Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Great Knitting Book Caper

Someone in my SnB called our attention to this article... very interesting!

Librarians pinpoint bandit in mystery of missing patterns

(by Amy Goetzman -

Overheard at a knitters gathering in Minneapolis: "The library catalog said the books were checked in, but they were not on the shelf. And I know how to use the Dewey Decimal system! Maybe the librarians are hiding them.

Confessions of a knitting librarian: "Well, actually, we were."

At some Hennepin County library locations, you'll have to talk to a librarian to get your hands on the latest knitting books. Why are they holding these tomes hostage when knitting is enjoying such a rebirth of cool?

Apparently the pattern books need protection from a wool-minded slasher.

90-something books vandalized

Last fall, librarians at the St. Louis Park, Ridgedale and Golden Valley branches noticed dozens of knitting books coming back with pages missing. One of the St. Louis Park librarians also worked at the Burnhaven library in Dakota County, and observed the same phenomenon at that library system. An estimated 90 books were vandalized, and an investigation was launched.

Vandals and fools should never underestimate the intelligence of people who work surrounded by books, and it wasn't long before librarians tracked down "an older gentleman" who was checking out massive numbers of knitting books and magazines from a far-flung array of libraries. He was often the first patron to check out a brand-new volume, making it easy to eliminate other suspects.

Once the avenging librarians pinpointed their suspect, they wielded their most shaming weapon: a massive load of library fines. The Dakota and Hennepin systems each levied approximately $400 in fines against the man and his wife, and banned the couple from the library for a year.

And that's when the stranger side of human nature presented itself. The man first denied the charges, blaming other patrons. Then he blamed librarians for the damaged brand-new books. And then he blamed his wife. He finally petitioned Hennepin County library commissioner Gail Dorfman for mercy.

Accused vandal needles librarians
"Oh, they felt very wronged," said Dorfman. "I worked with them, because they are regular users of the library and longstanding good citizens. We removed the fines (Dakota County did not), and perhaps the mystery of the knitting needle caper has been solved. It hasn't happened again.

"This was the biggest issue that we had, before the library merger," said Dorfman, laughing. "In this business of public service, things come up that you couldn't anticipate in your wildest dreams."

Vandalism of library material isn't uncommon, but when someone has a special interest, it catches the attention of librarians. "A few years ago, a person hit all the MELSA (Metropolitan Library Service Agency) libraries, and stole a huge number of materials," said Roseanne Bryne, deputy director of the Dakota County libraries. "He was particularly interested in fish and aquariums. Librarians noticed the theme, and they began comparing notes with other libraries. The authorities raided his home, and found boxes and boxes of materials."

Byrne says "99 percent" of patrons use the library responsibly. "People do love and appreciate their libraries, and this is extremely rare behavior. And most knitters are refined, gentle people who wouldn't do anything like this."

Monday, November 19, 2007

thinking of you

Danica Radtke
April 10, 1985 - Nov 19, 2006
Thinking of you today one year from your passing. Missing your sweet smile and all of your funny jokes. I am blessed in this lifetime to have known you, such a vibrant soul.
Beautiful Danica, I pray you are at peace.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


This weekend I went to a yarn shop that I had never been to before - Nina, in Wicker Park. It is a beautiful little boutique with luxurious yarns in almost a gallery type setting. Great atmosphere. Not too small. Helpful staff.

They were having their 3rd birthday sale - 20% all yarn. (and it's still going on today!) Due to the sale, however, there is no ball winding taking place today.... which I didn't quite get, since someone, whom I think was a staff member, was sitting on the couch knitting the entire time. Anyway, it wasn't a huge disadvantage. (I'll just make Steve hold some yarn while I wind.)

We purchased some wonderful yarn and saved $15. I bought 4 hanks of Malibrigo, and 3 balls of Aurora8..... all for projects I have in mind. The line was quite long, as we stood there for 20 minutes in our winter coats, but I don't think they are used to that sort of volume. There were cookies and tea. I had to remove my coat because I was getting warm, and by the time the woman in front of me had her turn at the register she almost fainted! Not sure why, but it gave everyone quite a scare and I think she was a bit embarrassed. But I hope she is alright!!!! Still a little worried about her, even though I don't know her.

