Friday, June 29, 2012

Soak up the Sun...

St. Augustine 28Jun12
Yay, not only has SCOTUS upheld ObamaCare, but the Tropical Storm Debbie has moved on and the sun has come back to the Sunshine State.    To celebrate, T2 and I spent yesterday in St. Aug walking (it is so nice to be walking again), eating, shopping, sightseeing and generally acting like the tourists that we used to be.   

If you look closely, you will see that we even found time to take those photos needed to finish the Serenely Simple Washcloth.   The next thing on my to-do list is to figure out how to make this baby a Ravelry download.   This is another thing that I have been saying I have to do for a while but never actually got to.   Now is the time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Still raining after all this time...

Bigger on the Inside
Yup, it is still raining.  What they don't tell you when you move to the Sunshine State is that at certain times of the year, much of the Sunshine arrives in liquid form.    I just keep telling myself how happy we will all be when the hottest part of the summer arrives and we are not suffering from a drought.

These photos of the Bigger on the Inside and Wingspan shawls were take last week just seconds before we were rained on.    Thanks to good books and the fact that I am no longer recliner bound, they are each just a little further on than what you see.  

The Bigger on the Inside is finally moving right along.   It took forever to correctly translate the charts from symbols, into words, into flip-able post cards, but now that I have gone through several repeats of the increase chart I am feeling much more confident.    The beginning, increase, center, and decrease charts have been translated.   However, I have not found the courage to begin translating the Tardis Chart yet.   I am very much a mood doer, so I while I may be daunted now, I know that I will wake up one morning in the mood to take on the task and it will get done.    We just found out that there will be a Dr. Who convention in Orlando this November and I really want to be able to wear this when I take the boys.

The Wingspan is a delight.    This is what I pick-up to work on when I am tired or otherwise just in the mood for comfort knitting.    The pattern is very easy to remember and keep track of.   You can easily put it down mid row, come back to it an hour later, and never wonder where you are.    I am already planning another, deeper, wool (this one is cotton), one for later this year.

Well, that's it for now.   Stay dry.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rain, rain, go away..

Chez Serenity in sunnier days.
This is not what our backyard looks like today.   Why is that?   Because the Sunshine State has not been living up to it's name.    I actually, finally, wrote up the pattern for that washcloth I was talking about a while ago.   The one I made for my brother when he was first diagnosed with diabetes?    The pattern is done.   The test crocheting is done.   But, are the photos done?  Nope, without sunshine, there are no photos (or no good ones anyway).

The sun did come out briefly early last week.   T2 and I ran out to Starbucks to take in progress photos of Bigger on the Inside (that last one I took on the arm of my chair was just awful) & Wingspan.    By the time we got there, bought our drinks and found the perfect seats outside, it was raining again.    Better luck this week.

My ankle is doing much better.   That crazy day of rest really helped (Can you hear Hubby saying "I told you so"?).    I am still wearing the brace & air-cast but am able to walk comfortably without crutches or cane (they were really messing with my shoulder).    I kind of miss walking fast but know darn well that I need to be grateful that I am walking unaided at all.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

USOC vs Ravelry

Wow, what a day.   I have not been this un-bored since Jack took me out last Tuesday.

If you read my post yesterday, you know all about US Olympic Committee (USOC) vs Ravelry.    The furor continued through out the day.    In fact, there was enough going on, on Facebook, Twitter, and the Bloggerverse, to keep me in my seat, resting my ankle all day.    Hubby, who compares getting me to rest to herding cats, was thrilled.    I am forced to admit that the rest has really helped.   I am in significantly less pain today.    Hey, maybe I should send at thank you note to the inept legal intern that sent the offending letter.

Earlier today, the USOC posted an apology that went like this:

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.
The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.
We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”
Sorry guys, not good enough.   Although most of the letter to Casey Forbes (co-founder of Ravelry) did read like a standard cease & desist (c&d),  The most offensive paragraph, obviously was not.
"The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."
Later in the afternoon, the USOC updated their apology with this:
"As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games."
Obviously they did much better the second time around.    Some people are still in a snit because Ravelry will still have to change the name of the Ravelympics.    However, I think it is important to remember that if their objection is legally valid then it is legally valid, whether we like it or not (Besides, "The Ravelry Games"  has a nice ring to it).     
My plan, and my advice to you, is to call this a win and go home.    Flexing our collective muscles has been a blast, but it is time to move on.    Time, in fact, to decide what we are going to be working on during this years Ravelry Games (?).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Well, now I am just mad...

