Friday, December 28, 2007

k-brow: vacation minutiae

So today was possibly the most thoroughly "quintessentially perfect k-brow on vacation day" I've had thus far, this vacation. Slept in til 7:30 (very late for 5 am rising me), knitted on Must Have til 10am, then off toAla Moana Center for a girls day out with my bud Charlene. We were there to get her kennel name embroidered on a whole bunch of garments; I was artistic consultant, for what that's worth. Charlene had a whole file of cute poodle clip art to choose from, and the work did come out nicely. Perusing the mall, a leisurely lunch at Neiman Marcus' cafe, the exchange of late holiday gifties, then home for a long, muddy dog frolic. I could have done without the mud, but otherwise the beasts were on their absolute best behavior. Home again to find P cooking from some new Mexican cookbook, in a way that used things I've never dared use, like real dried chiles, masa harina, and running onions through a blender...smells heavenly. Drank red wine, and am now contemplating the further corraling my runaway school stuff to make room for Auntie Jan's arrival in the spare bedroom. Okay, it was not the beach, and still no sun, really, no sun since well before the solstice, I think, here in Nuuanu. But Ala Moana was warm and dry. Ala Moana Center, for the non-Hawaiian readers of this blog, is a huge open-air mall, that is pleasurable, in that it combines mom-and-pop stores, extreme high-end shopping (think Fendi, Cartier, Tiffany) with quirky Japanese stores like Shirokiya and Sanrio. It is not the banal "mall" one thinks of as "mall" on the mainland, but more of a real Honolulu Destination. It's got a performance stage, bars, restaurants and is across the street from a huge park and beach park that seem to be part and parcel of its charm. I love me some Ala Moana.

Must Have is coming along nicely. Acornbud has finished all its component pieces, I'm still working on the back of the sweater. I knew it would be this way, though, so no sadness on my part. The grey yarn is still charming me, with its softness, and sweet sheepy smell, and I've learned so much about reading my knitting, how cables work, and how intuitive knitting can become.

In other news, I've used the niddy-noddy fromMs Pam to skein up some of my bumpy purple handspun. I have a few other skeins of it; these two just happened to make the photo. I'm having fun with it, though I don't exactly have a plan for yarn that ranges from cobwebby fingering weight to chunky fluff all in one skein. I've never been know for my consistency in any area of life, and maybe this spindling effort is representative of the true, inner me. I will say one thing, though; it is therapeutic.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

k-brow: a meme

I gacked this from Moon's blog and meant to post it ages ago. Sorry it's hard to read, I am too lazy for HTML tonight:

01. Can you cook? Yes, I love to cook, and I'm kind of going thru a culinary renaissance right now.

02. What was your dream growing up? To own a horse, to live by the beach, to make babies with my high school crush.

03. What talent do you wish you had? I wish I had some musical ability.

04. If I bought you a drink what would it be? A dry gin martini, or a very very good pina colada.

05. Favorite vegetable? Red ripe homegrown tomatoes.

06. What was the last book you read? Will Ferguson's "Hitchhiking with Buddha".

07. What zodiac sign are you ? Leo

08. Any tattoos and/or piercings? Two holes in my ears, and a grown over cartilage piercing. I wish for a tattoo, but can't commit to a design.

09. Worst habit? Procrastination.

10. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride? Hopefully.

11. What is your favorite sport? To do: dog agility, to spectate: equestrian stadium jumping or pro basketball.

12. Negative or optimistic attitude? I'm a bit of the 'worst case scenario' dweller.

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me? Talk your ear off.

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you? A bad thing happened to me this summer. I haven't really blogged it, and probably won't.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you. I have to end my meal with something savory, even if I've had dessert.

16. Do you have any pets? Two dogs. A husband who isn't around much, so I spoil him when he is here.

17. What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly? I'd kick the mess under the rug and make you some tea.

18. What was your first impression of me? I have always been delighted with you.

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary? Not cute, exactly. Pretty scary, but fascinating, too.

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? I'd add some muscles.

21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience? Oh, I'm an enabler, big time.

22. What color eyes do you have? Hazel.

23. Ever been arrested? No, but I had a warrant placed for my arrest if I didn't show up to court for an unpaid ticket on a bicycle violation when I lived in Davis, CA.

24. Bottle or draft? Draft.

25. If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it? Get my dogs professionally groomed, and beef up my retirement investments.

26. Would you date me? In another life, you know I would.

27. Where's your favorite place to hang out? The deck of my house on a rare sunny morning.

28. Do you believe in ghosts? Absolutely.

29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time? Putter.

30. Do you swear a lot? I do love to cuss.

31. Biggest pet peeve? Folks who let their kids run wild.

32. In one word, how would you describe yourself? Self-indulgent. Oh wait, that's two. Weirdo.

33. Do you believe in/appreciate romance? I think so, though once my college boyfriend told me I hadn't a romantic bone in my body.

34. If you could spend 12 hours with me and ask/do anything you like, what would it be? Have you advise me on design and placement of a tattoo. Then we'd go thrift shopping. Maybe we'd knit and drink some, too.

35. Do you believe in God? Every last one of them.

36. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same? Done.

k-brow: clean gutters and lace contemplation

I grabbed a few minutes today to climb up on top of my garage roof to clean out all this veg from my gutter. Ick. Our handyman was coming to powerwash the steps, and I didn't want him to see how I'd let the gutters go; he'd give me hell...
It was kind of fun being up on the roof; you can see the ocean from our garage, and it was amusing for Ella, who is fascinated by the way people can climb up on roofs. It was just upsetting to Cricket, who wanted to be up there with me, and barked incessantly during the whole process.

The winter break is just what I've needed. Long walks with Cricket, pleasant knitting, housecleaning, mindless tv, and just catching up on LIFE! I, for one, will be glad to kiss 2007 a fond farewell. The last couple of years have been um...challenging, and somehow, the clean slate of January beckons. My mom and auntie arrive on Saturday eve. I'm a little worried about entertaining them for 9 (nine) whole days, but it should be fun. They, like my sister, are fairly self-sufficient guests, who will be content to lounge around and read, or go to the beach and people watch. Guests who don't require endless reserves of chauffering to highly touristic destinations. On the other hand, it will be amusing to hit the tourist road with my 60-something ladies, and to buy them umbrella drinks and dress them in muumuus and tour Iolani Palace and eat plate lunches and Kahuku shrimp.

I purged my bloglines feeds mercilessly today. If you are a knitter in Hawaii, or if I know you personally, or if you and I regularly read and comment on each others' blogs, or you are part of my livejournal flist, relax. You're still on. Other than that, I think I only left a scanty few on the feeds. I'm in the mood to purge. Oops! waning moon again. heh. I'm loving how the celestial events are pushing for these little victories.

Blogless Michelle and I had a little discussion about lace today. Gotta say, it's fascinating me to no end, these days. I found this site as I was idly surfing, and it's helping me to make some decisions about a future project or two. I've got some laceweight yarn, stash for 3 projects, and I'm trying to come to some decisions here. So any advice, weighing in, opinions from you lace knitters out there are most welcome!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

k-brow: sunny

This solstice day, the sun wasn't sure it wanted to shine very much in Nuuanu, so we went downtown to see it, in all its warm, breezy glory. Lunch at the Hawaii State Art Museum cafeteria; outstanding ulu-leek soup and a beet salad. Ulu is breadfruit, much like a potato. But I was there mostly for the sun and the charm of downtown's colonial buildings. Back uphill for a long nap on the couch, and now am drinking feverfew tea, part of an experiment I'm conducting to see if I can get the number of days I have a headache down. It's a bitter tea, which doesn't bother me much; I like bitter flavors. It reminds me of another herbal favorite of mine, white willow bark.

Anyway, some knitting last night on the creeping slowly Must Have. Must Have Progress, I call it. As in "we need it". Solstice was nice, celebrated in a low key way, with wine and P's fantastic breaded porky chops, and some of the NRN's cookie exchange cookies.

I regard Yule as a new year of sorts, so here are a few resolutions, of the knitting variety.

1. I will knit a Totoro.

2. I will shamelessly frog anything I'm not feeling. This after frogging about a dozen unloved/unworthy projects hanging out on the needles this fall, and noticing how very good it made me feel.

