Sunday, December 28, 2008

DisKnit: Meme Redux

KBrow is off with family, I am here in the Capital City trying to get my knitting going. So here are my answers

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yup. My name is a family name from my great grandmother, there are currently four of us with it.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Almost two weeks ago after a difficult conversation at work.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
No.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Turkey (but I don't like the concept of Lunch Meat).

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
No.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Sure, I'm a pretty good friend.


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Yes. I hear KBrow's complaint about it being overused, but I just find that it is sometimes the only way to make it through some things like work bureaucracy and condo politics (okay, any sort of politics, really).
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Probably not. But could be convinced of it by the right crowd, but the fact that it costs money doesn't last very long makes it less appealing than other ways to spend money to endanger yourself (whitewater rafting, downhill skiing, etc -- none of which I love but which at least take a while).

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Barbara's Shredded Oats or Frosted Shredded Wheat.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Does anyone?

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Am always a little stronger than I expect, but am basically a weakling.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Don't really have one. Favorite ice cream experience: a small hot fudge sundae at Gunther's in Sacramento.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Not sure.

15. RED OR PINK?
More often pink.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Not having a magic wand to clean up after myself.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My circle of friends in California.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO DO THIS?
Only if they want to.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Was wearing brown.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
peppered bacon egg sandwich from Starbucks.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Horns honking.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Leaf Green

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Lavender. Mint. Rosemary (but I'm not the most "smell" oriented person).

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Technically, Diana when I called to say I was outside with the car. For a real conversation: my mom.
25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
[not really sent, but my co-blogger is a fine person!)

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
I will watch live sports outside if I can knit and the weather is pleasant or the company is pleasant. Watching Hockey is high school was an odd pleasure.
27. HAIR COLOR?
Light brown/blonde/red thanks to the wonders of Urban Escape's Agus
28. EYE COLOR?
Blue-gray

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
No.
30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Lately, Hot Chocolate.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Both
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Miracle Match, yet another underdog sports movie -- a genre that is a personal vice that I don't impose on others.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Black sweater with a dark red sweater on top
34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Hmm
35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs.
36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
I'll echo Marzipan from KBrow, pecan pie is good.
37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Not really asking anyone.
38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
All the people I didn't ask.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Dewey the Library Cat. Really Tedious.
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
It is red and upstairs.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?
I went to a live play (Next to Normal at the Arena Stage)
42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Ocean waves
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
The Beatles.

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
New Zealand, but since I am half-Kiwi is was full of family.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can figure out almost any bureaucratic system and get it to work for me.
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Lower Marion Township, Pennsylvania

47. WHAT ARE YOU BAKING NEXT?
Maybe some cookies with Patty over New Years.
48. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FIRST LOVER IS?
Yes.
49. WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING RIGHT NOW?
Nothing, but there is cold coffee just out of reach.
50. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
Not really expecting any.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

k-brow: memelicious II

Got this from Chelsea's blog. She expressed a desire to hear my response, and it pleases me to please Chelsea, so here it is. All may participate, if you're on my bloglines (and who isn't?) I'll read you.


1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Nope. My mom had some boy names picked out, and I turned out to be a girl, and was given a name she and my dad thought was "feminine sounding."

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I think it was Friday morning, on the way to work, about something not work related.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Yes. I got bad grades in penmanship in school, but have been complimented on my writing's appearance by many, many co-teachers. I tend to print in D'nealian-style printing, though, as a leftie, I do make my letters in an unorthodox manner.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Pastrami, but I'm not picky. I'll happily eat bologna.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
No kids. I'm childish enough, as it is.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Yeah, I guess. I like to think I'm friendly and easygoing.


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
No I don't. Or I try very hard not to. I think it's over-glorified and emphasized in our culture, in fact.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
I do.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
You know, I just might...given a jumping off place with good scenery and the presence of fun-loving accomplices.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Wheat Chex. I like good granola and a health food store cereal called Nature's Path Synergy, as well.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Not if I can avoid it.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Resiliency-wise, yes, very. Physically, in terms of muscle mass and power, not so much.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Haagen-Dasz Strawberry.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Friendliness.

15. RED OR PINK?
Both. Together.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My tendancy to dwell in my own mental hamster wheel for much of my waking time.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My family. My VA pagan circle. DisKnit as a neighbor.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO DO THIS?
Everyone!

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
We don't wear shoes indoors in Hawaii. The last shoes I wore was last night's black Dansko Mary Jane clogs, worn against the possibility of puddle wading.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Oatmeal, with honey and peanut butter mixed in.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
NPR's Sound and Spirit. Water running in the Nuuanu streambed. Some birds cheeping.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Blue-violet.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
In this order: Eau de horse barn; leather, horse, and hay. Fresh mint. Fresh cut grass. Roses. Nag Champa incense. Lavender. Burning sage. The sheepy smell of some yarns and rovings. Eau de crayon box. Playdoh. Cloves.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Opal, who was making me laugh inappropriately, as I waited in the Hee Hing valet parking line.

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Yes, I do, though we've never met. I love her blog.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Um...I don't like watching sports that much. I do confess a love of televised bicycle racing commentary with Phil Liggett, a la Tour de France. I like to watch equestrian events, thought they are rarely on tv. I love to watch dog agility.

27. HAIR COLOR?
Naturally: medium brown going grey, with a big shock of white on top.
Currently: bright red. I like it. This, too, shall pass...

28. EYE COLOR?
Grey-green.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Not usually. I have contacts, but I mostly just wear them for snorkeling, so I can see the fishies clearly.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Oh, everything is fair game. Usually in the spicy-savory zone. The cuisine of south India is perhaps my favorite locale. Think fiery curries with a distinct lemony tang, fish, and yummy puffy breads.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
I like scary but not gruesome. I prefer Hitchcock-style, or ghostly. Violence, gore, slasher, not at all. I do like a happy ending, as well.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
"Blood Diamond" Excellent but harrowing to watch.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Tan, orange and brown. A promo shirt for this film, which is directed by the friend of a friend.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer.

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Depends on who from.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Gelato, whenever I can get it. Marzipan, whenever I can get it.

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Hoping that DisKnit responds, and all other readers of this blog.

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
You know who you are.

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
"Duma Key" by Stephen King. Weirdness.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don't use one, but I still have one, "Oklahoma State University Food and Fiber Systems Literacy Program" advertising a curriculum I piloted for the good ag ed folk back in the day.

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?
The tivo'd finale of The Amazing Race.

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
The soft rippling of a sunny stream.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
The Beatles.

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Since home keeps moving, my perspective keeps changing. Right now, I feel so very far from home, though I am in my home. I guess, globally, as opposed to philosophically, the island of Java is as far, culturally and geographically, as I have ever been.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can fix some things that leave my spouse baffled. I can go into a trance state with no problem whatsoever. Sometimes this is a problem.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Columbia, South Carolina

47. WHAT ARE YOU BAKING NEXT?
Anise biscotti dipped in dark chocolate for the NRN cookie exchange.

48. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FIRST LOVER IS?
In a big southern city, running a brew pub and no doubt telling the same damn jokes he always told.

49. WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING RIGHT NOW?
Some cold coffee I pirated from P.

50. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
All and sundry.

k-brow: FO pic and a lot of rain

I'd promised y'all a pic of my completed Minimalist cardigan, completed in October, stitched up together over Thanksgiving weekend, and worn daily since. Here we go:

This is an easy knit. About 8 skeins of Cashmerino Aran, bought on sale at Little Knits, for the amazing price of $4.39 per skein, making it the cheapest luxury ever. I don't know why it took so long to finish, except for the fact that one can only do moss stitch for so many hours at a stretch. The color is hard to photograph; I call it "clover green". My mom had a shaker knit cardi in this color when I was growing up. I borrowed it a lot as a teenager, and she handed it down to me when I was in college. I wore it all the time, and finally sent it on to Goodwill, back in the mid 90's, in a pretty beat up condition. I think, unconsciously, I was trying to replace that sweater in my wardrobe; an easy, cozy, utilitarian piece, in that oh-so-comforting color. Minimalist Cardigan = WIN!!!

