Saturday, April 30, 2011

Warm Hug Shawl and SALE

I made my close friend a warm shawl for her birthday. It is made top down with increases so it sits on her shoulders. She and all her little blonde cuties have been taking turns snuggling under it. It is their "Katie's Hug Shawl."

Bob Ross

I sent a note to the designer, Melissa Hahn, to tell her how much I LOVE the brilliance of this simple pattern.  She wrote me back to tell me that this weekend only, she is going to have a 20% Off Sale on the Crocheted Utilitarian Faroese Shawl and the Utilitarian Faroese Shawl (Knitted) Use my Ravelry name (Katiebell) in the coupon code to get the discount. This was a great stash buster for me and a warm hug for my friend.  Hugs to you all! 

PS.  I drove by the fairgrounds for Maryland Sheep and Wool twice today.  My husband thought me odd for squealing each time.  One week left!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Elephants in the room

Normally, I am not political.  I try to avoid places and people where I have to publicly stand up for myself or my beliefs.  However, I read something on the internet the other day that really upset me and after confirming this information with my very close friend, who has experence with elephants, I feel I need to share it here.  Anyone who wants to see more information for themself should look on PETA's website 

This was written by Jo Bighouse of Midas Touch Health Store in Berryville, VA.  I can't say it better myself.

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is presenting the Cole Brothers Circus at the Apple Blossom Mall April 29 through May 1.  Cole Brothers Circus has a history of animal abuse and violating animal welfare regulations.  I have called the Apple Blossom committee and asked that they reconsider their decision to include the circus as part of their festival.  They suggested that I put my concerns in writing so I have followed up my call with a letter that appears below.

Please join me in politely encouraging the Apple Blossom Festival committee to have a celebration that does not include a company that perpetrates animal abuse.  Their phone number is 540-662-3863.  The address is 135 North Cameron Street, Winchester, VA 22601.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to request that you reconsider your decision to have the Cole Brothers Circus at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.  This circus has a horrible history of animal abuse and neglect, and of violating federal laws intended to protect animals.

As recently as February 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Cole Brothers Circus and its president, John Pugh, had pled guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act for unlawfully selling two Asian elephants.  The two long-suffering elephants were confiscated by the USDA in 2009.  Mr. Pugh was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and over $5,000 in fines.  The Cole Brothers Circus was ordered to pay a $150,000 fine.

Violent, physical abuse remains a common method of training and controlling elephants and other animals in the circus.  In 2010, the Cole Brothers Circus traveled with several elephants under the control of trainer Tim Frisco.  Mr. Frisco is infamous for undercover video footage that captured him beating elephants with bull hooks and shocking them with electric prods.  In the video, Frisco is heard instructing other elephant trainers to, “Hurt ‘em!  Make ‘em scream! … Sink that hook into ‘em … When you hear the screaming, then you know you got their attention!”

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Cole Brothers, after a handler struck an elephant repeatedly with a broom handle.  In 2000, USDA inspectors noted that two Cole Brothers elephants had bull hook scars.  In 1999, the USDA charged Cole Brothers with violating the Animal Welfare Act; USDA undersecretary Michael Dunn stated, “We believe that on numerous occasions, employees of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus abusively used an elephant hook on several animals.”

Elephants and other wild animals used in circuses can be a public safely risk.  In April 2010, an adult elephant with the Cole Brothers Circus escaped from her handlers during a stop in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The elephant ran past a line of spectators waiting to buy tickets, and was eventually recaptured only after falling into a ditch.  In 1995 in Forest Park, Queens, two female elephants broke free during a performance injuring 12 patrons.  These two elephants were seen being beaten on the head prior to a performance 2 months earlier in a different location.

The Cole Brothers Circus began its 2010 tour with a group of big cats illegally exhibited by handlers who did not possess a USDA license for the dangerous animals; the agency denied them a license due to lack of expertise.  In July 2010, the USDA ordered the circus to stop using unlicensed handlers to show the tiger act.

During the Cole Brothers Circus 2007 tour, the USDA ordered that two elephants be taken off the road due to “an alarming amount of weight loss” and other health concerns.  Cole Brothers has repeatedly refused to retire aging elephants, even when it is obvious that they are suffering from painful arthritis or other captivity-induced health problems (conditions linked to prolonged chaining and lack of proper exercise.)

Please choose a non-animal circus for the Apple Blossom Festival.  There are many circuses, including Cirque du Soleil, The New Pickle Circus, Circus Oz, and Cirque Eloize that do not use animals but offer clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers and other talented human performers.  Circuses with animals do not teach children about the natural behaviors of wild animals; they only teach children that we can confine and dominate over animals.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Jo Bighouse

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blank Stare

I was happily working on a lovely bulky wool shawl the other night while watching TV with Bear.


As the show ended, he turned the TV off and turned to me.  I showed him my progress and said excitedly, "Look, I am almost done. With this shawl pattern, you just knit till you run out of yarn. See, I hardly have any yarn left." 

He looked across the room to my stash in an overflowing rubbermaid container and tilted his head as if to question something.  It took a good 30 seconds of him staring at the bin for me to understand. He was silently saying, "There is more yarn right there. You will never run out."

Emergency Wool Wash

I saw a drip of something on the tank of my toilet.  I traced it to the source and found that someone had left my wool wash bottle open and the contents were spilled in my makeup bag.  Now, I don't use my makeup more then a couple of times a year, except for some tinted mosturizer with SPF and tinted lip balm.  So it didn't bother me much to toss out some eye shadow that was purchased in the 90s and powder blush that always made me look embarrassed. However, I was so upset that most of a whole 4 oz bottle of Soak in the Aquae scent was about to go down the drain.

Then I had a bright idea.  I filled up my bathtub with cold water and put the makeup bag in.  I cleaned it out of all the soap and hung it to dry.  Then I grabbed any handwash item that had been worn even once. (sweaters get a handful of wears before washing normally.)  Every wool item available got washed and I had so much soap in the tub that everything had to be rinsed twice before hung to dry.


Strangely enough, soon after I had to wash the hands of a sticky handed child.  Wonder why this happened in the sink before I put any soap on his hands:


Friday, April 8, 2011

Prodigal Sock

My favorite pair of handknit socks has had one missing sock for over a month. These are the ones which the dye lot was named after one of my favorite literary character, the ones that I was able to knit up to be identical despite the irregular stripping pattern,  the ones that were pink and slightly girly, the ones that a friend brought back the yarn from overseas.  I had turned my bedroom upside down and locked the lost sock's twin in a drawer so it would not wander off before I could reunite the pair.

I woke up and told my husband that I was officially calling the sock lost and I was going to put out an APB on the missing sock. I showed him the twin in the drawer.  I went out of the bedroom, dressed the boys, fixed breakfast and packed their lunches.  I went back into my room to get some library books and there laying on the floor in plain sight was my missing sock.

My husband swears he had nothing to do with it but I don't care either way.  I haven't taken the socks off since. What once was lost, now is found.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Get back up and try again!

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” -Mia Hamm


I have to post this since on Saturday, Bugs fell in the middle of his first soccer game, got rolled by two other players who ran/tripped over him and then got back up and chased after the ball. He also scored a goal and had a very good game. (Both teams won, BTW.) We told him we were happy he scored the goal but we were very proud that he got back up and kept running after the fall. That’s my boy.