Monday, March 30, 2009

Not to say 'I told you so'

Dear Andrew;

Thank you for shoring up the big bookshelves (and the shelves) in my office two weeks ago. I know I had put the "honey-do" note up in December, and was a little too excited when you did it while I was out with Tika. Because, living in California, it's important to have tall bookshelves secured.

Especially since today, a little more than two weeks later, we had a 4.6 earthquake. You're a great husband, and handy to boot.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

No longer shall I be oppressed!

On Friday afternoon, Chloe taught me how to drive a stick shift. Despite the fact that I have been driving for more than ten years now, I never was taught how. I asked, but various circumstances prevented my learning. And so it went.

When I realized that Chloe drove a stick shift, I responded with my trademark unbounded enthusiasm. So, at the end of business on Friday, Chloe came over (freshly blond-ed!) with the express purpose of teaching me The Stick.

The first couple of attempts at first gear were not stellar, but warranted cheering from the neighbor kids, who watched the car have a seizure (and heard me shriek), and then yelled "THAT was AWESOME!" (Note: It was not so awesome from where I was sitting.)

Through failed attempts, a few successes, and a few stalls at lights, Chloe kept her cool. She was encouraging, kind, and calm. (My parents could have taken a lesson in teaching driving from her.) She gave praise regularly, and assured me that I am NOT stupid for not figuring it out in ten minutes.

She also Kinneared me, as proof:

(Photo courtesy of Chloe Sparkle)

After about an hour behind the wheel, I was EXHAUSTED, but encouraged. Chloe went off to work, and Andrew and I traded his car for his brother's, which is a stick. I drove to Purlescence that night, and to Los Altos on Saturday. (YAY! Fifth gear!) One stall per trip, that's all.

And Chloe? Sorry about the whiplash. First gear is tricky.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dr. B's cure for knitting ennui

If you listened to episode 44 of the podcast, you know that my knitting has taken a nosedive. Into a pile of elephant crap. For three weeks, not only has every project run into a major snag, but the more current issue is thatI lost my will to knit. Very serious. Life-threatening, even, for those unfortunates in my immediate vicinity.

I have been suffering from knitting ennui, which is what happens when Knitter's Block goes untreated. Like an infection that gets worse. By Tuesday, when I had an appointment with the esteemed Dr. B, I was at the point where my knitting mojo was going to go septic. (I'll stop the infection analogy here.)

Our conversation went a lot like this:

Me: So, I can't knit.
Dr. B: Like, there is a problem with your hands?
Me: No. I can't knit. Everything I touch turns to crap.
Dr. B: Are you doing something differently?
Me: Same stuff. Easy stuff. There is something wrong with me. And now, I don't want to knit. I'm Sock Blocked!

(At this point, Dr. B chuckled at my interpretation of crude slang to appropriately fit the situation, and I proceeded to repeat the entire "When Knitting Attacks" segment from episode 44. Then, I said something to the effect of, "I'm sure they didn't warn you about having to deal with crazy knitters in school.")

At the end of my story, I asked for a magic solution. (Every time I go in, I explain my problem, and then request a solution, formula, or list. This works, I swear. He's just *that* good.)

So, Dr. B recommended using mindfulness practices to determine the source of the Knitter's Block. [For a great explanation of mindfulness and knitting, go listen to this episode of Cast-on.] What was I thinking about when I was working on these projects, or thinking about these projects that made them SO difficult or unappealing?

So, I did. I saw my Knit(more)-a-long sweater sitting there, on the table. After a Napoleon Dynamite-esque sigh, I determined that it was stupid to allow a large swath of stockinette stitch defeat me, and I had a movie to watch. Believe me, you don't want to face a cinematic gem like Saw 5 without some knitting.

Somehow, just auto-piloting on the Katarina sweater while watching people mutilate themselves knocked my knittng ennui right on it's ass. If knitting ennui has an ass. Though, maybe my knitting was intimidated by the film; maybe it thought I would take a Jigsaw-esque approach to it's attitude.

(That would be, for those of you who don't like gorey, poorly concieved sequels, "Shape up or lose a sleeve," in order to give the sweater a REAL appreciation for it's life.)

