Saturday, February 28, 2009

k-brow: worth the wait

The end of Rosedale. Well, except for the sleeves. I saved the sleeves, so I could see a clear image of the color runs of the yarn. I have several small balls of Kureyon left from the frogging. I want to felt them together to make one larger ball, but would like to stay true to the color runs of the original balls, so I kept the sleeves for now, whilst I work on this salvage project. Ahh, Rosedale, you deserved better...

The year I moved here, really, on the first day I arrived here, I found, discarded in my yard, a phalenopsis orchid in bloom. I brought it inside, kept it as a pet for a long time. It made a baby sprout and then the whole thing seemingly died. I was sad, but quickly healed my pain by focusing on the ease with which dendrobium orchids are grown. Forgot about the phalenopsis. Moved on. Occasionally I checked the pot that was sitting outside on the wall (with all the other "done blooming" orchids) but didn't give it much thought. Two days ago, this greeted me as I walked out to work:

Well worth the wait, and I never saw it coming!

P is back from Atlanta for the moment. He's been looking at houses, which aren't nearly as expensive as homes in Northern Virginia, California, or Hawaii. Nothing's been decided yet, as far as places to live go; we have plenty of time, at this point.

I am cooking dog food and waiting for a time between showers to go out and walk Ella. She is the Dog of the Day; ie, the one who gets the energetic focus.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

k-brow: freeing the Noro

Today was windy and cold. On a wild whim, I decided to wear Rosedale to work. I knitted this sweater more than a year ago, and I have had mixed feelings about it since I cast it off the needles. So many errors, so much awkwardness. I knitted it because I craved a technical challenge; the corrugated ribbing + intarsia panels were so seductive. The funky, candy-colored sunset Noro Kureyon just made me happy every time I picked up the needles. But my raglan lines were ugly and the intarsia panels were puffy. I never wore it. The Kureyon was itchy, even though I knew it would soften up, if I soaked it. Probably a good blocking would cure the puffitude of the intarsia, too. Alas, I couldn't bring myself to love it. Today, I almost did. It was so warm, and so many people stopped me in the halls to admire the crazy colors and sporty design.
This evening, I decided it wasn't fair to keep the Kureyon enslaved in a sweater I had no love for. Not since I've experienced true love, in the form of Icarus, or the Malabrigo mitts. So I decided to free it for other uses.

I did not reckon how damn difficult it would be to frog corrugated ribbing, let alone intarsia. I learned anew, that I'd had 3 balls of yarn working at any one time on this sweater, and all the little scrips and scraps and woven in bits were enough to make Jesus cry. Not the baby Jesus, either, but the full grown one. It was like unraveling clown vomit for awhile. I've done about half of it, and I'm giving myself a break. This yarn needs to be washed and skeined again, later, to knit again. It's so crinkly and crunchy. But the Noro love in my heart is strong.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

k-brow: warming the heart

I give you curried pea soup, and an unintentional peek into my obsession with Le Creuset cookware.
This is my whole collection, bought piece by piece, over about 8 years. On sale. The kettle, a gift from P last Christmas. But the soup...the soup is yellow split peas, carrots, potatoes, celery, curry and fresh spinach, with generous helpings of grated ginger and garlic. I've been feeling the need for a healing broth, a la curry. It isn't done yet, but smells heavenly.

Icarus...I haven't yet blocked him; the bed I use for blocking is covered with stuff waiting to go to the Goodwill, but I've been wearing him every day. I'm madly in love with the softness and the warmth. Hawaii still is in the throes of its windswept winter, and the merino is cozy.

This is how I wear it. I think if I blocked it, it would grow; I would like it a tad bigger, but it's okay for the time being.

Here's a shot of me wearing Icarus in Rivendell...functional fashion for Elvish events!

And here's the outside shot, showing that the shawl isn't really all that green.
I am home alone, and enjoying the quiet. I took the dogs for a leash walk this eve, both together, which is no easy feat for my two. There was cavorting and barking, and it took us awhile to find our rhythm. I usually exercise them separately, if walking is the order of the day. I think I need to do more of this with them together, just because of the extreme subdued behavior afterward. I can play fetch with them for a long time, and they come home riled up and in a lather. But this walk has left them so mellow. I'm no Cesar Milan fan...okay, I think he's cute, but maybe there's something to this 'walking is good for the pack' thing he always preaches. At any rate, I'm trying to walk my own ass out more often, these days. Something about the beginning of Lent, and the need to reinforce good habits.

The timer tells me the soup's ready. Off to turn over a load of laundry, and to cue up "Letters From Iwo Jima" on the dvd player.

Oh and we are getting a crazy hard rain right now. The windows are rattling in the house and the once-catatonic (heh, I said "cat" to describe my dogs) dogs are getting their bark on!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

k-brow: blood of the lamp

Happy Belated Valentine's Day. We usually celebrate in a low-key, homecooked meal way. Today, lower-key than ever. Ate school party chocolate, and walked the dogs. Otherwise, we spent the day cleaning house, purging stuff, preparing for the mother of all Goodwill runs. Not as bad as it sounds. P kept threatening to make a chocolate souffle and never got around to it.

I was driving in Manoa today and saw a truck with a spray painted message on its tailgate. Now I think the writer in question meant to write "Blood of the lamb" on it. But they got a little carried away with the can and it ended up reading "Blood of the lamp." I am so sorry not to have a pic of this fabulousness, but I was driving fast and he (not sure why I'm assuming this is a man) was driving faster. Blood of the lamp. May it illuminate your life.

Two weeks ago, I was going to Mocha Java for knit night, and I saw a racy black car with a big decal on the back windshield that said "Hemo Yo Panty." At the time, I had no idea what it meant, only that someone was driving around with the word panty decalled on the back windshield. Later, after mutual confusion, Opal asked her mom what it meant, and her mom gently informed her that "hemo" is Hawaiian for "take off." sigh. So damn tacky. On a car. Out on the street. Pah! I know tacky isn't the word for it, but at the moment I have no better.

