Monday, March 31, 2008


Just a post to say how much I love Freecycle.

I come from a family who keeps stuff. We have specific collections, like model trains, plus we keep an overabundance of other things, "for a rainy day". I got these genes from both sides of the family, so it is a constant battle for me to keep "stuff" from controlling me. It's really tough now that we live in an apartment with virtually no garage storage. The office/sewing room was turned into K.'s room, so our living and dining rooms now contain all that stuff, while K.'s room has some of my sewing stuff in it. There is nowhere to put his clothes and toys as he grows out of them. Did I mention we are running a general contracting business out of the small piece of garage we have? I feel very cramped. Part of it is the space, but part is that I have a lot of stuff.

Yes, I could just take bags of stuff to Goodwill or Salvation Army, and we do that from time to time. I also give things to the Daughters of Norway and church rummage sales. But, storage is an issue, and sometimes things just need to go when I get the courage to get rid of them. It's hard to explain if you don't suffer from this condition. Here's an example. A few years ago I was dieting, cycling, and running. The exercise took up a lot of my free time. I was by no means skinny, but at my lowest weight ever. At that time I bought a suit. Now that suit doesn't fit and there is no way I can devote enough time to exercising so that it will. A normal person sees a suit that's too small in the closet and gets rid of it. They don't keep it as a kind of torture device, reminding themselves every time they see it (daily) that they've gained weight, and that they don't get to cycle anymore.

And here are the excuses I had for keeping the suit in the closet: it is too new, only worn a few times; it cost x dollars; maybe when K. is in preschool I'll be able to exercise more. Finally the voice of reason kicks in: it will be out of style eventually; I've had a baby and am 39, there is no guarantee the suit will fit again even if I lost a bunch of weight; maybe someone really needs it.

Here's where Freecycle helped. I came to terms with the fact that I needed to get rid of some clothes, and should post them so that I would know that someone who really needed them would get them (yes, I know people really need the clothes at Goodwill, but I would never just stick that suit in a bag, and I might be tempted to pull it out before I ever got to Goodwill). Lo and behold I was reading the postings and someone needed dress clothes in my size. We got in touch, I gave her the suit and a few others things. Win-win. She got stuff she needed for free, I have more room in my closet, and the things are actually being used.

I wouldn't say that I'm a true compulsive hoarder, but I have have the tendencies. It's hard to get rid of things, like my old sleeping bag. Things become too special. I'm not talking about truly special things, like inherited jewelry, or the tablecloth Grandma embroidered. I'm talking about regular stuff. Never mind that we have newer sleeping bags, enough for the whole family. Never mind that it is taking up valuable space in the closet. The sleeping bag is full of memories of past camping trips and nights staying up late on the sofa watching movies. I have to come to grips that those memories aren't going away just because the bag goes away (and it is!). Plus it is still a useful sleeping bag.

Again, Freecycle lets that bag get used and gives me a little more closet space. And I don't have to leave the house, toting the kid, to get rid of it. The recipient comes to me.

It also works the other way. Sometimes you need an item but don't necessarily want to pay for it or care that it is brand new. I got a playmat from a family who had just installed carpet in their kid's room. But for someone like me it is better to stick to offering stuff. And, like everywhere, there are flakes on Freecycle. My first experience was bad. People not showing up, etc. But now I know that I need to be specific about the times I am available, and get people's phone numbers right off the bat. As time goes by you also get a feel for people.

So, Freecycle and groups like it are a good thing. Junk stays out of the landfill. People get things they want or need for free. Others get space freed up, in their closets and minds.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring at Russian River

We took a drive to the Russian River area today. I got to work on the lace sock, and should have the pair ready to show tomorrow.

Spring has sprung at the river. We walked over the old bridge.

And down to the park.

The sprouts on this tree are amazing.

The branches are covered with lichen, and the tree still looks dead, but you can't stop Spring.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book - Giants in the Earth

I've been reading an awful lot of books that take place in the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Iowa lately. Some of them are pioneer tales, others modern mysteries. I am really curious about the land. I already have the Black Hills of South Dakota on the list of places I want to visit, because my mother was born there. Now I want to see the prairies, too. I know they won't be like the books, they are probably huge corporate farms now, and the little towns won't have dirt roads and aren't little anymore.

