Saturday, March 29, 2008

DisKnit: March Learnings


A beautiful spring day here in Washington and I've had a hard time motivating to a particular task or fortune. Last weekend, as the picture above shows I wandered through the wonders of Dumbarton Oaks Garden in early spring. Absolutely amazing. Like most other "non-Easter" visitors, I was intent on photography. I'm found of the one above. But I also really like the one below though it is more abstract:


And here is the mystery test for you far away from the East Coast spring. What kind of blossom?

Tomorrow I go for yarn pleasure at a yarn sale organized through the usefulness of Ravelry. You can read all about it at the Homespun Yarn Party website:

The big accomplishment of my knitting life was learning this super cool cast on for toe-up socks. Many of the knitters in my raverly-organized Knitting Group are fans of circular needles and toe-up socks. I've been doubtful because I learned socks on dpns and didn't really see the hype. But I was weary of my father's second sleeve last night and decided to ball this lovely yarn I bought from Woolarina at a craft fair. And then I decided I wanted to learn this toe up method. I found this pattern called Lifestyle Toe Up Socks which is more of a formula for knitting socks then a pattern. Since I love formulas for making sweaters, this appealed immensely. But the first thing she starts off with is the miraculous "magic cast-on" by Judy Becker. You can read all about it in Knitty, but it involves twisting the yarn around the points of your circular needle. It is easy, rhythmic, and means the sock starts off with its toe sewn shut. It made doing the "magic loop" on few stitches much more steady. I know I am gushing, but it was cool to learn something so useful so quickly. Here's the progress so far:


While I did this learning, I watched Brother's Keeper, the odd story of a quartet of elderly brothers in upstate New York. One of whom was accused of killing his other brother. They all lived together with little education, tending to cows, birds, and rarely doing much else. They didn't wash, their neighbors tended to leave them alone even when in town for their hamburgers. But when the "state" accused the old man, the people rallied around him, holding dances, hiring a lawyer. Less than the legal drama, I liked the look at how eccentric people shape their lives. I've always have like that kind of viewing experience. But I'm not that eccentric.

However, last Wednesday night I did wear the below hat to the Easter Bonnet party at the restaurant next door. The party wasn't as fun as it might have been since most people were hat-less, but I got some praise for the Peeps Hat and enjoyed the half-price wine.

Here's me:

Here's a close up of the hat in construction mode (note glue gun, poor peeps):

Sunday, March 23, 2008

k-brow: randomly random

Red tagged me for this meme, which I've done before, but that which is random changes, so I'll give it another go.

Five Random Things

1. My "uniform" of leisure time is a faded soft black t-shirt and khaki shorts. Rubber slippers optional. Seriously. If you see me out and about, you probably see me in some version of this outfit; it's one I've worn since college, some 20-something years ago. In cold weather (back when I lived where it was cold) the shorts were switched out for jeans, and the slippers were sneakers of some kind, but the black t-shirt remains the same. Needless to say, I've got a healthy collection of them in my dresser, and am always supplementing the collection.

2. I just caught a mouse in a trap. Our mouse war has started up again. I'm a little disturbed, as this mouse was big; could it be a juvenile rat? Rat Bastard has had the indiscretion to cruise around my counters for a few days, breaking and entering into a container of browned breadcrumbs, and eating some papaya seeds, and then, most outrageous of all, had the temerity to shit all over the counter. This is war, my friends.

3. I played Dungeons & Dragons with ardent enthusiasm throughout college. I may as well have majored in it. Then I played about once a year, for 10 years after, but only with the college friends who were my original D&D group. Weirdos, but I love 'em. The recent death of Gary Gygax has our group of gaming buds discussing whether or not we want to take up swords again, via iChat. Please do not comment to me that I may enjoy World of Warcraft, or Dark Age of Camelot or some such other massive multiplayer online roleplaying game. I won't. D&D was and still is about me and my geek friends being social and having fun together.

4. Today is a public holiday in Hawaii, called Kuhio Day, named for Prince Jonah Kuhio. P works in the Prince Jonah Kuhio building downtown, and yet, because he is a federal employee, he doesn't get the day off. Talk about bitter. I, too, feel it's a little wasted on me, as it falls on a day when I am already off work, due to spring break. I am going to celebrate by visiting Blogless Michelle in Waialua. There will be some knitting and perhaps some beaching, as well. Maybe I'll take some pix.

5. My dogs will spend the entire day in bed, if allowed to do so. Ella sleeps with us, and only gets up after the last human leaves the bed. Cricket sleeps in his crate, due to his habit of running around the house barking in the middle of the night if left out. As soon as someone gets up in the early am, they release him, and he joins the pack in the bed. And there, both dogs lay around, snoring and slugging, until the last human has gotten up, or they've been given the boot. I was reading somewhere that dogs need to sleep an average of 16 hours a day. These two seem to be getting their fill.

