Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas to All

See you in 2005!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

You Better Not Pout, You Better Not Cry ...
... or it's a lump of coal for you, pally! No coal for this gal -- got my last little bit o' stunt knitting done for Christmas ... another KidSilk Haze 3x1 ribbed Super Scarf for a coworker. She's such a Guessy Guesser though -- I'm going to have to throw her off track by packing the scarf in with something heavy like a book or candy.

Here's another present of the non-holiday variety -- a going-away present for another coworker. She's moving from San Diego back to her home state of Maine, so I thought a scarf would be appropriate. I'm using this pattern from Mountain Colors:

and this yarn:

The KFI Cashmerino is the same as Debbie Bliss's yarn of the same name, under the mill's own label. Rumor has it this yarn will be discontinued, which is a shame. It's several $$ cheaper than the DB label, and the colors are gorgeous.

Look who came to work with me yesterday:

It's little Hal the Cockatiel! Remember him? The parrot that RockStar "had to have," and promptly ignored 2 days after we brought him home. He's been a tiny blessing. He goes to work with me every 8 weeks or so for the afternoon, and has a lot of fun rambling around on my desk and visiting everyone in the office. Don't let his tiny size fool you -- he's got a larger-than-life personality and loves attention from anyone who'll give it. I'm of the opinion that everyone should have a feathered crest on top of their head -- no one would be able to lie about anything. Hal broadcasts his every feeling with that little topknot of feathers. It's quite comical at times.

Happy Tuesday, everyone :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Think This'll Do the Trick ...
... for a 7yo niece who loves PINK?

I thought so too.

Specs: Red Heart Bright 'n Lofty yarn in Bubble Gum. Approx. (2) 4-oz. skeins (I "barely" tapped into a 3rd skein to finish the fringe).
Directions: Start with Yarn Harlot's Very Harlot Poncho pattern. Provisionally cast on 42 stitches on size 10.5 circular needles, knit in pat for 18", bind off. Pick up provisional stitches in neckband, knit 2 rows of K1P1 ribbing, then one row of YO, K2tog to form a row of eyelets. Knit 5 more rows of K1P1 ribbing, then bind off in ribbing. Chain crochet a 24" long tie (approx. K crochet hook). Weave tie through the eyelets on the neckband. Cut enough 12" strands to form fringe along bottom edge of poncho. Weave in all ends. Send to your favorite niece!

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Just for You, Bron ...
...knitting pictures!

Peruvian Connection "Cuzco", 6 skeins each
Colors: Deepest Black & Moonlight Blue
Project Rating: EASY! Finished both ponchos in a weekend and one weekday evening, including blocking. The alpaca is super lofty and very warm.

On a Different Wavelength
OK, so I love this show. I have it set up on the TiVO unit upstairs, and have been watching it while using my elliptical trainier (aka: the clothes hangar). This lady is such a trip! I love the English Country Dominatr1x look she sports. I tried this with my dog as he lay on the floor next to the elliptical. I got a yawn in response. But my parrots seem to pick up something from me ... some vibe or energy. They cock their heads and give me thoughtful looks when I try this sy-kick stuff on them. Spooooky!

Happy Friday, everyone.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Can you believe it? A knitting picture:

Disregard wonky camera angle; it really is a rectangle

I got 12 skeins of this (6 skeins of Deepest Black and 6 skeins of Moonlight Blue) to make 2 of these. The only problem? This alpaca is sending me into a histamine hissy fit! My nose is totally stuffed up and my eyes are watering the entire time I work with it. I'm ordering a bottle of this to see if dust mites are the problem. I've got the 2 black rectangles blocked and ready to sew. The 1st blue rectangle is done; the 2nd is 1/3 done. Heaven help my nasal passages 'til I'm done. Nasal Update! We're having a "Cold Santa Ana Wind." Usually Santa Ana winds usher in 80-degree temps. We're having a cold version, and it's wreaking havoc with my sinuses. Phew! I didn't want to blame the yarn, ya know!

Letters from Home
My mother sent me an email, informing me that my stepfather became a bit concerned while shopping recently in a Columbia Sportswear Factory Outlet Store in Portland. Apparently, there were 2 large dogs in the store (think: lab or shepherd size), and they were not service dogs. My stepfather asked the girl behind the counter about it, and she rolled her eyes at him and retorted, "Well, they're on leashes!", like that was the issue. The "back story" here is that basically, dogs are taking over Portland. Dogs, dogs everywhere you go. And they're being afforded more common courtesy than the average human being. That's the issue being taken up by my stepfather.

This being said, I must let it be known that my stepfather has a very, um, unique sense of humor. Rather than get mad, he got the email address for Columbia Sportswear's customer service department, and wrote them the following email (under my mother's email addy):

Dear Columbia Sportswear:
While shopping your company store, in Sellwood Or. I noticed two big dogs leashed to their owners. I'm concerned if this is safe? I have a monkey who I keep on a leash. He likes getting out, now I'll be able to bring him along. Also, my son has two four-legged reptiles who will enjoy the warmth of your store this winter.
Please reply,
Thank you, Judith

And Columbia replied!
Incident #041128-000138
Thank you for your request. Our consumer services department will reply to your request soon.