We have had continuing hard rains here, off and on since Thursday's debacle. Yesterday started off heavily overcast and humid. I took the dogs out, mid-afternoon and noticed that the Pali had become invisible, covered over in white mist. There'd been a tornado watch on Kauai all day. I realized something BIG was headed our way, once more. Gave the dogs their constitutional, and hastily ran a few errands and got home about 2 minutes before the gale force winds and rains hit Nu'uanu. We had to close windows all along one side of the house, due to hard, hard winds and rain. It was crazy, and pretty much the same white-out howling wetness of Thursday for an hour or so. Then, a lessening, a settling into a soft steady rain for the duration of the evening.

I even went out, meeting up with Acornbud, Opal and her mom Maureen, Jen and her husband, and Angela, for dinner at the fancy and oh-so-yummy Hee Hing restaurant on Kapahulu. Too much food, all day, really. I have a love-hate relationship with holiday food. A little goes a long way, and I had gone a long way already, as I'd made eggs for breakfast, and P had brought home lo mein for lunch. At least today, I'm starting out with oatmeal...

Today seems nice. Washed clean. More rain in the forecast this week, but we've gotten off easily here in Nu'uanu. I think it's the vertical pitch and basic rockiness of our land, everything just flows down around us. As long as the tree roots hold the boulders in place, Chez Nuuanu Estate is safe, except for the usual problems of standing water under the house, and the ever-present mold and dampness of EVERYTHING. Poor Kai and the other folk in other parts of our island have not been so spared. I hope last night's rains didn't hit her a double whammy, just after she'd cleaned out from the first wave.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

k-brow: seasonally affected

As usual, around this time of year, my own seasonal affective disorder and the chaos of being with children all day, as we approach the bratty Christmas season combine to create a severe case of the "Fuckits." Term coined by my sister, who knows the names of all the worst maladies that afflict our family. Today, Oahu got hit with the mother of all rainstorms. We were treated to a few claps of thunder, but also high winds and annoying power outages. What we were NOT treated to, were school closures. So I had to drive the 8 miles into Kailua, on the Pali Highway, which was a brown river in places, only to arrive at school, and have the lights be off. Our windows had to be open because otherwise it's pitch black, and we endured hours n' hours of howling wind, blowing rain and fairly dark conditions. Let me tell you, the novelty wore off, very quickly. The rain wore off around 2pm, just as school let out, and was back on again by 4:30. I beat it home right after the kids left, being in no mood to concern myself with teacherly things for one more minute. Fuckit.

I am riding out the seasonal affected time of year reasonably well, this year, though my fuse is definitely shorter. Sleep, St. John's Wort, supplements and tonics are keeping me alive until winter break, starting next Friday. The shorter days of light are grinding me down, but once off work, I can at least spend more time outside, and hopefully we'll get some decent sunshine and beach time over that break. Something that's been working well, was my decision to go off coffee; an annual experiment that begins when it starts tasting nasty to me, and ends when I decide I need it again. It's been 3 weeks now, and I'm doing more or less okay with green tea in the mornings. I haven't been pure (I'm not about pure) as I've had the occasional Starbuck's offering, but have been impressed at how much I've enjoyed those infrequent treats, now that I'm off the morning Joe.

Meanwhile, here's my "recipe" for warding off a cold. You have to take it at the first sign that something may be coming on:

I grate a 2 inch piece of ginger, crush 2 cloves of garlic, juice a lemon (but I used a lime this time because it's what I had) 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Infuse in about 2 cups of boiling water, and add honey. Sounds nasty, but it hits the spot if you're feeling sniffly or scratchy.

All the leaves and blossoms are gone from our plumeria tree. Sad, because I love the fragrance of the waxy white blossoms, but the barebonesbranches do create a striking image against the sky. Like black coral. In this land of almost-constant green, the sudden deciduousness of a tree is strangely disturbing. On one level, I find myself longing for dormant brown and grey woods where the only green is the occasional splash of holly or pine. Here it's the opposite, with only the plumeria providing the winter starkness.


Poor Cricket is seasonally affected, as well, as he is suffering an ear infection, which requires flushing of the ear on a frequent basis with a warmed solution. He doesn't mind it too much, but the flush contains gentian violet, and it stains like crazy, so we have to do it outside, so he can shake his head afterwards and fling the purple droplets everywhere.


Only another week (punctuated by parties and festivities which I am only marginally excited about) until I get 3 weeks off. My sis is coming to visit, and hanging out with her always cheers me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

k-brow: red flowers and the post-turkey letdown


What are these flowers? There's a whole hedge of them growing at my school. I love their little waxy blossoms.

I have a sneakin' feeling I should be somewhere doing something fun, but instead I'm here in the living room, watching what seems to be a marathon of "Entourage" and going through bills, junk mail and catalogues. Which wouldn't be a chore if I did it more often, but since most of this stuff is from October, I'm pretty much saving my own life, now. This show, which I do not really watch, is amusing in the "this has nothing to do with my life" sort of way.

I planned to go to work today, and spend the entire day there, but instead, got sidetracked by the Farmer's Market, where I found good deals on local mizuna greens, string beans, romaine, papaya, jabon (like a pink pomelo - giant citrus fruit) and sweet potatoes. Essentially the greens and vegies for my week of dinner and lunches. I've been really slammed by the raised prices at the grocery store, these days, and am making a more concentrated effort to eat from the markets at Diamond Head and Chinatown.

Thanksgiving was a non-event, the high point of which was Acornbud's surprise delivery of the most amazing apple-cranberry crisp. We ate it still warm, with ice cream, and it actually kept me restrained at the dessert cart later at dinner at 3660. P finished the rest of it off for breakfast on Friday morning. Yum! Ms. Bud is a wicked good cook. We went out to 3660 on the Rise, a schmancy restaurant in Kaimuki, which has become something of an annual Thanksgiving custom for us, here. They have a great buffet, and we celebrated by dressing up, having a cocktail and having a leisurely dinner. I swear, the same crowd was there this year as were the past 2 years, which does not surprise me. It is one of my favorite Hawaiian customs, this going out for Thanksgiving, which works well, since we don't have family here. Thing is, I LIKE the Thanksgiving meal, but don't like having to cook so much, so many dishes all at once. I'm a little sad now, about having no dressing and pumpkin pie for breakfast these days, but I will cook a turkey at Christmas for my sister's arrival, so we'll have that stuff, then.

We are having a rainy weekend here, throwing a wrench in my plan to clip both dogs into their winter-mud-season-skinned-alive looks. I got as far as bathing them, last night, and today was greeted by the downpour at the Farmer's Market, so I just cancelled my grooming. I love having dogs who don't shed, but clipping them every 6 weeks is a chore, and an expensive thing to farm out to a groomer. $60 - $90 per dog, and the uncertainty of having strangers handle them. I have occasionally sprung to have Ella groomed, but spent the day worrying about her while she was at the groomer's, and I just imagine that Cricket would wreak havoc at a grooming parlor, in a sensational way.

My great-aunt Eva died last week, in West Virginia. She was 97, and my grandmother's baby sister, a sweet, spirited old lady. My mom told me that she'd (Eva, that is, not my mom) had an amazing dream, about a week before she passed, in which she and her husband, long dead, had been running around up and down hills and in the woods. She said they'd been about 17 in the dream, and were laughing and having a great time. A couple of weeks before that, she'd called my aunt and had her come over to help her write her own obituary up for the paper. She was ready to go, to whatever lies ahead, which for her, I think, was a reunion with her true love, and her family.

I'm calling the Samhain season officially over, with this wee new moon, and Eva's graceful departure for the summerlands. I'm thinking though, about leaving up an ancestor's altar, though, this coming year. I read an interesting article, on Witchvox, a week or so ago, that discussed the way we do our daily spiritual practice,and how we activate our energy. It talked about invoking local nature spirits, our ancestral spirits, as well as whatever deities we might have an affinity for.

