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December 7, 2005

It's not me it's you

Dear Blogger software,

Hi, how's it going. Can we talk? Maybe we should go somewhere public, just because.
We've been together now almost two years. Heaven knows that's a long time to invest in someone else, but you were my first and I had nothing to compare you to. I still remember when we met. I'd seen you everywhere and you were easy to be around. I didn't need try too hard, you just did your thing and I did mine and it all seemed to be... good. My blog, and thus, our relationship flourished. I would see you several times a week, sometimes daily, sometimes less, and while you occasionally acted up, I chalked it up to the normal highs and lows of a relationship.

But lately, you've been temperamental. I can post to other people's blogs with you, but I can't post to my own. My initial thought was that it was me, that I had done something wrong, but Blogger, nothing had changed. Nothing! The day before I had posted with you and you were fine and then the next day and for days after, you snubbed me, stating only "Broken Pipe Error".

I blamed my ISP, I harassed them. I said "Blogger says it's you." And I believed it, Blogger, I did. But you know, they showed me something. They showed me logs that said that you weren't where you said you were, that you were trying to post to directories; the wrong directories.

I wrote your help department and I asked for help and I was denied. So Blogger, we are over, I'm moving on.

I've met someone new. His name is Movable Type and we're going to give it a shot. I haven't had much time. With my work schedule we've only done breakfast and dinner and an occasional lunch, but already, I see things getting better.

I'll keep our memories. Your archives, are still here, but Blogger, it's time for us to say our goodbyes. I know you aren't one to get emotional, heck, you're completely unresponsive these days, so maybe you were just pushing me away, hoping I'd do this.

I wish you nothing but the happiness.
My best regards,
~marnie

December 10, 2005

Pardon Our Dust

For those of you still able to find your way to my blog, I'm so glad you have. A few things have been and continue to be a little wonky around here.
For starters, my feeds aren't working quite right. They are there, you can load them, but they don't tell you when anything new gets posted. I can't figure out why, the feeds are one of the few things I didn't monkey around with. Let's hope it's just a matter of time.

As for comments, they've been working sporadically. That's completely my fault. They should be A-OK now, so, by all means, comment away ;o).
Otherwise, I think things are working fairly well. Let me know if they aren't and I'll try to sort them out.

Despite all the problems, I'm still really happy I made the move from Blogger to Movable Type. I haven't had a lick of problem posting and the features are very slick.

I have lots to post about, so even though my feeds aren't ok, you should still stop by when you think of it.

December 15, 2005

Well, if you say so

This is cool. My Heritage offers a free face recognition utility online. You upload a picture of yourself, preferably from the front and of fairly high resolution. I uploaded a not-so-terribly-flattering picture of myself that fit the criteria.
pic1.jpg

Results after the bump

Continue reading "Well, if you say so" »

December 29, 2005

Spots make the dragon

I had enough time to make a few spots for the little Dragon Hoodie, before the gift was due to be received. I really like how they look in front.

The back of the sweater, and notes on this version of the pattern, after the bump.

Continue reading "Spots make the dragon" »

January 2, 2006

Adios 2005

Matt and his girlfriend left town yesterday after a fun filled weekend of eating, partying and eating some more. We also did a bit of snacking between meals. I'm not sure if meeting Leo and me completely doomed Matt's relationship with Jess but if that didn't, perhaps seeing Matt do karaoke did.

Because I'm a loving and good sister, I recorded said karaoke for all the world to enjoy. Do you have Quicktime? If so, click on one of the links below

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Medium
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Don't forget to crank those speakers.
This was about a half hour before midnight on New Year's Eve. We went down to Santa Monica where we found a bar full of happy people enjoying some of the flat out worst karaoke I've had the opportunity to experience.

More pics from the weekend, after the bump.

Continue reading "Adios 2005" »

January 7, 2006

If you'd like to weigh in

Warning, only read this post if you aren't bothered by politics.

Continue reading "If you'd like to weigh in" »

January 31, 2006

Amazing Crochet

This is art and craft of exceptional quality.
Found via Drawn

I may be wrong, but I suspect that a lot of this is actually machine knit fabric, cut and sewn into shape and other pieces look like they may be crocheted, but without being able to see them more closely, it's hard to say. Either way, amazing stuff.

UPDATE: Urraca informs me that the artist is Patricia Waller and the pieces are all crochet. Some of those are either huge pieces or some extremely fine gauge crochet. Make sure you check out Patricia's site for more of her beautiful work.

February 9, 2006

Have you ever had a stitch marker break?

I don't believe that I use any sort of ninja death grip when I knit. My hands don't get cramped and my gauge is fairly loose. Nonetheless, I have managed to break stitch markers while knitting.

For many years, I have happily used my Susan Bates stitch markers. They are readily available and cheap as can be. A small box of 20 will run you less than $2.00. It was not until I crushed a few, mid row, that I decided I needed to see what else was out there.

Now my collection of stitch marking paraphernalia looks like this:

In my knitting nook, I have a set of those dishes you put your soy sauce in when you eat sushi. In one dish, I keep standard safety pins, some with the loop at the bottom, some without. In another dish, I keep a variety of closed ring, circular stitch markers. In the third dish, I have split ring and locking stitch markers, and in the last, I have a beautiful set of hand made stitch markers my friend Amy gave me.

If I haven't bored you yet, read the rest of my post on stitch markers, after the bump.

Continue reading "Have you ever had a stitch marker break?" »

February 12, 2006

The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II

Last we met, we were discussing my stitch marker collection. Here they are again:

While I have plenty of uses for the split and locking stitch markers, they don't do much of the heavy lifting here at Chez Marnie. I have to say, though, the feedback I got from the previous post was interesting. It appears that most people fall into one of a few disticnt groups.

There are the people who are most concerned with aesthetics. Having something cute or sparkly brings a smile to the knitter's face. While others are economical and practical. Using bits of string, hair elastics or a cut up straw means never worrying about lost markers or spending too much. Finally, there are people like I am. So without further ado, go ahead and read a bit more about the madness to my method, after the bump.

Continue reading "The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II" »

February 18, 2006

Happy Cruddy Photo Day to Me

I'm here at Stitches West and it's been quite an adventure. I should preface this by saying that Leo and everyone I work with have been sick for the past month or more. I said to my mom, a couple weeks ago, "I bet you anything, I’ll catch a cold right before Stitches." I was wrong, I caught a cold the day OF Stitches. Lucky me. So between hacking up a lung and not sleeping well, it's made me less than 100% of myself.

But I did go to Sally Melvile's speech the first day.

This was just before she went on stage, so do enjoy the view of everyone’s head and nothing else. She was discussing the process she used for designing pieces in her newest book, Color.

Here's my mom modeling a scarf/necklace thingy she knit and felted. Oooh, so cute. This is apropos, nothing, really, I just think she's cute.

She and I both had our first class together. We took Debbie New's Labyrinth Knitting course. If you aren't familiar, it's a technique from her Unexpected Knits

Here are some of my swatches.

None of mine are exactly right, but I got the concept. You basically make a jigsaw of your knitting and work them out to fit exactly into a certain shape. Very interesting stuff.

Between classes I've been working on my Voodoo top. I actually got an email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but who took umbrage with my last post, so I've taken it down. I believe it to be at least partially, a misunderstanding. I think this person thinks I plan to figure out the construction of the inspiration piece and write it up as my own pattern for distribution. This is simply untrue I've just knit this piece for myself, but I'm afraid I wasn't able to coherently communicate this and it's clear the offense has pushed the issue beyond reconciliation. I feel bad about that but I can respect this person's feelings on the topic.

That said, I'm very happy with the results so far. Here is the piece with all the knitting done and none of the ends sewn in. I still need to crochet more trim and add a closure.

I originally planned to use a frog closure but I lost mine in the travel from LA to here, so I've since bought some buttons, which I'll post soon.

Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures online of the original inspiration piece. It's called Red Dragon and it was issued by GGH/Rebecca magazine, but it's a bit like this and this. I just love that look and incorporating it into knitwear poses some interesting construction challenges that were fun to play around with. Don’t worry, all those ends will be woven in and there is more trimming to do. Oh and it needs a serious blocking as well, but just pretend that bottom hem is straight. I’ll post all my notes and a decent picture, as soon as I can.

Well, times a-wasting and it is my birthday, after all.

February 28, 2006

A Little Off Track

This Sunday, we decided to take Panda to the mountains so she could play in the snow. We live about 40 miles from the San Gabriel Mountains, so it's hardly an inconvenience to pack up the girl and head for the hills. So we shook off the sleepies after a night filled with Salsa dancing (well, I did the dancing, he stuck to scotch and people watching), grabbed the little fur ball and began our journey.

We drove along, listening to an audio book and taking in the sights. We realized, though, that we were a little off track when we saw a sign for this land mark.

For those of you who know Southern California, you may have already guessed where we ended up. For everyone else, you can find out after the bump.

Continue reading "A Little Off Track" »

March 7, 2006

What did you call me?

Now that Leo is working downtown, we spend a lot of time together. We commute in together, eat our lunches together and commute home again later on. Even with all that time together, we still find ourselves touching base throughout the day. Both of us use our IM accounts to do actual work (who'd a thunk it?) so it's easy for us to write each other, throughout the day, when things come up.

But every once in a while, I have to call him at his desk. Whenever I do, he answers with a chuckle. Why? Because his caller ID sees both my cell phone and office number as follows:

When I call, I'm announced as "SUPERTRUNK." Being she who bears the interloper, aka "Junk in the Trunk" I'm rather shocked to hear that it's detectable, even by a phone system.

Now, the past couple of months, I've certainly been given said "trunk" a bit of extra exercise. Whenever Leo and I meet for lunch, I scale the 2nd street hill of doom.

Trust me, it's doomier than it looks.

And then I climb two flights of stairs up to MOCA

And I'm a brisk walker indeed, no breaks along the way.
So while I'm amused, or perhaps even flattered that Leo's phone thinks I have a super trunk, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised.

And if conversations about my derriere are off topic for this blog, well, so be it. I'm a bit loopy from work exhaustion. Perhaps, if there is not a mass exodus from my blog after this post, I'll introduce you to the mutant flowers near our favorite lunch spot.

March 18, 2006

What a lovely Cliche!

Yesterday was St. Patrick's day, which means clovers, leprechauns and lots of green beer. To be honest, I'm rather indifferent to the holiday. My MacLean ancestors are Scottish, if you were wondering. But it's not even a matter of lineage, as I've been assured that I do, indeed, have some Irish blood coursing through my veins. There's no real reason, per se, I just don't feel any huge draw towards the holiday. But, yesterday, I got myself a little holiday cheer.

Leo and I both had a long week at work and we decided to try to find a new sushi restaurant near work, seeing as I'm right next to Little Tokyo.

On our way there, between light bursts of rain and sunshine, we saw this.

It's no four leaf clover, but it was definitely a visual pot o' gold.

March 22, 2006

Upgrading to Marnie 2.0

I got word, yesterday, that starting Monday, I'm officially promoted. Yay! I had been vying for a couple open supervisor positions at my company and both managers had told me I was their top pick, but last minute I was asked to decline those positions in exchange for equal title/pay/grade level and remain in my current role, at least long enough to complete a large project I've been working on. In essence, it means better pay and I appear more qualified, on paper, but in truth, nothing much will change about my job. I have asked to be able to attend management training courses, as they are made available, so that I will, at least, be able to beef up those skills in some way.

So to celebrate, here are some more pictures of the shawl. They still aren't quite what I want, picture wise. I'm hoping to actually don my handmade apparel, to get a better picture, sometime soon. But these are definitely better than the blocking pictures.

This picture really shows the stitch pattern well, but doesn't really show the color, because it's backlit.

This is the best representation of the color, but is a little soft in the details.

I see it worn over a black dress, on a mild spring night.

April 5, 2006

Dogs in raincoats, swords and ruffles

After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

April 11, 2006

What have I learned this weekend?

I got so many great comments and even more votes in my little poll. It appears that around 62% of folks that voted like the cardi as it is. However, most commenters leaned more towards softening or modifying the ruffle. I think, based on the feedback, I'll keep the piece as is for now. It seems like most of the people who didn't love the ruffle are not ruffle kinds of people anyway. What can I say? I'm pretty girly sometimes. I'm also working on a matching camisole with no ruffle, to wear with the cardigan. It's a simple square neck, fitted piece with a very simple crochet border that should compliment the cardigan without making the whole thing too busy. Yes, I know, a good blogger would have a picture. Sorry about that.

This weekend, I also learned that Deciduous likes to go out dancing. Want to see pictures? Check 'em out after the bump.

Continue reading "What have I learned this weekend?" »

April 15, 2006

I would never do this to Panda.

My friend Chrissy is an animal trainer. She also gets a kick out of dressing up dogs.

This is Beowulf

Her parents' Pomeranian. See what she's done to him, after the bump.

Continue reading "I would never do this to Panda." »

April 23, 2006

Ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing

I took a couple rough photos of the machine knit cardi and cami

The pictures aren't so good because there was only a little daylight left when I took them. And I've been doing housework all day, so the hair; it is in no condition for photographing. But, I think it gives you a general idea of what the pieces look like.

I'm now fully engrossed in Leo's sweater.

This is the back piece. I'm about halfway to the armsceye. It looks thin, but it will block out much wider. So far so good. I got most of it done while watching a movie over at a friend's place. It was a great, relaxing evening.

Leo went out with some friends and brought me home this:

He’s so sweet. Little things like that make knitting miles of ribbing seem fun.

April 26, 2006

G'day? I'll say!

Last night there was a package for me.

It was from Australia.

It hasn't been light out during any time since I got it, so just know that these pictures don't do the contents justice.
If you would like to see what's inside, it's all after the bump.

Continue reading "G'day? I'll say!" »

April 28, 2006

What I'll be doing in late July

Do you ever feel like you have to apologize that people think you are better than you are? I'm seriously not fishing for compliments here but, I've been asked to be on a panel at the BlogHer convention in July.

blogher.gif

The topic: "Is the Next Martha Stewart a Blogger?" I'm told that all I have to do is sit there and answer questions when I can. While I can assure you that I am definitely not the next Martha Stewart, I can't help but be flattered by the whole thing.
Did I say yes? Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?

I'm told that one of the rules is that I'll have to answer questions but not give speeches which is fine and dandy by me. If someone said I had to give a speech, I would have definitely turned it down. I don't mind talking to a crowd but I do mind having a script.

May 1, 2006

Crazy week ahead

Blogging may be sparse over then next few days. I've been asked to work out of the Orange County office for the week, to oversee part of a project we've been working on for a few months. This effectively doubles my commute, which, when added to 10 hour days, means that I'll have time to do little more than wake up, drive, work, drive, go to sleep. Fun! I don't mind so much except that I can't take public transportation so my knitting time is almost nil. Thank god for lunch breaks.

In the mean time, take a look at the beautiful silk yarn I spun up from the care package that Lynn sent me.

It's about a light sport weight and was spun up on my 0.9 ounce Golding.

May 2, 2006

I'm going to coin a term today

Warning! Politician banter ahead. You definitely don't have to agree with me, but please play nice.

So anyway, my brother, his girlfriend and I met up for dinner and we were waxing politically, as we are wont to do. I asked the question, "Hey, you know that whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing? Why did we get "Sodomy" but not "Gomorry"? And that's when it occurred to me. We need this word.




Click the image, or get the full definition after the bump.

In the mean time, I say we all start using the word. No, it isn't just a liberal thing, apply liberally (or conservatively, or even judiciously) as needed. Got an out of control school board? Is your mother really irking you? Did a crappy driver cut you off and then drive 10 miles under the speed limit? This word is free for any of the many uses you might find.

Continue reading "I'm going to coin a term today" »

May 15, 2006

One wonders what Darwin would have to say

Le Ann commented in my last post, that she felt my credentials as a woman, exceeded hers, ostensibly because I was working on a sweater for Leo that contains miles of ribbing. Well, this story will either solidify her assertion or, more likely, make her wish to retract her comment.

The evening was like any other; Leo sat at the computer, while I sat 10 feet away, knitting and watching tv. There was a crinkle of a potato chip bag, then several satisfying munches. The conversation was light between us; events of the day and whatnot, so there was no need for constant eye contact. And then I saw it. Panda, tail a wagging, was heading towards a prize. Leo had dropped the largest chip he could find in the bag. Seeing that I had caught him in the act, he prodded Panda on. "Go on, Panda, get the chip." I countered, "Leave it! Don't you eat that chip." The challenge began.

She licked it, but backed away. I swooped in to pick up the offending chip and toss it. With a self-righteous tone I said, "I'll give her a proper doggy cookie." I pull out the bag of Tiny Tots
sgtinytots.gif

They smell a little bit like beef jerky and they are fairly soft, almost malleable. Panda finds them delightful. Leo scoffs "Those suck!"
"Oh do they?" I reply, "How would you know, have you ever tried one."
If this were a wild west showdown movie, music would have started playing. Our eyes locked and two very stubborn people sized up the situation. Still holding the bag of treats, Panda placated, I pulled one of the treats out and placed it in front of Leo.

There was a fleeting moment in which his gaze wavered and a look of doubt crossed his face. Then, like a cobra striking, his hand darted out, snatched the treat, and he bit off half, all the while, his eyes never leaving mine. His face was smug while he chewed once, twice, three times and then there was realization. Slowly, his eyes widened and panic set in. Half a cookie still clutched in his hands and most of the other half sloshing between his teeth, he gasp and let out a meek "It's awful!"

He leaped up from his chair and ran to the nearby kitchen sink, spitting and splashing water into his mouth at the same time, I tried to hold back laughter but cannot. He cries "It's stuck in my teeth!" He runs to the bathroom and brushes his teeth for what feels like minutes. I'm laughing so hard, I'm having a bit of trouble holding myself steady, Panda just looks on bemused. I hear a pained “It’s like puke mixed in play-doh!” and it’s all I can do to keep from keeling over from asphyxiation.

This is a moment, not unlike many between Leo and me. We are two very stubborn people and the result is usually that one person eats crow, or in this case, something far worse.

Not two nights later, I was enjoying dinner with my brother and mother. I had an experience that would make any Freudian psychologist dance with glee. Some of you may remember this post from December 2004. Well, my little brother has exceeded his previous goal, and/or, sunk to even deeper depths.

matt.jpg
click image for Quicktime movie

Does it bother me that my brother and boyfriend are both willing to put themselves through undue suffering to prove, who knows what? No more so than it bothers me that, politically, they are so similar they could live in the same bomb shelter together, nor that they have the same sardonic sense of humor. I’m sure it should trouble me that their personalities are so similar but I’m resigned to it. Hey, look how much amusement I get out of life. Why change a thing?

May 19, 2006

Pleading Patients Overlooked

I can't quite decide what my the PPO portion of my medical insurance is referring to. I thought it was shorthand for "the world is your medical oyster" but I'm finding myself a tad frustrated today. The short story is that I need to get some inoculations so I can take a business trip to India in July, which is a very cool opportunity but is involving a lot of effort I hadn't originally considered. I think I've sorted most of the confusion out in what appears to be the first instance of my insurance company being more helpful than the doctor's office. Who knew? Anyway, I have two sore upper arms and a yellow card detailing my immunities to some rather icky viruses. There was also a bit of time to knit on Leo's sleeves.

I will still need some boosters and a tetanus shot, as well as a few prescriptions, but I've got the stuff that needed a lot of lead time out of the way.

Working on Leo's sweater, I've given myself little leeway to do much else. Obviously, I knit Gir but there really hasn't been much else. I occasionally pick up my spindle which has some lovely alpaca on it.

It's not that I'm not enjoying spinning it, it's just that I really want to crank through Leo's sweater and I cannot spin and knit at the same time. But, imagine if I could...oh my own vision of Valhalla.

Knitting miles of ribbing does give me ample time to consider what comes next. I'll definitely be working on the clown hat, but what should I do in India. July = monsoon season in the area. Temperatures, apparently, can average around 120 degrees though I'm told it's quite a bit cooler where we'll be. Even so, I'm thinking small, portable, and able to be worked on mindlessly. All signs point to socks. I'm not a huge sock knitter, but I am feeling that 2 socks on 2 circs will prevent second sock syndrome AND be more likely to survive a trip through security and customs without a lot of explanation. I like working on DPNs, but having a preference for metal to wood means that's probably a bad idea.

So last night I ripped out a partially knit, now abandoned project that was started with some Socks that Rock in colorway, Carbon. It needed a bath and hanging to get the kinky bits out but now looks as good as new.

I also have some solid shades of koigu around and plenty of self patterning sock yarn, all of which will only take up a small amount of space in my luggage but which should easily entertain me for my 24 hour long commutes to and from India as well as the small amount of down time I'll have during the trip.

May 20, 2006

One lane my foot

I grew up in NH and stayed in New England until Leo and I moved to California about 5.5 years ago. Some people are forever nostalgic for where they grew up, I am not. For all the natural and not so natural (smog, shootings and Anna Nicole) disasters we face in California, I wouldn't go back to the harsh winters and constant cloud of biting bugs in the summer, for all the tea in China.

I do, however, have some loved ones in the area, such as my parents, some aunts and cousins, and my dear friends Janet and Bill. Janet and Bill live in the boonies of a rather boonie-ful state. Their roads are paved with dirt and postal delivery to their area is only reliable in its unreliability.

They find humor in every nook and cranny of life and even the recent storms of the area have had no ill effect on their sense of irony. Case in point, a picture Bill took with the caption "Promises Promises"

You gotta love it.

May 22, 2006

Because he's worth every stitch

Since my post on Friday, I've done about 80 rows on Leo's sleeves. I am finally at the sleeve cap, which means no more increases. Not a moment too soon, I say. There were a few moments when I mentally psyched myself out and I wasn't sure I'd ever see the end of them.

There is actually a likely possibility that the sleeves are a little bit long. Personally, I'd rather have to shorten a ribbed sleeve than have to lengthen one. Ribbing is unidirectional. If you pickup and knit from the other direction, all stitches will be half a stitch offset from the point you picked them up. This means that lengthening a ribbed sleeve is best done by knitting a new cuff and grafting, in ribbing, to the base of the sleeve. I'm very comfortable with grafting in stockinette but ribbing is a whole other beast.

But you know, it's easy to find motivation when knitting for Leo. It's not all about eating dog cookies at our place. On Friday, Leo treated me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.

He said he loved me so much, even the stains he leaves on his placemat are heart shaped.

After dinner, we made an attempt to go out and tear up the town, but having both gotten up around 6 am, we were pretty beat by 11pm and the bars still all seemed empty. Leo did take this cool picture of us reflected off the mirror behind the bar.

You can see his camera peaking through the bottles, if you look carefully.

It ended up being an early night, and a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I knit sleeves while I watched Memoirs of Geisha. It may not be as good as the book, but it's been quite a few years since I read the book and the cinematography alone was captivating enough to hold my interest. There were a few things I remembered well enough to feel like I could pick apart the movie a bit, but it never stopped me from enjoying it.

May 26, 2006

Breaking up and moving out

I think it's been 5 years now, maybe 4, my memory is not so good, but it is time. We've had a good run, going many fun places together, but let's be honest, we're both more worn than when we met and my needs are simply greater than you can accommodate.

This is the conversation I had with my old Klimt purse.

You know, I still really love the design and its small size always kept me from carrying too much stuff, but it could never quite accommodate my cell phone, wallet AND the digital camera, along with things like keys and such that are purse mainstays. I think, if the image weren't fading, I'd carry this purse forever. It was a gift from my mom, several years ago, and it's gone with me just about everywhere. I am not a purse floozy. Occasionally I'll carry something different when I'm going out for an evening, but in general, I'm a one purse kind of girl.

But yesterday, a package arrived from my mom. She has graced me with a brand new Klimt purse, which is bigger and even more lovely than the last.

Gorgeous, no? It's a deep chocolate brown and nearly twice as big as my old purse. They are both Icon purses and I can say, with some authority, that they are very well made. Despite the fact that I have carried my old purse for years and stuffed it full on many occasions, it only showed wear at corners, the main image is still perfect, and the lining has never so much as considered ripping. The new purse has a lovely assortment of pockets and pouches and even came with this matching key chain.

It has taken me all of 5 minutes to move everything out of the old purse into the new one and it feels like moving from a studio apartment into a 3 bedroom house; there's just so much extra space. Yay!

In crafty news, the sleeves on Leo's sweater are nearly done with only about 30 more rows left, I hope to have pictures soon. For now, here's a peek at some of that pink roving that Lynn sent me, which I've been spinning on my Kundert spindle.

June 8, 2006

Ohhh, the horror

Now that I'm in full fledged "prepare for India" mode, I'm having to get things like Visas in order. In doing so, I've had to pull out my Passport. I still keep my first one.

This was issued to me in April of 1989 when I was 14 years old. No, that's not a mullet, I had bangs and two ponytails. Those white things are, yes, earrings. I never had big hair, not even when it was fashionable, but I definitely had big earrings.

Thank god I never ended up being a fugitive while this was my passport photo because I have no doubt that every news station would have run this photo of me.

Fourteen years later, my passport photo isn't much better but at least I don't look like I have committed a crime. I got this one three years ago with the hopes that I'd have some reason to use it soon.

And now I have another fug for the files, my Visa photos

I quote my mother, who once said, after I showed her a particularly bad driver's license photo of me, "Marnie, for a pretty girl, you sure do photograph ugly." I may be paraphrasing.

June 20, 2006

Happy Campers are We

I thought it'd be fun to have my mom send me some pictures from when I was a kid. These totally crack me up and I hope they'll make you smile too.

Catch them all, after the bump.

Continue reading "Happy Campers are We" »

June 29, 2006

Do I get a Nom De Plume?

What do you say when someone whose blog you love writes you and says she'd love to work on a book with you?
You say, "SURE!"
What do you then say when she asks if you can design the ugliest patterns known to man... out of acrylic yarn circa 1965?
Well, I still said yes and am now looking into various witness protection programs. I hear the French have an excellent one. Oui Oui!
The result is that I have my name in one of the most hilarious books out there.
1594741115.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_V65633063_.jpg
It's like her blog on paper. What would you call that? A plog? Darn new fangled contraptions!
For those whose sarcasm-dar is malfunctioning, that was a joke
You can click on the image to go get yourself a copy, just promise me that you won't judge me by the patterns, except to conclude that sometimes, it takes a certain skill to make something truly ugly. That's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night. It's my mantra.

On another note, I leave for India on Sunday, so if I haven't replied to your comments, it's not because I'm rude or hate you, I'm just scurrying around all day, trying to get things in order. Expect light or non-existent blogging and emailing all next week. If I can get a good connection during my "me" time, I'll post updates. Otherwise, you'll hear all about it upon my return.

July 25, 2006

This Angeleno is becoming an Oregonian

Really, though, maybe it should be:
This Californian is becoming an Oregonian
or
This Angeleno is becoming and Portlandian if the Oregonian variety (so as not to be confused with those Portlandians of the Mainenites variety).
But I'm splitting hairs here, the point is, Leo and I are moving to Portland Oregon. Leo goes up on Monday to start a new job on the 7th.

It is not without some apprehension that I go. I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 5 years and I have met so many wonderful people, a few of whom, to my delight, even count me among their friends. As I'm predisposed to hermit-like behavior, this is no small feat, in my mind. I will miss them terribly.

Yet, I also look upon all this as an exciting opportunity to start fresh and new and discover an area I've never been before. What? Didn't I mention that? Oh, yah, neither Leo nor I have ever been to Oregon. I'm not averse to change, and I love exploring new cities. It's scary to know I'll be jobless in a month, but with rents half the price of the LA area, I can pretty much sell hemp jewelry on a street corner and still contribute my part to the household expenses.

I've already checked and it appears there are several yarn shops in the Portland area. And those cute little Pygoras from a couple days ago? They hail from Oregon, which bodes well for my spinning future.

So if any of you who live, have lived, or frequently visit Oregon, have suggestions for me, please send them my way.

I'll do my best to keep posting during the transition, but with our home computer going up north without me, and with all the upheaval, I make no promises, expressed or implied, that blogging will continue as normal.

July 27, 2006

Zounds and Pygora!

Who knew moving to Portland would garner me so many comments? It's almost frightening how many people love the city and how few bad things people have to say about the area (rain and you can't pump your own gas, I think I can live with both).
There are so many of you I need to write back to. I can't believe how many great suggestions you've sent and warm welcomes you've offered. I'm really looking forward to moving.
I don't arrive in Oregon until the end of August, and in the mean time, I hope to be able to see all my LA friends, so I can say goodbye.

But enough of that, take a look at my yummy pygora yarn.

Here it is almost completely spun up. The kit comes with half an ounce (about 14 grams) of each fiber, so that's just enough to fill up one of my smaller spindles.

I simply loved spinning this stuff. I don't know enough about the properties of various fibers to say why, I just know that whatever it is, I'm able to spin it up superfine, balanced, soft and with a bit of loft.

I've included a dime for scale. The yarn is a two ply and check this out...

Balance, baby!

This hasn't been washed yet, it's right off the spindle. I have just shy of 54 yards (49 meters) of yarn here. Since pygora is aplenty in Portland, I plan to get more soon.

I've now started spinning some of the Yak fiber and it's not going quite as well. It's more poofy and fluffy and I don't quite have the best technique for managing that sort of fiber. It's gotten better as I've worked with it, but compared to the pygora, it's pretty crude looking.

In a little while, I'm off to Blogher, then a visit with a friend in San Francisco, then back home to help Leo pack up the truck. It's quite a weekend, indeed.

July 31, 2006

Blogher!

So, the second N2JW has been progressing at a speed that would make most glaciers honk in frustration at my pace. I mean, this baby has been taking forever.

At Blogher, I knew nobody. This is not like Stitches was. I traveled with my mother, and met a great deal of friends while there. Further, in the world of knit bloggers, I'm like a C list star. I ain't no Yarn Harlot, but people have stumbled upon me on occasion. For comparison's sake, I'd put myself at about a Carrot Top. At Blogher, I had my normal anonymity, which is fine, but it does mean that I have to make the horrifying step of socializing without any safety net. Let me see if I can find a good knitting analogy here. That would be like my saying that I was going to use the most slippery needles on earth, and knit a complex lace shawl with 600 stitches per row, in mohair, with no life line. And if that doesn't scare you, I would ask you to shoosh, because I don't want to hear it.

So how does an introvert of my neurotic level adapt? She knits. She knits like a fiend and the results; a finished pair of N2JW socks done lickity split. In fact, I was so sad to be done, I toyed with the idea of knitting a third sock, because the only other knitting project I brought is too complex to allow me to knit while paying attention to things around me.

But Blogher was great. If my battery in my camera hadn't been dead (duh) I would have pictures to prove it. The panel on which I was asked to speak was called "Is the next Martha Stewart a blogger?" and was moderated by Maggie Mason. If you ever meet her, please, stop her and beg her for insight. She did a brilliant job moderating and imparted so much level headed wisdom and kindness. I feel like she could done the panel solo and would not have left a single question unanswered.

My fellow panelists were (in alphabetical order for lack of a better option):
Andrea Scher: Despite her proclamation that she was nervous, Andrea brought a warmth and spirit to the group. She lives by the motto that things should be "Fun and Easy" which are words to live by if ever there were any. Hearing about how she came to an understanding that she needed help with her business and how it really liberated her to do what was most satisfying for her, was wonderful. I think we can all take a page from her book, there.

Gayla Trail: A true perfectionist, Gayla really drove home how important it was to impart your own values in what you do. No aspect of her business is done halfway and she gives a great deal of thought to everything she associates herself with. I really respect her sense of principal and dedication.

Pim Techamuanvivit: Like a sparkly ray of sunshine. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. She seemed to have a little slice of experience in every bit of media and an air of confidence to pull it all together. She offered wonderful pearls of wisdom for expanding one's reach and did it all with a beaming smile.

I felt like a girl among women on the panel but wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Next post: pattern notes for N2JWs.

August 2, 2006

RSVP

I wanted my next post to be about my new socks, but forget that, I'm gonna have myself a pity party and you are all invited. Get your hats and your noise makers, suck the helium out of the balloons and talk like Mickey Mouse, because I have a bad case of the “poor mes” right now.

At 11PM last night I kissed my puppy and Leo goodbye and they drove off into the starlit night for Oregon. And perhaps I cried maybe a bit because a month away from the two of them sound heart wrenchingly lonely. And maybe I worry that they'll be abducted by aliens and I'll never see them again because while I don't actually believe in alien abductions I do believe in horrible unexpected things happening to people I love, so I'm sad. But Leo has been sending me pictures from his phone of the little girl enjoying her trek to lands unknown (at least to us)

The move has been no small feat for us, and the ordeal doesn't end any time soon. To start with, since we are both trying to be frugal and we are moving on different dates, Leo will be unpacking the truck by himself. On the plus side, we've decided to sell most of our larger furniture, but on the downside, we're still keeping both motorcycles, our queen sized mattress and box spring, our 32" TV, and a few other choice back breakers.

As a side note, Leo drew quite a crowd driving the motorcycles up the ramp of a moving truck. I’m pretty sure everyone was waiting for him to fall off the side or crash into the boxes already sitting in back.

Speaking of moving trucks, I'm not going to name any names, but we are not happy with our moving truck experience. The company in question (whose name may rhyme with "poo-ball") has set us off our schedule by a whole day. Originally, we were scheduled to pick up our truck on Monday morning at 9AM. We were supposed to find out which LA office we were to pick up our truck, no later than 5PM on Sunday night. At around 6PM we were informed that they didn't know when or where we'd be able to pick up the truck the next day, that they hadn't even scheduled us a truck yet and that they'd call us on Monday and let us know. We made our reservation over two weeks prior and since one of us still has a job to go to, we were looking at a long couple of days.