Power to the people, man. Happy Monday, everyone.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Another Weekend, Another Triathlon
This time we're at lovely Lake Perris, about 1-1/2 hours northeast of San Diego.

Lake Perris, 6:30 am ...

... and about 1 hour later (7:30 am), with swimmers heading toward the lake

A Sea of Swim-Capped Heads are all I can see ...

Here's my darlin' man, coming in after the 27-mile bike portion:

And here he is in the Transition Area, getting ready for the 4-mile run:

Our team did very well. Felipe, one of the coaches, won the event, and another teammate got 1st in her age group. This was DH's longest race in terms of distance, and a challenging race in terms of the course itself. We lucked out with the weather; it was overcast and chilly until about 1pm, when the sun came out. But the next day the temperatures dropped dramatically and it rained all morning. That would have made for a very miserable race for participants and spectators alike!

I did do some road knittin' ... and even some spectator knitting! I'm sure the competitors were wondering about the crazy woman standing by the side of the road, knitting away, yelling, "Good job! Keep it up!"

Happy Monday, everyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

There's some sort of powerful Force Field laziness that's keeping me from snapping pictures of the oh-so-nearly-finished Panera Throw. But whatever this Force Field is apathy, it seems to require a woman stronger than me to conquer it. I'll try again tomorrow empty promise.

And by the way, my maternal grandmother invented the word "snarky." She used it since I was a little girl, whenever I acted up. "Don't get all snarky, now," she'd admonish me. So I claim snarky for Nama.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

No time for pictures of the Heinous Yarn Shortage Incident. Allow me to entertain you with another example of Crimes Against Yarn. May I present:

The Kevin F. Sherry Sweater Project (link via Freakgirl).

Monday, November 15, 2004

On the First Day of Christmas ... parents gave to me (pretty appropriate for RockStar, dontcha think? Yeah, so did we.)

Happy Monday, everyone. Lurid tales of running out of yarn and pulling out of hair to follow soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Don't Look, Marcia!
'Cuz we're talking garter, here. Acres of wide open garter. To stay motivated during the endless garter-fest that is the Panera throw, I've compiled a list of Garter-Related topics:

  • Garter snake
  • Most Noble Order of the Garter: Knights of the Garter, Ladies of the Garter
  • Star & Garter
  • Garter belt
  • Getting Gerdie's Garter (movie, 1927)
  • Ye Harte & Garter Hotel
  • The Red Garter Bed & Bakery (former bordello)
  • Yellow Garter Band
  • Green Garter Band
  • James Garter (oops, Garner)

  • Ah, that puts me in a garter frame of mind. I'll leave you with pebbly pix, featuring 42" of Grade A Prime Garter:

    Looks like a freshly plowed field, don't it?

    Gorgeous Garter, as far as the eye can see!

    Happy Wednesday, everyone.

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    Lotsa knitting progress on the Panera throw (on Skein 8 of 14), but no time for pictures this morning. Maybe manana? Hokay.

    Does anyone else have recurring dreams? I have 2 that recur fairly frequently, and have for many years. One involves houses. I dream up the most labyrintine(?) houses possible -- rooms leading into rooms leading into more rooms. The decoration style varies, too. For instance, last night I dreamed that my father, sister and I were heading to the beach for a weekend, like we often did when we were kids and young adults. However, we drove directly onto the beach in our car and picked a beach house from any number scattered along the shore. Apparently, one could just drive up to these houses/cabanas, open the door, and stay there! For free! What fun. The one I dreamed up had rather '70s decor -- avocado green Herculon covered furniture (ew!) and paneled walls (double-ew!).

    My other recurring dream theme involves freeways -- specifically on and offramps. I dream up ramps that soar hundreds of feet into the sky and curve across rivers. BTW, in real life I have a fear of heights. Veddy interesting!

    The weight loss saga continues -- I'm down 17 lbs. as of this morning, but I'm a bit dehydrated, so it may go up a pound from all the water I plan on drinking today. The Medifast boogie is boring, but it's certainly effective.

    And I ran yesterday! Total of about 3 miles, and I ran about half of it. Knees are holding up *so far*. Keeping fingers crossed.

    Happy Monday, everyone!

    5:36 pm Update: OMG! I've made it onto The Monkey's blog list! Now I have to be interesting and amusing! Oh heck. I'll just be myself. I'm sure he'd approve of that. He's having a birthday. Go wish him a happy one!

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    Mondo fuzz in the mail. On top, Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in Tranquil. From Elann. On the bottom, Lion Brand Chenille Sensations in "Amsterdam Print," from Smiley's Yarns:

    Not sure what the Jo Sharp mohair will be for ... it was too good a buy to pass up, so into the Stash-o-Matic it goes. I purchased 6 skeins of the chenille; I'm thinking of making 2 scarves (3 skeins each) in a ripple (feather 'n fan) stitch for my mom and sister for this winter.

    Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
    The Panera throw continues apace. I'm finding that like most ribbon yarns, Berroco Suede likes to twist while you knit it. After a frustrating evening spent untwisting every row or so, I happened upon a solution:

    I popped an elastic ponytail band onto the ball, and spool out about a yard at a time for knitting. Works like a charm. I just attached Skein 6 of 14 last night:

    Happy Tuesday, everyone. Get out there and vote!

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Seems it never rains in Southern California
    seems I`ve often heard that kind of talk before
    It never rains in California, but girl don't they
    warn ya, it pours, man it pours
    It Never Rains in Southern California, Al Hammond, 1973

    The 2nd big fall storm hit us yesterday ... the Sierra Nevada mountains got about 5' of snow ... ski areas are opening early ... it's all good! We really need the water down here. This Oregon girl's rainy day driving skills came right back as she slalomed her way to work this morning. Weee!

    And on the knitting front? More future projects I'll get around to someday (sigh):

    From Hip to Crochet, yummy kid mohair for the cover scarf. After publicly railing against the return of the granny square, this girl is eating her words after seeing this scarf. Purchased from One Fine Yarn, a very nice vendor to deal with:

    Filanda Kid Extra Fine and Karabella Lace Mohair>

    Another treat from One Fine Yarn -- IKnitiative's Souvenir Shawl pattern, in the Ivory Coast colorway:

    Happy Thursday, everyone.

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    Well, she was right next door
    And I'm such a strong persuader ...
    Strong Persuader, Robert Cray

    OK, enough navel gazing and introspection -- let's get on with the knitting. And such knitting it is ... the Panera throw, made of Berroco Suede, in the Roy Rogers colorway.

    May I expound on how intriguing this yarn is? It really does feel like suede, albeit a smoother, softer suede than the real deal. Perhaps a suede as soft as that chewed by a loving Eskimo mother for her little one. Ewww! But truly, this is one funky yarn. I've got enough of the Hopalong Cassidy colorway for another Panera, and more Roy Rogers for an Oakley shawl for meself. Yes, this yarn can persuade me to wallow in it for quite some time.

    Happy Monday, y'all.

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    Years ago, right after my divorce, I was in therapy trying to sort out my "junk." I clearly remember my therapist asking me at one point, "How old do you see yourself living to?" And I honestly couldn't give her an answer. Not that I saw myself dying at a young age, but looking that far ahead was like peering down a dim, misty tunnel.

    Today, I still can't come up with an "age" that I see myself living to, but I do believe it'll be old. Liver-spotted, grey-haired old. This belief comes from encounters I've had with various elderly women over the years. I've co-opted physical "pieces" of these women and have composited them into how I see "me" someday. I remember the lovely slender wrist of a woman at the local gas station/mini-mart I frequent. She was paying for a cup of coffee. She had beautifully manicured hands, with bright red fingernails. On her wrist was a chunky, expensive gold charm bracelet. I remember another woman with straight, silver-grey hair, cut in an adorable chin-length bob. I remember another woman walking in the evenings with her husband. I don't mean strolling, either. Fast fitness walking. She had a lovely, trim figure and looked quite fit in her track suit.

    What prompted this post? A casual glance down at my freshly manicured, bright red fingernails. A gold bracelet clatters against the keyboard as I type. Oh, and I've got some sort of exercise scheduled for tonight.

    So there I am, someday. Doesn't sound bad to me, at all.

    Monday, October 18, 2004

    So it occurred to me, while inwardly raging AGAIN against the dumb*ss woman who REFUSES to use air freshener in an office bathroom shared by at least, oh, a DOZEN other women, that maybe, just maybe, going off my antidepressants while rapidly losing weight that's releasing GALLONS of estrogen into my system and making me the most irritable person in the world, ISN'T A VERY GOOD IDEA?

    Yeah, I thought so, too.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    I've confronted this empty screen numerous times over the past week, with no luck. Not feeling depressed -- just not terribly inspired. I am losing weight, though, so that's good (13lbs so far). The downside -- estrogen is stored in fat cells. When one loses weight, the estrogen is released into the system, causing crankiness. And I'm loathe to inflict my cranky *ss on y'all. So I'm going to take a break until I feel a little less ... whatever.

    Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    Wan Wednesday
    "Wha's happenin', hot stuff?"
    Long Duc Dong, Pretty in Pink

    The answer: Not much. Got the fall blahs today. Always happens this time of year -- less daylight, chill in the morning air, etc. It'll pass; it always does.

    Got a few patterns in the mail:

    Hoodie Pattern in Reynolds Saucy

    "Hippy Chic" Pullover in Reynolds Odyssey

    Really, I don't have much to say today! Kind of on autopilot. See you Friday.

    Monday, October 04, 2004

    Ode to a Giant Blanket
    Oh, Sof'Bankie
    Thou art so huge,
    and so purple.
    Your purple hugeness
    blots out the moon
    or at least an entire desk.