Maybe you came here for knitting? It's a little cheating on my "All UFO All the Time" game, by knitting a sock out of the adorably neapolitan Trekking 126, and some grinding away on sleeve #1 of Must Have. Which I intended to finish this weekend, but the sock was a distraction. But cute. I did finish sewing up Minimalist, and it's getting a fair amount of wear at work. I will post pics soon, I promise. I also finished a scarf, the chunky blue and blue and blue one of yarn that DisKnit made me buy last year at Crafty Bastards. Yeah, yeah, I know I need to take pics. Bad knitblogger.

Tomorrow, we are going to see the play "The Frost-Nixon Debates" at Manoa. It will be with some friends whom are both fun and trying at the same time. I am stoked and up for the challenge, which will provide fodder and fuel for the days to come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

k-brow: I need a waffle

Sometimes you need a special breakfast. I'm working hard, these days to not run out to a restaurant everytime I need to eat. Hard work, when one lives in a city that does offer a lot of good food options.


It starts with the batter. I am lazy and use a mix. But it is organic and contains only natural, whole food ingredients. I might as well make it myself.


Not all kitchen appliances are beautiful. This, a gift from P's father, from back in the 1980's, when we lived in a little apartment in Davis,CA. Still going strong.


Acornbud tipped me off about the presence of Maui strawberries in the grocery store last week.


Voila! The perfect Sunday breakfast!


What waffle feast would be complete without a beggar, asking to lick the syrupy plate?

Friday, November 14, 2008

k-brow: in between days

They say that this time between Samhain and Yule is the "time between time", and that the veil that separates the world of the dead and the living hasn't quite thickened fully. It's supposed to be a quiet time, and in other places, I guess, it's the long march into Serious Winter. Here in the islands, it is fitting that it would be voggy now, adding to the feeling of quiet and "not quite rightness" that seems to be hanging over. Reyaasked in a comment about vog. Vog is volcanic emissions, from Kilauea volcano over on the Big Island. When our winds are blowing as trade winds (forgive me, I don't know the direction) the vog blows away from us. When the wind shifts or dies down, the vog comes over to Oahu and gives everything a soft grey haze.

I've been sick, my usual sinusthroatlungthing that has me taking 2 days off from work. I haven't felt well, but I do admit, it's been rather a treat to hide in the house, when the rest of the world is out working, and just drink tea and listen to music. I've slept a lot, so much, that I'm tired of sleeping now. I'm pretty much on the mend, though I shudder to think of how much my classroom has run awry in my absence. I've been doing a little knitting. I abandoned the endless stockinette march of Icarus for awhile, to concentrate on the aran of the Must Have Cardigan. Found a mistake, a miscrossed cable and a hiding dropped stitch which triggered a great ripping of one of the completed side pieces, halfway down. I don't know where my head was at with that cable. Thought about leaving it in, but realized that since it was a front piece, it would always bother me. 'Twas the traveling cable, as well, so I had no idea how to just rip down a part of it. So rip, rip, rip. I have re-knit it completely, though, in my little retreat from the world, and in the process, learned a few more things about readng my knitting. So it's not a sad thing at all.

My commitment to only work on UFO's til most (note, I've changed "all" to "most") are off the needles is making for boring toil, but on the other hand, it feels constructive, too. Like it's an appropriate thing to do in the time between times. It's times like these, though, that I feel like I need to stay off the blogs, because there are those knitters out there that produce a firestorm of finished objects, inspiring me to cast on for new projects, and invariably feeding into the whole product-oriented dissatisfaction with my craft.

I can't blog without saying some things about our now-passed presidential election. Interestingly, I think it's post-election peace that has contributed to the time-between-times feeling, too. Letting go of my political addiction is hard; it's now rolled over into the endless Obama fascination. I am thrilled, needless to say, with the results, and not sure what to make of the feeling of a great weight being lifted from my heart. In the days following the election, however, I found my inbox bombarded with mean-spirited jokes and forwards from the more conservative end of my family. I shared this with my sis, who said she'd gotten some stuff from friends, as well, that were just plain offensive. I emailed a cousin, asked him to stop, though, of course, I did it none too gracefully (that's always my flaw, to take it til I can't stand it anymore and then explode) and was met with an angry political defense about "right" and "wrong" and "you will see in time..." Now, silence. But I don't understand this need of people to backlash against the results of an election that was so clear - not a tie, not one that went to the courts. Are people afraid? And what good does fear do one, in this situation? To amp up that adrenaline, over political position, and unseen results of an administration change is useless. My own hopes are high, and happy, but I've learned, after 2 previous presidential elections, that it's best to keep on keeping on, when you feel your position wasn't represented in the election. I was just surprised at the vitriol. I just marvel at my family, sometimes.

My dad and I were talking a bit, last night, about the current financial crisis in the country, and he said he thought it had folk extra-excited, as well. He shared being really offended when folk referred to it as a "depression". The old man lived through the Great Depression, and has some harsh words for people, on the subject of these times, particularly with regards to the pervasive aura of fear and consumerism that has gripped the culture in the past few years. He is also philosophical about Obama's election; I imagine he voted McCain, but has decided to keep on keeping on, with the current results. Me? I'm just glad about the potential for change, an Obama presidency and being on good terms with my father, with whom I had so many contentious years of conflict.

Two members of my household are curious about something. Nice to see them working together on anything besides the competition for my attention.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

k-brow: the Halloween episode


No crows in Hawaii, but this is a blast from my Stonehenge past. I think it's fitting for the season.

I always think of Samhain as more of a season than a specific day. It starts around the 20th of October and winds up around the first week of November. So I was gratified to hear, this week, that the actual cross-quarter (midpoint between the fall equinox and winter solstice) day of Samhain falls on November 6. Halloween is such a chaotic day in an elementary school that I rarely celebrate my rites on the actual day, preferring to go home after the sugar-soaked revelries at work, and just fall into bed, or on more chipper days, scuttle off to a movie.

Today was amusing, in its exhausting way. I ate lots of candy, which has resulted in a bit of a headache. I came home from work, to find my impulse purchase of some Silk Garden #47 from Little Knits had arrived on the doorstep. No real immediate plans for this bag of 10 skeins of browns and greys, but thinking that it might just become the Clapotis that I make and love and keep for myself.
Acornbud fell prey to the same Little Knits sale, and we kind of decided that Noro maybe shouldn't count as stash, but more like chocolate or tea, a soothing necessity of life. These colors kind of remind me of winter woods; all dead leaves and grey bark, a play of light and shadow. Earthy.

I'd wanted to write about ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, but my wrist is hurting, and that story is long in the telling. So I will close this Halloween entry with 2 funny stories of our custodians at work. We have these great custodians, who really put up with a lot, from bossy demanding teachers and wild, over-indulged children. After school, they often cut loose in utter hilarity. Custodian #1 told me this great story of a Halloween party he'd been to the night before, where someone had dressed himself up as a bong, complete with a big tube of dry ice smoking off the top of his head. The mental image of this costume had us roaring in a punchy sugar-enhanced bit of silliness. Custodian #2 was marching around school after hours wearing a wall clock tied to a string around his neck, and my enormous gold sunglasses (birthday gift from DisKnit) and referring to himself as "Waimanalo's own Flava Flav". I took pix, but he's shy and so you'll have to use your imagination on this. Very funny, though, in a ghetto sort of way.

More later, and maybe even an installment on that novel that DisKnit has tricked me into writing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DisKnit: Chapter 1 (DC) Two Islands

From 2008 10


He cursed the 30 bus line again. Joel knew he shouldn't have been tempted by the chance to have a garden and live near Whole Foods for under $1,500. It meant giving up living near a metro stop and instead having to depend each day on the erratic bus service. John Catoe could say all he want about improving performance, but it still seemed like every day three buses came at the same time and it was worse odds than the DC lottery to figure out which one might get him to the cubicle on K street faster. And then once on, he had to decide whether to force one of the priveleged kids to get up so he could sit by the window. The chances were always better with young women that they might move over to let him sit down, but they might also want to chat. He knew he was just what most of these bright young women wanted: handsome, dressed in a suit, wearing the requisite blackberry on the belt and under 40. But, he didn't want them and indeed after 15 years in DC, he'd lost patience for having the encouraging conversations about their futures while subtly making sure they understood he was gay.