3. I want lace. I will try to make this happen.

4. I will knit stash. Stash is eating me out of house and home. It's alluring and I want more, but some needs to flow. The stash must flow! (cue here a "Dune" moment. Uh, yeah. We're big Dune fans here in my house. Of course this reference to Dune's addictive spice melange is lost upon non-fans. I'm counting on the sci-fi geek cred of my readership here...anyway, must knit stash.

V-ron inspired me with her gift knitting this year, and so I will take note and pay attention. Note this is not a resolution, because that gets us into all sorts of "what, what-for, for-whom? and how many by when?" questions. Can't say, but I realize it's time to stop hoarding the knitting.

In the day late and a dollar short department, I'm all spun over Amy Winehouse, who seems to have become everyone's darling before she became mine. Ah well, I'm used to being behind the musical curve, in spite of living with Mr. Music Hipster, himself.

In closing, on this finally sunny day, I will shout out some love to Ms. Opal for the lovely Yule bag o' treats. MUCH appreciated goodies which will be displayed for all to see when I can sort out my camera battery situation. And more love gets shouted out to Chelsea for the comical Yule wishes she sent.

I am listening to some surprisingly pagan-themed music on NPR right now. It's as if Hawaii Public Radio has decided to enjoy the Yule goodness as well.

Friday, December 21, 2007

k-brow: the longest night

These aloes in bloom at Kapiolani Community College succulent garden remind me that the plants know something I often forget; that the sun comes round again.
I like that my end-of-semester three weeks off coincides nicely with Yule, the sun's rebirth. Today, after 8 big fat hours of sleep, I am embroiled in laundry, cleaning, hauling, purging, vacuuming, and the cooking of chicken soup. I've dusted off the Blenko glass candleholders that my mom gave me, added a silver and gold candle (god and goddess, sun and moon, light and get it) and will set the altar the long dark of the evening. Today is the shortest day, and tonight, the longest night. With tomorrow's sunrise, each day will get a bit longer, though it'll be unnoticeable for a few weeks. Anyway, I'm ready for it.

Happy Yule, all of you! Light is returning!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What is too much? [Coffee and Lavender]

To take you right into the pre-holiday questions of this woman of the 51st [state] place, I'm trying to figure out if all sleeplessness problems of late can be blamed on late consumption of coffee and/or chocolate. Then, I'm wondering if there can be too much lavender in laundry detergent. Since I moved to DC in 2006 and received the frontloader washer as part of the [over-priced] condo deal, I've had my t-shirts experience the problem of having color taken out. I suspect that the problem is the detergent dispenser on the washer. But I don't want to pay for it to be fixed, so I'm wondered if I use gentler/kinder/PC soap if I can solve everything. Fortunately, some enterprising person opened a store down the street called the Greater Good selling products of all sorts designed to make me feel slightly better about my place on the earth [and since I rarely buy anything more than 3 miles from my home I didn't care what it cost]. But since he had no idea whether the "good" soap was actually good in front-loaders, he gave me a sample [after i bought my mother's bonus present]. Now as he admitted he didn't use this soap because it was scented and his wife was allergic to scents. But I thought "lavender," I love lavender and how much lavender can stay on clothes after they've been washed and rinsed. Well, the condo is very pleasantly scented now as the second load goes through. Can't yet tell if the clothes are clean and if the color remains.

The coffee issue is related to chocolate. I've been substituting milk-based coffee drinks for lunch and thus having coffee past my normal timelimit of noon. But then I made the chocolate pecan pie for a dinner with friends on Sunday and they sent me home with the leftovers. So I've been eating that at night. So what to blame. The coffee drinks are easier since I still have two pieces of the pie left. Is it the sugar? Is it the chocolate? Can I ignore it all until it is gone?

Oh about knitting. There is a hat in the mail for Christmas to Patty that was a semi-successful felting experiment. I think gauge would have helped. There is one finished scarf for my mom. There is an almost finished scarf for my brother. I gave up on the Knits for Men scarf for my dad and sent books instead; perhaps in March.

Carry on. I hope spirits of all sort take you through the end of 2007. And if you live elsewhere, here's an image to remind you why snow is pretty BUT:
From 2007 10 Knitting

Saturday, December 15, 2007

k-brow: bitchin' in the kitchen

In my efforts to stay out of restaurants and avoid the crowds of the holiday flurry, I've been doing more cooking at home. It's easy to get high-quality, fresh ahi tuna here, even in the grocery stores, so we eat a lot of it; cooked and raw. I really like Ina Garten's (aka The Barefoot Contessa) recipe for an avocado tuna salad.

I quick-cooked (1 minute on each side) about a pound of ahi, in olive oil, salt and pepper, then chopped it in big chunks:

Chopped up an avocado I'd found on the road on my dog walk earlier this week. 'Tis the end of the season for roadkill avocados in Nuuanu. These are bigger and a little fruitier than a Haas avocado. It was a little bruised, but for free, who can complain?

And made a viniagrette of lime juice, olive oil, wasabi powder and some tabasco to pour over the tuna and avocado.

Tossed everything with some chopped red onion and romaine lettuce. Yum! It's a food I'd consider crazy extravagant on the mainland, but the tuna is so local, and the avocado is, that it's just a regional specialty of mine. Sort of like those tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches I used to eat all summer back in VA.

Notice the absence of knitting progress on this page, for my part? Knitting IS happening, it's just not very interesting, right now. Must Have continues, row by row. I was a little blown away by that force of nature, Acornbud a week or so ago, as she was cranking out the Must Have, had completely passed me, in yarn that I'd sold her. Hers was beautiful, and I was impressed anew with just how prolific a knitter she is.

Meanwhile, I putter and potter and knit a row or two here and there.

I skipped knit night even, this past week, to attend a seminar on How To Cook For Your Dog, given by our local expert on canine holistic nutrition. Interesting stuff, and I'm running low, very low, on dog food right now, so I'm thinking of cooking up a big pot of lovin' for my creatures. I have fed my dogs raw veggies and meat off and on, and they do well on it, though generally I think you need to be more organized, with a bigger freezer and more time on the hands, to really do this homemade dog food thing justice. Still, in spite of the Season of Dark, Malingering and Surliness, (not to mention sore throats and sleepiness) I am feeling creative in this arena. What say, DisKnit? Have I gone completely 'round the twist, this time?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

i could tell

The moon is new, the tradewinds are back and the mold on the suede couch is gone. The pervasive funky winter smell of the house remains; kind of a combination of thrift store and church basement. Not bad, but some sunshine would help it.

I am home tomorrow; a faint tickle in the back of my throat, an earache and a face that hurts to touch all cry "day in bed!" and so I heed; a sub was called. It's the time of year when any real teaching goes out the window, anyway. Better to spend it drinking tea and reading back issues of The New Yorker, if you ask me.

I've nothing profound to say. Doldrums.

I could talk about my big lingerie splurge at Macy's on Monday; the day that I decided that I couldn't live another day without some new bras and underwear. And ended up buying perfume and a new wallet, too. What can I say? Tis the season.

Or my crazy hike with dogs STRAIGHT up the vertical face of our hill; a walk that took an hour to go about 1/8 of a mile (and onto some other people's as-yet-undeveloped property. It was jungle. Mosquitoes and mulch and weird rocky overhangs. I feared for a fall, one that would leave me undiscovered at the foot of some banyan tree, but we did okay. Dogs were completely exhausted by the endeavor, mostly, I think, because of the excitement and all the new smells. My 87 year old neighbor told me there's a lava tube up the hill somewhere, but we didn't find it; we were mostly trying to end up in an area that would provide a view down on top of our garage roof from on high. Next time, I think I need to go with loppers or a machete. And some Deep Woods Off!

I could tell the tale of our friend Miel's visit, en route to Thailand and Angkor Wat, and our ensuing pilgrimage to the Japanese tavern, Tokkuri-Tei, on Kapahulu, which has become my favorite restaurant in all of the islands. Small plates, like tapas, sushi, and a lengthy menu of sake. Right next door to an ice cream parlor. Nothing like ice cream to take the edge off a sake buzz, right? The best green tea ice cream; tasting exactly like matcha powder, and not so sweet.

