Monday, December 29, 2008

Modern Lady Update

First things first. I love this truck. I want to know if a man or a woman owns it. There's a pink tool chest in the back.


Christmas was very nice. I didn't knit any gifts, but did send out quite a few cookies. We stayed in town and went to a couple events, and had a quiet Christmas dinner. There are photos of a house in the neighborhood we have visited for years on my other blog.

We managed to keep the quantity of gifts down so the little one really appreciated each item, especially his new workbench. The platform bed with a slide (not a Christmas present) is set up and he immediately decided he wanted to nap in it. Woo-hoo! He also set up his trains underneath which is win-win. I win because the living room is less cluttered and he wins because he gets to leave them out all the time. The timing of the new bed's arrival and his use of the word "own" as in "my own" was excellent.

I have been knitting the second pair contest socks and still spinning yarn for my sweater. I need to get back to knitting it, because I think I am getting close to enough yarn spun. The XRX sock contest deadline was extended to the end of January, so the pressure is off. I'm even thinking of a third pair.

I haven't forgotten the blog contest. The item I want to give away isn't going to be ready until sometime in January or February.

Finally, I have been out taking photos in the neighborhood. There was some interesting trash on the street.

Christmas morning:

What a crappy gift! No wonder it was tossed to the curb. Not only insulting, but obviously second hand. Aren't Abdominizers from the 1990's? Couldn't spring for an Ab-Roller, huh?

It looks like someone's recycling bin spilled here:


This was a couple feet away:


Must have been quite the party. From afar I assumed that the pink package had housed some type of marital aid.


But it was really a pack of seven size small:
Ladies' Disposable Panties
PANTY-O
The Life Style for Modern Ladies
Off the top of my head here are the "life styles" that would require disposable underwear:
  • Frequent spa visits
  • Giving birth
  • Incontinence
Judging by the "modern lady" on the pack and the empty beer case, I think I must have missed one or two.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Blog Occasionally

You may notice that the BLOG 365 "I blog daily" badge is gone from my sidebar. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit during this year, but I managed to post here or on my neighborhood blog daily. Until last weekend. I just have too much going on and can't get photos taken. Plus I noticed that I missed November 11. So there it is. I blogged every day for almost 11 months. Whopee.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The End is Near

We are going to ride on out of here tomorrow and head home.

Sadly, no trains run through the Russian River Valley anymore. We did visit the rebuilt Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot earlier this week.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This is going to seem like a really un-American post. Truth is, Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays. I'm a vegetarian. Yes, there are a lot of wonderful foods served (including pie... mmm pie), but let's face it, the meal and the whole day revolves around turkey. Now, I like to eat, but the gluttonous attitude some people have really turns me off. Eating until you fall asleep? Eating a lot just for the sake of eating? Plus I never bought that whole Indian - Pilgrim fable either. It just doesn't seem like a day of celebration for me.

Years ago my then-husband and I went to Southern California every Thanksgiving. We would hit Disneyland on Thanksgiving and then two of the other parks - Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, or Knott's Berry Farm. We avoided the obligations, the turkey thing, all of it. I did get pumpkin pie at Denny's though.

And that's another thing about Thanksgiving. It brings back a lot of memories. Some bad ones I don't want to think about and happy ones I can never relive. It's all a bit too much.

So, if it is your kind of thing, Happy Thanksgiving to you. If not, at least know you are not the only one muddling through.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Balls & Skeins

I escaped the meat eaters and the toddler for a couple hours this afternoon. I drove to Sebastapol to a yarn store. True, I do not need more yarn, but I did need a tapestry needle. Normally I would not waste gas for such a small thing, but I was losing my mind and had to get away.

The meat eaters are nice about making sure I get enough other stuff to eat, and I don't mind hearing about meat, or smelling meat cooking. But this whole week is about wine and gourmet food, and the meals and talk revolve about whatever kind of meat is chosen for the day. It's like there's a club I don't belong to. Even the kid was gnawing on a lamb bone last night.

Not to mention I tend to need time alone, and have had none for days. So I enjoyed the peace of driving down the highway listening to a country station. Then I walked into Balls & Skeins. Oh My Heavens. The sights and sounds. Yarn everywhere. People knitting on sofas. Talk of yarn and patterns. Everything was for me, and all the other people spoke my language. It was like coming home. I got the needles and some yarn and returned to the rental home refreshed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oreo

The cat's name is Oreo. I spoke to the owners of the cat, who live right across the street from the rental. Apparently the rental owners come up on a lot of weekends and let Oreo in, and feed her. Oreo's owner is not happy about that because she is an outdoor cat. A white cat with no tail lives next door, he and Oreo have words from time to time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Babydoll

Remember the fleece I got from a winery a few months ago? The one I haven't mentioned in a while? Well, this is where it was from, Navarro:

Perhaps from this character:


To get there we took an epic drive from Guerneville along Highway One and Mountain View Road. We had to take two vehicles and somehow I ended up alone with the kid in my truck. He was refusing to nap. Grrr. I was elated to find that my driving for the day was done so I could enjoy the 15 wines on the tasting list at Navarro.

Later we passed through Boonville, the sight of my unhappy camper experience in September.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Insane Kitty Kat

K. and I got to the rental house this evening. The drive was okay, fortunately I know the area, otherwise I wouldn't have been too pleased about driving on the narrow roads looking for the house in the dark.

I had the bikes, a cooler, luggage, and Rubbermaid containers full of cooking stuff in the truck. As soon as we got out black and white cat came up to us. I went up and opened the house to start dragging stuff up the stairs. The cat ran in the house. It was obvious he had been in here before and I had to keep the door open, so I let K. play with him while I unloaded all the stuff. Then we put the cat outside. He was not happy to so, but I didn't want to encourage him. We turned around to go the kitchen and the cat was there, like a bad horror movie. Turns out K. opened the back sliding door to the deck. I put him out again.

He has been meowing at the door for half an hour now. Wonder when he will stop.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vacation

We have been working like crazy to get ready for vacation. On Saturday we are driving up to the Russian River and staying in a rental house for a week. Different friends are coming up a different times, some for Thanksgiving dinner others later. I'm going to bring the computer because we need to keep tabs on the business. I hope to get some knitting done, including finally starting my second pair of contest socks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feelings!

Do you even get a weird emotion or feeling that you can't put a name to? They other day I was thinking about my father and how sad it is he isn't here to see my son grow up. My father loved trains and it would have been so neat for them to do railroad stuff together. Every once in a great while when I look at my son I see what my father must have looked like as a toddler.

But then I got to thinking about how hard it was to connect with my father as an adult. Even though we lived in the same city we didn't see each other that often. Holidays and birthdays, and every so often I would get back into model railroading and visit his shop. And then I got this feeling and could actually remember a few other times I had it. A feeling I can't describe other than awareness. Even though it was related to this lack of connection it wasn't sadness, angry, loneliness or confusion. It wasn't exactly peace or acceptance either. A weird feeling.

A bit later I was resting and the loudest sound was the ticking of the clock in the kitchen. I like that sound and the fact that during the day the clock is ticking but the other sounds drown it out. If you stop and actually listen for it, you can hear it but you have to know it is there first. That ticking gives me another self-aware feeling, a kind of peace. Knowing that like that clock I am just a tiny part of the world, sometimes fading to the background, sometimes more noticeable, but always there, plugging along. Sometimes I need to be reminded that life just goes on with or without me, I'm not that important. Other times I need the reassurance that a least one thing is constant in life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So Many Interests, So Little Time

I've been trying to set some knitting and sewing goals. All of a sudden this 40th birthday is coming up in February and it makes me want to tie some thing up so I can move onto newer challenges.

I can't seem to make goals, so instead I'm just going to list everything I've got going right now.