Nevertheless, with his Ipod plugged in, and his hand carrying the blackberry, he figured it was worth the risk. He went up to one of the blondes, nodded at the seat by the window, and watched her sigh and move over. He nodded thanks. He kept his eyes on the scrolling blackberry screen while he thought about his latest conversation with Jackson. Jackson, a state department worker, was both married and in the closet. And he lived in the Virginia suburbs and pretended to be a republican when the republicans were in control. It was such the DC cliche that Joel even thought about him. After dating Navy officers, Republican Hill Rats, committed non-profit activists who couldn't ever pay for dinner, he should have just stopped talking to Jackson once he came clean. But in contrast to all those others, Jackson was different in one way crucial way: he wasn't an idiot.

Joel, like most people who stay and live in DC longer than five years, had come firmly to the conclusion that most people who want to work in DC are foolish. In addition, he knew most of them would leave. Like other DC residents, most of his best friends had moved other places. Those who loved the outdoors were in one of the Portlands depending upon the predilections. Others got lured to Chicago for some job in the arts where the MacArthur money was dependable and they didn't have to work for the feds. The straight ones didn't necessarily move out of the time zone, they just set up their houses in the suburbs that required a car to get to and then produced the requisite duet of children. Joel found himself turning down most of their invitations.

As the bus finally freed itself from the traffic disaster of the mall known as Georgetown, Joel realized it was time to focus on work. He was going to make it just in time for the latest meeting with the marketing team that was doing pro-bono work for the non-profit, Save Our Generation, where Joel had worked for the last five years doing membership development. He knew they were going to suggest a new name. SOG just didn't work as an acronym and the effort to use SaveOG or S-Our-G had all brought nothing but endless mocking within the organization. After the finance department head had been convicted of skimming money, the non-profit bloggers were going wild on the name. Joel thought for a second about life without the web and got off the bus.

DisKnit: Two Islands: A Novel?

So I was thinking that since KBrow and I both live on/in islands and because we both like to make up stories, that we should collaborate on a novel in short chapters about two characters: one in Hawaii and one in DC. Naturally (I mean it), the characters will have nothing to do with us -- no history/grant types on my side, no teachers on her side. Yet, both characters will participate in the highly particularized behavior of island-dwellers. And perhaps we will confuse our readers by making such insider references that they will be forced to comment. And then we may abandon the project at any moment (since KBrow doesn't even know about it yet), further frustrating our few but loyal readers. The hope would be to distract us all from the real world with fictional meanderings. Since I made this up, I will begin.

From 2008 Knitting



p.s. I was going to spend valuable writing time creating a book cover, but for now, here is a sliver of a picture that could be part of the cover. I imagine words like discover the real life of Island Dwellers, Power and Paradise Together, etc, etc. We'll see.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

k-brow: blogless michelle's FO, and a bad chattaranga

Fall is come to Nuuanu, as evidenced by the new slick coating of moss on my steps and patio. High winds at night have Ella in a state of angst, and she's hitting the Rescue Remedy hard. I am drinking milky coffee and eating a superb Ba-Le almond croissant from the farmers market. Hoping that the combination of caffeine and marzipan will pull me out of my grogginess.

I had fallen off the yoga wagon since summer, and have just crawled back on. This new class is not as hard as the old Death By Vinyasa, but it's a new kind of hard. Sort of a Slow Death By Vinyasa. This one has us holding poses for longer, while the instructor talks on...and on... Good yoga practice, actually, but work. It has me feeling a little sore in the mornings. The new class is in Kailua, at that ymca, with a teacher that my friend Noni raved on and on about. Turns out this teacher is named after an ice cream confection with a cherry on top. And she is good. But a weird little thing happened in class last week. Mid class, she asked; "Who has a good chattaranga?" and a lady raised her hand. She asked her to demonstrate, and indeed, her chattaranga was very good. Then she went around and asked to see everyone else's. Various incarnations of the pose were demonstrated and corrected. My own was deemed "It's okay, that's where you are at the moment" or in frank terms "man, your chattaranga sucks!" People, I am weak in the arms and shoulders, where this pose takes power. So... moving on through the vinyasas, everytime Ice Cream Lady would call out "chattaranga" she would giggle. This went on through like 6 repetitions of the sun salutation. Whose chattaranga was causing such amusement? Likely it was mine, since I wasn't getting my chest down low, and was, too often, modifying by doing it on my knees. But was it that damn funny? She wasn't laughing when she mentioned any other poses! Weird.

Last week, or rather, the week before last, my dear Blogless Michelle finally completed her WIP. I give you the lovely and amazing Maximilian!
Doesn't Miche look radiant? I have yet to see this adorable babe in person, but I love this pic; he's become part of my laptop desktop slideshow. I suppose the baby knitting should commence.

We went to the Big Island of Hawaii for a few days last week. P was working, so I took advantage of the junket to go and enjoy Hilo. Went birding on Hakalau Forest Reserve with some of his coworkers and saw lots of rare and endangered Hawaiian birds, and generally enjoyed a day in a beautiful old growth ohia and koa forest. I also took myself on a drive up the Hamakua coast.

Hilo itself was a pleasure. I did make it to the Sig Zane sale, and bought a dress that was a relative bargain. Then I went thrift shopping and found a shirt, as well! Later, we went up to the Volcano, hiked around in the voggy park. Halemaumau crater is spewing great clouds of smoke, and the whole day was very grey.

Home again, I'm knitting sporadically on Icarus, a project which does not take kindly to sporadic, as the progress isn't easily revealed on smaller needles and lots of stitches. Ah well... it's report card week and parent conference week and my energies are elsewhere. I did make it to Knit Night, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Acornbud brought her knitted kitties (scroll down to see the cats) to deliver to their new owner, and they received much admiration. The woman is a ringing endorsement for the benefits of retirement, as she produces a steady stream of charming creations. I also, unintentionally, I might add, provoked a bit of political discussion, as sometimes happens when Lilikoi and I sit together. Apparently, though, folks were enjoying their politics-free knitting time. Meh. Times like these, I miss living inside that Washington Beltway.

The marzipan and caffeine aren't doing all they could be doing, so it's time to give caffeine another chance.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

k-brow: staycation update


I can find ways to waste time that you never dreamed of. A manga avatar!

5 days into vacation, today, I actually went to work. Upon arrival, I saw how very much work there was to be done, promptly rearranged my room and then, after visiting with my 4th grade teacher teammate, left. Came home, ate lunch, took an hour long nap, and met with the dogsitter for the weekend.

Truth is, I just don't want to go through the next 3 weeks of my life... report cards, grading, and parent-teacher conferences. And a big state test; the HSA, in which my students have to do a hands-on science experiment and then write it up. Ugh. It's all perfectly do-able, but I don't like it, not even one little bit. ugh. I shouldn't begrudge away weeks of my life, I realize. I'll just bite the bullet and do it, and be glad when it's over. But I want to stay on vacation forever. Just whiling away the days with a bit of housework, a few errands, some reading and some knitting.

I finished, a few days back, a fantastic book, for all you dog lovers out there - Reya, DisKnit, Blogless Michelle, Acornbud..."Merle's Door" by Ted Kerasote, which is basically the tale of Kerasote's relationship with his dog Merle, whom he finds in the desert in Utah. He tells the tale of bringing this dog home, and of their ongoing dialogue of walks, conversations, adventures and tiny moments, all the while weaving in anecdotes of animal behavior and canine history. This book comes with a huge Kleenex warning, though. Like all dog stories, it ends too soon, though I really admire Kerasote's commitment to NOT micromanage his dog. Spoken from a very dedicated micromanager of her canines, and of course urban Nuuanu is a far cry from Merle's home in Jackson Hole, but he's given me something to think about, anyway. The ending is just perfect, respectful and loving, and in the final resolution, very pagan in the telling. I kept reading the last 2 pages, over and over, crying and completely unable to put it down. It really has me wanting to read more of his writing about the wilderness, hunting and how we handle our relationship to Nature. I wonder if he will get another dog?




