sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 28, 2006

civic duty
posted by soe 6:38 pm

I believe that Americans have a responsibility to uphold the concept of democracy. As such, I vote regularly (even if, living in D.C., my vote matters less than yours). I pay taxes cheerfully. And I have been willing to serve on a jury, even though I have never been called.

Today, the full round of civic responsibility kicked in and I reported to D.C.’s Superior Court for my day of jury duty. I suspected I might get picked for a trial and thus hoped they’d get started right away, so I could be done by the end of Thursday.

They showed us a video to orient the 100 or so of us who were asked to arrive at 8 (another group arrived at 10; I assume they saw the same video). This video dealt mostly with how to be reimbursed for your travel expenses, but, sadly, that’s probably the question they get asked the most.

As soon as the video ended, a jury pool was called and my number was amongst those. Sixty or so of us queued up in a hallway for about 45 minutes while we were put in a pre-determined order. When someone finally came out, I thought, that’s the Mac of this court. I wonder who the Bull is (since there’s no one around in uniform)? It’s then that it occured to me that perhaps I’ve watched too much tv over the years.

Then we went into a courtroom where the judge (who was not as funny as Harry Anderson’s character, but, then, who is?) reviewed the basic details of the case that would be heard and the lawyers listed potential witnesses. Then the judge asked us to write down answers to some questions that could potentially disqualify us for service on the case.

Next, the judge called us up to the bench one by one so we could go over our answers with him and the two lawyers. This process took four hours.

As I’d suspected, my answers did not disqualify me from serving and I was invited back for the winnowing process, where the lawyers got to boot people they didn’t like the look of. Again, I was not one of those people.

So what does this all mean?

  1. I will be sitting on a trial for at least the next week.
  2. This trial is unlikely to be speedy given they took a full day to decide on the 14 people they wanted to have hear the case.
  3. It may make it harder for me to be in Boston Friday evening if I have to deliberate that day — and I won’t know either way until I’m dismissed for the day on Thursday.
  4. I will need to get to bed early the next few nights because it would be a miscarriage of justice if I am not at my sharpest when hearing evidence and deliberating about a man’s liberty.
  5. I will not be able to share details about the case with you until after it’s been decided. Don’t take it personally; I don’t want to be held in contempt.
  6. I will be very glad when my service is up and I’m off the roll call for the next two years.
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February 27, 2006

olympic output
posted by soe 11:05 am

unfinished mousiesThinking over the Olympics experience, I’d like to believe that if this had been the sort of event that awarded three medals that I might have come home with the bronze. A silver would have been booties with ears. Gold would have been complete mousies like the pair in the front. But alas, this is an event with a Yoda mentality: Do or do not, there is no try. So while a baby could put on all four booties — Okay, two babies could put on all four booties … Right! A parent or two could put all four booties on two babies — the pair in the back does not resemble the intended finished objects.

the Olympic outputBut lest you think that all I have been doing since February 12th has been taking naps, I offer to you proof that I have really been busy.

The hat in the back is for my friend Jason. I didn’t quite get it finished in time for our visit in St. Louis Saturday night and we ended up not seeing each other on Sunday when it was done. The balloon like things on the right are the ears I need to stitch together and stick on the purple pair of booties.

Now all I need to know is should I give the mousies’ whiskers a trim or leave them Fu Manchu mousies?

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February 26, 2006

dnf (end of the knitting olympics)
posted by soe 11:57 pm

knitting olympics logoWell, I gave it a valiant effort, but in the end I fell short.

The start was strong, but ultimately, the finishing was my downfall.

When the cauldron went dark, although I had four booties off the needles and wearable, two of them did not have faces or ears. (The ears were all knit, but not pieced together or on the second pair of socks.)

Some days your best just isn’t enough.

As Rudi (accurately but somewhat cruelly) noted, I took one too many naps last week.

As a consolation, I did manage to knit a hat, sixteen ears, and four booties in the last fourteen days in addition to traveling to St. Louis, working my company’s annual meeting, baking a birthday cake. And taking a whole bunch of naps.

And although I spent almost all of today indoors, I did take a break yesterday in order to do some grocery shopping, enjoy the beautifully warm weather, notice the spring flowers, and eat my first ice cream cone of the season.

It’s disappointing that I didn’t finish knitting the booties the way I wanted to before the end of the Olympics. But the premise was to challenge myself to go above and beyond what I’d done before. And I definitely feel that I did succeed in that regard: I knit something I’d never made before and ended up redesigning the pattern for half the project.

But now I’m going to do what any good Olympian should do after her event is over: have a hot cup of tea, hit the showers, and head to bed.

