there is the Tate Modern. Expensive exhibits of “art” that I wish I had not seen.

Now, I liked the setting

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and all of the bridges and signs

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and there was one interesting hanging in the free section (as well as a modern film clip with Ants moving Confetti)

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But for the rest of it

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we had a nice lunch, an interesting walk and a comfortable train ride back to Camberley chatting with a couple from Reading who had made a day of it in London complete with their 14 year-old daughter and her 3 best friends. Brave, that.

-Holly

Categories: Travel Tags:

Old Silk Mill

February 24th, 2008 Comments off

Trying one of the prepacked bread mixes

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which made a really lovely loaf of sunflower bread on the large/white setting and having a nice breakfast had been about as much plans for the day as I needed. After all, I have the DH, knitting and books.

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The DH got the itch to go somewhere and see something.

Ok, fine – if he figures out where, then I will drive.

and he found just the thing – the Old Silk Mill in Whitchurch,

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restored in the last 15 years and open on Sundays.

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Set up to weave fancy silks for Judges, the Royalty, decorating and fashion

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The Mill is of course, located on a river, complete with the usual wild fowl.

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The silk arrives skeined from China, is sent out be be dyed and then is returned to be wound.
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The bobbins are then racked
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and the warp is beamed sectionally (up to 200 epi)

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On the bottom floor – there are 15 looms. Because of the fineness of the fabric and the complexity, each weaver only handles 2-3 looms. Where originally the power shaft could drive all of the looms, there is electric augmentation for several decades.
looms.jpgblacksilk.jpg

We drove back along the A30, choosing to see a bit of the country side rather than rushing along the Motorway. And honestly, since it was a bit more direct, it took just about the same amount of time.

-Holly

Categories: Travel, Weaving Tags:

I have a husband?

February 23rd, 2008 Comments off

Since I have been on my own more or less for the last six weeks, it hardly seems like I have family even tho I talk to them regularly and even get email.

The oldest member of the family (aka DH) came in on a plane this morning and after a few false starts and a drive-around, I found him at the Terminal 2 pick up zone at Heathrow. The police there are polite but not friendly about anyone waiting more than a couple of minutes. I wonder why they didn’t bother with the commercial vehicles….

Should I say that he was surprised at how humdrum a life I lead? After all, Camberley is not exactly the hotbed of anything. We made the circle of downtown in about ten minutes, then we walked through the Mall just to say that we had been there.

Vest

Making progress – even tho I am not exactly following the directions.
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Audio Books

Started Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

London again

February 22nd, 2008 Comments off

And it was off again today on the train to London. Meetings all day in another of the historic conference rooms.

I did find out that I can take pictures in the historic areas, and the king’s old wine cellar. Next time I am down here, I will bring the camera. I had not been sure about bringing it in the building and now I know.

Afterwards, well – you would think that I had learned my lesson about shoes after Wednesday. Not too foolish, I had pulled out a different pair to look a bit dressed up forgetting that most shoes are mediums and my feet are not. The resulting problem when wearing stockings is that feet slide forward, hurting those little toes. Especially anything with a heel taller than 1 cm. These were all of a spectacular 3 cm tall. Apparently too much for my feet, I was miserable and could not face much in the way of walking around, canceling my planned visit of a few stores.

Just home in time to get candles lit and supper on the table.

Vest

I guess I should get used to speaking of waistcoats instead of vests?

vest22feb08.jpg

Since I don’t like seams I am knitting the vest all in one piece to the armholes, then dividing. It is so nice knitting with 5,0mm needles for a change. A nice break from the 2,00 for socks or the 3,?? on the Viking Sweater.

Audio Books

Continuing on Hot Target at home while finishing the last of the three Michael Palmer’s on the train.

Arches

Crossing over the Thames, I need some better shots of the pedestrian bridges.
overthethames.jpg

-Holly

Categories: Knitting Tags:

Wandering in Camberley

February 21st, 2008 Comments off

A day in my office is not anything terribly exciting most days.

But a search for yarn stores in the area turned up a listing under Army & Navy, which is a department store in the local mall.

After work, I am always up for an explore, even if it means a bit of a rush since most things around here seem to close down at 1730. Gave me enough time to pick up another type of chutney and get to the back of the top floor where it turns out that they carry a limited supply of Rowan, Pattons and (? I have already forgotten).

