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.