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Behavior Modification: Changing how you react to something to increase the probability of success.
Behavior modification is something we demonstrate for our children to emulate (actions/language). How to respond to gifts? How to handle compliments? Criticisms? Frustration? Challenges? Dining etiquette? Crossing the street? Thinking ahead/planning multi-step projects?

I can’t tell you how happy I was when I became an adult in a home where I didn’t have to be a constant ‘good example’ for the children. My social and safety skills were sufficient for just the four of us (hubby, two dogs, and moi). Unfortunately, driving solo appears to have deteriorated my driving skills. Unless dogs were in the car (they do not wear seat belts, so I am very careful of how the car leans, shifts gravity-wise, decelerates, etc.) I drove knowing my balance was compensated by pressure on the brake, knowing when to lean in, etc., plus I wore a seat belt. I forget to do the same for the rare human passengers. My son commented. Ouch. My mother commented. Double ouch!

Knitting Modification: Changing how you create something to increase the probability of success/fitting/enough yarn.

Select yarn (in this case, light worsted weight superwash marino stash from Tangled and Warped).

Select basic pattern. My go-to resource for raglan everything is from Spinnerin vol. #309, page 17 (c)1963. Out of print. My original was photocopied from a co-worker. I found one on eBay last year in mint condition. It replaced the deteriorating 35-year-old version that I used for almost every sweater I made for my kids (‘way back when they still wore things I made them).

Guestimate result. I was an English major, so it’s a ‘you do the math’ thing. Guess wrong. Call to get child’s height. Decide it will be a top that will fit her until she is at least four (she is 18 months old now).

Select stitch pattern to insert/add to the basic pattern. Curse stitch pattern. Look for errata online. Finally locate it but it doesn’t cover your situation. How could it have been missed? It has been duplicated and promoted on several blogs. How could they miss this major issue?

Rant to all and sundry on errors. Books in general have errata these days rather than correct patterns from the first printing. Having to check for errata before beginning a project is annoying and unprofessional! Be sure to stress this inconvenience to knitters and non-knitters alike. Grump. Grump some more.

Realize you have converted the pattern to be knit on circular needles rather than back and forth. You compensated by changing the knits to purls every other row, but you neglected to reverse the sequence of stitches as well.

Oh. Um…

Center leaf pattern from Knitting on the Edge, page 121—a really great book with very few errata after 5 years on the market. My apologies to Nicky Epstein. I own a few of her books and this is the first (admittedly self-induced) problem I have ever had. (Not the first self-induced one, and definitely not the last.) (sigh)

Behavior Modification: Accepting that changes are multi-step processes will increase the probability of success. Remind self to assume children are always present and act accordingly (said child may be a shortsighted self…).

End result: A jumper dress for Docious that will grow with her from 18 months (as a dress) to 4t (as a top). Modeled by Blue. (Human model not available at time of photo session.)

New York is HOT

NO,really, it’s HOT. It is steamy, close quarters, in-your-face HOT. Sardine-close, hold-your-breath squeezed-into-a-subterranean-tin-can close.

Then you go outside into windy, frigid atmosphere and recoil in frozen pain. Breathing icicles of air, driving shards of frost into your lungs.

The apartments in NYC are also hot. You can’t really control the temperature that comes into the apartment through the radiators, nor through the heating pipes that travel up through your apartment to the floors higher in the building. Most NYers have at least one window cracked all winter. One is toasty warm wearing just your own skin. Fresh air by the head of the bed compensating for the steamy heat… I loved it!

The NYer winter uniform is The North Face outerwear, in black. New Yorkers apparently are not aware that it came in colors and neither was I (at first). Only one brave soul sported North Face winter garb in non-standard (for NYC) color.

I tried to kinnear a shot of the variety of black coats, parkas, jackets, and activewear, but remember the part about this being NYC and the subways are (insert paragraph one here)? I couldn’t get *to* my camera, let alone sneak a photo.

