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.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cat Stakeout

I did trap the kitten. Once I managed to get enough emotional control to not burst into tears (what the hell is wrong with my head?), he was easy. He was already not shy of me, and after initial wariness and coming out and meowing at me a couple times, he went right in.

I was afraid I had taken too long to do this, that he would be too old, but the SPCA accepted him into their kitten adoption program after an intake interview. So hey, I hope he lives a happy and well-fed life.

Mama has not been so easy. When I went to feed her that evening I could feel her glaring. "You took my kitten" she glared. (Hmm, melodramatic much?)

I didn't intend to take this picture. I was just sitting there, waiting and messing around with the camera, and she slunk right through the frame.

I've made several attempts to trap her, including not feeding her on Friday at all, but that just seems to have driven her away. She hasn't shown up for several nights now. So I sat on Saturday, a distance away, with the trap cleverly disguised by a purple towel and a trail of tuna fish leading to the back of it, waiting to see if she'd come. Nothing.

I can't wait around too long in the evening because here's who showed up one night. I skipped feeding that night and came the next morning. Blurry picture, but I think you can make him out:

We are moving, a week from Tuesday. The rent-a-boxes arrive this Tuesday.
I just want it to be over. It won't be nearly as unpleasant and complicated as moving out of state, but still. I'd like some time to just stare at the wall in peace.

I have been making my lists again. And I've been an adult and completed things from the list (hello moving boxes, movers, dentist, mechanic, SFSPCA, transit, and doctor. Yes, I'm getting movers. I'd rather pay them instead of spending 3 months in physical therapy for the inevitable back injury.) Some people enjoy lists, but I don't. Crossing things off doesn't do anything for me; it just reminds me of how much else is on the list. I never seem to completely finish off every item, which is what gives me a sense of closure. Probably because I keep adding things.

At least I finished off  some socks. When they are done, they are DONE (unless I screwed up the toes. You'd think I'd have completed enough pairs by now I would have toes DOWN. but no)

The yarn on the left is some prized Rabbitworks Fibre Studio Toe Jam sock in Revenge. I liked this pattern so much for some other very-variegated sock yarn, I went the lazy way and did it again.

On the right, I lifted the stitch pattern and erm, not much else from the Tern pattern. I did them cuff-down, heel flap, in fingering-weight yarn. I don't like larger gauge socks & short-row heels don't often fit me well. If you look closely you can see that they're fraternal. I accidentally added an extra row between cables on the 2nd sock. Whoops. I didn't discover it until I the ankle & by then I didn't feel like ripping.  Hmph. They are each handsome in their own way.

The terns use Cherry Tree Hill super sock with Louet gems toes (and a strand of wooly nylon. This is a test to see if it can help strengthen the 100% wool toes from my Toenails of Doom.) I like the different colored toes but they weren't a choice. I have the US women's size 11 feet & usually need a minimum of 420 yards. Cabling of course sucks up even more. I have only a few yards left of the blue. I once made size 7 socks for a friend and wow, it took like 1/2 the time. So you people with your man-socks complaints can just cry me a river.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Hi there. August. How again did it get to be August? And Evil Twin, if you dare mention anything about days left until the C holiday, I will scream.

This is my new friend. I found her/him mewing near the sidewalk next to a heavily-wooded area(do you say wooded when it's all underbrush and shrubs?) a couple weeks ago (arggh I need to stop procrastinating this - has it been so long?), right before I left on a business trip to Portland.

Here's a better picture.

He's gotten enough used to me that he'll eat within a couple feet from me, as long as I'm not moving and he's hungry enough.

And then last week someone who appears to be Mama made an appearance. She is long-haired, black-furred, and green-eyed just like the kitten.

And then today, who should show up but Papa. He has short hair, but also black fur and green eyes.

What the hell am I going to do?

The kitten, if not too feral, might be able to get into a kitten adoption/fostering program. SPCA of San Francisco's policy is catch, cut off them gonads, and release. They don't rehabilitate or euthanize feral cats. Which is nice for the cats, hell on the songbirds, but also probably helps keep the city rodent population down.