So after several hours of listening to hold music and being told by countless customer service reps that the branch office would be notified of the urgency of our need for a truck, we were finally told we could pick up a truck in an office that ended up taking about 45 minutes to get to. Good times.

We worked for two solid days with only the barest minimum of sleep, but we finally got most of what we hoped to pack, into the truck. Now, I need to get all the remaining flotsam and jetsam out of the house (to Goodwill with what we they'll take and to the trash with the rest) then try to sell the furniture on Craig's list.

On the upside, it'll be a lonely and grueling two weeks to get the house in order, but after that, I'm staying with a friend who has graciously offered to drive the scenic route to Oregon with me the weekend of the 26th. We'll be taking a long slow journey up the cost, camping as needed to refresh ourselves and stopping for every scenic view we deem worthy. Since I'm easily amused there may be a lot of stops along the way.

I want to thank you all for attending my pity party. Please feel free to take home any leftovers that you’d like. I definitely won’t eat them all myself. I’ll grab your jackets from the extra room and see you out the front door.

August 6, 2006

Like classic knitting burlesque

I could throw out the now ubiquitous term "knitting porn" but I wouldn't want to sully these amazing images that way. This is definitely high class burlesque.

My friend Bill did some consulting for a company in an old mill building in NH. Inside, they had this knitting machine.

It's a Vanguard Supreme, and I can't stop looking at it. Versions of it are still made today and it appears to be used for knitting things in the round.

If you are as smitten as I am, take a look at the rest of the peep show after the jump.

Continue reading "Like classic knitting burlesque" »

September 15, 2006

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

Let me start by saying, if you have any regard for me as a mature woman of a refined wit, even after this post, then you:


  1. Don't know me very well.

  2. May work with me.

  3. Probably should just disregard the rest of this post


But for the rest of you, check out the post, after the bump.

Continue reading "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight" »

October 9, 2006

5 hours getting stabbed - but he was asking for it

A little over 4 years ago, I designed and got a tattoo of a dragonfly on my back. I loved the little guy and I figured if I couldn't see it everyday, I'd be less likely to get sick of it. I think it worked. I still love seeing him hanging out back there.

marnietat.jpg

It got Leo thinking that he might like something himself. He asked me to think of some possible ideas. He knew he wanted something that had a female face, and he was thinking he might want an armband.

Now, I dabble in illustrating, but it is, by no means, my strong suit. I sketched, I used Illustrator, I submitted ideas to him and yet we kept coming up with misses, not hits. I'll be the first to say that no one should get a tattoo unless they feel 100% sure it's what they want and, luckily, Leo feels the same. Yet, I was beginning to think I'd never come up with a design that could meet his discriminating taste.

Finally, we hit on an idea that seemed perfect to him. Two female profiles facing each other with their hair intertwining around his arm. It was a design that we hasn't seen on anyone else (which is not to say that it hasn't been done, we just haven't seen it) and Leo thought he could love it enough to have it forever.

When I finalized the sketch and got it to where he thought it was perfect, he asked if I could include a Japanese character in the middle. I've take a little bit of Japanese before, so I knew enough to search for the character online and then look it up by it's radical to confirm the meaning. There's still a chance that it has some colloquial or slang meaning that may come back to haunt us, but I suppose that's the chance you take when you go getting tattoos in languages you don't really know.

Anyway, the characters should mean "lion" which is what Leonardo means as well. Leo jokes that it's as close as he gets to being between two women at one time. Ha! Funny, very funny.

You may recall that I said the designing happened over 4 years ago. We went to a few places in LA to see what it would cost but we it ended up just falling by the wayside. Over time it just seemed to be (I thought) forgotten.

Well, bruised, beaten, exhausted and bloodied, after 5 hours of continuous inking (he said she didn't even take a potty break) his tattoo is done, and from what I can see, it's amazing. Want to see it? Check the pics after the jump. If you are not so fond of the look of freshly tattooed skin under plastic wrap and tape, you can see the original illustration here.

Continue reading "5 hours getting stabbed - but he was asking for it" »

Unwrapped

I only have a few minutes so I don't have much time for commentary other than to say that I think it looks wonderful.

And for those who asked, he confirmed that under the arm is, in fact, a very painful place to get a tattoo. Aww. But hopefully it was all worth the pain in the end.

October 18, 2006

Relying on the kindness of strangers and friends

I have a huge favor to ask you guys out there. I'm working on a pattern for a company and I need to have some good leg measurements for all different kinds of women, from petit to zaftig. I would NOT expect anyone to want to leave those sorts of measurements in my comments, so I'm hoping I can sweet talk you into emailing me those measurements with assurance that your numbers and names will never be released in combination with each other.

So, what I'd need is:

  1. Circumference at ball of foot

  2. Circumference at ankle

  3. Circumference at knee

  4. Distance from ankle to knee

  5. Circumference at mid thigh (Sit down. Measure halfway between knee and crease of lap)

  6. Distance from knee to mid thigh

or click the "Contact" button above. Either will allow you to send me an email. Include the subject line "my leg" and the measurements for each number in the body of the message.

And because I know this is a bit of a pain in the butt, I'll be sending one random contributor a special gift. The winner will be picked Friday night and can choose either a knitting or a spinning related little prize.

October 20, 2006

Final Countdown

Wow, you guys are awesome! I have been getting so many submissions for the leg contest, along with great little asides from many of you. I'm sorry I haven't had the time to personally thank and respond to each and every one of you.

For those who might be on the line about sharing your measurements with me, here's a little something that might sway you one way or the other. Below are pictures of what the winner will get to choose from.

If you choose a spinning related prize, you can choose from one of these orifice hooks.

Either a lamb themed hook.

Or a lizard themed hook.


If you prefer a knitting related prize, you can choose from one of two pairs of US sized 7 Clover knitting needles with decorated ends.

Again, I have a lamb themed variety.

Or a lizard theme.

These are definitely hand made and look the part but they're made with plenty of TLC, for whatever that is worth.

If the winner opts out of any of the items above, there will be an option for a yarn or roving prize instead.

I've extended the contest just a little longer, so you may get in your entries until mid-day Saturday, when the winner will be chosen.

Thanks again for all the submissions so far. I hope they keep rolling in.

October 23, 2006

Winner!

One Ms. Eve Ng has won our grand prize. She has chosen to receive a pair of knitting needles. She's left it up to me to choose which ones.

The remaining items will be sold in the near future.

For now, I'm sorting and charting and playing around with the 70 submissions I've received from all of you.

I'm fascinated and a little daunted by how many sizes and shapes we all come in. This should be a challenging project indeed.

October 31, 2006

Just not right


This is the weather forecast in my neighborhood. Tonight they are expecting it to get down to 29ºF, just in time for Halloween. But you know what's so very wrong? The next nine days won't drop below 39ºF! What sort of sick and twisted turn of fate is that?

Having grown up in NH, I know what it's like to ponder the benefits of bundling up against the complete loss of continuity in one's costume. Freeze and look "just right" or bundle up and have nothing but a tiara to show for your princess costume. Do princesses wear moon boots?

Even as I write this, I worry more for our supply of candy than I do for the health and well being of the children. I'm in a new neighborhood, full off little single family houses. Will I have enough candy? What if there's a line of kids outside my door and I run out? Will the kids accept roving instead? Can I really part with roving for a bunch of greedy kids in pirate costumes? Only time will tell, I suppose.

For now, I have to remember not to graze upon the candy I do have.

November 2, 2006

The roving is safe

You can all rest easily. I did not run out of candy. The supply of roving has not been depleted and even our jack-o-lantern is still whole (albeit a smidge withered)

Being the frigid evening that it was, we thought it best to light a big ol' fire instead of relying on our heating system. If we hadn’t we know that every time we opened the door, we'd be channeling our inner crotchety old man and worrying about "heating the whole neighborhood". So down went the thermostat and up when the kindling.

The trick-or-treaters were few and far between but so adorable and polite!

Faces blurred to protect the adorable

At the end of the night, we still had a full bowl and a half of candy, which Leo has been slowly funneling to his colleagues. If you aren't much for networking, this is a great way to earn brownie points.

Unbloggable knitting is still full steam ahead but when I can't be entirely focused on knitting, I have granted myself a little bit of time to spin. This is the beautiful Merino/Viscose roving I got from Janel, in colorway, "Autumn."

If your heart didn't just skip a beat, you may want to check your pulse.

November 4, 2006

Shakin' my bon-bon

Last night, Leo and I met up with a local group who tries different restaurants in Portland, every two weeks. This time, we went to Eleni's Philoxenia a Greek WONDERLAND of food yumminess. Great googily moogily, this meal was good.

After eating ourselves stupid, and smelling not unlike Gilroy, California, we went for some Salsa dancing at Andrea's Cha-Cha Club. When I say "we" went salsa dancing, it's in the royal sense. We don't salsa dance, I salsa dance. Leo mans the camera and tends to the people watching.

While I doubt the eau de garlic was a scent my dance partners hoped would be wafting over them, I couldn't help but have a grand old time cutting a rug.

I kind of think this blurry one is the most flattering of the bunch.

I guess this one looks a little bit more like it's actually me.

Dancing a cha-cha. I had a little trouble following this guy's lead and he kept insisting on counting aloud. It was a little bit of a train wreck.

Despite his mullet he was a very good dancer. Oh and he has a mullet, my god, I haven't seen one of those since New Hampshire!

We danced until about midnight before calling it quits and heading home to bed.

While Andrea's doesn't have quite the crowd I remember from my favorite Salsa clubs in Boston and LA, it comes as close as I've been able to find since coming to Portland. We've hit a few other spots that are nicer to look at but lack the sort of regulars that can really hold their own. Apparently, Tango is rather popular here and I may have to give it a shot, but for now, I've found a place to get my salsa fix.

November 6, 2006

And a good time was had by all

On Saturday morning, I stretched out my bon-bon shaking aches. Leo suggested we brave the rain and wind and head to the beach to give Panda some running around time. Bundled up in layers we made our way to Cannon Beach.


The three of us arrived at our destination and Leo gave me a wry smile. "It looks like a hurricane out there." he says, and he should know, having lived through hurricane Andrew more than a decade ago. Panda, was doing the happy dance in the back seat, shifting from foot to foot and pacing from window to window as she let out a little desperate whimper. It was all on me, the princess of the bunch. Do I dismiss the hour's drive and turn the whole party around and go home or do I suck it up and brave the elements?

That ain't steam rising off the ground there!

I like to think of this as a little macrodermabrasion. You can't tell, but along with the wind, we had a healthy bit of rain coming down. The temperature was relatively mild, maybe 60 degrees, but the wind had quite a bite.

Panda felt it was all good fun, indeed.

In fact, she was wondering why we didn't stay longer. Once my jeans were soaked and the wind got even stronger, I wrangled the crew back into the car. We went home, had some lunch and tucked in for a little nap.

I thought it'd be a quite night in, but Leo had other ideas. "We'll just go out for an hour, see a band, maybe have a beer." He says. So I pop on something casual, that will keep me warm, and we head out to Laurelthirst, a little bar on the other side of the river, where we had some munchies and a little bit of beer while we listened to the band.

Their selection of beer is impressive and their nachos really hit the spot.

Any place sporting a Deception Dollar, is fine in my book.

Isn't Leo a good looking man?

He looked so cute I had to give him a kiss.

From Laurelthirst, Leo suggested we go back for more salsa dancing. At first, I resisted. I definitely wasn't dressed for dancing. But he didn't have to work too hard to twist my arm. We went back to Andrea's for a few, then over to Fernando's Hideaway. I danced and danced some more before we headed out for a little walk by the river.

It was a gorgeous night with just a little mist in the air. The trees had turned yellow and nearly glowed against the warm light of the streetlamps. A perfect ending to a great night.

November 15, 2006

Just some things I enjoy looking at

A relatively random collection of recent photos that make me smile. As always, click to make them bigger.

My new yarn all balled up and begging to be swatched

Dew drops on the grass in the early morning.

Panda watching the rain.

Dog friendly park with a lake

Duck duck...

GOOSE!

Little critter A nutria (thanks Amanda!)

He can swim.

The purple center of a Queen Anne's Lace flower

November 29, 2006

Is that like "I" as in "Eyeliner"?

Well, my mom has hurt her back and won't be able to make it to our yarn crawl in San Francisco. I hope you will all send healthy happy back thoughts her way because anyone who has thrown out their back knows that this is absolutely no fun at all. Luckily, I know my mom will be back on the west coast as soon as she's in full working order again. This is not a trip for which any arm twisting is necessary so I'm just glad she's taking care of herself and resting up.

I'm scrambling now to get all the various details worked out and may stay in OC for an additional day. If this is anything like my scramble to switch hotels on Monday, it should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Having called the travel site's help line, I had the distinct pleasure of being transfered 4 times to a total of 5 reps, and on each occasion I was asked to repeat my 16 digit locater number, consisting of a random assortment of letters and numbers.

Having subsisted on a bag of airline pretzels and some decaf tea over the course of my 12 hour day, I was perhaps lacking in my usual charm. On round three I ran through my locater number twice, trying to communicate it clearly. As my rep repeated it back to me, she ran through the familiar "That's 'A' like 'apple', 'R' like 'Robert'" and on it went, When she got to "'Y' like 'Wyoming'" I actually didn't know how to answer. She was not American, so there was always the risk that she was confusing her letters, since, surely their company supports a fair number of customers in Wyoming, but I trusted that the logic, while perhaps a little faulty, was probably on track. An hour later, I was unpacked and in my room.

And while I'm nitpicking other people's use of the English language, might I show you this gem of fragmented sentence fabulocity?

It reads, "La Quinta. Spanish for 'Got you covered."
Why do we have a period instead of a comma after "La Quinta"? Maybe a lack of sleep makes me overly persnickety.

It's all fine, though, because I had a huge, delicious sushi dinner with my brother last night.

In my world, there's no such thing as too much spicy tuna.

December 1, 2006

I only lived there for 5 years

I'm back to pester you guys for more free advice. Yes, I lived in LA for 5 years, but even though I did get some manicures last year when I was doing Knitty Gritty, it was a bit hit or miss. The first manicure was great, the second left something to be desired. Anyway, I'm not a manicure getting kind of girl, but I'll be getting another one for my upcoming episodes of KG and would love some recommendations in the Burbank area. If you know of any reliable places in the Valley that you can recommend, I'd love to hear. Just leave me a comment below.

Thanks!

December 10, 2006

Missed Connection

You: Humongous piece of metal meant to fly large numbers of people to and fro. Last seen glistening as you pulled away from the gate in the mid-day sun.

Me: Barreling ass through miles of the San Francisco airport, tapping foot impatiently behind that guy who stopped on the moving walkway with his bag next to him so no one could get by.

I had really hoped we could meet, have a drink, maybe some peanuts or pretzels. It could have been special.


December 16, 2006

Getting a little work done

No, I didn't augment my T&A (heaven knows the "A" doesn't need any help), no I got a little work done on my tattoo.

Some of you might remember that Leo got a tattoo recently. Well, my little tattoo was several years old and in need of a 30000 mile tune up, so we headed back to Lady Luck for a fun filled night of needles and blood.

I've always liked my little tattoo, which I designed to be something with absolutely no emotional, symbolic or in any way special meaning to me. Thinking back to what was meaningful to me at, say, 15, I'm certainly glad I didn't put Edgar Allen Poe or The Vampire Lestat on my body. What's important to me now may have little meaning to me in another 15 years. So to be sure I'd not suffer "buyer's remorse" in the ensuing year, I decided on something I thought would be pretty, and placed it in a spot that I didn't have to look at every day. The combo of the two has held up well for me so far. A little fresh coat of paint ups the joy even more.

The artist who worked on both Leo's and my tattoo is Jea'nine.

She reworked my tattoo for over an hour.

Did I mention I didn't need any augmentation in the "A" department?

When the work was done, and the entire staff had popped by to look at my tush finished tattoo, the results were more beautiful than I could have hoped.

She cleaned up all the fuzziness and really emphasized the gradation in the wings. It was even better than I could have hoped. I'm sure in time, it will fade a bit and soften, but at least I know I always have a reliable place to go to get her back to her former beauty. I love it.

She bandaged me up and sent me home with my care instructions. Luckily, I never sleep on my back so it was a restful evening.

The next morning I had a little rinse and a touch of A&D Lotion, and one more photo shoot, slightly less bloodied and red.

So if you are in the Portland area and looking to get inked or pierced, I can recommend Lady Luck highly. I've already started some sketches for what I'd like to do next.


December 21, 2006

New Toy

Leo Claus had some elves delivery me a gift today.
I'm so excited I could plotz!
In LA, I never had to worry about getting enough sunlight, but even so, there were many winter weeks when I didn't see a scrap of daylight and would have found much benefit in this toy. Now that I live in Portland, I can't count on bright sunshine every day, and even when I do get it, it can still be a challenge to get a great picture.

Take this picture for example. The color is warm and inviting, but that's really not the color of the yarn. And even though I have some pretty good natural light, it's shining a little harshly, causing blown out highlights and indistinct shadows in my subject matter. Let us not even discuss the blurriness.

Now check out the same fiber, all glammed up in my mini-photo studio.

Go ahead, click and see the detail!

My camera tends to add a redish cast to most images, so I still needed to touch it up a little, but the raw image has so much more information, now that I have a little tripod and good, diffused lighting.

In my next post, I'll answer the question: "What does a secular Jew give a godless heathen for a Winter Solstice present?"

December 22, 2006

Some Figgy Pudding

My friend, Janet, sent me several lovely gifts this year, to celebrate the Winter Solstice and all the adjacent holidays.

Amongst the gift was a little something I feel I can only share with you in movie form.
It's a big file so you may need to give it a little time to load.

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Click the image above to see the QuickTime movie, turn up your volume, and make sure to stick around for the blooper reel.

And as a last note before the weekend; whatever it is you might be or not be celebrating, I hope it's filled with happiness, health, and people you love.

March 11, 2007

There are some things you just take for granted...

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A company called Seventh Generation, who manufactures safe and environmentally responsible household products, has a program called TamPontification.

Per their site:

Women’s shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly, and, while agencies generally assist with everyday necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, this most basic need is often overlooked. You and I may take our monthly trips down the feminine care aisle for granted, but, for women in shelters, a box of tampons is five dollars they can’t spare. Here’s some good news: you can help us contribute to rectifying this situation by making a virtual donation below!
For each virtual donation, Seventh Generation will send a pack of organic cotton tampons or chlorine-free pads to a shelter in your state.

So swing by their site, if this is a cause you think is worth supporting, and make your donation.

Link via LAist

March 20, 2007

The future is now - and it kind of sucks

This Sunday, I flew down to Los Angeles for work. Apparently, Sunday, at about the same time, another plane landed as well. Oh boy, 500 extra passengers, what could possibly go wrong?

There are words, some more family friendly than others, to describe the baggage claim area at LAX. Most carousels were collecting baggage from 4 or more flights at any time. This is a pic of carousel 1 which was at one end of the this terminal. My fellow passengers and I got our cardio workout walking between this and carousel 4, at the other end of the terminal. Every few minutes, someone would announce, over the intercom, the new expected location of our luggage. I found myself surprisingly unfazed by the whole thing. I flew in a full 14 hours before I needed to be at work and there simply wasn't anything to be done about the situation. Plus, who among us couldn't do with a bit more exercise? Others, though, did not seem to be so zen about it.

All of this is just to say that blogging shall be sparse this week, while I work, which is just as well since I will have very little knitting time until Friday. I did manage to bring my Portland weather to LA, though. Sorry to all my So Cal neighbors, though I have to say, I kind of like it.

March 26, 2007

More airport fun, kitty cats and swatches

Well, I made it home after a busy week of working and some serious knitting, all weekend long. It was a great weekend, though my travel karma is definitely out of whack. More about that near the end of the post.

The week started on a great note, when the manager in OC treated me to some Spongebob goodness. Here are my bath pals.

They squirt water when you squeeze them. Is this an appropriate bath accoutrement for a 32 year old? I suspect yes. Did I use them? You bet your sweet tush I did.

I didn't have much time during the week for knitting, so I only did a touch of swatching for a future design that I am envisioning.

I started by following Jody's instructions for the Latvian braid (at the top, I prefer this stitch pattern inverted). I should have reversed the foundation row to achieve the proper effect. I was working a technique that was meant to be worked in the round, flat and I flubbed that portion, but that's no fault of the tutorial. Otherwise, it's very easy and a great way to start a 2-color piece.

I don't actually plan to knit this particular stitch pattern, and probably not in these exact colors, but I do plan to use some of my Blue Sky Alpaca of which I have a few other colors. While I like how the orange really pops against the blue, I think, in this particular usage, it's too much. The yarn is leftover from a project that I did for Kat's upcoming Baby Boho book. I really can't wait for it to be published since I'm so happy with the finished project.

Once the work week was over, I got to spend a couple days with my always gracious and welcoming friend, Julia. She had a very busy week, so I got some good bonding time with her kitties; Townes and Tuna.

Townes just walked all over me for the first few hours. Nothing says "welcome back, my friend" like being treated like furniture.

He also made sure I didn't oversleep during nap time. Thanks Townes!

Tuna was just blissed out the whole weekend

I took this picture right after she walked over to me and started linking my cheek. She's so cute. She did a few of those hardcore head rubs on my forehead and then plopped herself down for some belly rubs. I'm pretty sure that in Tuna's past life, she was a loving little lap dog.

Don't believe me?

Here she is snuggling her doggy chew toy.

There ain't no catnip in this teddy bear, just a kitty feeling all kinds of bliss with the world.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful Zosia, but she and I had some nice walkies and explored the hilly streets surrounding Julia's house.

I also, because I'm so great at this blogging thing, don't have any pictures of the subsequent S&B at Nicky D's. A few of my favorite people were there, and some were noticeably not and missed.

I did tons of knitting for a top secret project I'm working on for a McYarnpanted individual. You'll just have to take my word for it. No pictures for you.

The trip home lacked the joy of the weekend. I left for the airport very early, to allow time to fill up the tank of and return my rental car. That went unexpectedly smoothly which left me a couple hours to entertain myself in the Burbank airport. I got even more time when the first leg of my flight was delayed. Guess what that means? I missed my connection. The next flight didn't leave for another 2 hours and I was only granted standby for that. The good news; I got on that flight, narrowly, by the skin of my teeth. (Am I the only one who finds that image pretty horrifying?) The bad news; my luggage didn't get the memo. The OK news, United had it delivered to my home later that night.

All said and done, no harm, no foul and my greeting when I got home was as loving and enthusiastic as I'd hoped. Yay for visiting friends and yay for coming home.

March 28, 2007

What the daffodilly-o?

Ahh, is there anything more bad-ass than a 30-something suburbanite using antiquated slang in a punny fashion? I say not.

In keeping with my focus on deadline work and therefore, decided lack of crafty goodness, I bring Portland in spring. It's a beautiful thing that even my spangly new birthday camera cannot do justice to. It doesn't stop me from trying, though.



Lovely trees in bloom, in shades of white and pink



Daffodils and little fragrant white flowers that have appeared in our yard. The daffodils are everywhere in our yard, but these little white flowers stand alone in our vast backyard with no kindred neighbors. We have no idea from where it came.




Gorgeous red tulips grow like weeds in front of our house. Where are my wooden clogs when I need them? We can't wait to see what other flowers pop up in our yard.






Of course, I can't post about the joys of spring without a picture, or three, of Panda romping in the yard. Can you believe we (meaning, Leo) cut the lawn just over a week ago? Granted, it was cut long, but still, that's some good growth in a week.

April 10, 2007

Anemone? No, anemoTEA

Leo's colleague gave him some tea that a friend had gotten in China.
Instead of your normal tea bag or loose leaf, this tea came in an oddly alien looking pod, that opened up like a flower.


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But this ain't just another pretty face, it was fragrant and absolutely delicious. This is my kind of alien pod. Does anyone know where you can get this sort of tea, here in the states? Is that even possible? Are you dizzy from watching the animation?

April 20, 2007

Does anyone speak Portuguese

I am participating in Kelli's project to make care packages for children in an orphanage in Mozambique (thanks Jessica for the link!).

She has asked that we include a card with a picture and a note in English and Portuguese, extending our well wishes and friendship. She links to Bablefish, which is fine, but I know from experience that the results are often comical at best and unintelligible at worst.

I have my packages all ready to go, I just need to write my notes. I was wondering if there is anyone who'd be willing to help me translate my English message to Portuguese?


It's amazing how much you can fit in a quart sized bag!

In case you are wondering, I have 4 bags each with the following items:


  • Sheet of stickers

  • Soap

  • Toothbrush

  • Hair elastics in lots of sizes and colors

  • Floss

  • Chapstick

  • Gum

  • Crayons

  • 2 pads of sticky notes to use with the crayons

  • A bouncy ball


Not bad for cramming into a single quart sized bag.

If you want to participate, please do so. This seems like a great cause and Kelli has assured me that if she gets too many bags, she'll take the excess to the next orphanage she visits. Read all about it here.

Anyway, I digress
Subliminal message: go participate
If you happen to be willing and able to help me translate a simple message, suitable for about a 7 year old, I'd much appreciate it. Just leave me a comment.

June 17, 2007

And then their boat got hit by lightening

My cousin, Allen, and his wife, Cora, have been living on their boat for, what, a year and a half, and chronicling their adventures on their blog. (Actually, they've been living on their boat for much longer, but they were docked in San Fransisco before.) They've traveled to Honduras, Panama and many ports of the US. Crazy stuff. Recently, their boat got hit by freakin' lighting. They are fine, the boat, not so much.

Personally, I'm equal parts in awe and perplexed by how they do it and how they don't end up killing each other in such tight quarters. Still, if they didn't do it, I wouldn't be able to read about it.

If you are up for some fun and hilarious reading, head on over and drop them a comment.

July 5, 2007

Seeing spots and colors

Ahh, independence day, the one day when Leo's interests and Panda's are at complete odds with each other. Leo regales me with stories from his childhood that prove that the fates love drunks and children. When the words, "made our own" and "fireworks" are strung together, I can only shake my head and be glad he has, allegedly, grown out of that phase.

While California and Oregon seem to have similar limitations on fireworks; namely that the general public can't buy things that go flying off tither and yon, Southern California is far more flammable than Portland and I think people are more reluctant to send sparks about the kindling that is their back yard. Additionally, we now live in a quiet little suburb where there is very little nightly traffic. Throughout the neighborhood, one could hear and see the assortment of volcanic light displays and sparklers, individuals were setting off in the street.

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So while this was not Panda's first 4th of July, it was definitely one of her worst. Add to the noise, the relatively warm temperatures (close to 90) and it made for one unhappy dog. Thea, on the other hand, seemed a little put out by the loudest noises but was otherwise indifferent to the whole thing.

And since lots of people will be posting fireworks today, how about some cute dog shots.

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Here's Thea showing off her fresh crop of spots. She used to be almost completely white.

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And my beautiful girls basking in the sun.

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And Thea bringing on the cute, full force.

July 16, 2007

A few moments on my soap box

I was recently driving to the Post Office, listening to the local NPR station which was running the show BBC World Have Your Say. Today's topic was about whether or not it's selfish to forgo having children if you are able to have them.

Stop now if you don't want to hear any strong opinions on this topic or if you can't play nice on the interwebs. Feel free to leave your 2¢, though if you have some thoughtful feedback.

To spare those of you who prefer puppy pics and yarn, I'll finish this entry, after the bump.

Continue reading "A few moments on my soap box" »

July 22, 2007

Two wheelin'

Well, what did we do this weekend?
Let's see, we went to see Harry Potter. They left a lot of important stuff out. It was good, though and if you've read the book, you should be able to follow along fine. I thought that Umbridge bore a striking resemblance to the first lady. I'll leave it at that.

Oh and I went Salsa dancing. That was fun.

What was that other thing?
...

Continue reading "Two wheelin'" »

July 24, 2007

In which the car gets towed, the girls get a new bed and I spin up some yarn

Thank you all for the concern and well wishes. We are all, thankfully, doing fine. We believe we've found a reliable mechanic (based on a couple testimonials from Leo's colleagues) and Stewie (the Element) is off to get fixed up.

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It's weird sending your car off with a stranger. I am sure he thought I was insane but I decided to get shots of him and his vehicle and his plates, juuuuuuust in case he was a craze Element steeling maniac. You never know.

Between writing up my super secret Stitch Diva project and working on a couple other projects for a book, I've been putting El Matchador to work. Oooh baby.

While at the Fiber Frolic, I picked up 2 ounces of a cashmere and tussah silk blend from Fox Fire Fibers. This stuff is yum-ME (as in mememememememe give me more.) However, it is also a real challenge to spin. The silk fibers are substantially longer than the cashmere and, when spun from the end, all the silk gets drafted out first leaving a poof of cashmere.

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I decided to try a 90 degree turn and see if that helped at all. Once again, spinning from the fold seems to have helped me coerce the fibers into submission. Instead of fibers flowing freely from the end, the folding seems to lightly link the fibers together, like those pop-up boxes of facial tissues. As fibers get drafted out, they bring more fibers with them. While the silk and cashmere may not have been perfectly distributed, with this method, they were far more so than when spinning from the end. That's as close to success as I can ask for.

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The final yarn is luxurious and the color makes me positively hungry, it's so decadent.

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Final Product
Content: Cashmere and Tussah Silk (quantities not specified)
Color: Summer Berries
From: Fox Fire Fibers
Quantity: 2 ounces/109 Yards
Singles: From the fold using a long draw technique
Plies: 3-ply using the Navajo plying method
WPI: Approximately 16
Results: The yarn is not perfect but I absolutely love it. The colors are rich and the feel is soft, silky and full of drape. I think this would make for a really fabulous hat, though if I had more, I'd gladly make a sweater from it. I'm curious to see how much the fabric pills and if the silk helps control that at all. The yarn bled substantially, when I washed the skein. I added just a touch of vinegar to the water, in hopes it might set the color a little more, but I can tell you, I won't be mixing this with any other yarn, in my finished knit piece, for fear of color contamination.

And in doggy news, guess what Leo got for the girls?

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This will replace the small bed we keep in the Element (whenever he is back) to allow room for both girls to snuggle up. The old bed was fine for one dog or one adult and one baby puppy dog, but it's gotten quite cramped in there. We've been on the lookout for a replacement, since adopting Thea and finally found this one, here.

And hey, if we are ever homeless, this bed will be big enough for all 4 of us to sleep on.

July 27, 2007

Craft and Whacking Baby Camels

So a friend of mine from many moons ago (hi Doug!), comment the other day that I should go look at the upcoming cover for Craft magazine, as I'd find something rather familiar there.

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So wow, yah, it looks a lot like my Crime of Fashion scarf. Similar, but definitely different (the font, for sure, is different and the finishing as well.) I scratched my head a bit and went to their site, but couldn't determine if the pattern was inspired by mine or not and whether I should say something. Of course, only one thing to do, bug my friend Julia and ask her what she thinks, since Julia is always my sounding board, especially for all things knitterly. At the time, she found that there was already a link to MagKnits on their about page for the scarf, which suggested that they had seen my version, but no link to me. It's another week before the magazine is released so I wrote them.

Turns out that right before publication, they did, indeed, find my version and that I get a little shout out in the end AND, as you may now have noticed, they've added a link to me on that same about page.

How
Cool
Is
That?


I'm sorta kinda in Craft!

I've also been spinning some more, while I work on my deadline projects. Remember that rather pathetic attempt at spinning Yak fiber? It was so soft and oh-so-ugly. While I was glad I was actually able to spin the fiber at all, I was hesitant to spin up any more of my Luxury Fiber of the Month goodies, for fear I'd just end up with 6 skeins of nearly useless novelty yarn. Well, I broke down and had my hand at baby camel down.

I spun 167 yards of of 3 ply, from the 2 ounces I have and am much happier with the results. I did slightly under spin it, so the yarn broke a lot as I was working the navajo ply. Pretty crazy, since I was using the super high speed whorl on El Matchador, but I guess those short, downy fibers, need a LOT of twist.

Even so, I'm happy and the camel down got itself a rinse and a royal whacking.

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Final yarn pictures to come.

That's all for now, check out some pics of Thea's second agility class, here.

Thea sends a puppy kiss (or at least a cold nose in your ear) to each of you, Panda first.

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August 10, 2007

Feelin' the love

Do you love mutts?

If so, LuvMutt is having a little contest for the best summer mutt pic. Both Panda and Thea are represented, but honestly, you should vote for whomever you like best of the bunch.

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Head on over to vote now.

And if that isn't love enough, check out Goofy Dogs, a new site devoted to great pictures of dogs. Do you have a dog? Is your dog goofy? Send your pictures in and feel the love. Panda and Thea are there too!

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You know I'm a happy doggy mum.

August 23, 2007

Thea's out of class and some cartoons

Well, Thea had her last puppy agility class. The last two classes were the best classes she'd had. Instead of focusing on one obstacle and then getting back in line (waaaaay boring for a Cattle Dog mix) we actually worked a series of obstacles for each turn. Thea loved it. I think that being able to chain the obstacles, keeps her from over thinking it. It's just fun.

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I'm not saying she was perfect, but she did a pretty darn good job for a 6 month old.

We're taking a short hiatus from school so that Thea can get spayed, but it was enough fun for both of us that I plan to sign us up for more.

I'm going to miss her classmates, some of whom you can see below.

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Pictured are Moose, Bella, Saba and Maggie. Not pictured, but much enjoyed, are Julia and Toby. Hopefully I'll see them in future classes!