In happier news, there is the upcoming trip, tomorrow eve, to the Big Island, for the getaway with my absentee boy, P. Nice to get off this rock, even if it is just to another rock. To shop Hilo's swanky farmer's market, to eat the Two Ladies' Mochi treats, to go to Sig Zane and admire what one man does with fiber, botany and art. There's a sale on, but I won't actually be able to shop it til Saturday, (I'm tied up with a field trip with P - an experience in itself) which means that all the good stuff will be gone... long have I craved a piece of affordable Sig Zane wear, as I love his scientific illustration/culturally significant/hula-lifically correct spin on aloha wear. So say a little shopping prayer for me... Even without a lucky score at a sale, I'm happy to go to Hilo, anyway. One thing I'm not really feeling, is the need to shop for yarn. A perusal of my stash and my pipeline of "to be knitted" reveals an overload that should keep me busy for months to come. No need to add stash, not even the desire. I want for naught.

It is late, and I'm not even the least bit sleepy. I think I'll do some laundry and clean the kitchen.

Monday, October 06, 2008

swag and a full disclosure

Since I didn't make it to the East Coast, and more specifically, to DisKnit's doorstep last week, she sent a little Crafty Bastards swag my way.

Jumping for joy, here.

That's Woolarina handpainted superwash merino. I do love the Woolarina; in fact, a careful inspection of my stash reveals that it might just be the most common "brand name" therein, in terms of the variety of yarns. If you don't count Noro. (Noro doesn't count as stash, does it?) Anyway, the yarn was accompanied by a swell temporary tattoo and this year's Crafty Bastard satchel. This pretty yarn is destined to become another Forest Canopy shoulder shawl, I think. Last week, when I cast on for a sock, the whole sock thing felt like too much trouble, whereas, for some reason, lace doesn't feel troublesome right now. go figure.


Oh yeah. I am still on the nettle brew.

I'm on vacation, too, this week. Much needed, and relaxing in the extreme. Mostly devoted to housework and knitting on the long-neglected Icarus shawl, which, in spite of the effort and time I've given it, is damn slow and completely unchanging. Nevertheless, I am determined to whittle down my UFO pile, which, in the spirit of full disclosure, consists of:

- Must Have Cardigan minus 2 sleeves. Waiting on mojo, which has returned for lace knitting but not cables.

- Stockinette scarf of some chunky textural yarn from last year's Crafty Bastards. Cast on as an impulse (much like the purchase of the yarn) and going really fast, due to mindless stockinette.

- "Yo! Drop-it!" scarf of some vareigated red ribbon yarn from the days of yore. I think I cast on this thing when I was still living in Virginia...

- Fathom Harvill's "Coachella" top, in GGH Velour. Even if I finish this, I don't think I have the muscle tone to pull off wearing it. But I like it, and love the yarn, and thought it would be a fun knit.

- Icarus, about halfway through the endless repetition of chart 1's stockinette. Pretty laceweight merino, bought for me by my mom last year at the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival.

- Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in some repurposed Koigu.

Not too bad a pile of UFO, I realize. Plenty of variety for the stitching rotation and to suit my whims. Trying really hard not to start anything new right now, and so am staying away from my Ravelry queue for the moment, though I've found an idea for a bag of Jo Sharp Silkroad DK that I've had marinating for some months, now. But that's for a later date.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

DisKnit: Before and After

PA050012
I was thinking while I took a nice hike with Curtis through Rock Creek Park in our great fall weather about how it is hard to work well with other people. I'm having some office drama lately but more noticeably is around my condo where I and few others have cajoled, forced, manipulated the other owners into a "improve the looks of the exterior and get rid of the rat holes" project. Living in a Condo means that all owners have a proportional vote based on the size of their unit. My unit happens to be the biggest, but I also just chose to be the driving force behind this project. It has not always been smooth. It involved lots of time getting permits, which was another kind of attempting to cooperate in DC where all things are not very logical. (The tree removal permit is issued in one place, but you can't pay for it there. Fortunately, there is a way to get it in the same place you pay for it, but the person who has to do it treated me like it was both a burden and a huge favor to do it.)

Yes, all you tree huggers out there, this project involved the removal of one large holly and the severe pruning of another. Since this Condo has not done well on maintenance, both trees were severely overgrown. So now the front of our place looks very sparse. But since it was impossible to get consensus on what to replace things with, the front will likely remain that way for a year.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get everyone to join in paying for the replacement of the back fence which was partially destroyed when an adjoining wall mysteriously fell. We could wait for that mystery to be solved by the owner who doesn't answer phone calls or just replace the fence. Unfortunately, my neighbors don't all want to trust the current contractor's quote. And I have refused (for now) to spend more of my personal time on the project getting other quotes.

I guess what it comes dwn is that it is hard to feel like you are doing more work than others, yet in most cases somebody has to do more work to get things done. I'm often one to be willing to do more work, but I do get whiny about it all.

Still, Curtis turned into a puppy play machine once he'd gone swimming in the creek and it was a lovely day, and I rather like our new sparse front yard. Here's some before and after pictures:

collage1

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

k-brow: in which Facebook has me drinking nettles

I've been spending a lot of time messing around on Facebook, a phenom I attribute to DisKnit, and ALL my other VA friends, who've seemed to join en masse, thus tempting me to while away my hours writing on everybody's walls. Most of this facebooking has been fritterlicious, but a couple of useful things have come out of it. One, finding out that my best friend from high school is a huge Sarah Palin fan. Not such happymaking news, that. But we've been pretty committed to staying out of judging each others' politics; we both are well aware of why we took our separate politico-spiritual paths. The other result of all this internetterie is an ongoing middle-age-lady-health discussion I am having with a college friend, Nancy, who has recently taken up the Susun Weed doctrine of nourishing herbal infusions and herbal allies. Nancy was making and drinking daily doses of nettle tea, and had a friend who swore by this, as a means of raising energy levels, and general feelings of well-being. Now I've been a fan of Susun's, myself, and like her writings, which come to me in a little monthly e-zine. So I decided to join Nancy in her experiment in nettle brewing. I've drunk infusions of raspberry leaf and red clover before, but not for long periods of time; just a cup or two, here and there. Our experiment is going to be a month long, through which we'll note any results.

I ordered the nettle leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs (no link because I'm lazy - go google it yourself) and got 1/2 lb. for about $8, which may or may not last me a month.

I brew it up at night, a quart at a time: that's a quart of water, boiled, with a handful of the leaf tossed in. Covered and left to infuse all night at room temperature, then strained and refrigerated in the morning.

It's a beautiful bottle green that just doesn't show up in these pix. I mean to photo it in the sun, but we've had no sun to speak of, or at least when I am at liberty to take pictures.

It doesn't taste bad. I've been drinking about 3 cups of the stuff a day; it has a nice green taste. I don't sweeten it, but I read somewhere that one can add honey, or go the other route and use it as a base for a bit of miso paste.

Yum. We love the precious nettle elixir.
Of course this test is also coming at a time when I'm taking feverfew and magnesium supplements for the migraine madness, so the study isn't exactly scientific, but I'm told it can improve sleep, and can also diminish some aches and pains in the joints. I know nettles are very high in vitamin C and calcium.

