Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jasmin 2009

I am a goal-oriented person. When I decide to do something, I throw myself into it. In that respect, Jasmin 2008 has been a rousing success.

Here is the list of what I had hoped to accomplish this year:

-Go to yoga more frequently. It’s good for the body and good for the soul. (SUCCESS!)

-Take a pilates class at work. Those giant balls look like fun. (I didn't do this, but this was more about sweating in front of co-workers.)

-Take a knife techniques class. (Still looking for one.)

-Learn four new, high-end recipes every month: one soup, one main course, one dessert, and another of my choosing. (Ok. This may have been a lofty ambition, but I certainly did cook more, and they were new recipes.)

-Learn to use the two knitting machines I have. (SUCCESS!)

-Teach each dog at least one new trick. (SUCCESS!)

I think the biggest part of Jasmin 2008 that isn't listed is the shift in consumer habits that I aspired for. Jasmin 2008, coupled with the Social Pressure Experiment, has resulted in more conscientious shopping, and less "incidental" stash- for both me and Tika.

[Aside: Tika, Andrew and I went to the sale at Bobbin's Nest yesterday, and where Jasmin pre-2008 would have wiped out her stock, today's Jasmin, bought three STUNNING skeins of Handmaiden Mini Maiden (in the same color, one project), and one skein of HazelKnits sock yarn to test drive.]

In any case, Tika wanted to know what Jasmin 2009 was going to be. I thought about it, and while Andrew had joked about "experimentation" being the theme for 2009 MONTHS ago, I decided that it would be a great idea. Jasmin 2009 is about experimenting, trying new things, and living (responsibly) in the Now.

[Aside: I don't think Andrew was applying it to experimental knitting. Oh well.]

Jasmin 2009 does not fear failure. Jasmin 2009 will experiment with cheerful abandon, and while this type of experimentation occaisionally ends in failure, great success comes from trying, and deciding that ripping out unsuccessful knitting will not annoy me is a good trait to develop.

Jasmin 2009 is going to - wait for it - revisit sewing. Jasmin 2009 is going to take a more "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" approach to everything. Look out world.

In case you're curious, Jasmin 2010? She's all about completion.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dear Colleen

Dear Colleen;

We wanted to thank you very much for inviting us to Christmas at your house. Even though you made us wipe our paws when we came in from the yard, it was very nice of you to have the special, delicious treats for us. Our mom NEVER gives us dog treats like that!

It was totally worth taking a bath and getting our butts shaved first.


Niki and Elphie

wet dogs

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Foiled by my own hubris (or is that ooobreee?)

After announcing to Andrew that I absolutely, positively, WOULD NOT be sick during my time off work this year (because it's a miserable waste of paid vacation time), you guessed it. Hubris punched me in the face, metaphorically speaking.

I got sick. So, Monday, when I felt it the worst, I stayed in bed (or on the couch, in my case, because I can't sleep in bed when I'm sick). I drank fluids, I took cold meds, I slept like an Olympic champion. (The implication there is that if sleeping were an Olympic event, I would place gold.)

Tuesday, I felt MUCH better. I got up, had some breakfast, got dressed, picked up Andrew from his errand, and we stopped TWO places before I announced that I was tired, and would need a nap. (I know, when one is kicking a nasty virus in the ass, it is important to nap when you feel the need.) I also coughed up something EPIC while I was driving, to Andrew's great disgust.

[This is where I point out the necessity of the "in sickness and in health" bit of the wedding vows. Apparently, we needed a "you are disgusting" clause. Because, while I laughed uproariously over how gross it was, Andrew was literally almost sick to his stomach. Phlegm is not for the weak of stomach. I may have made jokes to that end effect. My bad.]

According to Andrew, I was out for two hours, sleeping through a couple of phone calls. This includes a call from Patient Zero, who concluded that I must have gotten it from her on Friday, along with some wicked awesome Christmas cheer. S'ok. What's a transmissible virus between friends, anyway?

I finally got Episode 32 live, after having it sit on the computer for two days, which made me feel good. Not physically, since I've been coughing so much it feels like my ribs have run a marathon. (To my knowledge, they have not, but if they have, I hope it was for a good cause.)

What have I learned from all this? I love 70's music. We've been watching Swingtown on the Roku box, and the soundtrack is AWESOME. I'm seeing a new CD in my future.

Tika has also beaten me (pre-flu-ey thing) into committing to a Jasmin 2009 theme. I'll be blogging about that soon.

For now, it's back to the couch with a cup of tea and contemplating my own bad taste in television.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting a grip

Sorry for the relative radio silence. I started a project (for the podcast), that was an EPIC endeavor, not realizing that it was going to be so incredibly epic. Yesterday afternoon, I decided that stressing myself out was neither conducive to creativity, nor good for Jasmin's Christmas Spirit(tm).

I conferred with my co-host/mother, and she agreed that the Awesome Christmas Special would be better for next year, giving me a full year to do it the way I want to. EPIC. This year's special will be fun, just different. This is me getting a grip on reality.

I am looking forward to writing more, actually taking pictures of my projects, and doing a bit of knitting and spinning while I'm home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doing some good, company style.

This year, our Christmas gift from work is $50 to our favorite charity. I'm torn between Doctors Without Borders and amFAR.

Since Stephanie has done SO MUCH for DWB, as have many of our podcast listeners, I'm leaning a bit towards amFAR. But, like I said, I'm torn.

Could you lend a girl a hand? I'd like to donate on 1/5/09. Help me choose!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm IT!

I was tagged by Nathalie, and, lacking any real content (because I am SWAMPED with getting ready to take time off of work).

What I’m supposed to do is find the 4th picture folder on my computer. I’m to put the 4th picture from that folder on my blog and tell 4 facts about it.

Mt Rushmore

Fact 1: This is Mt Rushmore on July 3rd, 2004.
Fact 2: It started raining shortly after we took this picture, and didn't stop until July 5th, 2004.
Fact 3: Showing up early to Mt Rushmore means avoiding the crowds.
Fact 4: I told Andrew that day that I thought I would look positively fetching memorialized in stone. (Notice that there's space for me to GW's left.)

