Saturday, January 31, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

All the pets seem to be running down at the same time. One cat is too skinny, one is too fat, one couldn't pee and exploded. Really. I woke up one morning to a soaking wet bed and soaking wet cat who was unable to move one leg. I changed the sheets, put him on a stack of towels (to much screaming), and he slept for 15 hours. He feels better now, but I hate it when he is sick. One dog has some suspicious lumps and I have had to scoop 3 fish in the last month. AND the rabbit got a piece of something in his eye and looked in a bad way for a day or two. Right now everyone (except skinny cat) is acting fine, but I have worried lo these many years about all the pets getting old and infirm at the same time. Sigh.

In the good news department, my application for extended unemployment was approved *and* I received a totally unexpected check in the mail which will cover my COBRA payment and electric bill for the month. Woot!

The dog(s) and I are still taking our long walks almost every day. I am up to an hour's worth of patience. Any more than that and I get snippy and they get dragged. Today we splurged and walked to the ice cream stand. The other night we wandered a new route through neighborhoods and an owl flew right over us. Today it was a pair of crows (a brace of corbies?).

Knitting progress is being made. I have finished the first skein of yarn on That Scottish Stole, and am dithering about whether to start a new skein or advertise on Ravelry to see if anyone has a partial skein in their stash that I can trade / barter for. In the meantime I have picked up the Mystery Stole 4 project and am halfway through clue 6. Then I put in waste yarn, set it aside, knit clues 1-5 again and then graft the two pieces together. I don't have enough yarn for this project (I wonder if I could dye the leftover gray-green to match the lovely deep blue? It is the same brand of yarn), so it may be going into a holding pattern in a few weeks too.

I made some pretty tasty pizza last night with homemade dough... I need to really practise my dough-smoothing-to-edge-of-pan abilities. I ended up with a 1" thick crust! I have also been making oven-dried tomatoes with the haul from the garden. The bounty just doesn't end. I have peppers, tomatoes, volunteer lettuces, and very happy basil.

Life is good most days... if only I could get up and do all the things that need doing instead of wishing they were done. Some days I start with a lot of energy and then it fades away. Some days I spend the whole day working up the nerve to get going and it is 4 pm before I leave the house. And this is when I am on my meds! It is not that I am lacking for things that need to get done. But tonight I am out and about.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Random Tuesday

Well, I am officially out from under my rock. Martha joined me (and Dozer) on our little hike, I went to quilting class, I made a yarn delivery, and now it is WOW:30. I even picked up my meds and will get back on schedule. Cat food is purchased, I remembered to shop for my 2009 dayplanner (they were sold out), and today is free coffee day at the coffeeshop.

It was especially nice to share my walk with a friend. The weather was beautiful, Dozer was on his best behavior and the time just sped by. No exciting wildlife sightings, but I did finally find my house off in the distance (well, the brown/green smudge of the trees over the house).

Knitting on That Scottish Stole is still progressing, albeit slowly. I am done with the first repeat of the last section. It feels good to make progress and it will feel great to have a finished object!

My homework for quilting is to assemble and attach the first portion of the binding. I will have to call the recipient and tell her to get that ticker-tape parade ready. Then I can work on the next section of my own quilt, and on Thursday it will be time to join The Ladies at The Church.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

No Creative Title

Another quiet couple of days... I really need to get back on my meds. I did manage a 3 mile walk with Dozer this afternoon, now we are pooped. It is worth it, however, as all of this eating nothing but potatoes-cereal-bread-pancakes-french toast-rice-spaghetti is having an effect on my midline.

I am sick unto death of "news" about the inauguration. Race apparently did matter in the election (which we all knew but no one would admit), since for the last 2 weeks has been about the fact that it is a black person being inaugurated. I am so over it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Laugh Riot

I have been entertained no end by this site for the last several days: Disapproving Rabbits. I am a simple woman with simple needs.

And my dutch rabbit was totally adorable today - he was the centerpiece and one guinea pig was snuggled up on each side, like fat little commas. The outside rabbit just wishes the temperature would go back down below 70.

Communing With Nature

A good morning. Dozer and I had a nice walk up the mountain this weekend. And by "up", I mean that we made it about halfway and then had a nice long sit down in the sun. I startled a rabbit, we saw lizards and hawks, got buzzed by hummingbirds and inspected by sparrows. I go sight-seeing and he goes sniff-smelling. I end up seeing more interesting things when I am waiting for him to finish smelling things than when I am walking and looking. Go figure. I should have gotten a picture of him grazing on the new grass... he was truly a "sheep dog" today. It is also good for my self esteem when he chooses to lay next to me instead of trotting at the end of his 15 ft lead. But I also like it when he is confident enough to wander off.