Somebody needs a haircut:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

rain over for the moment

I suppose it's inexcusable to blog and not include photos. But let's just try here. I'm coming off about 10 days of rain, here in the islands, and it's so humid that mold is growing on our suede couch in the koa room! Ugh! Today was spectacular, allowing for a polishing of the toenails (OPI "My Auntie Drinks Chianti") and some spinning of the lovely purple roving into nice DK single ply, all outdoors. A long chat with the sister-in-law, and some sleeping in. Basically, my good friends St. John's Wort, Dark Chocolate and I are counting the days til we get our 3-week vacation coming up in about two.

P is gone more often than he is here; he has one more half-week on the Big Island, then he's home for the rest of 2007. Dogs are hairy and muddy.

I'm off to go drink some Sauvignon Blanc and knit on Must Have, who is taking awhile, but is pleasant nevertheless.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

DisKnit: Blogging Guilt

hmm. I read about it. I think it is silly. But here I am thinking that our audience of 4? might feel abandoned by KBrow and DisKnit because we are not writing. I am knitting. Does that help reassure you? Or me? Is it because my camera was broken before I replaced it that I haven't wanted to write? Is it because I moved the computer back into its proper place so I spend less time? Or, sigh, is it because various less people have seduced me onto facebook that I am neglectful of the first place for regular e-writing? All these questions. No current answers. But an old friend started blogging and he is obviously comment addicted (go see So I agree more comments -- more blogging. That is not just a suggestion. Tell us about your knitting, your holiday cooking, your avoidance of all thing holiday. We will then respond.

Hmm, now do I have any pictures you would want to see?? There is Ben Franklin from work in his hand crocheted scarf (by me) and his paper green crown(not by me) trying to look festive or silly. He's our mascot at work which just confuses the other folks. It is a good thing. So above is Ben in the December (or to use Washington-speak, Holiday) spirit. Below is Ben's much smaller companion Tom Jefferson

Merry First Snow of Washington,
DisKnit (who did make the crown for TJ which was MUCH harder). Off to knit

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DisK: The Wintry Moment

Caption, clockwise from top left, curtis's eye, my new hat from the Maine Jo Sharp wool (self design), red leaves from last weekend, and my silly bag next to RW's fabulous socks for my birthday

Greetings all, esp. those of you who live where it does not get cold

It is cold now in the District of Columbia and what a welcome idea. After a thanksgiving that began with me wondering about shorts but ended with a marvelous blow-in of cold air, I am happy to have a reason to pull out my woolen items. I have a lovely KBrow scarf that I wear on many days. I have my curly scarf that I left in North Carolina and Patty was able to find and may have retrieved. I have a beautiful purple and black scarf that has the evil mohair in it, but is still worn out of respect for its colors. I've donated to work a red scarf for our mascot Ben Franklin. Now that I have a digital camera again, I will show him with his lovely green paper ring crown tomorrow. Though I am still searching for the practically free but somehow comfortable and stylish winter coat, I am very happy to wear wool socks and sweaters and scarves as much as possible. The new hat (see above) has already been admired by strangers on the street.

I'm knitting away on various things that cannot be revealed. Not quite like the one bag to rule them all, but I can't remember who knows and does not know about this site, so I must be discreet.

In a major act of social bravery, I am to go to my first knitting "meet-up" on Monday, December 3. I will report back. It is in Alexandria which appeared to be the only place to find knitters over 20, okay over 30. Hopefully, though there will be lurkers who will not require me to drive my car or leave my 3 mile radius in future months. Those of you without a sense of this geography here will have to recognize that I live in a very popular, party-zone part of DC which is very transit-friendly which means "do not move the car if you hate looking for a parking spot." As a result, I do not take advantage of all things that are out of easy walking distance. Adding to the problem is that I work next door to all the cool museums, so I don't want to go there on the weekend. Yes, this is all a sign of my lack of full social adjustment, but what do you expect from a knitter/archivist/historian?

I will say I am not at all clear about who is getting what for Christmas, hmm. Should I figure it out?


p.s. I'm now watching Shark very happily, but I will try Weeds (thank you all for your suggestions)

Monday, November 26, 2007

one bag to rule them all

It being Thanksgiving weekend, and the time for my annual Lord of the Rings at-home filmfest, I couldn't resist the title. Instead of cheering Aragorn and co. on, I chose to spend a good chunk of the weekend sewing Amy Butler's Nappy Bag.
Details: Nappy Bag Pattern, bought in Portland at some very high-end fabric store. Fabric: Kaffe Fassett, Pinking Flower design. Lined in olive green poly-cotton, and reinforced with some cotton canvas that used to serve as a birdcage cover, back in my bird owning days. I am altogether pleased with this effort; the pattern is clear and easy to follow, and printed on heavy paper that one can use again and again. I LOVE the fabric, the late-summer colors, with it's whole Indian print/vintage soft-around-the-edges look going on. My topstitching was nice and even, and the bag has many, many pockets inside. I can see this getting a lot of use, at work, for travel, the gym, the beach, knit night, etc.

Still leaves me not watching Lord of the Rings, but hey, Christmas holidays are coming...

In other news, I decided to organize all my sewing things in a basket. Actually, everything was in this basket before, but just kinda dumped in, and it was really quite the nightmare to find anything. I used all the little Clinique and Aveda zippy bags I owned to organize thread, bobbins, sewing notions, tools, etc. in the basket. I don't sew that much, but having everything accessible might make it more appealing.

Really, the whole weekend was about getting my life back in some sort of control. I did things like deep clean the bathroom, laundry, take long walks with the dogs, and generally try and gear up for a season I do not care for in the least. At least the waning moon provokes my desire to purge things, so maybe the housecleaning binge will continue.

We also worked out the perfect martini, which consists of 1/2 gin, 1/2 vodka, vermouth and olive juice. Named it the LeahTina, for my two friends who feel strongly about what goes in a martini. Leah describes gin as "a bitch" and Tina, when asked if she had any vodka (for Leah) simply asked "why?" The LeahTina is a perfect drink, junipery and clean like gin, but smoother and maybe a little bit more dangerous, made so by the vodka's evil ways. Oh, and I found out that Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to call cocktail hour "the children's hour."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DisK: My first "knitting novel" [very short]

In the spare bedroom at Patty's house was Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossom Street [The book came from a perfectly charming woman who is about to finish her PhD in biology on some organism, so she is allow any trash reading she wants.] It was badly edited, it was silly, and it only barely said anything interesting about knitting. Of course, I read it since it was knitting trash reading but I will NEVER pay money for it or any of the successors. It tries to suck you in with "good quotes" from "good knitters" but there is just too much nonsense about men, and finance, and g*d for my taste. Has anyone read a good novel on knitting or is it like the genre of "dog" novels? Okay, I just thought I should add this little warning/confession to you all.

looking forward to one day on and one day off and one day on and two days off at work and no T-giving traveling. Hope all are well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

DisKnit:: Just an Interlude betw. work and Work

Hi all,

I'm back from my work [aka vacation] trip to Triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham). There was not much knitting, though I finished a random hat (note to other when people keep thanking you for funding an event it is harder to knit--this means either I should change jobs or accept that knitting during meetings is rude -- advice?). But there was suitable amount of seeing the people who care about what I do for work and putting together of random people who I know from various walks of life together. And I started to develop fantasies of living down there, not because of its perfection of lifestyle (in contrast to K-Brow and Portland) but because of the nice people I know there. Meanwhile, Curtis lived a mixture of bliss and imprisonment, my dear friend P has a cat Janice who deserves to rule. So when I was out and about, Curtis dog had to be in one room. Curtis learned quickly to doubt any invitation upstairs to "my room" = his prison." But, he could sit outside while we rake, and went on an off-leash walk in Durham with other dogs, and had lots of attention. I meanwhile successfully "worked" out of the office for another 5 days. Yeah. Yes, there are issues at my guv'mint job but I will not blog of them. Instead, I will watch OZ from Netflix and see if that is a new series to watch. I have completed all the available TV series in my desired lists and am seeking new ones. Suggestions (I like House, Numb3rs, the Closer, Gilmore Girls, and CSI. Oh and I adored BBC's Wives and Daughters)???