Apparently Ravelry has been sent a cease & desist letter from the US Olympic Committee contending that Ravelry's Knitting Olympics "denigrates" their brand.    Really!?   How incredibly petty & insulting can they be?

This is the text of the letter as posted by Casey here.    If the insulting language gets you blood boiling, please consider making your feelings known via Facebook, Twitter (#Ravelympics), or email.
"Dear Mr. Forbes,
In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.”  At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website.  I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.
By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States.  The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games.  Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts.  Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL.  See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”).  (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.)  The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website.  See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c).  The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games.  Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team.  Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.
In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus,’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.
The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.
1.  Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”;  The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.
The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012).  The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement.  Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act.  Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.
1.  Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc.   As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes.  The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees.  The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.
For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks.  However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive.  The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website.  We further request that  you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.  We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012.  If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.
Kindest Regards,
Brett Hirsch
Law Clerk
Office of the General Counsel
United States Olympic Committee
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909"

Please consider letting the US Olympic Committee know how you feel about this.    

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bigger than it was...

Bigger on the Inside 19Jun12
What you see here is the beginning lace plus two repeats of the increase lace section.   It's not much progress, but it is some progress.   The Bigger on the Inside Shawl is coming along.   

Given that I am still resting that ankle, you would think I would be doing more knitting.    At least that is what I keep telling myself.    What I should be doing is working on the two project in my knitting bag (Bigger on the Inside and Wingspan), and the two stealth knits on my to-do list.   Instead, I have been spending most of my time napping and web surfing.   I even lost/spent some time on Ravelry  picking out my next knit (Flow?) which I can, under no circumstances, begin until the others are done (Ordering the pattern book doesn't count, right?).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

5 Fun Places to Knit in Public...

In honor of World Wide Knit in Public Day (which apparently is a week long) here is a list of my favorite places to knit in pubic (KIP):

  1. Starbucks - We are lucky enough to live very near a wonderful, especially friendly, 24hr Starbucks.   Also, relatively nearby are two locations that are so close to the beach that you can hear the waves and smell the ocean.   I love to sit outside, sipping a fat-free, half-sweet, Mocha Latte (or decaf, fat-free, half-sweet, iced Americano) while knitting and listening to my current favorite audio book or blog.
  2. Panera Bread  - Now not all Panera have comfortable seating but some do.   I especially like the locations that have nice outdoor seating or a fireplace.   Their coffee is not as good as *$s, but their iced tea is the best and there are free refills.
  3. Walt Disney World - I love knitting at Disney, while I wait for the guys to ride something thrilling  to them but horrifying to me.    There was actually one day at Magic Kingdom where I knit all day while the guys did their thing (I was in a mushy mood).    One of my favorite places to knit is France (Epcot).
  4. Casa Monica Hotel -  Once upon a time, this was one of Henry Morrison Flagler's awesome hotels.   When I was a child, it was the local courthouse.   Now, it is once again a lovely, elegant, luxurious, hotel.   The lobby boasts deep, comfy seating around a peaceful fountain (I am surprised that we do not see more people dozing here), and there is a great stone balcony with tables and chairs just outside of their coffee shop (they serve Starbucks).
  5. The beach - I love, love, love to take my knitting to the beach.  Sometimes I go by myself, other times I go with Hubby and/or the boys (so long as they understand that after the walking, comes sitting and knitting).
What you see above is the knitting I took to St. Augustine on Wednesday (washcloths for a baby gift).    The photos were taken at the Columbia Restaurant (a favorite since I was a little girl).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not as innocent as he looks...

Jack, not as innocent as he looks.
I have always suspected that Jack had a plan which included tripping me in the kitchen in the hopes that I would drop food on the floor for his instant consumption.    To bad for him that the one time that it worked, I was food-less.   Still, the damage now done, will take a while to heal.   In my efforts not to land on my beloved pup, I twisted, turned, and landed hard enough to tear this & that in my ankle (my knee & hip are less unhappy but still not thrilled with the whole thing).   I tried crutches for a couple of days but eventually they hurt more than the ankle.   Yesterday, in a fit of cabin fever, I drove just a bit and hobbled about with a cane.   Turns out that was a bad idea (ouch!).   Today, however, was wonderful.   My sons took me into town (St. Augustine), to my favorite restaurant for lunch, and to a local museum (where residents get in free).   Thanks to my Mom's wheel chair, I was able to do this and more with no ill effects.   I have awesome children, that I love & appreciate very much.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I am doing with my summer vacation...

