Monday, December 22, 2008

Still snowing

We don't even OWN a snow shovel (found out the spade works in pinch).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This weekend's earworm

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

But the fire(place) is so delightful,

And since we've no place to go,

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping

And I've brought some corn for popping.

The lights are turned way down low

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

3" yesterday, plus blizzardy winds blowing everything about (they closed one of the roads in the west hills until they could clear the 8 feet drifts. 8. feet.), then freezing rain last night for a 1/4" coating of ice, followed by another 3" or so today. Woo, snowed in! At least, I really really really don't want to drive anywhere. Tromping about in my big boots and all the woolens I can stand is fine. Fortunately the gym is only 1/2 mile away.

I know anyone who's used to getting multiple inches of snow every winter is laughing and laughing, but when it's a rare event like it is here, it snarls up everything. If you want the ability to deal with months of persistent rain, we're pretty good at that. It's all in the specialization. It's a tossup whether we'll be able to fly out for Christmas - the airport's currently closed. (which is (guilty confession), okay with me, since I dislike traveling around Christmas anyway. I'll miss seeing everyone, but I hate airports at this time of year. This miasma of stress and worry just hangs in the air there.)

Frances stands at the door and won't go out, looking at me accusingly, asking what is all this cold white powder and would I stop it now please?

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's cold here. Well, cold for Portland. If you really want to talk about cold-cold, it doesn't hold a candle to Verkhoyansk, but 15 F is pretty cold for here. It's up to 23 during the day, although with windchill that's down to 10. I think that last summer's petunias are finally goners.

K's parents visited this weekend from Chicago, and were dismayed to be partially snowed in on Sunday, the first day of the storm. Normally our 40 F average winters would be balmy compared to the midwest, but these Arctic storms blow in every few years. It really wasn't *that* bad so we went out and rode the train around to get out of the house. We only got about an inch of snow, but cars and foot traffic compacted that down to a nice thick layer of ice on every road they haven't plowed or sanded. I know salting is safer, but all that water flows straight into the river, not even feeding through a treatment plant. It also means that my old 70s Corolla never rusted out.

Frances finally ventured out for a couple minutes today, probably to pee au naturel. When I went out there were sad little cat footprints in the snow. Really, she's doing pretty good. Pissed off at the cold weather, of course. I think she blames me. She can't make all the jumps she used to, but we've trained her to jump onto a box then onto the bed from there, and the other ones she doesn't care so much about. She sort of sinks her front claws into the destination material then jumps/pulls herself up from there.

I just recently lost my favorite hat, probably somewhere in the long-term parking lot at the airport (got it at a post-Christmas sale at REI years ago. Damn. I miss that hat) So I am now using the 2nd tier, not-quite-as-warm hats. I actually just finished one last month, but it's not very tightly knitted and it's no good in wind. I just remembered my meathead hat, though, which is way, way overkill for almost any other weather condition, but might work just dandy for this week. It's not supposed to get above freezing until next Monday.

Meathead, circa January 2007

I'm grateful for the Faina scarf too, because all that alpaca is nicely insulating. The stranded mittens are good too, although I should have knit them tighter. Ah well, now I know. And oh yes, you betcha I am wearing the wool socks.

I'm having a hard time with actualities and possibilities and probabilities and what is and what might happen. It has always seemed like I could accomplish what I wanted if I just worked enough at it and was dedicated enough (within the realm of possibility and all that), but my body has been putting limitations on me that I don't know if I'll ever be rid of. When I fill out the stupid health questionaire at the doctors they ask the dumbest questions. "Do you feel as if your health will get better/stay the same/get worse?" Of course it's only going to get worse. Every day is one more day older. The best I can hope for is local maxima. They're probably not talking about the long term, though.