We've had howling winds all day here, and our power was out for several hours after the dog walk, say from 6pm to about 11:00. We were cold and tired, so we just went to bed. Then the power came back on, and we'd done nothing about dinner, so we ate leftover salad and wine. Now, I'm wide awake and it's 1:30 am. Glad it's a 3-day weekend.

Knitting mojo remains dicey at best. I'm plugging on Clapotis, though suspecting that I should concentrate on earlier UFO's instead. Just so I don't have to haul the Wicker Basket of Shame to the mainland. I've made so much progress on the clapper, anyway, that it's become a UFO in and of itself.

I went to a great dog training seminar last week. Greg and Laura Derrett, these international agility superstars were en route back from Melbourne, Oz, and stopped by Hawaii to give a 2 day seminar in Mililani. I audited the first day, which was all about agility foundation work. Foundation work is all the games and tricks and techniques you do with the dog before you ever introduce it to the obstacles. The Derretts believe that taking a long time with foundation work makes training the obstacles easy-peasy, and makes for speed and control in competition. I did a fair amount of foundation work with Ella, but know that the person with whom I trained here did not empahasize it, mostly because her clients didn't want it; they wanted to go to the obstacles. I kinda understand that, the obstacles are FUN! Now, having Cricket, who is so bratty, and out-of-control, I realize that we'll probably never run courses, except maybe in private lessons. So the foundation games become a way to build control, and bond with my difficult dog through training. Anyway the Derretts were incredibly funny and I felt really lucky to have a day with them. It made me a little regretful, for a tiny moment, that I had retired Ella, but I'm enjoying the not-training with her so much that I can't really regret.

In Mililani, I visited Blogless Michelle in her new home. She made me an avocado shake. Not something I would have ordered myself, but hey, I drink Nettle infusion, who am I to turn down someone else's idea of green heaven? It had coriander in it and was actually quite nice. I also saw that awesome baby Max, who has definitely raised the bar for looks in a baby. He is just a gorgeous child!
Me and the avocado goodness:

There's been some knitting at Joy's place, as well. But no pix, because I keep forgetting the camera. Suffice to say, I'm out and about and having fun, these days. Gotta taste that rainbow.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

k-brow: spring, finally!

Our cold seems to have broken for the moment, replaced by fragrant humidity, and haze. Not ideal, but I like being warmer. The plumeria tree is trying to get leaves and blooms, too. So I can't complain. I am in the midst of multitasking; cooking up stew for my dogs, writing a letter of recommendation for a student who's applying to Punahou (Barack's alma mater!) and watching "Lost."

Little knitting of any consequence has gone on. I finished Icarus about 10 days ago. It had completely dominated me, that shawl. I was knitting about 2 rows a day, and feeling like I would never see the end of it, and suddenly, it was done! Just like that. Then there was the bind off, which pretty much took me a whole Saturday. And now, it's done, though unblocked, thus far. I've been wearing it as a scarf, and am kind of pleased with its wavy edges and the incredible softness of the merino. A true luxury item, considering the hours and hours I put into it.

Now I can safely say 2 things with assurance: (1) I enjoy knitting lace, and forsee more in my future, and (2) I will never knit a big shawl on little needles in laceweight yarn again. So there you have it. Icarus, the anticlimax.

Lots going on in my life. Things I haven't blogged about, so writing about it now seems hurried, somehow abbreviated. Long story short, another chapter in our nomadic life is about to begin. P got a new job in Atlanta, and we're planning to move there sometime this summer. This has more to do with his career and habit of taking jobs in far-flung ends of the country every few years, than with any burning need to flee Hawaii right now. But the truth is (and regular readers know it well) that I do miss life on the mainland and welcome the change.

So yeah. Reactions and the first thoughts in my head...

The logistics of the move just dazzle me. And not in a good way. Didn't I just get unpacked from a crazy move from DC to Honolulu just 3 years ago? Pah!

Shipping 2 dogs in the summer, from one hot place to another? I'm still working out this one.

Selling a big quirky house during a slow economy feels daunting. Moving to a place with far, far lower cost of living is appealing, though.

Quitting my job (I resigned today, but will work through the school year) feels wonderful. It was like taking a big weight off my shoulders. I can enjoy my work again, without feeling embroiled in work drama. A temporary high, doubtless, but I'm committed to enjoying it as long as it lasts.

Leaving friends, my hairdresser, the best vet ever, the perfect dogsitter, the ocean, spam musubi, poke and a walkable, safe downtown? I'm crying over all these things. I don't let myself think about the volcano, the stars and the plumerias, lest I lose my resolve.

But honestly? Seriously, I need to be closer (2 hour flight, or a 10 hour drive) to my family. I can go to VA for a long weekend from Atlanta. I need 3 or 4 seasons, my mind and body just work better that way.

I feel like I'm telling a story that I've told before. Only this time it's all different. Bear with me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

k-brow: a poem

Imbolc Blessings to all and sundry! In honor of the 4th annual Bloggers Silent Poetry Reading, I give you my own contribution:

Green Frog at Roadstead Wisconsin

It is the way of a pleasant path
To walk through white birch, fir,
And spruce on a limestone trail
Through the quiet, complacent time
Of summer when, suddenly, the frog jumps
And you jump after him, laughing,
Hopping, frog and woman, to show
The stationary world its flat ways.
Love is a Frog, I grin that greenly
To your green eyes and they leap
At me. Up, I will enter the Frog World
With you and try the leaping ways
Of the heart that we do not fail to find
The sunlit air full of leaping chances.

- James Schevill