"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, August 30, 2007



(hack, cough, sputter)

Gads, the blog was dusty! Pardonez-TBL for one moment, she missed a spot...there. Much better.

Well. Here we are again. TBL confesses to neglecting the blog partly because the Twins continue their pursuit of blah-ness. (Although, the series in Baltimore? Delightful!) But the largest share of the blame, TBL is afraid, must be laid square at the doorstep of fellow blogger Crazy Aunt Purl.

CAP is a funny, funny lady, and TBL reads her often because when one is of an age that no longer begins with "2" and suddenly finds oneself divorced and living on one's own with several cats and a yarn stash that has grown large enough to devour the neighbor children, it is lovely to know (or at least read) someone in much the same situation who can make it all seem hysterically funny.

And CAP, in the course of being very funny about things like the relative coolness factor of thirty-something spinsters with cats who knit a lot (you called?), got me addicted to a TV show on BBC America called 'How Clean Is Your House?'. Basically, these two women travel Britain going to houses that are so messy they're a health hazard, cleaning them up, showing the residents all the bugs, vermin and dangerous microorganisms they've been living with, and sharing handy chemical-free cleaning tips. Then they come back a few weeks later to see if the residents are keeping the place clean or sliding back into old habits.

Since CAP's post about the show was so amusing, TBL set the DVR for an episode. And made the mistake of watching it during dinner. Then TBL jumped up and cleaned her kitchen counters.

Long story short, BBCA airs two hours of 'How Clean is Your House?' every weekday. TBL gets home from work, makes some dinner, watches two hours of Kim and Aggie setting their "filthy beggars" to rights, and then sets to on the much more manageable problems here at Casa Liberales. And while TBL will never be as, er...exacting as Kim and Aggie, in the last two weeks she has dusted every surface in her home, scrubbed every inch of her kitchen and bathroom surfaces and floors, cleaned out and scrubbed the fridge, vacuumed twice-weekly, polished her silver, organized her closets and cupboards and even shoehorned her yarn stash into a manageable space. Furthermore, she has created a cleaning schedule and posted it on her fridge where it confronts her every day when she makes dinner. TBL has become tidy, dear readers.

That thumping sound you just heard was Fourth Pew, Center fainting from the shock.

Did you know that housework burns about 200 calories an hour? TBL's favorite jeans are looking scandalously good on her these days, if she does say so herself. All that TV-watching and frenzied cleaning, however, have not left much time for the blogging. And that is why Crazy Aunt Purl is to blame.

There has, however, been gobs of time to knit! (Well, what do you do while you're watching television? Never tell TBL you just sit there.) In what may prove to be the greatest barrier yet to managing the yarn stash, one of the knitters at TBL's Thursday evening stitch-n-bitch, as opposed to the Sunday morning stitch-n-bitch, has taught TBL the secret to acquiring incredibly cheap yarn. Those of you on a yarn diet should skip the next few paragraphs.

Go to a thrift store (and there are plenty around the Twin Cities). Yard sales can also be good. Browse the sweaters: start at large and work your way down the sizes--bigger sweater = more yarn! Also, for some reason, TBL has noticed that sweaters in very large sizes are more likely to be hideously designed but made out of lovely yarn. Check the seams--do not buy serged seams. Pick the sweater apart at home. Unraveling is the best part! Loop the yarn (which now looks like ramen noodles) into loose skeins. Wash gently to take the kinks out and dispel that lovely thrift-store aroma. Dry. Wind into skeins. Add to stash.

TBL loves this because not only is it so very in keeping with her environmenty and recycley tendencies (aka "hippieness"), but it's cheap yarn. Gobs and gobs of yarn for pennies a gram! You begin, dear readers, to see why stash size is a matter of concern.

TBL has acquired five sweaters ranging from $3.99 to $9.99. She has unraveled three so far. One, a lovely worsted weight coral and red twist in a silk/nylon/wool blend, yielded over 800 yards. A worsted self-striping jewel toned wool/mohair blend yielded about 1000 yards. An acrylic in shades of green gave 850 yards. (Many yarn snobs will not bother to recycle acrylic yarn. However, TBL is ever so slightly allergic to wool, in much the same way as she is ever so slightly fond of baseball. She finds cashmere scratchy.)

For yardage, measure out ten yards and weigh on a kitchen scale. Weigh total recycled yarn. Calculate approximate yardage thus: (sample weight in grams/10) * total weight in grams.

The silk/nylon/wool blend is being worked up into a clapotis stole. The acrylic is earmarked for a scarf. The self-striping wool/mohair will probably be a shawl someday, likely for Shiela's Shawls. The sweaters waiting to be unraveled are a variegated DK wool in crayon colors which will probably end up as a pile of hats and mittens for all the nephews and the niece, circa 2009, and a men's XXXL in sock-weight maroon tweed cotton.

One day soon--pictures!

Back on the baseball front, however, things are not so tidy and TBL is not having so much fun. There has been a great deal of talk about whether the Twins can retain the services of Johan Santana, and judging by what Santana himself has had to say lately, it does not seem promising.

Allow TBL to refresh your memory:

"I'm not surprised," Santana was quoted when asked about the lack of another trade. "That's exactly how they are. That's why we've never going to go beyond where we've gone."

And the ace said that it might jeopardize his future with the franchise.

"You always talk about future, future, future," Santana told the paper. "But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be a part of it."

"Why waste time when you're talking about something that's always going to be like that? It's never going to be beyond this point. It doesn't make any sense for me to be here, you know?"

Santana wouldn't elaborate on his comments Wednesday, saying that he had said all he wanted to say a day earlier. But the two-time Cy Young Award winner did confirm that his statements were indeed how he felt.

"I was just being honest," Santana said.

This team can build for the future all it wants, but without Santana things don't look so good. Yes, there's Francisco Liriano, but he just had Tommy John surgery. It's going to be a couple of years before we have a good idea of what his future holds.

Obviously, one can't go back in time and make a big trade to boost the club and keep Santana happy. But there's an offseason coming up--how about getting something done at the winter meetings, TR? Show us, and Johan, that the organization is committed to building for the immedate rather than the distant future.

2 rejoinders:

Anonymous sounded off...

I am NOT going to a recycle yarn. The only thing keeping the stash from eating the cats is the depletion of my bank account.
I've been watching "How Clean Is Your House?" too.
It does give you a kick in the rear that's for sure.

Fourth pew, center sounded off...

Just in case anyone thought TBL was kidding about the thumping sound --
she wasn't.