Sorry, I'm just tired. Tired of how many hours of physical therapy I don't feel like adding up right now. I'm really doing pretty good. I can walk, I can do some kind of workout at the gym, I can do some biking. Well, maybe not on the ice. Don't have any studded snow tires on my bike (neat, how cool are those?). I don't have much pain, except in the mornings, and then it's like a dull headache that slowly ebbs away as long as I'm a good girl and do my exercises and stretches. It's more the fear of what might happen, of screwing things up again, maybe in new and divergent ways. That and I walk kinda funny (don't worry, it's subtle). Something with the psoas and the gluteals and such keeps krinking up. At least I can hold plank pose for 70 seconds now.

Concretely, I never seem to get any shit done. It's halfway through December and I have a mountain of stuff to do, including all the administrative end-of-year crap. I immensely dislike feeling stressed out for the holidays. It's not a holiday if it's stressful, it's just another annoying event. But this year I let it all creep up on me. Got to mail those packages out THIS WEEK. I haven't even started Christmas cards. Haven't even ventured into the basement and cracked the boxes. Man, how do you people do it? I don't have kids and I don't watch tv. Where does my time go? I suppose it's spent scrubbing the tub in anticipation of the in-laws. Hey, that tub *gleams* now. Well, parts of it.

MIL surprised me and gave me a gorgeous skein of Seduction sock yarn for Christmas. It's the softest, silkiest stuff. I've already got a pattern for it - the waving lace socks from the Interweave sock book. I made a pair out of another merino-tencel blend, but they were a little too small for me. Can't wait to start on them. Yeah, as soon as I finish the rest of the ever-growing list. How about I get back to you in June on that?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Nieces set #2 got snow in the last couple weeks.

The older one is a hellion in training. The younger is the quietest baby I've ever seen. I love them both to pieces.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not about James Bond

Sorry, I realize that last post was pretty lame.
The last two weeks have been... I don't really have a good adjective. I'll just call them 'eventful' and leave it at that. I haven't felt like being public lately.
(ETA: I'm referring to personal things. All the stuff with the election just piled on top of those. I feel like I should have blogged about that instead of posting pretty Portland pictures, but it's too much right now. When I get too wrapped up in things, I have to focus on the small. Talk myself down. I'm also not good at optimistic lately. The hatred is running too close to home.)

Right, and as the title says, this post will not be about James Bond or any solacian quanta he might provide. Instead, I'll show off my baskets.

If it's not already quite apparent, I have a raging case of Not-Ever-Finishing-Stuff-Up. I've been working on these for (arggh) probably 3 or 4 years now. I pull them out about once a year and do another couple blocks. Not really the way to complete things, except in the far long term. (And considering I haven't gotten around to teaching myself machine quilting and I am a REALLY slow handquilter, I'm really in trouble.)

These started out as a kind of "I like this block and these two colors together, let's make one" thing, which is how most of my quilts start. I really like colors and pattern and how they appear together and that's the most fun I get out of making quilts, so the organic-growingness is my modus operandi. I usually have some sort of big picture in mind, but not always.

Some of the blocks are very close in value or are obscured by heavy patterning, but that's on purpose. I'm playing around purposeful obscuring (when I do get around to it) after reading and being impressed by a Roberta Horton book.

I think this one is my favorite block. It is a little matchy-matchy, I admit, but I like it anyway, probably because I like the fabrics inside it.

Another, um, extremely long term project is a series of small color studies using traditional Amish patterns. It'd probably benefit from not being spread over so many years. This is from another of Roberta's books, An Amish Adventure: A Workbook for Color in Quilts

I like this one the best so far.
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you; that really is 3 different shades of red. I love how it appears to be constantly moving. AMISH! ADVENTURE!