I'm tagging Chloe, Lisa, Kathy and the Undyed Vampire.

Weather-appropriate tasks

Chores that are fun to do after it rains:

-Pulling weeds

Chores that are NOT fun to do after it rains:

-Scooping dog poop

This has been a Public Service Announcement from your friend and blogger, Captain Obvious.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't worry

For those of you who were worried, I still have a job.

Thanks for your good thoughts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am not smart enough

Things I am not smart enough to do before I have had my coffee:

1- Find my french press, despite that it is always in the drying rack.
2- Recognize my disassembled french press.
3- Reassemble the french press, without tears. ("Why can't I do this?!")

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting into the holiday spirit

Last night was opening night for the production of "The Nutcracker" that my Exceptionally Talented Niece performed in. Get ready for a shocker.

I had never seen The Nutcracker before. That's not to say I've never attended the ballet before, just not The Nutcracker. Andrew totally tripped out over this fact. So, we bought our tickets, joined his family for the pre-show dinner, and went to the Center for Performing Arts.

I was a little surprised to see so many small children. And unattended teenagers, who, OMIGOD-are-like-a-little-over-texting. (That would be a direct quote.) I had my knitting (I worked on my Maude vest), so I knew all would be fine. Certainly, teenagers are old enough to know how to behave at the ballet.

The curtain goes up. The overture is ending. They are still talking. I turned around.

"The curtain is open. That means it is time to shut up," I explain, and turn back around. (Not before I see SHOCKED expressions of fear from both of them.)

Silence for the rest of the first act. (They disappeared at the second act, which means, either they were bothering some other innocent patrons of the arts, or they sat in the lobby and did their talking, which is my sincere hope.)

The ballet was fine, but the best part? The little kids. Dressed as sheep. Wiggling their adorable little sheepy butts. The cuteness nearly killed me. I even made that "Ooooh!" sigh (complete with the hand over the heart) that women ALWAYS seem to be making at cute things.

It's almost enough to convince me to have children, only to dress them up as little sheep. (Quick, someone call CPS preemptively.) I could dress the dogs up like sheep, but I think Niki would look like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

My niece was incredible. It was so great to see her dance, and I'll tell you, seeing a graceful fifteen-year-old is probably the eigth wonder of the world. (I still walk into doorways and trip over my own feet.)

Also? I can knit stripes in the dark. Boo-yah!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A conversation from the couch

Me: Who's that guy with the iconic family pictures? Ansel Adams?
Andrew: I don't know.
Me: [Look it up online.] No. Totally wrong.
Andrew: Jackson Pollock?
Me: No. He's the guy who has the paintings that look like vomit. [Huff] Jackson Pollock.
Me: [Continue to search, and think about TV dialog.] NORMAN ROCKWELL!
Andrew: Yeah, that's him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Knitting up a tsunami

The last couple of weeks have been consumed with an epic amount of knitting. While I was at the Firefly/Serenity con, I worked the "Pride" sweater to 12 rows short of the armholes. (By the way, I'm working it in the round, because I'm smart like that.) i also knit half a sock out of the "Sarah" colored yarn.

I came home, finished my "The Sea" socks, finished a pair of Andrew's socks (from the Black Sock project), and cast on some new stuff. A pair of Mesmer socks, a pair of hot pink socks in Yucatan's Orchid (in hot pink), a Santa Fe wrap, and a Maude vest.

In fact, I've been so busy with my knitting, that I haven't had a chance to - you guessed it - take pictures of it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Late, but still thankful

At the very last minute, we canceled our reservation for Thanksgiving dinner at The Plumed Horse. It was kind of a bummer, but the four of us decided that it was necessary to do.

Shortly after I canceled our reservation, I ran into Cynthia and Colleen at the chiropractor. When Colleen asked what we were doing for the holiday, I said, "Probably sitting around the house in my underpants eating ice cream."

[Just an FYI, that is the definition of a GREAT day.]

Colleen didn't like the sound of that, and invited us to her house to join her family for Thanksgiving. I pointed out that the four of us would be an imposition, a TERRIBLE imposition, but she insisted that it wouldn't be a problem. Later that night, Colleen called and let me know that the dogs were invited to Thanksgiving, too. (She insisted on this point.)

We had a great time. Mom and I helped Colleen in the kitchen, and I got to torment The Snackary with reminders on appropriate behavior in a kitchen. (I made him call his mom "Chef", and afford her all of the courtesies of that position. It was super-fun.) The dogs got to work the room, and came home EXHAUSTED.

We discussed politics and religion, we ate loads of food, drank wine, and no blood was shed. A great time was had.

Mom pointed out, on the car ride home, that we hadn't talked about what we're thankful for. So, here I go:

I am thankful. I am thankful for my stash, which has gotten me through layoffs, the dot-com bust, and the currently depressed economy. I am also thankful for (what Andrew calls) my "equipment fetish" for the same reason. I always have the right tools for the job.

I am thankful for my mother, who always supports my harebrained schemes because she believes that I am capable of doing great, huge, awesome things. I am also thankful for Sam, who is always quick to point out holes in my plots, or conflicts of ideals. He is no "yes-man", and that's valuable, even if it's obnoxious.

I am thankful for my dogs, who remind me daily that being silly is good for the soul, that there is always time for snuggling, and that honking toys are FAR superior to squeaky toys. I am thankful for joy and comfort they bring me. I am also thankful that they have little interest in yarn or wool- with the exception of the Tess Yarns Microfiber Ribbon. (The dogs have impeccable taste.)

I am thankful for Andrew. I have come to the realization that I have impossibly high standards for spousal behavior, and ladies, he's mine. You can keep your Woolophobic boyfriends and husbands who resent your stash and sneer at your handknits. Andrew makes a big deal about my knitting and spinning, and it's the type of attention this handwork deserves.