Short Term:
  • Make second pair of contest socks
  • Finish Fana Sweater
  • Make a hversdagbunad
  • Sew K's book holder for his bed
  • Finish spinning and knitting rose garden sweater
  • Make some items for the Bicycle Coalition's Winterfest fund raiser (maybe felted velcro top tube cozies or fingerless mitts)
  • Gnome hat for swap
  • Use my funky "Blue Haired Mafia" yarn for hat or bag

Medium:
  • Sew tote with blue/green fabrics I bought two months ago
  • Start Bohus sweater
  • Lopi projects: start with mittens, sweater for K., finally a sweater for me
  • Spin Navajo Churro top into tapestry yarn and weave
  • Use pink and green cotton yarns from swap for ??
  • Figure out project for Silky Wool
  • Make stranded vest with the prime alpaca I have been gathering
  • Do more felted bags
  • Do some kind of roaming korknisse project
  • Make felted bowls
  • Make scarf or wristlets with sparkly fancy brown yarn from swap
  • Knit Birch with Kid Silk Haze I have stashed
  • Knit a pair of Nancy Bush's Norwegian socks
  • Knit a pair of Selbuvotter

Long Term:
  • Work on fest bunad
  • Figure out what to do with quilt that was pieced, basted but never quilted (10 years ago!)
  • Pursue rosemaling
  • Take a design class

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yarn Swap

We had a yarn swap this afternoon. It was a ton of fun. Six of us filled my dining room table with yarn we no longer wanted. Well, not so much didn't want, just knew we would never use. Then we took turns selecting yarn that thought we could use. No one wanted to look greedy, so it took a little while, and a little convincing. In the end there was just a paper shopping bag of unclaimed yarn which in going to be donated to people who will use it.

I scored a bunch of pink yarn, some fancy yarn, "silky wool", tons of green cotton, and some that will felt. I've got two shades of green and two of pink cotton, all Rowan. I really want to figure something neat for that. I had fun looking through patterns on Ravelry as well as "One Skein Wonders" last night.

It was good to let go of projects that won't happen, and fun to get new stuff. It will be a challenge to find patterns.

Friday, November 14, 2008

No Photos

I really need to get the camera out. I have been knitting and spinning. I guess with less daylight I'm having a hard time getting stuff shot.

In other news, I seem to have developed a bit of a Lopi addiction. I've been buying odd lots here and there and now all the Lopi almost takes up as much room as the entire rest of my stash. There will be no photos of that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dork-a-saurus

I caught a glimpse of myself on the bike with the kid in a store window. My have things changed since I used to be a "roadie". Dork does not begin to describe it. I forgot to mention one the other problems with having his seat so close to me. I can't stand up and ride on hills. You never forget how to ride a bike, but sometimes you have to adapt.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Want to Ride My Bicycle...

...and now I can a little bit more. I gave the iBert front-mounted child seat one more try. I still have to ride a little bow-legged, and the saddle has to be too low, but at least it is ridable. And K. enjoys it enough that he puts up with being bundled up and wearing a helmet. He rings the bell and pretends we are a fire engine. It's nice that I can see what he's doing and talk to him and touch him, unlike if he was in the back.

I'm still looking for ways to make it better. I'm short so I have a small bike which means the seat sits back really far, close to me. I can't step off the saddle and over the top tube, I have to stand over the saddle. Our first ride, before I lowered the saddle was a bit harrowing, I could only stop if I put my foot on a curb. The seat also pressing on the shifter for the cogs, making it a little hard to shift.

We've gone out a couple times, not super far, 30-45 minutes, but that's better than nothing. Carrying an extra 25lbs makes for a good workout. I'm glad I have the super low gears I scoffed at.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Possible New Obsession - Wet Felting

Today at Daughters of Norway a felt artist, Heidi Paul, gave us a demonstration of wet felting.
Totally cool!  She makes hats and while she was making a beret, we made felted balls.  I can't wait to try some more techniques.  Something to do with those bits of fiber laying about.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Sound of Silence

K. went out with his grandparents for a little while this afternoon. It is very rare that I am at home when he is not, even rarer to be home alone with my husband. The quiet is amazing. The ability to relax and not have to worry about someone's welfare is refreshing.

We ordered pizza and watched a movie. Funny how luxurious that seems these days. No one was trying to get attention by turning the t.v. off, and we could actually watch a rated R flick. The best part was being able turn it up to a normal volume and then actually watch the whole thing. Neither of those happen on a typical evening, K. goes to bed so late anyway we are usually too tired to even bother.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Knitting & Blog Plans

I've been having fun giving things away, and doing some trading. Cleaning out the closets a bit. It's time to face facts that we live in an apartment and probably will for a long time to come. I have to stop thinking that some day we will be in a house and I will have a sewing room and garage or attic space to store things in.

It's almost time to set some goals for the rest of the year and next year. I'll be turning 40 in February and I want to finish up a bunch of projects by then. I have been buying Lopi here and there to add to the yarn I was given earlier this year. I definitely want to make myself an Icelandic sweater, and may make one for K. first. I think I'll start small with some mittens and a hat.

There will be a contest here in the next month or so. So please keep reading!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Healing Art

There's and article in the current FiberArts Magazine about Sherry Lynn Wood who teaches how to make Passage Quilts which aid the maker in the bereavement process. Using the clothing of a loved one, you work through a five step process to make a quilt. The process of choosing the clothes, cutting them up, and then piecing, quilting, and sharing the quilt gives the space to come to terms with and make sense of the loss.

She offers workshops and consultations. The quilts can mark not only the loss of a loved one, but other life changes. She is based here in San Francisco and in Durham, North Carolina. I've got a bag of my father's neck ties and have been waiting to figure out the right project for them. I was thinking big, like and vest, and small, maybe a picture frame. I have actually spread them all out on more than one occasion. Wood's process is making me think of the project in a different light. Instead of trying to use all the ties, or make them match, I need to let them be what they want.

There was an article in the paper here about another woman who uses art to make sense of the pain in our world, through sprituality. Debra Classen was nineteen-year-old an art student when her mother was raped and murdered almost thirty years ago. Classen stopped creating art at the time of the tragedy. Years later she became a Catholic and holds a degree in theology and came back to art in 2002. Her ministry, The Mute Swan, strives is:

... a non-profit, spiritual organization dedicated to discovering beauty in all its forms. Our goal is to educate and encourage others to live a contemplative life. We believe the radiance of God's beauty is to be discovered in nature, art, relationships, life, even within great suffering. A well lived life embraces the harmonious integrity of this vision and sharing God's beauty and love with others.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Freebie?

Continuing cleaning out the closets. I took a small load of stuff to the Bicycle Coalition this afternoon. Is there anyone out there who wants the felt quiet book kit? Let me know.

I'm also trying to sell or trade the cloth diaper supplies (birdseye, aplix, PUL) that have been sitting unused for almost a year. It's next to impossible to have the sewing machine out and projects going with a toddler around. I have over 30 yards of the birdseye. If you know anyone who makes cloth diapers send them my way.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Sock and Me

Wow, this second sock and I have shared some special moments. We rode in a squad car, and we just watched the president-elect speak.

I went out knitting as usual, we were going to go to a local bar so we could watch the election results. There were no seats and by 7:20 it was pretty obvious Obama had won, and that there we no results of important local measures on t.v., so we went to the regular dessert shop. I wondered when McCain would concede, it would have been fun to see that, but none of us thought it would happen tonight. I stayed pretty late because I had to rip out a few rows and didn't want to stick the sock in my bag for the ride home with a ton of free stitches.

As I waited for the streetcar, one of the knitters who had gone to check the t.v. told me that McCain had just conceded. The train came and I rode home working on the sock. Some people seemed oblivious to the news. The guy next to me talked to someone on the phone, no mention of the election. I got home and all was quiet, the men were asleep. So I turned the t.v. and knit some more on the sock and watched Obama's speech. If I had known K. was sleeping I would have stayed out, I think the knitters were going to go over to the bar after I left.

