Saturday, August 30, 2008


Okay, that last post (I'm about to add some thoughts there, at the end) was a bit of a downer, and didn't have any photos, let me make up for that. Here's the first of the rose yarn I'm spinning for the sweater. I just made the August challenge of 4 oz.

Speaking of spinning, this morning I went to the opening of Urban Fauna Studio. It was packed, but I didn't mind because several of my Tuesday Knit Night pals where there. I bought a new spindle and hand carders. I had checked beforehand to see if there would be carders, but didn't know there would be Greensleeves spindles, yea! I'll try to take a better picture of Lady Barbara later.

I, as well as the other first 75 customers, got a goodie bag and free pattern. Everyone got different loot, and Jessica traded yarn with me. I can't wait to go back and browse when it isn't crowded.

See that stitch marker? It has an itty bitty quail on it, which reminded me that we came across the very few quail who live in Golden Gate Park the other day. Fluffy, I was thinking of you.

And that reminded me of another bird. We had a great day at the zoo Thursday, with a special behind the scenes giraffe feeding. We fed them leaves, and K. was amazed at how tight he had to hold onto the branch while the baby stripped the leaves off. And his hand got licked by a long giraffe tongue. Fun times.

We stopped to have a snack and he was trying to feed seagulls when this guy came up, happy to eat popcorn cake crumbs. Peacocks are beautiful, one of my favorites.

But up close? Not so much. The dinosaur ancestors really show up. And this guy was really aggressive, he was ready to go through my bag, or peck my camera.

Friday, August 29, 2008

BART Attack

I guess all the talk about the police the other day, and making a plan to take BART to a meeting next month got me to remembering the night a creep attacked me on BART. Some people may think it's weird to put this on a blog read by all kinds of people who barely know me, but I'm not the pervert who goes around grabbing women, I'm the victim, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have found there are a lot of things women have gone through that they don't talk about, leaving others to think they are the only ones who have gone through a similar thing. So here's my story, it's a long one, but it may explain a little bit about me. Like why I don't try too hard to get out of jury duty, and why I make sweeping comments about aggressive men.

One night about ten years ago I was taking BART to the East Bay for dinner with the guy I was seeing at the time. He liked to joke that I should reimburse him for all the bridge tolls and time he sat in traffic to come over here, so once in a while I would go there.

It was a rare hot day in San Francisco because I was wearing shorts. I was sitting in the middle of the car, next to the aisle with my belongings safely on the inside seat. I vividly remember reading a textbook balanced in my lap, when suddenly I saw and felt a hand grasping my crotch. I grabbed the arm attached to the hand, and I said "what are you doing"? I was even more repulsed when I saw how raggedly the person's clothes were. I was sitting and he was standing, so momentum allowed him to escape my grasp.

I jumped up and called the driver on the emergency intercom and told him what happened, and the train was halted. I think the creep got back on the train or was taunting me because I do remember one person telling him to leave me alone. Other than that people were just staring, doing nothing. I waited and waited for the police to come and figured the guy was long gone, when I saw him on the platform. I called the driver again and told him. Then I saw the creep go up the escalator so I followed him. Amazingly the station agents had no idea what was going on and as I explained we saw the creep by the gates. One of the agents ran with me to follow him.

We chased him up to the street and he started shouting I had asked for it and called me obscene names. That part was actually worse than the attack. He appeared to be on drugs. We asked a bystander to help restrain him but he wouldn't. The perv ran off, the agent followed, and I went back down into the subway, so mad that the police had never shown up and the guy got away.

Two male officers came and it turns out he was assaulting another woman at the gate when we saw him, because they were taking a statement from her. One officer had taken my driver's license and when I realized he was taking my address off it I told him I had moved since then. We let out a big sigh and was really annoyed. You know, I was a bit in shock, and if he had asked me my address I would have told him. The other officer was making sure he had my story right and at one point he touched me from behind, I wasn't expecting it and kind of freaked out. I think that's when I asked for a female officer. I also remember thinking "oh no I'm wearing shorts, they'll try to blame me".