I am thankful for Andrew because when the chips are down, we stand together. We work together. We don't have to spend every minute together. It's the way I think a relationship should be. Also, it's pretty snazzy that he can reach things on the highest shelves.

I am thankful for the people who read this blog, and listen to our podcast. Kindness and humor go a long way.

Lastly, I am thankful for my friends. To the people who know when I am a few stitches short of a row, and have the grace to remind me to breathe. The friends who defend my parenting when I feel like a complete failure as a dog-mom. The friends who insist I go out when I'm doing my best impression of a mollusk.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(Oh yeah, and if you're here for knitting, I've got some wicked knitting content coming soon.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The indignities of aging

Last week I went for my annual appointment with the optometrist. (Let's call him Dr. O. He doesn't get a cute nickname like Dr. B.) If you didn't know, I wear corrective lenses. I got my first pair of glasses when I was 12 (for reading), and then in 2006, I was switched to contact lenses (because I had to wear corrective lenses all the time).

On Friday, Dr. O announced that my coverage included regular contacts (or glasses), and a pair of "computer glasses".

"What are computer glasses? Like, I wear them when I'm at the computer?" I asked.

"Yes," Dr. O said. Helpful, right?

"Over my regular contacts?" I ask, not believing what I'm hearing.


So, in order to reduce eyestrain, I have to wear glasses over my contacts. It makes me feel about 80000 years old.

But, I got cute Tina Fey frames. So hey, not so bad.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


After I landed at LAX, Ally and I headed over to the Howard Hughes theater at the Bridge to go and see Twilight.

I had read about half of the book beforehand. (The only reason that I didn't finish it on the flight down was because I ended up sitting next to some friends on the plane - unexpectedly - and catching up with them.) I had an idea of what to expect, so, there's that.

We had tickets to the "Over 21 only" show, in the Director's theater. Leather seats, waiters taking drink orders beforehand, assigned seating, and no teen fangirls.

It was the best moviegoing experience I have ever had. Maybe it was the extra-strength Bloody Mary, but wow. Courteous patrons, comfortable seats, and no ill-behaved teens. (If there are any teens reading, it's no slight against your demographic, it's just that as an adult, it's not fun listening to shrieking, unsupervised teens. Sorry.)

The movie? Delightfully dreadful. The actors were so good-looking that you almost forget that it's not that well-done.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A FO? Me?

I finished Sandi's mesh back sweater last week:

meshback sweater
(Picture shamelessly stolen from the Purlescence Blog.)
You should be able to purchase it here, soon.

See? Now and then I actually do some knitting.

In which I find a fart less funny

Friday, Chloe graciously drove me to the airport to head out for my Nerd-tastic birthday extravaganza in Los Angeles. Since I hadn't had time to edit the audio for the podcast (which you should listen to, since it's the one with the Yarn Harlot), I took my laptop with me.

While I waited for my plane to board, I tweaked audio. This guy walks up, sits next to me, releases a nuclear fart, and walks away.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Excersize, discipline, affection

Yesterday was a great day. Mostly.

Got some stuff done at work, ducked out to go to an appointment with Dr. B, followed by a trip to visit Suzy to get my roots re-pinked before my awesome trip to LA. When I was walking from my car to my first appointment, I have to say, the warm sun on my skin felt AMAZING. I can almost see the appeal of tanning. And photosynthesis.

So, I'm supposed to get back into doing yoga regularly, and bring some of the practices into my regular life. This is a good idea, and clearly, too obvious for me to realize on my own.

When I got home from getting re-pinked, I sat down to get back to work. I worked into the late hours of the night, putting out fires. Just after eleven, Niki begins to complain. He doesn't speak when he complains, but he makes this complaining noise that sounds like he's lecturing us.

(Imagine the tonal patterns that go with this lecture, "Do you know what time it is? It is time to go to bed. But YOU are still sitting there in front of that infernal machine." That's what he does. I call him a curmudgeonly old man. I'll try and record it next time.)

By the time we finally got to bed, I had two very tired dogs sprawled on the bed, demanding affection. There was some snuggling, and the obligatory, "Stop biting your sister. Stop biting your brother." That was all over once they heard the melodic sound of kibble being put in their dishes.

Oh, and if you listen to the podcast this week, we're finally airing our chat with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It should go live Sunday morning. (All thanks to Sheetal, who found a geek-tastic article on how to make Audacity ACTUALLY work.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A FO and mo'

So, last night I finished the knitting on the Sandi Sweater. Tomorrow, I drop it off at Purlescence for some gentle blocking and seaming. Woo!

My carrot to finish the Sandi Sweater was the Chloe-made-me-buy-it Pink Cashmere Sweater (CMMBIPCS for short). But, when I finished the knitting, the hour was late, and I am (as we all know) an incredibly fickle knitter.

Candy brought her completed Abby to Saturday Knitting. (By the way, Candy, there are no completed pictures of it on your Ravelry page. Ahem.) I remembered seeing Amy work on it on the cruise, and I loved it then. After seeing Candy's I knew I had the PERFECT yarn for it.

I've mentioned before that half-price cashmere is my weakness. Well, half-price silk falls into that same category of Jasmin 2008/Social Pressure Experiment Kryptonite. (That's right nemeses, now you know my weakness. As an aside, I wonder how a nemesis would use that weakness against me.)

The last time Purlescence had a giant half-off table, I pillaged and bought all the cashmere and 90% of the sale silk. In the haul, I had a cheerful pink silk. It 's the Artfibers Regal Silk- which is a single, and I thought, "This would look great as the Abby."

I cast it on an hour ago, and I've done the first repeat (of eleven). I've been telling Mom that cowls are the new black. I think this might be love.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My faaaaaaaaavorite thing

(Just imagine Meghan from Stitch-it saying the title.)

This time of year is a great time for me. Mostly, because marzipan is widely available. On Saturday, Colleen brought me an obscene amount of marzipan. Marzipan potatoes, marzipan fruit, and even a marzipan pig, which I used to love as a small child. (I still love it, I just haven't seen one in years.)