Did you see Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thankful

The police captain called me today and thanked me for taking the time to deal with the grafitti kids the other day. I thanked him for the having the station open for trick-or-treaters. Sometimes our neighborhood feels like a small town.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Plant Food

A couple weeks ago, while we were having the warm and sunny part of autumn, we started some seeds. I knew the weather could turn at any moment, so we started them indoors.

Last Tuesday we transplanted the sunflower seedlings outside. If we're lucky maybe one or two will make it. If not, it was still fun watching them grow.


Later we walked by the pot and K. dropped a Goldfish cracker in. I asked him if he was feeding the plants and he said "yes, babies".

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Freebie Kit

Hey readers, I've been cleaning out the craft closet. I'm going to a yarn swap in a couple weeks, but I found some sewing stuff I don't think I'll ever end up using. I found homes for some things on Ravelry, but wasn't sure what group to put this kit in, so I thought I would offer it here.

It's a felt "quiet book" kit from Keepsake Quilting. I think I had a quiet book as a kid, and I know my cousins had a neat one with Bible stories. So when I was pregnant I bought the kit with dreams of my little boy sitting quieting lacing and unbuttoning things. The reality is my son will not sit and be quiet using it, so it isn't worth putting the time and effort into making it.


With the kit you get the felt for the pages, shaggy felt for the bear, velcro, and a shoe lace. You provide the fabric for all the pictures. Of course you don't have to use the pattern included, you can use your own drawings.


If you would like it, I'll send it, within the U.S, to the first person who emails me at the gmail address over on the right column. Just let me know who you would make if for. You don't have to be a regular commentor or anything, lurkers welcome.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Knitting Behind Bars

This afternoon I was waiting for the bus, on my way to meet my husband for pizza and a beer. As I stood there with a bag of Halloween candy over my shoulder and a sock on the needles, I saw some kids "tag" a bus shelter. I can appreciate true graffiti art on building walls, done with permission, but the tagging of public and private property makes me so mad. It's my tax dollars that pay to clean buses and bus shelters, and homeowners should not have to spend money and time to paint over crap done by kids who can't find something creative to do with their time. We've had a rash of graffiti in the neighborhood the past couple weeks.

In fact, as one kid walked up he boasted that he had made one of the marks already on the shelter. I watched one, and then another draw on the bus shelter and the sidewalk. I kept knitting as I tried to memorize what they looked like. Then I called the police, and to my surprise they answered on the first ring. To my further surprise an officer called me right back and a patrol car drove up.

I hid around the corner as the police questioned the kids. I see them hanging out quite often, and don't particularly want them to know I busted them. It's a busy corner so quite a few people were watching. I just kept my head down knitting, wishing I wasn't wearing bright colored Halloween clothes. I talked to the officers and it was decided I would identify the kids from the back of a patrol car.

Yuck-o! Since the last time I was in a police car things have changed. The back seats are molded plastic, so there was a pile of crumbs and I-don't-want-to-know-what funneled into the bottom of the seat. The debris doesn't sink down out of sight like in upholstered seats. And it is small back there. So I kept knitting. And took a photo of my sock.


I identified them. Afterwards I was transfered to a plain-clothes car, which had a bottle of hand sanitizer mounted in the back seat. They dropped me off at the pizza place. The pizza was a little cold, but it was worth it possibly scaring some sense into these kids, who apparently have been arrested before. I wonder what their parents think they are doing? Throwing a football around in the park? There's a youth center a block from were they were tagging. Maybe some of the people who were gawking will realize that there are people watching them who care about the neighborhood. Knitters are watching.

Ironically, I was already planning on taking K. trick-or-treating at the police station. When we got home I was having second thoughts. What if I ran into the officers? I didn't want to look like some neighborhood police-obsessed wacko. But after looking up and down our street and seeing no houses with decorations or porch lights on I decided the police station might be the only place my engineer could do his first trick-or-treating.

It turned out to be fun, they had the station decorated inside and out. A lot of other kids stopped in and an officer was giving out candy, stickers, balloons and such. No, I did not get photos of the little engineer.

As we walked back to the truck my past collided with the present. The bar I used to hang out at is half a block from the police station. When I parked my truck across the street I thought it was early enough that my ex-husband wouldn't be there, but no, he was right on the corner with his buddies. So I did what any mother would do, I'm sure, took my son trick-or-treating at a bar. No, we didn't actually go in, they brought the candy out to us. It was kind of fun, we had a nice chat.

We drove home and parked a block away and trick-or-treated at a few houses up there. K. didn't quite get it, he kept storming into the homes. All-in-all he decided he likes Halloween, the pumpkins and the "cocoa".

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blue-Haired Mafia

I did get 4 oz. of the rose spun this month for my sweater. I'm also working on my contest socks.

I decided I needed a break to make something just for the fun of it. This merino was hanging on the wall at Urban Fana Studios right next to the paillettes. Immediately I thought of the older ladies who "ran" the church kitchen and basement when I was growing up. My step-father called them the blue-haired mafia. Sometimes their dye jobs were quite blue, and at least one had a crocheted hat with paillettes. I got home and found I had some metallic fibers in the stash.


I think you are supposed to blend the fibers into a batt, but I wanted to see if I could just integrate them as I drafted, and it worked. The bigger challenge was how to wind the cop after I plied the yarn with the paillettes. I hadn't strung enough on, so they are only in the first third or so of the yarn.

I like the skein, but am going to strive to make the rest more think and thin. I'm also going to knit a swatch to see how the spacing is. I'm picturing a hand bag with paillettes at the top, and the same yarn, but paillette-less below. I'm not sure I could rock a hat, but we'll see.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Gracias

This afternoon I was sent down to 16th and Capp St. to pick up a plumbing fixture. For those of you who don't know, 16th & Capp is the probably the number one place in the city to pick up a crack whore. A lovely way to spend the afternoon.

This Mission is home to many taquerias. I was stopped in traffic and got a shot of this place. Taco places cater to various kinds of customers. The one I go to is pretty limited in choices, there's nothing too wild.

But this place has a lot more than just beef, chicken, or pork burritos. You can see the Goat Soup sign (no thanks, even if I wasn't a vegetarian I don't think it would appeal to me. Although I love goat cheese. Go figure.) The smaller signs offer "buche" (pig esophogus) and "moronga" (big's blood sausage).

I really like the cactus tiles on the wall, though.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Safety First

Shouldn't they at least use "safety green" or stencil a Shamrock or Celtic knot or something on their sign?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crafting

I have been spinning and knitting. The spinning is more and more and more of the same rose for the sweater, so there's nothing new to show. I've started a pair of socks in two colors of Jitterbug for the Think Outside the Sox contest. I probably won't put photos up until they are done and sent off.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crazy Thoughts

The other day I was sitting in the coffee shop, enjoying a latte and knitting. A woman was sitting two tables down, she had a bunch of whole fruit in front of her, which was kind of odd. She was quietly talking and talking. The man next to her said "what?" It took him a minute to realize she wasn't really talking to him, just rambling, and not in English.

After a few minutes he got up and left. I have to admit I did focus on my knitting since I was the next closest target. She did keep looking at me and talking, but the words didn't make sense. She did same to the woman on the other side of me. She kind of smiled and went back to typing on her laptop.

Is there really that big of a difference between someone who just says everything that comes to mind and the rest of us? I have a constant dialog going on in my mind. Well, maybe not a dialog, but thoughts that are in the form of words. And the woman at the keyboard certainly had a stream of thoughts coming out. The only difference is that we kept ours quiet, while the woman couldn't seem to do that.

As I packed up the crazy lady looked right at me and pointed at my knitting. I have no idea what she was saying so I just smiled.

