Monday, April 11, 2011

Raindrops On Roses And Whiskers On Werewolves

Every so often, I come to a point where I think it is in my best interest to start focusing on the positive.  I'm generally a fairly sunny sort of gal. I can see the up side.  However, I still believe it can't hurt to have a list of stuff that is anywhere from moderately to extremely awesome tucked away for an emergency.  You never know.  Dark days tend to come in strings of ten or twelve.  If you are already prepared, then you aren't reduced to stretching yourself into believing that stepping in a pile of doggy doo is a nice way of reminding you to wash your socks.

Here are a few of my latest Favorite Things:

Short Rows, Hold The Wraps

I was startled to learn that a short row heel fits me remarkably well.  I was a die hard flapper and nothing was going to convince me that my delicate foot could ever survive being housed in a short row.  Until, that is, I tried one.  Then I was hooked!  Plus they lent themselves so well to the toe-up construction!  What could be better?

Well...not having to pick up the stupid wraps on the short rows.  That could be better.  Wraps suck.  There is no way around that.  Except that there is!

The interwebs have taught me that the whole wrap-pick-up deal is a big fat lie perpetrated upon us by The Man.  TM seems to think that we should all suffer this nonsense for no reason other than it amuses TM to see us going through the agony.

Really all you have to do is get to the point where you'd normally wrap and turn and then just turn.  Don't wrap.  Wrapping is stupid.  Don't go there.  Once you've finished the first half of the heel and are at the point where you'd be gearing yourself up for the pick ups, relax.  There are no wraps.  Every time you get to one before the unworked stitch, knit or purl two stitches together then make one to keep the count right.  Turn and carry on just like the wrappers but secure in the knowledge that you have evolved beyond such things.

With a little practice, it looks perfect and even if it didn't there are no wraps so who really cares???

Better Bookmarking

Fellow Educators, hearken to my words!  I know your pain.  I know what it means to have a roomful of students before you and the need to get all of them on the same web page before the end of the period.  I have been there.  Some will get it, a few will come close and a small but crucial percentage will give up and just go to YouTube to watch funny baby videos.

PortaPortal is really a much better way to go.  As much as I like a good funny baby video, I don't think the taxpayers would appreciate that being a part of the lesson plan.  With a free account, you can collect and organize a reasonable number of bookmarks for the little darlings and everyone can get where they need to be with a minimum of scrambling and typos.

The site is teacher friendly and, while the free version has quite a few ads, they are very easy to work around.  The whole concept would work well for anyone who needs a lot of people looking at the same thing, really.  For example, if you are planning a family vacation and want everyone to take a virtual tour of the island you've chosen to and debate the merits of the bike rental places available, PortaPortal could be most helpful.  And you get to choose your own background color, too.

Oh, and yes.  The developers are very aware of how much the name sounds like PortaPotty.  They did it on purpose because they think it's funny.  Which it is.

Being Human

Yes, it is the American version and yes, we all know that the original BBC show is always going to be better.  But I still love this show enough to have stopped watching the latter so it won't spoil it for me.  I'll go back later and catch up with it. Josh The Ultra-Adorable Werewolf Who Brings Out A Maternal Side I didn't Even Know I had is worth it.  I almost even look forward to Mondays now...


Just kidding.  I don't love the IRS.  They are not a favorite thing.  I sort of hate them even if they are a necessary evil and whatnot.  What I do love, however, is that I can get a free transcript of last year's return when my laptop crashes and my "foolproof" back up didn't work out so good either.  Of course, I should have requested it sooner, but I like to think a little added stress at tax time is good for the complexion.  It gives the cheeks a glow.  And that wild, bug-eyed look really takes the crows feet for a nice stretch.  You can hardly see them.

Storytelling On A Budget

How happy am I to know that I can get free PodioBooks through Itunes?  Here's a hint:  VERY!  I love to listen to books while I make the dreary commute to work and my Ipod runs nicely through my car's sound system.  But audiobooks can get a little spendy and I am, after all, a girl on a budget.  I'm not saying that content available for free is always high quality.  In fact, it is sometimes kind of dreadful.  Still, there are some real gems out there and a great deal of amazing engineering that goes into producing them.  Many are even fully cast.  And zombie laden.  Lots of zombie fiction out there just waiting to distract me from the fact that I am going to work.

I have lots of other favorite things, but these are my current pick-me-ups.  When I feel the blues start to peek their ugly little heads around the corner, I just put on my short-row socks, add a new bookmark to my class site and cue up a tale of horrific, ghastly ghouls.  Suddenly, the world is a brighter place except for the tax stuff.

I wonder if werewolves have to do taxes...



Jeanne said...

Do you have a good site/video to recommend on the short row heel? I just did my first one, and I'm so not sure that it's correct. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I need to investigate this no-wrap thing. It sounds promising.

Here is my no-cost audiobook solution: get the audiobook on CD from the library; rip it to iTunes; load it onto your iPod; return the CD version to the library. You have to do some putzing in iTunes to make it all work flawlessly, but if you are interested drop me a line and I'll whip up a tutorial for you. I've been doing this ever since I canceled my Audible subscription and started saving $22/month.

Donna Lee said...

I wrap my stitches and then just don't pick up the wraps. It gives me a nice "seam" up the sides of the heel and I like the look.

Join the Free Library of Philadelphia. It will cost you 15 dollars a year since you don't live here but it's way cheaper than buying audiobooks. (And they have thousands!) You can download them as mp3s and they now work with apple devices. It's way cool.

Lynne said...

I have just started my first toe up sock and will reach the heel in about one more inch of knitting. Thanks for the warning about 'wraps'.

My local library (in Australia) has audio books for members - Donna Lee's advice is sound if it only costs you $15 per year.

Julia G said...

After years of dutifully wrapping and re-wrapping my short-row heels, I am ready to throw caution to the wind and abandon wraps, or try Donna Lee's half wrap suggestion (that Philly Free Library sounds good too).

I have to figure out a better way to get my iPod to play through my car stereo - I used to use the fake cassette which hardwired it in, but lately I've been using the FM radio gizmo, and sometimes it's dodgy.

My kids have been watching "Being Human" too - it looks intriguing. What could be more adorable than a werewolf?

Anonymous said...

"Wrapping is stupid." A. men.

Elaine said...

I never actually understood the function of 'wraps' and so had a very hard time doing short row heels with a process that I saw so little value in. (I restrained myself from saying "that I could wrap my head around".) So maybe I'll try toe-up again and throw caution (and wraps) to the wind. It's only a sock, right?

Catherine said...

I love podiobooks have you tried anything by Nathan Lowell. All of his books are great. No zombies, but you can't have everything!! Any recommendations will be appreciated.

trek said...

Zombie Bunny

Wrong on so many levels (including the one where white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all, just a by-product of the real thing).

trek said...

Ack - wrong link. Right Link

Leah said...

So. I am slow on both the uptake and the follow through. I read this post and thought it was cute.

Next morning I was wondering what was troubling you that prompted you to make the list. I hope your little lambs have not strayed too close to the big bad wolf.