Tuesday, April 24, 2007

soy silk struggle

Isn't this pretty? It's something whose name eludes me, but is doing well, in spite of my current policy of benign neglect.

Little peek in here. I have some soy silk, Southwest Trading Company's Karaoke, that I got in a yarn swap months ago, at Aloha Knitters. I was sitting on it, unsure of what to do with it. I thought it was so pretty, and soft, and the yummiest warmest French Vanilla color. I contemplated mixing it up with some Rowan Calmer, in Annie Modesitt's corset top, but after a swatch, realize they aren't quite the same gauge and look funky together, and not funky in a good way, either, but mismatched, like something I'd wear to walk the dogs on a Sunday morning. I thought about a washcloth, because, really, I just wanted to rub that soy silk all over myself. But the pattern I was trying to knit wasn't working for me, and I was mighty damn tired of ripping and re-knitting and getting the wrong number of stitches after that silly bobble row (oh accursed Mason-Dixon seductive washrags...)and suddenly I realized that I am done, finished, completely over that soy silk. It's going to Knittybird on Thursday, because it seems it's haunting her from a distance, too! She asked about it the other night at knit night, and I gave her an iffy answer, and then went home and tried to make something out of it, just to see if it would work for me. Since it's obviously not working for me, it's time for it to fly the coop. Adieu, soy silk! Blessings to you in the creative hands of Ms. Bird!

The weather has been all over the map here. Windy as all get-out, and rainy at nights, hard, warm rains, with huge drops that fall horizontally and end just at dawn, leaving a nice cool sunrise. The wind has provoked my usual case of spring-driven brainfog, and I'm fighting it with Claritin and giving myself extra time and caffeine to accomplish just about anything.

Little knitting (see the aforementioned soy silk struggle) has been done that hasn't been ripped. I'm taking a knitting break this week, as I concentrate on other things, namely, my backlog of ungraded student work, dog grooming and cooking. I made dolmas, oatmeal cookies and lentil soup the past couple of days, in a domestic frenzy. Somehow that's a balanced diet, I guess. The cookies had chocolate chips in them, too, making them more complete.

Friday, April 20, 2007

turn of the moon

Such a sad week. The shootings at Virginia Tech were so shocking and horrific. I consider myself a Virginian, despite not having been born there, and despite the fact that I live thousands of miles away, now. My father's family is from there, long rooted in the Shennandoah Valley, and it's the seasonal change, the trees, flowers and animals of the Blueridge that inspire me most in this world. I did not go to VA Tech, but have a very dear friend whose husband is a professor there, and have spent my share of days in Blacksburg, and surrounding Montgomery County.

It has taken awhile to digest the news of the shootings, and the shooter's sad history, and all these events coming so close to the anniversary of the Columbine event, which of course, changed school security and our (misguided?) perception of school as a safe place. The news, later this week, that a parent of a kindergartener walked into her child's classroom, brandished a toy gun and started saying "bang-bang" to the students, in a copycat event, was the apalling icing on the cake. What is it about our culture that breeds such a disconnectedness and lack of empathy?

That's a rhetorical question, and does not require an answer, by the way. I've just been pondering all week.

Mercifully, the moon has changed, which always gives me the strength to crawl out of my funk and count my blessings, to try new things and to put on the witch hat again. Funny thing, after Leah departed, at the end of March, I was seized with a profound loneliness for the company of other pagans. It was so nice to casually talk about ritual, energy, tarot, and our spirituality, without having to consider putting anything into context, or edit myself in any way. I live and work in a very tolerant community, right now, but for the first time in 17 years, am not a member of a working pagan circle that meets in realtime. The one group I visited here on Oahu meets too far away, and were philosophically different enough from my own orientation to have me driving off to meet with them on a regular basis. I've been enjoying the solitary practice since I moved here, for the most part, but Leah's visit made me realize anew, how much I missed those folk and all the facetime we used to enjoy.

So it's been a troubled few weeks, in large ways and small.
But time moseys on, and the kolea - golden plovers, are getting ready to migrate for their summer in Alaska. These birds are pretty nondescript in the fall and winter months, but in the spring, they put on their jaunty black bibs and turn a nice golden color for breeding plumage, and then disappear for 3-4 months. A nice life, splitting your time between Alaska and Hawai'i, if you can get it. I took this picture at school, but we have a resident kolea in our back yard, too, who eats well, picking bugs and slugs out of dog poop. I think he also makes the occasional snack out of the lizard, as well. He is Ella and Cricket's would-be prey, they always launch off the deck steps in hot pursuit of him when they go outside.

I had occasion to join the ladies of the NRN at Pauoa Chop Suey, the other night. This was a delightful, unknown-to-me Chinese restaurant that isn't too far from home. I continue to be thrilled by the hidden, hole-in-the-wall local restaurants in Honolulu. We totally tasted the rainbow, in both company and food.

Of course no taste of the rainbow can compare with this one:

2 chocolate and 2 vanilla cream puffs from the Beard Papa, that crazy Japanese purveyor of ecstasy. I love the yellow carrying case they come in.

Ella is hoping that one will fall off the counter and into her waiting mouth.

Funny thing...Ella is the most energetic beggar that ever lived. She firmly believes that effort, in the form of soulful looks, sotto voce moans, and repeated sitting, downing, and offering up all of her scanty repetoire of tricks, will get her a handout. She would never dream of taking anything off the counter or stealing food - that's much more Cricket's game. He's a do it yourself kind of guy, and as such, rarely puts much energy into a beg. I don't know which dog is more annoying in the presence of food, really.