In unrelated news, I'm thinking about redesigning the ol' website. My last redesign was in 2005 and while I like it fine, I've been thinking about a little change. I've done a couple of very simple sketches.

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I think I want to go back to having a clean white background and simple graphics. I'm playing around now and will see if I can come up with something that makes me happy.

August 27, 2007

A sort of anniversary

A year ago today, Julia and I were in the redwoods on our way from LA to Portland, Oregon.
I had just spent a month away from Panda and Leo, who'd moved up to Portland to start his new job.

After a couple weeks at Julia's house, and much planning we hit the road for our scenic and spinny adventure. There is no event quite like a road trip to get one past the "close acquaintance" stage right to friend. It's hard not to bust out laughing as we regale ourselves and anyone else who will listen, with stories from our adventures.

I'll forever hold a warm space in my heart for the Ravenwood, even though there was no running water when we awoke.

And I still remember the gorgeous fog over the ocean, surrounded by redwoods. Who wouldn't bust out into full dorkatude?

We nearly skipped Crater Lake, after some set backs and delays, but we made it and it's as breathtaking as everyone says it is.

And best of all, I have been able to live in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I love it up here, though I miss all my friends in LA. Julia makes for a great road trip companion and I would do it again in a heartbeat.


I've been doing a bit more than my usual reading and all of it has been good, so I thought I'd share my recommendations.

On the nightstand


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Actually, that's not the current cover for SI. The current one covers AIDS deniers. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a real hoot and sure to offend almost anyone. I'm glad to call myself a Pastafarian, rAmen! Guards Guards is currently my top reading to keep me from reading too much of what I'm...

...Savoring


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Need I say more? I don't want it to end.

Recently finished


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I really love Michael Shermer's books and articles and The Science of Good and Evil is no exception. He's also the publisher of Skeptic, to which I subscribe.
My mother lent me Middlesex and it was indeed funny, touching, thoughtful and moving. I generally shy away from books that are highly publicized and I'm not a fan of all of Oprah's suggestions, (yes, I'm one of those wet blankets who isn't into the whole The Secret phenomenon.*) but this book is definitely worth a read.




* That is, I don't believe in a magical force that brings luck and money to people who really want it.
However there is evidence to suggest that people who believe they are lucky are more likely to do things like enter drawings and raffles or build their social and business network which can result in more fortunate outcomes.

September 9, 2007

Stitches and a weird little leaf

Well, the same night we brought Thea home, she shook off the anesthesia and was ready to play. This was at about 4AM in the morning. We were only very slightly amused. Since then, it's been pretty futile trying to keep her calm. Even giving her a half dose of a sedative in the day and a full dose at night, she's pretty active. It seems to get her kind of high. That is, she walks a little goofy and seems pretty content just sleeping or obsessing over a raw hide bone, but it doesn't totally squelch her energy level altogether. She still will play at the drop of a hat. It looks like she's stretching the skin near her stitches a bit. I'm really really hoping she doesn't pop her stitches.

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On the plus side, she hasn't been licking them. Small consolation, really.

It just kills me to have to sedate her, but since she'll hurt herself if she doesn't keep still, it appears to be the only recourse. Anyone have any good suggestions for putting a pup in suspended animation, while she heals?

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One thing that does seem to calm her down is the sound of El Matchador. I've done a lot of spinning this weekend (more on that in a future post) and it usually lulls her to sleep.

She was particularly goofy after the first dose, I gave her. She was a touch wobbly, and then hopped up on the couch and reclined in this position for a good hour.

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I figured that the dose was a touch too strong, so I cut her back to a half, for any daytime hours. The vet said that we might have to play with the dosage to get it just right.


In entirely unrelated news, we have a little mystery.

Leo found this leaf, with a rock and a q-tip on top of it, perched on the corner of our house. There's a little brick facade running along the bottom 3 feet of the house, that juts out a couple inches. Someone had placed the items there.

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We are thinking that it was something the neighbor's kid made for us, but we haven't seen her around to ask. If so, it's a cute gesture, however, if it wasn't from a kid, the q-tip really creaps it up a notch, you know?

Here are the q-tip and back of leaf and rock. We placed them all in a bag, just in case.

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We have no idea what the writing says, it's a little hard to read, but it sort of looks like the biggest words are, "The King."

Anyway, does anyone have any idea what could have been used, in conjunction with a q-tip (ie, a liquid) to produce the blue writing on the leaf? Hopefully, it's something totally benign.

September 16, 2007

Stewie is home!

Our car, Stewie, is back home after being in the body shop for over a month. It's good to have him back, and the shop did a really fabulous job, both dealing with the insurance company and repairing the damage.

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Thea has been healing up beautifully

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When we give her meds, we wrap them in peanut butter. She finds it both delicious and infuriating, with its tenancy to stick to the roof of her mouth. I find this amusing. I might, possibly, maybe, tend to squish the peanut butter up on the roof of her mouth, maybe, just to make it last a little longer. I might also be a horrible horrible person.

Actually, we've taken her off the sedatives, but we do still give her a little peanut butter just because she loves it so.

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Both girls got some extra special treats from Leo.

Both approve...heartily.

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However, not to be indelicate, but we have been experiencing a steady flow of eye watering, paint peeling, make a grown person cry level of excess "air" from the little one. I really can't express just how bad it's been. I'm declaring an embargo on all future purchases of this treat. While the rawhide/pork combo appealed to the girls more than almost any treat we've gotten, the consequences have been too brutal to re-live.

Your mileage may vary.

September 20, 2007

For the love of Flickr

I just have to share this most excellent gift I received.

Thank you SO much CraftyKags

My friend, CraftyKags made this gorgeous scrapbook for me.

A page from the scrapbook I A page from the scrapbook II A page from the scrapbook III

Not counting the cover, there are 46 (!) pages of pictures of my sweet girls. What an amazing gift. I'm speechless. Even if we dismiss all the gorgeous paper, stickers, grommets, ribbons, high quality printouts and other accouterments, one can't dismiss the time and love that went into this book. It's a really special gift.


And that's not all my Flickr photos have been doing. I got myself a batch of mini calling cards from MOO.

They come packaged in a cute little recyclable plastic box.

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And inside are 100 little mini-cards with photos on the front and my contact info on the back.

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I plan to use these as business cards. About 2/3rds have some sort of fiber theme to them, while the other 1/3rd have doggies (oh yes, there is overlap). Depending on the situation, I can pick out a card that is just right for the recipient. Since they are about half the size of normal business cards, they are more environmentally friendly and MOO is committed using sustainable and green manufacturing processes. Yay!

September 28, 2007

Purdy stuff from the garden

When we moved into this house, just over a year ago, the garden was in pretty bad shape. Take a look.

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Ugly, huh? I think the landlord may have simple removed all the dying flowers before we moved in, which is why it look so barren.

Since then, we've done some serious work. We removed the flower bed wall that had fallen down, leveled the dirt, and put in a little black fence.

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This variety of grass is always yellow, this time of year, but it'll be lush again when spring rolls around.

We also planted tons of bulbs and wildflower seeds. Unfortunately, a lot of what we planted over the past couple of months, appear to be annuals so we're not sure how many flowers we'll see before they're all gone. There are some perennials too, which should hopefully flourish after winter.

After much hand wringing our first buds have appeared.

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We now have A flower.

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Yup, one big pink flower. Just another couple dozen and it'll actually kinda pretty around these parts.

The plants obscure a little of the view out the front window, but that didn't stop Panda from seeing a trespasser. Can you see him?

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Ooh, Panda's nemisis.

The rosebush in front has produced a second round of blooms for us. And you know what looks great with pink? A little black and white.

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Now, THAT'S purdy.

October 14, 2007

Weekend antics

Drooling

Mary-Kay hooked me UP. I won a contest she held on her blog, and this is what came in the mail on Friday.

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This is a huge skein of Merino/Tencel in a colorway called, Marnie's Wine. I'm swooning just thinking about it. She asked me what my perfect colorway would be and made this just for me. It's more lovely than I could have imagined. But she didn't stop there.

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Two skeins of her colorway, Boo, and nearly half a pound of a merino/silk blend roving. I'm so spoiled.

Cosmos blooming

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The garden is blooming like crazy, though we have admitted that our choice of flower is a bit tall for the window. After a few more blooms, we'll cut the top tier down a bit. We've also reseeded the area on the right to get more even coverage.

Thea finds religion

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This statue of Buddha caught Thea's eye on our walk and she took some time to show it her tummy and kiss his face. She has also attempted this maneuver with some outdoor cats. They were not amused.

Early Halloween Party

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Someone at Leo's work held an early Halloween party and invited us. She had her barn decked out like a haunted house and almost everyone came in costume. We did a dry run of our get up for this year. I'm the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Leo is dressed as a pirate because, as is stated in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all humans evolved from pirates.

I definitely need more spaghetti, but I'm really happy with my eyes and meatballs.

rAmen

October 20, 2007

91

I had originally planned to post about Thea's most recent obedience class. If you want some lighthearted doggy happiness, go check out the pictures here.

Grandma, Grandpa, and me - 1993
My grandparents and me in 1993, at my high school graduation.

But today has turned out to be a sad one for me. This morning, my grandmother called to let me know that my grandfather had passed in the night. Unlike many people, I have been fortunate enough to know all of my grandparents, and three of them through to my adulthood.

My grandfather was 91 years old and remained relatively active and mentally sharp, throughout his life. He passed in his sleep, in his own home, my grandmother holding him in his last moments. I think we should all be so lucky to live such a full life and be with the person we love in our last moments.

As someone who isn't religious and does not believe in an afterlife, I take a great deal of solace in knowing that his last moments were where he wanted to be with the woman he loved, and that I've told him I loved him, every time we've spoken.

Losing my grandfather means saying goodbye to someone who helped care for me as a newborn when both my parents were seriously ill.

As a child, I would spend a couple of weeks each summer running in his impeccably kept yard or playing in the perfectly maintained little house. His sharp wit and quiet perfectionism stays with me still. Even in his weakest moments he could always find humor in the situation.

As a young adult, I knew that he would help me in any way he could. He would have given me the shirt off his back if I would have let him and he would have smiled, to just know that I was happy. Even though I managed to be independent, it brought me comfort to know he was there.

I miss you grandpa. Thank you for all the years of love.

October 22, 2007

Distraction

Thank you all for your very kind words, sympathies, stories and thoughts. I've read every comment twice and they make me remember how lucky I am to have family that loves me and whom I love in return.

It's the wet season, here in Portland and the weekend was mostly rainy and overcast, interspersed with beautiful sunny moments. It suited my contemplative mood.

On Saturday, we took the girls for a walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed the fall foliage. I think the cost of having dogs should be covered by medical insurance. Panda and Thea never cease to make me laugh, no matter the circumstances.

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On Sunday, we headed to Cannon Beach, for a breakfast of Crabcakes Benedict and a long run on the beach. It was a bit cold and rainy, which didn't make for great photos, but the girls couldn't have been happier and the evening of quiet and calm snuggling on the couch meant that everyone was feeling peaceful.

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I guess for me, losing someone ultimately makes me more resolved to value those who are still with me and I think this weekend suited that goal.

I have lots of less depressing stuff to blog soon, including a new knit in progress, and interview with Donna Druchunas, and some more photos of Giselle.

October 24, 2007

Various and sundry topics

Lots more pictures of Giselle, including the cropped version, over here.

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See some beautifully retouched photos here.


Leo has been making jack-o-lanterns and I have been toasting the seeds.

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The pirate is getting a little long in the tooth, after a week outside. The orange one is new. It weighed almost 40lbs before being gutted. That's how much each of the pups weigh.


If the weather stays relatively mild, we'll be getting a lot more cosmos.

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The bees like em

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Is there anything sweeter?

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October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

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November 2, 2007

Packing

Tomorrow, I make the long journey back home.

Coming out to help my mother and grandmother get things in order has been exhausting, emotionally draining, but ultimately very enlightening. Even more, it has given me a feeling like I have helped in some small part.

Grandma and Grandpa at my mother's first wedding
My grandparents walking down the aisle at my mother's first wedding

My grandmother is trying hard to put on a brave face and take these changes in stride, but watching her cry so much and hearing her talk about how lonely it is for her at night and how much she misses him, makes my heart ache for her. As the week comes to a close, the realization of these changes seems to become more clear to her and it is harder for her to maintain her composure.

For better or for worse, we are helping her start this new chapter in her life. I can only guess how scared and uncertain she feels. Even so, every once in a while she gives me a big smile and I feel like things are going to be OK for her.

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November 9, 2007

Starting the weekend off on a cute note

I haven't posted any doggy pictures in a while. Shame on me.

Ms. Panda looking gorgeous.

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Thea bringing the puppy eyes.

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Both girls playing in the backyard on a foggy morning.

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Thea in her Total Recall class. Lots more pictures here.

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And on an unrelated note, check out this spider web I spied waaaaay up in a tree in my front yard.

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November 26, 2007

Is that some Kitsch I smell?

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I haven't seen it yet, but the Knitty Gritty episode that Stitchy McYarnpants and I did, called Kitschy Christmas, is now airing. It looks like it'll be on a bunch of times, in the next month, so don't worry if you missed it the first time around.

While we may have been the guests, the STAR was Maryse's Fun Fur Christmas Tree. And now, you can get the pattern free here.

Oh and for those of you who did or will see the episode, the "faux-chet" line was Debbie's idea.


On an unrelated note, Panda is feeling 100% back to her old self. No more cough. We'll make sure we take her somewhere fun, next weekend.

December 6, 2007

What my parents are up to

Any of you wondering where I get my crazy tree huggin' pinko commie left wing views, need look no further than my parents. Check out this press release from PrioritiesNH, featuring my dear mum and dad. All links added by me


The house I grew up in with a subtle political statement in the driveway.

Giant rolling piggy banks spotlight Congress's mixed-up budget priorities

"Pig Mobile" rolls through Amherst/Milford area to compare U.S. spending on Pentagon vs. education, world hunger and AIDS

An eye-popping pink Pig Mobile is bringing its political message to the Amherst/Milford area this week.

The Pig Mobile, a creation of Ben and Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, is being driven by Amherst residents Ben and Roseann Day. They'll pilot the Piggies around the Verizon Arena in Manchester Sunday night when Oprah Winfrey campaigns with Sen. Barack Obama.

"The Pig Mobile presents a message important to both conservatives and liberals and does so with great humor," said Roseann Day. "Many Amherst residents are lucky enough to be well educated and have good jobs. I feel increasing their understanding of how our tax dollars are spent will motivate them to elect politicians who will work to spend our tax dollars more wisely."

PrioritiesNH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens about how the federal budget spends their tax dollars and to helping them demand sensible spending priorities. Its campaign is working to change America's budget priorities to reflect a national commitment to education, health care, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by shifting funding from obsolete Cold War and nuclear weapons.

The Pig Mobile consists of three oversized piggy banks that illustrate how out of whack America's spending priorities are. The enormous lead pig symbolizes how much we spend on the Pentagon each year ($504 billion), a figure that doesn't even include money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Behind it, a much-smaller pig represents what the federal government spends on K-12 education ($40 billion). And the third, wee little, pig shows America's dedication to fighting AIDS abroad and to lessening world hunger ($10 billion).

"Citizens should be given the facts how the government spends our taxes," says Cohen. "And there's no better way to understand the giant numbers involved than to compare them to spending on stuff we all care about - like schools and world hunger."

Roseann Day would like to see some of that wasteful spending redirected to public education. "I've love to assure that every American has access to a public education system that can make Americans more competitive in the global market," she said.

Ben Day said he'd spend it on "scientific and mathematical education, on health care, and to fund 'green' projects to reduce our nation's carbon footprint."

"Of course, as soon as you stop spending money on things like running our Air Force and Navy, you cut out a huge amount of fuel consumption, most of it a total waste," he added.

The pigs were constructed with pink fiberglass. The lead pig, a Chevy cargo van, pulls the others on a trailer.

For more information - or to arrange a ride in the Pig Mobile - please contact PrioritiesNH at 603-224-3800.

December 24, 2007

Reader's choice

All that merry and happy stuff for whatever it is you want to be merry and happy about.

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The girls, Leo and I will be enjoying a Merry Christmas of no obligation and, perhaps, a little hiking. Who could ask for a better present?

January 14, 2008

Green cards and argyle hats

My dear Canadian friends got their green cards, last week, and threw a little party to celebrate. The other guests wore green in honor of the occasion and I brought some AmeriCone Dream ice cream. With knee slapping humor like that, here in the states, it's a wonder they didn't pack their lovely things and head back to the icy embrace of the Canadian snow. It was a small but rowdy festive group, and the hosts ensured there were plenty of libations.

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But I learned something very important about myself.
I
am
the
BLOCKUS QUEEN!
I admit, I may have let loose with a bit of language that was unbecoming a queen, but when one must bring the smack down, one must also bring the smack talk. I believe their is a theorem that covers this.


In other news, the Corn on the Nod hat is coming along nicely.

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I've completed the argyle section and now need to decide how long I want to make the hat before decreasing for the crown.

January 30, 2008

3000 miles away, Thea's soul mate is trying to pass a glove

If what doesn't kill her, makes her stronger, Thea should indestructible by now.

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If you don't know Chappy and his mum, you might want to take a moment to go over and read this post.

Whenever I post about Thea getting into something she shouldn't (@#!%@$@), I can count on Deb to regale me with a Chappy tale, sure to give me some perspective. Go ahead, ask her about Chappy's taste in drywall.

So when she posted that Chappy and coiffing had collided, I thought for sure that Thea and he must be long lost cousins.

See, Sunday night, Leo got it in his head that he was going to give himself a buzz cut. He had about an inch of curls that he quickly zipped off with his electric trimmer.

As Leo checked his work in the mirror and made minor adjustments, he heard a sound, like lips smacking. He turned around to find Thea looking up at him, licking her lips.

There was a moments pause. There's nothing edible in the bathroom. What had she gotten into?

And then he saw it, or more accurately, didn't see it. The hair. Every last hair was gone. GONE! She had hoovered up the clumps of locks that had been so carefully caught in a towel, on the floor. I heard only, "What did you do?" and came running.

On the one hand, come on, that's just funny. I mean, we know she'll put just about anything in her mouth, but hair? HAIR? At the same time, dread engulfed us both. Is she going to end up with a giant felted mass in her stomach?

We called the vet, first thing, the next day, and after bemused surprise, the receptions conferred with the vet and suggested we wait and see.

A few days later and Thea still seems fine, so we are tentatively optimistic that this is a humorous situation. Do feel free to laugh in our general direction.

If only she were good like her sister.

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*sigh*

February 8, 2008

Better than getting a pony

My birthday is right around the corner (the 18th if you're curious) and, true to form, Leo presents me with a gift, the moment he decides what it is.There's no wrapping and waiting around these parts. Who cares though because I got an iTOUCH! Squeeeeeeeeee!


Image copyright Apple Computers

I leave for a business trip, tomorrow, so I'm filling her up with music, podcasts, videos and photos. Yay for toys.



Thea just had her first agility course since November. I thought, for sure, she'd have forgotten everything, but she did great.

Well, when she wasn't on the course, she was still a big ol' floozy...

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This is her new BFF, Rio. I think they would have run off and gotten married, given half a chance. More than a few people felt they should go get a room.

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So, yah, Thea had fun, but check her out on the course. She was doing great considering she hadn't been in a class for months. That was a pretty easy course, but I was happy to see her doing so well. Go Thea!

February 12, 2008

Let's hope this isn't a shot of tonight's accommodations

Well, Astoria and I are hanging out at JFK airport.

Luckily, we got here early, because my 6:20 PM flight to Chicago was canceled. I called Orbitz who said they thought they could get me on the 3:40PM flight instead. Awesome. Only, they accidentally scheduled me for tomorrow's 3:40PM flight. Oops. Ok, one more time and we have it. SWEET.

But, you see, there's this powdery white stuff everywhere, and my 3:40 flight is now scheduled to take off sometime around 5:20.


I'm totally fine with that, since it's still about an hour earlier than my originally scheduled flight, but I"m skeptical that waiting longer to take off will improve the situation.

P.S. It's damned cold here. Brrr.

P.P.S. Photos taken live from my laptop's built in camera and Photobooth software

P.P.P.S. That was Leo's idea.

Phew

Thank you for your well wishes. I think you all warmed the runways for me, because I made it to Chicago safe and sound and slightly earlier than my original flight itinerary.

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Now, my low blood sugar is dictating that I get some grub in me before I turn into a werewolf and go on some sort of blood lust rampage. That'd be normal, right?

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I've actually been knitting, quite a bit, so hopefully, I'll be able to photograph and blog something crafty soon.

February 14, 2008

Bye bye Chicago

I'm sad to have to go so soon. I wish I had more time to explore the city. But, lucky me, I did have some time to take in a few sights.

After bundling up...

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I took the bus to Loopy Yarns. Well, I took the bus a couple blocks past Loopy Yarns, but that's OK because the view was just fine.

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Loopy Yarns was everything people said; friendly, inviting, filled with yummy yarns. I'll definitely swing in again if I'm in the area. And of course, I picked up some souvenirs while I was there.

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Luckily, the good folks at Loopy Yarns were having a 40% off sale on a lot of their yarns, including the assortment of yarns I picked out Eeeeeexcellent.

I used the rest of the morning to slowly meander back to my hotel.

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Here's hoping there's some need for me to return soon, perhaps when it's a bit warmer.

February 26, 2008

Inspir(al)ed

I'm just heading out to a meeting...in Chicago. My flight in last night was delayed a couple hours, but I made it here in one piece. If I can manage to walk across the street without falling on my arse, I'll consider it a successful trip.

Since I got in at the time I should have gone to bed and my meeting is mere minutes away, I don't have time for a proper post, so instead I'll tell you to march your bum on over to MJ's site and check out her new pattern. I've already made one for myself and I love it. It kept my head toasty warm last night, in this brutal Chicago weather.

March 16, 2008

Vrooooom vroom vroom, and other cool things

Right after Leo and I met, we both picked up cute little red Ducati bikes. Mine was a Monster named Lorenzo and Leo had a Super Sport named Buttercup. Unfortunately, for most of our time in LA, we had barely enough money for rent and other expenses, and eventually, the bikes had to be put in storage.

But Portland has been good to us and the cost of living is much lower, so we decided to revisit our bikes and decide how we wanted to handle them.

After much assessing and debating, and with a bit of a twinge in our heart, we decided to trade in the two smaller bikes for a bigger bike that would be good both for the long rides the two of us take together and the short commute Leo makes daily to work.

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Sexy, no?

It's a 2004 Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS with a mere 2000 miles on it.

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Once the rain passes, I think we'll be putting this baby to good use, but even the short rides we've done so far, have been fun.


But that's not all the fun I had this weekend. I also got to host a friend and a fetus for a few days. It wasn't nearly long enough to do all the stuff we wanted, but we fit a lot of fun in, nonetheless. We even got to Larissa and Martin's book signing over at Abundant Yarn.

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That store is yarn overload, and Larissa and Martin's book is fantastic.

And I got my book signed

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YAY.

March 20, 2008

No longer a bastard

Yesterday was a very special day, but this story starts quite a few years back.

The year was 1989 and my mom was a 40 something divorcee in a little town in NH, with two kids. She had started dating a year or two before and I was as glad for her to be starting fresh as an indifferent tween can be. You see, I was suffering from a severe mental disorder commonly called, puberty, and my brother, well, he always had a knack for making a scene, and he felt there was nothing quite so entertaining as horrifying my mom and her suitors for sport.

So, occasionally, a nice man would offer to treat the whole family to dinner and get to know the kids, and, well, if my mother ever writes her memoirs, you'll be able to laugh at the results.

But in 1989, my mom met Ben. He was an affable and gentle guy who shared the whole family's twisted sense of humor. Over the next few years, we saw him more and more and it was clear that he and my mom were growing closer, despite her demon-like offspring. Finally, one day, they gave me the news.

"Marnie, we're getting married."
...

...

I'd been living with this woman for the past 16 or so years and I was wondering if this guy was loco. "Don't you guys want to try living together a little first?" I asked.

But they were resolute. "We love each other and living together isn't going to tells us anything we don't already know.

I thought they were insane. I left them with a shrug and some parting words, "Well, if you get yourself knocked up, don't come running to me for free childcare."

My mom and Ben married in 1992, in a lovely little ceremony in Maine.

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My mom throwing her bouquet at the wedding.

In the years since, Ben has seen some of the hardest times our family has been through and brought us countless laughs. He has embraced our insanity and added a dash of his own to the mix.

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Ben and my mom at a friend's wedding.

I'm sure there have been times when Ben has wondered what he got himself into. Heaven knows, I still think he's crazy.

But after nearly 20 years with our ragtag family, Ben has made official what has felt true for so many years. Ben is now, officially, technically, legally and biologically (wait, not that last one) my father.

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My adoption papers and Ben and his lawyer at the court house.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy-o!

April 9, 2008

File this under, "brilliant people I know"

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One of my friends recently started a site about the misuse of American tax dollars to bail out greedy banks and their CEOs.

Well, guess what, he is on NPR. They edited him down to a single sound bite, which is a bummer, but you can check out his site for tons more info.

Obviously, this is a sensitive issue, especially for people who may face losing their house, and those of us opposed to the bailout, certainly aren't happy about the predatory practices that some banks employed, to get unsuspecting consumers to sign up for unreasonable Adjustable Rate Mortgages. But housing prices certainly did get bloated and banks surely did get rich off these practices. There have to be better ways to deal with this problem than trying to maintain a formerly insane status quo.

I'll leave you with one last fun link and then we'll return to our regularly scheduled doggy pictures and general crafty goodness.

The Subprime Primer explained by stick figures.

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May 8, 2008

Favorite Subject Matter -- Edited

My friend, Erica, directed me to a local pet photo contest, and I'd love to enter, despite the fact that I use a relatively cheap point and shoot digital camera. I have a feeling that folks with nice SLRs and lots-o-megapixels will be able to outshine my humble collection but all the entry fees go towards a great cause so I think I'm going to try.

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So I was hoping that, perhaps, a couple of you could help me decide what photos to enter. I think I'd be willing to enter up to 10 pictures (I'll have to spend some money to get good prints done, so I don't want to go crazy) but since I love the subject matter so much, I'm don't trust myself to pick the best shots from the lot. A cute expression is far more appealing to me than a nice composition.

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There's one caveat, all "companion pets" must have visible tags and collars, so I can only use shots from our hikes and beach trips. All of the shots at home, when the girls are collarless, are not allowed. Poo. Panda is floofy enough that you can't always see her collar even when she's wearing it, which may actually exclude some of the shots in this post.

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Anyway, almost all my pup shots can be found here. I've peppered this post with a few of my personal favorites, but by no means would I consider these the only possible entry shots.

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Resolution is also a factor, so some pictures I love are out because I can't print them at the required 8" x 10" dimensions.

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So anyway, if you have any thoughts, leave me a comment here with a link to the picture or pictures you like, or just comment on the picture in Flickr. And thanks so much!


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Edited to add: The contest has lots of categories including ones for people with their pets, and funniest shot. But really, this edit is just an excuse to add a couple more shots.

May 16, 2008

If a little is good a lot is better

After all your sweet encouragement and suggestions, I decided to order pretty much every photo you guys recommended to me.

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And, actually, I also got this shot printed, but when I laid these out to take the shot, I was being so gentle handling the prints that I didn't notice it was sitting right behind one of the other shots.

So that's 18 pictures printed and I think I'll enter them all and just round the donation up to $20, since it all goes to support the Humane Society. Yay.

I'm definitely not expecting to win first prize, but I think I have a shot at one of the 2nd or 3rd prizes, which would be nice.


Meanwhile, we're having some seriously summery weather up here in Portland right now. Yesterday, I decided to play hooky from work (is it hooky if you ask your boss if you can take a vacation day, last minute?) and spend some time knitting and playing with the pups.

We went on over to Lost Park and played a little fetch in the sun.

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That's right girls, you run, run like the dickens.

Oh at first, Thea was all kinds of frisky, running around, playing keep away, and tug-o-war. But it wasn't long before the hot hot weather had her tuckered out.

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Sooo tired, must put head on ground

They had themselves a nice long drink of water after that. Of course, as soon as I picked up the squirrel again, they were sure they wanted to run some more, but I thought it'd be good to give them a little rest.

On our way out of the park, we got a nice surprise. Leo had stopped by to give the girls a kiss. He was out to put some gas in Leela (the bike) and took a little detour to see us.

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Sexy! A great way to end a nice run in the park.

May 19, 2008

Honey versus Vinegar

NOTE: This post is sort of a rant and a long one at that. For the sake of all of you who have better things to read, I'm including some random eye candy that you should feel free to look at instead.

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Recently, Annie posted about needing to take a little breather from teaching after an unpleasant email. I wanted to write her and tell her not to take it personally but I can't because I would have responded the same way. It seemed like such eerie timing because I recently received a rather terse string of emails from someone working on one of my patterns that gave me that same sort of feeling about designing. No, I'm not hanging up my knitting needles and Excel spreadsheets, but it was still one of those interactions that made me feel like "why bother?"

Continue reading "Honey versus Vinegar" »

May 23, 2008

More dogs, less knitting.

This, from my non-knitting friends.

I know, madness.

Still, I'm nothing if not accommodating.

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I ran these by a focus group (Leo) and apparently they went over a like a lead balloon. Since customer satisfaction is key here at Marnie, Speak! I thought I'd made a special LOLdog just for him.

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May 28, 2008

Oh brother

My brother, Matt, came to Portland this weekend, with his adorable girlfriend, Aileen.

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Their visit was a whirlwind of thrift stores and rummage sales and we saw very little of them but what we did see, was great fun.

Whilst M&A were off in distant towns, roller skating and buying This American Life paint by number kits, Leo and I were taking Thea for her first trip into downtown Portland to visit the Saturday Market (albeit, on Sunday.)

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And while we were there, I was craving a hot dog, slathered in mustard.

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Don't judge me.

Sunday, all the humans decided to see what sort of nightlife was available and Portland didn't let us down, though, admittedly, the crowds were much smaller than on a normal night out.

We had live Irish music, greasy eats and good beer, over at Kells

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After that, we decided to do a little dancing at Boxxes, the club across the street from M&A's hotel. For some reason, two women came into the club, walked to the bathrooms, stripped to their unmentionables, and walked back out to mingle. After a few minutes, they put their dresses back on.

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One wonders what necessity there was in going into the bathroom first.
There's also the general "why?" question that was running through my head.
But Leo and Matt didn't seem to mind.

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After shaking our bonbons a bit, we all headed off to our respective accommodations.

There's a lot we didn't get to do while Matt and Aileen were here, so hopefully they'll be back soon. I'll even forgive Aileen for not liking dogs, since she is so crafty (in the good way) and fun.

June 3, 2008

The weekend

We celebrated our friend, Todd's birthday.


Yay!

I haven't been bowling in years.


The girls had their own victory dances.


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Todd bowls and Tracy poses.


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If these scores were for golf, I would have been the winner.



During the party, I taught Tracy how to knit and showed Erica and Tracy how a spindle works. There are more pictures of both these activities, but I believe they are being held for blackmailing purposes of some sort. Little do these people know, I embarrass myself for hobby. No blackmail will work on me. HA!


Sunday, we did some grilling up a lot of yummies on our little outdoor fireplace doohicky thingy.

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The mushrooms and garlic were the best, but it was all pretty tasty.


Also, Thea is cute.

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June 17, 2008

More gratuitous dog shots

I know, big surprise.

A few of you have asked if Thea ever gets to catch the squirrel. Well, if Panda's playing along, generally not, but if it's just Thea, heck ya!

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Here she is having a little bit of fun while we take a break from mowing the back yard. She doesn't have the muzzle-eye coordination her sister has, but she has tenacity to spare. Even in the blaring heat she would have gladly played all afternoon. She's happiest when she's playing.

Panda, on the other hand, is my patient and reserved girl.

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Here she shows off some of my fresh picked flowers from the garden. It's nice having a pup who'll stay still and not chew the scenery (literally).

June 27, 2008

The results are in...

The winners of the contest I entered, are posted and... I didn't win. Awww.

But that's OK, it's a yearly event and I can always try again.

Don't forget to check out all the winning shots here, and consider donating to your local Humane Society.

July 4, 2008

For some of us, it's a better day than it is for others

It's Independence Day, here in the states which Panda would probably call, "the worst freakin' day of the entire year, which sucks donkey balls and makes me want to pee myself." Or something along that line. With the holiday falling on a Friday, we can expect a weekend of fireworks and a truly miserable dog who is completely inconsolable. Well, the panchetta offered a brief (very brief,) distraction, but she was entirely uninterested in the peanut butter, which should tell you something. That whole "try to make something scary positive" tactic just doesn't work in this case.

Thea is fine, thanks for asking.

Leo, is on a weekend motor-pickle ride up near Fork, Washington, where he is doing reconnaissance for future camping trips with the rest of us. This left me to catching up on loads of knitting, pattern writing and some cleaning that are all sorely in need of my attention. In case you are wondering, it was my idea that he go solo, since I just wouldn't have the time to join him.

But, my friends Larry and Erica offered to make me homemade waffles for breakfast today, which is about as fantabulous an offer as I could envision. So, bright and early, after my first full night's sleep in, probably, 2 weeks, I took the train to the Pearl district to see them.

When they opened the door, they were wearing...

PANDA!
They are way too cute for their own good. And, no, they don't walk around town in matchy matchy get-ups, they donned them in unison for my benefit. **squee!**

Then Erica gave me gifts for the girls, from Canada, which Chewie (short for Chewbacca) promptly bonded with.