On the table were several piles of new pattern books (or at least ones that I had not seen before). Including Rowan’s Studio Issue 8 which had three items I could see wearing. Scottish Aran was not an option (the original yarn) but there was this very nice red

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which I am planning on turning into the Kimono Waistcoat. The cabled waistcoat(no bobbles) and the bolero are also possibilities later this year.

Audio Books

Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann. Might as well go through the series in the correct order.

And now it is time to take a break from socks and cast on! And a break from colour work.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

Wednesday to London

February 20th, 2008 1 comment

The 0717 to London (that lovely, direct train) was quite packed this morning. And it always amazes me the people who sit down on the outside of two seats, place all their items on the window seat and then get upset when someone asks them to either move in, or move their things. Far as I can tell, purchasing one ticket entitles you to one seat. Even if it is at a table, you really can’t claim two.

I had an all day meeting at MOD (Ministry of Defence) – located in Whitehall, Westminster. Since it is an easy walk across the Thames (yes, there are several bridges) from Waterloo Station I don’t normally bother with the Tube.

Following the meeting, I hung out in London for the afternoon killing time before the planned dinner at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese located just off Fleet Street. Surprisingly, there were a couple of great vegetarian options on the menu; an occurrence that is much more common in the UK than in good ol’ Germany.

Rather than deal with changing subway lines, I just hiked back from Blackfriars to Waterloo. My energy was up for it. My feet were not; so much for trying to wear something other than clunky shoes.

Socks

I did manage to finish up the first Rose Sock and get the second one started. Almost made up for the fact that my MP3 player decided to freeze on me.

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It was almost 2300 by the time I finally had managed to hike back to RMAS, pick up my car and motor on home.

-Holly

Categories: military, socks Tags:

Tuesday needs yarn

February 19th, 2008 Comments off

After looking at my sock cupboard here –

sockshelf.jpg

I realized I was missing a few colours and went looking on line for a few more colours of sock yarn. It is not like I probably don’t have about 50 skeins here and there. But looking at the picture – there appears to be entirely too much blue and pink which is really funny because I mostly wear black, red, grey and white with the occasional denim and navy thrown in.

Socks

I am making good progress on the Rose Bamboo socks. Rather than a random yarn selection, these will go perfectly with my new favorite blazer. Since I normally wear clunky, comfortable shoes, there is no reason not to wear cool, handknit socks.

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Audio Books

Flashpoint finished up, and on to the next in the series.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, socks Tags:

47 of 52

February 18th, 2008 Comments off

Last March, I joined a totally insane bunch of people who made a commitment to knit a pair of socks a week for the coming year. Counting them up this morning – I have 47/52 pairs to go. All the ones that I have knit have been adult socks, sizes 38 E and up. I managed 38 pairs last year (with no sock knitting in Dec and early fall) and nine since the first of the year. That leaves me only five pairs to finish prior to 1 April.

This year’s socks can be found here and all of last year’s are here. I don’t have all of the links updated yet, but should get there in the next couple of days.

I am wavering between going back to the Viking Sweater for a couple of weeks, or just cranking off the rest of the socks to be done.

Socks

Progress on pair #48.
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Down the top, heel flap completed and turned.

Viking Ship Sweater

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A few more rows progress.

-Holly

Categories: Knitting, socks Tags:

Frost on

February 17th, 2008 Comments off

This morning, it was the windows –

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and the back garden.

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yesterday’s blooms

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and frost flowers on cars.

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Making it much nicer to stay in the house

Spinning

The Blue Faced Leicester only needs to be skeined, washed and mailed.
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Leaving me free to take out a very spring looking Tussah/Merino blend hand-painted Roving from Winderwood Farms.
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Practically glowing in the sunshine, it makes such a cheerful singles.
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After spinning about an hours worth, I finished up the toe on

Socks

The Trekking XXL Art Yarn socks
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The next socks up will be of Opal Bamboo
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keeping in the cheerful colour theme
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Viking Sweater

In my effort to crank off socks, I haven’t worked on this at all this week. Working my way up the mountains, I now have 44 cm finished.
viking17feb08-1.jpg
That is the good part, right along with being spot on with my revised gauge (no way did I want a 121cm sweater, instead preferring 100 cm). The catch of course is that the row gauge is also affected, which was what I expected.
viking17feb08.jpg
Given where I now am in the pattern, without further lengthening the sweater will be 58cm long instead of the printed pattern’s 67cm.
To see an example of the pattern knit as writ – you can look at Anni”s on Ravelry.  I have the choice of inserting some rows of just white (and fussing with the front and back so that the edge pattern stays intact) or lengthening the diamond pattern at the top.