I go through phases where I don't like chocolate, or I'm not in the mood for ice cream. I have never been in a "no marzipan" place. In fact, it's one of those things where (if I'm not careful) I will devour huge quantities in small amounts of time.

(I maintain that it HAS to be good for me. It's made of almonds; almonds have loads of protein.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday, sweet Friday

There has been some knitting. There has been some spinning. Oh, and I've had some serious IT problems.

Relax, it's my work machine, not my personal machine, but seriously. Today has been ultra-long because my Tuesday and Wednesday were eaten by a MASSIVE hard drive failure. (Also, it's apparent that automatic backups are kind of awesome. I thought it was annoying to have it pop up once a week, but the auto-backups saved my life.)

Once the Work Machine got his new hard drive, I booted him back up, launched Firefox, and...


No bookmarks. 90% of my job is based on having my bookmarks. (In case you're curious, the last 10% is comprised of meetings. I spend more than 10% of my time in meetings, but guess what? I need BOOKMARKS for them.)

Because I am a dinosaur, I didn't have them saved in any sort of bookmark-saving place online. I sauntered back to IT and of course, the day my hard drive decides to go the way of the dodo bird, I am not wearing makeup. I AM, however, wearing a "comfort" sweatshirt (read "oversized and ugly"). This is not a good thing, as makeup and nice clothes seem to expedite all of my service-oriented needs.

(Yes, I know that using my looks to get things done oppresses all women in the long run. But I also use my charm, and since I determined with Dr. B that I'm oppressed anyway, I may as well "shake what my mama gave me". Good looking men work it, too. Yay, feminism!)

Anyway, Mr. IT takes remote control of my computer looking for the last time my bookmarks were backed up. (By the way, this is INCREDIBLY unnerving, especially if you've seen these two episodes [The Big Game and Revelations] of Criminal Minds. Which I have.) So, he pulls up a list, which are bookmarks from when I started working there. Like, close to two years ago.

He finds another, which is marginally more recent (from 6 months ago), and can't find anything more recent. While he's "driving" my computer, I point out the "Bookmarks Backups" folder ("Maybe they're in here?"). Aha! There is the backup from LAST WEEK. Crisis averted.

Afterward, there was much working. Lots of working. But there is an upside to this.

By using the Picard Maneuver, I managed to escape the clutches of the knitting black hole of the Sandi Sweater. I am closing in on the second sleeve with Michael Phelps-like speed. (If he knit. However, I think I may swim faster than he can knit. Take that!)

I've also started spinning up my Atlantis roving from Crown Mountain. It's pretty. In a manly way. Fetching. Dashing. Whatever. Oh, and I'm closing in on completing sock #2 of the vintage Lisa Souza sock yarn.

I've been invited to go see Quantum of Solace with some old friends, but I'm finding myself wanting to see High School Musical 3 more. (Is it just me or is Zac Efron unnaturally cute? He's no Hugh Jackman, but still.)

Speaking of Hugh Jackman, Emy, you were totally right about Van Helsing. Terrible movie. I disagree about the movie eclipsing his hotness. That's like non-planet Pluto eclipsing the sun. It'll never happen. Hugh's hotness is too great. Like the sun.

(I would LOVE to see him play a werewolf in something better. Like Richard Zeeman in a movie adaptation of the Anita Blake books, before Laurell K. Hamilton turned him into a douchebag and made the books all smutty.)

For the record, I would like to state that I saw Scoop for the Hugh Hotness. The only "scoop" it resembled is the one I use for "panning for gold" in the backyard. But he was still HOT.

In short:

1- Technology is out to get me.
2- Knitting is agreeing with me.
3- Hugh Jackman is awesome, regardless of the horrible movies he is in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It looks like the perfect movie

Has anyone else seen the ads for "Australia"? Andrew's love of Nicole Kidman, and (what can only be described as) my Hugh Jackman addiction make this seem like it's going to be the PERFECT film. Date night, anyone?

Also, have you noticed all the gratuitous topless shots of Hugh? Wow. (Hubba, hubba even.)

(Just for your reference, I've loved all of his movies- even Kate and Leopold, which was TERRIBLE. It just goes to show that if the eye candy is appealing enough, any movie can be considered "good".)

For your enjoyment, bad entertainment (available on DVD) with excellent eye candy:

Shark Attack
(Casper Van Dien)
Tarzan and the Lost City (Casper Van Dien)
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (John Barrowman, from Torchwood)
Robin Hood (the BBC series- Richard Armitage and Jonas Armstrong)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Awesome, nerd-tastic birthday plans

I have a birthday coming up. Two weeks ago, out of the blue, Sam called me and DEMANDED that I come down to LA for my birthday- and to go to the Firefly/Serenity convention in Burbank with him. After some serious consideration, and weighing my options ...


I'm super-excited. We're also talking about seeing Wicked while I'm down there. Two packed, fun-filled days.

I have a feeling that 26 is going to be a very good year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mondays are for nerds

If you've been a long-time reader, or you've read the archives, you know that I find nerds irresistible. I read nerd romance novels, I observe nerds in their natural habitats, and I watch nerd TV.

Yes, nerd TV. It started with Beauty and the Geek (which I watched mostly for the eye candy, since I hated the premise). Then, I discovered Chuck and The Big Bang Theory. Of course, no "hot nerd" discussion is complete without the mention of Dr. Spencer Reid (from Criminal Minds), and the plethora of nerd eye candy from Heroes (keeping one specific, I-always-knew-he-was-just-misunderstood watchmaker in mind).

It's basically all nerd eye candy and nerd humor. Chuck is full of more common nerd pop culture references, where you need to be a hard-core geek to really enjoy the humor in Big Bang Theory. Like, speaking Klingon hard-core. (Qapla!)

So, Mondays are for nerds. The lineup is all there. Chuck, Big Bang Theory, and Heroes. I'm a sucker for a brilliant men in glasses. (Or Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Apparently, brilliant and arrogant work, too. Does this sound oddly familiar to anyone?) Add socially awkward and that's a trifecta I can't resist.