Chewie's just too cute to deny.

After that, Larry got down to BIZ-NIZ!


We're talking fresh farmer's market berries, waffle batter from scratch, crisp pepper bacon and a festive apron. YUM!

While enjoying warm fluffy waffles (is anyone else feeling hungry right now?) Erica mentioned a glass spinning wheel at the local craft museum, and I knew exactly what she was talking about.

So, of course, even though the museum was closed, we had to go walk by and get my classy mug in front of it, because I had no idea it was hanging out right in my little city.

Then I started hamming it up.

There's a far far less flattering picture (ok, maybe a few pictures) as well, and my friends are likely to chime in about the obvious omission here, but that is one of the great benefits to having full editorial control over the content of my site.

Anyway, it was a lovely little break from what is likely to be a pretty busy weekend for me, so yay for that.

July 6, 2008

One man, one bike, and a whole lot of rain

Leo's work gave everyone Thursday and Friday off for Independence Day. Since I didn't have such a luxuriously long weekend, we agreed that he and Leela should have their first road trip together, and I'd get some work done around the house, and keep the girls entertained. What I feel for my fiber arts, Leo feels for exploration and doing so on bike is all the more exhilarating.

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He brought the camera along and took some amazing shots, whenever he had a chance to park the bike. It was drizzly but nothing to keep him from enjoying the scenery.

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It's hard to believe all his stuff fit in two saddle bags and a little net on the back of the bike, but the man knows how to rough it in style.

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He says those yellow flowers were incredibly fragrant. I know nothing about flora but it sure looks pretty.

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Leo spent his second night near big foot. He's obviously a fan of fun fur.

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After a rainy night, Leo got everything packed up for a leisurely ride home.

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Unfortunately, the rain was unrelenting. By hour 6, of his drive home, he was starting to feel a little sorry for himself.

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Boy, was I glad I let him go solo.

Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty great trip and he scoped out a bunch of great spots for future camping events for the 4 of us. If you are curious, here's the approximately 600 mile drive he did.

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If you want to see all his pictures, you can see the Flickr set here.

July 21, 2008

O i C

I'm in OC* for work and missing my sweet little stinker-bells, already.

my sweet girls.jpg

I took this shot before I left the house today. Then I spent about 10 hours traveling, well, mostly waiting to travel, and being generally hungry. Did you know they don't even give you pretzels on United flights less than 3 hours long? Even if you are actually siting on the plane for what amounts to 3 hours, but not flying for about half of that time. I didn't know this. I would have paid them $30 for a bag of yogurt covered raisins (I hate raisins) by the end of my first flight.

I managed to survive, though, and wolfed down inordinate amounts of faux dim sum at the SF airport, while I waiting and played musical departure gates.

Weeeee! My life is so glamorous.

Well, it's late and I need to be up early. I hope to have something more substantial to post soon.


* It's not "THE OC," just OC. We may put the article in front of the highways, such as "I'm taking the 405 to the110 today." But we don't put an article in front of the initials for Orange County. Only teevee does that.

July 25, 2008

Random trip stuff

I'm officially at the halfway point of my business trip, end of day 5 of 10 days total. It's been a mostly good trip, I'd say. There have been some hurdles and unexpected challenges that have come up at work, but we've managed to make the best of it.

Anyway, I feel like this blog has been sorely neglected lately, and it has really nothing to do with my desire to blog, and everything to do with my limited time. So in the spirit of poorly planned blog posts that are light on content, here's some random stuff from my trip so far.


My brother and his girlfriend Aileen treated me to sushi.

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Matt's grown himself some extravagant facial hair and is now known as "the colonel," amongst some of his colleagues. This shot really doesn't do the handlebar justice.


Apropos absolutely nothing, I think this picture from today's Cute Overload, is so funny I can't stand it.

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I've brought along a bit of my recent handspun. I don't really have any good spot to shoot them (not much natural light in my hotel room) so I've taken a quick, "what's that weirdo doing" shot of the skeins, draped over the balcony here at La Quinta.

handspun.jpg

The solid one is some silky B-type pygora from Peppermint Pastures. The multicolor is called Iridescence. It's black alpaca and all kinds of sparkly stuff. I bought it from this Etsy shop.
Both are 3ply, spun up on El Matchador. I still have another batt of the sparkly that I'll spin up at some time. I do want to take some better shots of each skein, at some point. In case you are wondering, I have no idea what I'll do with it all.



Last down our road trip of nonsequiturs, here in the no segue zone, is me being all laughy and silly, while talking to Leo on the phone.

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He went to a local jazz bar, in Portland and was listening to some great Motown music. Every time a good song would come on, he'd call me so I could hear.

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That's the band I missed. It sounded great, but damn, it made me miss home.

Oh well.

This weekend should have lots of fun in store for me, which will make up for all the hours spent working.

September 1, 2008

Beaches and Bikes

Who doesn't love a long weekend?

Saturday was all about relaxing and spending a bit of time with friends.

Sunday, we hit the beach.

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And Monday we rode our bikes around our neighborhood. I have a Springer on my bike, but we've never tried it with Thea. Isn't that absurd? Leo wanted to make sure that she wouldn't pull too hard, so he rode my bike a bit and I rode his.

leo and thea on bike

Frankly, I think it takes a very manly man to ride a Hello Kitty bike.

Though, admittedly, he feels more at home on his own bike.

leo with finger


He's clearly very mature.

Still, who can hold a grudge with such views.

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blackberries parkview1


Just a lovely way to end a great weekend.

September 15, 2008

I'm on vacation

I refuse to call it a "stay-cation" or, as John Oliver put it, "holi-stay." But what I will say is that I have nothing planned (other than the improv class I'm taking with my friend, Erica, on Mondays) and I'm happy to keep it that way. Oh and there may be more pictures like the ones below, that I took on Saturday.

It was a perfect day; not too cool, not too warm, and absolutely sunshiny beautiful.

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The car went home a little heavier than it left. Panda brought the sand and Leo found the tire iron we'd lost a month before. I kid you not! We used it for leverage to screw the girls' leash stake into the ground, and we lost it when we were packing up in the dark. There it sat, a few feet from where we had been, just waiting for our return. I love Oregon.

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Kites.

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Lots of running and being generally cute.

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I tried to take a nice shot of the girls in front of the ocean.
First Thea won't look at the camera...

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Then Panda won't look at the camera...

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Then some women stop to take pictures, right behind the girls. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

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All the pictures here.

September 29, 2008

Woohoo

Who knew people wanted to knit hot pants? You guys are awesome. In the 4 days the pattern has been up, it's been downloaded over 300 times, which I think is pretty fabby. A few folks have also made donation, which is generous and wonderful. Thank you so much.

This is part of my download stats page from Ravelry. If you are wondering why there are two Assets of Evo files it's because the first version had a missing hyperlink in the resource section. It wasn't important enough to make an announcement but I thought I'd update it nonetheless.


In doggy news, Leo found us a new little stretch of the Oregon Coast. As always, we hit Manzanita, which is great because it's beautiful, plenty of room to play and Thea gets to socialize. But after, Leo wound his way through some back roads and landed us at a secluded little stretch of where only one other person and her dog were playing. All in all, a great day out.

Beach trip

1. IMG_0247.JPG, 2. IMG_0023.JPG, 3. IMG_0218.JPG, 4. IMG_0242.JPG, 5. IMG_0159.JPG, 6. IMG_0120.JPG, 7. IMG_0134.JPG, 8. IMG_0125.JPG, 9. IMG_0094.JPG, 10. IMG_0110.JPG, 11. IMG_0067.JPG, 12. IMG_0059.JPG, 13. IMG_0034.JPG14. IMG_0067.JPG 15. IMG_0059.JPG 16. IMG_0034.JPG

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

See all the pictures here:

October 9, 2008

PSA

Verbage

Verbiage

Just saying.

October 22, 2008

Freudian stitch and other ramblings

I have been busy, and maybe a bit distracted lately, so while I have been meaning to blog more, it hasn't been happening.

I want to start by thanking all of your for your well wishes and condolences. I know I've been remiss in replying to people, individually, but just know, it's nothing personal, I'm rude to all people equally.

So, in the spirit of being completely random and a wee bit scatterbrained, here's a collection of largely unrelated things I've been meaning to blog about, but haven't.


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A swatch for a potential publication/self-publish/who knows project I've dreamed up. I can't decide if I love this stitch or if it looks like, um, a part of the female that is normally fully covered in mixed company. I am henceforth calling it the Freudian stitch. Please feel free to weight in.


Swatch1.jpg

Swatch of a publication piece for Spring. For the amount of ripping I've done on this piece, I could have knit 2 whole garments. I'm not frustrated, I'm just beating my head against the table for sport.


Leo and I carved pumpkins and I have determined that his is way more awesomer than mine. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.

Mine:

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Cute but derivative and pedestrian.

Leo's before carving

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Awesome

Leo's after carving

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Fantastic, no?


Lastly, I leave you with some freshly flipped-off hummers. I've flipped-off three in the past week, though for one, I had no camera. I'm pretty sure the driver did, indeed, see me and my s*** eating grin, which is just as satisfying as sharing photos with you. I'm a class act. Oh and my friend Erica even helped me. Hooray for partners in crime crass.

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Who on earth still thinks these things are status symbols?

November 1, 2008

A happy Halloween

Some years, we put a lot of thought into dressing up for Halloween and some years, we just wing it. This year was mostly the latter.

Leo went a little Clockwork Orange, thought without the fencing outfit.

halloween-1 halloween-2

I went standard issue goth.

It was a little deja vu, taking me back to my very late teens and early twenties, when I'd get all dressed for dancing at Man Ray in Boston.

For Leo, we did the eyelashes, around one eye.

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Then I rimmed both eyes with lots of black eyeliner and shadow. By the end, he and Thea were looking pretty matchy matchy

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The end result:

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Yah, he's pretty darn cute.

From there, we had some wine and coffee at Gilt.

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Then some dancing and general people watching at Embers.

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We tried to check out a few other clubs but the lines were so long that we settled on filling our tummies with a few munchies at the Living Room Theater, instead.

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A seriously fun night.

See all the pictures here.

Hope your Halloween was filled with lots of fun too.

November 3, 2008

If you haven't yet, you should

Oregon is entirely vote by mail, so I've already sent in my ballot. For those of you who haven't yet voted, please do. I realize that not everyone who reads my site will be supporting the democratic ticket, but I certainly am.

And with that said, I'm nervously optimistic.

These charts from FiveThirtyEight.com, November 3, 2008.

Waiting to see how this all unfolds is nerve wracking. Here's hoping the decision is clear, long before I head to bed on Tuesday.

But I digress.

Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote.

November 4, 2008

With all due respect

Um..
WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO

And, um, hells yah.

We went out and celebrated last night. Here's us having dinner.

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After this, I may, possibly, have run through the streets of downtown Portland, screaming the name of our new president elect.


Maybe ;)

WHOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

November 20, 2008

A knitter you might enjoy

You know that YouTube thing that's all the rage with the kids today -- the ones who won't pull their pants, up, turn their music down, and get off my lawn? Yah, well sometimes those kids make these talkies and they post them on the YouTube and a subset of those ain't half bad.

Whilst perusing one day, I found this delightful knitter. Actually, it was a while ago that I found her but she's only recently outed herself as a knitter, so, VOILA, it's now legit fodder for the knit blogger (poetic license in effect with that near-rhyme.)

So here she is, singer, song writer, ukulele player, and hat knitter, Julia Nunes

That was one of her own songs, but she does some beautiful covers as well.

Gone -- Ben Folds Five

Survivor -- Destiny's Child

Keep Fishin' -- Weezer

Adorable, no? Adorable, YES! And she's clearly talented.
Go check out all her videos here.

December 5, 2008

It's a hard knock life, for us

Three sleepy girls

December 15, 2008

It's not New Hampshire, and it's definitely not Los Angeles

This is my third winter in Portland. From what I can tell, winter is a lot of rain. We get an occasional bout of hail that leaves the yard looking like you just murdered a bean bag chair, and there might be a little flurry of flakes, but it rarely lasts long and almost never accumulates.

Well, this weekend, we got a little taste of some of the winter I remember from my childhood in New Hampshire. Of course, if I still lived there, I'd be holed up in a hotel until my power returned. This is way more my speed, for winter.

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Can you see the couple in the background, trying to build a snowman?

The girls get seven kinds of frisky when their paws touch snow. Panda loves to roll in it and Thea wants to eat it.

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These shots are from early in the day, so you can still see the grass peeking through, at the park. By nightfall, the roads were compressed into solid ice and there was about 5" of snow everywhere else. Anyone without chains on their tires were finding themselves struggling to stay on the roads.

I guess it's a testament to how rarely it snows here. I don't ever recall having chains on my car, in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. Roads are plowed and sand or salt are applied as needed. It took most of the night for that to happen around here.

Man alive, I love working from home.

Luckily, Leo's a real boyscout, and had his chains on before the sun set, yesterday, which means he just had to do a quick preflight check before leaving for work, and he was good to go.


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Thea oversaw the process.

December 21, 2008

Flaky

Wintery
1. Red berries covered in snow, 2. Bush in our back yard, 3. The last of our bachelor's buttons, 4. Pine needles

Ice makes everything look pretty, even our sad little bachelor's buttons.


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Leo, Thea and Panda all chase each other around the yard.


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Where there's dog, there's fetch.


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The roads aren't great for driving, but they are fine for walking.

As you can see, it's a winter wonderland here in Portland. It's great knitting weather but I have a feeling I'll start to be a little stir crazy by Christmas. You should hear the local news, we're all doooooooooooomed.

The girls couldn't be happier, though.

December 23, 2008

The sweet spot

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I get up for 5 minutes and I lose my spot on the couch. Sheesh.

Still working on unbloggable items. Don't think I'll have anything crafty to post for a little while. You'll have to make due with dog photos until then.

Till next time, a Happy Festivus to all of you. May your grievances be aired and your feats of strength be impressive.

January 20, 2009

History and a hike

I know, these two things just don't have anything to do with each other, but I feel I have to mention how historic a day it is, while still giving a nod to my wonderful weekend.


Reuters Photo found via Boston.com

Watching the inauguration, today, I couldn't help but sob with the immensity of the day. Whatever your political leanings, there is no doubt that the swearing in of the first non-white president is an historic day for the US and I'm proud to be alive to experience it. Can the day be too far away when all these matters are as trivial as hair color? Should it matter what someone's gender, religion (or lack there of, thankyouverymuch,) sexual preference, or nationality is? Wouldn't it be grand to judge people on their, I dunno, credentials and a strong ethics? Crazy, I know. I'm going to go out back and hug a tree now.

Speaking of which (that's a segue, people,) we saw some grand trees this weekend on our hike to Falcon Cove.

Hike to Falcon's Crest
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Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

We hiked a total of about 4 miles after a bit of fetch on the beach, and we actually managed to tucker out the herding dogs which is no small feat. It was absolutely beautiful, a bit muddy and completely exhausting and I can't wait to do it again.

See all the pictures from our hike here.

January 26, 2009

Wiiner

I had a damn fun weekend. My birthday came early when Leo got me a Wii. Before you say anything, yes, I plan to get the fit.

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Leo beat me roundly at golf. Our first game was somewhat embarrassing but I assure you that he now beats me by a much narrower margin.

But golf is for chumps, and I smacked his arse in boxing and bowling

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Heck yah!

Also, I've been spinning.

Eggplanted two-ply yarn
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Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

General Specs

  • Roving From: Blue Moon Fiber Arts
  • Colorway: Eggplanted
  • Fiber: Merino/Bamboo
  • Yards: 290
  • Ply: 2
  • WPI: 12-ish
  • Weight: 3.4
This is just over half of my total stash of this fiber.


February 18, 2009

I look like a monkey and I smell like one toooooooo

It's my birthday and I decided, at the last moment, to take the day off and be, you know, crafty and such. Try to contain your shock.

The first thing I did, after kissing Leo goodbye, was to warp my heddle loom with two shades of Kauni. I think the gradual color shifts will make for an interesting final piece. Both shades are monochromatic so it'll be subtle.

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I managed to warp the loom in less than an hour, which isn't bad, considering how fast it goes after that. I've spent longer working a tubular cast on for a sweater.

I've also been spinning some more of the Cormo I picked up a little while ago.

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I love this stuff. I used a long draw method to spin the singles and then plied the singles into a 3-ply. The final yarn is about a worsted weight and very sproingy and soft. I have just under 300 yards and quite a bit more roving to spin. It's going to have to be something with cables, I think.

I hope my birthday is as fun for all of you as it's already been for me.

March 7, 2009

What a Pitty

I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for pit bulls. It's unfortunate that people have bred and raised some to be violent. There are a lot of sweet ones that just turn me into a pile of goo.

Still, I'm not one to push my luck. We've had an un-neutered male running around the neighborhood doing his best to make himself a nuisance. The "fertilizing' and "law reorganization" efforts are not necessarily endearing, but as someone with a pup who has been known to make a dash for a neighbor's place, on occasion, I certainly wouldn't pass judgment. It was just when he attempted to go for a bit of rump o'neighbor with a baby carriage, that I decided it might be time to call animal control.

A loose dog

The girls were quite displeased when he stopped by our lawn. There was much ado and some language that cannot be repeated in polite company.

Basking in sunlight and hair

It exhausting guarding the house.

April 13, 2009

Out of towners

My brother and his girlfriend came up from So Cal to visit. It was great to see them.

Matt and Aileen Visit

We took them to our favorite fancy pantsy sushi restaurant, then out for cocktails and some dancing.

Matt and Aileen Visit

In case you were wondering, Leo's still shaving his head.

Ooh and Matt brought along an awesome belated birthday present; a whole POUND of undyed soy silk fiber. That's just half of it, there.

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I plan to hand card it with some wool. I was playing around with it a little on my spindle and I really like the way the soft creamy color plays against the cool purple.

It's always nice to have a little spinning project when I'm also working on a knitting project, like, say, another super secret publication piece.

New project

What-o-what will it be?

By the way, my tech editor for La Cumparsita has been the awesome and we're already ahead of schedule so I'm hoping to have the final pattern available for sale in the next week or so.

April 21, 2009

Stuff that is making me happy.

I've got my nose buried in my latest project. The yarn was a little delayed so it's going to be tight, but so far, I'm really happy with how it's going.

So since that project is pretty much all I'm doing, all I can blog about are the other distractions in my life, like, say:

A delicious dinner at Albert Oysters with my guy. It was so good he ordered Oysters for dessert, and then, he ordered some proper dessert.

Alberta Oysters
1. Leo makes a face in front of the day's fresh oysters, 2. Two each of six types of fresh oysters, 3. The remnants of the dozen oysters, 4. Entrees, 5. A second round of oysters, 6. Closeup of the shells
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

And my brand new Twist Collective bag, which is made of pure awesome.

Twist Bag

Oh and my dogs, who are also made of awesome.

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Guess who wants a belly rub.

May 9, 2009

Loved by the sun

It was a nice dry weekend, after many months of wet weather which means we could no longer put off domesticating our somewhat feral back yard. See here's the thing, in most climates, your lawn requires a delicate touch. You cut the grass long enough to hold in the water it seems to eternally thirst for, and you gently tread across it, being careful not uproot it's slender blades.

Portland grass grows like Homer Simpson's scruff. Seconds after a you've cut it down to the dirt, it's already shaggy again. Leave it for a few *cough-months-couch* and you've got yourself a jungle.

Mowin' the Lawn
1. Overgrown Yard, 2. Dorkus maximus, 3. New Mower, 4. Crazy Thea, 5. Rude little scamp, 6. Thea in front of flowers, 7. What did you say?, 8. Can we come out NOW?, 9. Fetch on a freshly mowed lawn
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

But everyone deserves a break from manual labor and we took ours on our front steps, basking in the warm midday sun. I assure you, in those shots with Panda on the floor, she was getting belly rubs just before. She wasn't being left out.

Lovefest on the front steps
1. Sweeties in the sun, 2. Sweeties in the sun, 3. Sweeties in the sun, 4. Sweeties in the sun, 5. Sweeties in the sun, 6. Sweeties in the sun, 7. Sweeties in the sun, 8. Sweeties in the sun, 9. Sweeties in the sun
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

August 2, 2009

Burying the lead

I spun up my first, ever, Grafton batt recently. It's a lovely gradation from gray to blue to purple and it's colorway 142, if you want to know.

Grafton Batt

It's about 300 yards of slightly felted singles at about 20 wpi. I've bought a few lame batts in my day (I haven't blogged any of them) and a bad batt is just a straight up chore to work with and produces a darn ugly finished yarn. This was not one of those batts. They are a little pricey but are clearly made with care which means I will definitely be treating myself to more of these in the future.

Also, we bought a house. We move in on Friday. I'm thrilled and also slightly nervous but in a really happy way. I can't remember who posted this on Twitter, but it sums up my feelings on the matter very well.

August 13, 2009

Making ourselves at home

The move into the new house took 4 days of solid, dirty, heavy, achy, seemingly endless work, but, compared to years where the weather has been in the triple digits and we've had flights of stairs to scale, this move was relatively easy. I'm not saying I want to have to lug a washer and dryer again, but it could definitely have been worse.

And really, when you are moving into your first home, everything is rosy colored and splendid.

I've taken this week off and am making slow progress getting things up from the garage and into their respective rooms, and when Leo gets home, he gets decidedly handy. There has been sawing and drilling and some hammering as needed.

Now that we are officially house-poor, it seemed only appropriate to make a big hearty batch of beef-lentil stew to keep our energy up and our food costs in order.

Stew Stew


This is the same recipe I blogged about a few months back, only I beefed (ha!) it up with some english short ribs and chuck, which I seared and then slow cooked for 4 hours. A great way to christen my huge new kitchen and a yummy versatile meal. Each day, we garnish it differently so we don't get bored.

And when we aren't eating, we're taking in the lovely views from our various decks.

Sunset

But my favorite view, today, is my new craft room. What a luxury!

My Craft Room
1. Enter the room, 2. The big stuff, 3. Yarn closet, 4. Shelves, 5. Closeup of pictures, 6. Buckets and books, 7. Dogs for scale, 8. Crochet corset
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Ok, that last picture isn't in my craft room, but it is a closeup of a piece I just finished crocheting.

Click on any of the text links to embiggen the little thumbnails.

To all of you who sent me congrats, thank you so much. Life is a little crazy right now, but I read and love each and every comment. Please don't take it personally if I haven't had a chance to reply.

August 19, 2009

Sunrise

I've never been a morning person, but this new house might just change that about me.

From the bed, the other morning, this is what I saw.

Sunrise

Look closer and you can see Mt Hood rising up through the clouds.

Sunrise

We may not have much furniture, but things are pretty smiley all around.

Thea during sunrise View from the

Also, I finally broke El Matchador out this weekend for a spin on the deck.

Lazy Sunday on the deck

September 15, 2009

House a little warmer

When I think of Julia, I think of clean and flattering designs with thoughtful feminine details. There's never anything fussy or kitschy, and her materials are top notch. Even in a time of pom-pom and sequined yarns, Julia's taste was merino and silk, which is why I never expected her to pick up a few yards of this fabric, when she started sewing again.

Topless Cowboy Apron

Pinup girls be damned, I'm looking at some shirtless cowboys!

But the thing is, I love this fabric. As I mentioned in the comments of her post about this fabric, a couple years ago, it reminds me of an art project I made in the 7th grade, using Jockey underwear ads. I'll leave it at that.

But that was something like 2 years ago. I'd forgotten those handsome devils and their pickup trucks. I'd forgotten, that is, until I opened my mailbox yesterday and found this:

Topless Cowboy Apron

Great googily moogily! It's topless cowboys in apron form! Do you see this? Check out those sweet little sage green pockets and long ties. There's even a little loop, perfect for holstering one's tongs or, even a hammer, were one so inclined.

Well, I loved it so much that I thought it deserved a proper photo shoot, including vintage dress, rolling pin and a bit of hamming it up for the camera.

Topless Cowboy Apron Topless Cowboy Apron

What can I say but, thank you, Julia, this apron is the best.

September 24, 2009

Reunion

In this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and FriendFace reconnecting with people from your past is about as novel as a fax machines, which is just as well since I'm a complete hermit and never leave the house.

No, for me, the reunion was all about finding this.

Class book

This happens to be required reading for my class this term and it was a book I read, probably, 6-7 years ago just because. The problem? It was in one of 14 boxes that had been sitting in our garage for the past 3 years.

Digging for the book was unearthing years of my life. It's odd how just seeing a book can bring me right back to the time when I read it, good or bad.

Sundry Books

It's funny to find a long ago book on astrology in the box I opened after the box full of tomes on skepticism. If I laid everything out chronologically, it might well function as a sort of auto biography.

But what's even more telling are the arts and crafts books

Too many craft books


Sorted in piles I've tagged here, here and here, they are a cornucopia of good and ill conceived ventures in creativity. But even the country cross stitch and 80s teddy bear sweater books have a special place in my heart, not so much because I will ever (EVER) use them but because they take me back to another time in my life that I can hardly remember, some days.

Oh books, how I love you so. Now all we need are some book cases.

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Yes, I know that this makes me a terrible terrible person.

November 4, 2009

A few things that are making me happy

Leo and I managed to throw together passable Halloween costumes without any planning, thanks to some inventive closet diving.

IMG_0005
A demon and Maryann from Gilligan's Island, or possibly Dorothy pre-ruby slipper

Ravelry is featuring Jamison Square on their pattern page


I squeed when I saw this.

While we didn't win a cover spot, you can see see Thea at about 1:12 in this video.

And the whole darn video is full of smiley goodness.

And lastly, artichokes.

Artichokes with Pesto Dip
I love artichokes. Click image for recipe

November 27, 2009

Little things make me thankful

After weeks of mostly rain, we have a gorgeous sunshiney day, two antsy dogs and a tank full of gas. We're off to the ocean (can't say "beach" or the dogs will go crazy pants.) Before I go, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of my most recent finished object. I'll have better pictures in the near future, over in ravelry.

SimpleThingswithPups

This project is Mary-Heather Cogar's Simple Things Shawlette. It was exactly what I needed to work on while I wait for yarn to arrive for my next deadline project. I followed the pattern, almost to the letter, except that I omitted one repeat of the garter ridge. I used this bind off to get a good loose edge and it worked a charm.

As a side note, for no real reason whatsoever, except that I have a slightly geeky side, I created a little spreadsheet that can be used to plan out yardage for any triangular shawl that increases 4 sts every other row. You would have to expand the number of rows for longer shawls (like my La Cumparsita) or delete rows for shorter shawls.

Why would you use this? Well, let's say the pattern called for 400 yards of yarn and you have 350. You could use this to determine approximately how many rows you could actually work, without running out of yarn mid-row. Alternately, you might simply like to know when you are actually at the halfway point, or how far through the project you've gotten. Anyway, if you want to play around with it, you can download the file here.

Note: this does not have any information about the shawlette or any other pattern in it, it's simply a tool for calculating stitch counts and yardage in triangular shawl pattern. I am offering this for free for your own use, personal or commercial, but I cannot offer you technical support for this file. It is yours to play with but you will need to understand excel or open office to edit it and I cannot train you to use those programs. If you wish to modify it to be more functional, I would love it if you'd share it with others, and pass along your expertise.

December 4, 2009

Why I'm rarely grumpy

snugglypups

That is all.

Ok, there's also this

Focaccia Bread from start to belly


But I'd choose the former over the latter, if pressed.

December 29, 2009

Last little bit of 2009

Christmas was blissfully mellow here in the new home; no obligations, no worries, plenty of quality time with each other. It was chilly, as evidenced by these gorgeous spider webs, encrusted in ice, on our porch.

Icy morning Icy morning

I love the way the drops of water froze like little glass beads. You should have seen how they glistened in the sunlight. If you go to flickr, you can embiggen them and see more of the detail.

I tried my hand at sushi making, which turned out to be way easier than I expected.

Sushi

That's my "hot and sour tuna" roll. Recipe, inasmuch as anyone would need one, can be had if you click the pic.

I manage to get all my deadline knitting done, thanks to some morale support from the pooches

Panda and Thea Snuggling


I mailed off both garments today and emailed the digital files as well. It feels so good to have those off the plate. Now, do I start something new or finish something already started? Yes, I know which is the RIGHT answer, that doesn't mean I'll do it.

As I was falling asleep I had inspiration of another kind resulting in this, my first venn diagram.

Red___ulousVenn


I'm sure this will improve your lives exponentially.

And, in a last bit of late breaking news, we have us some snow. SNOW!

More snow


It's not slated to last very long but the girls sure do love it while it's here.

January 16, 2010

Help For Haiti

From January 15 - January 31, 50% of sales of the following patterns will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Find out more about Doctors Without Borders here.
Find other patterns on Ravelry, tagged Help For Haiti.

February 1, 2010

Donating and a bunch of other stuff

I used to blog the most inane little bits of my life, at times, and now there is facebook and twitter to handle that task. But when it comes time to post, there are always such a varied assortment of things I want to tell you about that, for the life of me, I can't think of a decent title. Sorry about that.

Anyway, first and foremost, thank you all who purchased patterns from January 15th-31st, of this year. Your donations allowed me to make a total of $736 in donations to Doctors Without Borders. And lest you think that an impressive number, I've seen other knitters reporting several thousand dollars in donations from their own sales. It's amazing to see how a multitude of small gestures can add up to so much. Really, it's a metaphor for life and it reminds me that no bit of good is too small and every effort is meaningful. So thanks to all of you who donated personally or bought patterns from a participating designer. It's enough to make my crotchety little heart soften a bit.


In doggy news, the pups still love the beach with the white hot passion of a thousand suns

January 23, 2010
See all the pictures here.

The beef crunchies I made have upped the excitement for training time.

They work hard and they play hard. Awww

Toy nom
Thea's got a toy


And lastly for your moment of pure comic relief at the expense of what little shame I may have had left, I got an honorable mention (as did the beautiful Stitch Diva,) in the Regretsy Skants contest.

Help Me Pick a Skant Picture

Yup, this get-up doesn't even touch the wackiness the winners hit. Mine looks downright tame by comparison.

March 19, 2010

Interview with Robin Hunter

Robins5Avatar_edited-5.jpgA quick post to let you know that I recently did an interview with Robin Hunter on being a professional designer. It was a great exercise to think about my process in a really conscious way. A lot of what I do now has slowly evolved over time and it's encouraging to realize how far I've come but also know I have plenty farther to go.
Please check out all her weekly interviews. I am clearly in fantastic company on her blog. And, if you feel so inclined, leave her a comment or two. I'm surprised how few she has and her posts are so interesting.

April 23, 2010

Knot tying

Rings

We nearly eloped, but not quite eloped because my mom presided, my dad gave me away, my brother and his girlfriend witnessed and our dogs were flower girls, in that they were nearby and shed a lot.

April 26, 2010

Wedding Weekend

WeAreMarried

I can't thank you all enough for the kind words and congratulations. We really kept this whole thing entirely secret and I still have close friends and family to contact and let them know we got hitched. We wanted to make sure that no one felt obligated to travel or buy gifts or put themselves out. The relationship is for love but the wedding was, in many ways, just a formality for legal and insurance purposes.

Wedding Weekend at Cannon Beach
1. Fetch by Haystack Rock, 2. Delicious Wine, 3. Panda and Thea assess the view, 4. Dad's tie, 5. Groom and Witness's shoes, 6. Feeding the bird, 7. The start of a muddy hike, 8. Post hike shoe cleaning, 9. Rainbow, 10. Sunset play time, 11. Spoiled dogs are spoiled, 12. Thea is a crazy monkey, 13. My sweet old lady
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Despite our general resistance to the idea of getting married on principal alone, we figured that if we were going to do it, we might as well keep it fun and stress free. My mom officiated and gifted me the beautiful dress I wore, which I got at a local store who makes all their dresses by hand from imported Thai silk.

We bought our beautiful rings from Fabuluster. They send impression kits to you and make the rings from your actual finger prints. Leo wears my print and I wear his. We had a bit of fun with it and did impressions of our middle fingers; a little inside joke about our general reluctance to marry and our tendency to take nothing too seriously, if possible.

WithMyDad

My dad, who gave me away, also gifted us professional photography for the ceremony (pictures to come in a month or so). I also wore the first gift he ever gave my mom, a lovely pair of heart-shaped earrings.

My brother and his girlfriend witnessed and offered general morale support. It was sheer coincidence that my brother and the groom wore the same shoes.

Our biggest splurge, though, was our stay at a lovely, dog friendly beachside hotel. Since we normally stay in cheap motels or camp in our car, when we travel with the pups, this was a real extravagance for the four of us. Being able to go for our walks on the beach, at the drop of a hat, was such a delight and the dogs couldn't have been happier. They've been downright mellow since we've returned.

I can't wait to see how the photos come out. I think there'll be a few lovely mementos to mark the day. But even if I am making dork-face in every shot, I'll still look back on the weekend as a lovely time spent with my very closest family and a wonderful memory amongst the many that Leo and I already share.

Oh and since a few have asked, the pups were in attendance but no, I did not dress them up. We're crazy dog people but we aren't THAT crazy.

May 30, 2010

One last post about the wedding

Short and sweet, like the ceremony itself, a few more pictures of the lovely day.