What do you think?

Audio Book

Disks 4-8 of Flashpoint. Much as I am enjoying this book (and believe it or not, this is one that I have previously read), I am beginning to suspect that I really prefer abridged books. My attention span is just not up to 11 CD stories. I never take more than a couple of days to read a book, why would I want it to take 11 hours to hear it? Yes, I do miss some of the descriptive settings, but it balances by making most mysteries and thrillers move a bit faster.

Fair amount done today I would say, as I head off to read blogs.

-Holly

Categories: home, Knitting, socks, Spinning Tags:

Weekend Ponies

February 16th, 2008 Comments off

There are others that don’t feel obligated to work hard on the weekends.

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As far as I can tell, they live at the main stables during the week and take a break on the weekend, with a total of seven of them visiting the paddox behind our row of houses. Not the sturdy outdoor horse of my childhood, but barn ponies needing blankets and a lot of care. I certainly don’t mind them; they are relatively quiet. But I do need to have a talk with their keepers. Since I am not a gardener – I have no need for the fresh manure that someone has deposited over the fence into my back yard.

Looking around on the way back in from the ponies

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and the early flowers

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Makes it a great idea to stay inside – listening to

Audio Books &

Suzanne Brockmann’s Flashpoint
or watching another DVD of Medium (season 3).

and otherwise spending the day

Spinning

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having spun and plyed about 3/4 of the total roving.

and on

Socks

starting here –
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and completing all but the toe on the second.

And completely leaving out the housework.

-Holly

Categories: home, socks, Spinning Tags:

Sour Cream Onion Bread

February 15th, 2008 1 comment

Recipe (bread machine)

Dry Ingredients

3 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
one TBS yeast

Wet Ingredients (add all into a 2-4 cup liquid measuring cup)

one egg
3 TBS of oil
3/4 cup no fat sour cream
2TBS of onion relish OR 2 TBS reconstituted onion flake
fill the remaining balance to the 2 cup mark with no fat milk
stir well

Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the required sequence
(mine wants dry, then liquids. This varies by manufacture)

Set for large loaf (white), turn on and relax.

A few hours later, you have this lovely loaf of bread

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which slices up, showing bits of onion

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and leads to dinner complete with spicy squash soup, tomato-lime chutney and a pomegranate.

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Socks

There was definite progress on the art sock
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The second JaWoll Sock is now complete
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with the pattern simple, but looking nice even up close
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Audio Books

Vanishing Point by Marcia Muller.

Arches

Obviously Caerphilly Castle, taken in Wales 9 Feb 08
caerphilly2.jpg

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Books & Tapes, bread, socks Tags:

Middle Wallop

February 14th, 2008 2 comments

I had an American upbringing coupled with a rather strange sense of humour. Place names in the US make perfect sense to me: named after people, place of origin or adapted from Native American Names. After all, I was born in Minneapolis (Minnesota) and actually learned out to spell both names in the first grade. It was just how things were.

Living as an ex-Pat since 1993 (not counting the other five years spent out of the US in the 80s) I just accepted whatever town or village names were on the sign post. Really, who am I to criticize what another country uses for names. Not my language, not my right to question.

And then I moved to the England portion of the UK just last month (Jan 08). Not only am I coming into contact with names familiar to me from reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, but there are those towns whose names which I have just learned from Jasper Fforde. Places like Swindon and Reading, located just out the motorway from me.

Perhaps Woking gets the same reaction from children as does Temptation or Perdition.

But Middle Wallop? It is the home to the British Army’s Museum of Flying and otherwise doesn’t really exist. A local name to the area between Over Wallop and Nether Wallop, it is not a parrish or a real town. But you can address mail to Middle Wallop and it has a postal code, so I guess it does exist.

I found out about this and other interesting facts when I dropped in to the Army Air Field to meet one of the other US exchange officers today. Home to helicopter pilot training for the British Army, it is out in the middle of nowhere on the Salisbury Plain. Probably the most interesting event all year happens in July when there is an Acrobatic Air Show, set to music. It is on my list of things to do this summer. (Especially if Ray can provide me a place to park!).