Now, to get caught up on my nerditude...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rock stars!

This year I decided to host an impromptu Halloween shindig. We all came dressed as rock stars and played some Rock Band in the front room. The neighborhood kids got a huge kick out of it, and looked who joined us:

Rock stars!

(Photo courtesy of Tika!)

Dolores! She took time out of traveling the campaign trail to visit us, and play a few tunes with our band, Fyrewyre. It wasn't as eventful as a night at the Lucky Horseshoe, but she seemed to have a good time.

Despite the rain, we had a good turnout of trick-or-treaters, and I think one of the little boys from across the street invited himself over to play sometime.

I guess that's the sign of a good party, right?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Niki, the snuggle-mutt

When we adopted Niki, he didn't know how to snuggle. I found this incredibly disappointing, since I had this idea of snuggling with our new dog on the couch, like EVERYBODY else does with their dogs.

I'm a problem-solver, so I taught Niki how to snuggle. I kept dog cookies in my pocket, and would get him up on the couch, snuggle him, and periodically give him a treat. After a month or so, Niki would snuggle without need of treat. Smart, right?

Ever since, he's been a snuggling machine- especially if I'm not feeling well. The last two days, I've been on a migraine bender. Thursday night, I laid down on the couch (ice pack on my face, heating pad on my neck), and chilled out.

Niki hops up next to me, and starts walking over me- without stepping on me. I'm objecting loudly (because you don't step on the alpha in your pack EVER), and he curls up on my stomach. To snuggle me. Like a cat. A 45-pound cat.

(I wasn't at risk for any sort of compression asphyxia, he was mostly resting on my hip bones and my stomach. His very decorative tail was on my chest.)

Andrew pointed out that the dogs always stick to me when I'm sick- if I'm in bed, they're on the bed with me (or in the bedroom, keeping an eye).

Maybe I'm not the worst dog-mother in the whole world, after all.

Here is Niki, sunning in the planter:


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Something wonderful

My Auntie Desi gave birth to a healthy daughter today. I have a new cousin! (Pictures and details pending!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wow, I like to knit!

Last night, I remembered that I like to knit. Before you start assuming that I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, just bear with me.

I've been working on a GORGEOUS garment for Sandi, and I'm making good progress on it. However, it's Obligatory Knitting now, and it has a deadline. Whoosh! The slightest utterance that something has become Obligatory Knitting sucks the joy out of knitting like fire sucks air out of a room.

I could metaphorically suffocate in Obligatory Knitting. Thank heavens life isn't a metaphor.

(Or is it?)

While the OKSandi Sweater (OKSS for short) is truly lovely, it is not all-purpose knitting. While the pattern offers elegant simplicity, the piece has gotten too large to carry around, and the rows are staggeringly long. Are-we-there-yet long, even.

When I've finished two of the impossibly long rows (one pattern repeat), I measure the length. Nothing ever changes. It's Black Hole knitting. (This may be why I don't finish sweaters very often. Just maybe.)

Last night we had guests over to watch the election results. There was eating, drinking, and a good time was had by all. So, I worked on my second Mushroom Caps sock, which is knitting that is much better suited for just such an occasion.

mushroom caps sock

I finished MOST of the foot. (Not pictured above, that's the first sock and the humble beginnings of the second sock.) The whole time, all I could think was how much I love knitting with handspun, and how delightfully short each round was. I started planning my next sock, even. (Given my exhausting work schedule, I haven't been planning much knitting, which is the first sign that I'm starting to lose my knitting mojo.)

Now I am hearing the siren song of some merino/seacell that is telling me it wants to be a pair of aran socks.

Once I finish these socks, of course. And the OKSS.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One small person, one giant ballot for mankind!

This morning, Mom and I got up early and went to our local polling place. Once we got checked in, I was handed a RIDICULOUSLY large ballot. Like, one of those giant birthday cards.


giant ballot

The sock is 6" long. I would have gotten a better shot of the ballot, but they were watching my pink-haired self pretty closely, and I think they would have yelled at me for standing on a chair. (Some people have no sense of adventure. Really!)

I don't want to be redundant. But, here we go: It's important to vote.

My parents are immigrants in this country. They're both naturalized citizens, and they vote.

I read someone's blog this morning, and I was infuriated because she said that she didn't really believe in the person she voted for, but essentially, he was the lesser of two evils. That is crap. It's the same defeatist garbage that keeps people home on election day, and bitching during the eventual aftermath.

I voted for Obama. Whether or not you agree with my politics, I voted for him because he wants to change things, and I find that refreshing. I voted for him because he's brilliant. I voted for him because when he speaks, he makes me feel proud to be American. (A hyphenated-American, but an American nonetheless.)

I voted for him because I truly believe that if you go into something intending to make a change, then change is inevitable. This is how I've lived my life, and I've done pretty well living with that personal philosophy.

Stand behind your candidate. Tell me why you're voting for the person you're voting for. You have the freedom to disagree with me, and I stand up for your right to disagree. The only thing I demand is that you be proud: the person we elect is going to be our representative to the world.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alas, humanity is doomed

Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. It turns out that having hot pink hair is awesome 364 days out of the year. On Halloween, I had a doctor's appointment, then went to the grocery store. In street clothes.

I had three separate people asked what I was dressed as. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. No makeup. Nothing special. The first time, I was confused. "I'm dressing as a rock star later... Oooh. No, I always have pink hair." The third time, I was still polite, just annoyed. Next year, I leave the house in my costume.

When I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a woman come out in a pair of galoshes (wellies?). I've always wanted a pair of galoshes, but the thing that really got me excited was the pair of cabled socks she had decoratively flipped over the top of an otherwise boring pair of shiny black galoshes.

You can understand how I am now on a mission to find the PERFECT pair of shiny black galoshes - and what are galoshes without a shiny rain slicker?

