Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Starts Spectacularly This Year!

The Winter Solstice is tomorrow, or more accurately, very early tomorrow morning (technically).

One thing that makes the Winter Solstice special this year is that there will be a full moon, which (I suspect) is unusual, but even more than that, there will be a total lunar eclipse!

According to the NASA page on this eclipse, the best time to watch it will be at 3:17 am if you live on the East Coast, like me. This is the time that it will be at it's height, although it will start at 1:33 am. For people on the West Coast, it will start at 10:30 pm tonight, and be at it's best at 12:17. For those of you who live in the middle of the country, the times will be in the middle of those two.

Doesn't that look like it should be on the cover of an Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars book?

I woke up today thinking that the most important thing I wanted to do was blog about this today, and found this link in my email from my sister.

In case it's overcast where you are, or you just don't want to brave the cold, you can join Up All Night with NASA to see the whole thing on your computer. Here's another link that lists other places you can watch the eclipse at the end of the article. You can find many more articles about this on any of the web search engines. Just look for "Lunar Eclipse" or "Lunar Eclipse tonight" for many more links.

You might want to check and see if you get NASA TV from your cable provider, too. If they're doing that on the internet, they'll probably be doing something on TV, too. I don't seem to have NASA on my line-up anymore, but I used to have it at one time, so I know there is such a thing. It's worth checking out.


They had a Christmas party last week at the apartment place where I live. I missed it, but they caught up with me on Friday and gave me my Christmas present.

There was one leaf from a book of Christmas postage stamps, a coupon for a free sandwich from Chick-Fill-A, and a $25 gift card to Giant supermarket. I went to Giant today with my gift card and cleaned up! I bought a six pack of Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider so that I'll have something sparkling to drink to celebrate on New Year's Eve, a copy of the new Knit Simple Magazine, and some Christmas cards to send out with the stamps I was given. I thought I wasn't going to be able to afford Christmas cards this year, but it looks like I'll be getting at least a few of them out.

The Knit Simple Magazine has some really nice knits in it. As usual, although I like them, I immediately want to change them all around. If you follow that link and scroll down, they're giving away a kit to knit the cowl on the cover, so you may want to enter that.

I want to knit this long vest, but I want to knit it in lighter weight yarn (or maybe the same yarn, but using just a single strand) either in that length or maybe shorter. This would look good knit from Plymouth Yarns Encore Tweed, too. The composition of the yarn is about the same as, and the weight is the same as the yarn used for this, but the yardage per ball may be different, so you might have to do some math.

There are some other nice things to knit in the issue, too, and the first link has photos of all the projects if you click on "fashion preview."

One of the neat things they show in the beginning of the magazine is this set of markers to help you keep track of where you are in your knitting. I like the idea, especially since stars are my favorite shape. If you're into do-it-yourself, you could make these out of shrink plastic, too. And, if you wanted to, you could use lobster claw clasps (made to fasten jewelry) instead of safety pins.

I can't seem to leave anything alone, I just think of five ways to improve anything I see, and then make it myself. I make stitch markers using the loop part of of loop-and-bar jewelry clasps and charms that have a design on one side and are plain on the other to use when I have to do something every other round. I put the design facing me when I start a round where I have to increase, decrease, or a pattern row, and slip as to knit each time I come to it so that the plain side gets a row that's knit plain.  You would think you could remember which row you're on until the phone rings or somebody knocks on the door and you put your knitting down. Then you pick it up later and I, for one, haven't got a clue.

These make fabulous, make it at the last minute presents for other knitters, by the way, especially if you happen to have the ingredients on hand from other projects.


There are two Castle reruns on tonight, along with a new Hawaii Five-O. In other words, science fiction is a casualty of the Christmas season tonight, so if you really need your SF fix, you'd better break out the DVDs!


I'll finish up today with something that my sister sent me in an email today:

A Little Christmas Story

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. 

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. 
Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. 
Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom. 
Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. 
The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' 
And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree. 
Not a lot of people know this. 
Happy Holidays!

I wish you the best possible week leading up to Christmas (today's Monday and Christmas is Saturday, in case you're as oblivious as I've been at times).

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