In other news this week, I RECEIVED MY INVITATION TO RAVELRY!!!!!! Equivalent to myspace for knitters/crocheters! This site is awesome. I know it going to suck up large amounts of my time, but it's very cool, so I don't care. You should definitely put your name on the waiting list. There is still a lot of testing going on, that's why you have to be on a waiting list. It took a couple of weeks to get my invite.

If anyone wants to find me on ravelry my screen name is sarahsuemagoo.........

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Clinic Saga continued

(this is a continuation of a previous post)

The woman who is sitting next to me continues to wait for her name to be called. She's huffing and puffing and checking her watch. She approaches the receptionist saying, "I just need to see the doctor for a moment. I have to go pick up my kids by 6pm or the day care charges me extra." I'm thinking that she's in a much worse situation than me, so I'm not too upset when they call her in before me.... even though I know my appointment was higher in the queue.

I can hear the conversation going on behind the desk. The woman is saying that her bottom lip is totally numb, and the nurse is telling her that she is having a terrible allergic reaction and should have gone to the ER.

Finally they call my name and I'm a taken into an exam room where the nurse takes my vitals.

It's only about 5 minutes before the doctor comes in.

DR: Tell me what has been going on.

SBE: Well I've been wheezing and coughing an awful lot. It seems like it's been going on for weeks.

DR: (listens to my chest with her stethoscope) Yes, you are wheezing, you have bronchitis. Do you have any family history of bronchitis or asthma?

SBE: No, but do you think it could be caused by allergies? Because it seems like it only happens when I'm at home. Do you think it could be my cats? (I've been doing my own internet research. We poor folk often have to self diagnose if we can't afford to go to the doctor)

DR: Yes, it could be your cats. You should get rid of them.

OBVIOUSLY this woman does not have any pets and if she does, I feel sorry for the poor little creatures. If anyone knows me they know how INSANE-in-love I am with my cats and they would never even THINK of suggesting this. It is equivalent to someone saying a mother should put her children up for adoption. At this point I'm ready to burst into tears. I didn't want to cry in front of everyone so I managed to keep some sort of composure until I got home.

She writes three Rx's - amoxicillin, and two different inhalers. And as she's doing so, she's asking me if I will come back to this clinic after I get my insurance (I had briefly mentioned getting new job, etc). It makes sense that when people who have good insurance go to a clinic like this, it helps their patients who don't have insurance. I understand that. But do I really want to screw around with this sort of thing???? This is my health and my body we are talking about here. Not to mention the emotional stress of visiting the clinic.

I feel for those people, I really do. I feel like I have been one of them. It hasn't been as hard for me because I don't have kids to deal with, and Steve and I know that if we ever have any kind of real huge problem, our parents are stable enough to back us up. A lot of people don't have that kind of insurance. They have nothing.

But I feel like I deserve the right to go to a doctor's office that is clean and private, where medical professionals aren't too stressed to be compassionate. The doc says she wants to see me again in one week. "Okay," I say. I hope I never set foot in the clinic again, unless it's to donate money to them (if I were THAT well off....)

As I'm writing my check for the doctor's fee the paramedics are there picking up the swollen lip lady. "What else was on the pizza?" they're asking her as they wheel her out on a stretcher.

Now I have my inhalers that will hopefully get me by until I can see my new Dr.... who will hopefully refer me to an allergist, and never suggest giving my children up for adoption. I already feel much better after one day. It's a whole different world when you can finally breathe.

The Health Clinic Blues

Last night I went to the poor people's health clinic. My insurance doesn't kick in until December 1st and I have been coughing and wheezing for WEEKS possibly months... so I decided I couldn't wait any longer. I made an appointment, which lead to one of the most depressing evenings I've had in a long time.

I had planned my entire day around this appointment. I drove to work, got there early, left work early... and arrived at the clinic about 5 mins before my appointment. I had been there before.