The Wedding
1. Being given away, 2. Groom and Best Man's shoes, 3. Last chance to bail out, 4. Do you agree to the terms and conditions?, 5. My mom, officiating, 6. I may kiss the groom, 7. Kiss in front of haystack rock, 8. Looking wistful in front of haystack rock, 9. The happy couple, 10. The kids are legitimate now, 11. The whole wedding party, 12. Mom and dad, 13. Very serious footwear, 14. Dad of the bride, 15. Groom with his new Father In-Law, 16. It's official now, 17. Warm hug, 18. Lucky bride, 19. Black and White is fancy, 20. Fancy pants shot of the bride
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

June 6, 2010

Everyone has a talent

My brother won "Crowd Favorite" for Partial Beard in the World Beard and Mustache Team USA competition.

He has clearly put that double-major in physics and philosophy to excellent use. Congrats to my rather hairy baby brother.

June 20, 2010

Contest

You know what I think is really useless? Blogging that you haven't blogged for a while and then apologizing. But you know what I think is cute? Posting a picture that captures that same sentiment.

Manzanita June 18, 2010
Contrite dog is contrite*

But how'z about I make it up to at least two of you out there.

Picture%201.png
Successful Lace Knitting


A little while ago, I posted about Donna Druchunas' new book, Successful Lace Knitting, to which I contributed the cover project. Well I recently received my copy and one extra copy, both of which are signed by the author. That means I have one more copy than I rightfully need.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below answering the following question.

What is the most embarrassing thing your parents/guardians ever did in front of your friends?

Here's my answer:
My biological father used to crochet his own banana hammocks and wear them in public to swim at the local country club. I'm from a small town, and people I grew up with still talk about it. It's memories like that, that make me all the more thankful for the upgrade I got a few years back. (Speaking of which, a very happy father's day, dad2.0!)

Here are the logistics of the drawing. Get your comment in by the end of day Friday June, 25, and I will pick one comment at random to receive the signed copy of Successful Lace Knitting. I will also award one gift certificate for a Twist Collective pattern (you will be able to pick from any that they offer) to the person who makes me laugh and/or cringe the hardest with their comment.





*Note, no dogs were actually made to feel contrite to produce this blog post.

June 27, 2010

Winners!

As far as comments go, this has been the most entertaining week ever. You guys have some pretty cringeworthy stories of all sorts and I loved every last comment. Call me crazy, but I think that much like having one's heart broken, embarrassing families are sort of a right of passage. I think they give you perspective, and a sense of humor and generally build character. (Note to my parents: this is not you cue to ramp up the embarrassing behavior, I'm bubbling over with character, thanks so much.) Though, I think new parents can also take heart that quite a few of my commenters think their parents have always been awesome, even if some only discovered this in hindsight.

Picture%201.png
Successful Lace Knitting

My random number generator picked julietn as the winner of the book, which is wonderful because she was one of the people on my rather expansive list of possible winners for best comment. Juliet, I've sent you a note requesting your address, if you don't see it, you can contact me with the Contact button up on the top of this page.

And here's her fantastic story:

julietn
My parents are wonderful, and my mom is a bit of a free spirit and says almost anything that pops into her head, which I now love. Not so much when I was younger, though. The first moment that comes to mind of her embarassing me was when she dropped me off at college for the first time. There were some sophomores and juniors hanging around as everyone was unpacking, and my mom took one look at this one guy, marched up to him (she's about 5' 1", this guy was easily 6'), poked him in the chest and snapped up at him "You stay away from my daughter! I know what you're doing here!" I was just about ready to drop out of college right then. The best part is, though, that she was right--the guy turned out to be notorious for going after younger girls. Her methods may have been objectionable, but she's a good judge of character!

Your mom sounds awesome. I just love this story and yet, I can completely see being utterly mortified by the whole situation.


Gift%20Certificate.jpeg
Twist Collective Gift Certificate

Picking just one story to win the Twist Collective gift certificate was a more challenging process. I decided to set a few criteria for determining a winner. I think as a general rule, there must be non-family witnesses who are your peers, to hold the event over you for the rest of your life. There must also be some breech of normal societal protocols; something that would get you kicked out of a nice restaurant. Your parents' junker or poor fashion choices are indelibly etched in your mind, but are probably mostly forgettable to anyone who may try to blackmail you later.

So with those rules in mind (and knowing full well I eliminated some fantastically horrible stories in the process) I was able to narrow my list down to 4. Like picking only a single chocolate from the Godiva box, it was no easy feat, but for the sheer quantity of pain for all parties involved, I decided on Meredith's story.

Meredith C.:
Marnie, your story really made me cringe. Just the crocheting or the hammock would have been bad enough for a kid, but to combine them and then take it all public? You poor child.

My story is another about fun in the sun. When I was a kid we had a pool in the backyard. In the summer, my friends would come over to swim, and my mom would sit in a lounge chair smoking cigs and drinking ice t. She was a woman well endowed in the breast dept, and I kept thinking that eventually I'd get big boobs too, but I never did and that's another story anyway. She would wear those terry cloth rompers, held up only by boobage, while she was lounging. So my friends and I, all about 11 and very self conscious, were swimming and goofing off, and my mom fell asleep in the sun. With her boobs out. She had thrown up her arms to shield her eyes and her top slipped out. Her boobs were fried with sunburn. It was awful. I think hers were the biggest boobs my friends had seen, as there moms were more average sized, and they were embarrassed, and left as quickly as possible. Stories were told about my mom's enormous lobster-red boobs. Still not as bad as the banana hammocks though!

Meredith, I've sent you a note, though if you don't see it, feel free to write me from the email address to which you'd like the gift certificate sent, by clicking the Contact button at the top of this page.

Thank you, sincerely, to all of you who made me laugh and cringe and who reminded me that all families are weird. You guys are the best. Trust me, it was not easy to pick a best/worst of the bunch.

July 9, 2010

The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design Blog Tour

Shannon Okey's new book, The Knitgrrl guide to Professional Knitwear Design, is available and if you aren't already hearing some of the buzz, well, you don't spend as much time online as I do. Search around and you'll find plenty of high praise for good reason. This little treasure is a comprehensive look at how knitwear design happens; good, bad and everything in between. For designers and aspiring designers alike, there are tips, tricks and insightful interviews to more than cover the cost of admission and for those of you with no intention of ever designing but who love to see what happens behind the scenes, this book delivers there too.

So are you dying to crack open this book? Shannon has graciously offered a copy to one lucky winner and since the last contest was so much fun, I thought I'd carry on the theme. Details at the end of the post!

But before that, I wanted to throw a few questions Shannon's way.

Marnie MacLean [MM]: This book is broken up into two broad sections; the informational part which is based on a lot of your personal experience as well as some input from other people in the industry, and then an interview section in which you talk to a great range of individuals in the industry. Did you have any big “AHA” moments from the interviews that shaped the way you wrote the first section of the book?

Shannon Okey [SO] :Most of the first portion of the book was written before the interviews took place, and is based on both my experience and observation, so there weren't any "AHA" moments so much as "mmmhmm, mmmhmm" when someone confirmed something I'd been thinking or had said.

MM: Have you made any changes to the way you run your business based on what you learned creating this book? And if so, what?

SO: I have, very slowly, come to the realization that it is OK to ask for help, and more specifically, to hand off things you don't like as much or aren't as good at doing to someone who is. It frees up more time to do what you love more. So, for example, I don't particularly like to grade patterns, and I am NOT a tech editor by any stretch of the imagination. I would rather hire someone who loves the math aspect, who delights in being nitpicky and crossing all the t's. Karin Strom's interview answers really made me feel better about doing this. I always felt that I SHOULD do every single bit of work on my patterns in order to be a "real" designer, but you know what? Karl Lagerfeld's not out there hemming dresses. The "petites mains" (specialist stitchers for the big couture houses) all have very specific skills, whether it's beading or stitching or whatever. They're not expected to do everything themselves: why should I? And with the exception of summertime, when I'm fortunate enough to have TNNA interns most years, I'm a one-woman show! So with all that in mind, I've come to accept that doing this will let me design more, not less, and make a better income for myself. I'm stubborn -- it took a while to convince myself this was ok!

MM: This book is so current that it has stats from a couple months ago which makes sense, because the industry is in such flux that what was true a year ago may be irrelevant now. What do you see for the future of this book? Do you imagine releasing updated versions every few years keeping what’s relevant and ditching what’s not?

SO: With the state of both the knitting and the publishing industries being what they are, who KNOWS what's going to happen a few months from now, let alone a few years? One of my projects this week was looking at online subscription-based models (akin to the ones some knitting magazines are using to make their titles available on the web), and thinking about how that might work for craft books, too. O'Reilly and technical publishers have already caught on to this -- tech books tend to have a very short shelf life, and being able to subscribe to the book on a virtual bookshelf makes more sense than spending $20-40 on a dead tree version. If you only like ONE pattern in a book, you're not going to buy the book, but you might be willing to pay $x to have access to the book for a short period of time, or to have access to just that pattern.

Two things we're looking at here at Cooperative Press (and by "we" I mean "royal we + anyone I draft in to help," such as my dear boyfriend, who did the typography on this book's cover) are the subscription model discussed above and also custom publishing. You, the end user, would be able to select specific chapters, sections or content from our books and blend them all together into an on-demand PDF or print book. It's not a new idea: one of the old school internet-gold-rush companies was doing this for travel books 10+ years ago at Booktailor.com. It's a question of applying the right technology and the right pricing to the model.

Also, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Someone else with deeper pockets than me will probably run right out and do both of those things. You heard it here first, kids. (Though the one advantage of DIY is that you can usually move faster than the people copying your ideas can!)

MM: Ok, so for our contest, I’m going to be carrying on the embarrassment theme from my last giveaway. To close off this interview, would you be willing to share a most embarrassing / head-deskery type moment from your crafting/authoring career?

SO: The knit-burqa. Oh man. I was doing a pattern for the Harry Potter knitting book (Charmed Knits). It was a knitting bag for Hermione. I'm a very experienced felter, and I should have known better. Imagine knitting a giant tube of Cascade 220. A tube so big (and black, for that matter) that I could fit inside it. I am 5'7" and I am NOT SMALL. So we started calling it the "knit burqa," that's what it looked like. I was SO HAPPY to have the damn thing finished that I resolved to march right down to the washer and felt it immediately. Never mind it's late and I'm exhausted. Never mind machine felting probably wasn't a superfabulous idea. I wanted it DONE done right this very moment. You can guess what happened, and it wasn't pretty. I had to cut it up in order to make it resemble my original plans and reverse-engineer the written pattern to suit. Doesn't matter how good you USUALLY are...doing anything that nearly destroys months of knitting in less than 30 minutes is not just head-deskery, it's earthshatteringly dumb.

MM: Thanks so much Shannon and thank you for including me in your book. It’s been a real pleasure.

Contest Rules

Leave a comment with some face-palming, head-desking, foot-in-mouthing embarrassing moment you don't mind sharing with the world. I will pick one person at random, so even if you can't recall one, you have an equal chance at winning if you leave a comment. But where's the fun in that? Comments must be sent by end of day on Thursday, July 15 and I will pick one random winner to receive a print copy of Shannon Okey's The Knitgrrl guide to Professional Knitwear Design.

And in the spirit of good sportsmanship, I'll share one of my many many embarrassing moments in life. I was, perhaps, 14, I lived in a small New Hampshire town, where everyone knew just about everyone. There was one boy, we'll call him George since I don't recall and Georges from my grade. I had a fantastically unrequited crush on him. I was walking around the drug store picking up a few things, when I realized he was in the store with me. I gave him an enthusiastic wave, a giant smile and called his name. He turned and looked at me, with a polite smile and then vague discomfort, which is the moment I realized that in my happily swaying hand, straight above my head, was the box of tampons I had just picked up. Go me!

To order copies of the book, you can go here. And be sure to follow Shannon's entire blog tour by visiting her site and checking the blog tour sidebar.

August 27, 2010

Things I'm doing when I'm not blogging.

Well, mostly I'm working and often I'm also knitting more super secret stuff.

Secret Project Yarn


Beautiful yarn, though, don't you think?

I also canned for the first time.

Blueberry jam


Some of the 10 jars of blueberry jam I made from berries we picked locally. We've already gone through three jars in, um, an embarrassingly short period of time and berry season is pretty much over. Next year, we get serious.

And of course, the dogs are making sure we don't forget to go to the beach.

Manzanita, Oregon, August 27, 2010

Pacific City, Oregon August 21, 2010

Next post will be a little behind the scenes on Tolovana.

October 12, 2010

Works in progress

I'm giving my main site a bit of a facelift, which I think is long overdue. I unveiled the previous redesign about a year after I started blogging, and its been almost 6 years since then.

I'm still playing with the colors and the fonts and the little bits and pieces, but I've cleaned out a lot of the clutter, both visually and in the content.

I can't bring myself to get rid of the doggy themed blog format (yet) because Thea's face makes me laugh every time I see it but the rest of the site should reflect the new design.

I'm also working on a little self published piece, Marmalade Skies*.

The pattern is fully written and I'm working on scheduling someone to tech edit the piece. It's was a really fast knit for me, taking just 10 days and the only seams are under the arms and sewing down the neck facing. Loads more pictures here.

As a reward for all this productivity, I might need to make another batch of these.

Apple Butter Fingerprint Cookies




A big "thank you" to Rebeca Velasquez for suggesting the name. I love it.

November 18, 2010

Tigard Knitting Guild, the sequel

The Tigard Knitting Guild has kindly asked me back to do another Twist Collective trunk show and I have about a gabillion pieces to show.

If any of you are in the area, please stop by tonight at 7pm. I'll even be giving away a couple of gift certificates while I'm there.

January 8, 2011

Something old

This past Christmas, I received a package in the mail with a small leather covered box.

Gift From Janet_03

Inside were a note and a gift that are so wonderful I wanted to share them. All typos are mine.

My darling Marnie,

John Lennon's "War is Over” Christmas song is on my mind. Here’s a story about my Mother and Daddy.

Sometime in 1942 my Daddy gave a diplomat pal some money as he was leaving for Mexico. My Daddy worked for the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. at the time and the diplomat was heading for Mexico on an official visit. Daddy requested "something beautiful for me to give to Gerry for her birthday" and handed him some cash.

So, the diplomat carried back from Mexico, in his diplomat's pouch, a box for my Daddy. It contained a necklace and earrings that my Mother wore all her life and I've worn quite a few times myself.

Gift From Janet_07

My parents went dancing every chance they got throughout their married life. Well, the Christmas after that August birthday, they went to a Diplomats’ Ball for some wartime charity. My Mother was pretty big and fat (Daddy liked her that way), but very light on her feet, and was frequently the belle of the ball with everyone who was anyone dancing with her. It was a formal affair and she wore her "gilleys" with her long gown. She also wore the lovely jade jewelry from Mexico, and danced all night long. There was a line of tuxes waiting to sign her dance card all evening, with my Daddy only getting an occasional dance. She eventually admitted to being pretty well worn out and collapsed on a deep sofa and sat there and "received" for quite some time with one diplomat bringing her one cuba libre after another.

This admirer, after plying her with mucho rum, begged a dance. So, Mother put her hand in his, and he raised her off of the sofa...into his arms...and straight onto the floor! They say it took four diplomats to carry her to the car, and nobody ever let my Daddy hear the last of it. Much giggling all ‘round ever after when rum came into a conversation.

Mother didn't remember what happened; when she like to tell the story, she'd say "Well, I was enjoying a lovely rum drink, and accepted an offer of a dance, then was flat on my face, and woke up in bed!"

I can see the sly grin on his face even now, as Daddy admitted that he was proud of her; after all, she WAS the best dancer at the ball.

So, Marnlette, here is that set of jewelry. It's not stylish these days, and I've left it tarnished. I've not worn it in quite some time. It used to polish up quite nicely, so I thought I'd leave that Joy for you to do. And, not to worry, it shall tarnish nicely again… it always has.

Gift From Janet_09

I can't think of anyone I know who I'd rather have it. I know you'll get as many giggles out of it as have I…and my parents, too! Wear It once, then maybe it would be of some use for you to show with your delightful knitted creations. It's OK if it lives mostly in a jewelry box since it's quite used to that.

My Mother would have loved you to pieces, and would have asked me to pass on to you what she always called her "best dress-up gift" from my Daddy...for Christmas this year.

"...and soooo it is Christmas" and her war IS over.

Love, hugs, kisses,
Janet
Christmas 2010

Gift From Janet_01

Continue reading "Something old" »

January 14, 2011

Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days; those days that ensure I won't be a dog horder in the near future. Rainy weather and long working hours have left me making excuses not to walk Darwin as much as I should. When you have a young herding dog and you decide to skimp on walks and training you might as well batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm because you are about to see what 25 lbs of super smart and endlessly energetic has in store for you.

Darwin Socializing_03
Being cute is a survival mechanism

It was a rough day but today is already better, we've left our minor setbacks behind us and braved the downpours for a a nice long and positive walk. A little perspective (and a good nap) is usually all I need to get past a particularly bad day. I mean really, look at this lot.

Darwin's First Trip to Mt. Hood_29
Cute, non? Cute, oui!

In the same way, our other stresses in life can seem overwhelming. With one of us out of work for nearly a year now and the economy showing few signs of life, it's easy to get caught up in the uncertainty and doubt and fear. We could let the setbacks and rejections cripple us but we try to keep perspective. We have our bad days and sleepless nights but we try to remember that we have so much even if it feels like we are teetering on the edge. When I heard a friend and her son had lost their partner and father, respectively, my heart just broke. It's one of those moments where the only thing I can think to do is hug everyone in the house and tell them how important they are to me. The dogs mostly just wag and hope for a cookie. That's good enough for me.

I know that nothing can ever bring back this wonderful man my friend and her son lost and no small gesture can change that pain left behind, but perhaps it was as therapeutic for me as anything, to make them each a small gift with empathy for their terrible situation. I guess, on some level, I feel like the time I spent on each was time I was reminded to value the people I do have in my life; forget my petty concerns and endeavor to be as honest and caring as I can while time still allows me to do so.

Handspun Shrug_10
Handspun Grafton Batt crocheted side to side. Trimmed in knitted handspun optim

And maybe, if you'll indulge me a bit longer, you can find someone you love, human, dog, cat or other, and let them know you love them for no reason at all except that you do, even if they drive you up the walls sometimes or always leave a mess. Chances are, they overlook a few of your shortcomings as well and love you equally.

Lil_Monster07
Monster crocheted with DK weigh merino, with knit socks and scarf worked in sock yarn

April 23, 2011

One year

One year ago, today, I had to teach myself to stop referring to Leo as my boyfriend and start calling him my, *gulp* "husband."

Very serious footwear

After nine and a half years of dating, that was hard. I'm pretty sure I've called him "my boyfriend" as recently as last week. Luckily, I mostly need to refer to him as "Leo" which has not changed since getting married.

Leo's been unemployed since February of last year. I work from home. We have spent, quite literally, almost every waking hour and all non-waking hours together, in our first year of marriage. One of two things could have happened in that time. Either one of us was going to snap, Lizzy Borden style, or we'd adapt, adjust and grow even closer. I think we've managed the latter, thanks in part to having saved up a bit of money, and having fantastic dogs to keep us laughing. (Seriously, how can anyone stay mad when dogs are being goofy?)

In truth, being married doesn't feel any different than not being married. It really was a formality for us, to ensure that everything we had was co-owned, that we'd be able to see each other in the hospital if something horrible happened and to ensure that we could take advantage of the other person's insurance, should one of us end up unemployed.

But even if our intentions in getting married, weren't romantic, I'm still really glad we did. Leo makes me laugh every day, we don't fight about religion, politics, money, whether or not to have kids, or really much of anything at all (except the merits of freezing one's head. Sorry, I'm just not sold on the viability of a Futurama like future for us.) If money were no object, we might have flown somewhere beautiful or taken off a week and had a belated honeymoon. But maybe we'd have done exactly what we did, which was to pack up the puppies, drive to the coast and enjoy a fantastically beautiful Friday and a big juicy burger we could share with the mutts.

Either way, it was a very happy anniversary celebration for all of us.

One Year Anniversary

July 15, 2011

Crunch time

It's been Crazypants City, population, Marnie, lately. We rolled out a redesign of our self service site, at work. Wait, is that Thea you see? Why yes it is. Oh and hey, did you just see Panda over here too? I think you might have. We cranked out that new site in an absurdly short period of time, with two trips to the mothership, for me, and a lot of extra hours. We're still cleaning things up, improving, adding, subtracting, but it's good to have the bulk of it live.

And for you knitters, you may know that Twist Collective has a new edition going live in a couple weeks so it's crunch time there as well. Being completely entrenched in the process, I become both incredible attached to the edition and also, oddly numb to it too, so that I am never quite sure how it will be received. It's like saying the same word over and over until it sounds suddenly foreign.

But there are some things in life that don't care about schedules and work and traveling. Things like delicious local strawberries that must (MUST) be made into jams and jellies.

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Wine Jelly_05

I made a batch of less sugar strawberry jam in big jars and a small batch of strawberry wine jelly (click image for recipe) just because it sounded so interesting. The former has all the sweet and tart flavor of the amazing hood berries that grow here and the latter tastes almost like honey, with just a hint of wine flavor. It's supposed to be great on a cheese plate, but I like it just fine on toast.

I also have managed a little more dog abuse sewing.

SophiaBag_24 SophiaBag_18
SophiaBag_27

This is from an Amy Butler pattern. While I find her fabrics a little over the top for my taste (says she with the new bag that looks like it was made from a Hawaiian shirt) her patterns are worth every penny for their detailed instructions and professional construction. I would happily recommend them.

Next week, one of my oldest and dearest friends comes to visit for the week, and then we launch the new Twist and then, perhaps, I will take a three day nap and eat all the buttered toast with homemade jam I can fit in my mouth.


July 26, 2011

Aloha

My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.


can't see the video, click here.


Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

August 1, 2011

My grandmother didn't like children, but she loved me

grandma-grandpop-and-marnie

A few years ago, I blogged about my grandmother's starting a new life in Texas after my grandfather died.

Grandma was my last remaining grandparent until today. She died after a very long healthy life and a short period of serious decline.

mom-grandma-grandpop-and-marnie

She was no fan of children but I would never have known it, as a child, because she loved me so much.

marnie-walking-with-grandma

A true product of the depression era, she was frugal to a fault which made her endless generosity all the more meaningful.

marnie-on-grandmas-lap

I always knew my grandmother loved me, that I was special in her life. When I called, the joy in her voice was infectious and I was so happy to talk to her too.

grandma-and-marnie-in-doorway

She gave me these photos, and many more, when she moved out of her old home in New Jersey. They are a small consolation to this huge hole she leaves in my heart. I feel truly fortunate that I had so many wonderful years with a grandmother who loved me so much.

grandma-and-marnie-in-the-yard

I had an airline ticket to see her in just a couple of weeks. I wish I could have told her, one last time, in person, how much she is loved. It is sad to know that I cannot but perhaps, in her honor, you could all take a moment to tell someone you love them, someone you don't have a chance to say it to, as often as you'd like. Fate has it's way of reminding you how much that means when it's too late.

September 10, 2011

Interview at the Designer's Studio

Exactly 3 years ago today I posted an interview I did with Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman about their book Casual Elegant Knits. Their blog tour was my first chance to get to know Faina, but it hasn't been my last. Since then, she and I have both contributed to the book Knitting in the Sun and Twist Collective.

When Faina first asked me if I'd do an interview for her ongoing Designer's Studio series, I agreed and then promptly got overwhelmed with other things and dropped the ball. Luckily, she gave me a second chance. The interview is now live and you can read it here. Don't forget to check out all the other interviews and if you find any interesting, consider leaving Faina a comment to thank her for all her hard work.


Ooof, there aren't any pictures in this post. Time to remedy that with some non sequitors.

Puppies at play.

Battling the water monster_comic
Click through to get to embiggen

And check out quilt numero dos.

My second quilt_23

December 12, 2011

If the amish made video games


My brother's not amish, but he plays one in his mirror. Check him out here, talking about Trey Parker and Matt Stone like they are his besties.

I'll admit it, I love RPG games, I love South Park, I think my brother doesn't suck. I'm going to buy this game if it's available in a format I can play.

December 20, 2011

Celebration

panda_darwin
Guests of honor

Over the last 3 weeks we had three milestones to celebrate:

  • Panda turned 11

  • We celebrated our 1 year anniversary with Darwin

  • And Leo and I hit 11 years together (eesh, how did that happen?)

So we celebrated all three, on Friday, with another trip to the coast. It seemed appropriate.

three happy dogs

Here's to many more birthdays and anniversaries to come.

February 25, 2012

Yah yah yah, cue the double rainbow guy

Last weekend was my birthday; one of those unremarkable, mid-decade, you're-too-old-to-care-about-your-birthday-still kind of birthdays. We're still eking by on a single salary, and unemployment has dried up so there were no big plans. We figured, being our frugal new selves, that we'd lump my birthday, Thea's 5th birthday, and valentine's day all into one "celebration." I think we managed to pull it off on a shoestring budget. Check out the decorations at our fête!

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon52


D-dog provided streamers

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon29


There was an air show

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon16


Panda entertained us with her acrobatics

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon46


And the other birthday girl seemed utterly pleased with the whole day.

Febrary 18, 2012 -- Depoe Bay, Oregon47


I guess it works out that the things the birthday girls want to do most, cost us very little. I believe they call us "cheap dates."

If you average out for dog years, Thea and I are about the same age, this year. As a pup, she was such a handful, unfazed by reprimand, destructive, and mischievous. She's matured into one of the most sweet, loving and playful girls you could ever imagine. I love her so much and am glad to have an excuse to share my birthday celebration with her.

Here's to many more years to come.

March 17, 2012

This and that

I've been sitting here for minutes trying to come up with a blog post title so I could start writing this post. I've decided to give you a crappy post title so I can just get on with it.

Last weekend, Kate and I went to Madison to present a Twist Collective fashion show. Kate blogged about it here. It was a heck of a lot of fun. The folks in Wisconsin are friendly and welcoming and clearly appreciate knitting. Go...um...Badgers, I guess. I think that might be one of them there sports teams out yonder.

Speaking of badgers, you might as well watch this:

We are crazy busy with Twist stuff right now, and I have a few other secret knits in the wings, but I've fit in a bit more sewing. I mentioned with my last post on sewing, that I'd taken the Bombshell Dress course at Craftsy. Well, I signed up for Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class and instead of using the included pattern, I went with something a little more my style, if I had a style, and any occasion to wear such a dress.

McCall's 6350_03

If you are into sewing, you can read more about it over here. I'm also signed up for the Starlet Jacket class, which is good because my sleeve setting in skills are pretty lacking. Also, I'm unreasonably excited to try my first bound buttonhole.

And, of course, we try to put aside a little time and money to hit the coast with the beasts.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_74

Rain or shine, it's always gorgeous there. Also, seriously, look at this face.

Oregon Coast_March 16, 2012_78

Ridiculous.

May 6, 2013

Spring

It's here, at least in Oregon and it's lovely so far.

April 25_Depoe Bay_Oregon_07
This rock has a heart on for spring and I have a juvenile sense of humor

Spring means more trips to the beach.


Did you catch that excited whimper out of Darwin?

And more playing in the yard


I think D is aerating the lawn a little too effectively

And renovations.

Repainting room_02
New wiring and an end to that pepto pink closet, in the works

And maybe a little something else getting an overhaul, too.


Coming soon, if I ever finish doing all the things

December 7, 2005

It's not me it's you

Dear Blogger software,

Hi, how's it going. Can we talk? Maybe we should go somewhere public, just because.
We've been together now almost two years. Heaven knows that's a long time to invest in someone else, but you were my first and I had nothing to compare you to. I still remember when we met. I'd seen you everywhere and you were easy to be around. I didn't need try too hard, you just did your thing and I did mine and it all seemed to be... good. My blog, and thus, our relationship flourished. I would see you several times a week, sometimes daily, sometimes less, and while you occasionally acted up, I chalked it up to the normal highs and lows of a relationship.

But lately, you've been temperamental. I can post to other people's blogs with you, but I can't post to my own. My initial thought was that it was me, that I had done something wrong, but Blogger, nothing had changed. Nothing! The day before I had posted with you and you were fine and then the next day and for days after, you snubbed me, stating only "Broken Pipe Error".

I blamed my ISP, I harassed them. I said "Blogger says it's you." And I believed it, Blogger, I did. But you know, they showed me something. They showed me logs that said that you weren't where you said you were, that you were trying to post to directories; the wrong directories.

I wrote your help department and I asked for help and I was denied. So Blogger, we are over, I'm moving on.

I've met someone new. His name is Movable Type and we're going to give it a shot. I haven't had much time. With my work schedule we've only done breakfast and dinner and an occasional lunch, but already, I see things getting better.

I'll keep our memories. Your archives, are still here, but Blogger, it's time for us to say our goodbyes. I know you aren't one to get emotional, heck, you're completely unresponsive these days, so maybe you were just pushing me away, hoping I'd do this.

I wish you nothing but the happiness.
My best regards,
~marnie

December 15, 2005

Well, if you say so

This is cool. My Heritage offers a free face recognition utility online. You upload a picture of yourself, preferably from the front and of fairly high resolution. I uploaded a not-so-terribly-flattering picture of myself that fit the criteria.
pic1.jpg

Results after the bump

Continue reading "Well, if you say so" »

December 10, 2005

Pardon Our Dust

For those of you still able to find your way to my blog, I'm so glad you have. A few things have been and continue to be a little wonky around here.
For starters, my feeds aren't working quite right. They are there, you can load them, but they don't tell you when anything new gets posted. I can't figure out why, the feeds are one of the few things I didn't monkey around with. Let's hope it's just a matter of time.

As for comments, they've been working sporadically. That's completely my fault. They should be A-OK now, so, by all means, comment away ;o).
Otherwise, I think things are working fairly well. Let me know if they aren't and I'll try to sort them out.

Despite all the problems, I'm still really happy I made the move from Blogger to Movable Type. I haven't had a lick of problem posting and the features are very slick.

I have lots to post about, so even though my feeds aren't ok, you should still stop by when you think of it.

December 29, 2005

Spots make the dragon

I had enough time to make a few spots for the little Dragon Hoodie, before the gift was due to be received. I really like how they look in front.

The back of the sweater, and notes on this version of the pattern, after the bump.

Continue reading "Spots make the dragon" »

January 7, 2006

If you'd like to weigh in

Warning, only read this post if you aren't bothered by politics.

Continue reading "If you'd like to weigh in" »

January 2, 2006

Adios 2005

Matt and his girlfriend left town yesterday after a fun filled weekend of eating, partying and eating some more. We also did a bit of snacking between meals. I'm not sure if meeting Leo and me completely doomed Matt's relationship with Jess but if that didn't, perhaps seeing Matt do karaoke did.

Because I'm a loving and good sister, I recorded said karaoke for all the world to enjoy. Do you have Quicktime? If so, click on one of the links below

Small
Medium
Large

Don't forget to crank those speakers.
This was about a half hour before midnight on New Year's Eve. We went down to Santa Monica where we found a bar full of happy people enjoying some of the flat out worst karaoke I've had the opportunity to experience.

More pics from the weekend, after the bump.

Continue reading "Adios 2005" »

January 31, 2006

Amazing Crochet

This is art and craft of exceptional quality.
Found via Drawn

I may be wrong, but I suspect that a lot of this is actually machine knit fabric, cut and sewn into shape and other pieces look like they may be crocheted, but without being able to see them more closely, it's hard to say. Either way, amazing stuff.

UPDATE: Urraca informs me that the artist is Patricia Waller and the pieces are all crochet. Some of those are either huge pieces or some extremely fine gauge crochet. Make sure you check out Patricia's site for more of her beautiful work.

February 18, 2006

Happy Cruddy Photo Day to Me

I'm here at Stitches West and it's been quite an adventure. I should preface this by saying that Leo and everyone I work with have been sick for the past month or more. I said to my mom, a couple weeks ago, "I bet you anything, I’ll catch a cold right before Stitches." I was wrong, I caught a cold the day OF Stitches. Lucky me. So between hacking up a lung and not sleeping well, it's made me less than 100% of myself.

But I did go to Sally Melvile's speech the first day.

This was just before she went on stage, so do enjoy the view of everyone’s head and nothing else. She was discussing the process she used for designing pieces in her newest book, Color.

Here's my mom modeling a scarf/necklace thingy she knit and felted. Oooh, so cute. This is apropos, nothing, really, I just think she's cute.

She and I both had our first class together. We took Debbie New's Labyrinth Knitting course. If you aren't familiar, it's a technique from her Unexpected Knits

Here are some of my swatches.

None of mine are exactly right, but I got the concept. You basically make a jigsaw of your knitting and work them out to fit exactly into a certain shape. Very interesting stuff.

Between classes I've been working on my Voodoo top. I actually got an email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but who took umbrage with my last post, so I've taken it down. I believe it to be at least partially, a misunderstanding. I think this person thinks I plan to figure out the construction of the inspiration piece and write it up as my own pattern for distribution. This is simply untrue I've just knit this piece for myself, but I'm afraid I wasn't able to coherently communicate this and it's clear the offense has pushed the issue beyond reconciliation. I feel bad about that but I can respect this person's feelings on the topic.

That said, I'm very happy with the results so far. Here is the piece with all the knitting done and none of the ends sewn in. I still need to crochet more trim and add a closure.

I originally planned to use a frog closure but I lost mine in the travel from LA to here, so I've since bought some buttons, which I'll post soon.

Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures online of the original inspiration piece. It's called Red Dragon and it was issued by GGH/Rebecca magazine, but it's a bit like this and this. I just love that look and incorporating it into knitwear poses some interesting construction challenges that were fun to play around with. Don’t worry, all those ends will be woven in and there is more trimming to do. Oh and it needs a serious blocking as well, but just pretend that bottom hem is straight. I’ll post all my notes and a decent picture, as soon as I can.

