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 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... 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 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 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.

Friday, August 08, 2008

k-brow: the meme issue

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

Lessee...August 1998. Was living in a cute little cottage off a big public park in Sacramento. I'd just gotten Ella that summer, and she was a tiny, silly puppy. I'd probably just met, or was about to meet DisKnit, and I was a very new knitter. I was into planting rose bushes and yarrow and hollyhocks in my yard. I had a long commute to work and I hated it.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

I'm saying it's for tomorrow, since my only to-do for now is to get some shut-eye:
1. LEAVE WORK EARLY, dammit.
2. haul off the recycling.
3. watch the Olympic opening ceremony, and knit some, though not on any Olympic project.
4. take the dogs to the schoolyard for some frolicking
5. wash some dishes.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

- whole wheat toast with Nutella
- pita chips and hummus
- tamari pumpkin seeds
- Seay's Almond Royale toffee things
- cottage cheese and tomatoes with salt n' pepper

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

- have my dogs professionally groomed, every six weeks
- bankroll my sister's vacation fund
- fund art and music in public schools
- build a house in the Carson Valley, CA, with access to Grover Hot Springs
- go see this Arie Smit painting more often

5) Places I’ve lived:

-The Gambia in a mud hut
- Fort Devens, MA in army housing
- Richmond, VA in a 'gatehouse to an old Catholic orphanage
- San Francisco, CA in a small victorian house
- in a teepee out in the Arizona desert for 3 months in some awfully cold weather

Feel free to do the meme. I'm always the last kid on the block to do the meme, so feel free to do it over again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

k-brow: thinking aloud

If ever there was a time for laying low... I cleared a huge hurdle tonight, with the big parent meeting, where I talked for an hour straight about stuff I was just in the process of figuring out. Homework policy. Integrated instruction. Where I stand on pogs, pets and the standard division algorithm. I don't think I made them very happy with my fondness for the math program we teach. Sorry folks, I love Everyday Math. Screw the standard algorithm. Naturally, I was diplomatic, a state which took me all afternoon to work up to. I hate Back to School Night, but now it's over and I can breathe and relax until mid October when Parent conferences roll around. Back to keeping the head down and working my ass off. Not a problem, for the most part. I did take some time to gush a bit over the kids; by far the easiest class I've taught in years. Nice folks, those 5th graders.

Bits of Knits Chris and I had a conversation a year ago, about the weirdness of having a blog; the freedom you feel writing about your life, till those folk who know you start reading it. Now I truly usually don't mind this, and usually do a fairly good job of censoring myself into reasonable amounts of coherent sanity, but it all has me thinking about the evolution of my online writing career.

First there was the Diary-X account, which was read by no one I knew in realtime, at least in the beginning, and I felt pretty free in writing about what I write about, which isn't much; at that time there was the dog training, the weightlifting, the knitting, and the adjustment to my new Virginia lifestyle. And the pagan stuff, details of rituals, meditations, workings. Later, D-X crashed and I played around with Livejournal, which I like, in so many ways, and found ultimately unsatisfying, in light of my growing fascination with the whole crafterblog thing, which seems to live around Blogger and Typepad. So on to Blogger, on to The Knitted Brow and this business of having most of my readers NOW be people I do know, and quite well at that. Not a problem for these readers, but I still sometimes get these moments of...oh my gosh, people read me, people know about the blog! Aaaak, I've been exposed! And then the completely conflicting feeling of comment whorishness, wanting more readers, even though my posting's not so frequent or alluring. As Reya said to me, when I complained about feeling conflicted by my Leo nature, "There's nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, y'know."

Here, I feel pressure (self-induced, I might add) to post pix, show knitting progress, participate in all the online fun n' games like Corners of My Home, Project 365, 101 things in 1001 Days... and it just shuts me down. Cuz, like, I want to write about the goddess, tarot, middle aging and The Dark Night of the Soul that occasionally comes around. Only you can't always just drop that stuff down in the middle of a knitblog, or so I've convinced myself. To quote Blogless Michelle, "Pah!"

4 years ago, I was here, or headed here, at Stonehenge. No connection. Just wishing I was on vacation somewhere cool and peaceful. Or on vacation at all. P's off to Saipan tomorrow. Work, but also, no doubt, the chance to wallow over some nice reefs.

Not sure I'll make it to Knit Night this week. I'll play it by ear. Home alone means it's too easy to grab the takeout, and curl up on the couch and knit. Minimalist needs the facetime. I need the downtime.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

k-brow: low of mojo, red of head.

A little rain blows in off the Pali. It's been hot today, and the breeze is suddenly cool. I'm drinking iced peppermint tea and trying to get up the gumption to bathe the dogs, both of whom are still dirty and in need of haircuts.

Little knitting mojo of late, driven out by the all-consuming job and some mysteriously aching wrists. My theory is that it's all the writing on the damn chalkboard. A funny, if lame excuse. Both sweaters seem stalled in the "half-a-front+2 sleeves-to-go" stage. You know... the one where 2 weeks of effort and a little finishing would render me a sweater, but I can't seem to pull it off.

I've been coloring my hair this summer. Now everyone in my family is plagued/blessed with rather premature silver. Though at this point, we're all pretty mature, I assure you. I sported a liberal frosting of grey hair in high school, and once in college, began to dye it, first with henna, and then various boxed potions. Every shade of red, brown and color-in-between. When I turned 40, I decided to cut all the dye out and see what I had naturally. Silvery on top and a lot of salt and pepper at the sides. I maintained this for a few years, but this spring, I started to want to see a little color up top again. So I mentioned this to my hairdresser, and she was all over it. I was thinking brown, she was thinking strawberry blonde. I let her have her way in June, and she turned me gingery red with blonde highlights, which came out well, if a bit surprisingly light. Today, she decided I needed to go brighter, so she added some more serious "red." Fun! I like it, and will keep it up for a few months, at least.

Of course my camera's at work, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Happy slightly late Lammas! One of my favorite pagan holidays, the Celebration of the First Harvests. All about summer's bounty coming in, and the waning sun. The sacrifice of the god. Of course here in Hawai'i, we don't see a terribly cold dark winter, but the days are getting slightly shorter. Returning to work has shortened my sense of an endless, brilliant day, anyway. The harvest seems to be bringing nice plums and stone fruits from the mainland, these days, as well as some superb apple bananas. Must be the season. I drew the Hanged Man tarot card the other day, and realized, with a start, that Lammas was upon us.

Earlier this week, a dinner with the NRN, minus one, who could not be with us. Delicious food, wine, and delicious catching up with friends. I skipped knit night on Thursday, which didn't influence the mojo one way or the other, I think. Sometimes, I think, knit night is a joy, and at other times, it feels like just one more place I have to be at a certain time, and not necessarily a soothing culmination to a weary day.

I have been reading, with great relish, these days, the genre of blogs which fascinates me endlessly, the homestead/homeschooling blogs. Two of my favorites are Sarah's Homestead Blog and Handmade Homeschool. Since I am neither a homeschooler nor homesteader, it's a look into a life that could have been. Sarah of the homesteading blog, is a dyer of wool and roving; her Maisy Day handspun is available at Hello Yarn! I believe.

Since the camera's at school, filled with unprinted pix of cheerfully rambunctious 5th graders, I offer you my last Star City Motor Madness memory, the flamin' car in the parking lot. Don't you love these colors?