I ended up waiting 1.25 hours just to get into the exam room. Someone in the office had really bad B.O. There were several small children from various families running around making noise. I couldn't get any knitting done... no concentration. (I wished I had my headphones..... would that have been rude?) It was like an extended El ride, only people kept getting on. Hardly anyone walked out the door the whole time I was in the waiting room. No one had any sense of personal volume.

A middle aged mother and her daughter, who was about my age, walked into the clinic when I was parking. They were waiting just as long as myself. The daughter went up to the receptionist several times (who was constantly on the phone - not making personal calls, I'm sure, but was very busy) to explain her situation. Apparently the mother did not speak English and the daughter had to be there with her to translate, or maybe also as her transportation. All they wanted was the mother's mammogram results but the daughter had to be in class at 5pm... they were there well after 5. I thought, "Oh God, how terrible to receive your mammogram results in a place like this.... especially if it was bad news...."

Another family came in through the door - a mother, father, and son who was about 9 or 10. None of them spoke English.... I couldn't believe that the son didn't know any. It seems like even if he went to a school where Spanish was the main language (not surprising for Chicago) they would at least have English as a subject.... who knows. Anyway, there was only one nurse who spoke Spanish. She spoke with the father for a moment just behind the counter. I think they were trying to find out how much something cost.... not sure. (Maybe I should brush up on my one year of HS Spanish :) The father came out and spoke with the mother. (At least the child was well behaved in this family. He wasn't maniacally bouncing off the walls like the others.) Then he had to consult the nurse again. He waltzed off behind reception and knocked on the exam room where the nurse was in with a patient!!! I saw all of this going on through the glass window of the reception desk. I saw him turn the handle of the door! There is NO privacy in this place! It's insane!

At this point I'm very close to just walking out the door and cutting my losses.

I waited.....

An obviously teenage girl comes through the front door with her freakin' 5 month old baby! The baby was very cute but this was ABSURD. This girl was probably 16.... I was disgusted - not necessarily at her, but at the situation.

Another woman comes through the door. She has an appointment, but she's after me in the queue.... she sits down... and waits....

to be continued...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cardigan City

The first half of fall I spent lots of my knitting time working on a couple different cardigans. This is my first Baby Surprise Jacket and I LOVED the pattern! It's so awesome. For this one I used 2 different colors of sublime. I call this one Tavis's first cashmere sweater. It's for my cousin's baby due in about a week. I wanted him to have something fancy-shmancy.

I gave it to Zach & Niph recently and they liked it a lot. Of course it won't fit Tavis until he's almost a year or so.... maybe 9 months. But that's okay. It's nice to have something to grow into - especially cashmere! Now, it's not totally cashmere - it's blended with merino. Still I know it isn't practical, but it's not meant to be a practical gift.

I took these photos on a very nice October day in someone else's garden - tee hee!

A detail shot of the colors and buttons

I was so pleased with the way the first one turned out that I made a second BSJ and I'm not saying who this one is for! It's a SURPRISE.... just in case they read my blog... but if they DID read my blog they would probably know right away....
Anyway, I used Noro Silk Garden Lite and I forgot what the color was called. Maybe it was just a dye lot number. Yeah it was. And I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE the buttons I chose for this one. In the first photo I hadn't sewn them on yet, but the second is a detail shot. Surprisingly, I bought them at Hancock. I was in a pinch and I just had to spend some time looking. There they were!

Now, the third sweater is one that I made up myself, for myself. I really like it. There are a lot of things that just "happened" while I was making it. I didn't have a ton of expectations. A majority of the sweater is made by picking up stitches. I'm not completely happy with it so I want to play around with the pattern a little bit more. So maybe in a year I'll have another version...

It has one big oblong button to hold it together in front. Oh, and the yarn is some strange rayon blend that I purchased on big spools from Midwest Discount Yarn. I doubt if I will ever be able to tell what it's really made of or find any more of it. The next edition may be constructed of something entirely different.

I added some yarn overs to the edge to make it feel a little prettier.