Socks

There is this Art Yarn (trekking XXL) which looked like this in the ball
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and like this after my socks were started –
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Now if I could just explain why I started a new pair of socks rather than start the second of the cotton? Besides the fact that my hands just did not want to knit cotton this evening?

I am otherwise back to watching Medium and trying to choose the next audio book.

-Holly

Categories: military, Prose, socks Tags:

BA, not away

February 13th, 2008 Comments off

Did you know that you really can’t easily get to the train station early in the morning?

My choices were the 0438 train, the 0547 train or missing my 0730 flight. And the road down the hill from us is still under construction. By the time I found a real street car stop, I was half way to the train station. Now, if I wanted I could spend 2,10 on fare to ride three stops and then walk to the train station. Or hike a long block and wait to take a bus to the train station, or, I could just save my money and walk.

Not that any of it mattered anyway. Once at the airport, and after hiking off the end of the earth and around all the renovations in Terminal 2 – gate area D I found that my British Airways flight out was delayed. There was heavy fog predicted for Heathrow. Gate hold is what it is called.

Only catch was – there was no fog…

more knitting occurred which would have been completely and totally fine, had not my MP3 player decided to freeze.

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The second blue sock was finished and I pulled out some JaWoll Cotton that was hanging around, making significant progress.

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But mostly, I contemplated an article that was in Die Welt. On the surface it seems logical – Brockhaus is giving up printing hard copy encyclopedias for an Internet based one. The major publisher for 200 years, this can be viewed as an historical change in knowledge distribution or a smart marketing decision since few people want that yardage of heavy books on their shelves. Those that have book shelves, that is.

The idea of an Internet based encyclopedia is not new – Wikipedia has been available on line for years. Free. Several of the US publishers have tried to have subscription services or CD based sales. In Germany, Brockhaus will be changing from password (cost) access to open Internet access.

The difference to what is already available? Non-wiki, that is to say articles all written by experts in their field with a major publisher standing behind the accuracy of the content. In many countries, there will be no change, but for German speaking countries I think there are going to be impacts. Students of today are more likely to look on the Internet for information than to do primary research in libraries. Wikipedia is a favorite source of information. There are times when the accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. I see major publisher’s encyclopedias free as an improvement all around. Those who care about wiki access might be motivated to improve the quality of what is out there. And all the small things that would otherwise never make a major encyclopedia will still have entries in Wikipedia. Increasing knowledge access about all subjects for everyone is not a bad thing.

Without an MP3 player, I obviously had too much thinking time on my hands.

Arriving at Heathrow right around 1030 (this was my 0845 arrival) there was a remarkable absence of fog. The whole episode reminded me of Washington, DC when there is a predicted snow fall. Businesses and government shut down on rumours while the traffic snarls hours ahead of any dusting on the roads.

jawoll2.jpg

First sock finished by evening. Simple eyelet pattern.

-Holly

Categories: computers, socks, Travel Tags:

More patients

February 12th, 2008 Comments off

Today was almost a repeat of yesterday. I managed as well to get a number of items taken care of at CHPPMEUR over lunch. All my patients actually showed up on time (except for the last who canceled).

Leaving LRMC at a really reasonable time, I got home to a planned evening of just doggie and me. The phone didn’t ring and I peacefully ate my supper at the kitchen table.

Disturbed by a loud, nasty buzz from the house gate I groaned and went to answer. Turned out to be wonderful – Annette had tried to reach me unsuccessfully by phone; then took a chance on just stopping by to pick up my two Kauni sweaters. She has a show the end of Feb in Wuerzburg and wanted examples to hang in her booth. (my sweaters?). I also expressed appropriate appreciation for the three new bobbins her husband had crafted for my wheel.

Socks

More progress on the marine slip stitch socks this evening; nice to see the second sock under way.
seablue3.jpg

-Holly

Categories: socks Tags:

seeing patients

February 11th, 2008 Comments off

I was up early. Really early since I was going to be working at LRMC for the day. My commuting route, the A6, is often under construction. Since I hadn’t driven it in the last month, it was going to be interesting.

Heading down to the VW wagen at 0600, I was getting into the car when three other family members appeared. Apparently I was dropping them all off at the train station. Nice to know, since I would have happily driven off, listening to a Marcia Muller audio book, without a clue that I had left them standing curbside.