Then they got a call saying the guy was caught and we had to go i.d. him. Amazingly, the agent kept following the guy and flagged down a Highway Patrol unit, who captured him. I was relieved. Being in the back of the police car was gross. Then I found out he had attacked yet another woman that night, and her little girl had been with her. The other victim didn't speak much English and I remember translating for her, though my Spanish is very limited.

It was all very COPS, we drove to the Transbay terminal and they shined a bright light on the creep and we said yeah, it was him. At some point I used a payphone to leave a message on my date's answering machine to let him know I was delayed, trying not to freak him out too much. Instead of waiting for him to drive in, I decided to get right back on the horse, so to speak, and took BART as planned to his station. I sat in the very front by the driver, and they had a BART officer at the other end to meet me and wait until my ride arrived.

The rest of the evening is pretty blurry. My guy said he had worn a path in the carpet pacing waiting to hear back from me. I had some wine, and we called the other victim, to explain better what was supposed to happen next, now that I had a translator. Apparently we watched television in Spanish and I was able to translate everything, thanks to the adrenalin and wine, I guess.

I didn't hear anything for a few days and called BART police. They told me that it was being handled by San Francisco police since it happened in the City. I was also told, in secrecy, that the creep does this all the time and had an order against him, forbidding him to ride BART. I waited to be contacted by the District Attorney's office and got a cell phone and pepper spray. I was really shaken up. I had taken several self-defense classes in my life and do my best not to put myself in danger, and yet someone decided that he had a right to invade my person.

Finally I got called to the Hall of Justice to talk to a prosecutor. She asked me again what happened and I mentioned that I was still sore where he grabbed me. She said there was hearing coming up and that the charge was sexual battery, and she wanted him to become a registered sex offender. I was taken back by the term sexual battery. I assumed there would be plea bargaining and she had to start with the worst. Now I realize that if he had grabbed and bruised my arm, for instance, I would have felt very differently about it. Grabbing a woman's crotch to the point of leaving a mark, and then shouting obscenities is sexual in nature, and it did make me feel not just unsafe but violated. I have a hazy feeling that even the guy I was dating was surprised that there could be jail time for someone who "groped" women.

There was a slim chance I would need to speak at the hearing. She chose me to speak rather than the other two victims, which made me kind of uncomfortable. I spoke English well and worked downtown and would show up in business clothes, unlike the other women who were just as humiliated by the creep, but not white professionals. I also had the feeling she was more interested in winning for her record than out of concern for the victims. I nervously agreed to attend.

I sat in the front behind the proseuctor. Only one other person was in the audience, sitting on the other side. I assume he was a family member of the creep. We looked at each other, pretty neutrally. I was relieved to see the criminal in a jumpsuit behind a reinforced door. I don't know if he had been locked up ever since the attack. And I don't remember a lot of what was said, and luckily I didn't have to speak. But I can still see his public defender, a woman, saying how ridiculous the charges were. Of course the fact that he had a long history of doing this and was banned from BART was never mentioned. I was highly offended to hear her speak on his behalf, even though I know it was her job. I'm also pretty sure her motives were more about her career than caring for her client.

I never found out the result, I know he didn't get the punishment the prosecutor asked for, and there was no trial. I'm not sure if it wasn't announced or I didn't understand. The prosecutor didn't speak to me. As I walked down the front stairs of the Hall of Justice I looked over and saw the relative. This time he had sadness in his eyes as he met my glance. Because his kid was a pervert? Because he realized I was a victim of his kid? Because this wasn't the first time he saw his kid accused? I'll never know.

I do know his name, but when I asked a cop friend to look it up years later he wasn't able to find out without a Social Security number. More recently I have looked on-line to see if he is registered under Megan's Law, or find out where he lives, but there is not trace. Maybe he is dead. He obviously was pretty heavily into drugs.