Most recently I read "Giants in the Earth" by O.E. Rolvaag. I've been having trouble figuring out what to say about it. Yes, I liked it, could barely put it down, but...I can't express it. I think this part of the introduction explains it. "Rolvaag is primarily interested in psychology, in the unfolding of character; the native American writer is primarily interested in plot and incident. Rolvaag is preoccupied with the human cost of empire building, rather than with its glamour and romance."

I realize that the book is about the people, but I guess I need to see the land more to understand what they were thinking. I need to feel the place. The book is about America but was originally written in Norwegian by Rolvaag, a Norwegian immigrant. The forward and introduction discuss this fact extensively. I wish I knew Norwegian so I could read the original, I think it would make a difference.

I've been struggling for days to write this and I'm not sure why. It's not because the story and ending are quite harsh, it's because of the characters. Beret is ill-suited to the hardships of pioneer life, and deals with it with religious fervor. Her husband knows of her depression, doesn't understand it, and that's it. I guess I can't relate to that kind of marriage or situation. And the concept of empire building and taming the earth. I just have a different point of view about that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Grammar Police

I've been seeing a lot about grammar on the internet lately. Kerflop acknowledges that she has a problem with who's and whose. Craigslist is full of Spelling and Grammar Police who correct people constantly. Now there's a thread about grammar on Ravelry which has garnered 425 responses so far in twenty-four hours.

First off, let me say I am a bad speller and always have been. Thank heavens for spell-check, I don't have to pull out the dictionary so often, and if I do, it's online. Second, I used to have very good grammar and punctuation. I was proud of it. I was the go-to proofreader in the office. However, I had to work to remember all the rules, and now I have gotten a bit rusty, not to mention foggy-headed in general as I age and parent. (I just had to look up it's and its. The problem is I know that "it's" is a contraction for "it is", but I can't get my mind around "its" being possessive because most possessives have an apostrophe, for example "the dog's bone"). I know there are errors in my previous blog postings, and I catch and fix them from time to time.

The Ravelry poster says that it bothers her when people use poor grammar because sometimes it makes it hard for her to understand posts. She goes on to offer many examples of correct/incorrect usage. On one hand she is saying this is her pet peeve, but on the other hand she is basically telling people they are uncaring when they use poor grammar, and she wants to help them. In addition, to me, the tone of the message is condescending due to some of the phrases she uses. But that brings up another issue, that you can't "hear" a person's tone over the internet.

I don't have time to read all the responses, but it looks like many, many people, though not all, agree with her. A few years ago I might have, too. I never would have corrected a person's blog or Craigslist posting, but errors definitely bug me, and influence how I perceive people. I admit I thought people were lazy. But these days I've loosened up. I've come to realize there a lot of reasons people's writing is not always perfect.
  • Some people can't type quickly or well.
  • For me, it's hard for me to see errors on the screen. I catch many more when I have the printed paper in front of me.
  • Others may not have had the benefit of as good or as lengthly an education as others of us.
  • There are cultural and age differences. People say "where you at?". That's the way they speak. It's like "ain't". Language evolves. Things that were "wrong" to some become acceptable over time.
  • English grammar and spelling rules just don't always make sense. Some people give up, or do the best they can.
  • It is just harder for some people to remember these "rules". Just like math or chemistry is easy for some, hard for others. The internet is public, so those with trouble with grammar are more visible, than those, like me who struggled with Physics class, for instance.
But the main reason is my husband. He hired me to help him with setting up his computer and business. We met in person, we spoke over the phone a few weeks later, and he interviewed me in person. I was impressed by his business plans and knowledge of building. However, if he had emailed me I would have thought something very different, because he cannot spell. He is dyslexic. He has beautiful, engineer's handwriting, but the content appears to be from a schoolchild. Sometimes I don't understand what he's trying to say!

You know what? I can understand most postings that use "to" instead of "too" or "who's" instead of "whose". I think if you focus on the errors you get hung up. Just read it. These are brief messages about topics you are interested in. They are not novels or the Declaration of Independence. They are meant to quickly express an idea, to share information. I think it's sad that a knitter might be shy to post on Ravelry because he knows his grammar is not perfect and people might jude him.