The computer medical records system that the Army (etc) has deployed is not user friendly. It is variously known as Ah, Hell, Lets Try Again (AHLTA) or Attila (the Hun) for the way that it ravages your time. I haven’t used it extensively. The Family Medicine clinic kindly did not book me patients every 20 minutes so that I would have time to get used to it.

It was a good day, I met some really interesting people.

My evening was quality time with the dog, music and knitting.

Socks

First sock in Marine is done except for the grafting. My darning needles, as it turns out, are all in the UK. Not worth trying to have one tucked into my carry on luggage

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tomorrow is another iteration of today.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, military, socks Tags:

Flying BA

February 10th, 2008 Comments off

This is the episode in which we go to the airport, fly to Frankfurt, are actually picked up and driven home. Since it is the eldests birthday, she gets presents.

Mostly, however it is about socks.

With ~1700 flights, we didn’t have to get up very early or head to the airport at the crack of dawn. The oldest teen was back in plenty of time to help with house clean-up and packing. We even managed to find the long stay parking at Heathrow. It is kind of a sad commentary when it is cheaper to park a car than pay for public transport to and from the airport – but we are not going to go there.

The teens were on Lufthansa, I on British Airways. Exiting the bus at Terminal 1 – I said I would see them outside of their baggage claim in Frankfurt since my flight left 15 minutes prior to theirs.

I think I jinxed it.

This particular terminal never posts the gates until 30-45 minutes before you can board. Lack of commitment that, but it makes things easy for the airport authority to change gates with little notice. Real pain for the passengers who then have to keep watching boards, then running to the far end for their flights.

It was lucky that I had brought along yarn.

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A nice cheerful ball of Fleece Artist in colourway Marine that I had purchased last May in Vancouver. 100% Merino, clear and shiny colours.

As it turned out I had enough time to get my sock started and then some.

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As you can probably guess, I had allowed plenty of time at the airport, not including the flight delay. We never did hear the full explanation. The portion that I overheard involved swapping crews, the new crew being inbound from Berlin and not arriving in London till almost an hour after we were due to depart.

The kids already were boarded on their flight, phones off. The DH had his phones going to mailbox and no one answered at home.

I finally reached someone to tell them I was late…after….I arrived in Frankfurt over an hour after the original predicted time. They picked me up.

The birthday celebration was pretty restrained. It was quite late and we were all tired. had brought along a couple of presents from the UK and we replaced her digital camera. Mine was not along, so she is spared pictures.

Audio Books

Working on Michael Palmer – The Society.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, socks, Travel Tags:

Caerphilly Castle

February 9th, 2008 2 comments

We drove to Cardiff to buy some used car seats. I mean seats for the van, lest you be confused that I am looking to fasten small monsters inside my vehicle.

I am sure that I have mentioned a couple of times that some evil robbery ring ripped us off (for the second time), only missing one seat which happened to be in the garage that evening. Since April of last year, I have been limping along on two passenger seats + the driver. This does not work if you have three teens in country and need to get somewhere.

The first time this happened, they managed to get three seats as well. We have a considerable deductible on our van. The cost, including tax, was 2100 Euro before the deductible and took a month to get the seats. This time, I decided to be smarter. Used seats have to be cleaned up a bit. But the cost of 4 seats (head rests, working seatbelts and all) was less than the deductible by $150. I figure that I am ahead.

Can I buy yarn with the money saved? Or is it obligated for the car? In fact, I might have pre-spent it on getting the MOTesting. But I really don’t think that counts, since I had to do it anyway.

The car itself doesn’t get a vote. The kids want car seat covers since the new seats are not a colour match for the old.

By 1100 – we were loaded up on seats and looking for something to see.

It just happened that the Ruby Match between Wales and Scotland was being being held in Cardiff. Driving in to see the Cardiff Castle became a non-starter.

But Caerphilly – now that Castle is wonderful!

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Surrounded by water, its origins go back to the 13th Century. It has everything you would want: towers, courtyards, guard walks.

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Renovations started in the 1800s, but really were undertaken seriously starting around 1930.

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Did I mention that the Sponge Monkeys were along?

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But actually only two of the three since the third one passed on the trip to attend a wedding reception in London. So I only had the opportunity to capture two of the three with the camera.
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And then we headed home, away from the Castle, from Wales back to England.