The last time I found a shiny rain slicker was in an Adult store. Silly me, it was just the right length for me (part of a sexy firefighter outfit, in case you were wondering), and I foolishly thought I would be able to find a better version of the same slicker. (Read "better version" as "not purchased from a seedy sex shop".)

So, I've been hunting around on the internet for my "perfect" galoshes. As if I needed more shoes, right?

So far, I've found the following:

Candidate #1:

pink wellies

Fabulous, right? So very pink! Alas, $103.50 seems a little high for a pair of Elle Woods-esque wellies.

Candidate #2:

plaid wellies

Right price ($51.99), and while the plaid is pleasant, it's not as versatile as I would like. Alas.

Candidate #3:

hunter boots

Black, shiny(ish), but kind of ugly. And not that special brand of galosh-ugly I'm looking for.

Candidate #4:

stockholm boot

Keens! Alas, not the classic galoshes that I dream of, but (so far), the best suited to my tastes and needs. Also, nothing fits quite like a pair of Keens. (If you haven't tried a pair yet, do. They're WONDERFUL. Also, a little weird-looking, but clearly, I like that sort of thing.)

In short, I'll go try on the Keens (at R.E.I., my favorite place for practical footwear), and keep hunting for shiny, perfect galoshes.

(Let me know if you can find them, and where!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The worst mother EVER

Yesterday was a hard day for Elphie. Without going into too much detail, Elphie had been exhibiting some behavior that necessitated going to The Vet. While historically The Vet hasn't been a stressful place to go (since the first couple of visits), her last trip was to the Emergency Vet. That was pretty gnarly.

Add to that, our favorite vet ever has moved to London. As with any medical/patient situation, the doctor has a relationship with the patient. In the case of our seriously abused little dog, rapport is important, as is the idea of their growth and development. (Elphie still is a little twitchy around strangers, but she's made some exponential growth, developmentally.)

The prognosis was that Elphie needed to be sedated so that they could flush out the afflicted area. Since she doesn't know the new vet, she was not about to let Dr. A administer ANYTHING. Add to that, Elphie isn't treat motivated, and is wicked smart. So, we decided to give her a sedative first (which doesn't require hunting for a vein, then injecting, which is a time-consuming venture), let her calm down, then I would restrain her, again, to get the sedative shot into the vein.

Elphie makes TERRIBLE noises when she's scared. It's totally heartbreaking. Here I was, doing my best as her advocate/parent/owner, and she doesn't understand why I'm letting strangers (potentially) hurt her. The look she gave me said, "Et tu, Mama?"

She wasn't hurt by any of this, physically. This is important to know. They gave her the sedative, and in seconds she just went limp. I don't think I've been that upset in ages, watching her very lively, active body just. Go. Limp. I had a bad feeling, but I've always gotten good care at the practice, and was ready to wait in the lobby for her to wake up.

(Usually they send owners home, wait for the dogs to totally come to, then send them home. Since Elphie still hasn't gotten over her fear of being in a crate/kennel, we decided- we being the vet and me- that once she was alert enough to lift her head, I'd take her home and keep an eye on her.)

So, I sat and read. While she was under, one of the seasoned vet techs asked me if I wanted them to run her heartworm test- which they hadn't been able to do at her first couple of appointments, three years ago. I was thrilled that she remembered, and approved the test. Elphie got the full "spa treatment" (tooth brushing, nail clipping), all while she slept.

I waited a little over an hour, and the vet tech let me know that she was starting to wake up. We loaded her up in the car, and headed home. When we pulled up to the house, Elphie was awake enough to not want ANY of my help or attention, but I carried her in the house, and set her down on the rug. Then, I cried for a little while. Partly because I was exhausted and hungry, partly because I felt like the Worst Mother Ever.

It's those things that need to be done- vaccinations, doctor's appointments, whatever, that human children say things to their parents like, "I hate you" or "Why are you letting them hurt me?" or whatever. One cannot explain the necessity of these things to a dog. Believe me, I tried.

I SWEAR- for the rest of the day, Elphie was snuggling anybody BUT me. (Fortunately, Niki had no qualms about snuggling me.) After some breakfast, a nap, and a mandatory cup of coffee, I felt better, physically. Mom assured me that I am not the Worst Mother Ever, and told me one of her Worst Mother Ever stories.

Colleen came and sat with the dogs while we went to see Flower Drum Song, partly because I'm neurotic, but mostly because if something went wrong, Colleen would know what to do, and the dogs trust her implicitly. By the time we got home - around 11 PM - Elphie had forgiven me.

By this morning, she was bouncing around on our bed, making me feel like yesterday was definitely over, and today is a new day.

Just like that.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

To interrupt our normal programming...

You can hear how I came to spinning in the most recent episode of Cast-On!

(Upcoming posts will include our AWESOME Halloween shindig. And some knitting.)


Friday, October 31, 2008

I'd like to thank all the little people...

A few months ago, my friend Brenda wrote up a pattern, and asked me and Mom to pose in her pictures. Imagine my surprise to find that On the Vine was one of today's recently added patterns page in Ravelry- and guess who was modeling?

recently added patterns

Wait. What's that in the bottom left corner?

on the vine

Hey! That's me! (and Mom.)

If you want to see more, here's the Ravelry link for the On The Vine Pattern.

Today, knitting patterns; Tomorrow, the WORLD!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love in the time of politics

no on 8

I don't talk about politics on the blog, generally. But.

This is a church and state issue. If same-sex marriages offend you, don't marry someone who is the same sex as you. Simple solution.

Also, it's legislation like Prop 8 that would have made it illegal for me and Andrew to get married. (Anti-miscegenation laws, anyone?) Love is love.

Let's keep the government out of our relationships where we can. Seriously.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hey! Elphie likes it!

I have odd dogs. They're selectively odd, so it keeps things interesting, but I find myself constantly surprised at some of the things they do. Especially Elphie.

Mom brought me some grape tomatoes. For the last three weeks, I've been obsessed with eating tomatoes with salt and lemon juice. When I was putting away the extra grape tomatoes, one escaped, which Elphie promptly hunted.

