Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adventures in Figs

I don't know about you but I never ate much in the way of figs (except in Newton form). However, now that I live in a Mediterranean Clime, I find figs in the local grocery stores, in little green plastic baskets like the kind that hold strawberries.

Aren't they pretty? These are Black Mission.

I had some plums from the CSA, and found a Grown-Up Recipe involving figs and plums in a brandy-sugar reduction, and though maybe I'd pretend to act my age and try it out. It was fairly simple, and very, very good. I am so making that again if I ever host any dinner parties (Ha. That happens about once ever 10 years).

I had some figs leftover after Grown-Up Recipe, and since roasting makes everything better, on another night I brushed them with some olive oil and stuck them in the oven. We had them in a salad with blue cheese and nuts. Mmm so good.

I used to hate salads when I was growing up, and I pretty much still despise crappy lettuce salads. I don't much care for lettuce drowning in some half-assed vinaigrette, and I can really do without the iceberg except in certain specific cases where I'm looking for crunch. I prefer salads that balance all their flavors together. The lettuce is just one of those flavors. Look at me, a salad snob.

We did this last week with peaches (not really roasted as much as just warmed up). Oh WOW. I'm usually not a huge fan of sweet-savory, but these peaches weren't particularly sweet, and with some goat cheese and arugula they were amazing.

In other news, I made a throw pillow. With an invisible zipper, even! I have a new friend, and she is called Invisible Zipper Foot.

Monday, September 29, 2014

There has been much fabric

And not a whole lot else.
This is only a small bit of it. But it's a cute bit.

(There is, of course, the Current Commuter Socks, and I got bored one night and started Glockenblume, but doilies don't count.)

Crazy Aunt Purl once had a post about how she noticed that she was buying stuff because at work she missed her current stuff, and her speculation was that she was just buying things so that she could "visit her stuff" on the weekends. That is an excellent description of what I've been doing lately. It's not really how I want to live, so I am working more on actually doing and not just acquiring.

The quilt shops of San Francisco are small but well-curated. They are definitely aimed at a particular audience, but as I appear to be pan-fabric-phyllic, it's all good.

Back before I gained the pile of yarn, I did a lot of quilting. Since I got distracted by yarn and dyeing, there's been all this interesting new modern quilting movement, and it's been fun to look through quilting blogs. I am so dating myself.

(except I am so over perfect women with perfect houses and perfect children and the rest of their perfect  lives. Also I might twitch a little at blog posts signed with big swirly signatures. Not a hater, just reminds me of those elementary school girls who used hearts instead of dots on their i's. I didn't have a great experience with those girls.)

I do not have a perfect life, although I am extremely lucky to have my own studio space.
My very messy studio space.

That's the panorama shot I took a few weeks ago. Huge, unworkable mess. Here, I've annotated it for you:

I got tired of not being able to find anything, and finally committed on some shelving. With Ikea and the Love Monkey's help securing things to walls, it looks a little better now. I'm still working on it. I'll take an after picture when I can see more of the floor.

A couple of San Francisco pictures:

Dr. Seuss called and he wants his flowers back

This is the bloom of the Red-flowering Gum. Yes, I know it's pink. San Francisco has such a weird really-it's-a-desert-except-for-all-that-fog climate that very odd things grow here. Australian and New Zealand natives seem to have done the best. And enormous, so-large-you-would-not-believe-it jade plants. No seriously, they're considered an invasive species.

Bay Bridge at sunset, from the Embarcadero

This looks very much like Pacific Northwest picture to me. I think it's the ferries coming in that does it.

Frances and I, basking in the sun

Monday, August 25, 2014

Days sliding by

I have no idea how it got to be the end of August of 2014.

In kitty news, Ms. Frances is still among us, despite a couple times where we thought she wasn't going to make it. We take it day by day.

Hello, sleepy cat

The other day I finished up some long-suffering socks that I think I started 4 years ago

I ran out of yarn for the toes, and couldn't decide what to do. It wasn't actually the toes, but about 1/3 of the foot. A kind person on Ravelry sent me her leftovers in the same colorway, and I finally completed them. It's the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. An easy pattern to continue once you set it up.

Hello, fancy socks with lozenge pattern in 2 dye lots, but I do not care

Sunday we went for a ride. Today my legs feel they might be happier with some other person. Hmph, it wasn't that far. It's just been a couple years since I've done an 18-mile bike trip. Bah. I need to get out more.