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Socks

Finished – the Purple Pair!
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Audio Books

Finished up the Marcia Muller in the car. Once home, per vote of the youngest – we went back to watching Medium while Noah thought SciFi was a better deal.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, socks, Travel Tags:

Back to Croughton

February 8th, 2008 1 comment

Perhaps we should skip the part about getting stuck on the M40 behind a major accident and having to bail off on the A40 to do a short cross country parallel universe jaunt?

Or the part where we managed to get everyone through the dental clinic, with only the youngest needing residual dental work. And no more sweets, at all. Much to the betterment of her teeth even though it is going to wrack changes in her eating habits.

UK traffic is not fun. Especially with all the round-a-bouts, in the dark when you can’t see the signs till you are too late to change lanes. Anyway, we did make it home safely.

I would rather have been at work.

Socks

A few more rows on the purple, then looking through my various yarns to see what comes next. I am thinking blues with purple

Arches

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-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, home, socks Tags:

Just a little bit

February 7th, 2008 Comments off

Since I spent most of the day out of the office at a meeting (out in Upavon, where ever that is) returning quite late, the only thing on the fiber front I was able to accomplish was this:

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Yep, they are definitely purple.

Audio Books

Started The Dangerous Hour by Marcia Muller, one of the Sharon McCone series.

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, socks Tags:

Douglas House

February 6th, 2008 Comments off

This is Douglas House, the admin building for the Deutsch Shule London located in Richmond.

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and then there is the guy in the reception area.

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I appreciated him a lot, but the kids really didn’t find him all that funny. The rest of the buildings are not worth photoing. To put it bluntly, they are really, really, really ugly. But the youngest two have been accepted for school next year and we have only to process all the paperwork.

Pirate Geese

I think my buddy Steve in CA is right – those were not ducks, they are Egyptian Geese. Only problem is that the eye patch is supposed to be black, not white. But their personality is certainly more geese-like than duck. Brought back by the Brits from along the Nile, these birds are obviously descended from the feral escapees.

Socks

The first purple is done, now to just cast on the second. I am really liking the fit of the arch-shaped socks and it makes knitting the foot something other than completely boring. I normally don’t bother with patterning on the foot since no one sees it anyway.
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Now, off to a few more episodes of Medium…..

-Holly

Categories: home, socks Tags:

Found them

February 5th, 2008 Comments off

Or perhaps it would be better to say that they found me.

The teens were arriving at London City Airport this morning. Early, oh lets say around 0645. Starting at 0715, I tried reaching them on their cell phones. All Handi calls kept going to mailbox. I finally received a call from George at work, the kids had been able to reach him. Obviously calling out was not a problem.

Looking at the train schedule, they were arriving momentarily in Camberley. Bailing for the train station, they were not happy campers.

Apparently they had been trying to reach me. Since they have German Handis, the phones kept changing networks literally every couple of kilometers. Not a problem if you are dialing out, but impossible to reach.

Every one has recovered and I might even be forgiven since the problem belonged to the phone system.

Meanwhile, they had food and crashed since they had been up probably earlier than 0400 Central European time.

Socks

The Silver Streaks are complete

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and I have started a pair of purple ribbed socks to go with the Mein Weg sweater. The yarn is Valley Farms, with colouring by Kangaroo Dyer.

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Books & Whatever

Miriam and I are watching Medium (First Season) on Dvd. Don’t ask me why, but we are both enjoying the show.

-Holly

Categories: home, socks Tags:

Rattling teeth

February 4th, 2008 Comments off

In the middle of the night I awoke shivering, huddled in a small ball in the middle of the bed. The register felt like ice, stone quiet cold.

For a minute, I thought I was in Minnesota and did what any smart person from the northern part of the US does. I checked the windows, put on another layer and went back to bed. Figuring that if the furance was dead, no one was going to do anything about it in the middle of the night.

After all, I am not all that old and certainly not ill. There are no small children in the house nor anything else that can’t survive a few hours of chill.

Creaking out of bed this morning there seemed to be a tinge of heat to the register. Ok, the furnace is not dead. And the reason for the cold is?

Well, guess what? Yesterday when I was trying to be a responsible citizen and clean the house including vacuming the whole place, I bumped the thermostat.

Never thought anything about it at all. But apparently I had turned the dial down. Low enough that the heating cycle wasn’t triggered. Feeling like an idiot, I turned it back up wondering why I didn’t have some heat since it obviously was a lot colder than 15 degrees in the house.