In other news, I finished knitting all the parts of Minimalist. Which turned out to be a sort of nettle green. I need to stitch them together, a task which, thus far, I have not worked up to. I started a sock, but it just seemed like too much work, too many tiny little stitches, so I frogged it. I'm itching to start something, but suppose I'll just apply myself to the continued chugging along on the UFO pile. Next up; finishing the Must Have, which lacks 2 sleeves from being done. Aran sleeves seem awfully long when you're looking at finishing 2 of them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DisKnit: Nine minutes and Nine things

1. Pasta on for my homemade pesto sauce, first cooking in days. So it is the limit on my posting.
2. Legs has over 19 mosquitoes bites from chatting with the neighbor. Apparently the mayor didn't want to spray for larvae this year, so it is quite amazing.
3. Crafty Bastards is tomorrow and Kim is not going to be here for my first time since I returned to Washington.
4. I am demoing knitting and crocheting for Craft Mutiny tomorrow and am mostly worrying about what to wear.
5. The condo rat project has started. The holly tree is in pieces, the back area shrubs are gone. Rats are displaced and hopefully finding new homes.
6. Carrie Fisher's show, Wishful Drinking, is good and funny and if it comes to your area you should see it.
7. I finally have an interview for a promotion after 4 months of waiting on the short list.
8. I might go to Portland for thanksgiving.
9. I might have time for some pictures of fall things and the tree project and knitting if the buzzer doesn't go off.
Not very late night photos:
TheHollyRemains
The Tree is Gone
TheMums
The Mum's are in the Windows.
TheSolitudeScarf
The Lovely Solitude Wool Scarf is ready for Winter

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

k-brow: right action, right thought


Spice, spice, baby. I love these colors, sambal oelek, and chinese mustard from our dim sum lunch the other week.

Fall is here. Even here in Nuuanu, which is as verdantly green as ever. But there's been a delicate nip to the air the past couple of days, and the vog has blown off. It just feels fresher. This time always catches me by surprise; I find myself looking for fall leaves, and instead smelling ripening guavas on the trees in my neighborhood. Dissonance aside, I'm happy.

The mojo, it is gone. I'm suffering a bout of tendinitis, in both wrists (it seems to alternate) and along with the little twinges, totally lack the desire and drive to knit. I do a row or two a night on the Chevron Scarf, or one of Minimalist's sleeves, and call it done. I am spindling, though. Probably what's triggering the aches and pains in my wrists, but I'm compelled to do it anyway. I spun up the rest of the yummy cafe latte colonial that I got from Ms. Opal, over a year ago, and am plying it with some of the Devil's Own yarn, in hopes that it might make more than the sum of its parts. Meh. But fun, nevertheless. Was wondering what I wanted to do with my yarn, since I have an ample stash and am none too pleased with my spinning. I think I will always be a pretend spinner. I voiced this to Opal and Arianna the other week and I got the chorus of "Oh keep your handspun, your early spinning!" And so I will. At some point, I'll be able to look at it, and hopefully see where I've improved.

The 5th graders' honeymoon is over. It's all hormones and attitudes, now. Stink-eye, rolled eyes or teary eyes. I'm told, by wiser upper-grade teachers than I, that "oh that's 5th grade for you." Drama, drama, drama. I pretty much treat behavior and social relations as another subject in the curriculum. But it takes its toll. My friend Clary and I used to joke about wanting to just yell at kids and adults "Just act right, dammit!" Funny. I still want to yell that.

I share this link with you, to what I consider to be a progressive, levelheaded, sanity-saving take on the upcoming Big Decision For Our Nation: Lunaea Weatherstone is a priestess, teacher and artist, who keeps a blog, commenting on the spiritual and the mundane. I've fallen prey, recently, to that fear and obsession over the current political situation, and appreciate the chance to stop and reframe some of where it's coming from. At work, the other day, the Techie and I were talking about how quickly we give away our power sometimes, especially when that power flows from a place of hopefulness. I don't want to drown in my fears and misgivings about the McCain-Palin ticket, and the current media field day. I think it's time to just not go there; focus on what work I can do for the upcoming election. To that end, I'm participating in some phone banking work over on the Windward side, for the local elections. I'm also going to take Lunaea's advice on putting my energy, prayers and workings into hopes for change.

Beyond that, little mojo. Cooking. Teaching. Surviving. One. step. at. a. time. I feel the temptation for a hiatus, but wonder if I called one, if I'd ever come back?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

k-brow: King Corn fights back, and a pitiful whine about the weather

Well now this is something new....

via videosift.com
Guess Big Corn is fighting back.

Spent yesterday at a union training at Dole Cannery. Good stuff, mostly interesting, about Hawaii's history of teachers' unions, and strikes, and our upcoming contract negotiations, which are sure to be exciting, given that we're already at loggerheads with the guv'mint over drug testing (a feature of our current contract - please don't discuss with me how my coworkers voted THAT in) amongst other things. The food at the training was good. Tons of fresh fruit and buttery little pastries at breakfast, and the BEST grilled tofu in a salad, at lunch. Back home, walked dogs with the help and company of P, and then had a weirdly gratifying mac n' cheese dinner with leftover grilled sausages. Knitted and watched the Food Network for hours afterward, which is where I saw that crazy pro-corn syrup commercial.

I have too much to do today, most of it on the domestic front, and some of it should be at school.

To DisKnit: I envy your storms and changeable weather, with all my heart. The pleasant sameness of the weather here is one of the things that grinds me down here in Hawaii. Now there's no way to say this without sounding like a complete ingrate, but you regular readers are long-accustomed to my whingeing about how life in HI ain't paradise. As a woman who is obsessed with the weather, I say 365 days a year of sunny, breezy with a soft morning rain, and one that comes at 5pm each day, and a temperature that usually hovers around 84 degrees is damned monotonous. Now I don't want to invoke another 43 days of steady rain, which happened my first winter here with all this complaining, but the weather is boring me to tears right now. I'm sure that Moon would chime in here with the same pitiful whinge. It's hard to grow up in a land of seasonal change and then do without it. I think it contributes to that vaguely ungrounded state I find myself in, more often than not, here. In VA, I always felt anchored to the rhythms of earth, maybe because it was the geography of my childhood. I know that I read the same longing for the landscape of the familiar in Mokihana's writing, even as she lives in rural Oregon, getting all the seasonal change she can stand, LOL.

Time to get movin'. Gonna clean out my nasty car, and do some laundry.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

DisKnit: Surrounded by Hanna the storm

I'm nursing a cold picked up during the end of my 10 day jaunt to California. Fortunately, there is no desire to go outside since DC is covered with the rain and wind of the tropical storm Hanna. Curtis the dog would probably like me to be less lethargic. And I would like to be knitting but I can't seem to be properly worked up about it. Perhaps taking the equivalent of Nyquil all day has something to do with that.

As usual the combination of mixing work with pleasure while traveling had its ups and downs. It was great to be selective in Sacramento and see only three sets of friends. One set has a new dog (a younger sister for Ana who used to play with both Ella and Curtis). Another set, a new baby. The other, enough work. Mostly people seemed good there, and I loved walking through my former neighborhood. It is hard to answer the question of when will I move back since I'm not sure if the answer is ever. I wouldn't go back to my old job and the allure of the salary at the job here is very strong. But Curtis Park is definitely my favorite place I've ever lived.

After Sacramento, I was 6 days in SF for a conference. It was mostly overwhelming and until the last night not even marked by that much good food. Downtown SF just isn't the best place, I much prefer the outer edges of the city. Three of us from Ravelry did cut out on Wednesday to go Artfibers where I rationalized the purchase of some green silk yarn on the basis that it could make a gift for my stepmother with the wool phobia. Somehow it is in my favorite aqua-green color, so something else may happen to it.

Still after a very full day on Friday, August 29, I did go with two friends to Zuni Cafe which was marvelous and luxurious at the same time. We scored a table without reservations and got to watch people oogle us with desire as we ate lovely food. Perhaps the best Salmon I've ever had. Saturday, I had a great walk over to North Beach for sandwiches and gossip with a wonderful conference friend (I rarely see her except at conferences, but she and I just enjoy each other when we are in the same place).

I escaped to Richmond for some days with another friend who had had leg surgery and was glad to have a personal chauffeur to take her away from her two boys and her husband. picked up some useful shoes going shopping in a soulless outlet mall near the Oakland airport. But having her company made it worth it.

Work is very busy, so even though I felt this cold all week I couldn't succumb until Friday and even then went in for two hours. I am grateful that this weekend I can just slouch. Indeed, I think it is time to pull the knitting out for a little while and see if it and some chamomile tea will allow me to sleep yet again. I am trying for my own personal records of endless sleeping.