I just remembered that a couple days after the attack I went to find the BART station agent and thank him for helping me get the pervert caught. He told me that he had been a victim of abuse himself. He also said he hoped the creep would get some help. At that point I was more worried about punishment than help, but of course I know just locking people up isn't going to stop this kind of crime.

The time has come when I don't think of the incident every day, or even every time I see a BART train. At first I couldn't sit in the middle of a BART train, but now I'm fine. And the first time I had to go to the Hall of Justice, ironically for a Criminal Justice class, I was a little nervous, my sister went with me, I think. But since then I have gone to jury duty a couple times in courtrooms, and even ate lunch at the same cafe I did the the day of the hearing.

This happened ten years ago, but I doubt the number of crimes against women has decreased that much since then. With all the hub-bub about our having a serious female contender for presidential candidacy and now another female vice-presidential candidate I think it is important to realize that many men still think of women as objects here at their disposal. Equality of gender, and race for that matter, is not a reality.

(A few more thoughts - I was really happy that some of my previous training had kicked in and that I didn't just back down. As I was holding onto his arm, I memorized everything I could about the creep. Height, clothes, etc. for later.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bad Boys

On the fiber front, I am plying the first of the rose for my sweater. Yeah, I couldn't wait and want to complete the Ravelry group August challenge of 4 oz. I have decided that September 21st, the official last day of summer, will be the last day to finish my summer knitting goals. I had planned on using Labor Day but if I wait another three weeks I should be able to complete a couple more. I'm afraid if were to say "okay, I didn't get them done this summer", they would never get done.

On the mood front, it has not been so good. I'm in that space where I hate the city. It happens a couple times a year and I start fantasizing about living in a small town where people are nice and we could have space. Except I know that there are crappy people everywhere, and I would miss all the "culture". I've also been feeling pretty isolated. I just don't have anyone who has known me forever that I can call and tell stuff without having to explain. And the one person who I could still doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I do have friends, but I just can't call people up and go out after work and talk anymore, or go catch a movie on a Sunday afternoon. Everything has to be so planned out.

I have a general issue with being a stay-at-home mother, who's trying to help with a small business. It's really not how I envisioned it, at least not yet. I've always worked, ever since high school, being home all day is weird. I thought I would play with my kid, go to zoo, pay bills, and cook dinner. Instead I can't keep up with anything, and going out has to be planned around a two-hour nap at 11:30 (three hours if you include the hour it takes to get him to sleep). I'm constantly cleaning, but the place is never clean. I did housework before, but when two people are working they aren't here all day creating more dirty dishes and messes, so it is really just weekly maintenance. I wish I had a dishwasher and that the laundry room wasn't two flights down, through a locked door, and then another. At least I don't have to go to the laundromat.

On top of it all I still get crappy sleep which doesn't help with the moods, and neither does lack of exercise. My mother comes over several afternoons but those couple hours get eaten up so quickly with bills, cleaning, errands. I did manage to go out and do my errands on my bike twice this week, I hope I can keep that up.

Now back to the title of this post. There was a little, not revenge, but validation, perhaps, today. We have a neighbor in our building who moved in over three years ago. It all started badly with people ringing our clearly labeled doorbell at 3:00 am and then making a ton of noise the day they were moving in, and went downhill from there, a drum kit came in the next day. He took over common spaces that were supposed to be unused, wrote petty notes, stuff like that, we had to have the landlord intervene once. Just an arrogant kid pretending to be a big man. I never liked him and would avoid going to common areas when he was around. I thought something was funky with the family, but my husband said I just don't like people, which is true to some extent, I think people should do their best not to bug other people.