Well, times a-wasting and it is my birthday, after all.

February 12, 2006

The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II

Last we met, we were discussing my stitch marker collection. Here they are again:

While I have plenty of uses for the split and locking stitch markers, they don't do much of the heavy lifting here at Chez Marnie. I have to say, though, the feedback I got from the previous post was interesting. It appears that most people fall into one of a few disticnt groups.

There are the people who are most concerned with aesthetics. Having something cute or sparkly brings a smile to the knitter's face. While others are economical and practical. Using bits of string, hair elastics or a cut up straw means never worrying about lost markers or spending too much. Finally, there are people like I am. So without further ado, go ahead and read a bit more about the madness to my method, after the bump.

Continue reading "The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II" »

February 9, 2006

Have you ever had a stitch marker break?

I don't believe that I use any sort of ninja death grip when I knit. My hands don't get cramped and my gauge is fairly loose. Nonetheless, I have managed to break stitch markers while knitting.

For many years, I have happily used my Susan Bates stitch markers. They are readily available and cheap as can be. A small box of 20 will run you less than $2.00. It was not until I crushed a few, mid row, that I decided I needed to see what else was out there.

Now my collection of stitch marking paraphernalia looks like this:

In my knitting nook, I have a set of those dishes you put your soy sauce in when you eat sushi. In one dish, I keep standard safety pins, some with the loop at the bottom, some without. In another dish, I keep a variety of closed ring, circular stitch markers. In the third dish, I have split ring and locking stitch markers, and in the last, I have a beautiful set of hand made stitch markers my friend Amy gave me.

If I haven't bored you yet, read the rest of my post on stitch markers, after the bump.

Continue reading "Have you ever had a stitch marker break?" »

March 7, 2006

What did you call me?

Now that Leo is working downtown, we spend a lot of time together. We commute in together, eat our lunches together and commute home again later on. Even with all that time together, we still find ourselves touching base throughout the day. Both of us use our IM accounts to do actual work (who'd a thunk it?) so it's easy for us to write each other, throughout the day, when things come up.

But every once in a while, I have to call him at his desk. Whenever I do, he answers with a chuckle. Why? Because his caller ID sees both my cell phone and office number as follows:

When I call, I'm announced as "SUPERTRUNK." Being she who bears the interloper, aka "Junk in the Trunk" I'm rather shocked to hear that it's detectable, even by a phone system.

Now, the past couple of months, I've certainly been given said "trunk" a bit of extra exercise. Whenever Leo and I meet for lunch, I scale the 2nd street hill of doom.

Trust me, it's doomier than it looks.

And then I climb two flights of stairs up to MOCA

And I'm a brisk walker indeed, no breaks along the way.
So while I'm amused, or perhaps even flattered that Leo's phone thinks I have a super trunk, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised.

And if conversations about my derriere are off topic for this blog, well, so be it. I'm a bit loopy from work exhaustion. Perhaps, if there is not a mass exodus from my blog after this post, I'll introduce you to the mutant flowers near our favorite lunch spot.

February 28, 2006

A Little Off Track

This Sunday, we decided to take Panda to the mountains so she could play in the snow. We live about 40 miles from the San Gabriel Mountains, so it's hardly an inconvenience to pack up the girl and head for the hills. So we shook off the sleepies after a night filled with Salsa dancing (well, I did the dancing, he stuck to scotch and people watching), grabbed the little fur ball and began our journey.

We drove along, listening to an audio book and taking in the sights. We realized, though, that we were a little off track when we saw a sign for this land mark.

For those of you who know Southern California, you may have already guessed where we ended up. For everyone else, you can find out after the bump.

Continue reading "A Little Off Track" »

March 18, 2006

What a lovely Cliche!

Yesterday was St. Patrick's day, which means clovers, leprechauns and lots of green beer. To be honest, I'm rather indifferent to the holiday. My MacLean ancestors are Scottish, if you were wondering. But it's not even a matter of lineage, as I've been assured that I do, indeed, have some Irish blood coursing through my veins. There's no real reason, per se, I just don't feel any huge draw towards the holiday. But, yesterday, I got myself a little holiday cheer.

Leo and I both had a long week at work and we decided to try to find a new sushi restaurant near work, seeing as I'm right next to Little Tokyo.

On our way there, between light bursts of rain and sunshine, we saw this.

It's no four leaf clover, but it was definitely a visual pot o' gold.

March 22, 2006

Upgrading to Marnie 2.0

I got word, yesterday, that starting Monday, I'm officially promoted. Yay! I had been vying for a couple open supervisor positions at my company and both managers had told me I was their top pick, but last minute I was asked to decline those positions in exchange for equal title/pay/grade level and remain in my current role, at least long enough to complete a large project I've been working on. In essence, it means better pay and I appear more qualified, on paper, but in truth, nothing much will change about my job. I have asked to be able to attend management training courses, as they are made available, so that I will, at least, be able to beef up those skills in some way.

So to celebrate, here are some more pictures of the shawl. They still aren't quite what I want, picture wise. I'm hoping to actually don my handmade apparel, to get a better picture, sometime soon. But these are definitely better than the blocking pictures.

This picture really shows the stitch pattern well, but doesn't really show the color, because it's backlit.

This is the best representation of the color, but is a little soft in the details.

I see it worn over a black dress, on a mild spring night.

April 5, 2006

Dogs in raincoats, swords and ruffles

After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

April 15, 2006

I would never do this to Panda.

My friend Chrissy is an animal trainer. She also gets a kick out of dressing up dogs.

This is Beowulf

Her parents' Pomeranian. See what she's done to him, after the bump.

Continue reading "I would never do this to Panda." »

April 23, 2006

Ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing

I took a couple rough photos of the machine knit cardi and cami

The pictures aren't so good because there was only a little daylight left when I took them. And I've been doing housework all day, so the hair; it is in no condition for photographing. But, I think it gives you a general idea of what the pieces look like.

I'm now fully engrossed in Leo's sweater.

This is the back piece. I'm about halfway to the armsceye. It looks thin, but it will block out much wider. So far so good. I got most of it done while watching a movie over at a friend's place. It was a great, relaxing evening.

Leo went out with some friends and brought me home this:

He’s so sweet. Little things like that make knitting miles of ribbing seem fun.

April 11, 2006

What have I learned this weekend?

I got so many great comments and even more votes in my little poll. It appears that around 62% of folks that voted like the cardi as it is. However, most commenters leaned more towards softening or modifying the ruffle. I think, based on the feedback, I'll keep the piece as is for now. It seems like most of the people who didn't love the ruffle are not ruffle kinds of people anyway. What can I say? I'm pretty girly sometimes. I'm also working on a matching camisole with no ruffle, to wear with the cardigan. It's a simple square neck, fitted piece with a very simple crochet border that should compliment the cardigan without making the whole thing too busy. Yes, I know, a good blogger would have a picture. Sorry about that.

This weekend, I also learned that Deciduous likes to go out dancing. Want to see pictures? Check 'em out after the bump.

Continue reading "What have I learned this weekend?" »

May 15, 2006

One wonders what Darwin would have to say

Le Ann commented in my last post, that she felt my credentials as a woman, exceeded hers, ostensibly because I was working on a sweater for Leo that contains miles of ribbing. Well, this story will either solidify her assertion or, more likely, make her wish to retract her comment.

The evening was like any other; Leo sat at the computer, while I sat 10 feet away, knitting and watching tv. There was a crinkle of a potato chip bag, then several satisfying munches. The conversation was light between us; events of the day and whatnot, so there was no need for constant eye contact. And then I saw it. Panda, tail a wagging, was heading towards a prize. Leo had dropped the largest chip he could find in the bag. Seeing that I had caught him in the act, he prodded Panda on. "Go on, Panda, get the chip." I countered, "Leave it! Don't you eat that chip." The challenge began.

She licked it, but backed away. I swooped in to pick up the offending chip and toss it. With a self-righteous tone I said, "I'll give her a proper doggy cookie." I pull out the bag of Tiny Tots
sgtinytots.gif

They smell a little bit like beef jerky and they are fairly soft, almost malleable. Panda finds them delightful. Leo scoffs "Those suck!"
"Oh do they?" I reply, "How would you know, have you ever tried one."
If this were a wild west showdown movie, music would have started playing. Our eyes locked and two very stubborn people sized up the situation. Still holding the bag of treats, Panda placated, I pulled one of the treats out and placed it in front of Leo.

There was a fleeting moment in which his gaze wavered and a look of doubt crossed his face. Then, like a cobra striking, his hand darted out, snatched the treat, and he bit off half, all the while, his eyes never leaving mine. His face was smug while he chewed once, twice, three times and then there was realization. Slowly, his eyes widened and panic set in. Half a cookie still clutched in his hands and most of the other half sloshing between his teeth, he gasp and let out a meek "It's awful!"

He leaped up from his chair and ran to the nearby kitchen sink, spitting and splashing water into his mouth at the same time, I tried to hold back laughter but cannot. He cries "It's stuck in my teeth!" He runs to the bathroom and brushes his teeth for what feels like minutes. I'm laughing so hard, I'm having a bit of trouble holding myself steady, Panda just looks on bemused. I hear a pained “It’s like puke mixed in play-doh!” and it’s all I can do to keep from keeling over from asphyxiation.

This is a moment, not unlike many between Leo and me. We are two very stubborn people and the result is usually that one person eats crow, or in this case, something far worse.

Not two nights later, I was enjoying dinner with my brother and mother. I had an experience that would make any Freudian psychologist dance with glee. Some of you may remember this post from December 2004. Well, my little brother has exceeded his previous goal, and/or, sunk to even deeper depths.

matt.jpg
click image for Quicktime movie

Does it bother me that my brother and boyfriend are both willing to put themselves through undue suffering to prove, who knows what? No more so than it bothers me that, politically, they are so similar they could live in the same bomb shelter together, nor that they have the same sardonic sense of humor. I’m sure it should trouble me that their personalities are so similar but I’m resigned to it. Hey, look how much amusement I get out of life. Why change a thing?

May 2, 2006

I'm going to coin a term today

Warning! Politician banter ahead. You definitely don't have to agree with me, but please play nice.

So anyway, my brother, his girlfriend and I met up for dinner and we were waxing politically, as we are wont to do. I asked the question, "Hey, you know that whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing? Why did we get "Sodomy" but not "Gomorry"? And that's when it occurred to me. We need this word.




Click the image, or get the full definition after the bump.

In the mean time, I say we all start using the word. No, it isn't just a liberal thing, apply liberally (or conservatively, or even judiciously) as needed. Got an out of control school board? Is your mother really irking you? Did a crappy driver cut you off and then drive 10 miles under the speed limit? This word is free for any of the many uses you might find.

Continue reading "I'm going to coin a term today" »

May 1, 2006

Crazy week ahead

Blogging may be sparse over then next few days. I've been asked to work out of the Orange County office for the week, to oversee part of a project we've been working on for a few months. This effectively doubles my commute, which, when added to 10 hour days, means that I'll have time to do little more than wake up, drive, work, drive, go to sleep. Fun! I don't mind so much except that I can't take public transportation so my knitting time is almost nil. Thank god for lunch breaks.

In the mean time, take a look at the beautiful silk yarn I spun up from the care package that Lynn sent me.

It's about a light sport weight and was spun up on my 0.9 ounce Golding.

April 28, 2006

What I'll be doing in late July

Do you ever feel like you have to apologize that people think you are better than you are? I'm seriously not fishing for compliments here but, I've been asked to be on a panel at the BlogHer convention in July.

blogher.gif

The topic: "Is the Next Martha Stewart a Blogger?" I'm told that all I have to do is sit there and answer questions when I can. While I can assure you that I am definitely not the next Martha Stewart, I can't help but be flattered by the whole thing.
Did I say yes? Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?

I'm told that one of the rules is that I'll have to answer questions but not give speeches which is fine and dandy by me. If someone said I had to give a speech, I would have definitely turned it down. I don't mind talking to a crowd but I do mind having a script.

April 26, 2006

G'day? I'll say!

Last night there was a package for me.

It was from Australia.

It hasn't been light out during any time since I got it, so just know that these pictures don't do the contents justice.
If you would like to see what's inside, it's all after the bump.

Continue reading "G'day? I'll say!" »

May 26, 2006

Breaking up and moving out

I think it's been 5 years now, maybe 4, my memory is not so good, but it is time. We've had a good run, going many fun places together, but let's be honest, we're both more worn than when we met and my needs are simply greater than you can accommodate.

This is the conversation I had with my old Klimt purse.

You know, I still really love the design and its small size always kept me from carrying too much stuff, but it could never quite accommodate my cell phone, wallet AND the digital camera, along with things like keys and such that are purse mainstays. I think, if the image weren't fading, I'd carry this purse forever. It was a gift from my mom, several years ago, and it's gone with me just about everywhere. I am not a purse floozy. Occasionally I'll carry something different when I'm going out for an evening, but in general, I'm a one purse kind of girl.

But yesterday, a package arrived from my mom. She has graced me with a brand new Klimt purse, which is bigger and even more lovely than the last.

Gorgeous, no? It's a deep chocolate brown and nearly twice as big as my old purse. They are both Icon purses and I can say, with some authority, that they are very well made. Despite the fact that I have carried my old purse for years and stuffed it full on many occasions, it only showed wear at corners, the main image is still perfect, and the lining has never so much as considered ripping. The new purse has a lovely assortment of pockets and pouches and even came with this matching key chain.

It has taken me all of 5 minutes to move everything out of the old purse into the new one and it feels like moving from a studio apartment into a 3 bedroom house; there's just so much extra space. Yay!

In crafty news, the sleeves on Leo's sweater are nearly done with only about 30 more rows left, I hope to have pictures soon. For now, here's a peek at some of that pink roving that Lynn sent me, which I've been spinning on my Kundert spindle.

May 22, 2006

Because he's worth every stitch

Since my post on Friday, I've done about 80 rows on Leo's sleeves. I am finally at the sleeve cap, which means no more increases. Not a moment too soon, I say. There were a few moments when I mentally psyched myself out and I wasn't sure I'd ever see the end of them.

There is actually a likely possibility that the sleeves are a little bit long. Personally, I'd rather have to shorten a ribbed sleeve than have to lengthen one. Ribbing is unidirectional. If you pickup and knit from the other direction, all stitches will be half a stitch offset from the point you picked them up. This means that lengthening a ribbed sleeve is best done by knitting a new cuff and grafting, in ribbing, to the base of the sleeve. I'm very comfortable with grafting in stockinette but ribbing is a whole other beast.

But you know, it's easy to find motivation when knitting for Leo. It's not all about eating dog cookies at our place. On Friday, Leo treated me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.

He said he loved me so much, even the stains he leaves on his placemat are heart shaped.

After dinner, we made an attempt to go out and tear up the town, but having both gotten up around 6 am, we were pretty beat by 11pm and the bars still all seemed empty. Leo did take this cool picture of us reflected off the mirror behind the bar.

You can see his camera peaking through the bottles, if you look carefully.

It ended up being an early night, and a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I knit sleeves while I watched Memoirs of Geisha. It may not be as good as the book, but it's been quite a few years since I read the book and the cinematography alone was captivating enough to hold my interest. There were a few things I remembered well enough to feel like I could pick apart the movie a bit, but it never stopped me from enjoying it.

May 20, 2006

One lane my foot

I grew up in NH and stayed in New England until Leo and I moved to California about 5.5 years ago. Some people are forever nostalgic for where they grew up, I am not. For all the natural and not so natural (smog, shootings and Anna Nicole) disasters we face in California, I wouldn't go back to the harsh winters and constant cloud of biting bugs in the summer, for all the tea in China.

I do, however, have some loved ones in the area, such as my parents, some aunts and cousins, and my dear friends Janet and Bill. Janet and Bill live in the boonies of a rather boonie-ful state. Their roads are paved with dirt and postal delivery to their area is only reliable in its unreliability.

They find humor in every nook and cranny of life and even the recent storms of the area have had no ill effect on their sense of irony. Case in point, a picture Bill took with the caption "Promises Promises"

You gotta love it.

May 19, 2006

Pleading Patients Overlooked

I can't quite decide what my the PPO portion of my medical insurance is referring to. I thought it was shorthand for "the world is your medical oyster" but I'm finding myself a tad frustrated today. The short story is that I need to get some inoculations so I can take a business trip to India in July, which is a very cool opportunity but is involving a lot of effort I hadn't originally considered. I think I've sorted most of the confusion out in what appears to be the first instance of my insurance company being more helpful than the doctor's office. Who knew? Anyway, I have two sore upper arms and a yellow card detailing my immunities to some rather icky viruses. There was also a bit of time to knit on Leo's sleeves.

I will still need some boosters and a tetanus shot, as well as a few prescriptions, but I've got the stuff that needed a lot of lead time out of the way.

Working on Leo's sweater, I've given myself little leeway to do much else. Obviously, I knit Gir but there really hasn't been much else. I occasionally pick up my spindle which has some lovely alpaca on it.

It's not that I'm not enjoying spinning it, it's just that I really want to crank through Leo's sweater and I cannot spin and knit at the same time. But, imagine if I could...oh my own vision of Valhalla.

Knitting miles of ribbing does give me ample time to consider what comes next. I'll definitely be working on the clown hat, but what should I do in India. July = monsoon season in the area. Temperatures, apparently, can average around 120 degrees though I'm told it's quite a bit cooler where we'll be. Even so, I'm thinking small, portable, and able to be worked on mindlessly. All signs point to socks. I'm not a huge sock knitter, but I am feeling that 2 socks on 2 circs will prevent second sock syndrome AND be more likely to survive a trip through security and customs without a lot of explanation. I like working on DPNs, but having a preference for metal to wood means that's probably a bad idea.

So last night I ripped out a partially knit, now abandoned project that was started with some Socks that Rock in colorway, Carbon. It needed a bath and hanging to get the kinky bits out but now looks as good as new.

I also have some solid shades of koigu around and plenty of self patterning sock yarn, all of which will only take up a small amount of space in my luggage but which should easily entertain me for my 24 hour long commutes to and from India as well as the small amount of down time I'll have during the trip.

June 8, 2006

Ohhh, the horror

Now that I'm in full fledged "prepare for India" mode, I'm having to get things like Visas in order. In doing so, I've had to pull out my Passport. I still keep my first one.

This was issued to me in April of 1989 when I was 14 years old. No, that's not a mullet, I had bangs and two ponytails. Those white things are, yes, earrings. I never had big hair, not even when it was fashionable, but I definitely had big earrings.

Thank god I never ended up being a fugitive while this was my passport photo because I have no doubt that every news station would have run this photo of me.

Fourteen years later, my passport photo isn't much better but at least I don't look like I have committed a crime. I got this one three years ago with the hopes that I'd have some reason to use it soon.

And now I have another fug for the files, my Visa photos

I quote my mother, who once said, after I showed her a particularly bad driver's license photo of me, "Marnie, for a pretty girl, you sure do photograph ugly." I may be paraphrasing.

June 20, 2006

Happy Campers are We

I thought it'd be fun to have my mom send me some pictures from when I was a kid. These totally crack me up and I hope they'll make you smile too.

Catch them all, after the bump.

Continue reading "Happy Campers are We" »

June 29, 2006

Do I get a Nom De Plume?

What do you say when someone whose blog you love writes you and says she'd love to work on a book with you?
You say, "SURE!"
What do you then say when she asks if you can design the ugliest patterns known to man... out of acrylic yarn circa 1965?
Well, I still said yes and am now looking into various witness protection programs. I hear the French have an excellent one. Oui Oui!
The result is that I have my name in one of the most hilarious books out there.
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It's like her blog on paper. What would you call that? A plog? Darn new fangled contraptions!
For those whose sarcasm-dar is malfunctioning, that was a joke
You can click on the image to go get yourself a copy, just promise me that you won't judge me by the patterns, except to conclude that sometimes, it takes a certain skill to make something truly ugly. That's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night. It's my mantra.

On another note, I leave for India on Sunday, so if I haven't replied to your comments, it's not because I'm rude or hate you, I'm just scurrying around all day, trying to get things in order. Expect light or non-existent blogging and emailing all next week. If I can get a good connection during my "me" time, I'll post updates. Otherwise, you'll hear all about it upon my return.

July 25, 2006

This Angeleno is becoming an Oregonian

Really, though, maybe it should be:
This Californian is becoming an Oregonian
or
This Angeleno is becoming and Portlandian if the Oregonian variety (so as not to be confused with those Portlandians of the Mainenites variety).
But I'm splitting hairs here, the point is, Leo and I are moving to Portland Oregon. Leo goes up on Monday to start a new job on the 7th.

It is not without some apprehension that I go. I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 5 years and I have met so many wonderful people, a few of whom, to my delight, even count me among their friends. As I'm predisposed to hermit-like behavior, this is no small feat, in my mind. I will miss them terribly.

Yet, I also look upon all this as an exciting opportunity to start fresh and new and discover an area I've never been before. What? Didn't I mention that? Oh, yah, neither Leo nor I have ever been to Oregon. I'm not averse to change, and I love exploring new cities. It's scary to know I'll be jobless in a month, but with rents half the price of the LA area, I can pretty much sell hemp jewelry on a street corner and still contribute my part to the household expenses.

I've already checked and it appears there are several yarn shops in the Portland area. And those cute little Pygoras from a couple days ago? They hail from Oregon, which bodes well for my spinning future.

So if any of you who live, have lived, or frequently visit Oregon, have suggestions for me, please send them my way.

I'll do my best to keep posting during the transition, but with our home computer going up north without me, and with all the upheaval, I make no promises, expressed or implied, that blogging will continue as normal.

August 2, 2006

RSVP

I wanted my next post to be about my new socks, but forget that, I'm gonna have myself a pity party and you are all invited. Get your hats and your noise makers, suck the helium out of the balloons and talk like Mickey Mouse, because I have a bad case of the “poor mes” right now.

At 11PM last night I kissed my puppy and Leo goodbye and they drove off into the starlit night for Oregon. And perhaps I cried maybe a bit because a month away from the two of them sound heart wrenchingly lonely. And maybe I worry that they'll be abducted by aliens and I'll never see them again because while I don't actually believe in alien abductions I do believe in horrible unexpected things happening to people I love, so I'm sad. But Leo has been sending me pictures from his phone of the little girl enjoying her trek to lands unknown (at least to us)

The move has been no small feat for us, and the ordeal doesn't end any time soon. To start with, since we are both trying to be frugal and we are moving on different dates, Leo will be unpacking the truck by himself. On the plus side, we've decided to sell most of our larger furniture, but on the downside, we're still keeping both motorcycles, our queen sized mattress and box spring, our 32" TV, and a few other choice back breakers.

As a side note, Leo drew quite a crowd driving the motorcycles up the ramp of a moving truck. I’m pretty sure everyone was waiting for him to fall off the side or crash into the boxes already sitting in back.

Speaking of moving trucks, I'm not going to name any names, but we are not happy with our moving truck experience. The company in question (whose name may rhyme with "poo-ball") has set us off our schedule by a whole day. Originally, we were scheduled to pick up our truck on Monday morning at 9AM. We were supposed to find out which LA office we were to pick up our truck, no later than 5PM on Sunday night. At around 6PM we were informed that they didn't know when or where we'd be able to pick up the truck the next day, that they hadn't even scheduled us a truck yet and that they'd call us on Monday and let us know. We made our reservation over two weeks prior and since one of us still has a job to go to, we were looking at a long couple of days.

So after several hours of listening to hold music and being told by countless customer service reps that the branch office would be notified of the urgency of our need for a truck, we were finally told we could pick up a truck in an office that ended up taking about 45 minutes to get to. Good times.

We worked for two solid days with only the barest minimum of sleep, but we finally got most of what we hoped to pack, into the truck. Now, I need to get all the remaining flotsam and jetsam out of the house (to Goodwill with what we they'll take and to the trash with the rest) then try to sell the furniture on Craig's list.

On the upside, it'll be a lonely and grueling two weeks to get the house in order, but after that, I'm staying with a friend who has graciously offered to drive the scenic route to Oregon with me the weekend of the 26th. We'll be taking a long slow journey up the cost, camping as needed to refresh ourselves and stopping for every scenic view we deem worthy. Since I'm easily amused there may be a lot of stops along the way.

I want to thank you all for attending my pity party. Please feel free to take home any leftovers that you’d like. I definitely won’t eat them all myself. I’ll grab your jackets from the extra room and see you out the front door.

July 31, 2006

Blogher!

So, the second N2JW has been progressing at a speed that would make most glaciers honk in frustration at my pace. I mean, this baby has been taking forever.

At Blogher, I knew nobody. This is not like Stitches was. I traveled with my mother, and met a great deal of friends while there. Further, in the world of knit bloggers, I'm like a C list star. I ain't no Yarn Harlot, but people have stumbled upon me on occasion. For comparison's sake, I'd put myself at about a Carrot Top. At Blogher, I had my normal anonymity, which is fine, but it does mean that I have to make the horrifying step of socializing without any safety net. Let me see if I can find a good knitting analogy here. That would be like my saying that I was going to use the most slippery needles on earth, and knit a complex lace shawl with 600 stitches per row, in mohair, with no life line. And if that doesn't scare you, I would ask you to shoosh, because I don't want to hear it.

So how does an introvert of my neurotic level adapt? She knits. She knits like a fiend and the results; a finished pair of N2JW socks done lickity split. In fact, I was so sad to be done, I toyed with the idea of knitting a third sock, because the only other knitting project I brought is too complex to allow me to knit while paying attention to things around me.

But Blogher was great. If my battery in my camera hadn't been dead (duh) I would have pictures to prove it. The panel on which I was asked to speak was called "Is the next Martha Stewart a blogger?" and was moderated by Maggie Mason. If you ever meet her, please, stop her and beg her for insight. She did a brilliant job moderating and imparted so much level headed wisdom and kindness. I feel like she could done the panel solo and would not have left a single question unanswered.

My fellow panelists were (in alphabetical order for lack of a better option):
Andrea Scher: Despite her proclamation that she was nervous, Andrea brought a warmth and spirit to the group. She lives by the motto that things should be "Fun and Easy" which are words to live by if ever there were any. Hearing about how she came to an understanding that she needed help with her business and how it really liberated her to do what was most satisfying for her, was wonderful. I think we can all take a page from her book, there.

Gayla Trail: A true perfectionist, Gayla really drove home how important it was to impart your own values in what you do. No aspect of her business is done halfway and she gives a great deal of thought to everything she associates herself with. I really respect her sense of principal and dedication.

Pim Techamuanvivit: Like a sparkly ray of sunshine. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. She seemed to have a little slice of experience in every bit of media and an air of confidence to pull it all together. She offered wonderful pearls of wisdom for expanding one's reach and did it all with a beaming smile.

I felt like a girl among women on the panel but wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Next post: pattern notes for N2JWs.

July 27, 2006

Zounds and Pygora!

Who knew moving to Portland would garner me so many comments? It's almost frightening how many people love the city and how few bad things people have to say about the area (rain and you can't pump your own gas, I think I can live with both).
There are so many of you I need to write back to. I can't believe how many great suggestions you've sent and warm welcomes you've offered. I'm really looking forward to moving.
I don't arrive in Oregon until the end of August, and in the mean time, I hope to be able to see all my LA friends, so I can say goodbye.

But enough of that, take a look at my yummy pygora yarn.

Here it is almost completely spun up. The kit comes with half an ounce (about 14 grams) of each fiber, so that's just enough to fill up one of my smaller spindles.

I simply loved spinning this stuff. I don't know enough about the properties of various fibers to say why, I just know that whatever it is, I'm able to spin it up superfine, balanced, soft and with a bit of loft.

I've included a dime for scale. The yarn is a two ply and check this out...

Balance, baby!

This hasn't been washed yet, it's right off the spindle. I have just shy of 54 yards (49 meters) of yarn here. Since pygora is aplenty in Portland, I plan to get more soon.

I've now started spinning some of the Yak fiber and it's not going quite as well. It's more poofy and fluffy and I don't quite have the best technique for managing that sort of fiber. It's gotten better as I've worked with it, but compared to the pygora, it's pretty crude looking.

In a little while, I'm off to Blogher, then a visit with a friend in San Francisco, then back home to help Leo pack up the truck. It's quite a weekend, indeed.

August 6, 2006

Like classic knitting burlesque

I could throw out the now ubiquitous term "knitting porn" but I wouldn't want to sully these amazing images that way. This is definitely high class burlesque.

My friend Bill did some consulting for a company in an old mill building in NH. Inside, they had this knitting machine.

It's a Vanguard Supreme, and I can't stop looking at it. Versions of it are still made today and it appears to be used for knitting things in the round.

If you are as smitten as I am, take a look at the rest of the peep show after the jump.

Continue reading "Like classic knitting burlesque" »

September 15, 2006

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

Let me start by saying, if you have any regard for me as a mature woman of a refined wit, even after this post, then you:


  1. Don't know me very well.

  2. May work with me.

  3. Probably should just disregard the rest of this post


But for the rest of you, check out the post, after the bump.

Continue reading "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight" »

October 9, 2006

Unwrapped

I only have a few minutes so I don't have much time for commentary other than to say that I think it looks wonderful.

And for those who asked, he confirmed that under the arm is, in fact, a very painful place to get a tattoo. Aww. But hopefully it was all worth the pain in the end.

5 hours getting stabbed - but he was asking for it

A little over 4 years ago, I designed and got a tattoo of a dragonfly on my back. I loved the little guy and I figured if I couldn't see it everyday, I'd be less likely to get sick of it. I think it worked. I still love seeing him hanging out back there.

marnietat.jpg

It got Leo thinking that he might like something himself. He asked me to think of some possible ideas. He knew he wanted something that had a female face, and he was thinking he might want an armband.

Now, I dabble in illustrating, but it is, by no means, my strong suit. I sketched, I used Illustrator, I submitted ideas to him and yet we kept coming up with misses, not hits. I'll be the first to say that no one should get a tattoo unless they feel 100% sure it's what they want and, luckily, Leo feels the same. Yet, I was beginning to think I'd never come up with a design that could meet his discriminating taste.

Finally, we hit on an idea that seemed perfect to him. Two female profiles facing each other with their hair intertwining around his arm. It was a design that we hasn't seen on anyone else (which is not to say that it hasn't been done, we just haven't seen it) and Leo thought he could love it enough to have it forever.

When I finalized the sketch and got it to where he thought it was perfect, he asked if I could include a Japanese character in the middle. I've take a little bit of Japanese before, so I knew enough to search for the character online and then look it up by it's radical to confirm the meaning. There's still a chance that it has some colloquial or slang meaning that may come back to haunt us, but I suppose that's the chance you take when you go getting tattoos in languages you don't really know.

Anyway, the characters should mean "lion" which is what Leonardo means as well. Leo jokes that it's as close as he gets to being between two women at one time. Ha! Funny, very funny.

You may recall that I said the designing happened over 4 years ago. We went to a few places in LA to see what it would cost but we it ended up just falling by the wayside. Over time it just seemed to be (I thought) forgotten.

Well, bruised, beaten, exhausted and bloodied, after 5 hours of continuous inking (he said she didn't even take a potty break) his tattoo is done, and from what I can see, it's amazing. Want to see it? Check the pics after the jump. If you are not so fond of the look of freshly tattooed skin under plastic wrap and tape, you can see the original illustration here.

Continue reading "5 hours getting stabbed - but he was asking for it" »

October 23, 2006

Winner!

One Ms. Eve Ng has won our grand prize. She has chosen to receive a pair of knitting needles. She's left it up to me to choose which ones.

The remaining items will be sold in the near future.

For now, I'm sorting and charting and playing around with the 70 submissions I've received from all of you.

I'm fascinated and a little daunted by how many sizes and shapes we all come in. This should be a challenging project indeed.

October 20, 2006

Final Countdown

Wow, you guys are awesome! I have been getting so many submissions for the leg contest, along with great little asides from many of you. I'm sorry I haven't had the time to personally thank and respond to each and every one of you.

For those who might be on the line about sharing your measurements with me, here's a little something that might sway you one way or the other. Below are pictures of what the winner will get to choose from.

If you choose a spinning related prize, you can choose from one of these orifice hooks.

Either a lamb themed hook.

Or a lizard themed hook.


If you prefer a knitting related prize, you can choose from one of two pairs of US sized 7 Clover knitting needles with decorated ends.

Again, I have a lamb themed variety.

Or a lizard theme.

These are definitely hand made and look the part but they're made with plenty of TLC, for whatever that is worth.

If the winner opts out of any of the items above, there will be an option for a yarn or roving prize instead.

I've extended the contest just a little longer, so you may get in your entries until mid-day Saturday, when the winner will be chosen.

Thanks again for all the submissions so far. I hope they keep rolling in.

October 18, 2006

Relying on the kindness of strangers and friends

I have a huge favor to ask you guys out there. I'm working on a pattern for a company and I need to have some good leg measurements for all different kinds of women, from petit to zaftig. I would NOT expect anyone to want to leave those sorts of measurements in my comments, so I'm hoping I can sweet talk you into emailing me those measurements with assurance that your numbers and names will never be released in combination with each other.

So, what I'd need is:

  1. Circumference at ball of foot

  2. Circumference at ankle

  3. Circumference at knee

  4. Distance from ankle to knee

  5. Circumference at mid thigh (Sit down. Measure halfway between knee and crease of lap)

  6. Distance from knee to mid thigh

or click the "Contact" button above. Either will allow you to send me an email. Include the subject line "my leg" and the measurements for each number in the body of the message.