I am still a bit amazed that KBrow is not going to be here for Crafty Bastards 2008 in three weeks? perhaps she will make sudden travel plans? Perhaps some will need to place orders.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

k-brow: you spin me right round, baby

A pleasant day, though I continued to nurse the headache through part of the morning. I went with Acornbud to Koko Marina to meet with Opal, her mom, Dayna and Barbara for some coffee, knitting and dim sum lunch. I spun all afternoon; the crazy, ill-behaved pencil roving that I got from Opal. As long as I don't try and draft it, it spins beautifully, but any drafting at all causes major breakage. So spinning it is basically just putting a twist into it and letting it go. Rough and scratch, but oh so pretty. Like, dare I say it? Kureyon...

Here, I give you, the Devil's own yarn:

I was so entranced with it, that I spun the entire roll of roving up this evening while watching "The Stepford Wives", the old one, with Katherine Ross. So you can imagine what a wacky evening it was around my place this eve.

The coffee and company this afternoon were superb. I think my headache was healed by the general joi de vivre of the day. Went back home, had a nap, exercised and bathed both dogs and continued my laundry and dishwashing pursuits.

Tomorrow, a long morning at school, whipping my classroom into shape. I don't like the fact that I need to give 5 or 6 hours to my job on a weekend, but I'll be happier at work next week if I plan and clean now. I'll take Cricket with me for company (for protection, in his mind) and a stack of cd's and enjoy the morning.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

k-brow: finally growing up?

Work was the tedious grind I expected, not helped by the first migraine in awhile. All my efforts to tame it were to naught, and I mostly just ignored it, as it wasn't too bad til around the time I was leaving. The koigu distraction was soothing and enjoyable, and I was able to spend most of the day knitting and muttering about lessons and what I was teaching next week with the Special Ed teacher. She and I really got quite a lot done, just by sitting in the back of the room and whispering and passing notes about building academic vocab, and whether my reading block was too long, at the expense of my writing block. Later, I got a chance to diffuse a potential heated argument between 2 other teachers with an appeal for us all to be professional and above all, nice to each other. I credit it all to the koigu. Maybe the koigu curse is actually a koigu blessing; it just needed to be knitted up with other skeins of its kind, so its harmonious energy would be released.

It did not heal the migraine, nor did the spicy ahi bento and green tea, which I consumed anyway, because migraines make me hungry as all get out. I eventually came home, and by that time, I was so blinded with pain that I promptly took 2 fioricet and went to bed with the dogs piled all around. Woke up hours later, ate some leftovers and watched a little tv, repaired a little mistake to Minimalist's sleeves, in which I had inadvertently turned the moss stitch into ribbing, as I was watching Barack last night.

On McCain's choice of a running mate...my reaction is one of complete "huh?" I don't know whom he's trying to appeal to here. It's just confusing. I hope it triggers a landslide for Barack, but y'know, I've been so wrong and so demoralized, the past 2 elections, that I have to say, I just don't know how the rest of America, ie, my New York and West Virginia relatives, perceive politics and why they vote the way they do, except out of fear and consumerism and desire to maintain some bizarre status quo. Or something. Huh? I'm hoping DisKnit can explain some of this to me, as she is more the Washington cognescenti than I. I wonder if P (on the big island this week) has worked himself into a fit of righteous anger about Palin's environmental record. Apparently she's a big advocate of aerial shooting of wolves, amongst other egregious hunting opinions. I'm not anti-hunting. I'm the daughter of an ardent hunter, back in his day, and I'm still a big fan of eating the wild game, or, as I liked to call it, in Africa, "bush meat. But I am seriously against the loose treatment of animals, wild and tame, as cheap resource commodities. Then, of course, there's her anti-choice attitude. Yup, I think the relatives will be pleased all around.

I feel myself on the verge of a loud, long, profane rant, and y'know, that's just not the way I was raised. It gets me nowhere, and doesn't even make me feel better. This whole realization has been one that's been rattling around in my head, recently. I never would have claimed "ladylike" status, and I generally consider myself a hardcore tomboy with a not-so-secret girly-girl streak a mile wide. But recently, it's hit me that I am fucking sick of all the damn vulgarity, ugliness, and smut that's swirling around in my life right now. Okay, not so much in my life, but on its fringes. Especially that which is pop-culturally sanctioned. Ugh. I don't mind a good well-placed cuss word. Probably I swear too much. I don't mind a risque joke now and then. I'm no prude, not me. But I think I'm feeling the need for some return to wisdom in word choice and just general restraint, especially out in the public realms. Enough already!!

Going to sleep some more now, though the ice pack and the muscle relaxant are doing their job, at last. Hopefully the migraine is not one that sticks around all weekend.

Song of the day: "She's a Lady" by Tom Jones

Friday, August 29, 2008

k-brow: waiting for barack...

...to make his big speech tonight on a Democratic convention pre-recorded show. Drinking red wine, roasting beets, broccoli cut up and ready to steam, mac n' cheese poised and waiting for the little melange dinner to pull together. It's clean out the fridge night, and I was craving the comfort of the Annie's White Cheddar n' Shells, but felt the need to balance it out with the veg I'm trying to integrate ever more thorougly into my diet. Ella is laying by my side, on the couch, a slightly stinky dustmop, while ever faithful Cricket is at my feet.

It's a Thursday that wants to be a Friday, as we had a 4-day teaching week this week. Staff development tomorrow, with a full day of self-betterment (P's cynical term) in the air-conditioned library. I'm of mixed emotions regarding this. While I welcome the full day of largely uninterrupted knitting (Koigu Chevron Scarf, here I come!) time, I would rather my time be spent either teaching or alone in the classroom, reflecting, planning, fixing what I've messed up and fine-tuning what's working. Or, incredible concept...an actual day off. Though I guess that's coming on Monday.

I dislike staff development with my coworkers, feel I know too well the little prescribed roles we all fall into, consider it a waste of time, and a golden opportunity to dig myself in deeper into trouble with the boss and team members. Only the knitting will save me. Koigu, flowing through my fingers, soothing me with its green kelpy calm, the violets and blues, a balm to my irritable soul. My roommate, the GT/tech teacher shares my desire to be completely left alone, as does the twitchy Sixth grade teacher. We'll sit in the back of the library. He'll mumble sotto voce and draw little caricatures all over his notebook. I'll knit furiously and the techie will sigh sadly and write comments on post-its and stick them discretely on her students' work. At lunch there will be spicy tuna bento and green tea. Small comforts in a thorny day.

My vermin war goes well; no sign of mice, (one trap sprung but no victim) diminishing ants and dead and dying cockroaches here and there. Yay boric acid powder! I will take this time to pay tribute to a key ally in my bug battle here in Nuuanu: (click for the full eyeful)
Our house is full of geckos, large and small, living behind pictures on the walls, in closets, on doorframes, in every room of the house. There are other lizards, too, but it's the geckos, rubbery and pinkish with the big round eyes and the suction-cup feet, that charm us, in spite of the mess they make, and their incessant squeaking and chirping. Whenever we see one, we always greet it, with a reminder to "do your part around here, buddy" to keep the cockroach population at bay. Cricket has caught them before, and occasionally, we see a 3-legged one or one who's missing a tail. I find them completely charming, which I guess is a good thing, because they are everywhere; I don't know of a place on all of Oahu, indoors or out, that doesn't host a gecko or two.


K'den, time to give Barack my full, rapt attention. I leave you with a pic of our view off our 31 steps, down toward the harbor and Liliha. Note the evening star, who reminds me of Inanna, a goddess I always associate with this time of year, end of summer, heading into fall. Even here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

k-brow: hands.

Aloha Friday here at last!! The week felt like a slog, until it pitched into fast-forward on Wednesday afternoon, and then there was just no stopping it. This weekend is already too piled up with social engagements, and I was nearly relieved when the most enjoyable possibility of all was cancelled - Cricket's playdate with his girlfriend Jazzy. Certainly the least effort for me, but I had a proto-migraine, and Jazzy's owner's kids were returning from their summer in France, so we decided to call it off. Poor Cricket. He's had the consolation of a trip with P out to Hank's Haute Dogs for a dinner run, but it's not the same thing as the romp with Jazzy the beautiful white shepherd.