We passed First Cake (The Original)

Then climbed up the Presidio and stopped to admire the view

And then crossed the view. This is at the 2nd tower of the bridge, looking south. I didn't realize that the Marin headlands side of the bridge was higher than the San Francisco side.

And then we went back.

And in case you're curious, yes, I woke up at 3:20 am on Sunday morning and the bed was shaking and the windows rattling and said "is it an earthquake?" But it was very mild, short, and nothing at all fell down (which, to be honest, is semi-miraculous as we have been very laissez-faire about earthquake-securing.) I went back to sleep and K put in an entry on Did You Feel It? (also, these MMI pictures from a 1958 text book are great)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I bought some new friends (because that's apparently how I roll these days, buying friends):

The cactus is echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubispinus at home in his new pot.

Thank you all for the comments. I'm very sorry I haven't responded to any of them. Frances isn't doing well, and I'm having trouble coping. That partially translates to not responding to email in timely manner. I try, then people say "so how are you" and I reply "not so good, my cat is dying" and then it doesn't really go very well from there. So it's easier to just not open the inbox some days. And then days becomes weeks and it just gets more embarrassingly late.

I'm so tired of being this little puddle of goo of a person. I often wish I could just ditch the sensitivity, just get to the damn ending of the Velveteen Rabbit without bawling every. single. time. And it's not a good cry, oh no. I cry ugly, with my face all squished up and my cheeks flushing red and my voice goes all high and squeaky, when I can get out anything at all. I could use a little Vulcan reserve but I cannot damn learn how. Where's a class on how not to tear up over kittens or emotionally manipulative movies or just a stupid pretty picture, even? Just how is all this emotion useful anyway? I need some spines. Pretty pink ones.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

This one is for my evil twin

Feel better soon, evil twin, and continue to wreak all your havoc.


What's it been, like 6 months?

So. Stuff! Happening!

I'm still in San Francisco. No change there. The new place is still fantastically wonderful. I would like to mix it up with the plants, but with the drought this is not a good year for that. For now I'm restricting myself to a few herb pots, watered with the greywater left after washing dinner veggies.

Looking East to the bay

I got a new job. It is a really good job. I miss some of the people from my last job, but I very much do not miss others. At new job I'm frustrated a lot less of the time, and ALL my coworkers are really smart people and funny in the same kind of nerd wavelength way that I find funny and best of all, I feel like I can trust all of them. Altogether it's a good thing. I didn't realize quite how defensive I'd become. This is what happens when you can't trust that your coworkers will believe you. You make sure you backup and triple check and are absolutely sure that what you're saying is correct. You leave no holes or weaknesses in your armor.

I still spend much of the time drifting and/or hiding under the bed. But hey, I finished some doilies!

That would be the pile of thread from the last post. Blocked, that sucker is about 2 1/2 feet in diameter (if you look carefully, you can see the toes included for scale). The pattern is Mitteldecke by Christine Duchrow (82.4), although I used the pattern from the Rachel Penning booklet. The thread is DMC Cébélia Cotton size 30 in ecru, and I used 2.0mm needles. Link to my Ravelry project page.

I'm comfortable enough now that I am OK doing my own thing on the edging, which I did, because I like a VERY CONTROLLED edging and not some loosey goosey SC 3 together chain 7 and away you go. It's akin to matching the ribbing at the top of cabled socks to the cabled pattern below. Sure, you could do any old K2P2 ribbing and then just start the cables and not care how the columns fed into each other, but why do that when you could CONTROL THE UNIVERSE? I'd just like to say that my internal perfection monster (generally) doesn't extend to matching up sock stripes. I find the bit of chaos charming. But I guess I am anal about my doilies.


The Love Monkey and I both have a nasty cold that's making the rounds. It's going to be a quiet weekend.

Frances is not so happy that I am not home all day every day.
This is one of the big drawbacks of new work.
My kitty is also not feeling so well lately. bleh.

She's lost a lot of weight this year and her kidneys are slowly ceasing to function. This is not an unusual thing in older cats. We think she is 13 or 14 but she was a stray, and the vet gauged her age by looking at the amount of tartar on her teeth. Not the most precise of methods.