    I'm about halfway through Skein 10 of 12. Took the blanket to the Chargers/Titans game yesterday, but it didn't feel like coming out of its bag.

    Word to the wise: Don't go to an NFL football game while on Medifast. The smell and sight of stadium food will drive you maaaaaad!

    Happy Monday, everyone.

    Friday, October 01, 2004

    Yippee! It's Fried-Egg
    Got some love in the mail from Vintage Knits:

    Nice Aran booklet from 1960-something:

    I love dolmans! From "Women's Day Needlework & Sweater Ideas," 1984:

    The Microspun Sof'Bankie is zipping along -- I'm almost done with Skein 9 of 12. It's getting cooler here in the evenings -- I gotta get this blanket done! DH is going to start eyeing it hungrily.

    Can't We All Just Get Along?
    Or: "Get Off My Designer Suit"

    Warning: mini-rant ahead. The opinions expressed are strictly those of the management and do not reflect the world at large. Just me. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. Your mileage may vary.

    I completely bypassed the Reality TV craze of the last 3 years, until this year. My obsession? The Apprentice. DH and I are completely hooked on this show. However, I don't agree with The Donald about pitting men against women, and here's why: Get any group of smart "alpha" women together, give them a task where a prize or objective is involved, and watch them rip each other apart. I swear, women are their own worst enemies. The group on this season's Apprentice almost make me ashamed to be a woman. Constant fingerpointing, backbiting, and infighting has caused Apex Corp. (the name of the women's group) to lose the last 3 challenges.

    DH has a nickname for me: The Ultimate Chick. He calls me this because he says that even though I'm very feminine, I have the ability, when the situation calls for it, to think like a guy. The older I get, the less I can stand to be involved with a group of women where something has to get done. Don't misunderstand me, I fully love and enjoy being a woman, but I do admire the overall ability of men to get down to it and get a job done, with a minimum of fuss and bother. Granted, a lot of them go off in directions I wouldn't agree with, but geez, they don't sit around and analyze a situation to death, then blame and snipe at each other when things go south. OK, rant over. Thanks for indulging me.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    The Best Laid Plans (Redux)
    The night before DH's 1/4-Ironman race, he had a spill on his race bike during a training ride. He got a nasty gash across his Achilles tendon (which probably could have used a stitch or two), but even worse, his bike was out of commission for the race (bent wheel). He was beyond disappointed. Months of training, anticipation, and driving across 4 states to get to this race -- poof! Gone in an instant.

    For a brief moment, I know he wanted to turn tail and drive home the day of the race. Here's why I love this man: he stayed and cheered his teammates on, graciously putting his disappointment aside and helping provide the much-needed encouragement required to finish this grueling race. His teammates knew how bummed DH was, and most of them made a point of personally thanking Tom for his support.

    Of the 7 athletes competing from our team, 5 did the full 1/2-Ironman distance: Swim 1.2 miles, Bike 56 miles, Run 13.1 miles. The conditions were brutal: no wind and temperatures over 100 degrees, with almost no humidity. The athletes had streaks of salt lining their faces and bodies. 2 teammates did the 1/4-Ironman (half the distances, but still an incredible test of strength).

    The upside? Our team swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the 1/2-Ironman, and another got first in her age-class in the 1/4-Ironman. Here's the 3 winners:

    And here's me 'n DH, my all-time winner in any contest :-)

    Happy Tuesday, everyone.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Short post today -- I'm halfway through Skein 8 of 12 on the Microspun Sof'Bankie; pictures to come. Is it getting hot in here, or what? Oh, it's just all those yards of microfiber :-)

    Today is a very special day -- it's DH's birthday! Every time I think about it I smile -- today was the day he came into this world, and I'm luckier for it. I love you, sweetie. Happy Birthday.

    No more posting for the rest of the week -- tomorrow afternoon we leave for St. George, Utah. DH is competing in a 1/4-Ironman Triathlon on Saturday. We drive back on Sunday. This is DH's biggest race yet. He's been training so hard for this. Wish him luck!

    See you on Monday. Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    Monday is Just One Day
    ... of the week. But it's definitely the hardest! DH dragged my poot butt out the door at 5:20 am for a swim workout. I'm glad he did, but man! it's hard getting up and out the door. Thanks sweetie, for getting me there :-)

    The Microspun Sof'Bankie was out 'n about this weekend; most notably at the Chargers vs. NY Jets game on Sunday, where the Chargers almost clawed their way back from behind to win. Alas, it wasn't to be; the Jets won, 34-28. Remember cute little Doug Flutie? He's San Diego's 3rd quarterback. At age 42, has no right to be on an NFL field, except that he's kept himself in top shape and injury free, and by golly, still has the chops to be put into a game in the 4th quarter and score a touchdown (which he ran in himself) to nearly tie the game. Woo hoo!