I teach a fiber arts class on Wednesdays at school; we're doing weaving on cardboard looms, stitchery and will visit crochet. Here are some shots of my students' working hands:




I continue to enjoy the work, but the bite into my lazy time, not to mention the mojo-less knitting, is impressive. The junk digital camera prevents me from showing my sleeve efforts, about 5 inches in; mercifully there's more Olympics to carry me along, and then the Democrats promise to entertain me and fill me with optimism next week. I am seriously wondering about a new camera, but the Honda's also making an unseemly rattling noise at low speeds that threatens to bite into my slush fund.

In other news, and undocumented photographically, I made a cheesecake this week! From scratch! Complete with graham cracker crust! And it was easy-peasy! Joy of Cooking gave me the recipe, which I augmented with extra egg, fresh ginger, and grated lemon peel. I witnessed my formerly cheesecake-scorning husband eat it greedily, night after night for dessert. I no longer fear the springform pan, nor the graham cracker crust.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

k-brow: the lion doesn't actually sleep, but i need to.

Slow...so slow today. I dined with the NRN last night, and then stayed up til all hours knitting. Had the day off from work, thanks to the celebration of Hawaii's admission into the US (which probably worked out better for the US military machine than for the poor Hawaiians, but there I go getting liberal again...). I slept in til about 10, then puttered aimlessly til this eve, when I went to work to pick up my camera, only to realize I left the cardreader in my desk! Arrrgh!

I'm waging war on vermin, my annual late-summer/early autumn pursuit. Roaches, ants and mice seem to explode here this time of year, and I'm routing them all out! Traps, baits, boric acid, all strategically placed out of reach of the ever-curious Cricket, who does his share of hunting, but isn't quite up to population control usefulness, yet. I won't spray, and aside from roach baits, like to use the snappy snap traps for mice; I like my mice mercifully killed quickly, thank you.

Sorry if this is a gross topic for folks who might have logged in hoping for a knitting update. Let's just say "sleeves" and let it be at that.

P called from Saipan or Tinian or someplace out in the South Seas. Complaining about the food, though mostly complaining about his vegetarian co-workers' complaints, as he had plenty to eat, being a carnivore. Whining about the heat, which of course kept me from whining about any kind of Hawaiian weather, I know it's far, far cooler and breezier here than in the Marianas. He'll be back Sunday eve. I rather enjoy my time home alone, but I've missed him, recently. It does get a bit lonely here, especially since I'm not a get-up-and-go-out kinda girl. The NRN dinner was a pleasure, even though I did sacrifice another Aloha Knitters night. Next week, I'll make it back there. We went to The Hungry Lion last night. It's our closest restaurant, a cheesy little diner gone quirky, with murals of cartoony lions, and a center pillar painted up as a big banyan tree. Cheerful wildebeest and antelope, and an altogether jolly looking lion motif. Fine saimin, and they make a good pancake, as well. Mostly I like the fact that it's just down the road; Nuuanu doesn't have much in the way of restaurants and commerce (unless you count Queen Emma's palace and the Pali Lookout) but The Lion is open 24 hours! And we only stayed til 10:45...

Today's tarot card was the 8 of pentacles. This card speaks of slow steady effort, without obsessiveness over the end result. An encouraging card, as I chip away at managing my mood, my vermin, my dogs, my sleeves.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

DisKnit: The Knitting Party and quiet

Dear KBrow,

Enjoy the quiet. I'm recovering happily from an intensive round of knitting at my house with 8 other knitters from my ravelry group. I put all the leaves in the table, and rounded up all the chair. I ordered up some yummy food from Astor Mediterranean including a massive bowl of beautiful hummus, felafal, spanikopita, chicken skewers, etc. The other knitters brought beautiful desserts and wine. They all petted curtis and a few threatened to take him home.

Danielle of Knit-A-GoGo who is now a full-time knitting instructor and knitting event organizer gave guidance to us all for about three hours as we worked on a the Woodland Shawl by Thrify Knitter. Reflecting the incredible diversity of the group, we were all working with different types of yarn and with different degrees of concern for accuracy. I am the casual knitter, though I am going to have to frog a few rows from the later evening knitting when the wine took effect. I wish I had taken pictures of the event, but I was not in the photo mode since I had my normal need to be the "hostess with the mostest." So all I have are pictures of the aftermath, but they help tell the story as well.

Here is the pattern, and my centerpiece of yarn, double points, scissors, wine. They are on top of my most successful weaving from over 25 years ago when I took classes at Springwater (now sadly closed).

We had a white elephant exchange (also known as a yankee swap, and many other things). I went first and was pleased to get this in my favorite colors. Maybe because the other knitters were concerned about its shaky heritage (dyed by somebody who ended up going out of the yarn dying business in a great flouce on Ravelry, there is some question about whether the dyes might run. Fortunately the solution is apparently to rinse it with some vinegar nearby and fix the colors that way.) Or maybe they all knew this single skein of yarn contains all my favorite colors they let me keep it. Maybe because we are all such yarn lovers there was not a lot of stealing going on and most people seem pleased with their random things.



Here is my scarf so far. Obviously I chose not to do it in the original pattern but with worsted yarn bought from the amazing Solitude Yarns that I splurged on some time in this odd spring. I think it is going to work very well in this pattern and will make me a worthy scarf for the coming winter. It is not going to be gifted, it is for me!

KBrow, enjoy the rest of the quiet. I think I'm going to try an afternoon of knitting and reading. I haven't done it in a while and after a full day of playing and talking yesterday, I need the rhythm.

For Peace.

k-brow: the lost weekend, part 1


As in it's the first weekend I've been home alone in many moons. Silent. Phone off. Computer mostly off. Olympics watching, some, and lots of knitting. Lots of tarot, writing in longhand and dog cuddling. Peace and quiet and high winds. Many hours of sleep, I went down at 7pm, up again briefly at 10, for peppermint tea and a wee dinner of black beans and rice, and then back out til 7am.

I gave myself the long delayed tarot reading, and was really impressed with what came up, because it did sum up my current state of mind. Which is, basically, we make our own theatrics, and sometimes it's good to take a step away from it all, and just listen to the inner voice for awhile. The Hermit is a great card that rarely appears for me. When it does, especially, combined with The Moon and my old friend Justice, well, watch out. I was mightily pleased to be back with the cards, as I find looking at life through the tarot perspective to be enormously grounding and comforting.

Last week, the ever-kind Acornbud indulged me by going out to P's favorite ramen joint (he was already out of town) so I could eat katsu curry. She was kinder to her body than me, and ordered something healthy, like vegie ramen. I've become a little addicted to Japanese curry, here in Hawaii. It's not really like Indian curry, the flavor is a little sweeter, and the sauce is more liquid. Poured over a crispy chicken katsu cutlet, and sticky short grain rice, with some sour kimchee or pickled veggies, oh yum. The place in question is Taiyo Ramen, at Ala Moana. Fine, fine stuff. Enough of a serving that I could take some home, and enjoy it for lunch at school the next day.

Tonight's dinner, since I cleaned the fridge out and have nothing really to eat, unless one counts plain yogurt and some watermelon, might have to be a takeout of another type. Zippys? Or maybe Pad Thai from the thai garage down Nuuanu ave. Those are really the closest restaurants to us, unless I count TCBY...

I'm having an itch to cast on for a new project, but have resolved not to do so until I get Minimalist and then Must Have off the needles. Be strong. I wonder if knitting on the already-cast-on Icarus shawl (dropped like a hot stone, shortly after it was started, for no good reason) is cheating? No. The sleeves of Minimalist must be knitted. I've got the dvd of Jane Austen's "Persuasion", the one with Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth and Amanda Root as Ann Elliot, to enchant myself over, so I'm good to go. Go Ann, get out there and get your man! I'm gonna go get my pad thai. Yay.