29 April 2006

Thing 2 Visits See's Candies

After I got the chocolate scraped off her skin and she changed her outfit to something less chocolate-dipped, we went to Purls & Girls, our local yarn store. No, this isn't the promised birthday yarn shopping trip; I just needed a specific item. Thing 2 was very excited to be going to a yarn store, and when we arrived, she happily pointed out to me her favorites. Then she plopped herself down on a chair and announced, "I want to knit!" Alas, her manual dexterity isn't quite there yet, but it certainly bodes well for the future. And she was mollified by my permission to leaf through pattern books, as well as the (very nice) store employee's attention to her. After I made my purchase, we visited the Hawaiian store 2 doors down, where she scored a plastic lei and a dolphin book, and I got a jar of guava jam. The people there were really nice, too--they tried to teach Thing 2 to say aloha and mahalo.

28 April 2006

Friday Stuff

From AP this morning, an article containing the following quote:

"I think people who want to be citizens of this country ought to learn
English," Bush said.
Sadly ironic, considering El Presidente's masterful command of his native tongue.

Bush also stated that immigrants should learn to sing the national anthem in English. I dunno about you, but I'm third-generation American, and I couldn't sing that song if you put a gun to my head (in English or otherwise).


Life has been so godawfully busy lately that I haven't even picked up my needles in nearly 2 weeks. This makes me sad. Instead, I've been stumbling around from one obligation to another, and then falling into bed for a few hours. And things will probably not let up appreciably until the semester ends a month from now. But one of my birthday presents from hubby was a promise that I could have a kid-free afternoon to go yarn shopping. And yes, my birthday was over a month ago, but I haven't had the chance to redeem yet. But I may try to grab an opportunity tomorrow, which brings up a delightful problem: Which one to visit?? I have all the yarn stores of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valleys and the San Francisco Bay Area to choose from. Which one should it be?

25 April 2006

More Ornithology

I'm on a posting binge today! I've had some lanterns hanging on my side patio for a couple of years. One of them recently fell down (miraculously not breaking), and hubby placed it on the patio table. I happened to look at it today. Here's what I found:

Obviously, somebody (probably finches) had built themselves a nice little home in the lantern. Here's what the inside of the nest looks like:
The outside is woven of grass and weeds, and the inside is lined with bits of paper and a red thread, and, in the very center, tufts of nice, soft Ruthie fur! This is just about the sweetest thing evcer, and I'm glad there were no eggs yet when the lantern blew down.

More Interesting Knitted Things

A knitted toolbelt, machine gun, jackhammer, and, my favorite, motorcycle. And from the same artist, embroidered tattoos. Hubby wants a motorcycle--think I should knit him one?


This was my swimming pool this morning. He had a girlfriend, too, but she's around the corner. He looked pretty happy with himself.

24 April 2006

Pimp My Snack

Remember when I blogged about the Curly Wurly, the Cadbury's candy bar that's mostly unavailable in the US? I brought back a stash when I went to London, but of course that stash was rapidly depleted. Too bad I didn't buy them in this size.

I guess so

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.

You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Gratuitous Cuteness

I haven't had time to knit, alas. So in lieu of a picture of a completed project, I'm going to subject you to this:

Remember how much fun a big box was when you were little? Thing 2 has moved into this one.

22 April 2006

No Yarn Store, Alas

I did not make it to Unwind today, which is frustrating because it's only a mile or two away. Instead, we took the Things to the LA County Natural History Museum, where much fun was had amidst the dinosaurs, bugs, etc. There was a brief fiber moment: in the Bog People exhibit (which also features some cool info on forensic anthropolgy, which I find fascinating) there were 2 balls of 3000 year old yarn. Somehow it's comforting to think that maybe several thousand years from now, some future archeaologist will unearth my stash, which will then appear in a museum. I wonder what they might conclude from this? "Some 21st century North Americans had an obsession with stockpiling various fibers. This may have been some form of idolatry." The Bog People exhibit also showed a nifty ancient gadget for creating complicated weavings.

21 April 2006

Blogging from La La Land

I am blogging from Universal City, where I'm attending an academic conference with family in tow. In fact, as I type, hubby is at the theme park with the Things while I prepare for my presentation this afternoon. I understand there's a yarn store called Unwind not too far away, so I may try to sneak in a visit tomorrow.