I realize these are all a little staid. Just to maintain my crazy hippy cred:
My favorite result of some messing around with fabric marbling from (gulp) a few years ago. Lots of fun but a WHOLE lot of work. Yeah, even though I did pretty swirly pictures I like these alien egg capsules the best. I still haven't figured out what to do with them, though.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I think 'Quantum of Solace' is a stupid name.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In the interests of full disclosure

I don't have a good picture, but it's been raining pretty much constantly here for a few days now. As it does for most of the winter and a hefty chunk of Fall and Spring. Everything is wet, dark, and molding. I miss summer. The slugs are eating my jack-o-lantern.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


downtown Saturday Farmer's Market in the Autumn

Mill Ends Park (in the middle of the crosswalk)

a closer look

Japanese maple leaves

The Zoobomber bike pile in front of Powell's

* Almost named Boston, and decided on a coin toss between some of the original landowners. As if the confusion with Portland, Maine, isn't bad enough.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fine, fine, pictures.

Posted from Firefox, since Blogger 'n' Safari haven't been playing nicely together for some months now, when it comes to pictures. Really, I do NOT want to get started when it comes to software. The more you know about the basis of current technology, the more you start stockpiling food and water for the coming apocalypse, you know? And really, you do NOT want to know the cruftiness level of some of the stuff managing the entire modern economic foundations, let alone factoring in human greed and frailty.

ANYWAY. Yes, here's the pictures of the gloves with the smitten yarn. Above is back, and below, palm. From a pattern in Selbuvottr. I'm too drunk to link the reference, sorry.

Here's a money shot of just the yarn. You really have got to feel this stuff to believe it. It's like alpaca, but with wool sproinginess. I realize this is not a color scheme chosen by most persons, but I adore it.
I loved it so much at first sight that I wound each hank into a yarn turban by hand, using these directions which I found years and years ago on teh Internets and which have served me well. I could have machine wound but it was just that wonderful to just pull the yarn through my fingers.

It has been raining all day long. I am drunken and maudlin. My love monkey is pantless due to wet rain splash up. Please excuse me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Random Friday

I'm doing *stranded* gloves for my first time at working gloves. Oh no, I couldn't do just plain old 1-color gloves for my first stab. Bah. Fingers in stranded knitting are my new definition for "fiddly." Seriously, even Bunny didn't require this much messing about. I see now why large sweater size swathes of stranding are attractive - because it's mostly a flat surface; needle changing required only after many many stitches. Instead of say, 3.

Oh yes, and I'm off by a stitch so I gotta rip the whole pinky out tonight. GRRRR

The yarn is this amazing merino-alpaca blend from some Denmark company that has just randomly shown up at the unfortunately-located-2-blocks-from-my-work yarn shop. And oh, I am in love! It's a pleasure just to knit with this stuff - so soft, with a bit of alpaca hairiness, but still some sproinginess from the wool. The colors are, I admit, all on the muted side, but I chose a gorgeous heathered brown and a kind of cross between turqouise and steely blue that I think complement each other nicely. It just *feels* luxurious.

It's fairly evenly spun and makes some gorgeous colorwork. Luckily for me it is not quite up in arm-and-leg territory in regards to pricing. Hey, cheaper than Koigu! (Sigh. I know that's not very cheap). I bought 2 skeins on impulse for the gloves. I left the skein of Handmaiden unicorn-hair-and-fairy-dust I'd been oggling on the shelf, and told myself I had some self control (ha)

Sorry, enough with the yarn adoration. (Should you wish to be sucked in, the label says 'Isager 2' and it's a 50/50 alpaca/merino fingering weight 2-ply. Here's a Ravelry link. Oooh, look at that, a Knitter's Review article! Although, I really disagree with the "sport weight" designation for this yarn; it's definitely a fingering, and a light one at that. I'm working on 0s/2.5 mms, getting probably 8 stitches to the inch, and it's not a compact fabric.)


I'm coming down off the local plague that everyone in my office seems to have gotten. A nice little head cold of which I feel grateful I only picked up a light case (I slept for 6 hours yesterday, during the day). Now my sinuses are all full of gunk and my voice is echoing around my ahead and sounds all sad and wimpy. Bleh. But I think I'm definitely working towards just the regular set of dribbling nose and sneeze allergies.

Happy Halloween! Yo ho ho and a bottle of nasal decongestant.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


No, not mine! Zardra's got some new digs, so go on over and give her a shout out at her new place. She's got yarn!