When I was sitting in church yesterday I was kept having the fear that I was going to say something out loud that I was thinking. Something like, "wow, I like that turquoise jewelry", or "I wish I could wear hats". Or something less kind. And I remembered that I often had this fear, sitting in church or other places where someone was speaking and I was alone with my thoughts, trying to focus, but failing. Does that make me crazy, too?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Church Ladies

Today I attended the memorial service of my step-siblings' mother, Elisa, who died of pancreatic cancer. I was there not just to support them, but to pay respects to a woman who helped shape the person I am today.

Our families attended the same church when I was growing up. We attended regularly and the church family really was like an extended family. There were quite a few women who I observed over the years, they were like aunties in a way. Watching them interact which each other and their kids shaped the person I am today, and the person I am still striving to be. Each has their own gifts of creativity, honesty (sometimes brutal), generosity, dignity, and strength.

Many of these strong women were at the service today. It was a peculiar feeling to now be one of the "women" instead of a kid or teenager. Although I have been an adult for a long time, there are certain phases of life that make you feel more and more grown up. For me those were working seven years at the same job, getting divorced, losing my father, and having a child. Sitting in the church among these women I have known my whole life made me reflect on the person I used to be. In the past it might have made me feel like a bumbling kid again, and believe me, these women have seen me struggle, but today I felt like one of them. I am no longer a shy kid, but I feel like I now have lived enough to have wisdom to share with the next generation.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Freaks Come Out At Night

I looked out the window at 6:00 this morning to find a shopping cart in the back of my truck.


I have found trash many times, but this is the biggest item to date. People are weird.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blind Dates

The other night I went to a meeting of a neighborhood historical preservation group. I got to the bar/restaurant and looked for the one person I knew. He wasn't there, so I wandered the lobby a bit. On my third pass a man standing close to the restaurant said "you might be looking for me". I was amused because it was obvious that he was waiting for a blind date, but I smiled and asked "are you with the Western Neighborhoods Project?" He said "no" and looked a little sad. The way things are going lately it was flattering that someone hoped I was his date. That is, until I realized he observed me for several minutes before deciding that it wouldn't be a horrible thing if I was his date.

I wish I had said 'good luck' or something, it takes a lot of nerve to go on a blind date. I have only gone on one, well technically. It was a blind double-date when I was about eighteen. My co-worker was one of those types who was so happy with her boyfriend that she wanted everyone else to be matched up, too. She suggested that we go on a double-date with a friend of theirs. I asked a bit about him and reluctantly agreed. I asked what he looked like, shallow, I know, and she said "not classically handsome". Funny the details you remember over twenty years later.

My friends picked my up and we went to the blind date's house. Met his mother and chit-chatted. We went to his room and the red flags started waving like crazy. His room was plastered with photos of Morgan Fairchild. Plastered. Talk about an insecurity complex. I looked nothing like her. Blonde? No. Blue-eyed? No. Petite yet busty? No. Mature? No. If this was his dream woman, why would I bother trying to impress him? I had my share of posters hanging in my room, Leif Garret, Shawn Cassidy, Andy Gibb, etc. but I wasn't fixated on one person.

Fast forward to later that evening parked at Twin Peaks. My friends were in the backseat doing what people do back there. I was in the front seat, miserable, with a person I didn't like. I don't remember why I didn't like him, but I didn't. There was a big bottle of beer. I was never one to drink in high-school, but I did partake that evening, when I realized it kind of blurred the misery. I believe we went and shined flashlights in the backseats of other cars. There was some mooning of passing vehicles as well. Mercifully the evening ended and they took me home. My date escorted to me room and put me in bed fully clothed. He proceeded to chastise me for letting him in the house because he could have taken advantage of me. My friends were waiting outside so it didn't cross my mind to be afraid. And even though I didn't like him, I didn't think he was a bad person to be feared. I didn't have the words or experience back then to articulate my feelings about that statement.

I didn't invite him in for anything, and he knew that. I'm glad he didn't attack me, but should I be thanking him? No. The crazy thing is I went out with him again, alone. I don't remember much about it other than a very vivid memory of waiting for the streetcar and wishing the evening was over. Never saw him again.

I let my friend set me up again, this time with a co-worker who I was interested in. On our first date he suggested I change my hair style. On another date, at the drive-in, he was appalled that I wanted a sip of beer, since I was underage. He had a Bronco, which has bucket seats. We were watching the movie and all of a sudden he was in my seat. I asked him if he knew beforehand that we would both fit. He admitted that he did have practice jumping into the seat like that. A while later he asked me if I would take my shirt off, claiming no one would see me since we were in a truck. Riiiight. I guess he felt that there was no legal age for toplessness, so it was okay. I actually liked him and we had some fun dates. He had a truck and liked country music, a rarity in San Francisco. But he just wasn't happy with me. He liked me because I was "nice girl" but was also frustrated that I was "nice".

It turned out that he was in love with an "older woman" who lived somewhere up north. They would meet halfway and go on romantic camping trips. Bye-bye. At least he finally told me, so I realized the problem was not me, just that he wanted me to be this other person.

Many years later when I was divorced I answered a couple personal ads just for fun. I met the first guy at the ice skating rink at the Embarcadero. As soon as I saw the leather patches on his tweed coat I was turned off. He was equally unimpressed.

The second one was too good to be true. We were both vegetarians, had common interests, shared the same birthday, and it turned out we worked for the same company. We talked for hours on the phone, and then went to lunch. We had too much in common. It was like, why bother asking questions, we knew the answer, there was no mystery. I would have liked to be friends with him, but he was romantically interested in me, so that didn't work out.

My final attempt at a blind date was set up by a co-worker. She had a classmate who would be perfect for me. I was very reluctant, but was in a phase where I was trying to be less shy, and forced myself to never turn down a social invitation. It was to be dinner with my co-worker and her boyfriend at their house. I got there early and helped cook. They guy was coming from Marin and called to say he was running late. I was nervous and wished he would just get there. A couple more calls and he said he wasn't coming.

I was pissed off and hurt. The only thing worse than having a blind date ditch you is having to continue the evening with a happy couple. The boyfriend was none to happy that my co-worker had tried to play matchmaker, resulting in a miserable woman disrupting his X-Files night. Looking back it is so silly to feel rejected by someone I never met. He knew next to nothing about me or what I looked like. He just chickened our or something. But at the time it didn't feel that way. I emailed him the next day and told him off. I don't remember his response. Who knows what the story was.

And that was the end of my blind-dating career.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moot Post

I didn't go knitting tonight. I was out last night and wanted to spend time with my sweeties at home this evening.

I leave you to ponder this note I saw on the floor of the streetcar the other day:


I always thought a moot point was one that wasn't worth debating because it didn't matter anymore. I stand corrected. According to Merriam Webster:

1 a: open to question : debatable b: subjected to discussion : disputed
2: deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic

Why was this scribble napkin on the floor of the streetcar? Did someone drop it by accident, or on purpose, in hopes someone would stop and think? No matter how you look at it, it's a moot point, because I'll never know the answer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Criminal Minds?

The captain of our local police station sends a daily email recapping the day's crimes, and the block where they occurred and the perpetrator lives is listed. It's good to be forewarned of crime trends. I'm careful in general, for instance I know not to leave tempting items exposed in my vehicle, but it's good to know when there's a rash of break-ins nearby so I can be extra careful.

I've noticed a few graffiti arrests which is heartening since the last time I called in a group of kids (three times over a 20 minute period!) as I followed them for blocks and watched them tag a streetcar and then a bus shelter, the police didn't show up. It's sad to see the domestic violence cases, and creepy to see how many people die in their homes.

A favorite is people who run the stop sign half a block from the police station. Really? I can see that you live in the neighborhood, you really don't know that the police station is right there?

It's amazing how dumb some of the criminals must be. Every day someone is stopped for running a stop sign, or driving with headlights out, only to be hauled away because they don't have a license or drugs were found in their vehicle. If I were going off to a drug deal with thousands of dollars' worth of drugs in my trunk, and there was a warrant for my arrest, I would make sure my headlights were on and would make an effort to follow all the traffic laws. If I were forced to drive without a license, I would certainly not have an open container of alcohol in my lap.