The info about the dairy was in one of the Hawai'i guide books at the condo. You know how words like "goat" and "yarn" jump right out at me. That same day we also went to the winery and to the Maui Cattle Co for lunch. mmmm.

I am thinking of going to see a bargain show of "Quantum of Solace" before it leaves the big screen, and also of spending more time at the local dive bar. It is cheaper to stay home, but maybe if I do something with my face and wear a cute shirt someone will buy me a beer. Some days I really miss being in a relationship and then I come to my senses. Maybe when everything is done off of the knitting "to do" list.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I realized the other day that, even though I have been back for 14 months now, I should post some of the rest of the pictures from my trip to Maui. We spent one afternoon at the Surfing Goat Dairy. We went on the evening milking tour and got to bring the goats in from the field, watch them being milked (and help, but only a little), and do a little feeding. It was the best time.

We admired goats...We admired the goat-keeper and they wanted him to hurry up and open the gate, already!
Random children (and grownups, not pictured) flung hay at the newest crop of goat kids...
And that's the end!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eye Candy Wednesday

The halloween socks are done! Cherry Tree Hill yarn in the colorway "African Grey". Which is, of course, a myster becasue african greys are grey and red birds. I still love the colorway with the black, orange, pink and purple stripes. Very sunset-ty.The Fair Isle mittens I made in December. They actually match the hat I made the week before, which was absent at photo-shoot time. They are nice and cuddly, but it has been far, far too warm to wear them since they were completed. The yarn came from the stash, it was bought with a gift certificate *and* was 70% off, and there is plenty left for matching socks. The gray yarn really looks blue now that they are done.Here is the fancy pants little crow basket that I received for a holiday present from my aunt and uncle in Washington. Not pictured are the cookies that came with it :) This is the third year running I have received a gift with a crow and stars and I must say I truly love all of them.
Here is the 9 patch quilt with white sashing that I have been working off and on this year. When it is done it will be 6 squares by 9 squares. I have run out of white, so it is on hold for the time being.
So I have been keeping busy as you can see. I finished the second third of That Scottish Shawl last night and picked up the stitches for the other side. It was a little challenging but I am well on my way now. I read ahead to the instructions for the knitted on border and started to get a cramp, so I will leave that until the time is right. I have been knitting-monogamous to that project and I have learned two things: if you knit it, it will grow; and geez, these things take a long time!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tess Interacts

A tesseract is a cube in four dimensions, I learned back in my sci-fi days. Hard to describe, impossible to draw, but a masterwork of things existing in the same space as themselves. So it has gone this week in entertainment-ville.

I rented "Tess" last week on a whim (the 1980 version by Roman Polanski, starring Natassja Kinski) and it was superb. Bang on the people, the land and the garb (I haven't read the book) of Hardys 19th cen Wessex (I have read his other books). I kept thinking, why didn't I see ads for this on the telly? Well, it is because it was made 30 years ago! In fact, Sharon Tate was supposed to be Tess... and we all know what happened to her. Anyway, it was a period film where no influence from the outside world filtered in... timeless.

But that isn't the funny thing. The funny thing is that the next night, when I went to re-watch it, PBS was showing... "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". Their version seems to be in 3 or 4 2-hour parts ("Tess" is 3 hours), and it is shot-for-shot, word-for-word, costume-for-costume, nearly identical to the Polanski version. It is dead uncanny. The only bad bit is only one of the cast is using the correct accent. Either the book only has 29 lines, all of which show up in both versions, or someone was making a miniseries in "tribute" to the film.

Either way, it has been a Hardy-har-har weekend. I feel the urge to pick up "The Return of the Native" again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Movin' Right Along

This is the second day running that Dozer and I have gone up Mt. Rubidoux. We have been moseying and enjoying ourselves, and today I sat on a comfy rock and just stared at nothing. It is super windy again today, but warm instead of the icy chill of yesterday. It was so nice to hear nothing but the wind rushing through the trees and various windchimes. Voices, car noise, everything was whipped away.

Not much knitting, but I did get out the sewing machine and work on quilt piecing last night while listening to weekend shows on NPR. I need to suck it up and go get more of the sashing material so I can finish it, which should only take a couple evenings' work. I also need to finish hand-quilting the little quilt before it gets any warmer at night!