In any case, not only is my mojo back online, but I've also cast on a "Coachella" top, in the Tess Microfiber Ribbon. Luscious! Ignore the fact that I have done the front three times, since I managed to misinterpret the directions incorrectly the first two times. I have; the consensus is that it's going to look HOT on me.

(By the way, for your own dose of Dr. B-esque strategies, go give Dr. Gemma a listen.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Patrick Wilson and the naked clause

I mentioned in my previous post that I have a sneaking suspicion that Patrick Wilson may have a "naked clause" in his rider, stating that in order to participate in a play or movie, he needs to have at least one nude scene.

(Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm just noticing. The man looks good au naturale, or "a la mode" as it is referred to in our house.)

Proof: The Full Monty (on Broadway), Watchmen, Lakeview Terrace, and Angels in America.

Tika pointed out that he wasn't naked- or even shirtless- in Phantom of the Opera, but I have a theory that they filmed a nude scene to appease Patrick, and then explained that it didn't make the movie due to length. That's showbiz, kid.

Since I am concerned with only reporting accurate information here, I have taken it upon myself to queue up all of his movies. For now, you have the list.

You're welcome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I have blogged about my deep and lasting love of one Hugh Jackman. Maybe it's those long legs, that were clearly designed to be in a showgirls style kick line, maybe it's the singing, maybe it's his 'do as Wolverine. Maybe it's that he gave Barbara Walters a lapdance. Whatever it is, Hugh has got it.

I may have metioned that Andrew feels similarly about Nicole Kidman. Ok, so we missed the proverbial boat on seeing Australia in the movie theaters, but we got it as soon as it was available on Netflix.

The movie was panned, but movie reviewers and I often don't see eye to eye, so I disregarded that bit of information, and we popped in the DVD. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, but alas, that famous Baz Luhrmann cinemetography, which had the exact effect of making the movie feel cheesey. It's also narrated by the "mixed blood" child in the movie, in what feels like a HORRIFIC stereotype - as far as how he speaks.

Forget that. Remember, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman. Beefcake and cheescake, respectively.

The reason you'll rent this movie, and enjoy it, is this, the best scene in the movie. Maybe the best scene in cinematic history:

Mmm... Creases. Also, note the VERY natural "dumping a bucket of water over my body" pose. (I've asked Andrew to re-enact this scene for me. I'll keep you posted on his answer.)

In any case, if you're looking for a great movie, rent something else. If you're looking for your fill of Jackman flesh, rent Australia.

While I have an undying love of Baz Luhrmann for bringing back the musical, (Baz, if you're reading this, I think I'd be a GREAT leading lady), this was a film that needed an editor. Or some velociraptors. (The raptors fight the Japanese invaders in my version, and they're not REALLY in Australia, the island they send the mixed race kids is really Isla Nublar. Totally plausible.)

It also could have used some Watchmen-style nudity, if you get my meaning. Also, does Patrick Wilson have a requisite nudity clause in his rider? Not that I'm complaining, I'm just curious.

So in short, the film was short on plot but high on eyecandy. In the eternal words of Gershwin: Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's not to love?

I mentioned that I had a REMARKABLY stupid weekend, but I have to point out the silver lining of it all. We went to the lovely Loma Prieta Winery on Saturday with one of Andrew's co-workers, who is a member there.

This was a June Cleaver-ish thing for me to do. While you may not suspect it, with the pink hair, I perform quite a few very classic "wifely" functions- including making myself presentable, social, and pleasant at events that involve Andrew's career.

(You can imagine me vaccuming in heels and pearls, but that's the
only place that is going to happen. Go ahead, take a minute.)

So, I put on my makeup, and the Poison Green Twist, and off we went.

The Loma Prieta Winery is WAAAAAY back off of Summit Rd, in the Santa Cruz mountains. It's SO far back off of Summit that the road changes names. Thrice, I believe.

I don't particularly like windy roads, or one-lane, windy, mountain roads, but I kept both my composure AND my breakfast in check. When we got there, it was totally worth it. I mean, look at the view:


Oops, the background is in soft focus. Wine will do that, won't it? From what we were told, on a clear day you could see WAAAAAY out, but I preferred it a little overcast. (I think a little fog is lovely.)