K-Brow is the knitter again. And I have no digital camera to illustrate anything since the Roz Chast mishap.

Out now, from the nation's capital of laundry, misguided policy, and a two-day return to work.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

writing back

I don't do this often, but I'm such a poor correspondent, I'm gonna try. Don't expect links, though; I'm far too lazy for that!

Disknit said,"my standards say you did a lot if you organized your stash. I considered that a huge accomplishment (of course, I also posted it on ravelry for you all to mock).
I think the new sweater is gorgeous as well though my dad's aran is in dark green, so I can't agree about the neutral color choice because otherwise why will I keep knitting.
Your move to Portland will be highly convenient for me, especially if you have a guest room (my brother is looking at house reportedly though!)".

I still resist Ravelry, even as others around me fall prey to its seductive pull. Still, organizing my stash might be a move in that direction...and if I were on Ravelry, I could peek at peoples' stashes. No. That might lead to more stash acquisition...

Hey, at least this sweater isn't black! Still, aside from that black cardi, the only projects I ever seem to finish are those I made with Noro or Trekking yarn. Completing a solid color project is a daunting task for the ADD knitter!

No move to Portland anytime soon, though it remains very high on our list of Places We Could Live. Second only to Arlington, VA, in my heart, though I think P ranks it higher. I think I could slide seamlessly into an Oregonian life; it has the right blend of inclement weather (to feed my weather obsession), casualness, dog culture, and more craft and yarn options than you could shake a stick at. Not to mention the most excellent beer...

Am I supposed to be looking for a job for you in Hawaii? If I moved to Portland, would you move out there, too? We could drink bourbon and knit in the know you want to!

Acornbud said, Must Have is sure coming along nicely! If I had the right yarn in my stash, I'd knit along:)

You should come over and look at the other color of Patons Classic Merino I have. It's called Peacock. 7 skeins, which is what Patons calls for for the large size, which I'm knitting. We could work out a trade for yarn or cash. I could hand off your winnings on our bet, too! Of course I understand the danger inherent in knitting along with you is that you will finish the project in 2 months and I will take 2 years!

(An explanation here: I owe Acornbud some yarn, already, as I lost a bet to her, as to when our friend Chris' baby would be born. I consider this to be due to Acornbud's superior knowledge of physiology and all things medical, but it's providing me with a golden opportunity to reduce stash without having to actually knit anything! Yay!)

Reya said, I can definitely imagine you in Portland. I lived there long ago (1977-79) and have visited many times since. It's such a cool city in so many ways. The rain really made me nuts, but otherwise it's superfine.
Hope you'll be visiting Powell Books, and will you get out to Hawthorne Ave. SE? Such a great little strip of stores and places to have tea.

I was greatly enamored of Portland, overall, though I wonder about facing the ceaseless, unending greyness and rain, as I am somewhat seasonally affective disordered. I generally like bad weather, though, and was thrilled by Sacramento's weeks of thick tule fog each December. Still, I wonder what years of living in Hawaii's balmy, rainbow-strewn beauty will do to me? I went to Powell's, and showed admirable restraint, buying only 2 books, both on sale! They are: Gathering Moss and Salem Falls. The latter seems to be badly reviewed, but I've never read Picoult, and the story seemed intriguing per the back cover of the book. At any rate, they join the great pile of books on the nightstand.

I didn't get out to Hawthorn Avenue, alas; stayed mostly in the NW/SW part of the city, and fell quite in love with an area called the Alphabet District - named so because of the alphabetized streets, one of which was Hoyt? Also didn't drink tea, but found amazing chocolate drinks at a place called Cacao, near the Pearl District.
BTW, Reya, congratulations on your second opening! How exciting for you!

To everyone whose comments I didn't include, thanks so much for the condolences on the demise of the Marilyn's Not So Shrunken Cardigan, and the compliments on Must Have. Blogland is one of the things that fires my knitting, and it's nice to share the joys and sorrows with others in this little world. Also, to Chelsea, if Michael comes to Hawaii, he should give me a shout! Will you be paying a visit? To Blogless Michelle, and Opal; how delightful to see you both Thursday night, along with all the other Aloha Knitters. I have missed my knitters in my frenzied life, of late.

dazed and confused

I came home this evening to find Cricket standing up on top of my desk, looking extremely busted. Really, I knew there was some good reason I usually keep that desk all cluttered and messy. He looked like it had been no big deal to get up on there, but was a little troubled by the jump off. I wanted to take a pic of him, but the memory card to the camera was in the cardreader and by the time I got it back in the camera and the flash warmed up, he was off and running for his life. Why do I get the feeling he's regularly up on the counters and tables in our absence? I'm impressed by his derring-do, but this counter insurgency isn't something I want to encourage.
Instead I focus this evening on the somewhat better behaved dog, Ella. Who will be going to Zippy's with me for some Hawaiian fast food. Loco moko? Fried chicken? Chili?
While Ella, with her neuroses and incessant barking for attention/work/treats/toothbrushing/balltossing, is annoying, she has never shown the initiative to get up on anything more daunting than the sofa. Ella expects things to be handed to her by a cooperative humanservant, as befits her Poodle royalty pedigree. Cricket, on the other hand, is a self-made dog, pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

I went to knit night at Mocha Java last night; the first time in what seemed like forever. My arm, wrist and shoulder were sore, but I worked on Must Have anyway, 2 sad little slow rows, punctuated by a rather confusing cable crossing. I followed directions exactly, the cable crossing did its thing, looks just like the one in the pattern picture ( well, the reverse, since I knit leftwise) but I don't understand it. It crosses over on the former pattern repeat and under on this one, and while it's supposed to, I don't get how it works...(shaking head, mystified) I guess I'll have to knit a few more repeats to figure out what I'm doing to get it to alternate. I am a little bit confused by the whole cabling process. I follow the directions, I get cables. Last year, I even knitted P the Besotted scarf, doing all the cabling without a needle, but I can't look at a cable pattern and predict what it's going to do. I suspect I will be able to, 3 years from now, when I've finally completed Must Have.

Little to report. I'm trying to upload pix to Blogger but not getting the kind of cooperation I expect from the internets. It's Friday, everywhere, I guess. I think I'm going to curl up with the oh-so-addictive-yet-confusing Must Have, and some Zippy's (must make the Zippy's run) and watch my latest Netflix, "Volver". Do I understand Spanish well enough to knit cables and understand Pedro Almodovar's tale of womanly woe? Vamos a ver...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

surprised to see me again so soon?

More blogging, because it pleases me...
and a detail of Must Have's back, because it, too, pleases me.

Maybe a bit too much... You know, I'm afraid of tempting fate with all this adoration...I know Acornbud has recently paid the price for being too enthusiastic over her latest project. I'm afraid I'll be joining her, crying in the bachi gallery, if I don't settle down, here. Right now, I have an achy shoulder/neck/arm/hand, all on the left side; I can't even do any knitting. Bachi!! I'm hoping it's all up and running by tomorrow eve. Still, the joy of this yarn thrills me to no end. So soft, with nice stitch definition.

Our purple orchid is blooming! I am a terrible plant mother, and upon receiving an orchid from P for Valentine's day, I stuck it outside, once it had finished blooming. I feared I'd killed it from neglect, but it turns out orchids don't mind the abuse. I have some others in various stages of neglect, and intend to re-pot them, in a nicer medium of wood chips.
I think this orchid is a dendrobium. I have a phalenopsis orchid, too, but I think I really HAVE neglected it to the point of no return. We'll see...
It has been a beautiful day here in Nuuanu. No rain, but not hot at all, either. I love our falls and winters here.

My attitude is freakishly improved, following a visit to the mainland. Did I mention I absolutely adored Portland?

must have it

Little to show for my absence of blogging, though I did pull out all the stash, re-organize it, bag it and move it to my sewing room. Unlike DisKnit, I do not have that modest a stash. I love to buy yarn, and have fallen off of every yarn diet I've ever been on. I like color, texture, and smell in yarn, and am a notorious fondler and sniffer of hanks in stores and fiber fests. Of course I'm also notorious for starting projects and not completing them, though I am getting better at frogging things I have no intention of completing. Like poor, unswatched-therefore-too-big-again Marilyn's. Gone. She now exists as 8 balls of beautiful Silkroad DK, waiting for a proper project. I love Wendy's design, and will knit it, in the yarn it deserves (and the one she recommended?) down the road.