And because I know this is a bit of a pain in the butt, I'll be sending one random contributor a special gift. The winner will be picked Friday night and can choose either a knitting or a spinning related little prize.

November 2, 2006

The roving is safe

You can all rest easily. I did not run out of candy. The supply of roving has not been depleted and even our jack-o-lantern is still whole (albeit a smidge withered)

Being the frigid evening that it was, we thought it best to light a big ol' fire instead of relying on our heating system. If we hadn’t we know that every time we opened the door, we'd be channeling our inner crotchety old man and worrying about "heating the whole neighborhood". So down went the thermostat and up when the kindling.

The trick-or-treaters were few and far between but so adorable and polite!

Faces blurred to protect the adorable

At the end of the night, we still had a full bowl and a half of candy, which Leo has been slowly funneling to his colleagues. If you aren't much for networking, this is a great way to earn brownie points.

Unbloggable knitting is still full steam ahead but when I can't be entirely focused on knitting, I have granted myself a little bit of time to spin. This is the beautiful Merino/Viscose roving I got from Janel, in colorway, "Autumn."

If your heart didn't just skip a beat, you may want to check your pulse.

October 31, 2006

Just not right


This is the weather forecast in my neighborhood. Tonight they are expecting it to get down to 29ºF, just in time for Halloween. But you know what's so very wrong? The next nine days won't drop below 39ºF! What sort of sick and twisted turn of fate is that?

Having grown up in NH, I know what it's like to ponder the benefits of bundling up against the complete loss of continuity in one's costume. Freeze and look "just right" or bundle up and have nothing but a tiara to show for your princess costume. Do princesses wear moon boots?

Even as I write this, I worry more for our supply of candy than I do for the health and well being of the children. I'm in a new neighborhood, full off little single family houses. Will I have enough candy? What if there's a line of kids outside my door and I run out? Will the kids accept roving instead? Can I really part with roving for a bunch of greedy kids in pirate costumes? Only time will tell, I suppose.

For now, I have to remember not to graze upon the candy I do have.

November 6, 2006

And a good time was had by all

On Saturday morning, I stretched out my bon-bon shaking aches. Leo suggested we brave the rain and wind and head to the beach to give Panda some running around time. Bundled up in layers we made our way to Cannon Beach.


The three of us arrived at our destination and Leo gave me a wry smile. "It looks like a hurricane out there." he says, and he should know, having lived through hurricane Andrew more than a decade ago. Panda, was doing the happy dance in the back seat, shifting from foot to foot and pacing from window to window as she let out a little desperate whimper. It was all on me, the princess of the bunch. Do I dismiss the hour's drive and turn the whole party around and go home or do I suck it up and brave the elements?

That ain't steam rising off the ground there!

I like to think of this as a little macrodermabrasion. You can't tell, but along with the wind, we had a healthy bit of rain coming down. The temperature was relatively mild, maybe 60 degrees, but the wind had quite a bite.

Panda felt it was all good fun, indeed.

In fact, she was wondering why we didn't stay longer. Once my jeans were soaked and the wind got even stronger, I wrangled the crew back into the car. We went home, had some lunch and tucked in for a little nap.

I thought it'd be a quite night in, but Leo had other ideas. "We'll just go out for an hour, see a band, maybe have a beer." He says. So I pop on something casual, that will keep me warm, and we head out to Laurelthirst, a little bar on the other side of the river, where we had some munchies and a little bit of beer while we listened to the band.

Their selection of beer is impressive and their nachos really hit the spot.

Any place sporting a Deception Dollar, is fine in my book.

Isn't Leo a good looking man?

He looked so cute I had to give him a kiss.

From Laurelthirst, Leo suggested we go back for more salsa dancing. At first, I resisted. I definitely wasn't dressed for dancing. But he didn't have to work too hard to twist my arm. We went back to Andrea's for a few, then over to Fernando's Hideaway. I danced and danced some more before we headed out for a little walk by the river.

It was a gorgeous night with just a little mist in the air. The trees had turned yellow and nearly glowed against the warm light of the streetlamps. A perfect ending to a great night.

November 4, 2006

Shakin' my bon-bon

Last night, Leo and I met up with a local group who tries different restaurants in Portland, every two weeks. This time, we went to Eleni's Philoxenia a Greek WONDERLAND of food yumminess. Great googily moogily, this meal was good.

After eating ourselves stupid, and smelling not unlike Gilroy, California, we went for some Salsa dancing at Andrea's Cha-Cha Club. When I say "we" went salsa dancing, it's in the royal sense. We don't salsa dance, I salsa dance. Leo mans the camera and tends to the people watching.

While I doubt the eau de garlic was a scent my dance partners hoped would be wafting over them, I couldn't help but have a grand old time cutting a rug.

I kind of think this blurry one is the most flattering of the bunch.

I guess this one looks a little bit more like it's actually me.

Dancing a cha-cha. I had a little trouble following this guy's lead and he kept insisting on counting aloud. It was a little bit of a train wreck.

Despite his mullet he was a very good dancer. Oh and he has a mullet, my god, I haven't seen one of those since New Hampshire!

We danced until about midnight before calling it quits and heading home to bed.

While Andrea's doesn't have quite the crowd I remember from my favorite Salsa clubs in Boston and LA, it comes as close as I've been able to find since coming to Portland. We've hit a few other spots that are nicer to look at but lack the sort of regulars that can really hold their own. Apparently, Tango is rather popular here and I may have to give it a shot, but for now, I've found a place to get my salsa fix.

November 29, 2006

Is that like "I" as in "Eyeliner"?

Well, my mom has hurt her back and won't be able to make it to our yarn crawl in San Francisco. I hope you will all send healthy happy back thoughts her way because anyone who has thrown out their back knows that this is absolutely no fun at all. Luckily, I know my mom will be back on the west coast as soon as she's in full working order again. This is not a trip for which any arm twisting is necessary so I'm just glad she's taking care of herself and resting up.

I'm scrambling now to get all the various details worked out and may stay in OC for an additional day. If this is anything like my scramble to switch hotels on Monday, it should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Having called the travel site's help line, I had the distinct pleasure of being transfered 4 times to a total of 5 reps, and on each occasion I was asked to repeat my 16 digit locater number, consisting of a random assortment of letters and numbers.

Having subsisted on a bag of airline pretzels and some decaf tea over the course of my 12 hour day, I was perhaps lacking in my usual charm. On round three I ran through my locater number twice, trying to communicate it clearly. As my rep repeated it back to me, she ran through the familiar "That's 'A' like 'apple', 'R' like 'Robert'" and on it went, When she got to "'Y' like 'Wyoming'" I actually didn't know how to answer. She was not American, so there was always the risk that she was confusing her letters, since, surely their company supports a fair number of customers in Wyoming, but I trusted that the logic, while perhaps a little faulty, was probably on track. An hour later, I was unpacked and in my room.

And while I'm nitpicking other people's use of the English language, might I show you this gem of fragmented sentence fabulocity?

It reads, "La Quinta. Spanish for 'Got you covered."
Why do we have a period instead of a comma after "La Quinta"? Maybe a lack of sleep makes me overly persnickety.

It's all fine, though, because I had a huge, delicious sushi dinner with my brother last night.

In my world, there's no such thing as too much spicy tuna.

November 15, 2006

Just some things I enjoy looking at

A relatively random collection of recent photos that make me smile. As always, click to make them bigger.

My new yarn all balled up and begging to be swatched

Dew drops on the grass in the early morning.

Panda watching the rain.

Dog friendly park with a lake

Duck duck...

GOOSE!

Little critter A nutria (thanks Amanda!)

He can swim.

The purple center of a Queen Anne's Lace flower

December 16, 2006

Getting a little work done

No, I didn't augment my T&A (heaven knows the "A" doesn't need any help), no I got a little work done on my tattoo.

Some of you might remember that Leo got a tattoo recently. Well, my little tattoo was several years old and in need of a 30000 mile tune up, so we headed back to Lady Luck for a fun filled night of needles and blood.

I've always liked my little tattoo, which I designed to be something with absolutely no emotional, symbolic or in any way special meaning to me. Thinking back to what was meaningful to me at, say, 15, I'm certainly glad I didn't put Edgar Allen Poe or The Vampire Lestat on my body. What's important to me now may have little meaning to me in another 15 years. So to be sure I'd not suffer "buyer's remorse" in the ensuing year, I decided on something I thought would be pretty, and placed it in a spot that I didn't have to look at every day. The combo of the two has held up well for me so far. A little fresh coat of paint ups the joy even more.

The artist who worked on both Leo's and my tattoo is Jea'nine.

She reworked my tattoo for over an hour.

Did I mention I didn't need any augmentation in the "A" department?

When the work was done, and the entire staff had popped by to look at my tush finished tattoo, the results were more beautiful than I could have hoped.

She cleaned up all the fuzziness and really emphasized the gradation in the wings. It was even better than I could have hoped. I'm sure in time, it will fade a bit and soften, but at least I know I always have a reliable place to go to get her back to her former beauty. I love it.

She bandaged me up and sent me home with my care instructions. Luckily, I never sleep on my back so it was a restful evening.

The next morning I had a little rinse and a touch of A&D Lotion, and one more photo shoot, slightly less bloodied and red.

So if you are in the Portland area and looking to get inked or pierced, I can recommend Lady Luck highly. I've already started some sketches for what I'd like to do next.

December 10, 2006

Missed Connection

You: Humongous piece of metal meant to fly large numbers of people to and fro. Last seen glistening as you pulled away from the gate in the mid-day sun.

Me: Barreling ass through miles of the San Francisco airport, tapping foot impatiently behind that guy who stopped on the moving walkway with his bag next to him so no one could get by.

I had really hoped we could meet, have a drink, maybe some peanuts or pretzels. It could have been special.

December 1, 2006

I only lived there for 5 years

I'm back to pester you guys for more free advice. Yes, I lived in LA for 5 years, but even though I did get some manicures last year when I was doing Knitty Gritty, it was a bit hit or miss. The first manicure was great, the second left something to be desired. Anyway, I'm not a manicure getting kind of girl, but I'll be getting another one for my upcoming episodes of KG and would love some recommendations in the Burbank area. If you know of any reliable places in the Valley that you can recommend, I'd love to hear. Just leave me a comment below.

Thanks!

December 22, 2006

Some Figgy Pudding

My friend, Janet, sent me several lovely gifts this year, to celebrate the Winter Solstice and all the adjacent holidays.

Amongst the gift was a little something I feel I can only share with you in movie form.
It's a big file so you may need to give it a little time to load.

movieimage.jpg

Click the image above to see the QuickTime movie, turn up your volume, and make sure to stick around for the blooper reel.

And as a last note before the weekend; whatever it is you might be or not be celebrating, I hope it's filled with happiness, health, and people you love.

December 21, 2006

New Toy

Leo Claus had some elves delivery me a gift today.
I'm so excited I could plotz!
In LA, I never had to worry about getting enough sunlight, but even so, there were many winter weeks when I didn't see a scrap of daylight and would have found much benefit in this toy. Now that I live in Portland, I can't count on bright sunshine every day, and even when I do get it, it can still be a challenge to get a great picture.

Take this picture for example. The color is warm and inviting, but that's really not the color of the yarn. And even though I have some pretty good natural light, it's shining a little harshly, causing blown out highlights and indistinct shadows in my subject matter. Let us not even discuss the blurriness.

Now check out the same fiber, all glammed up in my mini-photo studio.

Go ahead, click and see the detail!

My camera tends to add a redish cast to most images, so I still needed to touch it up a little, but the raw image has so much more information, now that I have a little tripod and good, diffused lighting.

In my next post, I'll answer the question: "What does a secular Jew give a godless heathen for a Winter Solstice present?"

March 28, 2007

What the daffodilly-o?

Ahh, is there anything more bad-ass than a 30-something suburbanite using antiquated slang in a punny fashion? I say not.

In keeping with my focus on deadline work and therefore, decided lack of crafty goodness, I bring Portland in spring. It's a beautiful thing that even my spangly new birthday camera cannot do justice to. It doesn't stop me from trying, though.



Lovely trees in bloom, in shades of white and pink



Daffodils and little fragrant white flowers that have appeared in our yard. The daffodils are everywhere in our yard, but these little white flowers stand alone in our vast backyard with no kindred neighbors. We have no idea from where it came.




Gorgeous red tulips grow like weeds in front of our house. Where are my wooden clogs when I need them? We can't wait to see what other flowers pop up in our yard.






Of course, I can't post about the joys of spring without a picture, or three, of Panda romping in the yard. Can you believe we (meaning, Leo) cut the lawn just over a week ago? Granted, it was cut long, but still, that's some good growth in a week.

March 26, 2007

More airport fun, kitty cats and swatches

Well, I made it home after a busy week of working and some serious knitting, all weekend long. It was a great weekend, though my travel karma is definitely out of whack. More about that near the end of the post.

The week started on a great note, when the manager in OC treated me to some Spongebob goodness. Here are my bath pals.

They squirt water when you squeeze them. Is this an appropriate bath accoutrement for a 32 year old? I suspect yes. Did I use them? You bet your sweet tush I did.

I didn't have much time during the week for knitting, so I only did a touch of swatching for a future design that I am envisioning.

I started by following Jody's instructions for the Latvian braid (at the top, I prefer this stitch pattern inverted). I should have reversed the foundation row to achieve the proper effect. I was working a technique that was meant to be worked in the round, flat and I flubbed that portion, but that's no fault of the tutorial. Otherwise, it's very easy and a great way to start a 2-color piece.

I don't actually plan to knit this particular stitch pattern, and probably not in these exact colors, but I do plan to use some of my Blue Sky Alpaca of which I have a few other colors. While I like how the orange really pops against the blue, I think, in this particular usage, it's too much. The yarn is leftover from a project that I did for Kat's upcoming Baby Boho book. I really can't wait for it to be published since I'm so happy with the finished project.

Once the work week was over, I got to spend a couple days with my always gracious and welcoming friend, Julia. She had a very busy week, so I got some good bonding time with her kitties; Townes and Tuna.

Townes just walked all over me for the first few hours. Nothing says "welcome back, my friend" like being treated like furniture.

He also made sure I didn't oversleep during nap time. Thanks Townes!

Tuna was just blissed out the whole weekend

I took this picture right after she walked over to me and started linking my cheek. She's so cute. She did a few of those hardcore head rubs on my forehead and then plopped herself down for some belly rubs. I'm pretty sure that in Tuna's past life, she was a loving little lap dog.

Don't believe me?

Here she is snuggling her doggy chew toy.

There ain't no catnip in this teddy bear, just a kitty feeling all kinds of bliss with the world.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful Zosia, but she and I had some nice walkies and explored the hilly streets surrounding Julia's house.

I also, because I'm so great at this blogging thing, don't have any pictures of the subsequent S&B at Nicky D's. A few of my favorite people were there, and some were noticeably not and missed.

I did tons of knitting for a top secret project I'm working on for a McYarnpanted individual. You'll just have to take my word for it. No pictures for you.

The trip home lacked the joy of the weekend. I left for the airport very early, to allow time to fill up the tank of and return my rental car. That went unexpectedly smoothly which left me a couple hours to entertain myself in the Burbank airport. I got even more time when the first leg of my flight was delayed. Guess what that means? I missed my connection. The next flight didn't leave for another 2 hours and I was only granted standby for that. The good news; I got on that flight, narrowly, by the skin of my teeth. (Am I the only one who finds that image pretty horrifying?) The bad news; my luggage didn't get the memo. The OK news, United had it delivered to my home later that night.

All said and done, no harm, no foul and my greeting when I got home was as loving and enthusiastic as I'd hoped. Yay for visiting friends and yay for coming home.

March 20, 2007

The future is now - and it kind of sucks

This Sunday, I flew down to Los Angeles for work. Apparently, Sunday, at about the same time, another plane landed as well. Oh boy, 500 extra passengers, what could possibly go wrong?

There are words, some more family friendly than others, to describe the baggage claim area at LAX. Most carousels were collecting baggage from 4 or more flights at any time. This is a pic of carousel 1 which was at one end of the this terminal. My fellow passengers and I got our cardio workout walking between this and carousel 4, at the other end of the terminal. Every few minutes, someone would announce, over the intercom, the new expected location of our luggage. I found myself surprisingly unfazed by the whole thing. I flew in a full 14 hours before I needed to be at work and there simply wasn't anything to be done about the situation. Plus, who among us couldn't do with a bit more exercise? Others, though, did not seem to be so zen about it.

All of this is just to say that blogging shall be sparse this week, while I work, which is just as well since I will have very little knitting time until Friday. I did manage to bring my Portland weather to LA, though. Sorry to all my So Cal neighbors, though I have to say, I kind of like it.

March 11, 2007

There are some things you just take for granted...

tampontificate.jpg

A company called Seventh Generation, who manufactures safe and environmentally responsible household products, has a program called TamPontification.

Per their site:

Women’s shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly, and, while agencies generally assist with everyday necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, this most basic need is often overlooked. You and I may take our monthly trips down the feminine care aisle for granted, but, for women in shelters, a box of tampons is five dollars they can’t spare. Here’s some good news: you can help us contribute to rectifying this situation by making a virtual donation below!
For each virtual donation, Seventh Generation will send a pack of organic cotton tampons or chlorine-free pads to a shelter in your state.

So swing by their site, if this is a cause you think is worth supporting, and make your donation.

Link via LAist

April 20, 2007

Does anyone speak Portuguese

I am participating in Kelli's project to make care packages for children in an orphanage in Mozambique (thanks Jessica for the link!).

She has asked that we include a card with a picture and a note in English and Portuguese, extending our well wishes and friendship. She links to Bablefish, which is fine, but I know from experience that the results are often comical at best and unintelligible at worst.

I have my packages all ready to go, I just need to write my notes. I was wondering if there is anyone who'd be willing to help me translate my English message to Portuguese?


It's amazing how much you can fit in a quart sized bag!

In case you are wondering, I have 4 bags each with the following items:


  • Sheet of stickers

  • Soap

  • Toothbrush

  • Hair elastics in lots of sizes and colors

  • Floss

  • Chapstick

  • Gum

  • Crayons

  • 2 pads of sticky notes to use with the crayons

  • A bouncy ball


Not bad for cramming into a single quart sized bag.

If you want to participate, please do so. This seems like a great cause and Kelli has assured me that if she gets too many bags, she'll take the excess to the next orphanage she visits. Read all about it here.

Anyway, I digress
Subliminal message: go participate
If you happen to be willing and able to help me translate a simple message, suitable for about a 7 year old, I'd much appreciate it. Just leave me a comment.

April 10, 2007

Anemone? No, anemoTEA

Leo's colleague gave him some tea that a friend had gotten in China.
Instead of your normal tea bag or loose leaf, this tea came in an oddly alien looking pod, that opened up like a flower.


Click for bigger

But this ain't just another pretty face, it was fragrant and absolutely delicious. This is my kind of alien pod. Does anyone know where you can get this sort of tea, here in the states? Is that even possible? Are you dizzy from watching the animation?

June 17, 2007

And then their boat got hit by lightening

My cousin, Allen, and his wife, Cora, have been living on their boat for, what, a year and a half, and chronicling their adventures on their blog. (Actually, they've been living on their boat for much longer, but they were docked in San Fransisco before.) They've traveled to Honduras, Panama and many ports of the US. Crazy stuff. Recently, their boat got hit by freakin' lighting. They are fine, the boat, not so much.

Personally, I'm equal parts in awe and perplexed by how they do it and how they don't end up killing each other in such tight quarters. Still, if they didn't do it, I wouldn't be able to read about it.

If you are up for some fun and hilarious reading, head on over and drop them a comment.

July 5, 2007

Seeing spots and colors

Ahh, independence day, the one day when Leo's interests and Panda's are at complete odds with each other. Leo regales me with stories from his childhood that prove that the fates love drunks and children. When the words, "made our own" and "fireworks" are strung together, I can only shake my head and be glad he has, allegedly, grown out of that phase.

While California and Oregon seem to have similar limitations on fireworks; namely that the general public can't buy things that go flying off tither and yon, Southern California is far more flammable than Portland and I think people are more reluctant to send sparks about the kindling that is their back yard. Additionally, we now live in a quiet little suburb where there is very little nightly traffic. Throughout the neighborhood, one could hear and see the assortment of volcanic light displays and sparklers, individuals were setting off in the street.

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So while this was not Panda's first 4th of July, it was definitely one of her worst. Add to the noise, the relatively warm temperatures (close to 90) and it made for one unhappy dog. Thea, on the other hand, seemed a little put out by the loudest noises but was otherwise indifferent to the whole thing.

And since lots of people will be posting fireworks today, how about some cute dog shots.

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Here's Thea showing off her fresh crop of spots. She used to be almost completely white.

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And my beautiful girls basking in the sun.

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And Thea bringing on the cute, full force.

July 16, 2007

A few moments on my soap box

I was recently driving to the Post Office, listening to the local NPR station which was running the show BBC World Have Your Say. Today's topic was about whether or not it's selfish to forgo having children if you are able to have them.

Stop now if you don't want to hear any strong opinions on this topic or if you can't play nice on the interwebs. Feel free to leave your 2¢, though if you have some thoughtful feedback.

To spare those of you who prefer puppy pics and yarn, I'll finish this entry, after the bump.

Continue reading "A few moments on my soap box" »

July 27, 2007

Craft and Whacking Baby Camels

So a friend of mine from many moons ago (hi Doug!), comment the other day that I should go look at the upcoming cover for Craft magazine, as I'd find something rather familiar there.

craftcover.gif

So wow, yah, it looks a lot like my Crime of Fashion scarf. Similar, but definitely different (the font, for sure, is different and the finishing as well.) I scratched my head a bit and went to their site, but couldn't determine if the pattern was inspired by mine or not and whether I should say something. Of course, only one thing to do, bug my friend Julia and ask her what she thinks, since Julia is always my sounding board, especially for all things knitterly. At the time, she found that there was already a link to MagKnits on their about page for the scarf, which suggested that they had seen my version, but no link to me. It's another week before the magazine is released so I wrote them.

Turns out that right before publication, they did, indeed, find my version and that I get a little shout out in the end AND, as you may now have noticed, they've added a link to me on that same about page.

How
Cool
Is
That?


I'm sorta kinda in Craft!

I've also been spinning some more, while I work on my deadline projects. Remember that rather pathetic attempt at spinning Yak fiber? It was so soft and oh-so-ugly. While I was glad I was actually able to spin the fiber at all, I was hesitant to spin up any more of my Luxury Fiber of the Month goodies, for fear I'd just end up with 6 skeins of nearly useless novelty yarn. Well, I broke down and had my hand at baby camel down.

I spun 167 yards of of 3 ply, from the 2 ounces I have and am much happier with the results. I did slightly under spin it, so the yarn broke a lot as I was working the navajo ply. Pretty crazy, since I was using the super high speed whorl on El Matchador, but I guess those short, downy fibers, need a LOT of twist.

Even so, I'm happy and the camel down got itself a rinse and a royal whacking.

camelwhack2.jpg camelwhack1.jpg

Final yarn pictures to come.

That's all for now, check out some pics of Thea's second agility class, here.

Thea sends a puppy kiss (or at least a cold nose in your ear) to each of you, Panda first.

tellin_secrets.jpg

July 24, 2007

In which the car gets towed, the girls get a new bed and I spin up some yarn

Thank you all for the concern and well wishes. We are all, thankfully, doing fine. We believe we've found a reliable mechanic (based on a couple testimonials from Leo's colleagues) and Stewie (the Element) is off to get fixed up.

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It's weird sending your car off with a stranger. I am sure he thought I was insane but I decided to get shots of him and his vehicle and his plates, juuuuuuust in case he was a craze Element steeling maniac. You never know.

Between writing up my super secret Stitch Diva project and working on a couple other projects for a book, I've been putting El Matchador to work. Oooh baby.

While at the Fiber Frolic, I picked up 2 ounces of a cashmere and tussah silk blend from Fox Fire Fibers. This stuff is yum-ME (as in mememememememe give me more.) However, it is also a real challenge to spin. The silk fibers are substantially longer than the cashmere and, when spun from the end, all the silk gets drafted out first leaving a poof of cashmere.

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I decided to try a 90 degree turn and see if that helped at all. Once again, spinning from the fold seems to have helped me coerce the fibers into submission. Instead of fibers flowing freely from the end, the folding seems to lightly link the fibers together, like those pop-up boxes of facial tissues. As fibers get drafted out, they bring more fibers with them. While the silk and cashmere may not have been perfectly distributed, with this method, they were far more so than when spinning from the end. That's as close to success as I can ask for.

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The final yarn is luxurious and the color makes me positively hungry, it's so decadent.

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Final Product
Content: Cashmere and Tussah Silk (quantities not specified)
Color: Summer Berries
From: Fox Fire Fibers
Quantity: 2 ounces/109 Yards
Singles: From the fold using a long draw technique
Plies: 3-ply using the Navajo plying method
WPI: Approximately 16
Results: The yarn is not perfect but I absolutely love it. The colors are rich and the feel is soft, silky and full of drape. I think this would make for a really fabulous hat, though if I had more, I'd gladly make a sweater from it. I'm curious to see how much the fabric pills and if the silk helps control that at all. The yarn bled substantially, when I washed the skein. I added just a touch of vinegar to the water, in hopes it might set the color a little more, but I can tell you, I won't be mixing this with any other yarn, in my finished knit piece, for fear of color contamination.

And in doggy news, guess what Leo got for the girls?

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This will replace the small bed we keep in the Element (whenever he is back) to allow room for both girls to snuggle up. The old bed was fine for one dog or one adult and one baby puppy dog, but it's gotten quite cramped in there. We've been on the lookout for a replacement, since adopting Thea and finally found this one, here.

And hey, if we are ever homeless, this bed will be big enough for all 4 of us to sleep on.

July 22, 2007

Two wheelin'

Well, what did we do this weekend?
Let's see, we went to see Harry Potter. They left a lot of important stuff out. It was good, though and if you've read the book, you should be able to follow along fine. I thought that Umbridge bore a striking resemblance to the first lady. I'll leave it at that.

Oh and I went Salsa dancing. That was fun.

What was that other thing?
...

Continue reading "Two wheelin'" »

August 10, 2007

Feelin' the love

Do you love mutts?

If so, LuvMutt is having a little contest for the best summer mutt pic. Both Panda and Thea are represented, but honestly, you should vote for whomever you like best of the bunch.

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Head on over to vote now.

And if that isn't love enough, check out Goofy Dogs, a new site devoted to great pictures of dogs. Do you have a dog? Is your dog goofy? Send your pictures in and feel the love. Panda and Thea are there too!

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You know I'm a happy doggy mum.

August 23, 2007

Thea's out of class and some cartoons

Well, Thea had her last puppy agility class. The last two classes were the best classes she'd had. Instead of focusing on one obstacle and then getting back in line (waaaaay boring for a Cattle Dog mix) we actually worked a series of obstacles for each turn. Thea loved it. I think that being able to chain the obstacles, keeps her from over thinking it. It's just fun.

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I'm not saying she was perfect, but she did a pretty darn good job for a 6 month old.

We're taking a short hiatus from school so that Thea can get spayed, but it was enough fun for both of us that I plan to sign us up for more.

I'm going to miss her classmates, some of whom you can see below.

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Pictured are Moose, Bella, Saba and Maggie. Not pictured, but much enjoyed, are Julia and Toby. Hopefully I'll see them in future classes!

In unrelated news, I'm thinking about redesigning the ol' website. My last redesign was in 2005 and while I like it fine, I've been thinking about a little change. I've done a couple of very simple sketches.

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I think I want to go back to having a clean white background and simple graphics. I'm playing around now and will see if I can come up with something that makes me happy.

August 27, 2007

A sort of anniversary

A year ago today, Julia and I were in the redwoods on our way from LA to Portland, Oregon.
I had just spent a month away from Panda and Leo, who'd moved up to Portland to start his new job.

After a couple weeks at Julia's house, and much planning we hit the road for our scenic and spinny adventure. There is no event quite like a road trip to get one past the "close acquaintance" stage right to friend. It's hard not to bust out laughing as we regale ourselves and anyone else who will listen, with stories from our adventures.

I'll forever hold a warm space in my heart for the Ravenwood, even though there was no running water when we awoke.

And I still remember the gorgeous fog over the ocean, surrounded by redwoods. Who wouldn't bust out into full dorkatude?

We nearly skipped Crater Lake, after some set backs and delays, but we made it and it's as breathtaking as everyone says it is.

And best of all, I have been able to live in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I love it up here, though I miss all my friends in LA. Julia makes for a great road trip companion and I would do it again in a heartbeat.


I've been doing a bit more than my usual reading and all of it has been good, so I thought I'd share my recommendations.

On the nightstand


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Actually, that's not the current cover for SI. The current one covers AIDS deniers. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a real hoot and sure to offend almost anyone. I'm glad to call myself a Pastafarian, rAmen! Guards Guards is currently my top reading to keep me from reading too much of what I'm...

...Savoring


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Need I say more? I don't want it to end.

Recently finished


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I really love Michael Shermer's books and articles and The Science of Good and Evil is no exception. He's also the publisher of Skeptic, to which I subscribe.
My mother lent me Middlesex and it was indeed funny, touching, thoughtful and moving. I generally shy away from books that are highly publicized and I'm not a fan of all of Oprah's suggestions, (yes, I'm one of those wet blankets who isn't into the whole The Secret phenomenon.*) but this book is definitely worth a read.




* That is, I don't believe in a magical force that brings luck and money to people who really want it.
However there is evidence to suggest that people who believe they are lucky are more likely to do things like enter drawings and raffles or build their social and business network which can result in more fortunate outcomes.

September 16, 2007

Stewie is home!

Our car, Stewie, is back home after being in the body shop for over a month. It's good to have him back, and the shop did a really fabulous job, both dealing with the insurance company and repairing the damage.

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Thea has been healing up beautifully

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When we give her meds, we wrap them in peanut butter. She finds it both delicious and infuriating, with its tenancy to stick to the roof of her mouth. I find this amusing. I might, possibly, maybe, tend to squish the peanut butter up on the roof of her mouth, maybe, just to make it last a little longer. I might also be a horrible horrible person.

Actually, we've taken her off the sedatives, but we do still give her a little peanut butter just because she loves it so.

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Both girls got some extra special treats from Leo.

Both approve...heartily.

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However, not to be indelicate, but we have been experiencing a steady flow of eye watering, paint peeling, make a grown person cry level of excess "air" from the little one. I really can't express just how bad it's been. I'm declaring an embargo on all future purchases of this treat. While the rawhide/pork combo appealed to the girls more than almost any treat we've gotten, the consequences have been too brutal to re-live.

Your mileage may vary.

September 9, 2007

Stitches and a weird little leaf

Well, the same night we brought Thea home, she shook off the anesthesia and was ready to play. This was at about 4AM in the morning. We were only very slightly amused. Since then, it's been pretty futile trying to keep her calm. Even giving her a half dose of a sedative in the day and a full dose at night, she's pretty active. It seems to get her kind of high. That is, she walks a little goofy and seems pretty content just sleeping or obsessing over a raw hide bone, but it doesn't totally squelch her energy level altogether. She still will play at the drop of a hat. It looks like she's stretching the skin near her stitches a bit. I'm really really hoping she doesn't pop her stitches.

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On the plus side, she hasn't been licking them. Small consolation, really.

It just kills me to have to sedate her, but since she'll hurt herself if she doesn't keep still, it appears to be the only recourse. Anyone have any good suggestions for putting a pup in suspended animation, while she heals?

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One thing that does seem to calm her down is the sound of El Matchador. I've done a lot of spinning this weekend (more on that in a future post) and it usually lulls her to sleep.

She was particularly goofy after the first dose, I gave her. She was a touch wobbly, and then hopped up on the couch and reclined in this position for a good hour.

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I figured that the dose was a touch too strong, so I cut her back to a half, for any daytime hours. The vet said that we might have to play with the dosage to get it just right.


In entirely unrelated news, we have a little mystery.

Leo found this leaf, with a rock and a q-tip on top of it, perched on the corner of our house. There's a little brick facade running along the bottom 3 feet of the house, that juts out a couple inches. Someone had placed the items there.

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We are thinking that it was something the neighbor's kid made for us, but we haven't seen her around to ask. If so, it's a cute gesture, however, if it wasn't from a kid, the q-tip really creaps it up a notch, you know?

Here are the q-tip and back of leaf and rock. We placed them all in a bag, just in case.

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We have no idea what the writing says, it's a little hard to read, but it sort of looks like the biggest words are, "The King."

Anyway, does anyone have any idea what could have been used, in conjunction with a q-tip (ie, a liquid) to produce the blue writing on the leaf? Hopefully, it's something totally benign.

September 20, 2007

For the love of Flickr

I just have to share this most excellent gift I received.

Thank you SO much CraftyKags

My friend, CraftyKags made this gorgeous scrapbook for me.

A page from the scrapbook I A page from the scrapbook II A page from the scrapbook III

Not counting the cover, there are 46 (!) pages of pictures of my sweet girls. What an amazing gift. I'm speechless. Even if we dismiss all the gorgeous paper, stickers, grommets, ribbons, high quality printouts and other accouterments, one can't dismiss the time and love that went into this book. It's a really special gift.


And that's not all my Flickr photos have been doing. I got myself a batch of mini calling cards from MOO.

They come packaged in a cute little recyclable plastic box.

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And inside are 100 little mini-cards with photos on the front and my contact info on the back.

