News Bit

I just saw this story on NPR’s blog:

Ammo Shortage Blamed On Fear Of Obama

This is just terrifying on so many levels.  Bottom line, it means there are a lot of scared Republicans, and they are well armed.

Am I the only one scared by this?

I mean, I knew there are a whole lot of people out there who (a) think Obama is the antichrist; (ii) are offended because a black family now lives in the “white” White House; and (3) swallowed the Republicans’ line of bullshit about Socialism and Communism and the End of Life as We Know It now that Obama is President of these United States.

But really, arming up!?  God help us all–and I’m irreligious so I don’t say that lightly.

April 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Long Time, No See

Seems like only yesterday, but it’s been literally months (months!) since my last post.  I’ve been busy, but not that busy.  Seems like I just don’t have much of anything to say after all.  I started the blog in a burst of enthusiasm, but now about a year later, it’s tapered off to nothing.  What’s that all about?

It’s not that nothing’s happening, at work , at home or with my knitting.  Some of the highlights…

… my brother Casey is finally off on his winter time motorcycle ride to the Grand Canyon and back. What possesses a grown man to ride 3,000 miles in the wintertime on a motorcycle? Who knows.  I myself am strictly a fair weather rider and no mistake.

… work got a whole lot worse and overloaded when the firm laid people off, and then to top it off the junior paralegal also up and quit.  Now I’m the only paralegal in a group of 22 lawyers and truthfully it’s as much as I can do to show up there every day.  Attitude is not what it could be. In this terrible economy (which has truthfully not affected me since I’m still employed) I try to think of it as job security.

… one of the partners I work for has just had a baby girl and I’m knitting a Clara dress for a baby gift. That’s the sweet little yellow dress in the Soak ads.  So delicate! So precious!

… all three cats are healthy, but Handsome is on a diet (vet says 16 pounds is too heavy) and Precious had to have his belly clipped because he got matted up.  I try to comb them regularly but they protest and bite me for my care and trouble. The cats don’t seem to enjoy the ministrations. On the plus side, I have actually started collecting the fur I comb out and will have it spun up when I get enough. It’s as soft as rabbit angora and of a beautiful whiteness.

… tax time brought a pleasant surprise, a nice refund I didn’t expect.  Seems I adjusted my withholdings last year and more was taken than needed.  I’ll have to readjust again, but the good thing is that it looks like I can afford a vacation this year after all.

… speaking of vacation, C&C and I are going to Paris for two weeks in July.  No frantic tour, no rushing from place to place; just park ourselves in Paris and soak up the ambience. I have not been there, but C&C have so they can show me some sights and I’ll have a grand time in the Louvre.  One day trip is planned to Versailles but the rest of the time will be just doing whatever sounds good at the moment.  Oooh la la!  and I’m learing French courtesy of Michel Thomas’ audio classes.  I have already learned to say useful things, such as “I’m sorry but I can’t do that for you now because I have to go to the university to pick up a book on the political and economical situation in France.”  Now isn’t that a wonder?

… I made the switch to an iPhone and although I was prepared to sneer at it, I do not.  I love it.  My son Ben calls it an “icon maker”  and that’s pretty funny when you think of it.  He’s a Google Android man and he does sneer at my iPhone, but no matter.

… second son Adam has become a Knitter.  I knew he would enjoy the technicality and creativity of it. He has learned very quickly (about 3 weeks after being taught the knit stitch) and has, on his own, learned the long tail cast on, made a hat, made a neckwarmer, and is mostly done with a Noro silk garden scarf as seen on Brooklyn Tweed’s blog.  He’s even on Ravelry!  On Wednesdays, he hangs out with me, and often we are joined by my friend Champer and we dine out sit and knit and watch a movie and read knitting magazines.  It’s such a joy to be able to share my knitting passion with at least one person in my family.

… I’m trying hard not to buy a lot of new stuff.  I have enough stuff; but somehow that doesn’t apply to yarn (especially sock yarn) and I confess to having a weakness.  I’m seriously considering removing my credit card from my wallet and going cold turkey.

… speaking of yarn, I attended Stitches West in February for the whole four days and a full slate of classes.  Not all were spectacular, but I learned some wonderful new skills: (1) Japanese short rows (perfect shoulder shaping!) (2) Estonion Patent Stitch (easy peasy once it’s demonstrated) (3) designed reversible cables.  I also took an intarsia class from Nicky Epstein and a sock class from Cat Bordhi, just to sit in the same room with them. Lily Chin taught the reversible cables class, and she’s quite a hoot.  The market was not as big as last year, but I still managed to spend more than I should have. Hence the afore-mentioned turkey coldness.

… the weather out is spring like, it has been quite warm but this weekend it’s clear and cool with a good breeze. The air is fairly sparkling and it’s good to fill my lungs with air I know is not smoggy and full of particulates.