Since grape tomatoes won't hurt a dog, I figured I'd let her play with it. Since neither of the dogs has ever been interested in eating veggies, I assumed that she'd play with it a bit, get bored, and move on.


She pushed it around the living room with her nose, stabilized it with her paws, and began to gnaw. A few minutes later, all that was left of the tomato was the skin. All of it. She'd managed to eat everything but the skin, which seemed deliberately left behind. Weird, right?

Speaking of critters that eat weird stuff, here's a video of my friend Tanya's kitten, Chani, eating everything:

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's been real

My darling friend;

I have treasured the time we've spent together. When you came into my life, I knew I had been changed, forever. I loved how you were thoughtful, and catered to my needs. In return, I would exclaim my love for you, and keep you in the style in which you have become accustomed.

As love sometimes does, after a couple of years, you stopped being as reliable and attentive to my needs. Occasionally you deliberately wouldn't do what you promised you would. That was when I knew it was over. I kept you around because, even unreliable as you have grown (and ugly as it sounds), you were better than nothing.

As you might know, we got our electrical work redone. I knew without the new electrical work, I would be beholden to you for what you do, but I don't need you anymore. Today, you have officially been replaced, so pack your things, and leave.

You see, TiVo, AT&T brought us a box that would always record what we want, when we want, and your people will no longer blame your planned obsolescence on a TiVo/cable box disagreement. You may be hurt by this abrupt end to, what really was, a beautiful relationship.

Maybe you should have considered that before you recorded the Home Shopping Network instead of the season premeire of Heroes. That's water under the bridge now, and we are unequivicably OVER.

I hope you are happy in your next life, as a reclaimed hard drive. We are all only the sum of our parts, so this will keep you in our memory (or, as our memory).

It's been real,


PS. Not to tout your shortcomings, but the U-Verse box can record FOUR CHANNELS simulaneously.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A sign of the times

At dinner last night, one gal asked me if I knew what the font on the placacards was called.

"That's not a font; that's my handwriting."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My ears deceive me

What I heard:

"I'm going to collect the weasels you requested."



Monday, October 20, 2008

Now you see me...

Sorry for the radio silence. If you know me in real life (as opposed to just reading here, or listening to the podcast), you know I've been going through some stuff. Not-enough-time-for-fun stuff.

After speaking with three professionals (different professions) and getting the same answer, I need to slow down. I've disappeared from social knitting groups because I'm putting in long hours, and I've passed the Minion hosting torch.

I've gotten loads of supportive e-mails, and a few checking on me to make sure that my absence isn't something more serious. (Thanks for the lurve, dudes!) Now, I'm sharing the worst, most vexing part of all of this:

When I get this tired, I start looking like my father.

I mean, I haven't sprouted a mustache yet, and I've still got all of my hair, but when I'm tired, I get the same bags he has under his eyes, and I get the same, weird creases down my cheeks that he does.

I see it in the mirror, vanity takes hold, and I'm immediately resentful of the responsibilities that are keeping me from my Beauty Sleep.

I'm still knitting and spinning, just not very much- tomorrow I'll post about Color and the yarn swap at Purlescence.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Pathways in MY BRAIN!!!

A few years ago, I read that when you learn something new, it creates a wrinkle- or a pathway, in your brain. After the class I took with Cat Bordhi on Saturday, I'm feeling the effects cerebral wrinkles. Effects include:

1- An uncontrollable desire to drop everything I'm working on and knit a sock with a new architecture.

2- Daydreaming about knitting during other activities (working, meetings, spinning). Specifically, knitting a brilliant sock in handspun yarn.

3- Using the new sock as a carrot for finishing other tasks (like plying up the singles that have been resting).

4- Admiring the baby sock I did in class with vanity and pride beyond compare:

CB Sock -front

cb sock - side

I'll be honest- when I cast on my Footprint (a brilliant, simple architecture), it was 11PM, and the ONLY reason I didn't cast on something more challenging was because of the late hour. It seems to be going faster than a traditional sock. Since the construction was published in the Twist Collective (as the Houdini Socks), I'll let you explore it yourself.

Here is the process of my socks thus far:

(Two completed footprints, with the stitches picked up.)
houdini socks

(A close-up, so you can see for yourself.)
houdini sock cu

houdini - first cut

(Opening up the stitches.)
houdini sock - opening

(Ta da!)
houdini sock - open

As far as the class is concerned, I recommend Cat as a teacher ANYTIME. Her background as a schoolteacher gives her the experience to pace the class so that the students absorb the most when they're fresh, and as the day went on, the material seemed to get simpler.

Despite the fact that there were 25(ish) students, all of us got one-on-one attention from Cat, and it seemed like all the students had that "aha!" moment. I haven't felt this smart in AGES!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ice Cream Diet

So, I was getting dressed yesterday, and I noticed that my jeans were getting a little ... snug. I thought about the last time my jeans got a little ... snug (when I gained 40 lbs), and if I was doing anything similar (eating ice cream everyday).

When I was discussing this with Tika, she said, "Aren't you going to yoga?"

"No. I think about going to yoga, but then I decide to have ice cream for breakfast instead."

Cause, meet Effect.

If you're looking for me, I'll be sweating it out on the Wii.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Heroes meets The Fly

I'm a huge Heroes fan. I think it's a great show, and I love that the first two seasons are available on Instant Watch on Netflix. I also love that if your Tivo is rebellious (like ours) and neglects to record the new episodes, they're available online at Fancast and Netflix - pretty immediately.

I could wax poetic about all of the incredible storylines that tie together, the need for in-depth exposition, and all that beautiful character development - see, there I go!

I could also gloat that Sylar/Gabriel was just a victim of circumstances, and I KNEW he wasn't a bad guy, deep down. As I insisted, all he needed was someone to love him. (He's no Sheldon Cooper, but he's nerdly enough.) I do like that they blur the lines of who is good and who is bad.