There are a lot of people in NYC (doh!), and almost as many hole-in-the-wall places to eat. Truly a culinary melting pot of different cultures blending different tastes from every major and minor country/region in the entire world. The Chilean-Brazilian-Asian chicken restaurant we enjoyed for dinner is a good example. An entire roasted and spiced chicken with curried rice, and garden salad. We were served by a plethora (okay, there were only three or four hovering) of Mexican and Chinese wait-staff. To get there (four short blocks away) we passed several equally small bakeries and restaurants featuring cuisine from mixes of Vietnamese, Mexican, French, Philippine, Vegan, well…you get the idea.
Waving 'hi' to DH

Vogue Knitting LIVE did not see fit to list more than a few dining option$, and most of those were inside the Hilton it$elf. (Yes, I did mean to use dollar signs—$8.50 for a cup—not even a mug— of coffee???) There was a Starbucks within sight of the hotel, but the lines extended OUTSIDE the building. Two out of my three days were booked solid with classes and lectures, leaving only 30 minutes for lunch/food scrounging. Frigid wind tunnels outside discouraged aimless wandering. The hot dog vendors outside made a killing on the starving masses.

INSIDE Vogue Knitting LIVE it was also totally hot, with the most impressive collection of knitteratti superstars ever seen in a single gathering. I took pix of many superstars. Franklin Habit probably came out the best, if a mite fuzzy. The Yarn Harlot managed to come out fuzzy *and* have glowing demon-possession eyes. Nancy Marchant was completely back-lit which shows off her fit figure but illuminates little else. The crowd around the Susan Boye booth were hogging Drew the Crochet Dude. Lily Chin was in conversation with Brett Bara (Knit & Crochet Today on PBS). The lighting (as mentioned previously) totally sucked. My photo skills are limited at best. I’m more of a ‘lucky shot’ photographer. Out of respect for them I won’t be publishing any of my fan shots.

The class teachers were all superstars and just the nicest possible people IRL (in real life). When Taiu Landra (Koigu Wool Designs) pulled her mitered knitting pieces out of her suitcases I blurted out “I know that piece! I have that book!” (Knits from a Painters Pallette) Fiona Ellis encouraged us to chart our own Celtic cables after going over the basics of knitting Celtic knot designs (definitely NOT your grandmothers cables!). Many faces I didn’t know until I managed to connect their work with them (Nicky Epstein = Knitted Flowers and Knitting on the Edge, for example).

I passed *this* close (in the Market Place, there were so many people you couldn’t help but rub shoulders!) to Cookie A (link goes to my first of many designed by her), Jared Flood, Cat Bordhi (a typical Cat-style video), and so many more familiar faces from, Ravelry (a huge time sponge and wonderful reference for ideas, patterns, and, and, and), and the Twist Collective patterns.

The latest count of attendees that I saw was 3,000. Wow.

Would I do it again? I would WANT to, but its final expense tally was much higher than anticipated. Remember, I only purchased extra mawata and a set of needles. I stayed at my sister-in-law’s and rode the subway to the Hilton. Bonus—walking the streets of Manhattan and viewing treats like this:

migrain city

If you had to choose a city to have a migraine in (not that anyone in their right mind would CHOOSE to have a migraine), I bet NYC would be rock bottom on the list. The many things that make NYC such a fabulous place (the sights, the lights, the sounds, the smells!) are also what makes it migraine hell (the sights, the lights, the sounds, the smells!)

Packed in a small hotel room with 16 women competing for the most powerful perfume award is guaranteed to incubate a migraine of mammoth proportions in those susceptible. Like me.

Struggling to make sense of the new knitting technique with clumsy fingers clutching two strands of sock yarn (she did tell us to bring worsted weight but I forgot that detail) while battling a migraine is not recommended, but I managed to hang in for the whole class, absorbing enough to duplicate the efforts later. The three hour class felt like it would never end.

I packed the meds. I always pack the meds. But I do not always carry them with me. They were across town, an uptown subway in brutally cold and windy NYC away. And brilliantly sunny. Don’t forget the sunny.