    Ch-ch-ch Changes
    The digest-sized Knitting Digest has changed its name and look. Now called Creative Knitting magazine, it's expanded to full magazine size, and has a fairly decent selection of patterns. Here's two that I liked:

    Cute little cardigan

    A bit bulky for San Diego, but still cute

    And I got this cute blankie pattern in the mail. It's Oat Couture's Auntie's Afghan:

    Cute, huh? Have a great Monday, everyone.

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    Friday is for FUN!
    The Microsoft Sof'Bankie is almost halfway done. Rather than bore you with endless pictures of the blanket-in-progress (hey! here's another 3 inches done!), I've decided to take pictures of the blanket in action.

    Here, I've tried to get the blanket to earn its keep. I stationed it in my cubicle at work, at my keyboard. It didn't seem interested. It kept slumping over the keys (kinda like me at the end of the day).

    I even tried to tempt it with a piece of Jolly Rancher candy, but no go:

    So I turned it into Thespian Blankie. Here, I'm making like Mary Magdelene in a roadshow version of Jesus Christ Superstar:

    But the blankie seems happiest in my lap, with Hubbs nestled underneath. Nevermind that I'm roasting under all that dog hair and microfiber.

    School Daze
    Fun article on that venerable (though no longer produced) icon of back-to-school supplies, the Pee Chee folder. Plus a few other school supplies of yesteryear you might remember (mucilage, anyone?)

    Happy Friday, everyone.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    A Special Tuesday Post!
    Someone is having a birthday today! Go over and wish her a happy one!

    Microspun Redux
    Thanks for all the compliments on DH's Nap Blanket, or the Sof' Bankie, as I call it (sof' bankie being the name of my security blanket when I was little :-)

    As yarn goes, Microspun is a strange animal. The colors are super-saturated and very rich. When I ordered the lavender shade online directly from Lion Brand, it appeared much more subtle onscreen. DH and I were a bit taken aback when we opened the package and saw this vibrant, rich, glowing lavender microfiber yarn. We've decided we like it, though. My only gripe would be the lack of neutrals and jewel tones available in the color range. The available color range swings widely from a nice pink-tinged mocha (which I used in the original Microspun Shawl), to vibrant tropical lime green and fuschia. Although I notice they did add a very nice Silver Grey to the color line this year.

    Being loosely plied, Microspun is also very splitty to work with. I suggest using needles with a fairly sharp point, or ones that "scoop" the yarn (i.e., Bryspuns), to avoid splitting. I have gotten used to it and haven't had too much trouble, but I do see a few loose strands where a split occurred. No biggie. The resulting fabric is light, warm, and soft. Perfect for a nap blanket!

    See ya tomorrow. Go say hi to the Birthday Girl.

    Oops! I forgot to answer Mia's question in yesterday's comments about the stitch used in the Microspun Sof' Bankie. It's a basic Ripple Stitch, as follows for the original Shawl pattern (calls for 6 skeins of Microspun):

    (over a multiple of 18 stitches + 6 extra)
    Cast on 132 stitches.
    ROW 1: (right side) Knit
    ROW 2: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
    ROW 3: K3 *(k2tog) 3 times (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times; repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
    ROW 4: Knit.
    Repeat Rows 1-4 until piece measures 60" from beginning. Bind off all stitches. Weave in ends.

    Happy Rippling!

    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Ay, chihuahua, another Monday. I've been working on another Lion Brand Microspun project. DH kept petting the Microspun shawl as I was working on it, and hinted that he'd like a throw made out of it. Since he rarely asks for anything for himself, I jumped at the chance. Basically, I doubled the width of the Microspun shawl from 18" to 36" inches, and kept the length the same (60"). He asked for lavendar, to match the amethyst stone in his wedding ring. Done, sweetie. Here's my progress so far:

    Here's a closeup of the pattern:

    Dream a Little Dream
    My entire life, I've never had a dream compelling or interesting enough to regret the alarm's interruption. Until this morning! I was in the middle of a really detailed dream in which I was on the phone with Steven Spielberg. He was very interested in an idea I had for a movie. He was telling me, in detail, the proper procedure for submitting a screenplay draft to his office, and the damn alarm went off! Aargh!

    Have a nice Monday, everyone.

    Friday, September 10, 2004

    I Really WAS Gonna Post, But ...
    Ooh. New Knitty. Yum. Must go there now.

    p.s. Hubbers thanks everyone for all the compliments. He already knows he's the baddest dog on the planet, but likes to hear it, anyway :-)

    Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    Mystery Guest, Please Sign In

    Hey, everybody. Mom asked me to be Guest Blogger today, 'cuz she and Dad are still feeling a little low since that kid left a few weeks ago. So I said, sure! if there's some treats involved. Specifically, people food treats, 'cuz they're way better than any stupid old dog food, right? Right.

    So my name is Hubbs. My fancy-schmancy AKC name is Hubbs von Kurtzbine, but you can call me Hubbs. Or Hubber T. Dog, which is short for "Hubber the Dog." Just don't call me late for dinner, OK? I'm a miniature dachshund, but don't you dare call me mini-anything, or I'll take your leg off at the ankle. I'm just as tough as any so-called "large breed," just concentrated in a smaller package.