But when Suresh injected himself with the virus (or whatever it is), and his skin reacted JUST LIKE Jeff Goldblum's in The Fly, I called it. I also think they may have stolen some dialog from Jekyll & Hyde (the musical, not the book).

On the knitting front, I've finished 1 1/2 footprints from the Cat Bordhi class. But, I haven't taken those pictures yet, so I'll distract you with some spinning. I present, Hotel California:

Hotel CA

Hotel CA - CU

As always, the Crown Mountain Superwash is a pleasure to spin. I've had some repetitive stress pain, so I've reduced my knitting load- but I'm trying to finish some long-term UFOs.

Not only because it's been a while since I've finished anything, but I'm trying to actualize the potential of all that proto-yarn and proto-clothing. Keeping an eye on the UFOs keeps me honest about my stash, and keeps me on the Social Pressure Experiment track.

Friday, September 26, 2008

There is something wrong with me.

WHY do I do this to myself?!

I know that I have more than enough yarn- enough to last me through an apocalypse. Hence the Social Pressure Experiment.

So why is it that I feel compelled to check out the Yarnzilla sale? Half-off cashmere, 40% off sock yarns, it's all too much!

For me, if I don't see it , it's not there. That's why I didn't participate in the Shop Hop. That's why I no longer meander around Purlescence, absorbing those intoxicating wool fumes that always convince me that this time it will be different, this time I'll start and finish the sweater I'm buying yarn for. I am a weak woman when it comes to wool.

This is partly why I've signed up for classes this year at Stitches. Until two years ago, I was working the show, and didn't have time to take classes.

Two years ago, I made the mistake of waiting for my time off to be approved before signing up for the class I wanted. While waiting for official approval, the class filled and closed. Last year, none of the classes offered appealed to me.

This year, I signed up for classes as soon as I had a few minutes in front of my computer. I'm signed up for "Cool Socks" with Lucy Neatby all day Friday, and "Design Your Own Sock Architecture" with Cat Bordhi all day Sunday. This will give me the opportunity to learn loads, and serve double duty to reduce my available shopping hours by HALF.

I know that the official end date for the SPE is the day Stitches opens. I think I'm really embracing this whole change of behaviors, though. I may not toss out stuff from my stash after Stitches, but the exercise has really changed my buying habits. That was the point, I suppose. [Wine never hurts, either.]

In other not-buying-yarn-or-fiber news, I'm taking a class with Cat Bordhi this Saturday at Knitting Boutique in Lafayette, CA. A whole bunch of us are going. I've even re-pinked my hair.

It's going to be awesome.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oooh... pretty colors...

First, I would like to say how surprised I am to find out that I'm not alone in my heresy. Everyone made me feel much better about (what I felt) was speaking against popular opinion. You guys ROCK!

I've been talking about how much I've been spinning. I mentioned how I'm a mad scientist with a need for bright colors.

I present, the fruits of my labors:

Roving Rainbow

I love how cheerful it is. There will be purple in the rainbow, but my attempt at purple failed. See:

Failed Purple

Not quite purple enough to fit the rest of my theme. I'm not saying that I don't like it; it just isn't the right purple for my day-glo rainbow.

I had a couple of things in my stash that fit the need for "bright and cheerful" while I was dyeing up my 1980s childhood masterpiece.

First was "I Feel Free" from Crown Mountain Farms:

I feel Free

I Feel Free - CU

It's not a color I would normally pick for myself, but I think this is going to grow up to be a pair of Mad Color Weave Socks.

I'm finding myself drawn to the more monochromatic roving in my stash, which is unusual for me. I'm a high-contrast, multi-colored kind of girl. It seems that I like to knit plain, monochromatic yarns rather than the stuff that really appeals to me as a spinner. It's a process of finding a happy medium.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A little heresy

I know I'm not the only person to feel this way, and I'm certainly not the only person who has posted about it on a blog. I knit the Baby Surprise Jacket, and while I find the esteemed Ms. Elizabeth Zimmermann to be brilliant, I find her directions somewhat lacking.

BSJ- angle

Given the directions in "The Opinionated Knitter", Ms. Zimmermann urges the knitter to trust her and just go with the flow. Except this: my flow? Wasn't going so much. The way I knit, I like precision, and I don't like fudging. I found myself doing a little fudge here and there to keep things correct. In the end, you can't tell that, but given the way I
like to work- it made me uncomfortable.

I know that Ms. Zimmermann is the patron saint of knitters everywhere. I just don't think one should need a spreadsheet in order to knit a simple, garter, baby sweater. It just feels wrong.

I mentioned on the podcast that I'm not really pleased with where the colors fell. One of our listeners on Ravelry reminded me that it's no knock against the color, it's just too subtle for a kids' garment. Given the day-glo stuff that I typically knit for my friends' kids, it's no wonder that I feel compelled to push this one down to the bottom of a "gifts for
people" chest.

I've decided empirical evidence is necessary to solve the "Do I hate this sweater?" dilemma. I'll knit another one, in a bright colorway, and then decide if I still hate it.


But I still hate garter stitch. Always and forever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I don’t know anybody else who gets as excited about small things as I do. But, I love new gadgets, and my old electric toothbrush was on it’s last little electric leg.

I’m surprised that my existing toothbrush has lasted as long as it has- but finding brush heads is near impossible, and I had heard some awesome things about the Sonicare.

Gentle readers, my new toothbrush:


I bought mine at Costco. Besides the expanded functionality of the toothbrush itself, what really sealed the deal for me was the travel cases and the travel charger. I hate traveling with a manual toothbrush, and I’m also annoyed if my electric brush dies during a trip.

(Given all of the recent weight and luggage restrictions, I trim off all the excessive stuff that I can manage. A full-size charger doesn’t make the cut.)

When deciding between this model, and a Lesser Brush, I could practically hear Andrew’s voice in my head, talking about long-term costs.

Shockingly enough, the brush heads for the Fancy-Schmancy one? Less expensive than the brush heads for the Lesser Brush.

The logic escapes me.