These reports sheds a different light on the term "criminal mind".

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Neighborhood Greening

I went to our neighborhood "greening" event today. Timberland sponsored the tree-planting and park cleaning in exchange for a promise of 400 volunteers. I signed up to work on Sunset Blvd., which is the widest, greenest street in this part of the city. I have walked, biked and jogged literally hundreds of miles on it in my lifetime.

At first I assumed I would be cleaning it up, then I read in the paper that trees were going to be planted along the boulevard, although it didn't say when.

I got to the meeting place at 8:20 and got in line. It was quite confusing. Turns out one entity was coordinating tree-planting, and another the park cleaning, but it wasn't clear where to go.

This guy brought three bikes that powered the P.A. system. Pretty cool.


Little by little my group formed, I noticed it was all teenagers. In fact, many of the volunteers were teenagers which I think is really cool. I know many of them have to perform public service in order to be in clubs and honor societies, but they all seemed pretty cheerful. I was a little less cheerful when I found out we weren't planting trees, just cleaning up. But one of the group leaders said I looked familiar to her, and I felt the same, I was looking forward to talking more to her, so there was that.

Finally we picked up our tools and garbage bags and got on a nice biodiesel tour bus at about 9:15. I was kicking myself hard for not bringing any knitting, I could have done quite a bit with all the waiting around. The group leader announced that she needed five people to volunteer to go to a different site with her. I hoped I could go, but five kids wanted to stick together so I didn't. We roamed around the neighborhood on the bus dropping groups off and finally got to our spot. I was a little glum. The other leader asked me to take half the kids in the group since I was the only other adult. Herding teenagers, the day was not exactly looking up. At least it was foggy, the sun wasn't beating down.

Of course the boys went with the guy, and the girls with me. We split up at about 10:00, off to pick up trash, and clear the edges of the path where grass and weeds have grown over it. Turns out the kids were from my high school, Lowell. They were actually good kids and fairly enthusiastic. Being a leader is not my forte, but we did fine, and the girls worked hard. Well, a couple didn't exactly know what to do, but they were receptive enough when I gave them direction.

The first block was really hard, but worthwhile. The path is paved for mixed use, but in some places several inches have been lost and it makes it a bit tricky when you are on a bike and want to pass pedestrians. This has always been a peeve of mine on this path. A lot of the people walking are elderly and I want to give them a wide berth, not startle them with my bell, and swooop right next to them. Yet, I am not going to ride on the overgrown edge for fear of running over hidden glass or other debris that could flatten a tire. This block was one of the worst, luckily we had a couple of sharp shovels and were able to cut it back and make it more usable.

We did the next block quickly, and everyone, including me, was flagging a bit when we crossed to the other, unpaved side of the street. We just picked up trash which was much easier than edging. I spent most of my time trying to get one person with a trash bag to walk at the front of the group, and the other at the back. If you are going to hold a trash bag, at least carry near the people pinking up the trash! We met up with the guys at 11:45 and waited for the bus to take us back to lunch.

We got back and dumped the tools at about 12:15. Lunch was supposed to be at 12:30 so I killed time in the library which was conveniently right there. Checked out four knitting books including a major score - a pattern that I can tweak into a gnome hat for a Ravelry swap I just signed up for. I got in line for lunch at 12:30 and tried to determine if there was anything but meat on the grill, then it was announced that lunch wouldn't be for another 10-15 minutes. I was hungry, not particularly interested in the food, and fifty people were ahead of me in line, so I left.

Problem was I couldn't go home because K. was napping, and would be for two hours. I was kind of dirty and in Carharts and work boots, so I couldn't go anywhere too nice. Worst of all, I was wasting precious knitting time! I went to a local pizza place that has a bar and had a beer and lunch and read the knitting books, and worked on converting the gnome pattern. I got home and could not hear any noise inside so I sat on the door step and read the mail. Thank heavens the kid woke up right before I was forced to read the only thing left, this month's Fur Fish Game.

The day didn't turn out quite as I had expected, but we made a tiny bit of difference, and I got a hat and a t-shirt. It was nice to sit at the bar and chat with people, and enjoy a meal.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Books

I was clearing off the bedside table and found Jennie by Sigrid Undset. This isn't really a book review, but I will say that this book, the one that got Undset's career moving, is as different from Kristin Lavransdatter than night and day.

To quote the back cover of the book:

When Jenny was published in 1911, Undset found herself called immoral — “this is a side of the free, artistic life that the vast majority of citizens would rather not know.” The novel tells the story of Jenny Winge, a talented Norwegian painter who goes to Rome to seek artistic inspiration but ultimately betrays her own ambitions and ideals. After falling into an affair with the married father of a would-be suitor, Jenny has a baby out-of-wedlock and decides to raise the child on her own. Undset’s portrayal of a woman struggling toward independence and fulfillment is written with an unflinching, clear-eyed honesty that renders her story as compelling today as it was nearly a century ago.

This new translation by Tiina Nunnally captures the fresh, vivid style of Undset’s writing and restores passages omitted from the only previous edition to appear in English, which was published in 1921. Most famous for her later, historical fiction set in Catholic, medieval Scandinavia, Undset stands revealed with Jenny, her first major novel, as an unsparing, compassionate, magnificent realist, the creator of works that are at once thoroughly modern and of enduring interest.
The funny thing is I was engrossed in this book and read it over just a couple days earlier this week, and yet, until I picked it up I didn't give it another thought. I know it had an effect on my way of thinking about things, some books really make you think. It's weird how I can be reading a book and feel immersed in it, and then that feeling is gone when the book ends.

I'm not quite getting my point across, but it's interesting to think of all the books I've read in my life, and how few I remember.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seduced

No, this seduction is in no way related to with yesterday's post. I was in a yarn shop, Cottage Yarns, in South San Francisco, and was so tempted by the store sample of this hat that I did something I rarely, if ever do. I bought the yarn and pattern on the spot. K. was with me and he actually told me he wanted the hat. He said "hat" and when I asked he promised he would wear it. A blogless knitter, who shall remain nameless, pointed out that I don't knit anything for my son. Well, he won't wear the sweater I made him so I kind of gave up. But this hat is so cute and he is really into pumpkins this year so I thought there was a chance.


I started it Tuesday night, knit the bulk of it yesterday during nap time. K. seemed really happy that I was knitting for him. He asked me to make one for his baby doll, too. I actually finished K's yesterday but wasn't happy about the way the decreases looked, so I ripped it back and re-did the top today. I had enough yarn left over, so I measured the doll's head and whipped one out for him in about 45 minutes. He didn't get any leaves on his.

The child loved his hat! And he was tickled that his baby has one to. We went to a pumpkin patch this afternoon for a photo session. He kept saying "hat" to everyone. So sweet.

The pattern is "Patrick's Pumpkin" from Fiber Trends, and the yarn is Classic Elite's "Four Seasons", a 70% cotton, 30% wool blend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Tenth Commandment

Don't ask me why, but when I was knitting today I was trying to remember all the Ten Commandments. I remembered #10 as "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife." I thought it was interesting that it didn't include "thy neighbor's husband". I guess even back then most women thought one husband to take care of was enough.

Here's the RSV version: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17 RSV).

Hmm, interesting that I didn't remember that the commandment was about all of the neighbor's things, not just his wife. Wait a minute! Your neighbor's wife is just one item on the list of his "possessions"? Nice.

Of course the Bible wasn't written in English, and I don't know Hebrew. It would be interesting to see if it the commandment sounded more "unisex" in the original language. In the end, I think this commandment is less about "wronging" your neighbor and more about being happy with what you have.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

San Francisco History

Just a quickie to say if you are interested in San Francisco history, I posted a bit about Land's End over on my Sunset Style blog.

