Wednesday, May 21, 2008

k-brow: bad reputation

I suddenly realize that my last 2 blog posts are about days I take off from work. Yikes. Seriously, folks, I have been to work every day between those two days. I'm just saying.

k-brow: brainvog and a diminishing work ethic

This was taken about a week ago, and gives a pretty good impression of how things are around here when the trade winds stop blowing. Click for a big scary view of the downtown harbor area, as seen from Nuuanu schoolyard, where I regularly violate the leash law, after hours. Vog, which gives the weather-obsessed among us something to fret over, also stings the eyes, scratches up the throat, and causes a brainfog of stunning proportions in those susceptible to such maladies. Or maybe it's a brainvog?

I took a day off yesterday, and my announcing this at work caused a firestorm of "Why? Are you sick? What's wrong with you? Is everything okay?" Really, I discovered that I had an unused personal day, and hastened to correct that issue pronto. I work with teachers who rarely take time off unless they're sick or have a pressing issue to take care of in the 9-5 world. Not me. I'm a great lover of playing hookey from school. As a kid, I took regular time off, with my parents' permission. My dad would frequently grant the "lay off from school day," in spite of the fact that he would never miss a day of work. My sister got the work ethic gene in our family, and is known far and wide as a hard-working, loyal employee. Me? Well, let's just say that I work hard when I'm at work, but like to put it out of my mind, off-campus. But I think my coworkers believe I'm a slacker...

Only 13 more school days left. Then I can indulge my not-so-inner slackass openly and with impunity!

Here's a shot of the most lovely pink double hibiscus in my yard. I want to eat it up, or spin it into something to knit up. This photo is, quite possibly, the only thing I did yesterday of note. Okay, maybe not. I knit 3 rows of sock. I drank a mai tai at the Halekulani hotel. I clipped my dogs' faces. All reasons to stay home on a warm spring day, no?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

k-brow: of werewolves and baking

I took a day off today, as I've been deliriously busy at work; teaching, attending inservices, giving inservices... it looks like I'll probably be used at my school again next year, as the reading resource teacher and all around data geek. Not my dream job, but tolerable enough, and far less stress than being a classroom teacher. Less fun, too, but I'll take what I can get. So, I planned for a very festive domestic goddess-y type day of baking and knitting, but awoke with my old friend, the menstrual migraine, at 5am. Decided that I'd be damned if it would establish a beachhead in my day, and immediately began to medicate. I have it at bay, now, and have been reasonably productive, toiling away at my latest project:

I've never baked bread, for real, from scratch before. I used to own a bread machine, and used it quite often, mostly for pizza dough, but got rid of it when I went packing away to Hawai'i. I've been really enjoying the breads of Great Harvest a lot, recently, especially a millet-sunflower bread they make on Wednesdays. But all this homemade bread has served to spark my curiosity about the process, and I decided to do a bit of experimentation myself. I'm using the basic recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book, and spent the morning mixing, kneading and baking. I haven't tasted it yet, the loaves are still cooling. I know already they're a little too brown for my tastes; a bit hard-crusty, but they smell heavenly and seem to have risen nicely. One thing about this book is that it is explicit in its directions about kneading and mixing. It doesn't tell you how long to knead the dough; instead, it lets you know how the dough will look and act when it is ready to be set aside for a rise. Hard work, but fun to play with, and I'm really looking forward to that first warm slice!

Here's my other little project:

It's baby Icarus! One repeat of the first chart and then some, and coming along enjoyably, if a bit slowly. I cast on for this on May 1, and completely wrecked it, after about 20 rows, ripped it out completely, and cast on again and have been chugging away on it, since.

Another look at its bones; that's what this first chart reminds me of, is a spine, with ribs running off it. Nice thought.

Last night, I went over to Acornbud's. She lives just about a mile from me, as the crow flies. Except there are no crows to speak of, on Oahu. As the Mynah bird flies. We had an evening of knitting, tea and a most enjoyable viewing of Kibakichi 2. Maybe not the best samurai film available, and possibly not the best werewolf film, but one would be hard-pressed to find a better samurai werewolf film. Old Japan sure was full of monsters, and I've gotta say, since my induction into Kibakichi fandom, I'm rooting for them. Oppressed underdogs for the most part, and just trying to get along. Kibakichi the first is a better movie, but I can't complain, and indeed am hoping for another offering in the near future. Acornbud was rocking the impossibly beautiful alpaca; we've both been sampling the sale offerings at Webs, this month, in light of the fact that Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is just too far away.

A birthday shout out to my baby sister today! Hope it's a blissful one, and sorry I couldn't be around to liven it up!

Friday, May 02, 2008

k-brow: hither and thither

A full month went by with nary a peep from me; I trust that Lucy was every bit as busy. I've been embroiled in the usual pursuits, only everything has been cranked up a notch in intensity. Work is working me in its usual "final 6 weeks of the school year" manner. I'm taking training classes with BOTH dogs, which is utter madness, and ensures that my Saturdays are completely dogcentric in a smelly, sweaty, up-too-early way. Knitting has been at a mighty standstill, with sore wrists, a lash of migraine that took 3 days to unwind, and just general pokiness. But I've broken through some of the wall, and managed to finish my Project Spectrum Fire project. Behold the flaming bamboo Clapotis! Off the needles, and not a minute too soon, as I was mightily sick of the endlessness of it all. Pretty, drapey, but I have yet to weave those ends in. There's a surprise, too, but I'll save the surprise ending for another entry. Meanwhile, warm your hands by my fire:

For those wondering what the suburban jungle of Nuuanu looks like, here's a picture of our street, just outside our front gate. Note the serious cloud cover? It's VOG - I took this shot about 2 weeks ago, right before the vog got really bad. Last Friday, it was so intense in Kailua, where I teach, that my eyes stung and my throat was sore all day. Rain has come and settled some of it, plus the tradewinds have returned to clear us up somewhat. I dont' think all the electrical wires crossing everywhichway in this area are such good feng shui, do you?

To ease my stress, I've been doing some thrifting, lately, and I scored this beautiful handmade bowl, at the Beretania Goodwill for fifty cents. I wonder what its story is? Who made it, who loved it, how it ended up sitting there on that dusty shelf? On that same trip, I also found a nice black t-shirt and some tacky plastic baskets for my classroom, to hold school supplies, so it was a huge haul. But only a month later, the shirt has a hole. meh.

In other news, Chelsea and I are KAL-ing on the Icarus shawl from Interweave Knits. Today was our cast-on day. Pix of the wee nascent sprout to come.