I made it back to the West Side apartment I was staying at (thanks, Pat!). I don’t remember locking the door behind me (thank God for doorman in the lobby, secure buildings!). I do remember fighting to open the blister pack the pill comes in and swallowing almost a half liter of water to make sure it went down.

Then I laid down carefully and waited fitfully for the pain to subside. Only two hours later I felt human again. For a migraine episode, that’s not too bad. Unfortunately it meant I missed one of seminar classes I paid for and dearly wished to attend. Pain wins hands down when the pain is a migraine.

Next up: VK LIVE Knitteratti

corollary: Not everything on the internet is up-to-date/accurate

Living in Massachusetts for the past decade (plus) has spoiled me for all things internet, and electronic tools, gadgets, online reference/research, and even just getting around. (Yes, I have a GPS, but I get a bigger view of the errand run on my laptop than on I do on my minuscule Tom-Tom One®.)

The reliability of the location information, the banking kiosks, the local calendar events, etc. are much better in Massachusetts than here in Florida. Most, if not all, event information includes dates, street addresses (with links to mapping and driving instructions), email contact information, and phone numbers. Florida? Not so much. Add this to the growing-bigger-by-the-minute list of reasons NOT to move here when I retire.

Hypothesis: People in Massachusetts are more likely to use the internet for information than people in Florida. When you know your customers will catch you if you neglect to update store locations, you tend to keep it current. (CVS and JoAnnes Fabric Store—I’m talking to you!)

When in Rome Florida, I have found the Yellow Pages to be more a more reliable reference than the internet. Very disconcerting!

On-site electronic banking tools are not the same nation-wide (even for the same bank)— I found a local branch of my bank here (one of the Uber banks that is just shy of world dominion—I do not mean that in a nice way) and drove over to do a deposit and withdrawal.

No self-service kiosk in site.

I did locate (hard to miss, actually) the four-lane drive through. No deposit slip, no withdrawal slip in sight. Pneumatic tubes bore the check for deposit to an inside clerk who then interrogated me as to my home state, how I wanted the slips to be filled out (line-by-frickin’-line for each of the deposit and the withdrawal slips), required me to accept the tube of papers back to sign/authorize/return for processing, and finally… returned my bank card, my drivers license, my copies of the afore-mentioned slips, and my cash.

To be honest, I think she was as flabbergasted with me as I was with the archaic system she operated with on a daily basis. Back in the mid-90’s this was how I used to do regular banking in NJ. With kids in tow, you really prefer the drive-throughs but you come prepared with slips filled out, etc.

You can find a bazillion things (stores, insurance companies, car sales lots) within a five-minute drive here in the Clearwater/Tampa Bay area. You can’t walk to most of them. I don’t think they believe in usable sidewalks. There are parking lots and there are roads. Areas with sidewalks seem to surround residential neighborhoods, but INSIDE the neighborhoods I saw no sidewalks. Admittedly this is a small geographical selection of a very large state to base this hypothesis on, but it is where *I* am, so it is statistically valid IMHO.

If it weren’t for the lovely warmth and sunshine, Florida would have damn little to recommend itself to me!

…and the Florida DMV

If you make the mistake of allowing your vehicle registration to expire, your very existence may also be terminated—sort of like those Hindu rites where the wife leaps into the husband’s funeral pyre, you know?

To reinstate your existence, you simply provide proof of birth (legal, embossed-with-state-seal copy of same will also be accepted) along with your current (original, not photo-copied) Social Security (SS) card.

Should you be female, and have been married/changed your name, you will need to show an unbroken chain of legal documentation showing how your name changed from point A (birth certificate) to point B (SS name)–or, in my mothers case,  to point C and point D. Acceptable proof is a copy of the marriage license from the originating city/state. Um… forgot the first state, the next two were Michigan, and the last two were Nevada and New York State. I am not sure she remembers the exact towns or the actual dates anymore, either.

Mother “expired” at midnight on her 81st birthday because:

  • she couldn’t find the neccessary paperwork on her 36″ diameter dining table in time, and
  • the state of Florida refuses to believe one can exist without a current driver/auto registration (they may be right but in that case, so why are they still insisting on getting the tax $$s from an expired resident??)