I have been advised to go pick up a kitten & cat trap (ok, make that 2 now) from the SPCA, who will catch, spay/neuter, then give them back to me to release. If feels like the meanest betrayal to do that to the kitten. I'm fairly sure he won't be a problem, as he comes right up to the food. The adults will likely be harder.

Some days it feels like the only good thing I'm doing in the day is feeding that kitten. Been kinda a rough few months, mentally.

We're moving, beginning of September. I still have too much crap. Even AFTER Massive Crap Cleanout #1. At least it is only cross town this time, not a 13 hour drive. I really need to ditch one of my hobbies.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Swearing on a Sunday

I am updating my resume. This is not a thing I enjoy. I enjoy it even less that it very much needs to go through some external editing by a volunteer (likely the Love Monkey, if he's willing).

Some people do the Review Your Life thing at New Year's or their birthday, but I tend to veer away from self-reflection, probably because my internal mirror has been so distorted for so long that I don't really trust it for any healthy evaluations. But for me, Resume Revision Time is one of those times; plus I get to do it in excruciating, properly punctuated detail:

Just what the hell have you done with your life for the last x years? Was it worth it? What do you have to show for it? You do realize You Are Getting Older?

I was not kidding about the doilies

Not to mention the exercise in coming up with a bazillion other ways of saying "write", "run", and "test".

Instead of the celebration of Kick Assed-ness that it seems like it should be, instead it is a more of an negative look at what I haven't done. At the same time I get personally invested in those little highly-tuned phrases, and am loathe for anyone I know to look at them critically. It all kind of adds up to a big blob of get over yourself, please. And I would if I could but that part of my brain just will not shut up.

Sadly, doily construction is a specialized category of interest that most of my intended resume readers will not care about at all, except to look at me funny and back away slowly.

At least, one of the things I'm good at is considering audience, so if I can pick myself out of the little wallow of self-doubt I am stuck in, I can probably inject at least a little objectivity into this. Not to mention the whole subtext of how lucky I am to have a good job right now that I could choose to leave.

So how's your Sunday?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Solstice

(which was yesterday)

Well, hello there. It's been an eventful few months. I go through periods where I think that all that I write is garbage so I don't write anything. And then days become weeks become months and I wonder how it got to be almost the end of June already. But then I just get to a point where I feel like dumping a bunch of stuff out there just so it won't stay in my head, boring or no. I'm not making anyone read it. You have your own free will, right?

First off, Mom is doing well. She spent more time in the no-load-bearing cast, then graduated to a weight-bearing cast and could slowly start to put weight on it. The x-rays show that the fused joints at the place of the fracture are healing. Now she's in a walking boot and finally allowed to drive again. I'm so glad she's got back some independence. It was hard for her to not be able to do her own shopping and need rides everywhere.
Mom's new purple cast, a couple days before I left in April

In further medical news, I injured my back, again. On a friend's recommendation I found a wonderful chiropractor specializing in soft tissue damage who has me better than before the injury. We're still working to see if I can get rid of scar tissue & knotted muscles I've had since the last injury, 5+ years ago. I am not really fond of 45 minutes of PT exercises a day. But if it makes it so I can stand for more than 15 min without pain, or be able to do longer walks & hikes, I'm diligent.

It's made life a bit difficult, because for a couple weeks there I wasn't supposed to do more than walk 100 ft or so. And I pretty much walk everywhere. Much happier now that I can do the round trip to the grocery store.
Frances takes a late afternoon siesta

Job is extra stressful. Should have left already (lather, rinse, repeat).  But now is not an auspicious time so I am stuck because....

We are buying a place, and mortgage companies really like that job stability thing. Fingers crossed (and legs and eyes and whatever else can be) that it works out. It's really nice and I want to live there very much. Even though that means moving again.

I finished this:
Path of Flowers Stole, by Chrissy Gardiner

Well, honestly I finished it last October or so, and finally blocked the monster out this Spring. I knit until I ran out of yarn. I like it, although I'm not entirely pleased by the edge (bottom and top are a bit raggedy, and sides, which roll a bit). I did use a fairly light-weight lace (not cobweb, just heading that way)

I've always been a sucker for that pretty bell-flower pattern. You can find it on its lonesome in one of the first two Barbara Walker collections. Yarn is Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro, white dyed to red. (I had two skeins: the first Michelle & I dyed this brighter red, the second darker red. We called it the vampire series and labeled them Venous and Arterial. Michelle has Venous). The pattern works nicely with this almost-a-solid-not-quite variegation.