    I live a pretty nice life, all in all. Mom and Dad spoil me pretty darn good. I guess if I had one complaint it would be that I deserve people food all the time, not just for the occasional treat. 'Cuz people food is way better than any stupid old dog food, right? Oh, I already said that. Well, it's true! Mom and Dad say that people food upsets my stomach and I have little "accidents" when I eat it. Huh. They say. I think I handle it just fine, thank you very much.

    I have a nice yard, which I guard very well. The daily delivery dorks -- the UPS dude, the Fedex guy, and the Mail dude, all fear my uber-guard skills. They don't even come into the yard anymore; they just leave packages at the gate or toss them over. Huh. Got them trained.

    There's a bunch of weird, feathered animals that live in the house. They're called parrots. I don't bother them; they don't bother me. Mom and Dad seem to appreciate that I don't try to eat these parrot things. I guess most dogs would try; I don’t particularly care. They're funny little things -- always squawking and flapping these things called wings. A whole lotta fuss over nothing, I say. I'm so mellow around these parrot things that I can sit on Mom's lap while she has a parrot on her shoulder. The parrots seem OK with it, and Mom likes to be able to pet both of us at the same time. What a circus, huh?

    OK, I gotta jam. Got a yard to guard, ya know. The delivery dorks oughta be showing up in a few hours, and I gotta catch a few winks and be ready to terrify them. Catch you later. Mom ought to be back later this week. She's doing a little better. I miss that kid that used to be here, too. He was good for a few people treats and pets now and then. Bye.

    Monday, August 30, 2004

    The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
    "To a Mouse", Robert Burns

    I'm checking in briefly to thank everyone who commented, emailed, or sent e-cards over the past week. Your outpouring of care and concern was like a healing balm on my and DH's hurts. I'll be fine; I always am. But I worry about DH. He'd been wanting RockStar to live with him for so long, and to have it end like this has been very painful. We've had one phone call (initiated by DH), and other than that, no communication. We hope RS is in school (he wasn't as of the end of last week, and school started August 11th); I hope his mother is making sure he takes his ADD meds; is making sure he gets to bed on time 'cuz he's such a night owl if left to his own devices ... just because the kid is gone doesn't mean the worry left with him.

    I was so optimistic about this summer. I envisioned myself running and having a blast training with DH, I looked forward to RockStar heading east to visit his mom so we'd all get a much-needed break from each other, and I looked forward to his return and the start of his junior year. Well. Things haven't quite worked out the way I'd envisioned. The knees haven't held up for running. RockStar's decamped for the East Coast. I know there's lessons to be learned from all this, but I'll be damned if I've figured out what they are.

    My sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you for your kind words and encouragement. I'll be back soon. I am knitting through this mess. Appropriately enough, I'm knitting a throw, 'cuz that's what I feeling like doing right now. Throwing something. See you soon.

    Monday, August 23, 2004

    I'm taking a blog break this week. One week ago today, RockStar was due to come home to San Diego from his annual summer visit to his mother's in North Carolina. Instead, on the day he was due back, he called his father and announced that he wasn't coming back, and wanted to live with his mother again. A week of back-and-forth phone calls ensued. DH and I assured him that whatever was wrong, we'd work it out when he got home. The entire drama ended last Friday night, with a farewell email from RockStar. DH and I are stunned, to say the least. We're still picking up the emotional pieces. I need a few days to sort myself out. I'll be back in a week or so.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    Another Day, Another Book
    ... another project I'll never have time for (sigh!). I guess I pre-ordered this from Amazon, 'cuz it showed up yesterday. I must have pre-ordered it months ago; I really don't recall ordering it at all. I like the cover jacket a lot:

    And I like the Casual Cable Sweater, made of Rowan Magpie:

    Got a few more inches done on the Microspun Mocha Shawl. Coincidentally, I was organizing my patterns a bit the other day and found another shawl pattern that's virtually identical to the Mocha Shawl. It's the Victoria Lace Shawl from St. Seraphina Knits.

    The new KnitNet is up. I've been subscribing to KnitNet for at least a year, and have yet to make one of their patterns. I feel a bit like the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland ... always short of time! Someday (ha!), I'll get around to making one of their patterns.

    Gotta go. No time! No time! Happy Wednesday, everyone.

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    More Stuff (I Have No Time For)
    This pretty book showed up in the mail this weekend:

    It's a nice book, but doesn't do more than just scratch the surface of most lace techniques. But the glove pattern on the cover is worth the price of admission! Plus, there's a nice section on Irish Lace, which I've never really understood until now.