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I plan to use these as business cards. About 2/3rds have some sort of fiber theme to them, while the other 1/3rd have doggies (oh yes, there is overlap). Depending on the situation, I can pick out a card that is just right for the recipient. Since they are about half the size of normal business cards, they are more environmentally friendly and MOO is committed using sustainable and green manufacturing processes. Yay!

September 28, 2007

Purdy stuff from the garden

When we moved into this house, just over a year ago, the garden was in pretty bad shape. Take a look.

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Ugly, huh? I think the landlord may have simple removed all the dying flowers before we moved in, which is why it look so barren.

Since then, we've done some serious work. We removed the flower bed wall that had fallen down, leveled the dirt, and put in a little black fence.

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This variety of grass is always yellow, this time of year, but it'll be lush again when spring rolls around.

We also planted tons of bulbs and wildflower seeds. Unfortunately, a lot of what we planted over the past couple of months, appear to be annuals so we're not sure how many flowers we'll see before they're all gone. There are some perennials too, which should hopefully flourish after winter.

After much hand wringing our first buds have appeared.

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We now have A flower.

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Yup, one big pink flower. Just another couple dozen and it'll actually kinda pretty around these parts.

The plants obscure a little of the view out the front window, but that didn't stop Panda from seeing a trespasser. Can you see him?

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Ooh, Panda's nemisis.

The rosebush in front has produced a second round of blooms for us. And you know what looks great with pink? A little black and white.

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Now, THAT'S purdy.

October 14, 2007

Weekend antics

Drooling

Mary-Kay hooked me UP. I won a contest she held on her blog, and this is what came in the mail on Friday.

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This is a huge skein of Merino/Tencel in a colorway called, Marnie's Wine. I'm swooning just thinking about it. She asked me what my perfect colorway would be and made this just for me. It's more lovely than I could have imagined. But she didn't stop there.

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Two skeins of her colorway, Boo, and nearly half a pound of a merino/silk blend roving. I'm so spoiled.

Cosmos blooming

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The garden is blooming like crazy, though we have admitted that our choice of flower is a bit tall for the window. After a few more blooms, we'll cut the top tier down a bit. We've also reseeded the area on the right to get more even coverage.

Thea finds religion

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This statue of Buddha caught Thea's eye on our walk and she took some time to show it her tummy and kiss his face. She has also attempted this maneuver with some outdoor cats. They were not amused.

Early Halloween Party

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Someone at Leo's work held an early Halloween party and invited us. She had her barn decked out like a haunted house and almost everyone came in costume. We did a dry run of our get up for this year. I'm the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Leo is dressed as a pirate because, as is stated in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all humans evolved from pirates.

I definitely need more spaghetti, but I'm really happy with my eyes and meatballs.

rAmen

October 20, 2007

91

I had originally planned to post about Thea's most recent obedience class. If you want some lighthearted doggy happiness, go check out the pictures here.

Grandma, Grandpa, and me - 1993
My grandparents and me in 1993, at my high school graduation.

But today has turned out to be a sad one for me. This morning, my grandmother called to let me know that my grandfather had passed in the night. Unlike many people, I have been fortunate enough to know all of my grandparents, and three of them through to my adulthood.

My grandfather was 91 years old and remained relatively active and mentally sharp, throughout his life. He passed in his sleep, in his own home, my grandmother holding him in his last moments. I think we should all be so lucky to live such a full life and be with the person we love in our last moments.

As someone who isn't religious and does not believe in an afterlife, I take a great deal of solace in knowing that his last moments were where he wanted to be with the woman he loved, and that I've told him I loved him, every time we've spoken.

Losing my grandfather means saying goodbye to someone who helped care for me as a newborn when both my parents were seriously ill.

As a child, I would spend a couple of weeks each summer running in his impeccably kept yard or playing in the perfectly maintained little house. His sharp wit and quiet perfectionism stays with me still. Even in his weakest moments he could always find humor in the situation.

As a young adult, I knew that he would help me in any way he could. He would have given me the shirt off his back if I would have let him and he would have smiled, to just know that I was happy. Even though I managed to be independent, it brought me comfort to know he was there.

I miss you grandpa. Thank you for all the years of love.

October 24, 2007

Various and sundry topics

Lots more pictures of Giselle, including the cropped version, over here.

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See some beautifully retouched photos here.


Leo has been making jack-o-lanterns and I have been toasting the seeds.

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The pirate is getting a little long in the tooth, after a week outside. The orange one is new. It weighed almost 40lbs before being gutted. That's how much each of the pups weigh.


If the weather stays relatively mild, we'll be getting a lot more cosmos.

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The bees like em

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Is there anything sweeter?

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November 9, 2007

Starting the weekend off on a cute note

I haven't posted any doggy pictures in a while. Shame on me.

Ms. Panda looking gorgeous.

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Thea bringing the puppy eyes.

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Both girls playing in the backyard on a foggy morning.

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Thea in her Total Recall class. Lots more pictures here.

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And on an unrelated note, check out this spider web I spied waaaaay up in a tree in my front yard.

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November 2, 2007

Packing

Tomorrow, I make the long journey back home.

Coming out to help my mother and grandmother get things in order has been exhausting, emotionally draining, but ultimately very enlightening. Even more, it has given me a feeling like I have helped in some small part.

Grandma and Grandpa at my mother's first wedding
My grandparents walking down the aisle at my mother's first wedding

My grandmother is trying hard to put on a brave face and take these changes in stride, but watching her cry so much and hearing her talk about how lonely it is for her at night and how much she misses him, makes my heart ache for her. As the week comes to a close, the realization of these changes seems to become more clear to her and it is harder for her to maintain her composure.

For better or for worse, we are helping her start this new chapter in her life. I can only guess how scared and uncertain she feels. Even so, every once in a while she gives me a big smile and I feel like things are going to be OK for her.

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October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

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October 22, 2007

Distraction

Thank you all for your very kind words, sympathies, stories and thoughts. I've read every comment twice and they make me remember how lucky I am to have family that loves me and whom I love in return.

It's the wet season, here in Portland and the weekend was mostly rainy and overcast, interspersed with beautiful sunny moments. It suited my contemplative mood.

On Saturday, we took the girls for a walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed the fall foliage. I think the cost of having dogs should be covered by medical insurance. Panda and Thea never cease to make me laugh, no matter the circumstances.

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On Sunday, we headed to Cannon Beach, for a breakfast of Crabcakes Benedict and a long run on the beach. It was a bit cold and rainy, which didn't make for great photos, but the girls couldn't have been happier and the evening of quiet and calm snuggling on the couch meant that everyone was feeling peaceful.

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I guess for me, losing someone ultimately makes me more resolved to value those who are still with me and I think this weekend suited that goal.

I have lots of less depressing stuff to blog soon, including a new knit in progress, and interview with Donna Druchunas, and some more photos of Giselle.

November 26, 2007

Is that some Kitsch I smell?

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I haven't seen it yet, but the Knitty Gritty episode that Stitchy McYarnpants and I did, called Kitschy Christmas, is now airing. It looks like it'll be on a bunch of times, in the next month, so don't worry if you missed it the first time around.

While we may have been the guests, the STAR was Maryse's Fun Fur Christmas Tree. And now, you can get the pattern free here.

Oh and for those of you who did or will see the episode, the "faux-chet" line was Debbie's idea.


On an unrelated note, Panda is feeling 100% back to her old self. No more cough. We'll make sure we take her somewhere fun, next weekend.

December 6, 2007

What my parents are up to

Any of you wondering where I get my crazy tree huggin' pinko commie left wing views, need look no further than my parents. Check out this press release from PrioritiesNH, featuring my dear mum and dad. All links added by me


The house I grew up in with a subtle political statement in the driveway.

Giant rolling piggy banks spotlight Congress's mixed-up budget priorities

"Pig Mobile" rolls through Amherst/Milford area to compare U.S. spending on Pentagon vs. education, world hunger and AIDS

An eye-popping pink Pig Mobile is bringing its political message to the Amherst/Milford area this week.

The Pig Mobile, a creation of Ben and Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen, is being driven by Amherst residents Ben and Roseann Day. They'll pilot the Piggies around the Verizon Arena in Manchester Sunday night when Oprah Winfrey campaigns with Sen. Barack Obama.

"The Pig Mobile presents a message important to both conservatives and liberals and does so with great humor," said Roseann Day. "Many Amherst residents are lucky enough to be well educated and have good jobs. I feel increasing their understanding of how our tax dollars are spent will motivate them to elect politicians who will work to spend our tax dollars more wisely."

PrioritiesNH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens about how the federal budget spends their tax dollars and to helping them demand sensible spending priorities. Its campaign is working to change America's budget priorities to reflect a national commitment to education, health care, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by shifting funding from obsolete Cold War and nuclear weapons.

The Pig Mobile consists of three oversized piggy banks that illustrate how out of whack America's spending priorities are. The enormous lead pig symbolizes how much we spend on the Pentagon each year ($504 billion), a figure that doesn't even include money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Behind it, a much-smaller pig represents what the federal government spends on K-12 education ($40 billion). And the third, wee little, pig shows America's dedication to fighting AIDS abroad and to lessening world hunger ($10 billion).

"Citizens should be given the facts how the government spends our taxes," says Cohen. "And there's no better way to understand the giant numbers involved than to compare them to spending on stuff we all care about - like schools and world hunger."

Roseann Day would like to see some of that wasteful spending redirected to public education. "I've love to assure that every American has access to a public education system that can make Americans more competitive in the global market," she said.

Ben Day said he'd spend it on "scientific and mathematical education, on health care, and to fund 'green' projects to reduce our nation's carbon footprint."

"Of course, as soon as you stop spending money on things like running our Air Force and Navy, you cut out a huge amount of fuel consumption, most of it a total waste," he added.

The pigs were constructed with pink fiberglass. The lead pig, a Chevy cargo van, pulls the others on a trailer.

For more information - or to arrange a ride in the Pig Mobile - please contact PrioritiesNH at 603-224-3800.

December 24, 2007

Reader's choice

All that merry and happy stuff for whatever it is you want to be merry and happy about.

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The girls, Leo and I will be enjoying a Merry Christmas of no obligation and, perhaps, a little hiking. Who could ask for a better present?

January 14, 2008

Green cards and argyle hats

My dear Canadian friends got their green cards, last week, and threw a little party to celebrate. The other guests wore green in honor of the occasion and I brought some AmeriCone Dream ice cream. With knee slapping humor like that, here in the states, it's a wonder they didn't pack their lovely things and head back to the icy embrace of the Canadian snow. It was a small but rowdy festive group, and the hosts ensured there were plenty of libations.

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But I learned something very important about myself.
I
am
the
BLOCKUS QUEEN!
I admit, I may have let loose with a bit of language that was unbecoming a queen, but when one must bring the smack down, one must also bring the smack talk. I believe their is a theorem that covers this.


In other news, the Corn on the Nod hat is coming along nicely.

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I've completed the argyle section and now need to decide how long I want to make the hat before decreasing for the crown.

January 30, 2008

3000 miles away, Thea's soul mate is trying to pass a glove

If what doesn't kill her, makes her stronger, Thea should indestructible by now.

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If you don't know Chappy and his mum, you might want to take a moment to go over and read this post.

Whenever I post about Thea getting into something she shouldn't (@#!%@$@), I can count on Deb to regale me with a Chappy tale, sure to give me some perspective. Go ahead, ask her about Chappy's taste in drywall.

So when she posted that Chappy and coiffing had collided, I thought for sure that Thea and he must be long lost cousins.

See, Sunday night, Leo got it in his head that he was going to give himself a buzz cut. He had about an inch of curls that he quickly zipped off with his electric trimmer.

As Leo checked his work in the mirror and made minor adjustments, he heard a sound, like lips smacking. He turned around to find Thea looking up at him, licking her lips.

There was a moments pause. There's nothing edible in the bathroom. What had she gotten into?

And then he saw it, or more accurately, didn't see it. The hair. Every last hair was gone. GONE! She had hoovered up the clumps of locks that had been so carefully caught in a towel, on the floor. I heard only, "What did you do?" and came running.

On the one hand, come on, that's just funny. I mean, we know she'll put just about anything in her mouth, but hair? HAIR? At the same time, dread engulfed us both. Is she going to end up with a giant felted mass in her stomach?

We called the vet, first thing, the next day, and after bemused surprise, the receptions conferred with the vet and suggested we wait and see.

A few days later and Thea still seems fine, so we are tentatively optimistic that this is a humorous situation. Do feel free to laugh in our general direction.

If only she were good like her sister.

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*sigh*

February 8, 2008

Better than getting a pony

My birthday is right around the corner (the 18th if you're curious) and, true to form, Leo presents me with a gift, the moment he decides what it is.There's no wrapping and waiting around these parts. Who cares though because I got an iTOUCH! Squeeeeeeeeee!


Image copyright Apple Computers

I leave for a business trip, tomorrow, so I'm filling her up with music, podcasts, videos and photos. Yay for toys.



Thea just had her first agility course since November. I thought, for sure, she'd have forgotten everything, but she did great.

Well, when she wasn't on the course, she was still a big ol' floozy...

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This is her new BFF, Rio. I think they would have run off and gotten married, given half a chance. More than a few people felt they should go get a room.

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So, yah, Thea had fun, but check her out on the course. She was doing great considering she hadn't been in a class for months. That was a pretty easy course, but I was happy to see her doing so well. Go Thea!

February 14, 2008

Bye bye Chicago

I'm sad to have to go so soon. I wish I had more time to explore the city. But, lucky me, I did have some time to take in a few sights.

After bundling up...

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I took the bus to Loopy Yarns. Well, I took the bus a couple blocks past Loopy Yarns, but that's OK because the view was just fine.

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Loopy Yarns was everything people said; friendly, inviting, filled with yummy yarns. I'll definitely swing in again if I'm in the area. And of course, I picked up some souvenirs while I was there.

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Luckily, the good folks at Loopy Yarns were having a 40% off sale on a lot of their yarns, including the assortment of yarns I picked out Eeeeeexcellent.

I used the rest of the morning to slowly meander back to my hotel.

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Here's hoping there's some need for me to return soon, perhaps when it's a bit warmer.

February 12, 2008

Phew

Thank you for your well wishes. I think you all warmed the runways for me, because I made it to Chicago safe and sound and slightly earlier than my original flight itinerary.

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Now, my low blood sugar is dictating that I get some grub in me before I turn into a werewolf and go on some sort of blood lust rampage. That'd be normal, right?

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I've actually been knitting, quite a bit, so hopefully, I'll be able to photograph and blog something crafty soon.

February 26, 2008

Inspir(al)ed

I'm just heading out to a meeting...in Chicago. My flight in last night was delayed a couple hours, but I made it here in one piece. If I can manage to walk across the street without falling on my arse, I'll consider it a successful trip.

Since I got in at the time I should have gone to bed and my meeting is mere minutes away, I don't have time for a proper post, so instead I'll tell you to march your bum on over to MJ's site and check out her new pattern. I've already made one for myself and I love it. It kept my head toasty warm last night, in this brutal Chicago weather.

February 12, 2008

Let's hope this isn't a shot of tonight's accommodations

Well, Astoria and I are hanging out at JFK airport.

Luckily, we got here early, because my 6:20 PM flight to Chicago was canceled. I called Orbitz who said they thought they could get me on the 3:40PM flight instead. Awesome. Only, they accidentally scheduled me for tomorrow's 3:40PM flight. Oops. Ok, one more time and we have it. SWEET.

But, you see, there's this powdery white stuff everywhere, and my 3:40 flight is now scheduled to take off sometime around 5:20.


I'm totally fine with that, since it's still about an hour earlier than my originally scheduled flight, but I"m skeptical that waiting longer to take off will improve the situation.

P.S. It's damned cold here. Brrr.

P.P.S. Photos taken live from my laptop's built in camera and Photobooth software

P.P.P.S. That was Leo's idea.

March 16, 2008

Vrooooom vroom vroom, and other cool things

Right after Leo and I met, we both picked up cute little red Ducati bikes. Mine was a Monster named Lorenzo and Leo had a Super Sport named Buttercup. Unfortunately, for most of our time in LA, we had barely enough money for rent and other expenses, and eventually, the bikes had to be put in storage.

But Portland has been good to us and the cost of living is much lower, so we decided to revisit our bikes and decide how we wanted to handle them.

After much assessing and debating, and with a bit of a twinge in our heart, we decided to trade in the two smaller bikes for a bigger bike that would be good both for the long rides the two of us take together and the short commute Leo makes daily to work.

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Sexy, no?

It's a 2004 Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS with a mere 2000 miles on it.

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Once the rain passes, I think we'll be putting this baby to good use, but even the short rides we've done so far, have been fun.


But that's not all the fun I had this weekend. I also got to host a friend and a fetus for a few days. It wasn't nearly long enough to do all the stuff we wanted, but we fit a lot of fun in, nonetheless. We even got to Larissa and Martin's book signing over at Abundant Yarn.

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That store is yarn overload, and Larissa and Martin's book is fantastic.

And I got my book signed

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YAY.

March 20, 2008

No longer a bastard

Yesterday was a very special day, but this story starts quite a few years back.

The year was 1989 and my mom was a 40 something divorcee in a little town in NH, with two kids. She had started dating a year or two before and I was as glad for her to be starting fresh as an indifferent tween can be. You see, I was suffering from a severe mental disorder commonly called, puberty, and my brother, well, he always had a knack for making a scene, and he felt there was nothing quite so entertaining as horrifying my mom and her suitors for sport.

So, occasionally, a nice man would offer to treat the whole family to dinner and get to know the kids, and, well, if my mother ever writes her memoirs, you'll be able to laugh at the results.

But in 1989, my mom met Ben. He was an affable and gentle guy who shared the whole family's twisted sense of humor. Over the next few years, we saw him more and more and it was clear that he and my mom were growing closer, despite her demon-like offspring. Finally, one day, they gave me the news.

"Marnie, we're getting married."
...

...

I'd been living with this woman for the past 16 or so years and I was wondering if this guy was loco. "Don't you guys want to try living together a little first?" I asked.

But they were resolute. "We love each other and living together isn't going to tells us anything we don't already know.

I thought they were insane. I left them with a shrug and some parting words, "Well, if you get yourself knocked up, don't come running to me for free childcare."

My mom and Ben married in 1992, in a lovely little ceremony in Maine.

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My mom throwing her bouquet at the wedding.

In the years since, Ben has seen some of the hardest times our family has been through and brought us countless laughs. He has embraced our insanity and added a dash of his own to the mix.

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Ben and my mom at a friend's wedding.

I'm sure there have been times when Ben has wondered what he got himself into. Heaven knows, I still think he's crazy.

But after nearly 20 years with our ragtag family, Ben has made official what has felt true for so many years. Ben is now, officially, technically, legally and biologically (wait, not that last one) my father.

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My adoption papers and Ben and his lawyer at the court house.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy-o!

April 9, 2008

File this under, "brilliant people I know"

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One of my friends recently started a site about the misuse of American tax dollars to bail out greedy banks and their CEOs.

Well, guess what, he is on NPR. They edited him down to a single sound bite, which is a bummer, but you can check out his site for tons more info.

Obviously, this is a sensitive issue, especially for people who may face losing their house, and those of us opposed to the bailout, certainly aren't happy about the predatory practices that some banks employed, to get unsuspecting consumers to sign up for unreasonable Adjustable Rate Mortgages. But housing prices certainly did get bloated and banks surely did get rich off these practices. There have to be better ways to deal with this problem than trying to maintain a formerly insane status quo.

I'll leave you with one last fun link and then we'll return to our regularly scheduled doggy pictures and general crafty goodness.

The Subprime Primer explained by stick figures.

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May 8, 2008

Favorite Subject Matter -- Edited

My friend, Erica, directed me to a local pet photo contest, and I'd love to enter, despite the fact that I use a relatively cheap point and shoot digital camera. I have a feeling that folks with nice SLRs and lots-o-megapixels will be able to outshine my humble collection but all the entry fees go towards a great cause so I think I'm going to try.

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So I was hoping that, perhaps, a couple of you could help me decide what photos to enter. I think I'd be willing to enter up to 10 pictures (I'll have to spend some money to get good prints done, so I don't want to go crazy) but since I love the subject matter so much, I'm don't trust myself to pick the best shots from the lot. A cute expression is far more appealing to me than a nice composition.

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There's one caveat, all "companion pets" must have visible tags and collars, so I can only use shots from our hikes and beach trips. All of the shots at home, when the girls are collarless, are not allowed. Poo. Panda is floofy enough that you can't always see her collar even when she's wearing it, which may actually exclude some of the shots in this post.

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Anyway, almost all my pup shots can be found here. I've peppered this post with a few of my personal favorites, but by no means would I consider these the only possible entry shots.

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Resolution is also a factor, so some pictures I love are out because I can't print them at the required 8" x 10" dimensions.

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So anyway, if you have any thoughts, leave me a comment here with a link to the picture or pictures you like, or just comment on the picture in Flickr. And thanks so much!


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Edited to add: The contest has lots of categories including ones for people with their pets, and funniest shot. But really, this edit is just an excuse to add a couple more shots.

May 19, 2008

Honey versus Vinegar

NOTE: This post is sort of a rant and a long one at that. For the sake of all of you who have better things to read, I'm including some random eye candy that you should feel free to look at instead.

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Recently, Annie posted about needing to take a little breather from teaching after an unpleasant email. I wanted to write her and tell her not to take it personally but I can't because I would have responded the same way. It seemed like such eerie timing because I recently received a rather terse string of emails from someone working on one of my patterns that gave me that same sort of feeling about designing. No, I'm not hanging up my knitting needles and Excel spreadsheets, but it was still one of those interactions that made me feel like "why bother?"

Continue reading "Honey versus Vinegar" »

May 16, 2008

If a little is good a lot is better

After all your sweet encouragement and suggestions, I decided to order pretty much every photo you guys recommended to me.

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And, actually, I also got this shot printed, but when I laid these out to take the shot, I was being so gentle handling the prints that I didn't notice it was sitting right behind one of the other shots.

So that's 18 pictures printed and I think I'll enter them all and just round the donation up to $20, since it all goes to support the Humane Society. Yay.

I'm definitely not expecting to win first prize, but I think I have a shot at one of the 2nd or 3rd prizes, which would be nice.


Meanwhile, we're having some seriously summery weather up here in Portland right now. Yesterday, I decided to play hooky from work (is it hooky if you ask your boss if you can take a vacation day, last minute?) and spend some time knitting and playing with the pups.

We went on over to Lost Park and played a little fetch in the sun.

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That's right girls, you run, run like the dickens.

Oh at first, Thea was all kinds of frisky, running around, playing keep away, and tug-o-war. But it wasn't long before the hot hot weather had her tuckered out.

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Sooo tired, must put head on ground

They had themselves a nice long drink of water after that. Of course, as soon as I picked up the squirrel again, they were sure they wanted to run some more, but I thought it'd be good to give them a little rest.

On our way out of the park, we got a nice surprise. Leo had stopped by to give the girls a kiss. He was out to put some gas in Leela (the bike) and took a little detour to see us.

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Sexy! A great way to end a nice run in the park.

May 23, 2008

More dogs, less knitting.

This, from my non-knitting friends.

I know, madness.

Still, I'm nothing if not accommodating.

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I ran these by a focus group (Leo) and apparently they went over a like a lead balloon. Since customer satisfaction is key here at Marnie, Speak! I thought I'd made a special LOLdog just for him.

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May 28, 2008

Oh brother

My brother, Matt, came to Portland this weekend, with his adorable girlfriend, Aileen.

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Their visit was a whirlwind of thrift stores and rummage sales and we saw very little of them but what we did see, was great fun.

Whilst M&A were off in distant towns, roller skating and buying This American Life paint by number kits, Leo and I were taking Thea for her first trip into downtown Portland to visit the Saturday Market (albeit, on Sunday.)

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And while we were there, I was craving a hot dog, slathered in mustard.

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Don't judge me.

Sunday, all the humans decided to see what sort of nightlife was available and Portland didn't let us down, though, admittedly, the crowds were much smaller than on a normal night out.

We had live Irish music, greasy eats and good beer, over at Kells

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After that, we decided to do a little dancing at Boxxes, the club across the street from M&A's hotel. For some reason, two women came into the club, walked to the bathrooms, stripped to their unmentionables, and walked back out to mingle. After a few minutes, they put their dresses back on.

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One wonders what necessity there was in going into the bathroom first.
There's also the general "why?" question that was running through my head.
But Leo and Matt didn't seem to mind.

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After shaking our bonbons a bit, we all headed off to our respective accommodations.

There's a lot we didn't get to do while Matt and Aileen were here, so hopefully they'll be back soon. I'll even forgive Aileen for not liking dogs, since she is so crafty (in the good way) and fun.

June 3, 2008

The weekend

We celebrated our friend, Todd's birthday.


Yay!

I haven't been bowling in years.


The girls had their own victory dances.


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Todd bowls and Tracy poses.


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If these scores were for golf, I would have been the winner.



During the party, I taught Tracy how to knit and showed Erica and Tracy how a spindle works. There are more pictures of both these activities, but I believe they are being held for blackmailing purposes of some sort. Little do these people know, I embarrass myself for hobby. No blackmail will work on me. HA!


Sunday, we did some grilling up a lot of yummies on our little outdoor fireplace doohicky thingy.

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The mushrooms and garlic were the best, but it was all pretty tasty.


Also, Thea is cute.

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June 17, 2008

More gratuitous dog shots

I know, big surprise.

A few of you have asked if Thea ever gets to catch the squirrel. Well, if Panda's playing along, generally not, but if it's just Thea, heck ya!

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Here she is having a little bit of fun while we take a break from mowing the back yard. She doesn't have the muzzle-eye coordination her sister has, but she has tenacity to spare. Even in the blaring heat she would have gladly played all afternoon. She's happiest when she's playing.

Panda, on the other hand, is my patient and reserved girl.

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Here she shows off some of my fresh picked flowers from the garden. It's nice having a pup who'll stay still and not chew the scenery (literally).

July 6, 2008

One man, one bike, and a whole lot of rain

Leo's work gave everyone Thursday and Friday off for Independence Day. Since I didn't have such a luxuriously long weekend, we agreed that he and Leela should have their first road trip together, and I'd get some work done around the house, and keep the girls entertained. What I feel for my fiber arts, Leo feels for exploration and doing so on bike is all the more exhilarating.

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He brought the camera along and took some amazing shots, whenever he had a chance to park the bike. It was drizzly but nothing to keep him from enjoying the scenery.

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It's hard to believe all his stuff fit in two saddle bags and a little net on the back of the bike, but the man knows how to rough it in style.

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He says those yellow flowers were incredibly fragrant. I know nothing about flora but it sure looks pretty.

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Leo spent his second night near big foot. He's obviously a fan of fun fur.

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After a rainy night, Leo got everything packed up for a leisurely ride home.

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Unfortunately, the rain was unrelenting. By hour 6, of his drive home, he was starting to feel a little sorry for himself.

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Boy, was I glad I let him go solo.

Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty great trip and he scoped out a bunch of great spots for future camping events for the 4 of us. If you are curious, here's the approximately 600 mile drive he did.

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If you want to see all his pictures, you can see the Flickr set here.

July 4, 2008

For some of us, it's a better day than it is for others

It's Independence Day, here in the states which Panda would probably call, "the worst freakin' day of the entire year, which sucks donkey balls and makes me want to pee myself." Or something along that line. With the holiday falling on a Friday, we can expect a weekend of fireworks and a truly miserable dog who is completely inconsolable. Well, the panchetta offered a brief (very brief,) distraction, but she was entirely uninterested in the peanut butter, which should tell you something. That whole "try to make something scary positive" tactic just doesn't work in this case.

Thea is fine, thanks for asking.

Leo, is on a weekend motor-pickle ride up near Fork, Washington, where he is doing reconnaissance for future camping trips with the rest of us. This left me to catching up on loads of knitting, pattern writing and some cleaning that are all sorely in need of my attention. In case you are wondering, it was my idea that he go solo, since I just wouldn't have the time to join him.

But, my friends Larry and Erica offered to make me homemade waffles for breakfast today, which is about as fantabulous an offer as I could envision. So, bright and early, after my first full night's sleep in, probably, 2 weeks, I took the train to the Pearl district to see them.

When they opened the door, they were wearing...

PANDA!
They are way too cute for their own good. And, no, they don't walk around town in matchy matchy get-ups, they donned them in unison for my benefit. **squee!**

Then Erica gave me gifts for the girls, from Canada, which Chewie (short for Chewbacca) promptly bonded with.


Chewie's just too cute to deny.

After that, Larry got down to BIZ-NIZ!


We're talking fresh farmer's market berries, waffle batter from scratch, crisp pepper bacon and a festive apron. YUM!

While enjoying warm fluffy waffles (is anyone else feeling hungry right now?) Erica mentioned a glass spinning wheel at the local craft museum, and I knew exactly what she was talking about.

So, of course, even though the museum was closed, we had to go walk by and get my classy mug in front of it, because I had no idea it was hanging out right in my little city.

Then I started hamming it up.

There's a far far less flattering picture (ok, maybe a few pictures) as well, and my friends are likely to chime in about the obvious omission here, but that is one of the great benefits to having full editorial control over the content of my site.

Anyway, it was a lovely little break from what is likely to be a pretty busy weekend for me, so yay for that.

June 27, 2008

The results are in...

The winners of the contest I entered, are posted and... I didn't win. Awww.

But that's OK, it's a yearly event and I can always try again.

Don't forget to check out all the winning shots here, and consider donating to your local Humane Society.

July 25, 2008

Random trip stuff

I'm officially at the halfway point of my business trip, end of day 5 of 10 days total. It's been a mostly good trip, I'd say. There have been some hurdles and unexpected challenges that have come up at work, but we've managed to make the best of it.

Anyway, I feel like this blog has been sorely neglected lately, and it has really nothing to do with my desire to blog, and everything to do with my limited time. So in the spirit of poorly planned blog posts that are light on content, here's some random stuff from my trip so far.


My brother and his girlfriend Aileen treated me to sushi.

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Matt's grown himself some extravagant facial hair and is now known as "the colonel," amongst some of his colleagues. This shot really doesn't do the handlebar justice.


Apropos absolutely nothing, I think this picture from today's Cute Overload, is so funny I can't stand it.

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I've brought along a bit of my recent handspun. I don't really have any good spot to shoot them (not much natural light in my hotel room) so I've taken a quick, "what's that weirdo doing" shot of the skeins, draped over the balcony here at La Quinta.

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The solid one is some silky B-type pygora from Peppermint Pastures. The multicolor is called Iridescence. It's black alpaca and all kinds of sparkly stuff. I bought it from this Etsy shop.
Both are 3ply, spun up on El Matchador. I still have another batt of the sparkly that I'll spin up at some time. I do want to take some better shots of each skein, at some point. In case you are wondering, I have no idea what I'll do with it all.



Last down our road trip of nonsequiturs, here in the no segue zone, is me being all laughy and silly, while talking to Leo on the phone.

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He went to a local jazz bar, in Portland and was listening to some great Motown music. Every time a good song would come on, he'd call me so I could hear.

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That's the band I missed. It sounded great, but damn, it made me miss home.

Oh well.

This weekend should have lots of fun in store for me, which will make up for all the hours spent working.

July 21, 2008

O i C

I'm in OC* for work and missing my sweet little stinker-bells, already.

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I took this shot before I left the house today. Then I spent about 10 hours traveling, well, mostly waiting to travel, and being generally hungry. Did you know they don't even give you pretzels on United flights less than 3 hours long? Even if you are actually siting on the plane for what amounts to 3 hours, but not flying for about half of that time. I didn't know this. I would have paid them $30 for a bag of yogurt covered raisins (I hate raisins) by the end of my first flight.

I managed to survive, though, and wolfed down inordinate amounts of faux dim sum at the SF airport, while I waiting and played musical departure gates.

Weeeee! My life is so glamorous.

Well, it's late and I need to be up early. I hope to have something more substantial to post soon.


* It's not "THE OC," just OC. We may put the article in front of the highways, such as "I'm taking the 405 to the110 today." But we don't put an article in front of the initials for Orange County. Only teevee does that.

September 15, 2008

I'm on vacation

I refuse to call it a "stay-cation" or, as John Oliver put it, "holi-stay." But what I will say is that I have nothing planned (other than the improv class I'm taking with my friend, Erica, on Mondays) and I'm happy to keep it that way. Oh and there may be more pictures like the ones below, that I took on Saturday.

It was a perfect day; not too cool, not too warm, and absolutely sunshiny beautiful.

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The car went home a little heavier than it left. Panda brought the sand and Leo found the tire iron we'd lost a month before. I kid you not! We used it for leverage to screw the girls' leash stake into the ground, and we lost it when we were packing up in the dark. There it sat, a few feet from where we had been, just waiting for our return. I love Oregon.

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Kites.

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Lots of running and being generally cute.

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I tried to take a nice shot of the girls in front of the ocean.
First Thea won't look at the camera...

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Then Panda won't look at the camera...

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Then some women stop to take pictures, right behind the girls. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

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All the pictures here.

September 1, 2008

Beaches and Bikes

Who doesn't love a long weekend?

Saturday was all about relaxing and spending a bit of time with friends.

Sunday, we hit the beach.

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And Monday we rode our bikes around our neighborhood. I have a Springer on my bike, but we've never tried it with Thea. Isn't that absurd? Leo wanted to make sure that she wouldn't pull too hard, so he rode my bike a bit and I rode his.

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Frankly, I think it takes a very manly man to ride a Hello Kitty bike.

Though, admittedly, he feels more at home on his own bike.

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He's clearly very mature.

Still, who can hold a grudge with such views.

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