To console myself, I started the long-anticipated, much desired, and very much feared Must Have Cardigan, from the Patons Street Smart book. Now I know you're all saying "Oh Kbrow, this is so 2005." but it took me more than a year to screw up the courage to take this on. I bought the recommended yarn and made the requisite gauge swatch over a year ago. You know. Back when I was swatching. So I've dedicated the past weekend (which also included a trip to Portland with P) to cranking out these cables and funny little wrap stitches. I love this pattern, but it's a slow knit. The yarn is Patons Classic Merino, in a nondescript noncolor known as "Dark Natural Mix." I'm of the belief that aran sweaters should be neutral in color, and this wholesome oatmeal color is just like oatmeal, nourishing, somewhat bland, and fills my need for something grey and soothing to work on. I have my problems with this pattern. Like you cast on a number of stitches, then increase some more after you do the ribbing, but before you start the cabling chart. It makes, for an inexperienced knitter like me, a little jog in where the cable starts, so that one leg of the traveling cable isn't coming off a rib. It bothers me a wee bit, but everything else is working so smoothly that I dast not rip and rework. I have a feeling this sweater, its bits and pieces, will be on the needles for a many a long month.

There's lots more to report, but I have to get myself in gear for work. I leave you with a shot of Cricket's long nose.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Organizing of the Yarn (or out of the fog)

So I'm on Ravelry now as DisKnit (let me know if anyone else is there and then I might have "friends." And so this has inspired the organizing of the stash. There are so many other things I should be organizing: my finances, my dirty clothes, my head; but Ravelry says enter your stash and I shall obey. I don't have a sexy stash, because I buy too much cheap weird yarn on sale and then . . . I buy the same color of yarn over and over again. Up in Maine at Halycon I bought green tweed yarn from Jo Sharp for a hat. Sure enough I have beautiful green tweed yarn from Ballybrae (from a failed sweater of years ago). Then many rose colors, etc.

Alas, the digital camera took a fall last night during a fabulous event. The DisKnit met Roz Chast. My college roommate JL and I met at to Politics and Prose and got to laugh as Roz Chast explained herself and her newest book and her process. She was as crazy and neurotic as you'd suspect from her cartoons. If you've never seen them, go see the Cross Country Knitter in the cartoon bank:

Perhaps we should all have a knit-along across the country. It would have to be 3500+ mile long scarf for me to get to KBrow, but some of you would get there faster.

So I have no knitting pictures to post since the camera is waiting for its battery to charge to see if that will help its recovery. Here is the last blurry picture of us with roz chast (she is on the right -- I like us all in glasses!):

The Agatha vest/short sleeve sweater is up to the division for the armholes!! I must return to Jack's Aran so it might be done for christmas for my dad, but after the horrible month of October, selfish knitting has been useful. November already feels much better.

My great aunt's memorial service was good -- her knitting was mentioned regularly (taxidermy did come up once). I think there is something about the creativity and usefulness of knitting that is worth of admiration. My aunt and I knit in our hotel room at night.

Oh, and I don't have to go the office all next week, since we have a monday holiday and then I go to North Carolina for work meetings and get to stay with my earliest friend. Oh and Curtis can come and his lump was benign. Yippee.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Towards All Hallows

Had to work a lot this week/weekend and thus will not report on knitting but I did create two pumpkins. Both are 360 degree since they sit on a window ledge and I wanted to enjoy them, not just have the outside world catch a glance. In carving them, a sample of five determined that three people had grown up in families in which there was just a "family" pumpkin; the other two had each had a pumpkin to carve. What about the rest of you?

In a more ghoulish picture, here are Curtis's stitches from his Friday operation to remove what I hope will be a simple mole. He's being good, but he'll have to wear the "Elizabethan collar" tomorrow while I work

Fall is here in DC -- and I am pleased about that. Now if I can just get through 4 days of intense work, then I am off to Maine to be with family.


one step up, two steps back

I had progressed so much on the Marilyn's cardigan, was doing the side decreases, liking it, and was down close to the part where you start the hem, and then, tried it on for the umpteenth time, and decided I'd made a size too big. gets button bands, it gets ruffles, and with those added inches, I'd swim in it. So...ripripriprip, down to the nice little balls of yarn again. Re-cast on in a smaller size, and am cranking merrily along.

Am I destined to knit every damn thing I make twice?

Never mind, the beautiful Silkroad DK is so pleasing to knit, I love the fabric, the squooshiness of it all, and want the cardigan badly, so I had to rip and re-knit.

I'm becoming better about these setbacks. Must be the St. John's Wort, finally kicking in, after 2 weeks of religious application of my favorite mood-altering seasonal drug. It IS fall, here, with lots of clouds, rain and wind, and cooler nights. I put Aunt Cora's afghan on my bed, and snuggle down in it. P thinks I'm crazy, as he is unphased by Hawaii's "winter".

A long walk with BadBoy Cricket tonight. We walked through some cemetaries, stopped for some off-leash fun in a park down in Nuuanu's urban gritty area, admired some botanical gardens and practiced behaving around other dogs; ie, watching them without the usual firestorm of barking and jumping around. He is really very good, these days, with only the reactivity around other dogs, to worry about. Most of the leash pulling has worked itself out, and I'm trying to phase out the Gentle Leader, and work more on the flat collar again, on the waist leash. He is really very strong, weighing in at about 75 lbs, now, at his full growth. I am enjoying him, at the moment.

Joy abounds, as I own a plane ticket to Portland, Oregon, for a getaway with P! I am looking forward to being off the rock, eating local salmon, drinking microbrews, and wandering new neighborhoods. Portland has always been my hypothetical "someday I'll live there" city, so it will be fun to visit it, finally. Any readers with ideas about where to go, what to do, please weigh in here.

Due to my ripety-rip escapade the other night, Marilyn's, once the sweater I was going to WEAR to Portland, will be the knitting project for the journey. Ahhh, well, I can do this.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

DisKnit: Progressions

Here is the knitting I've done lately here in the District. It isn't a great picture, but the pattern is pretty (Agatha from Lavold). As K-Brow knows I've been pretty down and not inclined to wh-log (whine-blog).

But in response to her implication, I do have to say that just because I have a house cleaner every two weeks, my house is also a mess as this picture will show:

The Memorial Service for my great aunt is November 3, I'm dithering about travel plans, but my mother announced that there is a great yarn store in Bath where we'll be staying: So if anyone needs something, let me know! I think I'll buy a skein of something marvelous for each of Kristi's daughters and daughter-in-law since we are all knitters.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I feel I should keep up the illusion of blogging, even though there's nothing very knitterly going on that merits posting. Marilyn's is plugging along, getting longer and have I mentioned how much I like working on the top-down sweater?! I tried it on again, and it fits okay, and I am cheered, because we know that things that don't fit right get abandoned. Right into the UFO bin. This, in spite of my sister's fervently held belief that things that things that don't fit me so well get finished and passed off to her. DO YOU HEAR ME? THAT ONE SWEATER WAS A FLUKE! I am not in the habit of finishing things that don't fit me!! Don't wait around for this green cardigan, understand?! Hey...put away that acquisition aren't getting this Marilyn's!

My sister...if I were a faster knitter who actually finished more things, I'd knit more for her...she deserves it for putting up with the way I roar into her life once a year, forcing her to eat pizza with anchovies, take midnight walks, and give up the free haircuts. As it stands, she has to knit for herself, or wait in anticipation for the ill-fitting or unloved FO. Silly, since she's a perfectly competent knitter, now.

So I've just been doing what I do, the wee bit o' spinning, which is amassing quite a collection of white corriedale singles, (to ply or not to play? to dye or not to dye?) and making me happy. Changing my altar to reflect the season, complete with a pomegranate and a mini-pumpkin. Getting in touch with old friends, incredible after so long; Miss Nora, Cloud, and Lauriedarling - all nears and dears, who've been out of touch (through our mutual moves and busyness) and who, suddenly, in the last 2 weeks, have re-surfaced. Miss Nora and I are getting together for coffee and no doubt, some knitting, as she passes through Oahu in a week, Lauriedarling has a new Aussie puppy and Cloud emailed P asking after me. Goddess, ease my tendancy to burn bridges and lose myself in myself, as so often has been the custom.