There, enough randomness. I am breaking the Random meme rules by not posting their rules, and also not tagging people. You all know you want to do this random thing, even though everyone's done it before. Everyone's got something else they need to share with the blogoverse!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

k-brow: E is for Ella

G'Day Silverella, the little pocket dog that could do it all... the runt of her litter, I saw her in utero (well, saw that bulge, anyway), cuddled her as a 2 day old pup, and held my breath as she was bottle fed and carried around in her breeder's pocket because she was so small they were afraid she'd not make it on her own. Never knew she'd be mine, til the day came to go pick up the puppy that had been chosen for me (our dogs were puppy-tested, a la Volhard's) by the breeder. It's been mad, mad love ever since. She was my first dog, as an adult, and has been such a splendid companion, up for any sport or training, smart AND pretty, to boot. At 9, she remains my wildest, liveliest dog, and can throw some serious attitude, when she chooses. She's also completely reliable off leash, and virtually ignores other dogs on walks, so she's my easier dog, these days.

I got Ella right after we'd bought our house in Sacramento; I like to think of her as the dog who led me out into the world, introducing me to all sorts of new joys and tiny details that only dogs know. If not for Ella, I'd never have met my co-blogger DisKnit, whose dog Curtis was one of Ella's dearest canine friends. We both lived in dog-mad Curtis Park, when the dogs were pups. Now DisKnit is of the opinion that Ella is a wee bit neurotic, while my mom says she's just flat-out crazy. The breeder called her the "CEO and Board of Directors", and even around here, she's called Ms Bossybarks more often than not. But there's no better bedwarmer, no more reliable surf frisbee retriever, and no more enthusiastic beggar of handouts and crumbs in this house.

The camera just loves her, too.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

DisKnit:: Politics of 1825

I am taking advantage of my first weekend home from my travels without a visitor to reconnect with my bills, blogs, and other worlds that vacationing and visitors distracted me from.

On Gold Puppy's blog a number of days (or weeks) ago, someone gave her this task (i.e. a meme in blog speak but I don't get that word):
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Like her -- my unknown neighbor who takes lovely pictures of my city -- I refuse the last part. But I stuck by the rule of the nearest book which happens to be a biography of my great great great or more grandfather, Joseph Duncan, Governor of Illinois, by my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Duncan Putnam. So here is the passage (the context is the Duncan's election Congress in 1825):

"A contemporary letter expresses this feeling: "What will the old members of Congress say when D. [Duncan] is seen to rise (if he ever should be so unfortunate) in the place of C. [Cook]. They must believe us madmen and fools." On the other hand, Mr. Brown, the author of the memoirs of Cook, says: It is but just to General Duncan to say that his constituents were happily disappointed in his subsequent development of talents and tact, rendering him a worthy successor to our second representative."

I hope that all of us will feel that way after the end of this long, long presidential election. But in honor of International Women's Day tomorrow (March 10), you will not get a portrait of the Governor/Representative, but his wife, Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan who I think had 10 children only 3 of whom lived to be adults. Her name carried down to my grandmother.
Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan

Okay on to the bills. And later some knitting.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

k-brow: the sleepiness of it all

Just awakened from a nap... word to the wiser, don't take a muscle relaxant 2 days before if you wish to avoid sleeping your weekend away. sigh. Drugs have an extraordinarily long life in my bloodstream. Said muscle relaxant is part of the headache treatment plan, and it seems to have finally done its work, albeit soporifically. I even dozed through the whine of my neighbor's weedwhacking. What is it about Hawaii that causes everyone to mow their entire lawns with a weedeater? Get a goat, mister!

DisKnit has returned from CA and shamed me into both posting and knitting a little bit. She's good for me like that. I am toiling away on the straight rows of my Project Spectrum color-schemed bamboo Clapotis, not pictured here. Suffice to say, it's a fiery colored thing, with lots of orange, yellow and red. The bamboo yarn? Soft, and creepily cool to the touch, even though I don't think it'll be a cooling garment to wear. It's splitty and heavy, and I'm not feeling too much love, though I do think I'll feel it once I'm wearing it; Clapotis has that magical effect on me.

Here are some roses blooming in my neighborhood:

And a candle for the new moon:

And a shot of Ella (click the photo for the full-on crazy effect) turning on her crazy look, while Cricket shows off his cool trick of eating while reclining:

And now off to try and revive myself with some ice water and a walk.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

DisKnit: D is for my fake name

I am back from California for almost 2 weeks but you would not know it from this blog. By fortiutous mistake, I forgot my camera and thus was able to spend 10 days on vacation without documentation. The time was great. Plenty of visiting with dear friends, a tiny-itsy-bit of work unrelated to the normal job, and 3 whole days hiking and knitting in a lovely little place at Point Reyes Station. The weather was stormy, but it was the ocean, cheap california wine, and good food. Besides there were energetic hummingbirds to watch and a wood stove as the only source of heat and the resultant TV substitute. I finished up a hat for a co-worker's much announced but not yet arrived baby. You can see it here or on Ravelry:
Or another angle:

I am confident there is more to be said about the hat, my knitting, and other events, but frankly the computer is driving me up the wall for refusing to download my email from Yahoo (which may be related to the wonders of the microsoft bid for control) but I really just want to relax. Lots of work at the guv'mint these days so I am tired and I am about to welcome the second of two visitors since my return. After the weekend and the discovery of my camera battery charger I may have more news on the welcome return of SPRING.