Thing 2 misheard the name of one of the rides at Universal Studios, and keeps insisting she wants to go on the Mommy Ride. It made me start thinking, what if there really was such a ride? Giant, harrassed-looking women would pop out and yell, "Eat your vegetables! Stop bothering your sister!" And of course, the dreaded, "Go to bed!!"

Or maybe it's a scary ride for Mommies (as if we needed such a thing). You embark on a transcontinental airline flight with two overtired, overstimulated children, ages 2 and 5. Shortly after the plans takes off, you realize you have no diapers or binkies. The younger child gets airsick and projectile vomits on you. The older child has several tantrums. In the next section, your children are older. One kid gets called to the principal's office and later bonks her head on the monkeybars, requiring a trip to the ER. The other kid comes down with something messy and contagious the morning your husband's out of town and you have an important meeting. I don't know what awaits you in the next section. Kids learn to drive? Daughters start dating? ARRGGHHH!! Let me off this ride!

19 April 2006


This week is my spring "vacation". Why the quotation marks? because Thing 2 also has the week off, so I'm spending much of my time entertaining a 3-year-old. Yesterday, in between trips to the potty and dropping off Thing 1 and playhouse annex construction and lunch-making and snack-making and searching for Spongebob on tv and getting the car fixed and going shopping and picking up Thing 1 and homework assistance and outdoor supervision and more shopping and laundry doing and packing and bathing and tucking in...I had 72 essays to grade. Today's schedule includes a dentist appointment for Thing 1, dropping off Ruthie at the kennel, open house at Thing 1's school, and an ACLU meeting, plus more packing (packing for young children is much like preparing for an expedition to the moon). Tomorrow we head for LA, where I have a conference, and where the entire family is tagging along for theme park/museum fun. I guess I can rest...hmmm....in June.

13 April 2006

Little People

Am I the only person who thinks Little People are kinda creepy?

Via Boing Boing

Boing Boing usually has some interesting stuff. This morning, a link to a guy from Montreal named Kyle MacDonald. Kyle started off last year with a single red paperclip, and has traded for successively bigger things. He's now up to a year's free rent in Phoenix, and he's trying for a house. Also this morning, a project to crochet a coral reef. And, finally, more Canadian hijinks.

11 April 2006

Work Avoidance

I was procrastinating about getting my work done this afternoon, and after I got bored with watching the storm brew outside, I ended up browsing Yahoo's Odd News. I discovered an ad campaign I can appreciate, a candidate for the Worst Mother of the Year Award, and scary bunnies. Now, isn't that better than working??


The Spring Knitty is up. A few cute patterns, but one in particular is calling my name. Knitty's knitted nautiloids need to be knitted. Interesting article on silk, too.

10 April 2006


Thing 2 was helping me to test the "action" setting on my camera. As you can see, it works pretty well. As for the outfit, well, I guess it's dancing gear.

Monday Miscellany

Knitta goes around "tagging" with their knitting. They knit cozies for things like stop signs and car antennae.

Erika knitted a sweater for the tree outside her house.

10 Plagues finger puppets, to go with the stuffed toys. And if you're not Jewish? Hindu finger puppets. Or nuns. For secular types, you can choose from various scientists, philosophers, and artists (they're magnetic, too--I have Jung and Freud on my office wall). I like to imagine the conversations you could stage between these puppets, such as, say, Kafka and Poe:
Poe: What's that? It's the sound of his heart...
Kafka: ...which has turned into a cockroach!!

09 April 2006


The Skully pullover from Stitch 'n Bitch, finished. Although it's knitted in Lamb's Pride Bulky, it still took a long time to knit because it's oversized, and also because I ran out of yarn and had to order more and wait for it to come. It took about 2 1/2 more skeins than the pattern called for. We're having unseasonably cool weather, so I may actually get to wear it now, instead of waiting until December.

And here is Thing 2 considering a career in modeling:

07 April 2006


The CAPL-German site has lists of words and phrases in German and their English equivalents, each with a nice, clear photo (CAPL stands for Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon). You can search for a particular word in English or German, or you can browse by category. Although it's not all-encompassing, there is certainly enough to get most non-German speakers through a trip to a German-speaking country. As a semi-vegetarian, I would find it an especially helpful way of avoiding meat.