Dog training goes enjoyably. Cricket's hijinks continue, but I have developed a sense of humor about him, and it goes better that way. I am teaching him pre-agility behaviors, not because I ever believe he will be under control enough to do agility or any off-lead sport in the presence of other dogs, but because I think those foundation behaviors of hand-touch, targetting, body placement, eye contact and being able to be sent to another location are the key to managing his yahoorahrah in the public sector. Besides it gets him clicks and treats and access to the yellow squeaky toy, which is EVERYTHING in Cricket's world, right now.

But my house is a sty, due to my excessive obsession with that Battlestar Galactica and ignoring the mail and laundry and dustbunnies everywhere. In this condition, I have to salute my co-blogger (mysteriously silent, except for a text message last week) who has the good sense to get a housekeeper. She is way more realistic on the domestic front than I am.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It's been a week of pretty spectacular weather around here. Being on the mainland, or off-island, in any way, always does me good. Even this week, as I nursed an airline-induced headcold, I was in a decidedly serendipitous state. The sunsets echoed my mood, all golden and vastly improved.

Knitting on Marilyn's Not-So-Shrunken Cardi continues, with slow, DK progress. Now it really makes me appreciate worsted weight yarn. But I think I have Blogless Michelle knitting along on this, now, so maybe she'll cheer me on. She was wondering what to start knitting for a long trip out of town, and I found Marilyns' soothing stockinette to be just the way to whittle away thehours on the road.

I've been trying to spin a little each day, in an effort to improve my technique and use up all that white Corriedale I bought last year at the FiberFest. I brought back some beautiful purple colonial roving this year, but want to be a slightly better spindler than I am before I take it on. This shot shows the spindle on the ironing board, but I've moved it to a more fitting place on my altar for the lunar cycle. It's just that the light was better in the studio/ironing room.

I took the day off today in a great bout of malingering. I was feeling crappy; stressed, jet-lagged and croupy yesterday morning, and called a sub for today. Needless to say, the minute I got the sub commitment, my condition improved, and today was positively lovely.

I spent quality time with the dogs, taking Cricket for a long walk, upon which he tugged, barked and generally made ass, thus forcing me to take Ella for a jaunt in the park, to erase the jangled nerves of dealing with Cricket. Had a long talk with our old trainer, Doug, who suggested I try a 4 month, full-court press of starting obedience from scratch with Cricket, working on the flat collar, taking him out in the world, in the presence of other dogs, no matter how aversive he finds it, and just socializing the hell out of him again. He said he'd done this with his old dog, also a reactive beast, and found that it took about that much time before he saw real profound change. Fuck. He is so much work! I love him dearly, but he is so much work. Doug is right, though, and so I gear up for the slog.

I got a new tarot deck last night. The Druidcraft deck. I'd seen it online some weeks ago, and loved the illustrations, and the idea of a pagan themed deck out there besides Robin Wood (which I don't really like) and I had some Borders bucks, and a 30% off coupon, so this deck and its corresponding book were practically free. I've been playing with it a little, and was pleased to find that the card I drew today was the 8 of Pentacles, which speaks of steady effort and focus on the day-to-day work, not losing oneself in over-obsession with the grand goals. I think this is a good thing to keep in mind with my work with Cricket, the spinning, the house, and everything going on in my life right now.

Knit night last night was entertaining, and I feel the need to go more often, in light of my recent absence from the group. At the end of the eve, the Blogless One showed off the new car, a foxy sporty coupe, which merited a delightful spin around the Ward Center parking lot, a tiny taste of its power and speed. I'm no car geek, but this thing is the bomb.

And now, I am going to make a salmon pattie and some broccoli, take a bath in some Lushness and curl up with a dvd and Marilyn's for the eve.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A memorial from DisKnit

My great aunt Kristi died on Tuesday. She became a grandmother to me after my dad's mother died when I was 7. My mother confessed she used to fantasize about how her life would have been if Kristi had been her mother. Kristi and my mom did the above afghan for me. Kristi had done 1/2 the squares and was frustrated she had not finished; my mom did the other half. I don't know who's half is whose. I actually taught my mother to crochet and some of our first projects were granny square afghans. Kristi was a great knitter and she and I used to talk about knitting and books and other things. She was an activist of the 1930s and forged her own way through motherhood and womanhood. She was also a librarian and a few years ago, a lot of us family folks contributed to a children's fund at the Brewster's Ladies Library on Cape Cod (( ) She's was one of those women that helped me understand you live your life and that doesn't always fit into neat boxes. She and my grandmother grew up only a few blocks from where I live now, so she's been in my thoughts since I moved her in January 2006. She loved roosters, her dogs, and her books. Without knowing her, I hope you will all honor her long life. I'm not very cheerful but her death has been part of events that has helped me looked around me with new eyes.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

olde country

I've recovered from my jet lag, more or less, and made peace with the head cold I brought back as a souvenir from the East coast, and now I'm ready for an update. Virginia was hot, humid and dry, all at once. Fogs in the morning, clouds in the afternoon, grass that crumbled underfoot, great clouds of dust, odd sprinklings of dirty rain at unexpected moments. My friend Hawkheart always said I was unnaturally obsessed with the weather, and I remain true to type. This weather was freakin' weird! Leaves falling brown and yellow off the trees, in the hot wind, with nary a red nor orange to be seen. The weather is the weather, though, and we'll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.

My vacation had some central themes going on, which have continued to haunt me back into Hawaii. Some were happy themes, like the very fiber-centricity of it all. Yarn, knitting, spinning, hanging with friends who knit, visiting my sis's knit night and meeting all these delightful folk:

including this lady, whom I've been looking forward to getting together with for a long time.

She generously furthered my nascent spinning career by donating me her spare niddy-noddy. Who'd have thought anyone would ever have an extra niddy-noddy laying around the house?!

Crafty Bastards and the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier yielded up a whole lot of inspiration and the wee bit o' stash addition, which I'll share in due time, as my camera batteries are quite dead at the moment.

Another central theme was the meeting of bloggers; namely Reya, Ms Pam and Knit Nana. This was a huge thrill, and makes the miles of disconnectedness in my life right now feel like a smaller thing, somehow. Along the same lines, getting my dearest DisKnit to co-author this blog with me was just terrific, as it ensures our ongoing wacky dialogue, which never seems to miss a beat, anyway, despite the miles and months between us. Still, more DisKnit = much more goofy fun in my life, and that's a good thing.

Darker themes for the trip included the lives of nearly all my friends being in some sort of chaotic mid-life crises. Is it normal, this awful upheaval of the mid-to-late forties, in women's (but even in my men friends, too) lives? I find myself being sad-then-joyous-then-weeping-then-laughing in a gruesome rollercoaster that absolutely wears me out. I found it reflected in the stories of 5 different friends, all roughly my age. Such shared personal drama allowed for lots of tarot reading, and heart-to-heart discussions lasting hours into the night, on several nights (and one morning, too) but we've had happier meetings of the mind, goddess knows.

And of course there's the family drama. My parents aging, my mother's impending visit, in January, which will be fun, but not without its stress. My dad, having the "this is how we want our inevitable deaths to be handled" talk with the sis and I, which actually resulted in good sharing about our whole family's desire for cremation or green burial, and felt like a meeting on common ground; not a oft-occuring event in my family life, where we usually freely and vociferously disagree on a wide variety of topics.

I returned to blogland to discover that many writers are making 31-day projects of self-improvement; journaling, exercise, spiritual practice...since I am late to the party, I will merely make the effort, from tomorrow's new moon to the new moon after Samhain, to try to do some spinning each day. The Fall Fiber Festival aftermath finds me with a surfeit of spinning fiber, and I need to do something about it. Maybe if I spin it all up, my sis will knit it all up?