But don't get me wrong, it does bug me to see incorrect usage. I think that actual publications should use correct grammar. I am amazed at how many errors I find in the newspaper. I guess as someone who graduated from high school in 1987 I wonder why poor grammar is so rampant, instead of blaming people for it. I am worried that grammar is not being emphasized at school anymore. I know writing essays and papers isn't. I was in my first year at S.F. State in about 1999 and was horrified that an upper division instructor had to waste my time with a session about how to write papers. I first learned this in Middle School. I guess things have gotten worse since then.

My point is: try to be open-minded about language. It is constantly evolving. It is a way to communicate, and if you can understand what a person is saying, is a misspelled word such a big deal?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Kid is Talking

This wasn't planned to be a mommy blog, but I am a mom, so...

Did you know that blowing bubbles is a contact sport? Well, it is at our house, anyway.

In other news: Everyone said don't worry, including our doctor, but K. was only saying a few words and is 20 months old. According to the "books" he should be saying 50 words, and as of last week he was saying "ma ma", "da da", "dat", and that was about it. Actually he was saying "thank you" but we didn't realize it.

Well, in the past few weeks he has begun saying more and more. I'm relieved. Here's a video of him and his favorite new Thomas Friend, Duncan. He sleeps with Duncan under his pillow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bogged Down

Dear Friends,
I am bogged down at the moment. I'm behind answering email and regular mail. I'm behind on reading blogs. Behind on paperwork. Behind on housework.

The jogging is not going well this week. I'm doing it but it is really hard. I think it has to do with all the pollen in the air.

I will get back to the sweater. I just need a quiet time to sit down and figure out how I'm going to finish the top. Quiet time is something I don't get much of.

I did finish one wishbone lace sock, and am about the start the heel on the second.

So that's life at the moment.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Last night I was "living the dream" as my husband calls it. Put together an Easter basket and hid eggs.

I got K. a book about Easter so he would have some idea what this morning was about. His favorite thing was Duncan, of course. He became a fixture immediately, he had to nap with K.

He liked his bunnies, too. Both plush and chocolate.

Did you know Easter Grass could be used to decorate vehicles? K. had a unique way of opening the Easter eggs. He threw the first one on the floor, probably thinking it was a ball, and the candy came out. All the rest of them were thrown, too. The aftermath was widespread. His poor new kitty got chocolate kisses on his white face.

This sums up his feelings about Easter.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Knitting on Public Transportation

I got on the streetcar this afternoon and the only place to sit so that my right arm wouldn't be up against another person was in the back. This was dangerously close to a disheveled man with a full beard who was talking loudly to a man who was desperately untangling his ipod earphones, but I wanted to knit, and it wasn't too close, so I risked it.

Things were fine for a while, the headphone guy got up and moved, but the talker kept on talking to him. I avoided eye contact, of course. But then I hear it "is that knitting or crochet?"

"Knitting," I say.

"Yeah, crochet is different."

"Yes," I agree. And that was it.

I'm actually amazed that this guy and the one I mentioned a couple months ago know enough to see the difference. I guess they are from a different time, when their moms or grandmas knit.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


So, we are in a new portion of the never ending sleep problems around here. Last week Dad got kicked out of bed for being too restless. The kid is still waking up every two hours or so and will not go back to sleep for dad, only me. So, my evening alone time has been derailed again. I know things were better at one point, I remember knitting and watching t.v., even seeing the occasional Letterman. On the plus side, we finally have the little dear sleeping in his crib next to our bed. On the plus, plus side at least he isn't screaming every few hours.

You know, what makes me psycho is not only the overall lack of sleep, but being awakened numerous times. I think it fries the brain to have REM interrupted. I've always been one to have vivid dreams and remember them in the morning. It's different being awakened at 2:00 to a vivid dream. Sometimes it's hard to go back to sleep (not to mention having a small child who will only sleep with his face an inch from mine grabbing me).

I often have recurring dreams about the last thing I watch on t.v. or read on the internet. Unfortunately, the last thing I read the other night was this gossip piece about George Clooney and his fictitious plastic surgery (scroll down). Not a great visual to have seared into my brain at midnight, 2:00, 3:30, and 5:00 am. He really has, well, nerve to say things like this about himself. He must be very secure in his movie star manhood.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where's Waldo?