Not much to report on the crafting front. I came home from knit night a bit early tonight and find no major catastrophies.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Know What Boys Like (Part 2)

This Saturday all the San Francisco firehouses were open from 1 -5 as part of Fire Prevention Awareness week. K. loves fire trucks and engines and actually gets to see them quite often, as it seems several stations use the same grocery store as we do. They also park at the beach to test the equipment.

So instead of a local station I decided we should catch the streetcar out to the station that houses Phoenix, the fireboat which is credited with helping save the Marina from fire after the 1989 earthquake. If we timed it right we could see the Fleet Week air show, too.

How do I know so much about the Phoenix? Because we have the book. She is docked at engine station 35.



Naptime went late so we actually watched the air show sporadically from the corner, and then the streetcar. But it also meant that Mr. TVP got home from work in time to come along. We arrived at the station and there was an engine outside, but the Phoenix was not around, and the station doors were closed. Things didn't look good. I hadn't built the kid up too much, and he understood "maybe" we would see this and that, but it was a long ride for just a fire engine.

We asked the firefighter who was talking to the public where the Phoenix was and she said they hoped it would be back soon. Just then the fireboat came into view. I didn't want to ask about the firehouse tour, but when the she saw how excited K. was, she led us through the station to the dock in the back.


We got to watch the passengers unload. Normally you can only see the top of the Phoenix from the Embarcadero, so this was pretty cool. Some more kids showed up, and everyone went back out front. K. was warmed up to the whole thing now and inspected the fire engine. He got to climb inside, but that was cut short when the Phoenix had to go off to an alarm.

Meanwhile a police motorcade went by. Then the Phoenix came back and we got back on the streetcar. A nice afternoon for a little boy: streetcars, planes, tunnels, fire engines, fire boats, police motorcycles, the Bay Bridge, Daddy, Mommy.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dyeing

I dyed sock yarn yesterday. I needed two small skeins in increasingly dark shades of pink to go with the pink yarn I already have. I pulled Kramer dyeable sock yarn from my stash, tons left from the cabled sock yarn shortage incident, and I bought a container of Jacquard Acid Dye. (The acid comes from the vinegar you add to the dye bath).

I made three skeins and tied them loosely (I thought) which is key to avoiding white bands of undyed yarn. I thought if it worked really well I would use the big skein as my main color instead of what I have, as it is a bit thinner than all the others. I followed the directions and all went fairly well. However, it became apparent that the ties on the large skein were too tight, and try as I might to pull them looser, it was too late, the big skein was not all one color.

After half an hour all the dye was gone from the water, and the yarn wasn't dark enough, so I added more. I tried to be sneaky and dump it right near the undyed portion of the big skein so it could soak the dye up. It did, but now that portion is darker than the rest.


Next, I took the big skein out, leaving the other two to get darker. Again the water was clear, so I added more dye. After a while I took the skein on the right out, a few minutes later the one on the left. That one, the smallest and darkest, was most successful, pretty evenly colored. However, it is too bright a pink to be used in my project, I fear. All in all a fun experiment that didn't yield anything for my project. Not to worry, pink sock yarn will not go to waste with this knitter.

In "mom" news, we had another bad night last night so I struggled through the day. A woman at the recycling center apparently thought I was talking to myself, something not uncommon with some of the other patrons. K. was strapped into his car seat and I was thanking him for helping me unload, the woman came up next to me and said "Oh, I didn't see" and started laughing. I think she was saying she didn't see K. there and didn't know who I was talking to.

The Blue Angels cut Precious' nap short by half an hour, but we went with it, and headed outside to watch them practice. Nothing too gross to report, a giraffe did slightly slime by head when we fed her at the zoo. K.'s buddy was there.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Knit Night Has it's Costs

Last night was knit night with my Ravelry pals. I really enjoy their company, knitting camaraderie, and advice.

But going out means I am leaving a tired old carpenter and an active 2-year-old boy to their own devices for two hours. I wouldn't say I always come home to disaster, but there have been a few times I have questioned if the time away is worth the collateral damage. When I get home it is bedtime, I can't stop and clean everything up, and it is REALLY hard for me to go to bed with a big mess looming for the morning.

The first time I came home every square inch of the floor was covered with toys. Another time the dinner dishes were strewn about; half-filled pans of food sat on the stove and counters; and bits of food were crusting onto the table, chairs, and the floor. But last night was the worst.

My return started out deceptively pleasant enough. I was greeted by the sound of little footsteps running towards me, the sweetest little "hi!" shouted at me, and a big hug. But K. was still upset about the fact that he dropped a knitting needle down the back stoop, into an abyss. This despite the fact that we repeatedly reassured him I was not angry, I knew it was an accident, and I have tons of other knitting needles. I carried him around, telling him everything was fine, and I found the apartment was neat, the dishes were done.

As we passed the bathroom I noticed the potty seat on the toilet. I asked K. if he pooped, he shook his head "no". His father said yes he did. In the bath. I asked if cleaned it up and he said no. I thought he was kidding, but no, there was actual poop in the bottom of my tub, people. And not just one, if that had been the case I suspect it would have been cleaned up, but many little poops, soggy little poops. So I cleaned the mess as best I could, leaving a good disinfecting of the twenty toys for the morning. At least dad did shower the kid off.

But it doesn't end there. We had a heck of a time getting the kid to sleep, he kept almost falling asleep, then waking up angry. He finally went down at 10:00, but I was still wide awake. I think I went to sleep at 11:00, only to be awakened by screaming at 2:30. The kid was mad. He didn't really go back to sleep until 3:30, and then something woke me up at 5:30. We were all up at 6:30 as usual, quite the worse for wear.

Another day begins in the glamorous life of a full-time mom and part-time partner in a general contracting business. First off, coffee for me and "cocoa" for the little guy. A little email, then attack the bathtub. Discuss business with Mr. TVP, who mercifully was home doing a bit of paperwork. Some breakfast and try get us dressed and out to the grocery store. Back home and naptime, which I spent on the computer working, instead of my usual knitting, boo. Time for a late lunch, laundry, picking up junk, etc.

My nerves were a bit short, and I was happy to get out and run errands when my mother came after 3:00. Who doesn't enjoy spending their precious little time away from their 2-year-old digging through job site debris to take the recycling away? Back home by 5:00 with burritos for dinner.

I decided to I could dye some sock yarn for contest socks since I wasn't cooking. While the yarn was simmering I went to do the dishes, but the soap bottle had fallen behind the refrigerator. I pulled it out to find a truly disgusting mess of crusted crackers, dust, and who knows what. Note to self, clean back there more than once in four years. Frantically try to do dishes, watch dye bath, clean under fridge, clean back of fridge, watch the clock for bedtime. Stub toe numerous time on leg of stupid, stupid bar stool that has been moved to make room for refrigerator. Notice that I only drank half as much coffee as usual, no wonder I was dragging all morning. More about the yarn tomorrow, I'm typing this up in the last minutes before bed.

...So I was just about to post this when Mr. TVP informed me that "we had another incident in the bath". Before I could tell him it was his turn to clean it up he said it was "just vomit this time" and he "rinsed it". Pleasant dreams, everyone.

...Dang it, we have to go over some paperwork so I'm still not in bed. Kid is not happy. I am not happy, working with your spouse is not always easy, if ever.

....A miracle just occurred. Kid went to sleep 10 minutes early and I was able to get up out of bed, creaky floors be damned, and come to the living room, he stayed asleep in his crib. It has been a long time since I was able to do that, and frankly by 9:00 when he falls asleep sometimes I'm too tired. Had to leave my knitting behind but I don't mind, haven't watched grown-up t.v. in so long.

I wonder what's in store tomorrow beyond the trip planned trip to the recycling center, salvage yard, and zoo? I'm sure there will be something crusty or poopy along the way.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yoke Sweater Progress

I've been spinning and knitting away on the yoke sweater. I'm done with the yoke and will be starting the body in the solid rose color.

