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