Perhaps I should even read the directions for the fancy electric programming for what is otherwise a nice, easy heating system.

Bread

This old bread machine, left hanging around my last office by someone moving back to the US has been wonderful. I am backing a loaf every few days. I have now come up with a reciepe that really seems to work:
placed in the bread machine in the following order
1 cup of bread flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of bread flour
2 tbs of brown sugar
scant tbs of granulated yeast.
separately toss an egg, 2 tablespoons of plant oil and three of tomato chutney in a measuring cup. After stirring a bit, fill it the rest of the way up to 1 3/4 cup with milk. Give it another stir, then pour on top of the flour mixture.

Set the bread machine on large, whole wheat (mine takes almost 4 hours since the cycle includes a lot of resting time).

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and you get this lovely loaf of bread.

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Which I did not eat while watching the last DvD of Season 2 Bones since I have kids coming tomorrow and might want to offer them something other than frozen bagels.

Socks

Progress on the second silver streak sock.

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-Holly

Categories: home, socks Tags:

It took 40 Minutes

February 3rd, 2008 Comments off

I got up early. My intention was to drive to Richmond and back before the traffic got horrible. The 42 km took 40 minutes; on a Sunday morning before 0800 without traffic. This does not bode well for doing this anytime during the week. Driving this during rush hour, ie. mornings is completely out of the question. The train, by contrast takes 50 minutes on weekday mornings.

After all of that, the gates were locked, so all that you can see is the don’t enter sign.

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Across the street is the bus stop – aptly named the Fox and Duck

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Speaking of ducks – back on RMAS

we have the strangest ducks which obviously show up any time they think food might be in the offering.

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Oh, you want to actually see them without the picture wiping out the screen?

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The ladies are polite, but he is a nasty hissing character, looking for more than his share.
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Spinning

Making progress on the Blue Faced Leicester.

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Socks

The first Silver Streak is complete
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Knitting

A few rounds more on the Skull Wrist warmers. Long arms are the boring part of the knitting.
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Viking Sweater

And a few more rows on the Viking Sweater. Being into the mountains, it is taking quite an effort to stay on row.
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Audio Books

Acts of Malice by Perri O’Shaugnessey

-Holly
who now only needs to figure out why the heat decided to shut itself off.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home, Knitting, socks, Spinning Tags:

Did I leave the house?

February 2nd, 2008 Comments off

The Terrace, Camberley, Surrey, UK

At five or so in the afternoon when a knock came on my door, I had to scramble to be fit enough to answer. It was an invitation to dinner at my one neighbors. Unfortunately for me, they are leaving in the next couple of months as he is retiring from the Navy. It was a lovely evening of good conversation and great risotto.

Otherwise, I was having such a fine time, I probably would not have left the house. Certainly the niceties of being appropriately dressed for others had not been a consideration.

Yes, I am serious, and some of the fun didn’t even involved the computer.

Travel

I planned out a rece for tomorrow – I need to see how to get to Richmond where the youngest two will be going to school next year. At least if everything works out all right with their interviews on Tues. Which is why I need to know how to get there.

And since this didn’t help

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I gave up and went to Mappy.

Socks

I just realized that I had not really posted the mis-match socks – so here they are.
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or together –
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Audio Books

Obstruction of Justice by Perri O’Shaughnessy

-Holly

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

Starting Feb 2008

February 1st, 2008 Comments off

First – no matter what your political leaning – new coins for the US.

Amanda nominated me for this.
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Now, I just have to get it together to pass it on. I am normally not someone who does memes or other similar type things. I really view them as the blog equivalent of chain email. But this is something different. Which reminds me, I have another one floating that is a bit different, and I need to post that one as well.

As far as the wonderful office portion of the day, I managed to get an amazing amount of things done, for a very slow start. It was mostly small things, people who needed quick answers to things or contacts on the US side, but I fielded enough that I actually felt useful.

Fiber Stuff

Not much progress on either Viking or socks, not enough that will show in a picture, in any case!

Audio Books

Riptide completed.

And if I hadn’t gotten hooked on a stupid computer game, I would have gotten to bed on time…..

Arches

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Which should not surprise you at all.

Did I mention, for those inquiring minds that don’t believe in crop circles that I have it on good authority that the generation of same can be seen at night. If you happen to be out in a helicopter with NGVs.

-Holly

Categories: Arches&Doors, Travel Tags:
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