The yoke looks a bit longer than "at the underarms" which the pattern called for. But I took some advice from a Raveler and stopped when the front and back sections equaled my bust measurement. I'll try it on after I get a few rows done.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Costumes

I heard about a Halloween costume contest going on at Becky Knits Too. The winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to Scout's Swag. You can tell her about the costume on the contest post, or better yet, post a picture of it on your blog. You get more entries that way. And people can laugh at you or fall in love with you, as the case may be.

Here's one of mine:


I'm the bee up front and center. Apologies to my former co-workers, I will not list your names, to protect your identities, and I know one of you reads this blog. We were a total hit and credit goes to the unnamed bee front left for coming up with the idea. Thanks to us, the costume contest was brought back the next year, and we won as Potato Heads. Maybe I'll put that photo up as we get closer to Halloween. (see bottom of post for instructions for the bee costume).

But why was this one of my favorite costumes? Because I have a lot of good memories about that Halloween. We had fun making them, we entertained a lot of people, and I have some good blackmail photos. But the most memorable part was later that evening after going to Halloween at Castro Street when my friend and I went to a local bar where the female bartender developed a crush on me. She kept giving us "red headed sluts", a charming little drink consisting of Peach Schnapps, Jagermeister, and cranberry juice. Nectar, I tell you. I like free drinks and all, but it was so funny that someone would have a crush on a sweaty woman in a Hefty Bag. I was told she asked about me later.

Anyhow, thanks, Becky, for holding the contest. Brought back some fond memories.

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Speaking of costumes (well kind of, indulge me, okay?), the verdict is still out on the Hammer Pants. Here's a photo of him performing today from the local newspaper. They are baggy, but not really tight enough at the ankle, right? And local blogger, PretePress, apparently got to attend the concert. Here is his post, complete with video. I still can't tell about the pants! And I'm curious if he sang other songs (MC Hammer, that is). I will say he certainly qualifies as "Hardly Strictly" Bluegrass.

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This isn't really sewing, but I didn't want to make a new category label.

Easy Bee Costume

Materials:
  • Large black garbage bag - one per bee, unless you screw up cutting, better have extra
  • Yellow Duct Tape - one roll
  • Yellow Pipe Cleaners (aka some other name these days) - 2 to 4 per bee
  • Fishing Bobbers - 2 per bee
  • Plastic Hairband - one per bee
  • Black Spray Paint - one can
  • Scissors - one pair, unless you are doing an assembly line
  • Dark Shirt & Pants - one of each per bee, please
Optional Items:
  • Sunglasses
  • Yellow & Black striped socks
  • Bit 'O Honey candy to give out
Instructions:
  • In advance, spray paint fishing bobbers
  • Cut out hole for head at the bottom (now top) of garbage bag
  • Cut out holes for arms
  • Put stripes of yellow tape on bag. Bag on your person, or laid flat on the table, your choice.
  • Put each bobber on a pipe cleaner, you might have to double up
  • Wrap two pipe cleaner/bobbers onto the headband, it can be challenging to keep them, um, erect
  • Put on your dark clothes, striped socks, garbage bag, antennae, and sunglasses (and shoes, I guess)
  • Get ready to sweat, or to be prepared for rain, if you are the "glass half full" type of person

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hammer Time!

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass event is this weekend. It is free, music I enjoy, and in walking distance. Can't beat that. I've been twice before and really enjoyed it. I never have caught any of the big names, but all the acts I saw were good. And the event has a good vibe. Somehow I had no idea it was this weekend until I read about it on a local blog.

Just a few of the artists I would like to see: Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, Carlene Carter, Earl Scruggs, Asleep at the Wheel, and Ricky Scaggs.

There are concerts on Friday put on for school children, but the public is also welcome, and M.C. Hammer is playing! I wish I could go, I would love to hear what he's doing these days, and see if he still wears Hammer Pants. Alas, it is at 11:30, nap time.

I hope the rain predictions are wrong.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Admin.

This morning I noticed that my category links were gone, and I couldn't fix the code, so I broke down and updated my template. I also have a bit of work to do updating labels on old posts. And why is there "knitting" and "older knitting"? Because the next page code was broken, so all the knitting stuff wouldn't show up, and I didn't want the old stuff to be lost.

Let me know if anything is wonky, please.

A question - if I answer comments in the comments do you read them? I tend to answer there rather than email back so everyone can see the answers. But with moderated comments, there might be a delay. If you are like me you might not remember to go back and check comments you made on other people's blogs. Don't want my few loyal readers to think I am ignoring them. So, what do your prefer?

I'm going to go through and take links to my kid's blog out. But I will email it to friends, family, and regulars.

And finally, lurkers, say "hi" sometimes, okay? Even if it is just "hi". I would like to check out your blog, too.

Everybody's Doing It...

..posting their keyword searches, that is. So, in lieu of knitting photos, photos of my kid, or other ramblings here you have it:

These are the top searches leading people to this blog:
  1. 18.72% giraffe costume
  2. 13.62% how to make a giraffe costume
  3. 6.38% giraffe costume pattern
  4. 4.68% viking stuff
  5. 2.98% how to make giraffe costume
  6. 2.55% baby giraffe costume
  7. 2.55% viking princess
  8. 2.55% make a giraffe costume
  9. 2.13% making a giraffe costume
  10. 1.70% viking princess costume
If all goes well, next Halloween people will find my blog by searching "zoo keeper costume". And for all those who didn't see it, here is the giraffe costume in question.

Here are some other search terms used:
  • wheat weaving
  • interweave heart sachet
  • martin luther bobble head
  • senior picture 1987 (gorgeous, isn't it?)
  • princess's grammar (not as clean as it you would think just by reading this blog)
  • big viking costume (bite me)
  • correct grammar hung up the phone
  • woman, bart, attack (I would love to know why they were looking for this)
  • norwegian bunader pattern
  • luther burbank roses
  • craigslist's grammar mistakes
  • lacroix fallecker
  • sunnmørebunaden
  • daughters of norway idaho
  • viking princess tattoos (you'll never know)
Okay, I lied earlier, here's a picture of my kid. The expression embodies how he will feel at age 13 when he discovers I allowed him to be seen in public with his baby doll. It's a boy, doll, people. And he threw it on the ground and stomped on it ten minutes after this photo was taken.


Back to search words. My other blog's Top Ten:
  1. 21.57% apartment names
  2. 13.73% sunset style
  3. 7.84% francis scott key elementary
  4. 5.88% names of apartments
  5. 5.88% sunset video
  6. 3.92% windsor terrace lawton san francisco
  7. 3.92% hello panda
  8. 3.92% polly ann's ice cream san francisco lassiter
  9. 1.96% thom ross little big horn
  10. 1.96% parkway apartments inner sunset
Other searches:
  • a myth why the sunset has many colors
  • cool apartment names
  • san francisco sunset district garage doors (I think I couldlove you)
  • 44th ave
  • lawton steps artist san francisco tile (thanks for reminding me about these)
  • 70's light fixtures
  • setting out tile on a staircase
  • tile from the 1970's
  • popular brown tiles from the 70's (by popular you mean ugly, right?)
All in all, nothing weird. But then again I keep my language and topics pretty clean on here, as opposed to real life where I don't do so well. I really thought there would be some kinky sock searchers, judging by mail I have received through my Flickr account.

And finally, I received junk email with this subject: "make he happy with your bigger stick". Yes, it said "he".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

San Francisco Evening

Let me tell you about some bloggers I met on Thursday via some photos I took.

It was a warm evening, and there was a golden glow as I walked out to catch the streetcar. Who says the Sunset is always foggy? Tom Prete wouldn't. He grew up out here, and it was nice to not have to explain what my other blog is about. I had a good chat with Jamie who blogs about his neighborhood, Rincon Hill.