We will spend tomorrow camped at the closest FL DMV (or whatever they call it) office we can find. Mother is depressed at the prospect of spending an entire day dealing with the convoluted Florida registry, and I can’t say I blame her! I have knitting to do to occupy my hands (a big help to reduce bloodshed) and I am not leaving there until it is resolved one way or another.

Getting old is definitely, MOST definitely, NOT for wimps!

I love getting links from my sister. I enjoy finding interesting links from the blogs I follow, too. But I do not always have a chance to look at links in emails right away. So I marked the email as ‘unread’ to remind me to get back to it at a more convenient time. My inbox is all up-to-date but I still show almost (ulp!) 386 unread emails because I want to go back to them for one reason or another. I know of a few others who do this, too. They are all female. I wonder if there’s a gender connection?

But I digress…

A recent email link (sorry, sis, I can’t remember exactly when it was) referred me to an speech by the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ I like how author Elizabeth Gilbert thinks about the concept of ‘genius’ and have taken her view as my own.

For those who don’t have a spare 18 minutes this very minute to watch the video, it really boils down to the question of whether or not a person IS a genius, or a person HAS a genius. There is huge pressure in the former, relief in the latter.

Those who have felt the rush of creation in words, music, voice, building, whatever… know that the sensation is unlike any other. Many say they feel ‘possessed’ by some divine inspiration— that the story wrote itself, or the symphony exploded whole within their mind generating a feverish rush to capture it whole before the rushing torrent becomes a wave, then a wisp, then vanishing smoke.

Brainstorming can be like that. Alone or in a group, a new way of looking at things (inside or outside some construct, say, a box) can fire up the neurons to leapfrog into fresh ideas, or cascade a concept through several iterations. This is delightful, entertaining play for me. Hey universe: May I please have a job like that?

The best part to me, however, is freedom from the egotistical concept that you may not always create something genius. You show up and you work and sometimes there’s magic involved. Copywriters and authors bank on that happening frequently enough to pay the bills.

Some days I love my words and they love me back. Other days, not so much. It’s all okay. I has genius. <g>

I enjoy playing with type, probably because I play with words and graphic design a lot. Sometimes I even get paid for that (those?) which is especially nice! The creators of this video have taken movable typography to a whole new level, giving me a (so far, anyway) earworm I don’t mind a bit.

I dare you to not think of other things you could use this technique on–impossible!

One of the things that cracked me up most while visiting in NJ for Christmas (this is not the time to discuss the snowy traveling weather we had), was during a trek to the local food store (in the early part of the snow storm, but that’s not important here). McCafferty’s in Princeton had an olive bar. Not a salad bar with a lot of green or black olives, or a pasta bar with olive-heavy antipasto, but a real, full sized olive bar with at least THIRTY variations of olives, olive condiments, olive mixtures, and even olive paste!

I know you use olives in martini’s and some people use them in potato salad (yeuch!), antipasto (another not-my-thing), but there’s more recipes with olives??

Can you tell I am not an olive fan? I was so floored by the idea that an entire island-style bar filled with nothing but olives was profitable in any way, shape, or form, that I talked about it. Maybe I talked about it too much, who knows? I told everyone. I was just so flabbergasted to hear that these things are very popular at Whole Foods stores and many of the people I talked to knew of them.

My sister (of the NJ trip) loves our Hannaford’s and enjoys looking through the store when she visits (cheap dates and easy thrills, that’s my sister and I). Up here for New Year’s Eve celebrations, we went on a (5-minutes-away) day trip so she could explore the store. I had been there just before Christmas, so you wouldn’t think I would be seeing anything new, would you?


WordPress is encouraging bloggers to increase their post frequency with an experiment in blogging motivation. They’ll provide tips, themes, ideas, suggestions, and inspiration, hoping it will result in increased blog activity.

Good timing, because I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, writing and filing snippets for future use, I’m starting right now. I will be posting on this blog somewhere between once a day and once a week for all of 2011 (keeping my options flexible in case crazy times return).

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.



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