I am not happy with our living room.    The furniture was just right for the space when we bought it but unfortunately that was in NJ.   Here in FL, we have one big great room (rather than living & family rooms), and we get quite a bit less natural light to brighten things up.   There our furniture looked elegant.   Here it looks drab.

New furniture is out of the question.   As are new rugs.   At first I thought there was nothing I could do about it (except wait for the boys to finish college so that I can buy all new).    But, it gradually (very gradually) dawned on my that there are some things I can do.    I actually like the wall where we have the TV so I can not touch that.   New cushions for the couch will, I hope, help.    I can knit a cover for our ottomans so that they match and are brighter (the more I think about that idea, the more I like it), and I can re-paint the end and breakfast tables.

My first step was to think long and hard about the colors I would use.   A while ago, I stopped a bemused lady at TJMaxx and got permission to take a photo of the quilt she was buying just because I love the colors.   Once I determined that those colors would, if fact, both compliment and brighten up, our existing furniture, I used Sherman Williams Chip It to create a color pallet (this is my first time using Chip It and I am already in love with it).   What you see above is, I hope, the new color scheme for our living room.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ready, set, go...

Over the past couple of months, I have been moving my office around to what I hope will be a workable arrangement for work & play.   Thanks to Hubby and the boy, the two longest walls are now lined with bookshelves filled with books and art supplies.   My desk is now by the window so that I can see the hummingbirds at their feeder and my chaise is snuggled into the corner by the closet (home to my yarn stash).    The fit is a bit snug but I think I finally have have everything just the way I want it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yay! World Wide Knit In Public Day...

So where are you knitting today?   The last two years I have knit at Disney, but this year, we are staying closer to home.   Today, I am knitting at my local Starbucks.  I love having a 24 hour Starbucks just a short drive (or a long walk when we are in the mood) away from home.

The Bigger on the Inside Shawl has certainly presented some challenges.  First of all, I don't care to knit from charts.   I like to have them to refer back to but I prefer to knit from words on flip cards (each business card sized card has a single row on it and I flip them as I go).   My favorite patterns have both.   For some reason, I found it difficult to translate these charts into words, so when I got to the first row of the increase section and there were knits where I thought there should be purls, I assumed that I had gotten it wrong.   I tore up my previous efforts at translation, and started again.   I read over the pattern, made notations on the charts (I really should have done this the first time because it really, really helped), and hand wrote (rather than typing) each row one line at a time.   When I compared these new notes with my flip cards, there were numerous errors (ouch).    However, the last row of the beginning lace instructions, still had knits where I thought there should be purls.

That is when it occurred to me to go to Ravelry and read the pattern comments.   Sure enough, there was talk of errors and a not from Kate Atherly saying that a revised pattern went up a month ago.   If I had thought to check sooner, I would have known that those knits really were supposed to be purls.   But, I probably would not have caught my errors until I was much further along.   So when you think about it, this little bit of frustration now, saved me a lot of angst later.   I have decided to be happy with how this worked out and as you can see, I am once again actually knitting the Bigger on the Inside Shawl.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Happy Birthday for me...

Birthday collage 7Jun12

Today is my birthday.   Heaven help me, I am 50 years old.    Should I feel different?   I don't.   Maybe that is because my family has made sure that I have a wonderful day.    I slept until I wanted to wake up.   There were flowers and a balloon on my dressing table.   Hubby brought me breakfast in bed.   I got mushy cards from Hubby, both boys, and the dog (yes, Jack gives greeting cards).    The guys really outdid themselves this year.   Hubby gave me this gorgeous tote/knitting bag, made in Maine, from recycled sails.   I have been visiting this bag for quite a while and am just so happy to finally be able to call it mine.   The boys, & Jack, gave me a gift certificate to the Fresh Produce store along with a 25% off coupon (YAY!).