    Post Race Reflections
    The AFC Half Marathon & 5K was a lot of fun, and a very good first race for me. I was a bit intimidated by the rush of runners at the beginning, and stuck close to DH for most of the race. It's interesting, my whole running style has changed in the 2 sessions I've had at the San Diego Running Institute. I kept surging past DH, then I'd slow down and wait for him to catch up. Over and over again, for the entire 3.1 miles. If I'd cut loose and went for it, I'd have been at about a 4.5mph pace. DH was amazed. He's always wanted to run faster, so he's off to see Gina at SDRI soon. The post-race mingling was fun, too. The rest of our team met up and compared race experiences, while scarfing down the complimentary bananas, oranges, and bottled water provided. Me 'n DH were the only ones doing the 5K -- DH could have done the half-marathon, but being the sweetheart he is, accompanied me during my first race :-) The other members of our team did the half-marathon. All in all, a lot of fun.

    Happy Monday, everyone!

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    Here's where I'll be at 6:00 am Sunday! Me 'n DH are doing the 5K. Wish us luck! Have a nice weekend, everyone.

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    I Don't Remember It Being This Hard
    ... when I was a kid. I'm talking about swimming. My smiling-but-sadistic Brazilian trainer had me swim over 1100 meters on Wednesday morning. Thursday morning, I can barely lift my arms to compose this entry. Ow. But I promised pictures of new stuff, so I dragged out the camera and snapped these goodies that arrived from Elann. First, some yummy 100% alpaca and Austermann "Caprice":

    ... to make this:

    ... and this:

    Yum! And I've got about 36" of progress on the Microspun Mocha Shawl:

    Rowan's Denim People showed up in the mail the other day. I especially like Brooklyn. It reminds me of the Adidas track suits I used to wear in high school:

    I'm thinking some Den-M-Nit from Elann would work for this design. Has anyone tried subbing it for Rowan Denim?

    OK, my arms are screaming for a break. Time for some ibuprofen and a walkabout in the office. See ya.

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    2 Much 2 Soon
    Ay yi yi. Monday rolled around much too quickly. So much to show you! And no time to take pictures this morning. Rowan's Denim People showed up in Saturday's mail; got a bunch done on the Microspun Mocha Shawl, and, ta da! DH bought me a new mattress and a road bike and accessories! I'm feeling very spoiled right about now. Pictures of my bounty tomorrow Wednesday Thursday (arrgh!). Happy Monday, everyone :-)

    Friday, August 06, 2004

    Digging a Trench with a Teaspoon
    That's how it feels sometimes when I view my project progress vs. future projects I want to undertake. I have so little spare time to indulge in my fiber pursuits that my finished-project-to-future-project ratio will always be hopeless skewed in the wrong direction. Ah well, I guess I never have to worry about having a project at hand, right?

    I knit up about 5" on the Microspun Mocha Shawl, but since this sucker is about 80" long and I'm currently at about inch #24, I won't bore you with a picture.

    Lace Me Up
    I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart. Maybe it's the Lace Curtain Irish in me, but I love lace edgings on pillowcases, crocheted lace tableclothes on the dining room table, and crocheted lace bedspreads. So when these old McCalls's mags and an old Coats & Clarks booklet showed up in the mail from one of my favorite vendors, Vintage Knits, I was thrilled:

    I think I may have to bite the bullet and choose a bedspread to work on. If I choose a design composed of individual squares, I can turn this into an ideal takealong project. Maybe someday, way off in the future, I'll accumulate enough squares for a bedspread or tablecloth. Ever hopeful, I am!

    One Step Forward, Two Back
    Update on the Running Thang -- I had an appointment with a Biomechanic Specialist(!) at the San Diego Running Institute earlier this week. Sounds pretty important and official, doesn't it? Well, the SDRI is actually a running shoe store owned by a chiropractor and managed by a very knowledgeable young woman named Gina, who is an expert in Kinesiology (body movement). The lowdown: my right leg is ... OK. Slightly knock-kneed, but not badly so. The left leg, however, is a strange animal: more severely knock-kneed, and rolling inward from heel to toe. Watching myself in a mirror as I ran on a treadmill was quite illuminating: my left knee crosses waaay over toward, and almost in front of, the right knee. No wonder it hurts!

    I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill in my current shoes (a pair of Brooks) while Gina carefully watched and made copious notes. She also spent a lot of time measuring my back, legs, feet, and hips. Based on the above, she determined that my current shoes were the wrong size, didn't help my feet track "straight" and didn't have enough arch support or room in the toe box. She chose a pair of Asics shoes and a pair of orthotic inserts for me to try. I strapped on the new shoes (which happened to also be a lovely girly-girl shade of silver with pink stripes!), and ran another 10 minutes on the treadmill. What a difference! My left knee straightened out dramatically and tracked nearly straight in front. My biomechanics still ain't perfect, but they're a lot better.

    I ran another 10 minutes in which we worked on "gait training" to help my body memorize proper running form. My base form isn't too bad, but I was running at much too short a stride. If I lengthen my stride, I spend more time "in the air" and strike the ground at significantly fewer strokes per minute, thus lessening the amount of impact on my body. Makes sense, huh? I was also overusing my arms, almost in a cross-country skiing motion, which further expends unnecessary energy. The point is, if I get tired too quickly, I won't be able to maintain good form, which will lead to further injury. All in all, this was money well spent.