Do you ever sometimes just look around you and wonder “where has my mind been for the last ‘x’ months?” I dont’ think I’ve done much of anything, but still time passes and here I am, suddenly aware that I must have been hibernating.  Diabetes makes my head fuzzy sometimes, and I don’t pay enough attention to it. All morning long I’ve been in a mental fog, even while doing my chores I just wasn’t there in the moment. I’m going to go out for a walk and see if I can shake the cobwebs out.


April 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

OK, Ma’am You Can Go

In which I get stopped by the cops… and I’m saved by my knitting.

SO, last weekend I had dinner at C&C’s and had a couple of margaritas with dinner.  We dined, we watched a DVD (The Bucket List–good movie!) and I left about 9:30pm.

On the way home, I happened upon a Sobriety Checkpoint and when asked, dutifully told the Very Young CHP Officer that, yes, I had a drink with dinner some hours before.

“Please pull over to the area to the right and the other officers there will speak to you,” said the VYCO.  I pulled my car off to the right, where there were official actions in progress involving Old Fat Cops and Big Drunk Man With Wobbly Legs and handcuffs.  There were four big tow trucks lined up to haul away the cars of the Drunk Man and others captured by the attentive law enforcement types.

Did I mention this was a Saturday night?  Big Night Out in my small town.

Anyway, I sit there in my Prius, observing the proceedings, and eventually I get bored. I’m there maybe five minutes, and I’m bored.  But, LO! I have my knitting with me, so of course I don’t remain bored.

The antidote to a DUI--sock knitting

Out comes the Adam’s Sock I’m working on, and I sit in my car with the dome light on, knitting happily away while I while away.

A few minutes later, an officer approaches my vehicle where I have the driver’s window down (it’s hot) and looks in at me, sitting and knitting.

“You’re KNITTING!?” he cleverly observes.

“I’m just killing time waiting for you to get around to me,” I riposte.

He grips the windw frame of my car door, gritting his teeth.

“OK, Ma’am, you can go. Have a nice evening.”

And that’s how knitting saved me from a DUI, which I wouldn’t have gotten anyway but was apprehensive just the same.

The moral of the story:  You can’t be too drunk to drive if you can still knit.

August 20, 2008 at 4:14 am 1 comment

FO: Noro Kureyon Socks

I’ve just finished the Noro Kureyon socks in the blue-gray-green-turquoise colorway.  I love the colors, but I can’t honestly say that I love the yarn. The thin-thick slubs make working on tiny needles difficult. I think the texture is much nicer on worsted weight yarn. The fact that it’s not machine washable is also a drawback. On the plus side, the colors are compelling.  I have another ball in a different colorway that I will probably not make into socks.  I had a lot of the first skein left over, so I figure a full ball will make something bigger than socks, for instance a scarf or something lacy.

Just ignore the dead cat in the picture. Really, just move on.

On a downer note, one of my goldfish died yesterday, a victim of Sudden Fish Death Syndrome.  Tuesday night he was fine, and Wednesday morning he just died. He was the chocolate oranda that I bought a few weeks ago along with a red cap oranda and a red and white oranda.  Now I’m back down to five fish.  This time I think I’ll just leave it at five for a while to see what happens.  It’s heartbreaking to have them die after caring for them so much.

RIP Chocolate Oranda

To finish off on a less sorry note, yesterday was the 55th Birthday of Yours Truly. I celebrated with family, including my wife-in-law Cindy. Cindy is the wife of my ex, Chuck, and stepmother to my two grown sons. She and I have exactly the same birth date and we usually celebrate it together.

July 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment

Sofa Recovery Accomplished

After about 4 weeks of waiting, my old new sofa and chair are reupholstered and were delivered today:

This convertible sofa/chair set belonged to my deceased stepmother, and had been sitting in my parents’ house probably since she built the house in 1948.  There was a tag on it showing it had been reupholstered in 1957, so it obviously predated that time. The last pictures are what it looked like for the last 40 years, stored in a back room of my parents’ house. 

I would have kept the same fabric on it, but because I have long haired cats, and the fabric was a nylon loop, it just didn’t sound like a good idea.  As you can see, originally it had buttons on the seat but the upholstery shop talked me out of putting them back on, as they pop off and cause problems. They thought it was a bad idea, so I went with their advice.

Now all I have to do is redecorate the room around them.  -sigh-  Which I was planning to do anyway.


June 18, 2008 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

LilyPad Floating City–how cool is THAT!

Found on (one of my newest favorite blogs)

LilyPad floating city

This was just too cool not to share.  More at the link

June 16, 2008 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

One Fish, Two Fish, Three New Fish

Today I finally decided it was safe to add more fish to my tank, which (thankfully) has finally cycled even with all my newbie attempts to prevent it through ignorance.