He's in this truck:

I guess the question should be "Where's Waldo's Head?"

Actually, make that "Why would someone keep a headless Waldo?"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

I read this in "Threads" magazine:

"A garment is like armor; it's the last gate against barbarism"

The article, Fashion is Art Applied, is about Dominique Fallecker who is a great fan of Christian Lacroix. I am unclear who is being quoted, as it is not in the article, but in a sidebar.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bobble Head Martin Luther

First a little housekeeping: Your eyes do not deceive you. Sometimes I date a post with the previous day's date because that's when I thought of the idea. Often in the evenings while I appear to be reading a rousing rendition of "The Little Engine That Could" or "Thomas' Railway Wordbook" I am actually composing blog posts in my head. Sometimes I fall asleep before getting to the computer. I believe this is within the Blogging 365 guidelines. Also, the posts are either here or on Sunset Style. Edited to add: Also, Blogger hates uploading photos for me. I have about a 10% success rate, so often start a post, but am unable to finish it until the next day.

I came across a blurb in "Thivent" magazine for Here you can find Lutheran humor: "You might be a Lutheran have more than five flavors of Jell-O in your pantry". Lutheran recipes - Tater Tot Hotdish (hmmm could I use veggie ground beef for that?). I am most intrigued by the store, though. Yes, indeed, there is a bobble-head Martin Luther, as well as temporary tattoos (!!??), and clergy girl dolls.

Check it out.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rough Night?

I came across these my morning walk:

Now I did go out yesterday for drinks with friends. But I had my two beers in a bar, and arrived home at 6:30 with all my accessories.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Baby Curls

This is my view, pushing K around on his trike.

I can't bear to cut off those baby curls.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Junk Buffet

Is it just around here or do men in general have to take up us much room with their stuff as possible?

One example is cooking. I tend to get everything out that I will need, and put things away after I use them. Use a bowl to beat eggs, rinse it out it and put in the sink. Use the flour sifter, put it away. That way at the end there isn't as much to clean up. The other adult in this house is a great, creative, cook but he takes everything out, uses it, leaves it out and has a big mess to clean up after the meal.

Another example is job sites. I've worked on a few with him. Again, everything gets spread all around. One of my jobs is to organize and clean up at the end of the day. Put tools back in bags, put all the painting materials together, etc. I don't have job sites, I can only compare it to a big sewing project. Again, I tend to clean up as I go. Finish cutting the pattern, through the scraps away, etc.

I wonder two things. First, does one way of working or the other really save time? I think staying organized and keeping the field clear makes the job go faster. I can see the argument, though, that it is faster just to plow through and get things done. And that you risk putting something away only to have to take it out again. I don't like cleaning, I think that's why I clean as I go, that way there isn't a huge clean-up looming.

Second, is it some kind of male territory-marking thing? Or are there women out there who work with all their stuff spread out, too?

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Greenlanders - Mini Book Review

I realize that I'm not doing book reviews, they are barely even mini-book reviews, but I want to share books of possible interest.

I finished "The Greenlanders" last week, and highly recommend it to people interested in Scandinavian history, and to those who just want a good read. It's tale of one family's fate in 14th century Greenland, and really Greenland's fate, too. It is bleak, but it really sucked me in. I had to force myself to go to put it down, not just because I was staying up too late reading, but I wanted to savor the story.

It was especially neat to read this after "Kristin Lavransdatter". They are both sagas in a 14th century Scandinavian setting, but so different. If life seemed rough in Kristin's world, it is downright brutal for the Greenlanders.

From the back cover:
Set in the fourteenth century in Europe's most far-flung outpost, a land of glittering fjords, blasting winds, sun-warmed meadows, and high, dark mountains, The Greenlanders is the story of one family - proud landowner Asgeir Gunnarsson; his daughter Margret, whose willful independence leads her into passisonate adultery and exile; and his son Gunnar, whose quest for knowledge is at the center of this unforgettable book. Jane Smiley takes us into this world of farmers, priests, and lawspeakers, of hunts and feasts and long-standing feuds, and by an act of literary magic, makes a remote time, place, and people not only real but dear to us.
My knowledge of Greenland was pretty sketchy, I didn't even know that Iceland was inhabited first. I bought "A History of the Vikings" by Gwyn Jones to learn more. This is a classic that has been updated several times over the years. Turns out most Icelanders where from Norway. I knew they were Scandinavian, but I didn't realize primarily Norwegian. On my shelf I already had "Vikings - The North Atlantic Saga" which answered my questions about who is in Greenland today. Don't let the bargain price at Amazon influence you. It is great book with a lot of photographs and history. The question of what happened to the last Greenlanders of European descent is still debatable.