Well I'm off to bed..... sitting at a desk all day really is exhausting.
More tomorrow on my christmas stocking dilemmas.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pop Quiz

This photo represents a part of my first day at work. Is this:

a.) Me, yawning, exhausted from the time change.

b.) Me performing an operetta as an expression of my joy and gratitude for this new job.

c.) Singer with a Glove by Degas

d.) Me expressing my frustrations to the woman in HR... and maybe, just maybe, I'm making that gesture where my hand comes out backwards from under my chin. (Is that an Italian thing?)

e.) All of the above

So yeah, the first day was "no big whoop". Maybe I did feel a little bit like ant in an ant farm. Maybe I liked the feeling. Except I didn't like the part where I came home in the dark. That was no fun. But I DID like the part where I waited for Steve and we rode two trains and a bus home together! AND he changed his schedule so that we start and stop at the same time everyday so we ALWAYS ride two trains and bus together.... isn't that sweet???? He told his supervisor that he didn't want me to come home and have to start cooking dinner without him every day. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

I had a fantastic four day weekend. George and Mary came to visit us, mostly to take the motorcycle back to Cinci for some work, but they also agreed to spend some time with us. But only if we played Wii, they said!

Steve is coaching them in tennis

In addition to all the Wii, we had a fake Thanksgiving potluck for Julie's bday! YUM. We were all in pain for the rest of the evening. That's how good it was. Everything was delicious. I should have photo'd the 10 lb chocolate pie.

George and I set up a website for him to post all kinds of family history info and details of their trip to Greece (who knows, maybe we'll actually get to go someday!) Nothing is really on there yet....

And on Sunday, Steve and I walked in the park. How nice.

Recently, Monkey and I had a photoshoot - *I* took pictures of *her*, not vice versa. She couldn't figure out how to work the camera.... something about thumbs.

Anyway, if you want to see more cute photos of my beautiful Monkey (and I know you ALL do) go to my Picasa web album.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Girl Day

Yesterday I had the day off. It's part of my long weekend before I have to go to a REAL job.

The night before was slightly chaotic. I hosted Stich n Bitch and consumed large quantities of spicy indian food, brie, goat cheese, cookies, and beer. If that isn't a recipe for disaster in my stomach, I don't know what is!

On top of that I noticed the basement had flooded just before my guests arrived.

Sleeping that night was restless. I couldn't stop thinking about the basement and my soaking wet storage space, my new job, knitting projects, etc.... I threw up the concoction I had ingested for dinner. Phew.... I needed a relaxing day.

Enter Brittany - my former neighbor and currently-unemployed, good friend. We spent the morning and afternoon by taking a walk along the lakefront with the sunshine floating down through colorful leaves, having tea, going to the hardware store, and the running store - we even went to the MALL and ate lunch at Ruby Tuesdays - ha! Normally I wouldn't be caught dead at Ruby Tuesdays but it was all part of the mall experience. Anyway it was a great time. I needed girlfriend time.

By the time I was home the hot water was turned back on.... oh yeah, did I mention we were without hot water for almost 24 hours??...... hence the flood.

I was able to clean out my storage space and not much was ruined. My luggage was dry, thank god. I re-packed everything and put it up on cinder blocks this time. So if it ever happens again - I'M READY!

After dinner Steve and I did some more studio/guest room cleaning so his dad will have a place to sleep this weekend. In short, I had a fun day AND I was productive! Whoa!

Tonight I'm being taken to see Phantom of the Opera, as it just opened this week in Chicago for a short run. Courtesy of my other friend and former neighbor, Sumi. Wow I DO have good friends. I'm so thankful for that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Do I hear sleigh bells?????

On Wednesday I hosted a "Halloween" Stitch n Bitch at my house... or shall we call it Stitch and WITCH??? Anyway, it was fun. I didn't get much knitting done, just a lot of eating. Plus I helped Erin with her costume for a chunk of the evening.

Is it too early to be thinking about christmas??????

Maybe it's because we aren't travelling on Christmas or Christmas Eve, or maybe it's because we are spending our first christmas at home together with Monkey and Elvis, but I'm REALLY excited for christmas this year!

I went to Hancock Fabrics to get cheap yarn to make stockings for the four us (and possibly one for turtle.) I got really chunky yarn so hopefully they will knit up fast. And if I start now, I can stagger them in with other projects.

Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin' ring ting tinglin' too....