Also, don't you already know about Dizzy Blonde Studios!? La's new (well, not so new now) hand-dyed yarn and pattern shop! She's really doing some gorgeous stuff; go take a look.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let them eat donuts

Frances got the last of the staples out today and is officially donut free, as long as she's good about not biting or scratching or licking things open. She's ecstatic about that, and I'm pretty happy too. She isn't even hiding under the bed tonight. I think she spent the whole day licking herself.

Here's Ms. Bacon while she was still under the donut, snapped after she decided she really needed a very close look at what I was doing.

Me, I've started another set of stranded gloves. I know they're not on the Christmas list. Don't judge.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mars Needs Sock Toes

Greetings from the land of Startitis

The problem with commuter knitting is that it's hard to try on socks while you're on a train. Well, without getting them dirty, you know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Odd Thoughts

I was walking to the train to go to work this morning and thought, my cat with only 3 legs will never be able to ride a bicycle.

It took way to much time to remind myself that Frances' bike future was nonexistant, even before surgery.


My niece just turned 6 months old. Check out that peach fuzz hair!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall stuff

pumpkin bread
apple pie
apple crisp
apple cider
Did I mention apples?
Oh yeah, pears
shorter days
turning on the heater

I finished the other glove last week (minus the thumb). It went a lot faster (finally). I guess my cussedness has paid off at last. You may mock me and my October glove fixation, but I'm the one laughing after it froze this weekend (the National Weather Service issued a 'frost advisory' Fri-Mon. I don't know why I find the idea of a frost advisory so funny). Of course, I bet they'll be warmer once I get the thumbs on.

Frances is doing pretty well. She takes the stairs without trouble, although she still can't make it onto the bed. We tried setting up some step-boxes and she completely doesn't get it. We'll try to find some kind of ramp.

She is still annoyed at us for making her wear the donut collar. Which only works marginally with our super-yoga kitty who is able to contort herself around it. It's better than the elizabethan-style collar, which she managed to get off 3 times. The last time she pulled it down and it was stuck around her middle at the incision and I had to cut it off her while she cried. At 3 am. When I took her to the vet to get stitches out this morning I discovered she'd pulled out 3 or 4 of them already. I suspect that most of her annoyance is because of a side effect: she cannot fit under the bed while donut'ed. Bonus for us, because it makes her much easier to catch for all these damn vet visits.

I'm sorry I haven't been around. I don't feel like I have much interesting to say; as I told my brother on the phone last weekend, I've just been doing a lot of hanging out with the cat and knitting. Oh, and nursing an addiction to Bejeweled. Send wine and cookies.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Smell the Mitten

Thank you, all, I really appreciate your kind words. Frances spent the day mostly hiding under the bed, although she comes out to eat and for litter box breaks. Last night was hard because she likes to sleep on the bed but she doesn't have the balance to ascend or descend that far yet. She's already gone up and down the stairs though. It makes me cringe; she's still trying to get the hang of it.

Back of the mitten

Mitten palm. The thumb is still missing but the top is finished. I am so. damn. slow. at stranded knitting.

The alpaca at Oregon Flock & Fiber says: "Adore me, for I am gorgeous."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A teeny bit obsessed

Ms. Frances the cat had amputation surgery of her left hind leg yesterday, to remove the growing lump that threatens to invade her whole body. She came home this evening and she seems to be doing as well as can be expected with only 3 legs. I feel like a complete and utter shit for doing this to her. At least she's getting the good pain meds.

Meanwhile I have been assiduously and compulsively knitting a colourwork mitten this last week.
This was what was finished after 3 pm last Saturday. It is really a deep heathered plum purple; the picture is crappy. As of the Sunday the entire mitten body was done, only lacking a thumb.

Why yes I've been knitting something requiring lots of attention so I don't think too much about everything else going on.

Fuck cancer. Fuck rich white men playing roulette with my livelihood and that of my family and friends.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yes, officer, there was knitting involved.