I highly recommend "The Greelanders" and the two Viking books I mentioned.

Now I'm reading "Moo" also by Jane Smiley. A great departure from "The Greelanders".

(Anna K. Sisters - we have both Smiley books in our library)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

20 years of Anna Kolbjørnsdatter Lodge

Today we celebrated twenty years of our Daughters of Norway Lodge, Anna Kolbjørnsdatter, #36. We had a catered tea party prepared by our sisters of Sigrid Undset Lodge #32.

That's the beautiful program our Cultural Director, Jill Beatty, created.

We honored our charter members, past presidents, and deceased members, each group in a special, different way. And we initiated several new members. It was a day to celebrate all the talented women, past and present, who make our organization the sisterhood it is.

At the very end, all these candles, representing deceased members were lit. Then we proceeded up to the table, each member with a flower in hand with a late sister's name on it. When we reached the front, the name was read, a candle extinguished, and the flower placed in the vase.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the first Daughters of Norway lodges.

If you are in San Francisco at the first part of May, be sure to go to Norway Day on the 3rd and 4th. It's a fun time, and there is a lot of entertainment and things to see, do and buy. Our lodge is performing a troll play on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


* Disclaimer - I've been debating whether I should post this or not. I do not support graffiti. I am sorry that this homeowner will have to re-paint their fence. However, I doubt that "taggers" are reading this blog and getting any validation of their actions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I have not knit today, hope to do so tonight. Still taking a break on the sweater. I'm starting the foot of Wishbone Lace sock #1, though.

Meanwhile, here is a contest I found out about on Ravelry. I love contests, not just because of the chance of winning cool prizes, but because it leads me to knitters I haven't "met" before, not only the contest holder, but the other entrants, too.

Tracing is having a blogiversary contest. You just have to vote for your favorite of her 2007 f.o.'s and tell her your own fave f.o. Easy.

Edited to add:

Here's another great contest. Enchanted Yarn and Fiber are starting a knitting store and want some input. Mention that you heard about the contest from me, okay?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Knitting Design Contests

There are two knitting design contests that caught my eye this week.
My Ex is Full of Knit Contest invites you to use ADHDKnitting's pattern to design a bag that looks like your ex (any ex - spouse, boss, etc.). The first prize is $500 in yarn. The submission deadline in March 31st. Go take a look, the bags are funny.

You've probably heard about Think Outside the Sox, which is sponsored by XRX, which is publisher of Knitter's Magazine and books, and the organizer of the STITCHES events. This year the yarn companies have set up $500 contest categories for their products, which they judge. There is also a grand prize of $6,000, a second of $1500, and third $500. I've only done a few pairs of socks, but I really enjoy them and want to try new methods. The contest deadline isn't until January 2009, so maybe there's time to learn enough. I really like Tofutsies yarn from Southwest Trading.
Meanwhile, did you see Mason-Dixon Knitting's Teeny Project Runway? I really wanted to make an outfit for our pterodactyl puppet, "Pterry". Here's the flickr link to all the submissions.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Gossip & Socks

So I was just catching up with LaVerna and she told me that Devonshire is having a blogiversary contest. It's easy, just tell her your favorite dessert. Tell her I sent ya, okay?

Got about 8" done on the "Wishbone Lace" socks, ready to start the heel. As I was looking at the lace pattern page I had a flashback. I actually ripped one more time than I mentioned. When I was fussing about originally, unable to do the "Centered Wishbone", I started doing "Faggoting Ribs" because I didn't like the "Left-Slant Wishbone", I messed it up and ripped.

Now I'm looking at my sock and realize the wishbones are upside down compared to the chart, it doesn't matter, but, I prefer the way they look with the "v" at the bottom. Oh well, maybe I'll do sock #2 the other way.