Monday, October 08, 2007

DisKnit: Casting About for a Theme (not found)

Since my gift knitting is either on hold or off to recipients, I have decided to embark on some selfish knitting. I have Elizabeth Lavold's second book and decided to do a tank from it with a lace pattern. In a knitting and worldly tragedy , my version of one of her sweaters was stolen from my car -- I'm sure they thought my laptop was more valuable, but it was damn sad to lose a wearable, self-made sweater (the design was this one:

The sweater I've embarked on is:
I'm using a dark red apalca yarn from KnitPicks which I hope I have enough of. I have naturally converted it to the round since the shaping is identical. Are any of you out there as committed to knitting in the round as I am?

This long weekend has been pretty slow for me -- my social circle in Washington DC is very small -- but I did go bike riding up Rock Creek to Maryland -- the first time I've ridden my fancy road bike in DC. A couple of riders checked the bike out, which is always satisfying.

Today, Columbus Day, the intrepid CurtEye (Curtis in latinate) and I went to the Vet. Shocking bill since it was guilt trip so I bought all the frontline and heartworm medicine from them. I always feel on a first visit to a vet I must buy stuff from them before I go off to other cheaper sources. In Sacramento, the prices weren't that different than the discount stores, but clearly NW DC vets need to charge a lot more to afford their prices. Let's not even talk about how much the mole removal is going to cost, and the fact that I have to do it on the day after Turkey Day. But at least the guilty conscience about neglecting the dog is over. It just means that there will be no clothes buying or yarn buying for me.

Reading report: Finished Miles and Me by Quincy Troupe. Good, but I didn't learn as much about Jazz as I wanted. I think I need to read Miles: An Autobiography by Troupe instead. Last night I started a book on Beethoven. I'm obviously on a learn some more about music kick. I have no musical training and a poor voice, but I'm intrigued by the process and the social construction of it all. But I'm obviously going to have to go to the library tomorrow and return my current books and get something else. Suggestions welcome?

Cooking report: nothing to speak of, though I bought some nice apples at the farmer's market on Saturday as well as asparagus from Chile or somewhere. Gym Report: have to go see the foolish trainer tonight and say she's not much use. Self-discipline is going to be the rule.

K should be recovering from jetlag and capable of posting soon, she'll have to provide the amusement since I don't think I've managed much of it today.

L from DC

Friday, October 05, 2007

late night, Roanoke, Virginia

Dispatch from the Olde Country...I find myself at my sister's knit night in Salem, VA, and The Knitted Brow is mentioned, thus I find out that the Disenfranchised One has already posted. Logging on, I see that she's not only posted that spectacular shawl, but also an unflattering picture of me, being unfaithful to my dogs with her own lovely beast. It is time to go home, I tell you...

Other than that, I've enjoyed my time away, here in the land of little internet access and almost no cellphone service. Checking my email, I see I have no email, which isn't surprising, as all who'd write me are here with me, in one way or another --- except for P. who is getting by with text messaging and quick calls whenever I get in range with the cell.

It is autumn, in some strange Indian Summer sense of the word here in Virginia. Dry and warm, and utterly fragrant, but the air seems pregnant with unshed rain, and absolutely no real weather on the horizon. LOTS of emotional "stuff" with family and friends going on, so the feeling of being very full is amplified and echoed by the weather.

In DC, I had a thoroughly satisfying visit with Lucy, who cheerfully threw her hat into the blogging ring and become the co-author of this space, (give her love, people!)as well as loaned me her dog to snuggle with on certain groggy mornings. I also met up with and lunched with the completely delightful blog kin,Reya, whom I felt as if I already knew. Later, big epiphanies about my life in Northern VA, now run its course. Tarot, red wine, red meat, and a long heart-to-heart talking with my friend T, and old next door neighbor Tina, too. The drive down to my parents' place, and hours of "Dallas" reruns with my dad, my mom's excellent fried chicken, and hours to roam the highways and byways of my youth.

I found myself laying flat on my back in deep grass and purple vetch in a field, watching bees sample goldenrod above me. I love this place I've come home to, but I am growing ready to step back into the flow of my day-to-day life again.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A late Wedding Shawl or a Knitted Ghost or

Posted by Picasa

Lucy back with some pictures: Here is the sister-in-law's Kristin's belated shawl supposed to have been part of possible options on the festivities on 7/7/7, but not finished until -- oh, yeah, still not finished, but bound off and just a few ends to be sewn in and then blocked. It is pretty fabulous, if in fact filled with mistakes. The pattern came from Knitpicks "Rectangular Cover Shawl" ( ). And the yarn was also knitpicks: Merino Wool in lace weight - "jewels" color since she said something about lilacs and I thought about the "color blue" myth:

Maybe because knitting this sweater haunted me through the spring and summer (and another relationship break up), I've portrayed it as ghost here. It also matches this pretty japanese wood block from my grandfather.

And then here is the baby sweater, but without baby. It was actually begun for another friend, but has now been received in Duluth to be worn by Sky Johnson, son of Kirsten Aune and Chad Johnson and baby brother to Forestasia Aune -- it apparently fits, though I've used a chapstick to show you how tiny the thing was:

Also from knitpicks sock yarn and a knitpick pattern, but I converted it to the round, and I don't remember much else about it. The buttons came from the button box. Yeah.

I love the blog already because Chelsea has already followed up about my missing pattern. Hope everyone is happy.


p.s. here is Kim and Curtis in my guest bed:

[Kim appears to think the picture is unflattering and it may be deleted if she protests enough]

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Without a Vote or a Pattern

Kim recently flew into what she calls the "old country" and convinced me to join the festivities on Knitted Brow. It is somewhat appropriate since I think my ex-boyfriend came up with the name for the blog before it existed. So here, I am, Lucy of the District of Columbia, where we don't have the vote (call your senator and representatives and suggest it would make me happier if I might have one since I have to live with all of them).

Like Kim, I have a dog. Indeed Ella probably met my dog Curtis before I met Kim, but they became fast friends and so did we. That was back in the glory days of Sacramento -- but now we and the dogs are about as far away as we can be. A picture should appear somewhere of Curtis in front of the marine memorial. Unlike Kim and Ella, Curtis and I rarely compete except over couch space. He did come in third place for cutest senior dog this spring.

As to knitting, I tend to knit in the round (I hate seaming) and I buy yarn on sale whenever possible. My knitting gure is Jaqueline Fee and her sweater workshop book ( Apparently it just got mentioned in a podcast, because all these people are joining the related yahoo group about it. The group is not that interesting if you don't have the book, so buy first and then join.

I just finished gifts: a little baby sweater made from Knitpicks sock yarn that is cute (and done in the round despite the free pattern). If pictures of baby arrive, I shall post. I also finished a lace shawl for my new sister-in-law. It was supposed to be for the wedding on 7/7/7, but it took a bit longer. Her birthday is Friday, so I can quick sew in the ends and block it and pretend it is her gift. Hurrah. Now I need to get back to the aran sweater for my father, but I've lost the pattern which I copy out of Knits for Men and then converted to the round. Anyone have that book and want to copy the pattern for an aran which has patterns for both a man and boy? I can find the name, if you have the book. I'm looking around for a project to make ME something, but . . . haven't found it yet.

Otherwise, Kim and I had a fine time at Crafty Bastards -- she bought t-shirt, wool, and ?. I bought two pillows. At a store across the street I bought a new funky dress. Then we both got spa pedicures -- fabulous and returned to our new favorite bar, Bar Pilar.

Likely themes for me here will be: not knitting, attempting to go the gym and/or cook dinner, and what book I am reading. Just started a book called Miles and Me about Miles Davis.

I do get a gold star since I went to the gym last night -- I don't know how to insert a gold star but imagine one!

Aloha, Lucy

Monday, September 17, 2007

in the kitchen and a glimpse of cedar

It was, is, and may still be a rather satisfying weekend, offering up an air show on the beach, decent dog training, and the homemade brownie, courtesy of Cook's Illustrated:
I have to say, these brownies absolutely rock. They are simple, intense and moist. I am a big fan of Cook's Illustrated, the magazine and the cookbook. I like Christopher Kimball's little editorial letter each issue, extolling the virtues of Vermont's rural lifestyle, and I like the fact that the magazine is all about the test kitchen. And these brownies, well, I'm all about the baking from scratch.

In an unprecendented flurry of domesticity, I also made this Moroccan Chickpea Chili, from this month's Cooking Light magazine. Warm and rich, with cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, this promises to deliver some heavenly lunches this week.