Once up and about, we went to lunch at my favorite restaurant and walked around historic St. Augustine, where I was able to visit the Fresh Produce store and spend my birthday money (3 capris, 1 tank, & a pair of floral Fit Flops).   All this and the day is not over yet.

I have an appointment for a massage this afternoon, Hubby is making my favorite salad for dinner, and there will be cake.   I am a well behaved/controlled diabetic.  Cake is a very big deal for me.  I can't wait :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's smaller at the beginning...

Bigger on the Inside
Maybe, possibly, could be, I am finally on my way to having a Bigger on the Inside Shawl to wear before the summer is out.    My finger and shoulder are both feeling much better, and the other half of the yarn arrived (I keep telling you guys, Eat. Sleep. Knit. is the bomb).    I finding the charts more than a bit of a challange.    I am not sure if I did a poor job of translating them into words or if I am just worrying the whole thing to death (a distinct possiblity.   I am even considering going to hell with myself and just working straight from the charts.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to us...

Chocolate Ganache Supreme

Another fun day at Chez Serenity.    Hubby's birthday was yesterday and mine will be this Thursday.    Yesterday we went out to celebrate his and will go out Thursday to celebrate mine.   Today, though, was our "at home" celebration.    Today, my mom joined us for a lunch and cake.    So that we would not have to cook, Hubby & I picked up two "Family" dinners from Pollo Tropical, while the boys picked up Grandma and a cake (see above) from Publix (Grandma was not at Publix, She was at her house).    We had a lovely, relaxed, happy, family meal.   We may need to do this again, soon.

Knitting is still limited.    Somehow, while favoring my right hand, I managed to injure my left shoulder, damn.
Still, I can knit in short bursts so that is something at least.

P.S. What you see here is a stock photo of our favorite celebration cake.   It is so good that the guys had it cut up and on plates before I could get a photo of ours with its one blue candle (for Hubby) and one pink candle (for me).   If you live near a Publix, I highly recommend this cake.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...

My finger is still in a splint so I don't have much in the way of knitting to report.   Today was Hubby's birthday so we got up early (for a weekend), opened presents, ate breakfast and headed on out to the movies & lunch to celebrate.

Choosing a movie we all want to see is always a challenge and even more so lately since I have just not been up to explosions.    Hubby expressed an interest in seeing "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which thrilled me no end.    I saw it with my mother earlier this week and, so loved it, that I was, not just willing, but anxious to see it again.    The original plan was that we would see that and the boys would see "MIB3" which was playing at the same time, but the more he thought about it, the more Hubby wanted us to stick together, so Snow White and the Huntsman was settled on.

When we got to the theater, we were surprised to find the first matinee sold out.   Still more surprised where we when we finally got to see it after lunch, rather than before.    This movie is just awful.   That was two hours of my life that I will never see again.   No wonder Snow White fell asleep.    Okay, the sets and costumes were very well done and parts of it were filmed on a beach near a friend's (which is always fun to see), but the story was ridden with plot inconsistencies.    Not the least of which was the premise that Charlize Theron would have to worry about Kristen Stewart being more beautiful than she.   The other thing that really bugged me is, I think, a directing issue.   It seemed at times that Charlize Theron was speaking though a mouth full of marbles  (No, I don't think she had marbles in her mouth.  That is just the way she sounded).    I tried to knit, but that hurt, so then I tried to doze off, but it was too loud.   Now I just have a headache.   My advice to you, if you are considering going to see "Snow White and the Huntsman", is to go see "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" instead.

P.S.  I am blogging out on the patio today because the weather is lovely in NE FL this evening.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Please hold...

This morning I slept in a bit, wound my linen, grabbed a cup of tea, and ran out to pick T2 up at school (exams began today with an 11am dismissal).  I got there just in time, no time to knit.   On the way back we stopped  at the eye Dr to have our frames adjusted (I keep falling asleep reading).    Very efficient staff, no time to knit.   Once home the boys begged and pleaded (not really, they just asked nicely) and we went out to lunch.   No time to knit.   Errands were run and then it was home again.    Finally there was time to knit.    The only problem being that my finger which had been mildly sore all day, hurt like the dickens when I knit!     Hubby came home, poked, prodded, twisted, turned, and pronounced my finger sprained.   Yes, folks, I some how managed to sprain my finger in my sleep.   So here I sit, watching a scary movie (The Lady in Black), unable to knit.   Well, tomorrow is another day.