Otherwise I have fallen down the black hole of cotton doilies. Why doilies? Why not?

This is just one of them. I think I'm up to 8 or 9 now. I have no need for doilies and no where to put them. All I can say is: lace, that changes all the time, enough to hold your interest, but doesn't last too long. They're like popcorn, I finish one then think: just one more, won't take long. Current one is a Niebling, Chrysanthemum (rav link), and bigger than any I've done before. I am stopping at the 144 rounds mark, though, because I think that's plenty and what again am I going to do with these?

By the way, I think Mom's circular cast-on is just a slight variation of Emily Ocker's cast-on, except after the center, Mom works with 2 needles instead of 3+ until there are enough stitches to hold onto the needles without them slipping out.

Mostly I am still weenying out of actually Knitting A Real Sweater, Dammit. Time to ditch this ridiculous fear of failure. Dear brain: could use a little logic and less emotion right now.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


is where I flew to, to help out my Mom for a few weeks.  Despite my unhappiness with my current job,  on the plus side they are super wonderfully OK with me working remotely. Mom is getting ankle surgery, and won't be able to drive for some time. She'll be having a hard enough time hobbling.

(What are those weird black and white squares in the middle of the Nevada/Utah desert? Alien invasion? Secret government plant? I have no idea.)

So I'm not really all that happy to be back in Utah, because it's always sort of a culture shock, and there's also a long history I'd rather not go into. Also March in Utah is more or less Brown, with a side of weather inversion smog if you're near the city. With the occasional White when it dumps snow. On say, Easter.

But that's beside the point. It's just late right now, and I'm missing my Love Monkey. Mom and I will have a good time.  She is a huge doily knitter, and has promised to show me the nifty cast-on start for tiny centers of doilies, as I have become just a teency bit obsessed with some Herbert Niebling patterns lately.

Other obsessions: indigo dyed silk organzinelinen, and lace bamboo from Habu. Laos naturally dyed handspun silk and cotton gima (look at that navy!)  Yes, the current color obsessions is all blues. I have to keep reminding myself, I am trying to divest my yarn, not acquire more yardage.

I leave you with a picture of one of the ads from The Workbasket, a magazine to which my grandmother subscribed. (Grandma was a huge doily knitter too, back when it wasn't so easy to get knitted doily patterns. This is from her Big Binder o' Doilies). August 1963.

Cookie, you do the eye boggle so much better than me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I seem to have skipped the bulk of February. No, really, I don't even much remember what happened. Work during the week, knit, post yarn for sale on Rav, send packages, sleep. Weekends we try to get out and explore, at least a little.
Seagulls down at the pier by Fisherman's Wharf.

And looking forward to this:

I just got back from a week in Hawaii. We took my Mom this time. She'd never been before.
(I have a lot of these. I seem to have a weakness for sunsets).

The condo we stayed in looked right out over the (relatively shallow) water between Maui and 2 other islands, and there were SO many whales. It was hard to look out the window and NOT see whales. One memorable sunset, right as the sun went down, a calf and a full size humpback took turns breeching right outside. I think the adult was teaching the little one.

It looked like this in the mornings.

Hawaii wasn't quite the shock to the system it's been before (a good shock), since SF's winter weather isn't dark, rainy, and cold like Portland. It was still wonderful. I spent the week mostly unplugged. We went snorkeling, and hiking, and also just swimming and paddling about in the water, in between breaks to knit and read for hours. Lovely.

Black sand beach. A little harder on the toes and foots than regular sand, but interesting.

Now, back to reality. You'd think it'd be easier to do things you don't want to do, after a week off, but no, it's the opposite.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Well, the vitamins seem to be working

Or, at least I seem to have more energy this week.