Congrats to all those Olympians who did finish! You’re inspiring!

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sometimes you hook a tip (olympics, stage 6)
posted by soe 9:38 am

knitting olympics logoWith just over twelve hours to go, I could be in trouble…

I have three booties that are off the needles and one more that requires about another hour’s worth of knitting more.

Two of those booties are still flat, looking no more like a bootie than you or I.

Well, maybe a little closer. But not much.

I still have to:

  • Finish bootie #4.
  • Seam booties #1 and 2 (or 2 and 3, depending on how we think of them).
  • Knit eight more mousie ears. (Last night’s attempt to knit seven mousie ears on one needle was as much a failure as Apollo Anton Ohno’s attempt at passing on the outside in his first Torino race. Luckily, he won gold in his last solo race of the games to give me heart. I’m sure that I was his personal motivator.)
  • Sew sixteen mousie ears into eight pairs.
  • Sew eight mousie ear pairs onto four mousie socks
  • Embroider four mousie eyes and four mousie noses (with whiskers) onto four mousie socks.
  • Block four mousie socks.

Excuse me; I now have a stomach-ache.

Where’s Gramma when I need her?

Update: With less than six hours to go until the flame goes out, the only thing on the above list that has been accomplished is to get the fourth sock off the needles. Nearly two hours were lost when I made a beginner’s mistake of putting down the needles and picking them up heading the other direction. Not sure why I didn’t notice that mistake until five rows in, but that’s how it goes some days. Particularly days when you’re on a deadline. Not sure I’m going to make it…

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February 25, 2006

apparently i was tired… (and olympics, stage 5)
posted by soe 12:46 pm

Surprisingly to me, apparently my deep tiredness was not merely a case of being in denial about the state of my knitting two (TWO!) days before the end of the Knitting Olympics.

Because I took a two-hour nap last night before I finished knitting sock number 3 (which is waiting patiently to come off the needles now that I’m not half-asleep), took another 1 1/2 hour nap while Rudi futzed around last night, and then still managed to sleep past noon today.

Hopefully I have officially refilled my sleep deficit now and will be able to stay awake until bedtime and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. The evening nap and wee hours bedtime was getting old.

knitting olympics logoKnitting Olympics update: As mentioned above, the third bootie is, essentially, finished. The exciting thing about this bootie is that it was knit in the round and therefore actually resembles the item it’s destined to be (and, as such, has no seams to knit up!).

This also marks the first time I have intentionally looked at a pattern and thought, how can I adapt this to make it better? Sure, that’s because I misread the pattern originally. But it would have been easy enough (if painful to the soul) to frog the wrong portion and start again. But I thought to myself that I had just finished a pair of socks in the round and there was no eartly reason why these couldn’t be knit in a similar fashion. And I was right! Hooray!

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February 24, 2006

knitting on a deadline (knitting olympics, stage 4)
posted by soe 1:33 am

knitting olympics logoThe problem with knitting on a deadline (other than the adreneline rush associated with the idea of not finishing) is that you get tired of the project very quickly.

This is not just a Knitting Olympics problem. It’s also a pre-Christmas problem. And a pre-birthday problem. Pretty much anytime you’re wholly focused on one project that has a hard deadline that is rapidly approaching, leaving you aching for a night on the town where the only pointy sticks you will need to interact with will be the umbrellas in your drinks.

(Technically, this isn’t even really a knitting problem. It’s a character flaw of mine that I get bored easily. By the time I’m done writing or editing a book at work, I hate the subject. In college I theorized it was better to pick paper topics that didn’t interest me from the outset, because by the time I turned in the essay, I’d despise the chosen subject anyway. Better not to ruin something I actually liked…)

But back to the problem at hand: I’m sick of the booties. Right now, if given the opportunity, I would drop those stupid mousies off a roof.

Okay, that’s a lie. I could drop them off the roof at work. But I wouldn’t. But I’d like to.

Two mousies are off the needles. These are the ones I knit flat. (It occurs to me that I might not hate the project so much if these knit pieces actually resembled a bootie or a sock or some actual piece of clothing. But right now they really just resemble some weird-shaped piece of material. Sort of like something a third-grader might cut out of construction paper.)

Tonight, in between the hard evening sleeping one does only when trying to avoid a deadline, I tried to figure out how to convert the pattern to deal with the bootie accidentally knit in the round. I may or may not have figured it out, but I certainly didn’t get terribly far. I did, however, manage to knit up four of the sixteen ears I will need for the mousie faces. Sadly, right now, they are the cutest part of the project. But I bet by the time the sixteenth one comes off my needles, I will be sick of them, too.

Wish me luck. The closing ceremonies loom…

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