Here's the train that took me downtown to the blogger party. Speaking of MUNI, at the party I talked to Greg of the N-Judah Chronicles. I also met Fog City Notes Rachel, and Fog City Mommy Rachel. I said "hi" to one of the Muni Ladies of Muni Manners.


This is the Southern Pacific Building, where my father worked for many years.


I ran through the Vaillancourt fountain many times as a child.


The Ferry Building. There were a bunch of bloggers from Oakland in attendance. I noticed a person on the "F" wearing a transit shirt. Turns out it was "Transbay" Eric. Marc, foodie of MentalMasala and The Ethicurean, is from the other side of the bay, Berkeley, to be exact. I also talked about Berkeley with the Rookie Moms. They have a book!


These clouds were really unusual. I wasn't the only one who thought so. A taxi driver stopped to take a picture, as did a couple other people walking up to the party. I met CBS 5's weather caster, Roberta Gonzales at the party. She is very charming, and was wearing killer shoes. I also met a camera man and a sportscaster. I can't remember their names, and when I look at the sports folks on Channel 5's page, I don't see the guy I met. He assures me it is true that Lance is really coming back to the Tour de France, though.


And last, but by no means least (I just didn't have photo to use as a lead-in) I met the very gracious hostess, Brittney Gilbert of Eye on Blogs.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yak Yak Yak

I just got home from a blogger mixer hosted by CBS 5 and Brittney Gilbert of Eye on Blogs. I had a lot of fun. I didn't meet any of the bloggers I intended to, but did talk to quite a few others whose blogs I look forward to reading.

The party was downtown, and I walked back to Market St. on Battery, ending up in front of the skyscraper I used to work in. It was very strange to be there again and to think of the hundreds of times I came up from the subway, went to the office, and went back down in the subway 8 hours later. I went for walks at lunch, but it was all so hum-drum.

I was surprised by how many people were out at 9:30 on a Thursday evening. Some of them were leaving bars and restaurants, a few were leaving their offices. A woman was trying to hail a taxi. One passed by and I could see a woman in the back laughing and sitting on someone's lap. The taxi-hailer and I watched it pass wistfully, for different reasons.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall is Here


Fall means the fog will begin to abate and we will have more clear days like today. It is also time to see how many of my summer knitting goals I met. Here are my knitting and spinning goals for this summer, which I posted on June 13th:
  • Finish Pomotamus socks - done
  • Finish Fana cardigan - not done (but I finally got the buttons & trim)
  • Finish undisclosed UFO - done (this was yesterday's blue kitty button sweater)
  • Design and knit cabled "licorice" socks - done
  • Spin enough pink yarn to make a tank or something similar - not done, but I did make handspun items, see below
  • Spin and knit a pair of stranded mittens - not done, too ambitious
  • Spin a two-ply sock yarn and make short socks - not done, too ambitious
And these are things I thought I might work on, getting in the way of the above items:
  • Make a felted bag with beautiful yarn I got for Christmas - done
  • Design socks for Think Outside the Sox contest - still thinking
  • Make some korknisse for secret project - made some but not for the project
  • Make something from Viking Patterns for Knitting - not yet
  • Make a Bohus sweater - ordered and received kit
Finally, things I did that weren't on the list:
  • Knit handspun mittens - done
  • Knit handspun hat - done
  • Made a few handspun korknisser - done
  • Spun color sampler yarn - done
  • Knit pair of baby booties - done
  • Started spindling for a sweater - done (12 oz spun and sweater cast-on)
  • Process first fleece - started (I washed a batch but carding didn't go well)
  • Made"little sky" socks - done

All in all it was quite productive. The main thing I wanted to achieve, finishing the Fana sweater didn't happen. I ended up ripping the sleeves out twice, and still have cold feet about the finishing. I need someone to take the little one out for a few hours so I can have the iron and sewing machine out.

I am happy about how my spinning is progressing and the fact I improvised and made up some of my knitting. I want to continue learning how to do things the "right" way, while being more creative. I think they go hand in hand.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Full of F.O.'s

I've got a parade of F.O.'s today. First off, these mittens were made with my handspun. The white is Jacob, and I'm not sure what the pink is. I spun one batt and it was fluffy and beautiful, so I bought more. But the second one was kind of greasy, and the third was so greasy that the yarn was clumpy, not at all like the first skein. So I decided I would make something I could felt. Well, technically, full. Get it? "Full" of F.O.'s?

The pattern is Cinchy Chunky Mittens, which I found on Ravelry. I made them a couple stitches bigger and taller then called for. The color blocking is because I didn't have enough pink to make them match, I think, I don't exactly remember.

Pre-felting photo. Notice the one on the right is a little taller than the other. Well, after fulling it was way taller than the other. I guess the white yarn shrank more than the pink.


So I felted just that one again with my next felting project. They match a little better, but the one with the white cuff is a bit short in the thumb and cuff and the other is too long in the fingers. Not a masterpiece project, but they are warm, and I learned a few things.


Next we have a shoulder bag I am very happy with and really needed.


I made this specifically to use the Musique multicolored yarn. I had tried to make a hat, but didn’t like the way it worked up. Then I noticed a lot of projects used the yarn for felting. So I designed this bag around the yarn. I used techniques from a pattern I used previously from ”Two Old Bags”, and was inspired by one I saw in “Spin to Knit”. I also got a lot of input from fellow Purl Jam knitters on Tuesday nights.

I swatched first because I wanted to see how the yarns would interact. I was also concerned about getting the shoulder strap the right length. I even made I-cord swatches, though ended up using a different strap.

I started at the bottom, about 110 stitches in the round. I alternated the green and purple, ending with green. A couple rows before the top I kfb’d 6 times on each side for the handles, putting each 6 on a holder. I cast off a little less than half the stitches in I-cord for the front edge (leaving a few for room for the handles on the sides), then changed to Musique for the flap. It doesn’t felt as much as the Cascade 220 so I decreased about 12 stitches total during the first half. For interest I did part of the flap in garter stitch. I picked up the handle stitches, increasing by one. I ran out of green, so I cast on the other side in purple, and grafted in the middle. I sewed up the bottom and the handle, wove in ends, and fulled it in the washer with a pair of heavy pants.

I’m really happy with the way it turned out, just as I envisioned it. My only regret is that the flap is a couple inches too tall, and still flares out a bit. But when the bag has stuff in it a little more of the purple stripe shows.


Here are before and after fulling photos for scale. I've tried to size the photos so the rulers are the same size. As TeeKay told me, Cascade 220 loses a lot more in height than width. I experienced that with my previous bag, which is why I swatched so carefully.



Finally, here is a sweater four plus years in the making. It is from the first Stitch 'N Bitch book. I was still learning a lot about knitting back then and sweater was pretty ambitious. I did swatch, and yet the sweater is way bigger than I was in 2004. I probably didn't read the measurements, just decided I was a size large.


I actually knit all the parts back then, got stalled due to big life changes, and then got it out and blocked the pieces last year, I think. But it could have been as early as 2006. Then it sat in the the UFO pile. I pinned it together a couple months and ago and didn't like it at all for a lot of reasons. But I didn't want to frog it after all the dang knitting. It was almost like an instant project, if I could just finish it up. So I pulled out the book and learned how to assemble a sweater. It was kind of amazing watching the side seams go together so nicely. The sleeves were way to long so I cut a couple inches off the bottoms and re-cast off. I crocheted the edges and ran out of yarn, so the button plackets are not done quite to pattern.


Overall, I'm not thrilled. The fabric is too loose, I should have used smaller needles. It is too short in the back, which is weird. The finishing is a bit crappy, especially at the shoulder seams. The sleeves are still a bit too long and too wide. But it has grown on me in the past couple months. I really like the color, and it looks okay on. This picture is not the greatest, and the shirt underneath not the best. It will get worn, in large part because of the buttons. If it wasn't for these cuties, the sweater would still be a U.F.O.



Well, that and my summer knitting goals. I'm going to try to do my check-in on those tomorrow.