31 July 2007


May 4, 2007 brought devastation to a tiny town in Kansas. Greensburg has a population of less than 1,500, and is roughly 970 square miles in area. The tornado that hit this south-central Kansas town was an EF5—the highest number on the scale for measuring the size and intensity of tornadoes. Reported to be over a mile in width, the twister came at night, leveling almost the entire town, killing 10 people. The aerial photos shown here say it all.

Living in Kansas, you get used to dealing with tornado season. Every spring, the monthly tornado siren tests start. Every thunderstorm has the potential to drop a tornado, so you learn to watch the TV weather reports closely. Some people have weather radios to warn them of oncoming storms. Shane and I have added the internet to our arsenal of weather-watching weapons. Weather is so important here that you eventually become a kind of expert on what to look for in the weather reports, and when to know if some really bad stuff is on its way to you.

Despite all this, I have become complacent. Even though we had a microburst in Lawrence last March, which is the closest I have come to being in a tornado since I was a small child, I tend not to get too freaked out when bad weather hits. I guess because I’ve lived here for so long (18 years), and in that time, there have only been a few tornadoes hit within the city limits, that I have taken for granted that we have always been safe. Storm, after storm, after storm come and go, and Lawrence is spared.

But really, we have just been lucky. Seeing what happened in Greensburg makes me think about how easy it is to lose everything. Think about it... In the blink of an eye, your entire life can be destroyed. Yes, your house has been leveled, but so has the grocery store, which means you can’t just run and buy more food. Go to work in the morning? Nope, that building is gone too. Drive to another town in order to find shelter and food? Sorry, your car is in pieces in a nearby wheat field. The bank, the post office, the courthouse, the ENTIRE TOWN is gone.

Thankfully for the people of Greensburg, there has been a lot of support from neighboring towns, as well as the state of Kansas, and even from people outside of Kansas. FEMA trailers have been trucked in for the families—-families that are determined to rebuild.

As a knitter, I am glad that I heard about Lara’s project to make afghans for the families of Greensburg (Thanks Lime & Violet!). She requested that knitters make 8” afghan squares and send them to her. She would wash, block, and oversee assembly of the afghans. I don’t do a lot of charity knitting, mostly because of a lack of time, but I wanted to contribute to this cause. No, it’s not money, or supplies; there are other organizations that are collecting those things. Donating to a knitting charity is about providing comfort during a difficult time. It’s about providing warmth. And, it’s about sharing love and prayers. I was only able to knit 5 squares.

Greensburg squares

It’s not that many when you consider that Lara has so far received over 2,600 squares, but a prayer is knitted into each one. God bless the citizens of Greensburg. May they rise above this difficult time and rebuild their lives, stronger than ever.

25 July 2007

WIPs today

In my efforts to be a better blogger, I thought I’d start posting weekly reports on my works in process. I have a lot of projects in line to finish by the end of the year (can’t believe I’m already thinking about Christmas when it’s 90 degrees outside), so maybe it won’t all seem so daunting if I record my progress. Photos will be posted with the updates when possible. The lighting in my house is atrocious no matter the time of day, so I will do my best to take pics that actually show something interesting.

First up is the Lady Eleanor shawl from Scarf Style. I’m working it in Patons SWS, in the Natural Geranium colorway.

L Eleanor 072407

It’s a Christmas gift for someone, but I won’t say who just yet. At bedtime last night, I had 11 tiers of rectangles finished. I am absolutely loving this pattern. I’m using big needles (10.5 Addis) so it’s going so quickly! Entrelac is an interesting technique. I even managed to teach myself to purl backwards so that I don’t have to turn my work every 8 stitches. So cool!

Next up is the Celtic Knot Afghan.

Celtic Knot 072407

I’m using Cascade 220 in a dark turquoise heather (can’t remember the actual color name right now). This is also a gift. I am about 3/4 finished with the first strip. I have to make 3 strips, sew them together, then pick up stitches for the edging. I have to have this finished by the beginning of October. I’m not the fastest knitter, so we’ll see if that actually happens. Good thing is the pattern is pretty easy to follow, though it’s complicated enough that I don’t have it memorized just yet. Love the yarn.

Number 3 is a dishcloth. I won’t say much about this just yet. The design is my own. (Oooh, you mean you designed a whole dishcloth yourself?!? You’re so talented! Not!)

dishcloth 072407

And last is my selfish indulgence—a pair of socks for me, me, me.

Lacy Rib sock 072407

I try to have something going on small needles at all times so that I can switch back and forth between small and large needle projects. It’s my vain effort to stave off carpal tunnel. Anyway, the pattern is the Ribbed Lace stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks, with some extra stitches thrown in to accommodate my fat ankles. Yarn is Koigu. The colors are pooling weirdly on the leg, but I don’t mind. They’re pretty anyway.

That’s all she wrote for now. Progress report next week!