There was food, and of course, wine. Lots of wine.

(This wine wasn't my favorite, but it was the best color. White wine is boring to take pictures of, but I really enjoyed their Viognier.)

The most dangerous part was the sommalier that circulated, refilling empty glasses. It's no wonder that I dropped my driver's license!

(Which, by the way, when I called first thing the next morning, they found it and happily mailed it back to me, saving me HOURS at the DMV as well as the general frustration of pink hair on official documents.)

Other cool things about the winery include Mo, the winery dog, who fetches AROUND the vines, doing incredibly agility work, and awesome art in the restrooms.

(By the way, AFTER my license was misplaced, Andrew pointed out that next time, he'll be happy to keep my ID in his wallet. You'd think I would have been smart enough to do this, but nooo...)

All I can say is that I am SO looking forward to the Retzlaff Winery spinning day. We'll just have to put someone else in charge of my license.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Adventures in sheer stupidity

My weekend was fun, but long. It started with a guy trying to sell me perfume (out of a moving vehicle) because the packaging matched my hair, a Silicon Valley Rotarian asking me if *that* was my real hair, my knitting failing me, and ending with leaving my driver's license at a winery.

Upside: I got some spinning done, took a great nap, had a great date-day with Andrew on Saturday, despite my rampant stupidity.

I'll have pictures up shortly, but my poor laptop was decidedly unhappy with the workload I heaped on it this weekend, so I thought I would give it a break and upload my pictures tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A stylish alternative to wellies

On the tail of a post about my deep and lasting love of the fanny pack, I wanted to share my alternative to wellies- a fashionable one. (Trust me, these put the fanny pack back in its' place.)

It has been raining a RIDICULOUS amount. On Tuesday, I had a minor meltdown, and on my way home from Pho (at the best Pho place EVER), I stopped at DSW, which is effectively the Mecca for stylish (yet affordable) footwear. I was hoping to get a pair of wellies, and I didn't much care what they looked like at that point.

I walked in, and as far as the eye could see, all there was in front was strappy sandals. My toes froze just LOOKING at them. I went straight to the back - where they keep the clearance shoes.

There, I found vinyl boots- by named designers - for 40, 50, and 70% off. They're waterproof AND stylish. Plus, I love swaggering about in boots.

Pictures pending me taking them- because, unless you're Tika and have RIDICULOUSLY long legs, it's impossible to take pictures of your own feet, Itellyouwhut.

The ugly duckling of accessories

This weekend, while I was at Stitches West, I found myself hauling around WAY too much stuff in my purse. I had vintage swag from a previous stitches (the little "Knitter Attached" pouch from XRX), but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of my outfit with a big, black strap going across my chest.

So, what did I do? I shortened the strap, hung it decoratively off to the side, and turned it into...

A fanny pack. (For those of you outside the US, a belt pack.)

I was horrified. But the worst part is, aside from being an abomination to accessories everywhere, fanny packs are incredibly useful. (My practical side is showing.) They put weight on the hips, which I have in abundance (thanks, Mom!), and you don't get tangled in straps.

After I was finished being horrified, I discovered that if you hang the fanny pack off to the side, and not flat across the waist (more like a sporran than a fanny pack) it doesn't look so ... dorky.

Here we go. I can embrace my dorkiness:

My name is Jasmin, and I love the fanny pack.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Tika has the best taste in movies, EVER.

I invited her over for some impromptu wine drinking, and introduced her to "How I met your mother". In exchange, Tika shared the GEM that is Xanadu. (It's on "instant watch" on Netflix, so you don't even have to waste a disk rental on this one.)

During the course of this film, we discover that Gene Kelley does a montage of EVERY movie he has been in, which is awesome. (The conversation went like this: "Gene Kelly brought back dance." "Baz Luhrmann brought back the musical.")

Both of us would also turn down a lap dance from Hugh Jackman for the opportunity to dance with Gene Kelly.

In other news, I am NOT smarter than Cat Bordhi, and have now ripped out my Coriolis again. Thank goodness I had the forethought to do my first adult sized tester in worsted weight yarn (from Fancy Image Yarns) on size 3 needles.