Well, about six weeks ago he left, turns out he was a big bully. My husband was shocked, I was not, my intuition was right (yes, that was acknowledged by Mr. TVP). It has been much nicer here, a bad vibe is gone, I don't have someone giving me dirty looks one day, then saying "hi" the next. The remaining people still blast their stereo from time to time, but at least not at 6:30 in the am, and obviously we aren't quiet with a two-year-old.

Tonight he was supposed to get some of his stuff, escorted by the police. He isn't allowed on the property due to a restraining order. Of course, arrogant jerk that he is, he decides he will go in the garage before the police come. His friends brought a pick-up truck. Two squad cars come and neighbor boy and his friends end up sitting on the curb. In the end one friend drove off with a few bags of stuff (thanks for making us move our truck two blocks away so you could load up). The other friend drove off in neighbor's car. Neighbor boy went away in a squad car. I just can't help smiling and singing the theme from COPS "Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do?" Because it totally is a scene from COPS which features people being stupid. All he had to do was wait for his police escort. Typical aggressive male b.s.

I actually feel bad for the family. Divorce is really hard and there is a child involved. I hope she didn't see her dad in the police car. There's a lot more to the story, but I don't want to air all their dirty laundry. That said I feel a little vindicated. My husband is always saying I am too sensitive, but this guy is an arrogant jerk with a lot of issues and now it is proven.

I know the world can't all be sweetness and light, but is it so wrong to expect people to be civil? That's all I really want. Maybe I should move to the Island of Sodor.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I know I've said it before but the Freecycle Network is a great thing. In the past week I have given away a mound of stuff that wasn't really being used and it all went to people who actually want it.

It is a constant battle against stuff here. For one thing we live in a flat with limited storage in the garage. And that limited storage is filled with tools for our business. It is a two-bedroom flat, with a formal dining room, but that second bedroom was an office/sewing room before the little one came along. So it is quite cramped here and I'm still saving a lot of toys and clothes and baby stuff in case we decide to have a second one.

For those who don't know how Freecycle works, it is pretty simple. People give things away to others with no string attached. No selling or trading. It is international and set up by city or region with bulletin boards, ours is on Yahoo. People post items they are offering and, to a lesser extent items they want. You communicate by email entirely, or at least at first to make pick-up arrangements. I have had pretty good luck with people showing up. The hardest part is choosing who will get your stuff, as there are usually a lot of responses. Choosing the first responder is discouraged.

I have received two things, but I try to limit that for obvious reasons. It does feel good to get something you need for free and know that you kept if from being thrown away by someone else. I placed a "Wanted" request for spinning supplies twice, but no-one responded. I was a bit irked when two days later someone offered a spindle, and then gave it away immediately to someone else before I even saw the ad. You are supposed to check previous "wanteds" before posting an "offer". But then I can afford to buy spinning stuff and if it went to someone who can't, then that's great.

I still give things to Goodwill and our Daughters rummage sale, but for very specific items I enjoy giving them away. I have given away a few things I was on the fence about after seeing "wanted" ads. So next time you are cleaning out your closets think about using Freecycle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Major Purchases for Major Projects

Today we took a drive to the Russian River. On the way we stopped at the Santa Rosa farmer's market so I could pick up the wool for my big sweater spindling project from Karen of RoyaleHare. I love the color. And I had better, because I'm going to be spinning a lot of it. The yoke will be the multi-color (only one more braid of that to spin) and the neckband and balance of the sweater will be rose.

I just about finished a sleeve for the Fana sweater on the trip, and the other is about 1/3 done.

Meanwhile, this came in the mail a couple weeks ago from Stagecoach Yarns:

Actually that plus more skeins of the light blue main color on the far right, and a blown up pattern, color keyed with yarn. It is for the Blue Shimmer Bohus sweater.

Above is a page out of Poems of Color, which I understand has just been re-printed, showing an original Blue Shimmer. The yarn is custom dyed, super soft, a blend of wool and angora. I have had to force myself not to swatch, to focus on finishing my other projects. But I did wind one skein of the MC into a ball, couldn't resist.