I lost no time in bouncing back on the knitting horse after the debacle that was Clapotis. I am nothing, if not resilient.
So I've started Marilyn's Not So Shrunken Cardiigan from the inimitable Knit and Tonic Wendy. I have to say, this is one well-written pattern. I'm a bit of a baby when it comes to reading and understanding just what the knit designers are telling me to do, but Wendy...she gives good pattern. I'm using Jo Sharp Silkroad DK, in a beautiful color called "Cedar", and it is, indeed, the color of cedar trees after a rain, but it's a fickle color, at times showing black, sometimes showing a blue green cast, sometimes just a grey green. This shot, I think, on this monitor I'm using, is fairly true to sunlight. The yarn is soft, squishy, crispy and tweedy, all at once. Satisfactory stockinette, of course, with just a few increases ongoing, to keep it interesting. A veritable love fest, thus far.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

i can't get no satisfaction

Okay, this is a painful thing to say, but I am gonna rip that Clapotis. In my desire to "norm" the 3 different dyelots of the colorway (screaming bright, jolly bright, and faded bright) I was alternating between skeins; knitting 2 rows in one, then 2 rows in another. I liked the color effect, but it was hell on the texture and balance of the edges of the scarf; as the side with the alternating skeins, where I was changing and picking up, was lumpy and tight, due to my tight-ass gauge - no doubt trying to make the thing in too little yarn to begin with.

So. Once I started dropping stitches, it started to look even botchier. I probably wouldn't worry about it, but I've knitted enough Clapotis (clapoti?) to know when something doesn't look right. And the silk/merino combination of the Lion and Lamb should have been so very drapey, but the tight-ass edge was grinding away at me. So. The plan is to rip. Only not now. Because unraveling all that knitting in 2 different skeins (read tangled and twisted around each other, no doubt) is gonna suck nickels. I need something happier on a Friday night.

It would seem that I am a process knitter after all. Even though the product was unsatisfactory, I'm unphased by the intimation that there will be no product at this point.

I am not as sad as one might expect. In fact I'm a little glib about it all. You see, I was tiring of all that pepto pink, and kinda jonesing for a break in the Clapotis horserace. I'm actually wondering if I dare to OVERDYE the yarn? Be still my beating heart. Giggle.

Just to end on a happy note...

Dog zen continues.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I observed 9/11 by going to yoga class, much in the way I did in 2001. It's good to be present. At the end of the class, the instructor, an amazing yogini, gave us a "Namaste for your hard work and sacrifice, tonight." It has me wondering about the nature of sacrifice. During the inversions part of the class (before the mention of sacrifice) I found myself doing the "hanged man thing" with my legs:

Then later, considering the meaning of that card, among other things; sacrifice. Mine, that of others' and the notion that it need not be huge, to be counted.

Work has been odd lately. I've had to cancel a lot of my groups, due to special classroom visitors, field trips, etc, leaving me enough downtime to de-stress, catch up on paperwork, and generally lay low at school. I am, after yesterday's awful depression and teariness (which I am attributing to the waning moon) calm and happy. The elusive phantom of sanity seems, for a moment, closer.

Clapotis continues. I am now dropping stitches on the straight rows, and alternating between 2 differently colored dyelots of the same colorway, to keep the colors reasonably uniform.

On Saturday, my friend from CA, Hawkheart called me. She's been summering in Costa Rica, and was calling to announce her return and to check in. We had a 4 hour phone conversation, catching up on everything under the sun. Hawkheart is a teacher, dog trainer, brainiac, pagan and all-around sister to me, and we have a lot to talk about, in the words of our other friend Clary, we had ourselves the "long jaw." In the course of this extended exchange, I mentioned to her about my nascent handspinning pursuits, and asked her if she still had her spinning wheel. It has occupied her living room, as long as I've known her, and she used to bring it to school, I think, for demos, many a long year past. She responded with "K-brow, if you want my spinning wheel it's yours." After repeated attempts to convince her she was crazy and that she'd wake up regretting it, we agreed that I'd take it off her hands when I could, and she'd hold it for me til I could do so. It's a Louet, maybe 20 years old? In good condition, though maybe in need of a tune-up. Thing is, I'm in no hurry to get it, though a spinning wheel is one of my dreams, for the future. I will try to visit her next year and pick it up, when I can. Meanwhile, I'll continue to spin away on my little drop spindle. I'm amassing a number of lumpy little balls of Corriedale yarn.

Monday, September 10, 2007

sore wrist and a rude awakening.

Trying to ride this moon's energy, as it wanes out of sight; cleaning and purging my house, closet, fridge...I think we call it the anti-spring cleaning. I've really been feeling the moon, lately, maybe because I've spent more time than usual at the beach, wallowing in the bathwater-temperate sea.

This won't be a long post; my wrists hurt from knitting. Clapotis does that to me every time! It's some deadly combination of knit/purl, in just the right length to bang out several frenetic rows. The relief knitting I have is a sock, not so cool for the wrists either. I'm giving it a combination of ice, reiki and aspirin, but I think sleep will help.

P is back from Samoa, with no real travel plans in the upcoming future.

Just because there's been no "Wild Kingdom" news on this blog, recently, doesn't mean there hasn't been something going on on that front around here. I was being a good worker bee, vacuuming the bathroom, this afternoon, and slammed the vacuum into a baseboard...only to have it crumble like so much sawdust. Termites. Bloody hell. A closer inspection revealed a fair number of the wood features of the bathroom to be disentegrating to the touch. Ugh. I don't know when it started. I usually clean the bathroom with a broom and swiffer, easier on the baseboards. A call to our friend Geno will give us some idea of how to proceed to get rid of the buggers; I fear it's a tenting of the house (circus season, anyone?) and then some replacement carpentry, but maybe it won't be so complicated...sigh. I hate to tent the place. On the one hand, it would show the cockaroaches who's boss, once and for all (not!) but it would take its toll on the geckos, not to mention the effects on us and our animals, living in a place that's infused with chemicals. ugh.

Here to dispute the assertion that Hawaii is paradise, and the assumption that owning a house is any kind of picnic. Wish I had a landlord...well, sometimes.

Off to lay in my termite riddled bathtub and pout now. At least there's chamomile tea.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


It's the end of summer. Even though Mabon isn't here, summer, for all intents and purposes, is done. Our tangerines are turning the faintest yellow, the plumeria's blooms are sparser, but the gardenia's blooming hard, still, as are the hibiscus, and the plumbago.
Two years ago today, I landed in Hawaii; a new resident. In the course of that eventful day, I picked up my 2 cockatiels out of animal quarantine, had a joyous reunion with Ella, met a new friend - a coworker of my husband's, who picked me up at the airport, as P was off-island. I had the car overheat and die on me, I took a horrendously expensive taxi ride back home, ferreted out gin and spaghetti sauce in the fridge, made dinner, met our local UPS guy, who has become a friend, as well, and spent hours just sitting on my top step, watching grey pearly clouds move across an indigo sky, thinking "home...I'm home..."

Am I home? I was so tired of traveling, preparing to move, back then. Then, later, came the ambivalence, the loneliness, the isolation that Hawaii can bring to the haole stranger, accustomed to living at the crossroads of the world. Later came more friends, new adventures, time exploring this place, surrounded by wind and sea. A new dog, employment, diversions. I am home for the time being. It's not always good, it's not the love-fest that living in Arlington was for me, but it is home base now.

This was taken in a Nuuanu restaurant, the Hungry Lion, the site of the NRN's recent outing. It is like a glorified Denny's, local style. Outlandish paintings of savannah surround the inside of the place, and there's a big tree, like a kapok tree holding up the center beam of the restaurant, if I recall. Decent food, comfy booths, a nice waiter. Another thing to make me feel at home.

Clapotis has had a hard week, and has, after endless dithering, a redesign and consult with knitting folk, been ripped and is being re-knit in a more satisfactory way. Many thanks to Blogless Michelle, who coached me through my drama, and then gracefully came over tonight to hang out to watch "Jesus Camp" with me.

I am up too late, waiting for my sheets and bedspread to dry. I might just sleep in the guest bedroom, with all my yarn stash.