She was doing all right for a long while but not so much in the last couple weeks. So I have become the crazy cat lady that gives subcutaneous fluids to her cat every couple of days. K helps immensely by helping me hold her, as you don't really need to aim very well, but she is (understandably) not so happy being stuck with a big needle. I really need 3 hands: one for the needle, one for securing the cat, and one to control the flow. I do not enjoy sticking a 18 gauge needle in my cat, but she is still up and stumping about and yowling loudly, and gives no indication that she is tired of being here, so we keep on with what we can (I believe I will be exploring smaller needles).

In other (not so sad) news, something is distracting me away from the doilies.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Knitter Bait

Yesterday I went down to the Ferry Building to go the Saturday Farmer's Market there.

Let's play spot-the-seagull

I don't usually go, because it used to be kind of a pain to get to and because you have NEVER seen a farmer's market as fru-fru as this one. OK, it can't compete will full-time indoor produce markets like inside of the Ferry Building. I'm talking temporary, put-up and pull-down markets.

I don't have evidence. Maybe NYC can beat it. But I'll just let you picture it, all the gentrified California farms you can imagine. I think all the stands there have websites, and probably facebook pages too. (I bought a pack of cosmetically challenged bell peppers. When Kurt saw it, he said 'The farms of East Palo Alto? Really?' I didn't even know there were farms in East Palo Alto, which wikipedia says had the highest homicide rate in the country in 1992, but it's gone a down a lot since then and also says is exactly due north of Palo Alto.)

That said, there is some really fantastic produce you can buy there. It's not all snobby celery.

It appears that the oranges are coming in. Also in full force: persimmons, asian pears, eggplant, and lots and lots of greens.

I went for late apples, since we've been invited to Thanksgiving at a friend's place and I am under threat unless I bring pie. While nobody had any Mutsus, my most favorite pie apple, I found a tiny stall with a variety of bizarre apples I'd never heard of and because surprises are great! I bought a bunch of weird stuff. (oh hey, here's their website)

I sat down near the Gandhi statue and knit for a while on the latest.

Yes, another doily. They don't have to fit anyone and the pattern never gets boring.

Within 2 minutes someone had stopped and was asking me about my project and details about the  needles and construction. Heh.


Days are sort of sliding by right now and while that's not good it could be much worse. I should have goals and plans and action and change but it's hard sometimes to just work through the day and keep the the laundry going and the dishes clean. I feel bad about just taking the easy way out and drifting along, which feeling of course just makes the problem worse. Ha.

For today I'm just going to pay the bills, and anticipate Thanksgiving pie, and knit on my ridiculously useless doily, and maybe try to ditch the guilt if only temporarily by crossing off a couple of the must-be-dones off the list. The should-be-dones are still lurking, as always, but I'm not going to think about them for a little while.

Frances is taking her mid-morning nap in the sunshine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Well, hello.

Downtown, on a park ramble a couple weekends ago

I haven't felt like I've had much to say for a while. Not that there weren't Things Happening, just that they seemed boring and inane to talk about. 

To catch things up: I never caught Mama cat. Even with tuna fish she wouldn't go near the trap. She stopped coming for a while. I hope she's all right. We moved and I stopped feeding her. The SPCA reassured me that there were lots of feral feeders around there, that if she got pregnant, then she was getting food from somewhere. I should have figured out some way of going over every day, but it all dropped out with the move. 

Thing 2. We moved, across town. The new place is wonderful. Not that the old place wasn't nice, but the new place is amazingly fantastic and I still find myself looking up and not quite believing I'm living here. We even have a backyard. With sunlight. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but look again at that picture. 

There are way more stairs and uphills at the new place than the old place. The first couple weeks my knees wanted to know WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE TO US?? We had movers (oh, so much worth the $$. Way cheaper than 3 months of physical therapy), but I still had to do a lot of lifting,  packing and unpacking. It was a toss up sometimes between whether to abuse the knees or the back. Me and my ice pack were BFFs. The knees have mostly gotten used to things and only occasionally seize up. I do have to remember to stretch my calves, oh, all the time. 

Other than the expected lifting and unpacking and packing and crap, it was about the easiest move I've ever done. I still have too much junk. A year later and I STILL HAVE TOO MUCH JUNK. argh. But now I've got more space in which to ignore it. Maybe not such a good thing.

Frances, with pile o' boxes. These have been since moved out of the front room.

The in-laws visited. We went looking for iconic views.

And I have likely lost my mind because I've made plans to visit, of all places, New York City for Christmas. Because obviously I don't get enough of the urban every day.