    Why am I spending so much time and thought (not to mention $$) to pursue an activity that may not pan out? Because on the ride home from SDRI, I had a goofy grin plastered on my face from my accomplishments and the pure joy of running again. And I'm willing to fight for that. It's that simple.

    I have 2 more appointments with Gina to further reinforce the gait training and learn some leg strengthening exercises. I've got my fingers crossed! I may never be a long distance runner, but if I can get myself to the point where I can safely run 3 days a week, I'll be happy. The swimming and bike riding will fill the other days.

    Where is this all going? Who knows. I had a swimming lesson last night with DH's triathlon coach, who is also an internationally ranked triathlete. I told him what Gina said about my probably not being an ideal candidate for long distance running, and he slyly said, "Sprint Triathlons. Short running distance. 3.2 miles. No problem." Damn it. They're still trying to pull me into their crazy group. Pray for me, people. We're buying a road bike for me this weekend. The road to hell is paved with Asics running shoes and a Lance Armstrong bracelet:

    Happy Friday, everyone.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Wednesday, Schmensday
    So what if it's Wednesday? Hump Day? The middle of the week? Pah! I got this in the mail last night:

    Reel me in, I'm hooked!

    That's right! Three skeins of Twilleys Silky in black, and an entire Boye steel crochet hook set! Don't you wish you were me? I know I do.

    All this fabulous loot came from JKL Needles, a great vendor to work with. The Silky thread is a 2-ply, 100% viscose, #5 crochet thread that I really look forward to trying. I'll be making the scarf pictured above. Much as I love the Shades of Roses Painted Scarf, the tiny threads are just a bit much for me right now. So this Black Beauty Scarf will feed my ongoing crochet jones without further taxing my poor over-40's eyesight.

    Look for me in the corner. I'll be the gal tangled in black thread with an idiotic grin on her face. Happy Wednesday, everyone.

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    Post Vacation Haze
    What is it about the first Monday morning after a vacation? It seems like the previous week is already a distant haze! Even if you have a great job to return to (which I do), it's hard to get back into the swing of things. But I endeavor to persevere!

    Thanks for all the nice comments wishing me a happy vacation. It certainly was, even if it went by all too quickly. We arrived in the Pacific Northwest on Friday evening to catch the tail-end of a heat wave (103 degrees in Portland upon landing). We spent one night in Portland at a hotel -- my mother was entertaining cousins from Sweden and couldn't fit us in! The next morning (Saturday), we headed off for British Columbia. A nice if uneventful drive, ending with a loooong 2-hour wait at the border at Blaine, Washington.

    Fortunately, we had a lovely destination -- Bowen Island, a short ferry ride from Vancouver, and the home of a good friend and business associate. A lovely night was spent there recovering from the 9-hour drive and border wait. Then one day (Sunday) in Vancouver visiting friends. DH had a golf/business meeting, and I hung out with a friend and caught The Bourne Supremacy in a lovely air-conditioned theater (good movie, quite different in pace from the first Bourne movie).

    The next morning (Monday), off on a ferry to Victoria, BC! The Empress Hotel in Victoria was quaint, with no air-conditioning! We spent the day walking around downtown Victoria, peeking in the shops. I had given up hope of finding the famous Beehive Wools, when we stumbled across it while trying to find Chinatown. A huge shop, crammed floor to ceiling with lots of lovely yarn. Again, no air conditioning! It was a bit stuffy, to say the least. DH stayed outside. I braved the humid cocoon-like interior, and came out with this:

    12 Skeins of Lett Lopi, for another Aran Poncho

    Jeanette Crew's "Beautifully Wrapped" Book

    Early Tuesday morning, we caught the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. It was a much smaller ferry than the one we took from Vancouver to Victoria, and I got seasick on the passage. I felt much better once back on dry land! Then we drove the Olympic Peninsula from Port Angeles to Olympia -- a very lovely drive. From Olympia, we hopped on Interstate 5 & 205 back to Portland.

    Once back in Portland, we spent the next 5 days chillin' at my mom's house. I wish I could say it was a blissful visit, but there's some stressful family stuff going on (finances and an impending divorce) that cast a worrisome shadow over the visit. Lots of praying going on in the family over various situations.

    Saturday we flew back to San Diego, to an empty house. RockStar is visiting his mom in North Carolina for 3 weeks, and the cat, dog, and birds were all boarded at various facilities. Sunday we rounded up all the animals, and the ark was full again!

    Of course I took a Road Project with me -- something easy and mindless that I could quickly stuff into a bag as needed. This free shawl pattern on the Lion Brand Microspun label fit the bill perfectly!

    6 Skeins of Microspun makes this:

    Two skeins worth of shawl, with a third skein just attached:

    Close-up of the 4-row Ripple Pattern:

    Gotta scoot! Works calls, and since I didn't win the lottery in my absence, I'm obligated to show up and see how much spam has accumulated in my email box :-)

    Happy Monday, everyone!