Um, yarn. Yes, still got that.

I have had a small knitting crush on the Nutkin pattern for some time. I like the movement, the big bold pseudo-cables. However, I didn't like some of the characteristics, like a tendency towards biasing. That one was easy to fix, just flip the chart for half of the sock.

I really like how each not-a-cable folds up when unblocked, but that's not the usual wearable state of socks, unfortunately. (Maybe I should make socks that are way too big so that they purposefully fold up?)

The other thing I do not like? THE HOLES.
Most of the YOs seem to vanish into the top of the cable, except the very first one of the pattern, which is very, very obvious, once stretched.

I can fix that too, I changed all those yarnovers to make 1s. I had to fiddle with them a little to make them look right, and they're not quite as pretty in unblocked form as the YO version, but again, I'm not going to be wearing them unblocked. My feet == very effective foot blockers.

Except another problem. This sock is Too Small.

Ugh, REALLY too small. Nice stretching, really attractive.

I ripped out (again) and cast on a total of 8 more stitches, about an inch more width around the leg. Except I kept the hemmed cast on, which was flaring out like crazy but fit nicely once on the leg. You cannot even tell I've added all those stitches it flares so much. Fortunately this is a dead-easy pattern to which to add stitches. I just make those "cables" 1 stitch longer, and each purl trough 1 stitch wider.

I don't know if this qualifies as 'just right', but *I* think it looks better.
But then I just had to get creative and make an eye-of-partridge heel, because of course I don't have enough to do. And then I made a dutch heel because the heel flap was way too wide and vanilla heel-flap heels was far too big. Now I just have the Ordeal of the Toe to overcome.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy (yeah, I succumbed. It's pretty.) in Gothic Rose.

The funniest thing? Now that I habitually break the <2.0 mm sock needle barrier, this sock, where I'm using US 1/2.5 mm needles, is going REALLY QUICKLY.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Healthy Veggeez just for Jez

Luminous bell peppers

Mountains of peaches

Luscious berries (sadly this picture is a month and a half old now and the blueberries have petered out.

A little vegetable/fruit still life with my farmer's market purchases from a few weeks ago.

I should say something profound here about Nutrition, but really these just all taste(d) so damn good. Feel free to picture Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef biting right into a raw bell pepper right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monterey Aquarium

I keep forgetting that the California version is only spelled with one 'r.' What kind of spelling freak does that make me?

We did go to the Monterey aquarium, along with 3 other billion people that Friday, although I did muscle my way to the front of some of the exhibits because I was feeling camera happy that day. Too bad I only managed 1 picture at the wedding. I was too busy getting a raging sunburn, I guess.

Anemones. What you can't see from my crappy picture is all the little flat fish hiding in the sand with only their eyes poking out. I love that they come in all these different colors (the anemones. The fish come only in 1 color: sand.)

I could just sit and watch the jellyfish all day.

The display said that this particular variety was actually doing quite well in their natural habitat (the Mediterranean) and reproducing out of control in some Spanish lagoon. Yes - not a color distortion, their bottom parts really are blue.

The seabirds mostly come to them as injured rescues and get too used to people to be released back to the wild. I think these ones were studiously trying to ignore the oggling crowd.
K and I were probably far too interested in the wave-making machine making fake waves for the bird's little beach.

The sardines just keep swimming round and round and round and round and round. There were a few punk sardines wandering off on the sidelines, being sullen and refusing to swim with the crowd. The ever-rotating sardines (the tank is just a cylinder, maybe 6 feet in diameter?) are kind of mesmerizing but K the Love Monkey finally tore me away.

I have an almost uncontrollable urge to knit mittens. Stranded ones, because it can't ever be simple, can it? Like suddenly my life will be complete if only I could Knit Some Mittens NOW.

Monday, September 08, 2008

L is for Less Depressing Things

I'm sorry though, I still detest buses. Especially those driven by cephalopods.