I'm going to work on these sweaters simultaneously. Hopefully there will be enough variety of tasks so I don't get bored and sidetracked onto socks or something. The Bohus suggests size 2 for the body, which means I will likely have to use size 1s. Not a fast knit.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Dear Speech Gods,
Please, please, find it in your infinite wisdom to aid my son in learning a few words to use in place of whining and screaming when frustrated. I'm thinking "help", "stop", "down", "mad", "please".

I believe this is known in the parlance as "finding your words".

Thank you,
A Frazzled Mother

p.s. knitting, dowel, brick, cous-cous, bamboo, etc. are fabulous words. Thank you for those.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Socks

These have been done for over a week. I just cannot get photos that do justice to how happy I am with them. I designed them with cables down the heel to wear with slip-on shoes.

As I mentioned, I seriously mis-calculated how much yarn I would save by making them short, so, yeah, a big chunk of the feet are white.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fana Check-in

The trim and buttons for my Fana sweater came in the mail yesterday. I had procrastinated in ordering it, I think because I'm insecure about sewing on the facing. Then there was a little delay in the trim getting here. But it's here, so I can finish up the sweater, right? I pulled out the sleeves to see how much I have left to do and decided to rip them out again. I wasn't happy with the way the increases looked and some of the other knitting just doesn't look good either.

I made a lot of progress on the first one during nap-time today, and it looks better. While I was knitting I realized that Labor Day is in two weeks which means summer will be over, which means I have two weeks to finish, since this sweater is one the main goals on my summer knitting list.

I need to get someone to take the kid out for a few hours when I work on the facing, I think. I need to set the iron up, get out the cutting, mat, etc. Plus, have quiet when I cut the rest of the front steek. Maybe next weekend. But it has to be soon because I want to pin the sleeves in to make sure they are the right length, and I'm not cutting the sleeve steeks until I get the front steeks sealed up into the facing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


We call this the "Hair" Photo. It was taken in the late 1980's. I wish you could see my lovely blue eyeliner (that's me on the right). Did they set me apart due to the giant cowl neckline? I've seen this photo a million times but I never noticed that I'm off to the side before.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Failed project and Cake

I spun this yarn with the intent of making a Morning Surf scarf, as seen in Spin-Off magazine. The fiber is this sampler from Carolina Homespun (there was actually more in there, some greys, too. I didn't use it all.)

I laid out the colors in the progression I wanted. What I didn't plan well was how light and dark colors would ply together with too much contrast. I started this project over a month ago. Keeping the sequence together with my little helper around was a challenge. I had to re-do the final, blue section several times and I can see now I lost a pair.

I really liked the way the yarn turned out. This is pre-washing. I washed it a few nights ago and noticed the colors bled, but I wasn't concerned because I was going to use progressively cooler water and keep rinsing so none of it would "stick". Well, I went to read to the little one bedtime stories and fell asleep myself. The next morning I dashed in to the kitchen expecting a total disaster.

Fortunately the color only transfered in a couple places where the darkest blue and red were resting on other colors. Only a few sections were effected.

I started knitting the pattern today, and it doesn't work. The yarn is just too thick, and not enough. I would end up with a square scarf. That's okay, I really like the pattern and may use it for something else. And I really like the yarn, but I'm not sure what to do with it.


Have I mentioned I'm a germ-o-phobe? Well, recovering germ-o-phobe because I know enough that I have to let my kid get exposed to germs so he can build up immunity. I make him wash his hands, but I have really cut back on the anti-bacterial hand wipe use.

Anyhow, I was really happy to see the name of this bakery. I don't know, "Sanitary" isn't the first thing I would desire in a bakery, "Scruptious" probably is. But I wouldn't want something from an "Unsanitary" bakery, either. This place was opened in 1909.