I think I will spend some time later today raking the 800,000 leaves in the backyard. It would be nice to sit out there with the dogs and the bun and the sun. I have a simple life these days and don't wish for anything more. Yesterday's big accomplishment was making bread and having ice cream with raspberry preserves (highly recommended, by the way).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Well, we are all done jury-ing. We decided "not guilty" and told the defendant that we would be ticked off if we see her on "Cops" next week. The lesson here - do not be confrontational to your neighbors. If you must be, then install a cctv to watch the yard.

The ladies finished the quilt this morning; I will have to go to Julie's to see how it came out.

Not much to report today - maybe I will take the dogs for a long walk around sunset. It sure is nice and warm today.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Swear

I finally drew the short (?) straw and am on a jury. It goes a lot slower than "Law & Order", let me tell you. But the coffee is hot, sweet and free and the lunch break was long enough to let me go home and open a package of holiday cookies that came in the mail today *yum* and take Dozer dog for walkies. And who doesn't love $15 / day?

I brought my smallest, dullest nonmetallic tatting shuttle and worked on a bit of lace edging I have been chipping away at over the year. I am calling it done; it can be fudged into a circle (and I ran out of bobbin thread). The last time I picked it up, I realized I had forgotten what I was doing, but when I dragged it out last night I cracked open some tatting books and finally remembered how to handle the ball and shuttle method *whew* I also brought my current book, Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais. It is not a great choice for light reading in fits and starts. Tomorrow is all about the late start. I think I will be able to squeeze in 10 minutes to tell the quilting ladies that I can't attend. It stinks, because we were going to finish up the last bit of Christie's quilt and take it off the bars. I was going to get pictures! Oh well, I will ask them to deliver it to Julia so we can put the binding on. Maybe I will even leave them the camera.

PBS has been running episodes of a show on Appalachians (sp?) and I recommend it to everyone. I stopped for the music and stayed for the people, the history and the life. And more music. Maybe this weekend I will work on getting the turntable up and going and paw thru the Bill Monroe records I got from Grandpa's collection.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I think that southern California needs another season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Sproing, and Winter. Those late-in-the-year rains make for some surprising additions to the garden in December...I had forgotten that there were even bulbs planted there (the gardeners whacked them this spring), but it was a pleasant surprise. I love to look at paperwhites, although I think they smell like ant spray. I think the snowdrops may have gone to the big flower field in the sky, however.

I should have remembered to take a picture of my parrot after our shower. She looked like a drowned rat. It has taken a few days, but she will finally come under the water for her bath. She also tries to "help" brush hair and teeth. Geez.

Progress (but not photo-ing) on That Scottish Stole continues apace. I am nearly done with the second third. Then I flip it around, take out the provisional cast on, knit the third third, and add the border. Each repeat of the end motif takes about 8 hours of hard knitting, leaving me a good 30 knitting hours before the border.
I am slowly emerging from my shell. Dozer and I walked up Mt. Rubidoux the other day and it was fun and pretty. We were up higher than the red-tailed hawks (but I think they were slumming). It is always entertaining to see how people do or do not control their dogs on a walk. No people or loose dogs? He can have 10 feet of lead. People, dogs, bikers, squirrels? He gets 6 inches of lead on the far side of the distraction and we *never* stop walking. Then a pat on the head. Particularly amusing / annoying was the woman with a pit bull who would stop her dog to "soothe" it whenever another dog came up... effectively rewarding it with a rest, pettings, and entertainment.
Anyway, I hope to get out even more soon.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Today's Picks

Coffee Place: The Coffee Depot (Plaza Location) - best employees ever. It's good to be a regular.

Movie: "Tipping the Velvet". Victorian lesbians and oysters. 'Nuff said.

Food Show: "Simply Ming". Do I even look at the food? I do. And it looks great too. Xi xi, Ming!

Appliance: The Breadmaker. Again, why did I wait so long to try it out? That reminds me, I have to buy flour this week.

Errand: Pay Rent.

Adventure: Call in tonight on my jury duty notice. Wheeee!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Peeping Out

I have been happily cocooned up in the house for the last few weeks. Not so happily, I am still 3,600+ emails behind and can't get Yahoo to work on my computer anymore. Fun. There has been some knitting, but not on the "responsible" projects.

Alrighty, time for soup and toast. MMMM.