24 July 2007

A funny for Tuesday

I saw this on another blog and I just had to steal it.


And, has anyone been to this site? It's good for a laugh if you have some time to waste. (As an aside: Any line in a song that contains the title of the song should never be confused. Anyone who confuses such a line is an idiot.)


I found out the other day that the Yarn Harlot is coming to Wichita in September! I don't relish the idea of driving 3 hours to the murder capital of Kansas, but this is the closest she's getting to me, so I'm there! I've already warned Wendy that she has to go with me. I'm so excited!!

18 July 2007

My beloved Birks

I am a Birkenstock whore. I have, let’s see, 9 pairs. With the exception of a pair of mary janes and a pair of clogs, Birkenstocks are pretty much all I wear. After spending years wearing clothes and shoes that were too short/tight/skimpy/pinched/just damn uncomfortable, I decided several years ago that I was no longer going to wear anything that made me uncomfortable. Bye, bye heels! Bye, bye hard-soled shoes! Now I’m all Birkenstocks all the time.

Anyway, 6 or 7 years ago I bought a pair of Arizonas, in black leather. I wore them, and wore them, and wore them. After a couple of years, they were pretty worn, so I relegated them to the back of the closet. Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. Knowing that I had to travel to Atlanta for work, I started looking for a new pair of black Birks (cuz, you know, black is dressier than brown). Looking around on the internet I found what I wanted, but I really didn’t want to spend $120. It was irking me that I already have this perfectly good pair of black shoes that with a little repair could probably last a few more years, but I’m going to have to spend $120 on new ones because I’m not sure mine can be refurbished. Then, I ran across Footwise. They could not only repair my Birks, but could completely replace the footbed, so that everything but the straps is new. And, it would cost me half of the cost of a new pair. So, I filled out the order form, packaged up the shoes, and sent them to Oregon. Unfortunately, I didn’t send them out soon enough, so they weren’t returned to me before I had to leave for Atlanta. When I returned from my trip, the box was there waiting for me. I was so impressed with the work. The shoes looked brand new. However, there was a small problem. I had asked if they could replace my size 36 footbed with a size 37 footbed, as my feet have grown a bit in the last few years. An earlier email from the company reassured me that this substitution was possible, so I was a little surprised when I opened the box and saw that the footbed was size 36. I emailed them again and asked if this could be fixed without any additional cost, and not only are they going to fix it for free, since it was their error, but I don’t have to pay for shipping the shoes either way. They were very apologetic and responded very quickly to my issue. Customer service at Footwise is excellent. I have another pair of Arizonas that need repair, and they will definitely be getting that business from me.

13 July 2007

Concert of the year

On 2 July, Shane, Wendy, Pete and I drove to St. Louis to see The Police in concert. I purchased the tickets when they went on sale in March. I have been a major fan (they, along with Sting solo are my absolute favorites) since I was in junior high. Of course, by then, the band had broken up, so I never have had the chance to see them live until now. Once I heard they were actually touring, and that the closest they would be coming to Kansas was St. Louis, I was there.

We drove out the day of the concert, in the morning. The drive from Lawrence to St. Louis is about 4.5 hours. Shane drove the whole way, even navigating the hellish highways in St. Louis without losing his mind. I just have to say that it is not the nicest city. The hotel we stayed at was downtown, right across the street from the Arch. The area around there is full of run-down buildings. And I don't mean just empty and abandoned. I mean in ruins. And dirty. I was not impressed. The way that the highway exits are there, we ended up passing our hotel and had to drive across the river in order to get back on the right track to the hotel. Very frustrating when you can see the building, but can't get there for anything. Thankfully, Shane kept a level head and managed to get us safely to the hotel. We stayed at the Adam's Mark. I was a bit worried when we pulled up because I could see that the building was older. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Here's our room...
St Louis hotel1
It even had a little sitting area...
St Louis hotel2

Once we had settled in the hotel, we hopped back in the car and drove the mile and a half to the Scottrade Center.
Scottrade Center

We had to wait outside for a while because the doors weren't open yet. Once inside, we got some food (we hadn't had dinner yet), and found our seats. This is what we could see from where we were sitting (please forgive the crappy cell phone pictures)...
Before the concert

We waited for probably half an hour for the first band to start playing. The name of the band was Fiction Plane. No one I've ever heard of, but apparently, the lead singer is Sting's son. Sounded just like him.
Fiction Plane

I realized when The Police hit the stage that in fact, the concert was sold out. There were people everywhere. And they all knew the songs. All of us were reliving our teenagerhood. I took a few crappy pics. I even took 18 seconds of bad video, but I'm not going to try and post that.

That last one was "Roxanne". Can you tell by the red lights?

It was an excellent concert. I'm really glad we went. It was well worth the $100 per ticket. Shane wasn't a fan before the concert, but he definitely is now. For three guys alone on the stage, they rock.