I also seem to not be able to stop myself from starting new socks to knit. I liked the red yarn that I used for the toes of the other, and it was sitting out, just asking to be used. So I started some cabled socks. Except the yarn is thin and the feet are big, and 64 stitches is no way going to be enough, so I added do repeats and now we're at 96 stitches. And these socks are EATING YARN. I'm at 70 g and I haven't even started the heel.

So it's now they are in temporary limbo while I figure out what to do (I'm not sure even heels & toes in another yarn will be enough). Meanwhile I cast on another pair of socks, because I've got to have some knitting for the bus, right?

Really I'm doing project-avoidance, so everything looks so much more interesting than the thing I really ought to be working on: a pair of gloves or mittens or something that I'm trying to make up from a couple different patterns, sort of winging it. I'm fairly sure they're going to be too small and I've gone too far past where the thumb would be anyway. I've noticed that when I reach a point in a project where it appears the finished object might suck, but I'm not entirely sure, I start avoiding it. Instead of fixing it or just ripping it out, or completing it to evaluate possible suckage, I just stop. I need to learn a new behavior, because while it's great for other productivity (socks!) it means the important thing doesn't get done and I have a pile of UFOs.


Today was cold (for here, stop sniggering), windy, and very brightly sunny. We decided to go wander around Golden Gate Park.

Beethoven is watching you!

Yes, there are palm trees.
The big tower in the background is Sutro Tower, a radio/tv antenna tower visible from much of the city.

We went to the Japanese garden. Doesn't look very windy here, does it?  LIES!
This pond was down in a protected little hollow.
I don't think traditional Japanese gardens use palm trees much, but you work with what you got.

I thought this fountain of a snake and a... cat-thing with fangs was cool.

OK, I'm going to go take some ibuprofen for the headache the sunshine and wind gave me, then maybe  work on the books. I'm a huge Saturday night partier, you can see. WOOWOOO!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Januaries are hard

I don't know why. I've always thought it was SAD (and when I lived in the PNW it probably was, because: hello, increased carbohydrate intake and withdrawal from social activities? That would be me) but winter here in San Francisco has been mostly one bright sunny day after another. Not entirely, (thanks a lot, Christmas storm) but fairly frequent. I probably need to take more vitamin D.

I got reminded this morning of a blog post I saw years and years ago, which essentially said: you people with your perfect blogs and your perfect lives and your mess-free children (or cute messes): I do not believe you and you can go jump in a lake.  This morning I was wandering around famous sewing/crafting blogs and well, this. I should have remembered that this happened last time I did this, and which is why I made it a kind of personal policy not to read Perfection blogs regularly. While I occasionally find inspiration, mostly they inspire feelings of inadequacy. You want to know what my front room looks like this morning?

Which is not bad, except for the dirty cereal bowl and the pile of crap on the front table. I just finished a pair of socks. Go me. What you cannot see in this picture is me sitting on the futon in an ancient sweatshirt and old yoga pants with holes in them. Let's turn left and right, shall we?

The pile of yarn that I am slowly listing on Ravelry in my Massive Destasherino, slow because my camera really, REALLY hates purple, and it's not so hot about dark blue either. I wish I could just throw it all up there (pun intended), unedited, but I don't want to mislead anyone on colors.

It would have been smart to do this BEFORE I moved, but I thought I had some kind of bending space-n-time superpower and could work full time, paint and clean and pack and do all the other house crap that needed to be done, AND have time to take pictures, color correct them, list the yarn, and pack it up and send it off.

Ha ha. NO.

And this is the lovely view to my right, the boxes of books we will put into the bookshelves (or get rid of.) This is a far cry from those houses full of white, spare rooms with perfectly blowing blue curtains. Logically I know they are editing heavily and arranging and making perfect stage sets. But emotionally that doesn't seem to quite register with me.

We're working towards order, but we also both work full time, and often extra hours, and frankly, I prefer to de-stress by sewing or knitting or reading in the evenings instead of trying to figure out where to put the damn bookcases. It will come. Just that January doesn't seem to leave me a lot of energy to do even the important things.

I'm not fishing for sympathy, just giving you a rundown on why it might take me two weeks to never to answer email. It's not you, it's me.

Meanwhile the cat has parked herself on my lap and dozed off and I am apparently going nowhere for awhile. That's ok. There are worse fates.