I checked out three aquarium stores in San Jose before I landed at King Aquarium, and that’s where I found the best selection of fancy goldfish amongst the hundreds of impeccable aquaria they had set up, both freshwater and marine.  The Staff (Bob) was extremely helpful. I was surprised to walk in to see the place staffed with young Asian guys and hiphop music playing over the PA. Who knew there were young men of any type that are interested in fish?  It was actually quite heartwarming, and they were all very patient and tolerant of a fat middle-aged woman who knows very little about her new hobby. 

Anyways, these are my new additions…

New Fish 6 7 2008

new fish 6 7 2008The three new additions are a tad larger than my existing fish, but not by much. I did pay extra to get larger fish.  I now have three Ryukin, two Oranda (one the new red cap, the other the brown one in second picture) and a veiltail. The red cap is kind of aggressive, I’m keeping my eye on that one.

All seem to be happy, hopefully there will be no casualties. I originally started with five, lost two, then bought these three so I now have six beauties.

I have gotten a lot of very useful information from the internet. If you’re interested in fancy goldfish, I can recommend these sites:

Bristol Aquarists Society

June 8, 2008 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

FO: Shawl Collared Sweater

Yarn is South West Trading Company Twize, Colorway 327 Twown (multi) red/black/white. The yarn has such a strong color pattern that any stitch pattern I tried just disappeared. So it’s entirely stockinette. Acres and acres of dull, boring, stockinette. This sweater has taken me a while to knit, as I get vectored off to do more “interesting” (i.e. not stockinette) projects.

Finally, though, I have it finished. I even got my offspring to model it for me. He’s got it shifted back on his shoulders a bit so it’s riding up in the front. THINGS I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY: (1) I would start the V neck sooner, lower down on the body by about 2 inches; (2) I’d make the back neck not so tall (I got a little carried away with the short rows, I think. Otherwise I’m quite satisifed, since I made it up as I went along.

Bless you, Elizabeth Zimmerman!




May 22, 2008 at 4:20 am Leave a comment

Oh Yeah! She Scores!

My Pal Barbara (Champer on Ravelry) told me that Needle Arts Book Shop has Japanese knitting books. Boy, do they Ever!

I got four more to go with the one I already had (the 250):

If you haven’t seen the equisite patterns developed by Japanese knitters, you’re in for a treat. The books are pretty pricey (though not in the same price territory as, say, a Starmore out of print book) but oh, so delicious.

Needle Arts has a free pdf download “Interpreting Japanese Knitting Patterns” and many other helpful resources for helping you get a grip on the Japanese techniques.

What impresses me about these that, given the long history of knitting in the Western world, you’d think that everything had been done by now–but some of the Japanese designs are so unique, and so breathtakingly beautiful, that I can’t imagine how they were invented. What incredible insight and patience these designers must have.

I’m a rank beginner at knitting, but I’m pretty adventurous and relatively fearless so I’m going to try swatching some of these just as soon as the mood swings in that direction.

In other news, I have officially signed up for the FunKnits Knitting Retreat in British Columbia on October 3-5, 2008. “A Weekend With Ann & Eugene” Bourgeois of Philosopher’s Wool.  I bought a PW kit at Stitches West and I figure this will be the perfect time to get it off the ground, by learning from the PW pros.

I’ll probably fly up, but am contemplating taking Amtrak home from Seattle to San Jose.  The train tracks run from Seattle to Vancouver, but apparently Amtrak is unaware of that because they make you take a bus from Vancouver to Seattle to catch the train.

Don’t even get me started in on the pitiful state of rail travel in the United States.  We are paying mightily for our neglect of mass transit, now that gas is over $4 per gallon in California. And, sadly, we deserve what we get for worshipping the automobile and allowing Detroit and Big Oil to run the show for so many years… -sigh-

Anyway, as I say, I’m contemplating a train ride home on the Coastal Starlight, a 20 hour journey. I’ve taken extra days at the end of the retreat to see the sights of British Columbia and to make my way home. Without a fixed schedule for return (give or take a day) it should be Ok to take Amtrak. The trick to taking the train in the US is not to have any particular schedule, so that when it all falls to pieces, you’re not late in getting somewhere you needed to be.

Reminds me of an old joke by the comic Gallagher–when asked how the US could keep the location of its nuclear arsenal a secret from the Soviets, he replied, “put ’em on a train. No one will ever know where they are at any time.”  Too right.

Thats it for today. Lunch hour is over.

May 20, 2008 at 9:20 pm 1 comment

LOLCats strikes again

This one from LOLcats just made me ROFL!

The meek had a meeting.  They decided to inherit.  Now.

May 10, 2008 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

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