While browsing the site, I learned a few interesting things, like Germans apparently feel the need for der Pommesticker and der Eisloffel; that the creators of the site think there's an object called a Didl in English; that a pillow is charmingly called a das kopfkissen; and that there are advertisements for hot live loaves. Also, this sign needs little translation. But I think the most puzzling entry is this one. Why does it exist? What are the chances that a traveler would encounter it? Is the sign there as a warning to stay away or as an advertisement? How many of these exist in Germany and why?

My only disappointment with the CAPL site is that it doesn't contain one term I actually needed when I was in Germany: Studentenkarzer. A colleague and I were looking for the one in Tuebingen, and for some reason my pocket German-English dictionary didn't contain this particular term. Fortunately, we quickly found a helpful student who spoke perfect English, and who led us right there. Unfortunately, it was closed that day. Still, I think, it's a damn fine idea.

Holiday Gift Idea

With Passover coming up soon, I figure what everyone needs is this: the Plush Plagues Bag. It contains stuffed versions of all 10 Plagues.

06 April 2006

Famous Last Words, Etc.

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Nice doggy."

Last night I was knitting away at a fair aisle pattern while watching Brokeback Mountain. Hubby glanced over and asked, "Why are you twisting those yarns around like that?" Other than "How much did you spend on yarn?" I do believe that's the only question he has ever asked about knitting. And maybe it's because he really was curious, or maybe it's because he knows I've had a goddamn *&^% week, or maybe he just wasn't entranced by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal making out, but he then sat patiently and listened to a short dissertation on single color knitting v. fair aisle v. intarsia.

05 April 2006

Wasting Time

So you haven't wasted enough time with Blogthings? It looks like McSweeney's site has all sorts of potential for frittering away precious time.

Fish condos.

04 April 2006


At least someone appreciates the weather we've been having.


This picture was taken last June. The dog on the right is Ruthie, and on the left is Zeus, my parents' dog. Both appear to be fascinated by something edible in someone's hands.

Yesterday my parents had to send Zeus to the Rainbow Bridge. He was 11 years old, and had osteosarcoma.

Zeus was picked up as a stray when he was about a year old. Best as anyone can figure, he was a Saint-Pyr mix. Only about a year after my parents adopted him, they learned that he had horrible hip dysplasia, so bad that he either needed very expensive hip reconstruction surgery, or else he needed to be put out of his misery. Of course, my parents chose the surgery, and Zeus spent many years taking brisk 5 mile walks with my Dad.

At first, Zeus had fear-aggression towards all dogs except Elektra, my parents' alpha terrier. Elektra (who lived to a ripe old age herself) used to put Zeus in his place, and he'd take it, despite that he was several times her size. Surprisingly, Zeus eventually overcame his fear of other dogs, and even enjoyed playing with them. When he visited us in 2005, he had a good time playing with Ruthie, even though he was already fairly old by then.

Zeus was a wonderful, loving companion to my parents. He was also great with my kids. Even though he didn't live with small children, and only visited with them occasionally, he was very tolerant of their noise and wildness, and seemed to genuinely enjoy their company. He was always gentle with them, too. When Thing 1 was 4, she tripped and fell directly onto the sleeping Zeus's open mouth. She started crying that he'd bit her, but we'd all seen it with our own eyes: she'd fallen onto his teeth! She wasn't even scratched, and poor Zeus just seemed distressed that she was crying.

Several years ago, I ended up stranded at my parents' house over spring break when I ruptured a disk in my back. During the month I lay flat on my back, Zeus was a devoted nurse, cuddling next to me in bed oh-so-gently and keeping me company when I was miserable.

My parents haven't been dogless for 17 years, and they say their house is much too empty now. They're already talking about getting another dog or two, and I'm sure they won't be dogless for long. We all know, however, that there's no replacing Zeus. He was a good dog.

Craig's List

I don't ordinarily visit Craig's List, but today I did, and I found a great ad on the San Francisco Bay area edition.

02 April 2006

Furry Footwarmers

The slippers that Ruthie was modeling in my last post have now been felted. I like how they turned out, and they were a nice, quick project. They're too big for my size 5 1/2 feet, but then I'm more of a barefoot type anyway. These will be going to a relative who has larger feet than I, and who will appreciate the color, I think.