I was even happier to see what was inside. And yes, it is good.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Well, in contrast to last week, no one came to knit night tonight except me, so I sat there alone and listened to other people's conversations. We meet in a dessert cafe and there's wide variety of people in there. Usually there are college study groups. Tonight there was a couple staring into each other's eyes, feet touching under the table. The kissed and got up to leave. The woman stopped and dug in her handbag, I assumed she was checking to be sure she had her birth control. Nope, she pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

A woman was sitting at the table next to me with a laptop. Another woman came in, they greeted each other, and woman #2 sat down, opened her laptop and got on her cell phone. These two sat together, never talking, except to people on their phones for an hour. Woman number #1 was wearing i-pod headphones.

At a far table I heard someone say "Jesus Christ", not in a cussing manner. There were two women talking to what looked like LDS guys on their mission. I hoped their conversation would keep going, I felt very vulnerable sitting there alone and was dreading hearing "could we talk to you about Jesus?". In contrast a group of three people sat down on my other side and proceeded to talk about their experiences with drugs and rock and roll.

I went home a little early and while I was waiting for the streetcar I heard a familiar voice on a cell phone. A woman was complaining about her job but was "glad she had the income so she didn't have to tap into the trust". She sounded familiar because this was not the first time she had been sitting there yammering away on a Tuesday night. The last thing she said was "What are you doing? Am I on speakerphone? Mom, you have to get a headset....You have to get a new phone with Bluetooth and get a headset".

In knitting news, I am making progress on my summer knitting goals. I have finished socks to show, but I just can't get a good picture. I was trying to shoot using a mirror, but had interferences galore, starting with a dirty mirror, ending with a 2-year-old.

It was easier to take this picture of myself as a giraffe at the Zoo.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Handspun F.O.'s

I went to the park yesterday to take photos of the items I made from my first handspun. Since they were natural colors I thought a natural background would be nice.

Saw some beautiful plants along the way. The texture of these guys made them look artificial:

This shrub was covered with dangly pink flowers:

Here's my first knit item made with my handspun yarn. The pattern is Pro Bono. I like this photo because it doesn't look like me at all. I mean I don't see myself this way, only seven foot tall people would see me from this angle.

I named the hat "mixed breed" in Ravelry. Most of it is made from a sampler of different sheep (they weren't identified). Part of it is Jacob & Llama, a bit Norwegian, and one stripe is Icelandic.

I used some of the scraps to make these Kornissen to have on hand to give as little gifts.

It was a beautiful foggy day. I love all the greens of the trees against the grey. This tree had a ton of green cones.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Knitting Angel

I was heading out for a child-free walk in the park yesterday afternoon and the postman was at the gate with a package full of Icelandic goodness:

A knitter on Ravelry offered free Scandinavian patterns she had inherited. I picked a few Icelandic ones because I don't have any, but have always admired the yokes. She said she was sending some yarn, too. I was blown away to find so much Lopi in the package! The patterns are great and I have never actually seen Lopi before. Can't wait to pick a project and get contrasting colors.

I took the booklets to read in the Park. Pictures tomorrow of a couple f.o.'s I shot in the Botanical Garden.

Thank you, Susan!! You made my day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Knit Man

I had a great time at my Tuesday knitting group tonight. Because of the summer, a lot of people had been absent lately, and I missed three weeks myself. Tonight we were all back together and it was fun. I didn't get too much done because talking and counting at the same time don't work for me.

Here is our newest knitter. Yes, those are his Addi Turbos, his yarn in the bag there, and his hardhat in the background. I wish you could hear how he said "Turbos!".

Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Cake

This morning I went to an open house at the Arboreteum in Golden Gate Park. Among the groups with tables was Spindles & Flyers, the local spinning guild. They featured spinning with cotton, hemp, and linen. It was great to meet them, including a few from Ravelry. One woman had a collection of whorls, some of them quite ancient. I wish I had taken a photo.

Then I bought a rhizomatous begonia.

The Second Birthday celebrations continued tonight.