Knitting. No new pix to show. Eleanor slugs along, beautiful, soft and easy to knit. The Child's First Sock creeps along on its tiny #1 needles, too. Both are satisfying, but I'm kind of itching for a short project that will crank out fast. I have a couple of things in mind, and may dedicate some Battlestar Galactica time to the quick fix...

Monday, April 09, 2007

...will they ever stop barking?

My neighbor has 2 mean little chihuahuas, one of whom actually CHASED MY CAR down the driveway last week. And they are barking, incessantly; have been for the past half hour. They are barking so incessantly that I put my own dogs in their crates to stop their ongoing commentary on the up-the-hill bowwowwow...perhaps not entirely fair, except that I paid them off with kong toys stuffed with salmon jerky and biscuits to enjoy in their crates, so I don't feel too guilty. Still, I wonder why they're barking so urgently and constantly. They usually don't bark unless someone's walking past their enclosure.

In lieu of any actual updated content, I offer images from a Friday evening.
Cricket, looking regal on our back steps, surveying the backyard.

My dinner of roast veggies and red wine.

The lastest object of my fascination; the halting beginnings of the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole, from"Scarf Style". The yarn is Noro Silk Garden, in color #226, a mix of greys, blues, and browns. I love this yarn, color and texture. I read complaints out there in Blogland about the amount of vegetable matter, sticks and straw in Silk Garden, but I don't find it excessive or offensive. Knitting so recently with Noro's Kureyon, though, and now Silk Garden, I find myself wishing for a single-color project, and contemplate what's next in the pipeline for me. Not to be shared just yet, mostly because I'm trying to wrap up some WIPs before committing to something else new. Eleanor was just something I couldn't put off anymore. It is an easy, amusing project.

In other news, as of this June, both my co-teacher and I are out of our jobs. The district has transferred 2 teachers from another school that's downsizing into our positions, because we didn't have tenure. So we are back on the "to-be-hired" list, and while chances are good that we'll be employed, come August, it's not a sure thing. Fuckety-fuck. I am a bit over crying and angsting about my employment situation here in Hawaii. In my 13 years of teaching prior to my move here, I had excellent evaluations, and had no problem finding and keeping work. This system, with its combination of rigid, bureaucratic structure, and old-boy cronyism is not one I support, nor one that I want to give one whit of emotional energy to. I am determined to breathe deeply, ride the winds of chance and see where they drop me. If the work situation is impossible, come the new school year, I will sub, paint faces and walk dogs again for a living. Sigh. I like my paycheck. I like my benefits. I like my students and their families. But this system is corrupt and ineffective, and I am giving it no more than is absolutely necessary of my emotional investment.

Detaching is tiresome, though, and it seems like I am having my share of motivational problems.I think a personal day is in order.

The rain has begun. The chihuahuas have stopped barking. Silence is golden.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

run ragged but happy

I've been silent, but frenzied, the past days, as my spring break wound down. My friend Leah came to visit, and while it was great to see her, she ran me a bit ragged. Leah's an ardent tourist, who travels a lot, and doesn't take easily to sitting around doing little while I knit and do housework. So we ran around Oahu, tasting the rainbow in great big bites, with helicopter rides and hikes and drives to the far reaches of the rock, and funny umbrella drinks and lots of shopping, and the sighting of sea turtles up close and personal. Nice, but I was so pleased with my weeks of silence and solitude prior to her visit that it was a bit of a shock to me to have all that followed with nonstop action. It's feast or famine around here at the Knitted Brow, and who's to say what's what? We also devoted inordinate amounts of time watching season 1 of Battlestar Galactica, thanks to my recent Netflix join. I got Leah hooked, and her parting shot to me at the airport was "I'm updating my queue..." to feed her own need for the cylon vs human struggle. Yum.

Such geeks we are. After Leah departed, I devoted some time to making a container herb garden. I planted basils, sage and cherry tomatoes in pots to live along our rock walls. Our actual soil is very thin and rocky here, and we have so many plant-eating creepy crawlies around that I am trying a container approach to growing things I actually want to eat. I'm trying not to get carried away with visions of my summery pesto just yet, but so far, everything's doing fine. I repotted the euphorbia, too, as it had nearly died away in its sad little rootbound pot. I'm feeling very much the gardener these days, though with spring break's end, my time is not my own again.

Spring break did result in the completed blue socks; not entirely matching, due to Trekking's rambling rippling colorways. I was calling them fraternal twins, but now decided that sock #2, the left one, is the Brother from Another Mother to sock #1. Thanks to Blogless Michelle (Ms Frogstreet? hint?) for that phrase, which I've taken every opportunity to use since I heard it a week ago.

Thanks to Cricket, for being the tolerant model for the perfect sock contrast. The colors are pretty true, and I'm happy with my work. I'll be making more socks from Sensational Knitted Socks, after a digression into Knitting Vintage Socks for a KAL of the Child's First Sock.

In other news, on Saturday, I went out thrifting at the Salvation Army. I don't particularly care for the thrift stores in Hawaii, but I tend to only shop at Salvation Army and Goodwill, so there may be better, smaller ones out there that I don't know about? Still, I had a good day, and $7.69 got me quite a haul of groovy booty. (I shudder to think of how the use of the phrase 'groovy booty' is going to repercuss on google and site hits)

The Haul:

A swanky green sarong for the beach and my hippie moods:

An incredible buy of some of my favorite soaps, including the much-loved olive oil and chamomile flavor that is so hard to find:

Not shown very well was a stunning white t-shirt, suitable for work and showing off my tan, should I ever acquire one.

Now, I'm back at work again, feeling tired and put-upon already. I need a spring tonic, I think.